Saturday, March 16, 2013

Ariztical Entertainment's Rolling Heads To DVD On May 14

DVD and Blu-ray Release Report
When news arrived this past week that Ariztical Entertainment had selected May 14 as the DVD release date for Damon Jamal’s Rolling, the knee-jerk was “OK, what’s this about?”

A new director; his first feature film … an independent production (he also produced), with a young cast.   How bad will this be?   After seeing so many of these “15 minute” movies you just want to scream (15 minutes is about how far you can get into them before it becomes too painful to continue and the screening disc is ejected from the player).

Poor production values, bad writing, amateur actors — it’s a long list of things that can go wrong with an independent film production, especially when it is from a “first time” filmmaker.

So it was quite a pleasant surprise to discover that Rolling is not one of these “15 minute” movies.   Yes, it does have “unknowns” as the cast members and it is an indie, but the filmmaker seems to know what he’s doing and the productions values on the screen belie the film’s limited budget.

Wait a second, this guy is no newbie filmmaker … what’s has been delivered — cinematically speaking — is clearly not from a “first time” filmmaker.   The pause button is hit and you’re off to google “Damon Jamal.”  Instinctively you know that what you’re watching is from someone with experience in framing a shot, lightning a sequence and using the camera in creative ways.

Sure enough, it doesn’t take long to discover that Jamal has been creating music videos for artists in the bay area for years … his film school training was the street.   Work fast, get it right, be creative and know what the talent needs for their music.   It has to be visually exciting; it is like painting a picture.

That experience has been successfully translated to Rolling, which is being billed as a film inspired by the John Hughes gem, The Breakfast Club.   A diverse group of kids and high school, sure there’s a connection.    

The set up is a bit of stretch as Drake (Matthew Thompson — Mad World, Tru Loved) breaks into his high school late at night with his friends to shoot a film school video.  He has scripts for his “actors” to follow, but they all seem surprised that he’s ready to roll and they are just hearing about this.

Once past the initial “gathering” sequences, the film kicks into high gear as the relationship between Drake’s cast members, who are a diverse group of kids with little in common, begin to interact with each other.   

Clearly Sully (Ryder Darcy) is the equivalent of Judd Nelson’s character from The Breakfast Club.   He’s the bad boy in the group, the druggie, but his underlying intelligence and sarcasm are used by him as a mask — personal issues; whatever.  

Ellen (Joy Regullano) is Drake’s film buddy, who is shy, hides behind her glasses, but is probably the smartest of the group — you suspect that she likes to go unnoticed, but you are never quite sure what she is afraid of.    

There’s the kid, Tim (Maxwell Chase), a cheerleader named Carly (Debbie Kagy), a jock, Sean (Taylor Piedmonte), and the sexy loner, Michaela (Mara Klein).   A diverse group that by morning will be close friends.

Ariztical Entertainment has a sleeper here with Rolling … it is well worth a look-see and guaranteed to be more than a “15 minute” movie!   We suspect that it will become filmmaker Damon Jamal’s calling card for even bigger projects down the road.

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

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Silver Linings Playbook Quietly Placed For Apr. 30 Home Entertainment Debut

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report

When did announcing the release of a film to the home entertainment market place become so damn difficult?   The latest example in screwing it up marks the fourth Best Picture contender this year to be dumped into the market without fanfare. 

First we had Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s non-announcement for Zero Dark Thirty (Mar. 19), which was followed by a similar move for Django Unchained (Apr. 16) and then Lincoln got rushed home without a word after its pre-book date had passed (Mar. 26).    

Now Anchor Bay Entertainment does it again with the Apr. 30 unceremonious flushing of writer/director David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook.

Our guess is that the sales people bypassed the normal process and defensively made the call to retailers for the Apr. 30 street date for both a DVD and a separate Blu-ray product launch.  The ARR works out to 165 days and the box office take (and still growing) comes in at $120.6 million.

Normally, Anchor Bay Entertainment’s PR activities are executed with studio-level precision, but the wheels appear to have come loose with both Django Unchained and Silver Linings Playbook … we suspect the common denominator for the sudden rash of train wrecks to be the producers of both films (Bob and Harvey Weinstein), but lacking a smoking gun we will just assume that the act of producing and distributing a press announcement has suddenly alluded our friends in Michigan.

Without a formal announcement there are no details available on what bonus nuggets might be included on either the DVD or Blu-ray SKUs.

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

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Kino Lorber's If I Were You, Starring Marcia Gay Harden, To DVD On May 7

DVD & Blu-ray Release ReportWriter/director Joan Carr-Wiggin’s If I Were You leads the Kino Lorber parade of DVD and Blu-ray product offerings targeted for release during the month of May.   

Streeting on May 7 as a DVD release, this comedy with a touch of drama, stars Oscar-winner Marcia Gay Harden (Best Supporting Actress winner for Pollock, plus a Best Supporting Actress nomination for Mystic River) and gives new meaning to comedian Steven Wright’s wry observation: “It's a small world, but I wouldn't want to paint it.” 
Madelyn (Marcia Gay Harden’s character) discovers that her husband, Paul (Joseph Kell), is fooling around with a much younger woman by the name of Lucy (Leonor Watling — Unconscious, My Mother Likes Women, My Life Without Me, etc.) and decides to follow her home and confront her.   Instead, a comic misadventure ensues and she ends up talking the twit out of killing herself.

The two bond and form a pact that involves them making the romantic decisions for each other — a scheme that Madelyn comes up with as a form of revenge, but in the “small world” of If I Were You that little plan will pay huge dividends as the film progresses.

Lucy is blissfully unaware of Madelyn’s plan or her relationship with Paul, but thinks that Madelyn’s scheme is a splendid idea, which ultimately leads to two really terrific set-ups.   

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
Leonor Watling and Marcia Gay Harden
The first comes in the form of the two being cast, or should we say “miscast” in a goofy stage production of King Lear.   Madelyn — during a breakdown moment — is selected for the lead role (a “brilliant” idea) and Madelyn suggests that Lucy be cast as the Fool (she sees the irony in that).

The second element that makes this “small world” a devilish delight to “paint” comes when Lucy — the mistress; the fool — comes up with the idea that payback for Madelyn’s cheating husband could come in the form of a lover of her own.   “I didn’t have an affair,” she protests, but Lucy (ever the dimwit) observes: “That’s so easy to fix.”

If I Were You is a bittersweet comedy, where you can’t help but feel the pain of the aging Madelyn — who drinks too much — and despite Lucy’s role in all of it, you just can’t work up much in way of anger towards her … she plays the fool so well and Madelyn ultimately enjoys her friendship.

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

Inventory of $25 Million-Plus Theatrical Releases as of March 08, 2013

Calendar of $25 Million-Plus Theatrical Releases*

* ARR - The Asset Rollover Rate (ARR) is the number of days between a film's theatrical debut and its subsequent release on either DVD or Blu-ray.

New Announcements in Red. 

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