Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Warner Home Video's Enter The Dragon Celebrates 40th Anniversary On June 11

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
It was a hot August night in El Centro, California.  Of course it was, it is the desert (it is always hot in August), but it just never cools down at night out there — the moisture in the air from all of the irrigation in the Imperial Valley seems to trap the heat during the summer.  It just makes it worse; in a word: unbearable. 

Around midnight, the streets are quiet in this farming community and yet the young staff members (concession, box office, etc.) for both the Crest and the Fox theatres were still there, milling around anxiously await word if it would be OK to have a midnight screening of the new film I was carrying in the truck.   

Honestly, I couldn’t recall seeing anything like it.   They could watch any movie playing in the two theatres any time they wanted (often while working!), but they had talked (beg, pleaded) the manager/projectionist of the Crest into sticking around after the last showing to screen this particular film.  He said sure; he didn’t go to bed until first light anyway, so why not.

As the VP of operations for this small Southern California theatre chain (some 30 screens), I would make the run to El Centro a couple of times each month from Los Angeles with the new films for the week, pick up the ones just completed, deliver concessions and spend some time with both theatre managers — it was a way to maintain contact with these “remote” outposts.   

The two film cans contained just another “chop socky” movie; they were becoming all the rage in the early 1970s, especially in our Huntington Park theatre.  But to have the high school kids hanging around after midnight to get a sneak of this latest one came as something of a surprise.

The film that everyone was anxious to see was director Robert Clouse’s Enter the Dragon, starring Bruce Lee, John Saxon and Jim Kelly.   It was the first studio-produced martial arts film and it was going to be a monster … the kids were right.  They had a blast at their exclusive late night screening of the film, complete with all of the popcorn and sodas they could consume in 98 minutes.

Bruce Lee was already dead (just weeks before the film opened of a cerebral edema), but on that night in El Centro (and in the weeks that followed across the country) a legend was born.   

In addition to Lee becoming a film icon, filmmaker Robert Clouse built an entire career around this genre, delivering such films as Black Belt Jones (Jim Kelly, 1974) The Game of Death (this 1978 release was a total cheat of a film … he used footage of Lee from other films that he had appeared in) and The Big Brawl (Jackie Chan, 1980).   

Plus, if you look closely, you will spot future film stars Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung in small roles in Enter the Dragon.

On June 11, Warner Home Video will bring to Blu-ray: Enter the Dragon: 40th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition to market complete with bonus materials that include collectible art cards, a lenticular card and an embroidered patch, plus commentary from producer Paul M. Heller (Truck Turner, First Monday in October, My Left Foot, etc.).

Other bonus treats include three new featurettes — “No Way as Way,” “The Return to Han’s Island” and “Wing Chun: The Art that Introduced Kung Fu to Bruce Lee” — an interview with Lee’s wife, Linda Lee Caldwell, and five vintage featurettes (plus five different trailers for the film).  

Also getting a release date this week from Warner Home Video is director Richard LaGravenese’s film adaptation of the Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl novel, Beautiful Creatures.

The ARR for DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack (both SKUs include UltraViolet) editions is 95 days and the box office take was a little light at just $19.2 million.

This supernatural romantic tale teams Alice Englert (In Fear, Ginger & Rosa) with Alden Ehrenreich (Stoker, Tetro) with veterans Emma Thompson and Jeremy Irons in a magical tale of “casters” (those capable of weaving spells) locked in a battle for the next member of either the dark side or the light side (a battle of good and evil).   Romance is in the air, but not all (make that, anything) is as at it seems.

Bonus features, exclusive to the Blu-ray SKU, include six featurettes and deleted scenes (also include on the stand-alone DVD edition).

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

Paramount Home Media Adds TV Series To Release Schedule In June

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
All good things come to an end and that is what Paramount Home Media Distribution has alerted us to with the news that Raymond Burr’s venerable Perry Mason will be working on his last series of cases come June 11 with the release of the Perry Mason: Season Nine Volume One, a four-disc collection from the crime series final season.

Also on the release for delivery on June 18 are DVD and Blu-ray editions of Workaholics: Season Three.

Plus Shirley Feeney and her sidekick Laverne De Fazio are back in the May 21 DVD release of Laverne & Shirley: The Sixth Season.

