Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Breaking Glass Pictures Has Writer/Director Henry Jaglom's 45 Minutes From Broadway Ready For Its DVD Debut On July 16

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Writer/director Henry Jaglom is what is affectionately referred to as an actor’s director (or filmmaker).   Like Woody Allen, actors look for the opportunity to work with Jaglom; they want to have parts in his movies.   

Perhaps it is an ego thing … doesn’t matter, that’s just the way it is.

Such is the case with the July 16 DVD release of 45 Minutes from Broadway courtesy of Breaking Glass Pictures.   The ARR for this theatrical production of Jaglom’s stage play, “Just 45 Minutes from Broadway,” comes in at 284 days and the box office from the film’s limited arthouse run last year was $115,771.   It remains very much a stage play (by design).

Actors and families of actors are, well, different.   It’s both a gift and a curse.  Consider Pandora (Tanna Frederick), a mercurial thespian who has come crashing back to earth (once again) after her latest love-found/love-lost romance has come to its all too frequent and predictable conclusion.   She retreats to the family homestead to heal her wounds.

Her parents are also actors (played by Jack Heller and Diane Salinger), so normal to them is not necessarily normal to what they refer to as “civilians.”   A “civilian” would be all of non-actors; you know, people without the “gift.”

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
One such “civilian” is her sister, Betsy (Julie Davis), who — it would appear — has a certain distain for both her parents and her flighty sister (perhaps, just perhaps, because they are ACTORS).   She too returns to the family digs, but with her fiancé in tow (played by Judd Nelson) … let the games begin!   

And that is exactly what 45 Minutes from Broadway is all about.   Games and diversions!

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

Cinema Libre's The Happy Poet To DVD On June 18

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Paul Gordon, the writer, director and star of The Happy Poet has likely experienced all of the highs and lows associated with the indie filmmaking process.   Getting your film financed and made is trying enough, but the frustration of knowing that you’ve got a winner — complete with terrific reviews and a fistful of festival wins — only to see it just drop out of sight has to be nerve-wracking.

Back in 2010, The Happy Poet was riding high with one win after another — even some international play — despite some marvelous reviews to go along with the audience applause it never got beyond the festival circuit.   Quirky comedies that include both romance and conflict can be tough to market … where’s the niche?   Who is the audience?

Finally, we can report that the cloud has been lifted as Cinema Libre has tabbed June 18 as the DVD debut date for this romantic comedy/drama about a misfit poet named Bill (played by Gordon) who embarks upon a new career path — an unlikely business venture to be sure — that just might be his salvation.   Or not.

It’s Texas, the land of BBQ, ribs and beef.   But in Austin, this failed poet has gone all in with a food stand on wheels (you know, a hot dog stand … you see them everywhere) that doesn’t sell hot dogs, but features hand-crafted veggie sandwiches and the like.   

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
OK, Austin is a college town, it could work, but you might just need a little salesmanship for that … not the strong suit for this poet that writes depressing poems that no one reads.   He’s not aces on marketing or personality either.

What he does have going for him is an undaunting persistence.   It doesn’t occur to him that he is failing (except when people come looking for money).  He is an artist … a food artist, and if he just stays at it, an audience will find him.  Well, at least that is the plan … if there is a plan.

Now to make to this set-up work, Bill has something of a Greek chorus — customers, friends and a potential romantic relationship — that serve as props for Gordon (the actor) to play off against.   This is deadpan comedy (think: Steven Wright humor) that gets one chuckle and laugh after another from the non-sequitor approach to the material.   A “happy poet” (he’s not) selling food that runs counter to conventional wisdom (as one from the chorus says, “are you kidding?”).   What fun!

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

Director Jorge Ameer's The Dark Side Of Love From Ariztical Entertainment On July 16

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Filmmaker Jorge Ameer returns to the DVD release arena on July 16 with the Ariztical Entertainment launch of The Dark Side of Love.

His recent DVD arrival of D’Agostino had to be a tough act to follow, but he pulls it off with this emotionally-charged tale about a conflicted relationship between brothers — who absolutely do not get along — who must somehow find peace when their mother dies.

Julian (Carlos Sales) is forced to reach out to estranged brother Michael (Jason Susag) with the bad news.   Funeral arrangements need to be made, but there is nothing emotionally between the two sons; each lacks an understanding of the other’s world and needs.

