Friday, March 1, 2013

20th Century-Fox Home Entertainment's 50th Anniversary Edition Of Cleopatra On Blu-ray Heads Home On May 21

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
20th Century-Fox Home Entertainment will go to the film vaults on May 21 for a double-disc Blu-ray celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Elizabeth Taylor/Richard Burton version of Cleopatra … direction by Joseph L. Mankiewicz.

Nominated for nine Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Rex Harrison (winning four — Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design and Best Visual Effects), this Blu-ray edition (packed as a DigiBook SKU) features a new restoration of the film that clocks in at 243 minutes.

Of note, that running time of 243 minutes being reported by the home entertainment group is a tad shorter than their previous DVD release of Cleopatra, which came in at 248 minutes (the film was cut for general theatrical exhibition to 192 minutes).

Bonus goodies include “Cleopatra’s Lost Footage,” commentary from Chris and Tom Mankiewicz, Martin Landau and Jack Brodsky, five production featurettes and a pair of vintage Fox Movietone Newsreel clips.

To download this week's complete edition of the DVD and Blu-ray Release Report: DVD & Blu-ray Release Report

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Alanis Morissette: Live At Montreux 2012 From Eagle Rock Entertainment On Apr. 23

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
The mysterious Alanis Morissette, who rose to recording stardom in 1995 with Jagged Little Pill (she must have sold a like a bagillion copies of that CD), sort of drifted into another world.   Still there, but not blazing hot … was it the fame? 

Her music didn’t fit into any particular box … probably closer to folk ballads; a storyteller, but with an edge.   Her fans continued to adore her, but no one could have repeated that kind of success, especially if her focus and life-goals included other things than grinding out new CDs on a routine basis. 

Word came down this week that Eagle Rock Entertainment has selected Apr. 23 as the street for DVD and Blu-ray editions of Alanis Morissette: Live At Montreux 2012, her first live performance release in nearly a decade.  That is very good news indeed!

Recorded live in early July of last year, this concert was a monster presentation of 20 of her songs, including the iconic “Ironic.”   Other selections in the mix included “Hand in My Pocket,” “Head Over Feet,” “All I Really Want” and “You Learn.”   Basically this live concert is a fan’s dream.

To download this week's complete edition of the DVD and Blu-ray Release Report: DVD & Blu-ray Release Report

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Lionsgate Home Entertainment's Texas Chainsaw 3D Rips Home On May 14

DVD and Blu-ray Release Report
They make and remake Night of the Living Dead movies on a regular basis.  The original, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, Land of the Dead and on and on … it’s a long list, but you get the picture.   

Now comes the next rendition of director Tobe Hooper’s 1974 horrific tale of chainsaws and cannibals, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.   Texas Chainsaw 3D is, by our count, the seventh time that Texas, chainsaws and grisly killing sprees have been visited and revisited — tough to let go of that combination. 

Lionsgate Home Entertainment has targeted May 14 as the street date for both a 3D/2D Blu-ray edition and a stand-alone DVD SKU.

The ARR is 130 days and the box office haul was $34.3 million.

Think about it.   Didn’t your skin just crawl when Tony Montana (Al Pacino) was about to get sliced and diced in that bathroom in Scarface.   That didn’t even include the Texas part of the equation … chainsaws and grisly killing sprees just naturally go hand in hand.  Throw in Leatherface and turn up the volume and you are there!

DVD and Blu-ray Release Report
Director John Luessenhop, who previously gave us Takers and Lockdown, revives the series with a return to the storyline of the original film (more or less).   In doing so, if you accept the clever twists and turns that he and scripters Kirsten Elms, Adam Marcus (Jason Goes to Hell) and Debra Sullivan throw your way (just think along the line of genetics), it would come as no surprise if this edition spawned a sequel of its own (sorry, no giving away the ending, but it’s all there for the taking).  

Also, be sure to look for the little homages to Hooper’s original film — they are peppered throughout (what’s that sheriff’s name again … who are those familiar faces?).   

