Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Wolfe Video Tabs Apr. 8 As The DVD Debut Date For Documentary Filmmaker Jeffrey Schwarz's I Am Divine

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
There are great movie stars and then there are screen legends.   Great actors and screen icons over time will become legends. 

Such is the case of a screen great that I had the pleasure of meeting one evening.   It wasn’t just any evening, it was the Hollywood premiere of her latest film … and by any standard of measurement things went horribly wrong.   

This screen icon is also the subject of Wolfe Video’s Apr. 8 DVD debut of documentary filmmaker Jeffrey Schwarz’s award-winning film, I Am Divine.

The ARR for this theatrically released feature-length documentary is 179 days and the box office tally from the film’s select-engagement run came in at $63,661.  The film continues to play here and there around the country … if it is your area be sure to check it out, otherwise you’ll have to wait until Apr. 8.

Bonus goodies include commentary from filmmaker Jeffrey Schwarz, who is joined by producer Lotti Phariss Knowles and Divine’s co-star in many of her film, Mink Stole.   There are also 30 minutes of deleted scenes.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyAs the head of marketing for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s home entertainment division I had the very good fortune of working with some of Hollywood’s greatest stars.   June Allyson, Ann Miller, Van Johnson, Debbie Reynolds, Gene Kelly, Cyd Charisse, Donald O’Conner, Esther Williams and even the legendary Bette Davis were counted among these great stars of MGM that I had the pleasure of meeting … and, on occasion, even dining with.   

Hell, my young son even did some magic tricks for June Allyson and Ann Miller at dinner one evening while attending the VSDA Convention in Las Vegas … they had a good time as he put on his show, but he was totally clueless as to the star-status of his audience.

Before joining the studio I spent about a decade in the theatre business.  It was great fun, especially the art house side of it.   It was during this period that I had my first encounter with iconic screen legends.   Groucho Marx and Keir Dullea at the Crest in Westwood were memorable, but it was an eventful encounter one evening in 1974 with the legendary Divine that sticks with me most.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
I was at that time the vice president of operations for a small SoCal theatre chain — about 30 screens as far north as Concord and all the way south to El Centro and Yuma.   The chain’s president would go on to become a film producer of some note with such films as The Howling, Lawnmower Man and Phantoms.   

His partner had some interesting contacts in the entertainment business and he too would dabble with film production (of a somewhat different ilk — anyone remember Health Spa starring Abigail Clayton?).   

Among these “interesting contacts” were business associates from the east coast who provided funding for our little enterprise through the concession business.  Their representative from back east was far more interested in other things (which shall go nameless here) than dealing with the day to day of supplying candy, popcorn and soft drinks to our chain of theatres, so I ended up managing that side of the business (it was in our best interest to make sure that things ran smoothly).   

He also had some equally “interesting” contacts when it came to taking over certain theatres.   But that’s a whole other story … however, one such theatre that did come our way was the Las Palmas in Hollywood — between Hollywood Blvd. and Selma.   

At the time it was a gay porn venue of somewhat dubious operating procedures, but he envisioned this uniquely located cinema as being the west coast version of the Bleecker Street Cinema.   It would become the greatest art house venue in Hollywood!

We closed it down, cleaned it up and did a little remodeling.   The day quickly came to reopen the place with the Hollywood premiere of Female Trouble, directed by the cult filmmaker John Waters and starring the great Divine. 

Since the Las Palmas was destined to be the next Bleecker Street Cinema, it was decided that we’d rip a page from the playbook of the nearby Grauman's Chinese Theatre.   A four-by-four foot chunk of sidewalk in front of the theatre was jackhammered out and four inches of fresh concrete was poured (all without permits) late in the afternoon on the day of the film’s grand opening.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey, Cycle Sluts
The Cycle Sluts celebrate the west coast premiere of director John Waters' Female Trouble starring Divine at the Las Palmas Theatre in Hollywood (1974)
 The plan was for Divine to place her hand and feet impressions in the fresh cement for future visitors to marvel at.   It was a good plan, but …

We got the necessary permit to have Las Palmas closed between Hollywood Blvd. on the north and Selma Avenue on the south.   We even had a Klieg light rolled up in front of the place and as the sun set it lit up the sky … a large crowd of curious onlookers began to gather.   Many more than anticipated!!!

