Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Artsploitation Films Picks July 23 For Vanishing Waves DVD Debut

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
You expect sci-fi tales from the United States and England, but Lithuania?  That’s exactly the case with director Kristina Buožytė’s July 23 DVD debut of Vanishing Waves from Artsploitation Films.

In what literally amounts to a “head trip,” a research scientist named Lukas (Marius Jampolskis) volunteers to be connected via an experiment neuron-transmission devise (and with the help of a drug cocktail) to the brain of a mysterious comatose young woman named Aurora (Jurga Jutaite).

Once he enters her mind; her world, it becomes something of an addiction.  Visits to her world begin to affect him in ways that are both sexual and erotic as well as dangerous … the lines of reality are quickly blurred to the point of insanity.  Messing around in someone’s mind, it would seem, can be as dangerous as running through a minefield.

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

CJ Entertainment Has The Tower Ready For DVD Action On July 2

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
The Towering Inferno was a mega-hit back in 1974 as an all-star cast faced hell atop a 135-story skyscraper engulfed in flames.   It took awhile, but Korean filmmaker Ji-hoon Kim has successfully pulled off a quasi-remake — at least with the same elements of people trapped on the upper floors of a skyscraper in flames — with his international box office hit, The Tower.

CJ Entertainment has a DVD edition of this life-and-death action drama planned for a domestic launch on July 2.    

Kim hits all the right notes with personal stories (and rivalries) that bring the action down the human level combined with a series of well-staged action set-pieces revolving around first the origins of the fire (a helicopter stunt) and then the ever-growing menace itself.   In Korean with English subtitles.

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

Warner Home Video Brings Marathon Man To Blu-ray On Sept. 10

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Is it safe?   

That question will be answered for Szell (Sir Laurence Olivier) on Sept. 10 when Warner Home Video brings director John Schlesinger’s 1976 film adaptation of William Goldman’s best-seller, Marathon Man, to the Blu-ray market place.  For certain it wasn’t all that safe for Dustin Hoffman (ouch!).

Also getting the Blu-ray treatment from Warner Home Video on that date are four additional thrillers, Snake Eyes (director Brian De Palma teams with Nicolas Cage and Gary Sinise), Jennifer 8 (Andy Garcia and Uma Thurman), The Talented Mr. Ripley (Matt Damon and Gwyneth Paltrow) and Sliver (Sharon Stone, Tom Berenger and William Baldwin).

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

Sexual Freedom: Sex Stories 3 From Breaking Glass Pictures On July 9

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Breaking Glass Pictures has French filmmaker and actress Ovidie’s (aka: Eloïse Becht) concluding installment in her Sex Stories trilogy, Sexual Freedom: Sex Stories 3, planned for a DVD launch on July 9.

Using the motif of a reality television show, journalist Léonie-Marie (Ovidie) interviews a group of would-be swingers in the remote French countryside and uses the context of the interviews to weave a story about intimate relationships, sharing and their unique form of sexual freedom.   

 In French with English subtitles.

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

Best Of Film Noir Volume Two From Film Chest On June 25

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
The Film Chest announced this past week that three additional film noir restorations from original 35mm film elements will be available for collectors to own on June 25 in the three-disc set titled Best of Film Noir, Volume Two.   

Included in this package are Pitfall, (1948, with Dick Powell and Lizabeth Scott, who are joined by Raymond Burr and Jane Wyatt), The Stranger (1946, directed by and starring Orson Welles, with Edward G. Robinson and Loretta Young) and The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (Also 1946, featuring a knockout cast that includes Kirk Douglas, Lizabeth Scott, Barbara Stanwyck and Van Heflin).

Bonus features include commentary options and before and after restoration comparisons.

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

The Adored From Ariztical Entertainment On July 17

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
If you like your mysteries blended with erotic seduction, then you need look no further than Ariztical Entertainment’s July 17 DVD debut of the filmmaking team of Carl Medland and Amarjeet Singh’s latest, The Adored.

In this eagerly awaited follow-up to The Cost of Love, we find ourselves following the path of a fashion model named Maia (Ione Butler) as she seeks to rekindle her flagging career — filled with emotional complications — by secluding herself at the remote digs of high profile fashion photographer Francesca Allman (Laura Martin-Simpson) for a creative shoot.

Mutual attraction between the two soon ignites into passion, but there is something definitely amiss as the action periodically cuts away from the ever-building sexual tension to a psychiatrist’s office where a clearly agitated man named Adrian (Jake Maskall) is in a session with a cold and calculating woman named Doctor Woods (Caroline Burns Cooke).  
DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

We are given little information — a clever plot device — but we are led to believe (perhaps manipulated) that the angry Adrian has some connection to the wayward Maia.  He is ready to explode, but in any well-constructed thriller, not everything is as it seems.   

Twists, turns and sexual intrigues … not a bad combination for a summer’s evening!

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

Oscilloscope's Reality Makes DVD And Blu-ray Splash On Aug. 13

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
There was some angst in wondering if Italian filmmaker Matteo Garrone was about to revisit the gritty reality of his 2008 Canne Film Festival Grand Jury Prize-winner, Gomorrah, with his latest Naples-centric film — appropriately titled — Reality.

