Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Cinema Libre's Lucky Express Arrives On DVD On Aug. 25

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
The most extensive railway system in the world is in India.   

The roads connecting the major cities and trade centers are jammed with traffic — not a good option for commerce — and flying is for the wealthy, so what makes the most sense for India — again, in terms of commerce — is its vast network of rail lines.   Almost 40,000 miles of track and nearly 7,000 stations make it all work.

But there is more.  On Aug. 25 Cinema Libre will bring to the domestic DVD arena documentary filmmaker Anna Fischer riveting feature-length film on the tens of thousand of abandoned children who call the railways and stations of India their home.

Titled Lucky Express, we get an a first-hand look at what it takes to survive from a former train station hustler named Lucky Bahadur.   

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

The film has been piling up film festival awards left and right, now with Cinema Libre’s DVD launch a much wider public audience is possible … this is one that is well worth a look-see.

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

Well Go U.S.A.'s The Last Tycoon On DVD And Blu-ray On Sept. 17

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Well Go U.S.A. continues to be the source for most of the best films coming out of Asia these days, especially China.   The latest of these of these cinema gems, director Wong Jing’s gangster saga, The Last Tycoon, will be available on Sept. 17 as both DVD and Blu-ray SKUs.

Told in two distinct segments — circa 1913 and 1937 — we follow the career of future crime lord Cheng Da Qi (played by Huang Xiaoming and Chow Yun-Fat respectively), the story of which is loosely based on the actual life of Shanghai gangster Du Yuesheng.

Basically, we get a look at his early life and the events that bring him to Shanghai.   The film then skips ahead to the pivotal year of 1937, with Da Qi fully established as the head of the drug trade, in bed with the local secret police, however the Japanese Empire is ready to move on Shanghai and he must make some life-altering decisions.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyAs if that wasn’t tense enough, overlaid onto this story is a life-long love affair and marriage — but not to the same woman.  Events during the first part of story separated him from his true love, later he marries a beautiful woman of power, but finds as the Japanese menace draws near that the love of his youth is in Shanghai, but married to another man.

The Last Tycoon is presented in Mandarin with English subtitles.  Bonus features include a making-of featurette.

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

Warner Home Video Expands DVD And Blu-ray Release Slate

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey, The Frozen Dead
There is a rhythm to it.   

A time-honored pattern to how things are done; done correctly!  

So when we see Warner Home Video peppering its release schedule with TV series, kidvid and film vault treasures you can be sure that the summer-season theatrical blockbusters will be getting street dates of their own in short order.

With Man of Steel, Hangover III, Pacific Rim and The Conjuring all at various stages of their theatrical runs it is only a matter of time before the studio begins to move them into the home entertainment market place (all post-Labor Day).   The key to doing it correctly is to move the lesser titles into place first and then drop the big boys in afterwards … you don’t crush your own releases by doing that way.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey, The Frozen Dead
New announcement activity this past week from Warner Home Video — in chronological release order — begins with a pair of theatrical catalog DVD debuts on Aug. 13, The Frozen Dead and Tormented.   

Beginning in 1965 with The Satan Bug, leading man Dana Andrews made a trio of sci-fi thrillers that included Crack in the World (opposite Janette Scott) and The Frozen Dead … the first two have been available to own, now comes the Aug. 13 release of writer/director Herbert J. Leder’s 1967 mad-scientist chiller, The Frozen Dead.   Here, Andrews plays a Nazi madman who has frozen key members of the Third Reich and is busy at work in his secret lab on a process to revive this “brain trust.” 

Tormented is a 1960 release from cult filmmaker Burt I. Gordon (Earth vs. the Spider, War of the Colossal Beast, The Amazing Colossal Man, etc.) which teams Richard Carlson with Juli Reding — she is a vengeful spirit who haunts Carlson when he caused her death by his deliberate inaction!

The action then shifts to Oct. 8 with Blu-ray SKUs for both Batman: The Dark Knight Returns - Deluxe Edition and Robot Chicken: Season Six (both double-disc sets) and DVD editions of Adventure Time: Jake vs. Me-Mow, Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated: Season One (a four-disc collection) and Super Friends!: Legacy of Super Powers.

The following week, Oct. 15, we get both DVD and Blu-ray editions of Star Wars: The Clone Wars - Season Five (four and three disc sets respectively), a five-disc DVD collection of Hart of Dixie: The Complete Second Season and the little blue guys will be back with new adventures in Smurfs: Smurftastic Journey.