At the appropriate moment a trash truck lumbered up Las Palmas and stopped in front of the theatre.   The hydraulics kicked in and the entire backend suddenly opened up to reveal eight Cycle Sluts — men dressed in leather, bustiers and fishnet costumes — who came pouring out and began dancing and prancing around the street.   The crowd went wild.   They would be the honor guard for Divine.

Next came the limo with our honored guest.  It pulled up in front of the theatre.  One of the motorcycle cops, who we were required to have there to provide security, opened the door to her limo and out she stepped, turned … and walked right through the fresh cement!   

It was a disaster!   No feet or hand impressions, but a path of complete destruction leading to the open doors of the theatre.   I can, however, report that Divine was a good sport about it.   

The premiere went well, but alas the Las Palmas didn’t become the next Bleecker Street and we soon closed it up.   Over the years it would become all sorts of things … eventually gutted and turned into different clubs.   

I think it stands empty now, but there was a night in 1974 when the “magic” of Divine graced this aging picture palace … a night that I will never forget.

With the arrival of director Jeffrey Schwarz’s I Am Divine on DVD adoring fans — and even the curious — can once again celebrate the life and career of this icon; this legend of the silver screen!   Start counting the days!!!

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

Universal Studios Home Entertainment Makes Quick Move To Market With Best Picture Nominee Dallas Buyers Club On Feb. 4

Universal Studios Home Entertainment wasted no time in moving director Jean-Marc Vallée’s Best Picture nominee (along with Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor nominations for Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto respectively), Dallas Buyer’s Club, to the home entertainment market place.   

Within two hours of the pre-dawn Oscar nominations news was circulated that DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack (with UltraViolet) editions would be joining the previously announced About Time on Feb. 4 release calendar.

The ARR works out to just 95 days and the domestic box office take currently stands at $16.7 million … the film should get some much-needed action at the local multiplexes as a result of the six Oscar nominations (the annual show will be broadcast on Mar. 2, so the timing is spot-on). 

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Bonus goodies or this biopic tale about AIDS-infected Ron Woodroof’s (McConaughey) efforts to beat both the disease and the FDA bureaucracy that insists on giving the wrong drugs to others infected with the disease are limited to deleted scenes and the featurette titled, “A Look Inside the Dallas Buyers Club.”

Also getting a Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack (with UltraViolet) and stand-alone DVD release date this week from Universal Studios Home Entertainment is director Gary Fleder’s crime-revenge thriller, Homefront.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyThe street date is Mar. 11, which yields an ARR of 102 days.   Ticket sales at the local multiplex currently stand at $20.1 million.

Jason Statham stars as Phil Broker, a former DEA agent, whose path inadvertently crosses that of a local drug dealer named Morgan “Gator” Bodine (James Franco) when a seemingly routine bullying issue involving his young daughter at school reveals his past.   Things quickly escalate into a life and death situation as Gator unleashes his minions to do away with the offending Broker.

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

Warner Home Video Announces Restored Sorcerer To Make Its Blu-ray Bow On Apr. 22

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Warner Home Video has tagged Apr. 22 as the street date for the newly restored version of director William Friedkin’s 1977 reworking of The Wages of Fear, which arrived in theatres as simply, Sorcerer.    

The film will be making its Blu-ray debut, plus a new DVD edition will also be available on that date.   The restoration features a 4K scan from the original film negatives, plus the soundtrack for the film has also undergone the restoration process using the original 4-track stereo masters.   