But it goes beyond that, Michael is a drug addict, seemingly ready to explode at any moment.  His girlfriend, Chanel (Raquel Rossner), is not a beacon of light either.   Julian on the other hand is gay, a waiter and is what can best be described as the responsible one.   He maintained a close relationship with mom, while Michael remained aloof — history with his brother, etc. and that just adds to the bitterness.

With that sort of an emotional mix, you would think that they would just make the best of it and try to get through the ordeal of the mortuary and pending funeral without tearing open old wounds.  A few days of pain and it would be over.  But that wouldn’t make for much of a story and writer/director Jorge Ameer is not reluctant in the least to let it rip.  
DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

The Dark Side of Love explores some very deep resentments between these two opposites … the “catalyst” of their mother’s passing is exactly that, a catalyst that brings everything to the surface.   

Give credit to Ameer, he doesn’t let the proceedings degenerate into a rant, but cleverly introduces another character into the mix — Steven (Harsha First), who had a recent “meet cute” introduction to Julian.   He’s “straight,” but his budding friendship comes at just the right moment.  

Indeed, his presence is anything but obvious as The Dark Side of Love is not just about the passing of a loved one and what follows, but it is also a well-drawn character study that ends up being a good deal more than a sad, even pathetic, battle between estranged brothers.     

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

VCI Entertainment Debuts Blu-ray Edition Of And Then There Were None On Aug. 27

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyAgatha Christie’s wicked whodunit, Ten Little Indians, was published in 1939, but had to wait for the war to end for adaptation to the silver screen.   In 1945 producer/director René Clair did exactly that with the release of And Then There Were None, which featured a terrific cast that included Walter Huston, Judith Anderson, Louis Hayward and Barry Fitzgerald.

News arrived this past week that VCI Entertainment has a newly-restored edition of And Then There Were None planned for both DVD and Blu-ray release on Aug. 27.   Bonus features include an optional narrative track for the blind.

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

Wither From Artsploitation Films On Aug. 20

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Artsploitation Films, with sales and distribution support provided by Kino Lorber, has targeted Aug. 20 as the DVD debut date for the Swedish-language import, Wither.

In a time when information can zip instantly (speed of light sort thing) to any point on the planet, coupled with rapid advances in both filmmaking and computer technologies, the so-called Hollywood entertainment institutions can no longer claim dominion over the movie-making process.  That’s just a fact.

Indie filmmakers, not just here in the Unites States, but all around the globe are producing films that not only rival the studio-produced releases, but run counter — in terms of subject matter — to what one normally expects to see from countries tucked safely away and off the beaten path of genre flicks.   A zombie film — no, make that a terrific zombie film — from Sweden?   No way!

That’s exactly what the Stockholm-based filmmaking team of Sonny Laguna and Tommy Wiklund have done with Wither, a rollercoaster ride of guts, blood and gore that will absolutely please any zombie-loving film freak.   

The Swedish-speaking unknowns quickly drift into the background as the story kicks in, which isn’t all that alien to what we’ve come to expect from domestic sources — when four attractive couples head off for a weekend at a cabin, you know in your heart of hearts that they are the victim pool.    
DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

And remember, a good-looking woman — and there are several here — battling zombies in the deep dark woods is certain to draw the interest of genre fans regardless of the language being spoken (English subtitles provided).   Enjoy!

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

Eagle Rock Entertainment Says June 11 For Blu-ray and DVD editions of Paul McCartney and Wings: Rockshow

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
You might think that a rock legend like The Beatles’ Paul McCartney could package a concert tour on his “status” alone, go through the motions and collect a nice fat paycheck.  Easy money.   But back in the mid-70s he continued to deliver for his fans … that might speak volumes about how he simply liked the music.

On June 11 Eagle Rock Entertainment will release both Blu-ray and DVD editions of the complete (remastered), un-cut version of his Seattle Kingdome concert, Paul McCartney and Wings: Rockshow, featuring a massive 28-song set (or 30, depending on how you count the medley transitions).   

There have been at least two previous versions released to home entertainment venues in the past, each truncated (by as much as 32 minutes), but this is the fully restored presentation (a whopping 139 minutes – with extras) of this landmark concert tour.   Think about it, Paul McCartney on stage in a musical celebration for over two hours and out of print for something like 30 years!