DVD and Blu-ray Release Report
The moment of truth for Alexandra Daddario
At the center of our little road trip to hell is Heather (Alexandra Daddario — Hall Pass, Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, etc.), who talks some of her friends (and a hitchhiker that they pick up along the way) into going with her to check out the property that she has inherited.   What she finds there will certainly “change” her outlook on life!

Bonus features on both the Blu-ray and DVD editions include two commentary options, seven featurettes and a little ditty titled “On-Set Short Subjects: Five Minute Massacres” (six in all). 

To download this week's complete edition of the DVD and Blu-ray Release Report: DVD & Blu-ray Release Report

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Dexter: The Seventh Season From Paramount Home Media Distribution On May 14

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
Everyone’s favorite “good guy” serial killer returns on May 14.  That’s the street date that Paramount Home Media Distribution has selected for DVD and Blu-ray sets of Dexter: The Seventh Season, Showtime’s hit crime series starring Michael C. Hall as the title character. 

Fellow Miami Metro Police Department employee, and as luck would have it, his sister, Debra Morgan (Jennifer Carpenter), discovers the unthinkable as the season opens and has to make a decision.   Turn her brother in or help him with his career … instead, she chooses to try and “cure” him.   What great fun that should be (quick, a show of hands from all those who believe that’s going to happen)!

Also on the release schedule this week from Paramount Home Media is the Apr. 30 DVD and Blu-ray (with UltraViolet) debut of writer/director David Chase’s 1960s rock and roll drama, Not Fade Away.

The ARR works out to 130 days and the box office take for the film’s limited theatrical run came in at $607,327.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
The hook here is David Chase, the creator and executive producer of The Sopranos, making his feature film-directing debut after a long and very successful career in the world of television.   The film sort of got lost in the December crush of blockbuster and Oscar-season candidates, so it will be up to Paramount to stir interest in the home entertainment market place.

It’s New Jersey, the 1960s and the British Invasion.  For Douglas (John Magaro — My Soul to Take, Liberal Arts, etc.) it will be a time for rock and roll … and of course the sex and all that other stuff that goes with the music scene.   His “bandmates,” Eugene (Jack Huston — Eastwick, Boardwalk Empire, etc.) and Wells (Will Brill — King Kelly), dream big, but their music abilities prove to be somewhat limited.   

It doesn’t matter, that’s just the “vehicle,” so to speak, one that serves to drive the story forward.  Douglas likes music, it gets him attention (Bella Heathcote — Dark Shadows) and the tunes give us a reference point (lots of changes in music and society during this period), but the real story is the relationship that we see play out between him and his father (a nice turn by none other than James Gandolfini — jeeze, do you suppose Chase had to ask twice).

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
As to bonus goodies, those are limited to the Blu-ray SKU.  These include deleted scenes, the featuretted title “Building the Band” and a trio of “basement tapes” (featurettes) titled: “Track 1: The Boys in the Band,” “Track 2: Living in the Sixties” and “Track 3: Hard Art.”

Not done yet!   Also getting a home entertainment launch this week is writer/director Andrew Adamson’s magical romantic fantasy, Cirque Du Soleil: Worlds Away.

Paramount has tabbed Mar. 12 as the street date for a three-SKU home entertainment product push.  There will be a 3D/2D Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack, a Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack and a stand-alone DVD edition (both of the Blu-ray SKUs Inclue UltraViolet).

With that Mar. 12 delivery date, the ARR comes in at zippy 81 days … the box office gross was $12.5 million.

Bonus features are limited to the two Blu-ray editions and showcase a pair of featurettes — “Making Worlds Away” and “A Day in the Life with Erica Linz.”