Simply put, on Apr. 22 watching the Sorcerer will be like seeing it for the first time — anything you’ve seen before, including the original theatrical experience, will simply not be as good as this presentation.

Included with the Blu-ray SKU is a newly-prepared 40-page booklet that features excerpts from the filmmaker’s recently published book, “The Friedkin Connection: A Memoir,” plus there selected scenes from the film featured in this booklet as well.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyAlso added to the release calendar this week are DVD and Blu-ray editions of director Ron Maxwell’s latest Civil War film, Copperhead.   The street date is Apr. 15, which yields a leisurely ARR of 291 days and the box office tally was just $171,740.

After Gettysburg (1993 film adaptation of Michael Shaara’s novel) and Gods and Generals (2003 film adaptation of Jeff Shaara’s novel — son of Michael Shaara), Copperhead is, for filmmaker Ron Maxwell, a very different look at the Civil War.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Adapted from Harold Frederic’s 1893 book, “The Copperhead,” gone are the epic battles that marked his first two films.   Instead, we get a personal look at the war that raged between once-friendly neighbors in upstate New York during 1862 as both pacifists and southern sympathizers drew the wrath of Union supporters … which grew more intense with the posting of each new battlefield death.

Finally, three new Blu-ray product offerings have been selected from the studio’s vast film library for delivery on May 6.   These are: Big Red One, Bridges of Madison County and Memphis Belle.

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. Preps DVD And Blu-ray Editions Of Writer/Director Herschel Faber's Cavemen For An April 8 Launch

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
On Apr. 8 Well Go U.S.A. will release separate DVD and Blu-ray editions of writer/director Herschel Faber romantic comedy with a definite LA slant, Cavemen.

The film opened at the Austin Film Festival this past October and was quickly snatched-up by Well Go U.S.A. … a theatrical showcase is planned for early February (timed for the Valentine’s Day promotional period) to further raise awareness before the home entertainment launch.

Dean (Skylar Astin — Pitch Perfect, 21 & Over) has it all, the carefree life of a bachelor living in Los Angeles.   One-night stands, the bar scene and a cadre of bachelor friends ‑— who are more than willing to offer advice on all sorts of subjects — prove to be all that satisfying.

So Dean figures that it is time for a change, but being single in LA LA Land has both its advantages and, well, it’s a big place with everything moving so damn fast and that makes it hard to find the love of your life.   Lots of good-looking women, but how do you know which one is just right for you?

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
With his buddies being less than helpful, Dean turns to the only real female “friend” that he has, Tess (Camilla Belle — The Ballad of Jack and Rose, 10,000 BC, Push, etc.) for advice.   Whoa!   What is wrong with this guy … that’s the one!   

How long will it take him to realize that what he is looking for is oh so very close … and how does he stay out of the “friend zone!”

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

Director Pete Walker's Frightmare Gets A Blu-ray Push From Kino-Lorber On Mar. 18

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Kino Lorber has tabbed Mar. 18 for the long-awaited Blu-ray release of director Pete Walker’s Frightmare.

Step, by measured step, Brit filmmaker Pete Walker shifted from sexploitation (School for SexThe Flesh and Blood ShowHouse of Whipcord) to T&A with horror underpinnings to out-and-out horror arriving at Cover Up in 1974 (Frightmare in the domestic market the following year).   

It is curious that both Cover Up and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre arrived at about same time on opposite sides of the pond … opening up theatrically within weeks of each other.    

Both deal with family issues that blend serial killing, cannibalism and the next level of screen violence … Walker gives his tale a touch of social commentary with some sly humor, while Tobe Hooper serves up a more direct “slaughterhouse” of gore.   A terrific double-feature to be sure!
DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

No word on bonus goodies at this time, but the previously released DVD edition included commentary from filmmaker Pete Walker and director of photography Peter Jessop, with moderation by author Steven Chibnall (Professor of British Cinema at De Montfort University).