After all, he had planned on using the film’s star, Aniello Arena, a real-life Italian criminal (prison record and all that goes with it) in Gomorrah, but apparently Italian authorities nixed that idea, so Garrone turned around and cast him as the lead in his next film, Reality  — with that, you had to figure that he found a way around the problem.

A great sigh of relief.   Yes, things are tough for criminals in Naples, but we’ve been there and done that … and Garrone did it very well.   Reality is an entirely different kettle of fish.

With Reality, due out on both DVD and Blu-ray from Oscilloscope Laboratories on Aug. 13, we get a film that is Felliniesque in both style and subject matter.   Indeed, if you listen closely you can almost hear the master say, “Non mi ricordo di questo film!”   Pure Fellini!

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
The ARR is 151 days and the box office take for the film’s limited arthouse run was $55,261.
Arena plays a Neapolitan fishmonger named Luciano, who is obsessed (and that’s putting it mildly) with an Italian television reality show called Grande Fratello (aka: Big Brother).   It doesn’t matter that he is not selected for the show … the human mind is perfectly capable of creating any reality that it wishes.  And Luciano does exactly that.  

You could call Reality a comedy; dark, to be sure.  You could call it a social drama; a mosaic of Italian culture as seen from an oddly structured set of reference points.  

Whichever side you come down on, you will have to admit that Garrone’s Reality is a visual feast … one viewing will simply not do.

Bonus features included a newly-prepared video interview with director Matteo Garrone, a behind-the-scenes featurette titled “Dreams Are My Reality,” a profile of the actor/criminal Aniello Arena titled “Luciano” and deleted scenes.

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

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Criterion Collection Announces Its August Release Slate

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Criterion Collection, with sales and distribution support provided by Image Entertainment, announced its August line up of new Blu-ray and DVD product offerings this past week.

Arriving on Aug. 13 as both DVD and Blu-ray remastered editions is director John Frankenheimer’s 1966 sci-fi gem, Seconds, starring Rock Hudson as an executive who gets a second chance at life only to discover that it is not what he expected.  A real chiller … very effective in dealing with paranoia and the related “big brother” aspects of making life choices that are not fully understood (the grass is always greener sort of thing).

Bonus goodies include commentary from director John Frankenheimer, a featurette with Alec Baldwin discussing both Seconds and filmmaker John Frankenheimer, a newly-prepared video interview with Evans Frankenheimer and actor Salome Jens plus a vintage interview with Frankenheimer (circa 1971).

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyAlso getting both DVD and Blu-ray SKUs on Aug. 27 is a newly restored version of director Ernst Lubitsch’s 1942 screwball comedy, To Be or Not To Be, starring Jack Benny and Carole Lombard (she had just finished with the filming and killed in the famous DC3 plane crash outside of Las Vegas in January of 1942 … the film was released in March of that year).

Bonus features include a newly-prepared commentary option from film historian David Kalat, two radio broadcasts from “The Screen Guild Theater” — Variety (1940) and To Be or Not To Be (1942) — and a 2010 French documentary covering Lubitsch’s career, Lubitsch le Patron.

Balancing out the August package from Criterion are an excellent array of foreign language Blu-ray and DVD product selections.  

Making a Blu-ray debut on Aug. 6 (previously released on DVD) is director Max Ophuls’ 1953 film release of The Earrings of Madame de . . . (French, starring Danielle Darrieux and Charles Boyer).

On Aug. 20 there are two presentations from filmmaker Satyajit Ray (actually three, since one of the packages is a double-feature).   Getting both DVD and Blu-ray action are The Big City (which includes The Coward as a bonus feature) and Charulata, both are in Bengali (with newly prepared English subtitles) and were originally released theatrically back to back in 1963 and 1964 respectively.

Lastly, from the Eclipse Series on Aug. 27, are five films from German filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder.   Title of the package is Early Fassbinder and the five-disc collection includes: Love is Colder than Death, Katzelmacher, Gods of the Plague, An American Soldier and Beware of the Holy Whore.

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

Paramount Home Media Says Aug. 6 For The Borgias: The Third Season

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Paramount Home Media Distribution will be celebrating family night on Aug. 6 with Blu-ray and DVD shipments of The Borgias: The Third Season (three-disc sets).

If ever there was a more perfect casting of a character it is Jeremy Irons as Pope Alexander VI, the “godfather” of the infamous Borgias, who rose to papacy during the period that Columbus was discovering the New World … power, wealth and greed … and blessed with a family — Cesare (Francois Arnaud) and Lucrezia (Holliday Grainger) — capable of just about anything imaginable under the sun.

Bonus features included with this ten-episode collection are a gag reel and two bonus episodes from the first season of Liev Schreiber’s new series, Ray Donovan.