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

May 21 For Midnight Releasing's Don't Let The Riverbeast Get You

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
There is horror — hide-your-eyes horror!   And there is tongue in cheek horror where you are invited to have a bloody good time … horror as comedy; horror mocked (delightfully so).   

That’s what Midnight Releasing has planned on May 21 with the DVD release of writer/director Charles Roxburgh’s Don’t Let the Riverbeast Get You (co-written by Matt Farley).   

From the John Landis’ Schlock (a 1973 bit of iconic comedy/horror) neck of the horror woods (not the Ed Wood woods, where horror becomes comedy by ineptness) comes the filmmaking duo of Roxburgh and Farley and their tale of a not-so-mythical beast who was on the prowl and is now back on the prowl.   

It seems that Neil (Matt Farley) was a famous tutor — not often you hear that one — who imploded a few years back when he claimed to have seen the dreaded creature who was thought to be nothing more than a campfire fable.   On the cusp of his wedding to the lovely Emmaline (Elizabeth M. Peterson) he makes the mistake of doing a press interview, the story is published, he become the town joke and the wedding is called off (it’s like he went on a drunken bender, but without the alcohol).  

Now he’s back, ready to resume his tutoring career (chuckle) and perhaps win back the hand of Emmaline, but wouldn’t you know it … the dreaded Riverbeast has suddenly resurfaced and Neil’s plans are like so many straws in the wind.   Confront the beast or run away again, that’s his choice!

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
Neil (Matt Farley) confronts the Riverbeast!
Roxburgh and Farley are getting their special niche of comedy, horror and the outrageous down to a science after serving up Monsters, Marriage and Murder in Manchvegas (2009) and Freaky Farley (2007).   Certainly they must have day jobs, but there is definitely a future for them … Don’t Let the Riverbeast Get You is great fun (storytelling with a twist).   

Remember, Landis started off with Schlock and Kentucky Fried Movie, learned the craft and then went big time with Animal House, The Blues Brothers and An American Werewolf in London (among others), so you never know.

Bonus features include commentary from Farley and Roxburgh.

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

Side Effects From Universal Studios Home Entertainment On May 21

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
Universal Studios Home Entertainment has picked May 21 as the street date for DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack (with UltraViolet) editions of director Steven Soderbergh’s drug-induced thriller, Side Effects.  

The ARR comes in at a quick-to-market 95 days and the domestic box office take for this Channing Tatum, Rooney Mara and Jude Law sordid tale of murder, lies and sexual intrigues came in at $30.5 million.

Bonus features include two featurettes — “Aliza Website Experience” and “Behind the Scenes of Side Effects” — and faux commercials used in the film.

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

Indican Pictures' A Green Story Streets On June 11

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
Writer/director Nick Agiashvili’s A Green Story, a docu-drama on the life of Greek immigrant, entrepreneur and Venus Laboratories, Inc. (Earth Friendly Products) founder Van Vlahakis, will be heading to DVD on June 11 courtesy of Indican Pictures.

Filmmaker Agiashvili has assembled an impressive cast to spin the story of this Crete-born chemist who was at the forefront of the early stages of the so-called “green movement” —environmentally-friendly products — who literally started with next to nothing and built a financial empire out of a simple concept.  

Included in the narrative are Billy Zane, Malcolm McDowell, John Billingsley and Shannon Elizabeth, with Ed O'Ross and George Finn playing Vlahakis as various points in his life.

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

Back To 1942 From Well Go U.S.A. On May 14

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
On May 14, Well Go U.S.A. will deliver DVD and Blu-ray editions of director Feng Xiaogang’s epic World War II fable of power-held and power-lost, Back to 1942.   
The ARR is 165 days and the domestic take for the film’s major metro run was $311,952 (a descent number for a foreign language import).   The Blu-ray and DVD launch by Well Go U.S.A. give audiences that were not near selected cinema showcases a chance to catch this magnificently mounted film presentation (product values that match any Hollywood-produced A-list film).

It’s 1942, the world is at war … the Japanese are on the march and the Americans and English are in full retreat all across Asia.   China is being torn to shreds.

It is here, in this chaos, that we are introduced to Master Fan (Zhang Guoli — The Founding of a Republic, A Sign), a regional war lord in the Henan area.   Despite the Japanese invasion and a disastrous famine, he and his underlings continue to live reasonably comfortable lives.   All of this changes when a band of wartime scavengers attack and burn their village — his son is killed and the rest of his family, along with the survivors, are force to flee.  