To download this week's complete edition of the DVD and Blu-ray Release Report: DVD & Blu-ray Release Report

Ron White: A Little Unprofessional On DVD From Ultimate Home Entertainment On May 28

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
The Blue Collar Comedy Tour legend, Ron White, will be ready to rock the house on May 28 with his new stand-up comedy DVD release from Ultimate Home Entertainment (UHE).   Titled Ron White: A Little Unprofessional and filmed live at the Paramount Theatre in Austin, Texas, this no-holds-barred comedian delivers 80 minutes worth of new gut-busting material!

Known for his cigar in one hand and a beverage in the other (that would be a glass of scotch), the quick-witted White took his latest show on the road to packed houses and cheering fans … the laughter was non-stop.   With the DVD release — and fans have snatched up over ten million of his previous home entertainment product offerings — he can be “a little unprofessional” over and over again … just press PLAY!

To download this week's complete edition of the DVD and Blu-ray Release Report: DVD & Blu-ray Release Report

Monday, February 25, 2013

Oscilloscope Laboratories Sets Only The Young/Tchoupitoulas For A DVD Bow On Apr. 30

There are points in Only the Young, the award-winning documentary from Jason Tippet and Elizabeth Mims, where you can easily forget that you are watching real-life teens living out their day-to-day lives and not an updated rework of Rebel Without a Cause ... these could be kids from the back class of in Fast Times at Ridgemont High.  Some things never change, only the faces.

Oscilloscope Laboratories has tabbed Apr. 30 for the double-feature/double-disc release of Only the Young, which is coupled with Tchoupitoulas (more on that in a second).

Winner of the National Board of Review award for “Top Five Documentaries” in 2012 (plus additional festival competitions), the film got a major metro theatrical showcase in December of last year (to raise awareness).   The ARR works out to 144 days and reported ticket sales for the film’s limited run were $7,138.

In dramatic films these kids are fiction.  In Only the Young, they are Kevin, Skye and Garrison, teens living in Santa Clarita, California (although it could be Anywhere USA). It’s their little corner of the post-real estate bust world; foreclosed homes, abandoned construction sites … half-million dollar suburban paradises lying empty that the skateboarders now make good use of, especially the empty swimming pools.    
Sexual tension, an uncertain future … and the here and now; that’s all part of the narrative in Only the Young.   A film where you get the distinct impression that Tippet and Mims culled out and then brought into focus the story of this particular trio, not because they are any different from their contemporaries, but because they were better able to articulate their feelings.

In fact, it would be interesting to revisit the trio seven years hence, as with Paul Almond’s Seven-Up film series.  The carefree days of being a teen inevitably give way to adulthood.   You wonder if the kids of this lost paradise will ever be able to afford the dreams that once drove the suburbia that they were born into.

Bonus features include commentary from Tippet and Mims, Tippet’s short film titled Thompson and outtakes.

The companion film is this double-disc collection from Oscilloscope is Tchoupitoulas, from brothers Bill and Turner Ross.   As with Only the Young, their documentary follows kids, only this time it is the three Zander brothers, who wander the streets of New Orleans (not exactly a wholesome place).  

It is an interesting film with a strong narrative, but that can be something of a double-edge sword.   While we don’t doubt that William, Bryan and Kentrell are who they say they are — appear to be — there is this uneasy feeling that the Ross Brothers are perhaps a little too slick with the presentation.   Real-life becoming drama … you be the judge.

If Tchoupitoulas is a true slice-of-life documentary, then it is an extremely sad one; a story with only dreams and little hope.

This ARR is 144 days and the domestic box office take for the film’s limited arthouse run was $10,431.

Bonus features include a behind-the-scenes featurette. 

To download this week's complete edition of the DVD and Blu-ray Release Report: DVD & Blu-ray Release Report

Mill Creek Entertainment Expands Apr. 16 DVD Release Slate

Mill Creek Entertainment expanded its Apr. 16 priced-to-sell DVD product slate this past week with several new additions to an already exciting release calendar.  Included in the mix of new arrivals is the DVD debut of Flash Gordon: The Complete Series (all 22 episodes as part of a four-disc collection).  The SRP is just $14.98.