Already in place on Oct. 22 are DVD and Blu-ray versions of Nikita: The Complete Third Season, but this week Warner Home Video has added a rare Friday (Oct. 25) DVD and Blu-ray product offering, the documentary feature film, Necessary Evil: Villains of DC Comics.

This last release announcement seems to suggest — and we are only speculating here — that perhaps a DC Comics’ superhero feature film release might also be destined for this release window.   Just saying.

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

Breaking Glass Pictures Sets Oct. 1 As The Release Date For DVD And Blu-ray Editions Of Laurence Anyways

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Breaking Glass Pictures will bring DVD and Blu-ray edition of Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan’s award-winning romantic drama, Laurence Anyways, to the domestic market place on Oct. 1.

The story of the relationship between Laurence (Melvil Poupaud — Time to Leave, Broken English, 44 Inch Chest, etc.) and Frederique (Suzanne Clement — L'Audition, It's Not Me, I Swear!) spans a ten-year period that begins in the late ‘80s and has more emotional ups, downs and twists than a five star rollercoaster.

Two years into their relationship, Laurence — a high school teacher and soon-to-be-published author — announces to his fiancé that he feels that life going forward for him should be as a woman.  He’s always felt that way and it has taken him some time to work up the emotional courage to announce his decision.

The relationship comes undone, but soon she returns out of love and agrees to help him with his transformation.   His mother (a nice turn by Nathalie Baye) is more understanding when she tells him, “I never felt you were my son, but you’re my daughter.”
DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

Transformation at school does not go well, even though the students in his class prove to be accepting … the faculty and administration, less so.  Depressed, out of work, he eventually drives “Fred” (Frederique) away … but she remains deeply in love with him as events unfold and future relationships are pushed to the breaking point.

Presented in French, with English subtitles, bonus features include deleted scenes, with the Blu-ray SKU also including the featurette titled “MoMA Presents: An Evening with Xavier Dolan.”

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

Universal Studios Home Entertainment's Curse Of Chucky On DVD And Blu-ray On Oct. 8

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey, Chucky
It was a seemingly normal day at the MGM/UA Home Video headquarters in Culver City when Suds, my assistant, buzzed in to say that a special guest had just arrived … not just any special guest, but a Hollywood star.   

“June Allison?” I asked.   “No, shorter,” smiled Suds.

“Mickey Rooney?”   She could hardly contain herself, “No, even shorter.”

And then suddenly standing there in the doorway to my office was none other than the star of United Artists’ recent theatrical hit Child’s Play.  It was none other than Chucky himself.

Now the only reason I bring this Spring of 1989 encounter with Chucky up is that Universal Studios Home Entertainment announced this past week that his last film outing, Curse of Chucky, will be heading to DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack (with UltraViolet) on Oct. 8.

Let’s get a few things out in the open.  First, Chucky is real; a little person — I signed a non-disclosure agreement back then that I honor to this day not to reveal his real name.  I can tell you this much, he has a child-like voice, so producer David Kirschner and screenwriter Don Mancini recruited Brad Dourif to provide a more sinister tone to the character — it was a masterstroke; genius.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
So you’ve learned that Chucky is a real actor (not some mechanical thingamajig or CGI), has a child-like voice (hence the need for Dourif) and one other thing.   He has a temper!  

On this particular day he had stopped by Filmland in Culver City to approve the packaging for the April of 1989 VHS launch of Child’s Play (had a clause in his contract that gave him artwork approval … what a pain that is when the talent has artwork approval).

The conversation was pleasant at first.   A little chit-chat as we walked down to creative services to review the selections.    But once Chucky saw the choices he blew his top, grabbed a pair of scissors and attacked me.   “Not scary enough,” he kept screaming!    

Eventually we calmed him down, made the packaging more menacing (see the final VHS sleeve) and he went on his merry way.   
DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey, Chucky

It’s now the 25th anniversary of the original Child’s Play theatrical launch and Universal has the sixth installment in this venerable horror franchise ready for fans to enjoy.    How this film franchise ended up at Universal is a story for another day, but let’s just say it had to do with an Australian conman, a clueless Hollywood mogul and a little something called a force majeure.

Once again the team of Chucky and Brad Dourif work their magic in both rated and unrated versions of Curse of Chucky.   Bonus features include commentary from director Don Mancini, make-up and f/x wizard Tony Gardner and the film’s co-star Fiona Dourif, a gag reel, deleted scenes and the featurette titled “Playing with Dolls: The Making of Curse of Chucky.”

Exclusive to the Blu-ray SKU are two additional featurettes.