Included in the mix are “Lady Madonna,” “Blackbird,” “Yesterday,” “Silly Love Songs” and “Band on the Run.”

Bonus feature include the featurette titled “A Very Lovely Party.”

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

Detour Tops Kino Lorber's August DVD and Blu-ray Selections

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Kino Lorber announced its August Blu-ray and DVD release package this past week and there is something for everyone to enjoy … the company’s dance card is full with shipments planned for all four street-date Tuesdays during the month.

Heading to DVD on Aug. 13 is writer/director William Dickerson’s claustrophobic survival thriller, Detour, starring Neil Hopkins (Skyline, Lost, etc.) as a hotshot advertising executive who finds himself buried and in a fight for his life … and the clock is ticking.

Don’t let the nature of his entrapment fool you in to thinking that this is a riff on director Rodrigo Cortés’ 2010 film, Buried.   It’s not.   

On the way to some big meeting, Jackson (Hopkins) ends up in buried inside his car as the result of a mudslide.  That’s the only thing that connects the two films, being buried underground.   

Detour has more in common with filmmaker Adam Green’s 2010 film, Frozen — that is the one where a trio of skiers are trapped on a ski lift and have to figure out a way out of their sure-to-die predicament.   It is the same thing here … Jackson has only so much air and then the inside of his car becomes a tomb.   

One-man survival films are tough, either the character talks to himself, or the character thinks to himself … or some other creative way has to be found to give dialog to the proceedings.   

Back in 1953, director Roy Ward Baker pulled it off with Robert Ryan’s character in Inferno — he was stuck out in the desert with a broken leg and left to die.  He simply “thought” to himself (his thoughts in voiceover) and to break up the monotony of that device Baker cut back and forth to Rhonda Fleming and William Lundigan as they saw their perfect plan for murder slowly unravel.

Two years earlier, in filmmaker Billy Wilder’s Ace in the Hole, he got around the problem of dialog for Richard Benedict — the poor sap trapped in a mining accident — by introducing the Kirk Douglas character as a cynical reporter hot for the story of the doomed man.  The great irony in Wilder’s survival tale is that Douglas is as trapped as Benedict.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeySo the survival motif is a long-standing film vehicle.  You either do it right, or it is not worth watching.   For the first 25 or 30 minutes of Detour there is that nagging little thought that Dickerson hasn’t figured how he is going to pull it off.   The problem is that he mixes film techniques early on and it doesn’t quite work.   Just plant the “all-seeing” camera and don’t worry about all of the cinéma vérité nonsense with the cell phone. 

Once he gets past the gimmicks, Detour really takes off.   During the last 30 minutes of the film you have bought into the action and are pulling for Jackson, even though he is a bit of an asshole, to find a solution to his problem and escape his would-be grave before the air runs out.   

Also on the release calendar from Kino Lorber on Aug. 20 are three remastered Blu-ray and DVD SKUs showcasing the filmmaking talents of the late Jess Franco.   All three are presented in their original French-language (with English subtitles) or as English-dubbed viewing options … and all three films include newly-prepared commentary by film scholar Tim Lucas.   

Getting the royal treatment for DVD and Blu-ray are: Nightmares Come at Night, A Virgin Among the Living Dead (two different cuts of the film) and The Awful Dr. Orlof (includes the featurette titled “The Horror of Orlof”).

For concert fans, Aug. 6 will mark the DVD street date for a restored version of The Cream Farewell Concert (83 minutes in length).   Filmed at the Royal Albert Hall in London on Nov. 26, 1968, the truncated version featured only six songs, but this full-length presentation expands the concert out to the full ten-song set.

Included in the mix are “Sunshine of Your Love,” “White Room,” “Sitting on Top of the World” and Steppin’ Out.”

Filling out the August release slate are two foreign language imports — Unit 7 (Spanish – Aug. 27) and I Killed My Mother (French – Aug. 13) — plus documentary filmmaker Mark Hall’s look at the issues surrounding the worldwide love affair with the Japanese delicacy, sushi … Sushi: The Global Catch (the Aug. 6 street date yields an ARR of 368 days).

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