Friday, March 8, 2013

Warner Home Video Says Apr. 23 For Gangster Squad

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
There is snake bitten and then there is SNAKE bitten!   

That’s the fate of director Ruben Fleischer’s Gangster Squad, the film adaptation of Paul Lieberman’s Mickey Cohen-era crime novel, “Tales from the Gangster Squad.”   Warner Home Video has tabbed this snake-bit crime thriller for a DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack (both SKUs with UltraViolet) release of Apr. 23.

The ARR works out to 102 days and the box office take was a nice $45.9 million.

First, Gangster Squad was the bumper trailer on the front of Warner Bros. theatrical release of The Dark Knight Rises (literally edited to the front of the film itself) and it ironically featured a gangland massacre at the Grauman's Chinese Theatre.  As a result of the Aurora theatre incident, the cast featured in that concluding sequence to the film had to be reassembled to re-shoot an entire new ending to the film.

That unfortunate re-shoot forced the studio to bump the film out of its original Labor Day weekend slot and into January of 2013.  That was the first bite from the snake.

The casting of Sean Penn in the pivotal role of mobster Mickey Cohen, especially with the notoriety of the Aurora, Colorado incident, was the second bite from the snake as it turned half of the country off from even considering the option of plucking down money to watch the film in a theatrical venue.   

 He has made himself into a polarizing public figure, despite being a damn good actor — the rest of the cast is terrific (Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Nick Nolte, Emma Stone and Giovanni Ribisi).

And then the third bite from the snake comes when the film is given an early January theatrical release date — smack dab in the middle of blizzards and a half-dozen Christmas hold-overs that are pulling in mega-bucks at the local multiplexes (one of the best Oscar races in recent memory).  

Doomed, right?   Dead meat?   A red-ink studio write-off?   No, Gangster Squad, despite having the cards stacked heavily against it, pulled in a respectable $45.9 million in its ill-timed theatrical run ... that means that word of mouth kept people coming to theatres despite all of those snakes crawling in the aisles. 

Now Warner Home Video can add to the film’s success (home entertainment gives Penn-haters the opportunity to enjoy the film and hiss at him in the privacy of their living rooms) … bonus goodies for the home entertainment release include the featurette titled “Tough Guys with Style.”

Exclusive to the Blu-ray SKU are commentary from director Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland, 30 Minutes or Less), two additional featurettes — “Rogues Gallery: Mickey Cohen” and “The Gangland Files” — and deleted scenes (we can hope that this includes the film’s original ending). 

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

Paramount Home Media's Jack Reacher Heads Home On May 7

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
Director Christopher McQuarrie’s film adaptation of the Lee Child’s 2005 best seller, “One Shot,” will be heading to the home entertainment market place on May 7 courtesy of Paramount Home Media Distribution.   

Retitled for theatrical release as simply Jack Reacher (McQuarrie prepped the screenplay — which is his strong suit, having won the Oscar in 1996 for his Original Screenplay of The Usual Suspects).   The film pulled in a tasty $79.7 million during domestic theatrical run … the ARR works out to 137 days.

Paramount has a stand-alone DVD SKU in the mix, as well as a Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack (with UltraViolet) edition planned for the Jack Reacher home entertainment launch.

As the Christmas season theatrical release date approached you could hear this drumbeat building from certain sources saying that Tom Cruise wasn’t right for Child’s Jack Reacher, a man of considerable height and weight (something like six-foot-five and 240 pounds).   Of course that’s not Tom Cruise.

What the naysayers failed to take into consideration was the writing skills of Christopher McQuarrie, who delivered the aforementioned The Usual Suspects, plus wrote a top-notch thriller for Tom Cruise with Valkyrie and saved Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (even though the WGA took the screen credit away from him).   

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
Jack Reacher, starring Tom Cruise, is a slick (in a positive sense), well-produced, well-written thriller and five minutes into it you don’t give a rip if the novel version of Jack Reacher has lost 10 inches in height and 80 pounds in body mass.   If Cruise and McQuarrie want to reteam for a series of Jack Reacher-based thrillers … go for it.

As a reward for delivering both a successful screenplay and a well-directed action film (a commercial success), Christopher McQuarrie will be writing and directing the next Mission: Impossible entry (tentative for 2015) and he delivered the screenplay for Cruise’s next big action film, All You Need is Kill (March of next year). 