Also on the TV series from Paramount in August will be Gunsmoke: The Ninth Season, Volume One and Gunsmoke: The Ninth Season, Volume Two (both are five-disc DVD collections and are available to own on Aug. 6); Family Ties: The Complete Seventh Season (a four-disc serving on Aug. 13) and the final court room intrigues for Perry Mason (Raymond Burr), Perry Mason: Season Nine Volume Two (also a four-disc set available on Aug. 13).

On the Kidvid front from Paramount this week, Nickelodeon Favorites: Rootin’ Tootin’ Wild West! will be released on DVD on Aug. 6, and a double-disc collection of the Winx Club: Magical Adventure will follow on Aug. 13.

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

VCI Entertainment Sets Aug. 6 Date For Steiger's Across The Bridge

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Wedged between Rod Steiger’s Best Supporting Actor nomination in 1954 for On The Waterfront and his Best Actor nomination in the Pawn Broker in 1965 was another amazing performance in another film of his that is all but forgotten.   The reasons for the MIA status are a little vague; lost to the fog of time … no matter, DVD news is in the wind this week.

During this early part of his film career Steiger had starred in such films as Oklahoma!, Jubal, The Harder They Fall, Run of the Arrow and The Mark.   An impressive start to a film career that would span six decades and over 100 film appearances … including an Oscar win for his performance in the 1967 Best Picture-winner, In the Heat of the Night.   

The good news this week for film buffs, students, collectors (and anyone else who enjoys a terrific film) is that on Aug. 6, VCI Entertainment — as part of summer package of new-to-DVD titles announced this past week — will be releasing Rod Steiger in director Ken Annakin’s 1957 film adaptation of a Graham Greene (noted for such works as: The Ministry of Fear, The Third Man, The Quiet American, Our Man in Havana … a long list) story, Across the Bridge.

This Rank Organisation film production had a limited theatrical run during the fall of 1957, received solid reviews and then slipped into obscurity, which is something of a mystery since the film certainly ranks right up their with those other films that Steiger was starring in during this period.

As for the story, Carl Schaffner (Steiger) is in the United States on business when word arrives that his embezzlement scam (back in London) has been uncovered.   He decides to make a run for Mexico, where he figures that with the three million in cash that he has he can pretty much disappear.   

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyOnce on the train and heading south — and this where Annakin/Greene deliver the first twist — he meets a fellow passenger named Paul Scarff (Bill Nagy) who sort of resembles himself.   He steals his identity and ruthlessly tosses him from the train, thinking that he’s killed him — it doesn’t matter, by the time they discover the body he will be safely in Mexico.   

Now what Carl really likes about his handy work is that Scarff just happened to be traveling on a Mexican passport!   He looks like him, has a Mexican passport … crossing the border is going to be a piece of cake.

This simple plan unravels very quickly when Carl discovers upon his arrival at the (fictional) border community of Katrina that Scarff is wanted by the Mexican authorities for murder.   He quickly confesses that he is actually Schaffner, but all that does is to place him in something of a legal limbo on the Mexican side of the border with a very unlikely companion.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyThe screws are turned relentlessly by Mexican officials who are secretly conspiring with Scotland Yard to keep Carl exactly where he is until the trap can be sprung.   He is left to twist in the wind as he learns first hand about that old, “the best laid plans of mice and men …”   Across the Bridge is a sweet psychological crime thriller … be sure to mark Aug. 6 on your calendar for its DVD debut.

Also announced this week from VCI Entertainment are six additional films that are set for the DVD arena between July 6 and Aug. 20.

In chronological order these being with the July 16 DVD release of director James Hill’s The Belstone Fox: 40th Anniversary Edition.   This 1973 film adaptation of David Rook’s family-friendly novel, “The Ballad of the Belstone Fox,” teamed Eric Porter, Jeremy Kemp, Rachel Roberts and Bill Travers (who would later join filmmaker James Hill for Born Free) with animal stars Tag (the fox) and Merlin (the hound).   

Also on July 16 is director Anthony Page’s 1979 remake of the Hitchcock classic The Lady Vanishes.   Elliott Gould and Cybill Shepherd take on the roles made famous by Michael Redgrave and Margaret Lockwood … and, if the truth be known, they do a damn good job of carrying it off.   Others in the cast include Angela Lansbury (as Miss Froy), Herbert Lom, Arthur Lowe and Ian Carmichael.

Joining Across the Bridge on the Aug. 6 release calendar is director Carol Reed’s 1938 romantic comedy, Climbing High, which stars (in small world sort way — see the above reference to The Lady Vanishes) Michael Redgrave, Jessie Matthews (also starred in VCI Entertainment’s 2012 DVD release of First a Girl) and Margaret Vyner.

Jessie Matthews returns on Aug. 20 in one of her first starring roles, the 1932 romantic musical comedy, There Goes the Bride, which also marked David Niven’s film debut.

Rounding out the Aug. 20 DVD selections are two featuring Dirk Bogarde — he stars in director Charles Crichton’s 1962 on-the-run thriller, Hunted (aka: The Stranger in Between) as well as part of an ensemble cast in the 1949 post-war English comedy, Dear Mr. Prohack (with Cecil Parker, Glynis Johns and Hermione Baddeley).

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