Starring Eric Johnson (Smallville, Rookie Blue, etc.) as comic book legend, Flash Gordon, with Gina Holden (Saw 3D: The Final Chapter, The Butterfly Effect 2, Final Destination 3) as Dale Arden and Jody Racicot (Final Destination 3) as Zarkov, with the merciless villain of legend, Ming, played by John Ralston. 

For World War II buffs, Mill Creek Entertainment has not one, but three different DVD sets to choose from on Apr. 16.   

There is the nine-disc mega set titled WW II Diaries: A Day by Day Chronicle - Volume One, 1939-1942, which chronicles the key events of World War II beginning in Sept. 1939 and Hitler’s invasion of Poland.   This first set goes month by month through June of 1942 (Battle of Midway).   The SRP for 37 hours of filmed history is just $29.98 (before discounts at retail).

The other two SKUs — both double-disc sets priced at just $9.98 each — are Secrets of War: Espionage and Secrets of War: Shadows of the Third Reich.

There are now eight multi-disc film DVD sets in the Apr. 16 product mix.   For a complete listing of these film collections — plus other Mill Creek Entertainment priced-to-sell product selections — please visit the company’s website at Mill Creek Entertainment.

To download this week's complete edition of the DVD and Blu-ray Release Report: DVD & Blu-ray Release Report

Screen Media's Deep Dark Canyon To Make Apr. 23 DVD Debut

DVD & Blu-ray Release ReportDeliverance, The Defiant Ones, High Sierra and even First Blood … little parts of many of these films come to mind when taking in the writing/directing team of Abe Levy and Silver Tree’s chase thriller, Deep Dark Canyon.   This surprising independent, out on DVD Apr. 23 from Screen Media Films, comprises many of the best themes from all of them.

A routine deer hunting trip (filmed in and around the picturesque Guerneville area — including the Russian River — in Northern California) is the catalyst for tragedy when brothers Nate (Spencer Treat Clark — Gladiator, The Last House on the Left, Camp Hell, etc.) and Skylar Towne (Nick Eversman — perhaps best known as Michael Winstone on the Missing TV series, plus such films as Hellraiser: Revelations, Urban Explorer, etc.) accidently kill a member of the powerful Cavanaugh clan — not just any member, but the town's mayor.   

It was a hunting accident; nothing malicious.   Skylar, the younger of the two, elects to take the blame — figuring that as a teen he will have fewer problems with the law than his “of-age” brother.   That’s the thread that slips the figurative ball of twine and sets a cascade of fateful events in motion.

There are two problems with the brothers’ solution — and neither actually includes the age of who fired the fatal shot.   First, their father is the sheriff (played by Ted Levine — The Silence of the Lambs, Heat, Shutter Island, etc.) and secondly, the Cavanaugh’s run the town.    

Mix in Nate’s growing guilt, the suspicion that the story of the accident might not be on the up-and-up — and perhaps dad is covering for them (some internal double-dealing in his own department) — and you have the makings of a volatile mix are in place; a fuse to be lit. 

When the breakdown does come at the end of the first act — that murder charges be filed against Skylar — a series of very bad decision (by all involved) takes Deep Dark Canyon down a path where you begin to suspect that there will be no good outcome.  Blood will be shed.

Chaos ensues when Nate elects to break his brother out of jail.  They end up handcuffed together and on the run.   What makes their plight so enthralling is that you, the viewer, can’t help but be upset with everything that followed after one unintentional death.  

Two young brothers, locked at the wrist, become running targets in the woods, constantly dodging the bullets of the Cavanaugh’s little posse (“don’t bother bringin’em back alive”), while their father (reminder: he’s the sheriff!) tries to reign things in (unsuccessfully … mostly).

You quickly; easily root for these two kids — scream at them when they’re just steps ahead of their hunters, sympathize with them when the universe seems to be aligned against them.   But you’re always with them, win or lose … and that’s a sign of great storytelling.   