As to bonus goodies, which are all exclusive to the Blu-ray SKU, there are two commentary options — one teaming McQuarrie with Cruise, while the second features composer Joe Kraemer — plus a trio of featurettes: “When the Man Comes Around,” “You Do Not Mess with Jack Reacher: Combat & Weapons” and “The Reacher Phenomenon.”

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

Universal Studio's Mama Debuts On May 7

DVD and Blu-ray Release Report
Universal Studios Home Entertainment has selected May 7 as the release date for DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack editions of director Andres Muschietti’s chilling ghost story and mystery, Mama.   

The ARR is 109 days and the scares drummed up from ticket sales during the film’s national multiplex run amounted to a stellar $70.9 million.

Bonus goodies include commentary from director/writer Andrés (Andy) Muschietti and producer/writer Barbara Muschietti, deleted scenes (with optional commentary), Muschietti’s original short film of the same name and the featurette titled “The Birth of Mama.”

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

The Victorville Massacre From Indican Pictures On May 7

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
Victorville, it’s that desert community that most breeze past at 70MPH (or faster) on their way from Los Angeles to Las Vegas (and back again).   Filmmaker Jack Arnold did a fly over for the opening sequence from his 1953 sci-fi chiller It Came From Outer Space … other filmmakers have used the surrounding desert for mood, locations showing desolation and so on.

The point is, not much happens there.   Little rain, mild winters (except for those bone-chilling desert nights) and hot summers.   It’s the desert, but it has a water source from the drainage of the nearby San Bernardino mountain range … people go there to get away from Los Angeles; it’s quiet.

That is until now.   It’s the Labor Day weekend and in writer/director Riley Wood’s The Victorville Massacre — due out on DVD from Indican Pictures on May 7 — we learn that the local police have a problem.   There is a serial killer on the prowl in the quiet neighborhoods of this sprawling desert oasis.   

The streets have become a hunting ground … locals have either gone missing or been found murdered and the chief of police (Frank Piciullo) is concerned that the killer might just be getting started.

Against this backdrop of terror, we find that nine of the locals (alert: the victim pool) are going to have a weekend blast.  Five are attractive beauties (alert: a necessity for any good slasher flick), Mary (Briana Baker), Lane (Lisa Lane), Ria (Susannah Hart Jones), Lisa (Jen Nikolaus) and Stephanie (Sonja O’Hara) and their four more-than-eager male companions share a history; they are friends … it will be good times with plenty of alcohol and many (hopeful) sexual encounters.

Of course, in any genre film titled The Victorville Massacre, it is only a matter of time before the serial killer comes knocking as an uninvited guest.   But has filmmaker Riley Wood thrown a curve our way?   Are these victims with a purpose and is the killer actually on the guest list?   

There are lots of twists and turns in The Victorville Massacre.  The blood flows freely and you’ll have to wait until the final act to see if the last man — or, perhaps, woman — standing is the one the chief is actually looking for.   Or, maybe it is just a disgruntled gambler on the way back from Vegas with anger issues!

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

Thursday, March 7, 2013

June 4 For The Home Sweet Home DVD Debut From Image Entertainment

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
It’s Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs with a twist.  That is what will be coming from Image Entertainment on June 4 when Director John KD Graham’s Home Sweet Home makes its DVD debut.

Before we get to the “twist,” let’s just say up front that we know Raquel Cantu is an actress (making her film debut here), but if you didn’t know otherwise you would have to think that Graham had had an in with the local nut house when casting his film.    

“Can we get a work-furlough for THAT one,” as he gestures towards the little blonde over in the corner — likely in a straight jacket, or at least heavily medicated.

She plays Kristi, who is just about five cans short of a six-pack in Home Sweet Home.  Think along the lines of Mallory (Juliette Lewis) in Natural Born Killers and you’ll get the picture … the full picture of just what this lovely little woman is capable of comes in many forms throughout Home Sweet Home (hell of a film debut).

DVD and Blu-ray Release Report
Kristi (Raquel Cantu) on the prowl in Image Entertainment's Home Sweet Home
As for our story — the one with the “twist” — Gwen (Alexandra Boylan — The Hitchhiker, Bellflower, etc.) has gone belly-up financially and has pretty much run out of options.   She strikes a deal with her brother to return to the family digs (filmed in around picturesque La Luz and Alamogordo in the southern part of New Mexico), spruce it up (mom and dad are deceased) and sell it off.   It should be just enough to get her a fresh start.