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report

On the road, he teams up with a fellow villager (Feng Yuanzheng) and his family, but soon their little band is beset by both the forces of Chiang Kai-shek and those of the advancing Japanese army.  It is literally a hell for them on earth as one by one they succumb to the terrors of the day.

Politics, death, treachery and even the word/wrath of God are all faced by Fan as he struggles first to escape his tormentors and then just to survive starvation.   The horrors of war are seen, ultimately, through the eyes and experiences of a single individual.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
Also on the docket from Well Go U.S.A. in May are the May 7 DVD and Blu-ray release of The Assassin’s Blade (in Cantonese with English subtitles) and the May 21 Blu-ray and DVD launch of Nightfall (also 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

DIO: Finding the Sacred Heart From Eagle Rock Entertainment On May 28

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
On May 28 look for Eagle Rock Entertainment’s Blu-ray and DVD push for DIO: Finding the Sacred Heart – Live in Philly, 1986.

Recorded live at The Spectrum in Philadelphia in June of 1986 as part of the band’s “Sacred Heart” tour, the band delivered a 16-song set — a mix of standards and new material.  Those owning previous editions (on either VHS or DVD) were short-changed with a heavily edited presentation … Eagle Rock Entertainment has fully restored it to its full concert length (in the way it was originally presented) and has topped it off with a new sound mix. 

Included in the mix are “Heaven And Hell,” “Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll,” and “Man On The Silver Mountain,” plus what was then new material, “Holy Diver,” “Don’t Talk To Strangers,” “Rock ‘n’ Roll Children,” “Sacred Heart,” “Stand Up And Shout,” “Rainbow In The Dark,” and “We Rock.” 

Bonus goodies on both the Blu-ray and DVD SKUs include: “Sacred Heart Tour” featurette, interviews with Ronnie James Dio and Craig Goldy, the “Rock ‘n’ Roll Children” music video and a Behind The Scenes feature.

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

Mill Creek Entertainment Expands May Release Slate

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
Mill Creek Entertainment loads up in May with an array of DVD and Blu-ray product offerings … all priced for maximum consumer satisfaction.   

Leading the way is the May 14 double-disc Blu-ray release of JFK: A New World Order, an eight-part hi-def look at president Kennedy some fifty years after his death.   Included in this comprehensive collection is a look at his life prior to the presidency, plus the 1960 election, the Cuban Missile Crisis, Berlin, the growing civil rights movement and Vietnam are examined in detail, plus there is a DVD bonus disc that showcases the Nixon/Kennedy debate, the assassination in Dallas, the funeral and the John Ford documentary titled “Vietnam! Vietnam!”  

On the film front, we begin with a five-SKU double-DVD presentation on May 7, all priced at just $9.98 each and all featuring four films (see page 11 for a complete listing).  Included in these priced-to-own collections are such delights as The Return of the Vampire (Bela Lugosi and Nina Foch, 1944), The Revenge of Frankenstein (Peter Cushing, 1958), Mr. Sardonicus (from director William Castle, 1961) and The Brotherhood of Satan (with Strother Martin and L.Q. Jones, 1971).   That’s right, all four of these classic horror collectibles in one double-disc set for just $9.98.

The following week, May 14, Mill Creek Entertainment turns up the heat with five double-feature Blu-ray film releases … also priced at just $9.98 each.   For example, Meg Ryan stars in director Jane Campion’s 2003 thriller In the Cut, which is teamed with Charlize Theron, Kevin Bacon and Courtney Love in the 2002 crime drama, Trapped.   Hi-def, priced to sell, two mystery/thrillers, with box office stars for just $9.98 … how could any consumer resist that deal?

Not done yet, also on May 14 are Blu-ray and DVD editions of United States Military: A History of Heroes and a Blu-ray edition of National Parks Exploration Series Presents: America National Parks - An Eagle's View.  Plus there are four DVD kidvid selections — Imagination Station (a four-disc set), Playtime and Lullabies (also four-discs), Wild Animal Baby Explorers: Learn and See and Wild Animal Baby Explorers: Let's Explore.