Filmmakers Levy and Tree keep the cat-and-mouse chase plausible as long as they can … and bring us to a conclusion that fits with what has transpired (look for the clues).

To download this week's complete edition of the DVD and Blu-ray Release Report: DVD & Blu-ray Release Report

Eagle Rock Entertainment Says Mar.19 For Miles Davis with Quincy Jones and the Gil Evans Orchestra Live at Montreux 1991

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
Eagle Rock Entertainment has the smooth sounds of jazz legend Miles Davis (and friends) ready for fans to enjoy on Mar. 19 with the solo DVD and Blu-ray product offerings of Miles Davis with Quincy Jones and the Gil Evans Orchestra Live at Montreux 1991 (previously only available as part of the Definitive Miles Davis at Montreux ten-disc boxed set).

A summer night, Montreux; on the shores of Lake Geneva, the perfect setting for a melancholy trip down memory lane with Miles Davis (he would leave us at summer’s end at age 65) and Quincy Jones, who are backed by the late tunesmith and arranger Gil Evans’ orchestra for a 13 tune set.  Included are “The Maids Of Cadiz,” “Miles Ahead” and “The Duke.”

To download this week's complete edition of the DVD and Blu-ray Release Report: DVD & Blu-ray Release Report

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Anchor Bay Entertainment's Django Unchained Headed Home On Apr. 16

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
For the second time in this year’s Best Picture Oscar derby one of the candidates making its move to the home entertainment market place has literally been kicked to the curb in terms of an official PR rollout.   

It is both disgraceful and comically unprofessional that certain groups can’t get their act together when it comes to getting the news out on the release of a Best Picture contender, especially when you are talking about a film that has pulled in over $100 million at the box office.   

If you’ll recall, last week it was Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s staller publicity department fumbling the DVD and Blu-ray announcement for Zero Dark Thirty.  They simply deferred to and other online retailers to carry their water. 

This week the guilty party is Anchor Bay Entertainment and their Apr. 16 rollout of Blu-ray and DVD SKUs for The Weinstein Company film production of writer/director Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained.    Usually the Anchor Bay PR people are at the top of their game in circulating the news and details on forthcoming product … certainly a film of this magnitude would not be getting the bum’s rush when it comes to the home entertainment release announcement.

For the record, the ARR comes in at 112 days and the box office tally for the film’s domestic multiplex run currently stands at $157.4 million.

We were fair to the publicity people over at Sony Pictures Home Entertainment last week in pointing out that sometimes the good folks over at theatrical distribution prevail upon home entertainment to “slow walk” a title that is doing particularly well at the box office.  It happens … you are just stuck with having to look silly as retailers are ahead of you by a week or two with the news.

So to be fair to those handling the PR push for Django Unchained (or the lack there of), there is the distinct possibility that Harvey and Bob Weinstein may have their fingers in the middle of this one … they can be notoriously hands-on when it comes to the self-promotion of their film productions, especially one of this magnitude.    

Maybe the approvals haven’t come through yet … in the meantime the sales people may (again, acting in their own best interests) have simply “leaked” the news.

Indeed, the brothers could be preoccupied with the late charge of The Silver Linings Playbook and have simply lost focus on what the next steps (distribution-wise) are for Django Unchained.  You can’t blame them … it is not often that producers have two Best Picture nominees in the same year.

The alternative is — and it would be a real hoot-and-a-half if it were even remotely possible — that somehow the PR brains over at Sony Pictures Home Entertainment have gotten involved with advice on how to bungle a Best Picture launch.   At least there would be some consistency in that!

As to bonus features … nada at this time.

To download this week's complete edition of the DVD and Blu-ray Release Report: DVD & Blu-ray Release Report


Top 20 Foreign Languages On DVD

*  Chinese includes Mandarin and Cantonese
Includes DVD titles released and subsequently discontinued.

To download this week's complete edition of the DVD and Blu-ray Release Report: DVD & Blu-ray Release Report