There is just one little problem, Kristi and her boyfriend Van (Christopher Demsey) are on the run from the law and have stubbled upon the remote ranch-style home — which Kristi “just loves” by the way — and take up residence.   

Through a series of events, including the unfortunate timing and help from family and friends (we need victims if Kristi is to show off), Gwen finds herself cutoff, alone and forced to do a “home invasion” of her own if she is to survive her encounter with Van and Kristi.   

DVD and Blu-ray Release Report
Gwen (Alexandra Boylan) is the "good guy" with an axe!
Axes, shotguns … it’s a hell of show, the only thing that is missing is the bear trap.     

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

Virgil Films & Entertainment Gets Addicted To Fame On May 21

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
You sit there cursing all the “stupid” people for slowing down to look at the car wreck at the side of the road that has ground traffic to a halt.   And then you join them … gawk, gawk and gawk; you join the gawker’s block to see how bad the wreck is that has taken time out of your day and lengthened your commute.

On May 21, Virgil Films & Entertainment gives you the golden opportunity to enjoy a “car wreck” of epic proportions with the release of writer/director David Giancola’s behind-the-scenes footage for the 2007 sexploitation film, Illegal Aliens, which has been spun into the feature-length documentary, Addicted to Fame.

All you have to know about both films is the name Anna Nicole Smith.  She was the “car wreck” of a celebrity, famous for being famous, a Playmate of the Year — called “white trash” (and more) — who had cases about her marriage to a man old enough to be her grandfather go all the way to the United States Supreme Court (not once, but twice) and then died of an “accidental” drug overdose on Feb. 8, 2007 at just 39 years of age.

In retrospect it was easy to see the “Smith” car speeding down the road, wandering in and out of traffic and then SMASH!    What Addicted to Fame does so perfectly is to capture the “driver” behind the wheel on the way to the wreck.

There are no heroes in this documentary, which exists only because Gaincola knew exactly what he was dealing with in casting, for purely exploitative purposes, Anna Nicole Smith in his sexploitation sci-fi comedy, Illegal Aliens.   

Because of the casting of this particular “celebrity with public problems," the film could not obtain a completion bond (insurance), so he crafted insurance of his own, which took the form of a second film crew documenting the daily grind of making Illegal Aliens.   What you end up with is, well, a car wreck … so feel free to gawk (that’s what we do, right?).

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

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Well Go U.S.A.'s The Four Ready For Blu-ray And DVD On Apr. 9

DVD and Blu-ray Release Report
In the echo chamber of domestic filmmaking you hear certain names as being the top filmmakers (usually associated with Oscar nominations and commercial success).  Steven Spielberg, Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese, Clint Eastwood and the like are the usual suspects.   

There is no denying their work, but you won’t see on that list the name of director Gordon Chan.   Indie filmmakers should really start taking a good hard look at his work and add films such as Painted Skin, Mural, The Medallion and Fist of Legend as films to study for style, technique and, well, “slickness;” call it filmmaking competency … visual expertise.   

His latest, The Four, will be coming home as DVD and Blu-ray product offerings from Well Go U.S.A. on Apr. 9.

Kinetic, visually exciting and loaded with action is how one can best describe this “riff” on the X-Men, The Fantastic Four and The Avengers … only with period characters (from the Song Dynasty — about a 1,000 years ago), court intrigues, rival clandestine police organizations, deadly violence, a rumored army of the undead and sex.   And this is just the first installment in a planned trilogy!
Bonus goodies include deleted scenes and a making-of featurette.   In Cantonese with English subtitles.

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

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Steven Spielberg's Lincoln Parachutes In On Mar. 26

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
It could be studio politics — that seems to make the most sense — as the third Best Picture candidate this season has suffered the same fate as its brethren by simply being parachuted into the home entertainment market place without fanfare.

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment will be handling the domestic distribution of director Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln on behalf of DreamWorks Pictures and Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation (the studio producing partners).   News surfaced today (mainly online retailers rushing to take orders) that a release date has been revealed … if not formally announced.

With so many cooks in the kitchen it is completely understandable that the non-announcement for the Mar. 26 release of the two Blu-ray/DVD Combo Packs and the stand-alone DVD edition is already beyond the likely pre-book cutoff (which was, as we figure it, a couple of weeks ago).   With so many sign-offs required, getting the simplest thing done — oh, like a two-page press announcement — can turn into a logistical nightmare.   Anyone seen a sell-sheet?

It is like: Ready!  Fire!!  Aim!!!   Oops.   