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

Artsploitation Films Has Horror Stories Ready For DVD On Oct. 8

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
The venerable horror anthology gets a fresh look on Oct. 8 with Artsploitation Films delivers the South Korean film entry, Horror Stories.

Four separate stories from four different filmmakers are spun around the conceit of a beautiful high school girl (Kim Ji-won) being kidnapped by a crazed psycho (Yoo Yeon-seok) who cleverly forestalls what she believes to be the evitable — her rape and murder — by amusing her captor with tales of horror.

If you are a fan of those great horror anthologies of the 1970s — Asylum, The House That Dripped Blood, Tales From the Crypt, etc. — then you are going to feel right at home here.   Only, kick the violence, the blood and gore up a notch or two.  

Min Kyu-dong handled the introduction and connecting segments, with filmmakers Jeong Beom-shik (Epitaph) delivering “Don’t Answer the Door” (two kids are left home alone with instructions not to answer the door); Yim Dae-woong “Endless Flight” (a serial killer with a captive audience); Hong Ji-young cooks up “The Secret Recipe” (an evil step-sister steals her sister’s groom much to her regret) and the filmmaking team of Kim Gok and Kim Sun takes us for a zombie plague ride in “The Ambulance.”
DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

A little uneven, but that’s to be expected, but overall Horror Stories from Artsploitation Films will not disappoint.   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 

Black Label Society: Unblackened On DVD And Blu-ray From Eagle Rock Entertainment This Coming Sept. 24

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Eagle Rock Entertainment has ticketed Blu-ray and DVD editions of Black Label Society: Unblackened for delivery to retail on Sep. 24.

Filmed earlier this year at the Club Nokia in Los Angeles this 17 song set features the likes of “Stillborn,” “The Blessed Hellride,” “In This River,” “Throwin’ It All Away,” and “Losin’ Your Mind.”

Bonus goodies included in the mix by Eagle Rock are a newly-prepared interview with Zakk Wylde, a featurette of Wylde visiting Prison Stocken in the United Kingdom, a photo gallery and the music video for “Losin’ Your Mind.”

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

Almost Perfect On DVD From Virgil Films And Entertainment On Oct. 22

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
The weight of being “perfect” is about to catch up with thirty-something Vanessa (Kelly Hu — White Frog, Vampire Diaries, Army Wives, etc.) and crush her like a bug in writer/director Bertha Bay-Sa Pan’s delightful romantic comedy, Almost Perfect … due out on DVD this coming Oct. 22 from Virgil Films & Entertainment.

Imagine waking up one day and looking in the mirror and not really recognizing the person staring back at you.  That’s pretty much where Vanessa finds herself these days.   She’s been living in an echo chamber of familial adulation — you’re amazing, you’re perfect, you’re wonderful.   

Everyone suddenly turns to her for solutions when her high-strung sister, Charlene (Christina Chang), starts to come unwound, her slacker brother, Andy (Edison Chen), ends up on her couch and a parental crisis blows up after her do-this, do-that mom tosses dad out of the house.  

Each one would be manageable (oh god, I’m not becoming my mom, am I?), if it weren’t for a friend from her past suddenly entering her life — Dwayne (Ivan Shaw).  Things begin to click between them and it is then, and only then, that the load gets too heavy and the “who-am-I” crisis really kicks in and the fun begins (for the audience that is, not for poor Vanessa)!

Vanessa, hint: just be yourself, it will all work out!   Almost Perfect is well-written, keenly observed and the ensemble cast is outstanding.

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

Paramount Home Media Says Gentle Ben: Season One To DVD On Oct. 15

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
It was a relatively quite announce week for Paramount Home Media.  Perhaps, just perhaps, the calm before the storm?

On the new-to-DVD release front there is the Oct. 15 four-disc debut of Gentle Ben: The Complete First Season.   This family-themed series ran for two seasons — 1967/68 and 1968/69 — and was based on Walt Morey’s best-selling novel of the same name.  

Gentle Ben starred Clint Howard, Dennis Weaver and the title character, a full-grown black bear … their adventures (28 episodes during this first season) took place in the Florida Everglades.

Also streeting on Oct. 15 are Blu-ray editions of The Honeymooners: Classic 39 Episodes (a six-disc collection).   It took awhile, but the hi-def edition features the entire 1955/56 run of the show, plus "The Honeymooners Anniversary Special."

Also on Oct. 15 look for Spongebob Squarepants: It’s a Spongebob Squarepants Christmas … this is being released as a Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack.

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