For more information on these May 2013 product selections, please visit Mill Creek Entertainment’s website at, call Toll-Free: 866-410-9000 or email:

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

Things To Come Tops The Criterion Collection's June Release Slate

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
The Criterion Collection, with sales and distribution expertise provided by Image Entertainment, unveiled its June line up of new DVD and Blu-ray product offerings this past week.

Topping the list is a new hi-def restoration of director William Cameron Menzies’ 1936 landmark sci-fi masterpiece, Things to Come.   Blu-ray and DVD editions will be available on June 18.

Bonus features include commentary from film historian and founder of All Day Entertainment, David Kalat, two expert interviews and a vintage 1936 audio recording of selected elements of H.G. Wells’ 1933 novel “The Shape of Things to Come.” 

Also on the release calendar in June from Criterion is a Blu-ray edition of director Ingmar Bergman's 1957 film release of Wild Strawberries (June 11); DVD and Blu-ray SKUs for Czech filmmaker František Vlácil's Marketa Lazarová (June 18) and the same for Harold Lloyd’s 1923 silent comedy gem, Safety Last (June 18).

Lastly, Criterion will be bringing the epic holocaust documentary, director Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah to both DVD (a six-disc set) and Blu-ray (four-discs) on June 25.

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

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Wrong DVD and Blu-ray Debut From Image Entertainment On June 11

DVD and Blu-ray Release Report
Writer/director Quentin Dupieux has a thing for one-word film titles.   First there was Streak (in French, 2007, don’t worry — no one saw it) and then came Rubber (festival circuit in 2010; a small theatrical run in 2011 and then out on both DVD and Blu-ray … a love it or hate it film).   
If you’ve had a chance to catch Rubber, then his latest film (also one-word), Wrong, does not come as a surprise.  It all makes sense … Rubber and Wrong.  If Rubber is not part of your film lexicon, then Wrong is going to seem like a production from another planet.  

It’s slated to open theatrically on Mar. 29 (a limited major metro run), with Image Entertainment turning it loose on DVD and Blu-ray on June 11.   This raise-awareness theatrical break technically yields an ARR of a swift-to-market 74 days.

We will say right up front that the film succeeds or fails with the performance of Jack Plotnick — he was amazing in Girls Will be Girls back in 2003 and has been working steady ever since (you just may not recognize him) — Wrong gives him a chance to shine once again in a leading role … a very different leading role.   

To be fully prepared for Wrong, there are a few suggestions (humble suggestions).   First, find a copy of Robert Downey’s 1972 non-sequiturial film gem, Greaser’s Palace and zero in on Allan Arbus’ performance as Jessy.   Both his performance — and the film itself — match up really well with Plotnick’s work in Wrong.

Next, think back to Jack Nance’s appearance (physical appearance) in David Lynch’s 1977 film, Eraser Head, and you’ll have pretty good idea of Plotnick’s look and demeanor in Wrong.   Also, it doesn’t hurt that his world as Dolph Springer can be just as weird as the one Henry Spencer wandered through. 

So there they are, the prep-work; the suggestions to be wired into Wrong.   Find a copy of Rubber and take a gander (out on DVD and Blu-ray) and if you haven’t seen both Greaser’s Palace and Eraser Head, you have until June 11th to get those checked off the viewing list as well.  With that done, Wrong is going to seem like an old friend and Springer’s world (quest) will all make perfect sense ... this will be a magical film journey. 

Otherwise, just jump right in on June 11 when the DVD and Blu-ray editions of Wrong become available and join Dolph Springer as he embarks upon his serendipitous quest to find his missing dog, Paul.   

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

Eagle Rock's Garbage: One Mile High On May 28

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
Eagle Rock Entertainment has DVD and Blu-ray editions of Garbage: One Mile High … Live ready for release on May 28.   

Filmed live in Denver at the Ogden Theatre this past October, the group reunited (after a seven year hiatus) for a concert tour in support of their self-distributed album, “Not Your Kind of People.”

This 21-song set features five cuts from that album (“Automatic System Habit,” “Big Bright World,” “Blood For Poppies,” etc.), plus a fan-pleasing blend of hits that include “Stupid Girl,” “Only Happy When It Rains,” “Why Do You Love Me,” “I Think I’m Paranoid,” “Push It,” and “#1 Crush.”

Bonus goodies include five featurettes and the official music videos for both “Big Bright World” and “Blood For Poppies.”

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