We suspect — and this suspicion is only based on years of experience with how studio egos work — that Sony Pictures Home Entertainment was trapped with Zero Dark Thirty (between conflicting theatrical and home entertainment needs) and that Harvey and Bob Weinstein had their fingers in the Django Unchained home entertainment bungled launch.  

Staffers over at Disney don’t just move ahead with a Steven Spielberg movie without all of the eyes being dotted and all of the tees being crossed … so they too have had to just sit there, wait and watch the non-event unfold.   Park the egos at the door, please.

For the record, the ARR of that Mar. 26 rollout comes in at 137 days and the domestic box office gross was a lovely (and profitable) $180.1 million.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln
Lincoln, the movie, stands or falls on the performance of Daniel Day-Lewis.   He is absolutely stunning as the 16th President of United States … if there were newsreels, or videos, or movies from 1865, this is the human being that you would expect to see and hear.   His Oscar for Best Actor was well-deserved!

The film is not Steven Spielberg’s best work (that’s a tough nut to ever crack when you consider his body of work to date), but that’s probably the result of the choices made for the focal point of the narrative itself.   The political ins and outs of getting the 13th Amendment through a lame-duck Congress (one that already rejected it previously) — while the Civil War grinds on — can get pretty thick.   

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
As to bonus features for Lincoln, the DVD SKU has the featurette titled “The Journey to Lincoln.”   As mentioned, there are a pair of Blu-rays, both are Combo-Packs (with Digital Copy), with the only difference is that one contains an additional Blu-ray disc showcasing four extended production featurettes — “In The Company of Character,” “Crafting The Past,” “Living With Lincoln” and “In Lincoln's Footsteps.”  Featured on both Blu-ray presentations is the additional featurette titled “A Historic Tapestry: Richmond, Virginia.”

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

Monday, March 4, 2013

Virgil Films & Entertainment's DVD debut of Dorfman In Love On May 28

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
Virgil Films & Entertainment will capture romantic magic on May 28 with the DVD debut of director Brad Leong’s Dorfman in Love.   

A major metro theatrical push is planned for Mar. 22 to raise awareness and add to the critical reviews already garnered by the film’s year-long film festival run, which included four Best Feature wins (and more).

Sara Rue (A Slipping-Down Life, Pearl Harbor, plus such sitcoms as Less Than Perfect and Rules of Engagement) shines as Deb Dorfman, a twenty-something single woman living in Los Angeles and would-be babysitter to her eccentric and widowed father (played by Eliot Gould).   

It’s clever how Leong sets up the obviously attractive Rue as something of a schlub — a milktoast accountant working for her brother (Jonathan Chase), who doubles-down on the guilt their father already lays on her.   She secretly pines for her brother’s best friend, Jay (Johann Urb — he co-starred with Rue in the short-lived Eastwick television series, plus such films as Resident Evil: Retribution, 2012, etc.), but he has her firmly planted in the “friend” zone in terms of their relationship.

So much so that he asks her to take care of his cat while he is out of town for a week.  In her plain vanilla world, she sees that invitation as the a twofold opportunity — one, get away from dad for a week; two, impress Jay with how well she takes care of his place … of course he will immediately fall in love with her.
DVD & Blu-ray Release Report

It’s a good plan.  As plans of the heart go.  There are just two little problems that send everything spinning out of control.   She meets Cookie (Haaz Sleiman — The Visitor), one of Jay’s neighbors, who is completely not her type and dad is too lonely to be without her, so he moves in.  

She also makes other friends — new, unexpected, friends and an amazing transformation begins to take place.   This Cinderella finds the glass slipper (figuratively speaking) and the fancy “dress ball” comes in the form of a romantic showdown in the film’s cleverly spun third act finale.

Virgil Films has a gem here and that theatrical showcase in March can only add to its luster.

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

Sunday, March 3, 2013

May 21 For The DVD Debut Of FilmWorks Entertainment's Pendejo

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
Writer/director Jairaj Walia’s Pendejo, a romantic comedy about a prince who becomes a frog, falls in love and grows into a man will be heading to DVD on May 21 from FilmWorks Entertainment.

Jai or just “J” (Raja Fenske — as Jake in the Unfabulous television sitcom) is a party boy.   College educated, unmotivated and always ready to have a good time.   Mix together the sex and the alcohol, the flashy car and a seemingly endless supply of money and any day of the week can become a holiday.

That all comes to an end when his father (Laksh Singh), a self-made man and the source of Jai’s “allowance,” says that enough is enough.   He lays down the law … you will work in the family business or lose it all!  

No problem, a corner office, an expense account and long lunches is how he sees it … sure pops count me in, I’ll start tomorrow!   So you can imagine that it comes as quite the shock to Jai when he discovers that his father is no fool and that his permanent position in the company (until he proves himself) is that of assistant janitor.

Pepe (Eduardo Antonio Garcia) shows Jai (Raja Fenske) the ropes in FilmWorks Entertainment's Pendejo
It’s no secret who this new “employee” is and the company manager (played by Darlene Vazquetelles) has been given her marching orders when it comes to dealing with him … no favors, he works, pulls his weight or he is gone!   

Of course Jai bolts at having to take orders from Pepe (Eduardo Antonio Garcia), a man who takes great glee in his new-found source of corporate power by teaching his new assistant some conversational Spanish (a running joke) to help him with his chores around the office.  

The reality of it all begins to sink in when his father tosses him out for walking off the job (no car, no money … just the clothes on his back).  So tail between his legs — coupled with a bad night’s sleep on the floor of his friend’s garage — has him back with mop in hand asking for a second chance.

Of course Pendejo is a romantic comedy, not a depressing story about father/son conflict and endless days sweeping floors, cleaning toilets and being the butt of Pepe’s jokes.    

A trip to Jenny's home to meet her father (Danny Trejo)
The romance comes in the form of Jenny (Fernanda Romero — Silver Case, Mission Park, etc.), the company receptionist (at first dismissed by Jai) who befriends him.   Her sweetness, kindness and loving nature becomes the counterpoint to all of the relationships that he’s known to date … it is a real eye-opener for him; a life-changer.

But the REAL eye-opener comes when he is invited home to meet her parents.   In a brilliant bit of counter-casting, screen tough guy Danny Trejo plays her father and Jai quickly learns that staying in his good graces could be the key to his survival.

Pendejo is a fun romp, with cast members Raja Fenske and Fernada Romero hitting just the right notes.  Bonus features include a blooper reel, a photo gallery and interviews with the cast.

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

Breaking Glass Pictures' Silver Case Ready For DVD On May 7

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
When Eric Roberts is on and cast in the right film he can be mesmerizing.   He can be a sociopath, a ruthless villain, a charmer, an unlikely action hero, a thug or an ordinary Joe … he has the range and the style to pull it off.

In writer/director Christian Filippella’s Silver Case, due out on DVD from Breaking Glass Pictures on May 7, he plays a ruthless Hollywood producer (think: sociopath; charmer; slick) known simply as The Senator.   He’s good … you believe.

The indie gem worked the festival circuit throughout 2012 and scored one win after another — wins at the Beverly Hills Film Festival, Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival, L.A. Indies Awards and more (it’s an impressive list; a long list). 

Silver Case is a biting satire on the ins, outs and often illogical reasoning behind Hollywood’s rationale for the films that get produced (and what goes into the process).  It is a business that operates by its own set of rules … as we soon discover.  
DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
Eric Roberts stars as The Senator in Silver Case.

Events are set in motion when The Senator, operating from his posh digs, unleashes a plan to destroy an up-and-coming rival who has been crowned The Master (Brad Light).  The MacGuffin for his plan is a locked metal briefcase, silver in color, with lettering on the handle that reads “Do Not Open”  — it will be delivered to The Master and that will be that.  

So what’s in the briefcase; this Pandora’s Box of personal destruction?   Documents that will destroy The Master; perhaps a bomb; a peace offering; a script; body parts … it doesn’t matter.  Before Roberts can put his plan into motion the briefcase gets sidetracked and falls into the hands of two incompetent would be-goodfellas, Caesar (Chris Facey) and Barabba (Brian Keith Gamble) … they dress the part, lack the skills (and judging from their wheels, the resources), but make up for their short comings with an unreasoning tenacity.

They are like junior versions of Vincent and Jules, who have no idea what they’ve got a hold of, but soon learn that people are getting killed (Hollywood can be a dog-eat-dog kind of town) and as the pursuit for the briefcase escalates they know that they’ve got a tiger by the tail that they can’t let go of without being consumed by it all.  You can’t help but root for them.

Chris Facey and Brian Keith Gamble
Silver Case is a fun film that takes it shots at Hollywood with delight (and its often cardboard and insecure denizens) … a comedy noir with an edge.

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