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

Director Gary Entin's Geography Club Available On DVD From Breaking Glass Pictures On Mar. 11

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Breaking Glass Pictures announced this past week that the DVD debut of director Gary Entin’s film adaptation of Brent Hartinger's 2003 novel (and subsequent play), Geography Club, will be available on Mar. 11.

Russell (Cameron Deane Stewart — Pitch Perfect) is a high school kid who finds himself on the outside of the social scene and struggling with his sexual identity.   Nothing new or groundbreaking about those types of issues for kids living through the “high school experience.”   But the Geography Club takes a different path in sorting out the potential trauma of being an outcast student.

Through a bit of networking Russell and other students with similar isolation issues form a club — sort of hiding in plain sight — where like-minded students, both gay and straight, can gather together to discuss “geography,” which most of their contemporaries could care a rat’s patootie about.

Other members of the club include Terese (Nikki Blonsky — Hairspray) and her friend Min (Ally Maki – as Dawn in the 10 Things I Hate About You television series) and Kevin (Justin Deeley — The Wicked, Thriftstore Cowboy and as Austin in the revamped 90210 television series) the school’s star quarterback, who is absolutely terrified that his teammates will discover his secret.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Of course there is always the chance that their secret will be revealed, especially if someone wants to join the club because they like geography.   At some point, either now or later, each one will have to face the adolescent things that torment them … that’s life.

Bonus goodies include two commentary options — one with director Gary Entin and screenwriter Edmund Entin, who are joined by producers Frederick Levy and Bryan Leder; the second features cast members Cameron Deane Stewart, Ally Maki, and Andrew Caldwell — plus there is an hour long behind-the-scenes documentary titled, “The Making of Geography Club.”

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

Mill Creek Entertainments Expands Its February New Product Release Calendar To 24 SKUs

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Just when you thought it couldn’t possibly get any better … it did!

Last week Mill Creek Entertainment announced a 19-strong product release slate (in three waves) for the month of February.   Not satisfied with that, they added five additional priced-to-sell DVD collections this past week.  That makes it 24 new SKUs for the month.

On Feb. 25 four additional $9.98, single-disc sets — each containing four films — will be heading to retail.   Genre fans should be pleased with these selections.

Animal Apocalypse includes four creature features: Bats: Human Harvest, Fatal Contact: Bird Flu in America, Kaw and Nightwing.  

If you love things that suck your blood, then look no further than the Blood Suckers Collection, which includes: The Breed, The Cave, The Forsaken and Vampires: The Turning.

Are scary things that lurk beneath the surface at the top of your list in horror films?   If so, check out the four films in the DVD collection titled Water Monsters — films in this set include: Anaconda, Black Water, Red Water and She Creature.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Last, but certainly not least on Feb. 25, is the four-film collection titled Sci-Fi Creature Classics … included here are: 20 Million Miles to Earth, The Giant Claw, It Came From Beneath the Sea and Mothra.

Mill Creek Entertainment has also added the double-disc set titled Gotham City Serials — priced at just $9.98 — to its Feb. 4 release package.   Included in this special collection are the two classic 15 chapter Batman serials from the 1940s … Batman and Batman & Robin.

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

FilmWorks Entertainment's Wyoming Triumph Makes Its DVD Debut On Mar. 18

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
With a camera, a passion and a story to tell you can get some amazing results on film.   Such is the case with FilmWorks Entertainment’s Mar. 18 DVD debut of documentary filmmakers Chris Kitchen and Sam Pope’s two year ski odyssey, Wyoming Triumph: A Workingman's Ski and Snowboard Feature.

Unlike your typical skiing and snowboarding thrill piece, these filmmakers set out to make what they call a film about the “the un-destinations of skiing.”    

Their point is actually pretty simple, basically you don’t have to go to the ends of the earth to find pulse-pounding thrills … the same adrenaline rush can be found in amazing and exotic places right there in your own backyard.   Especially if your “backyard” just happens to be located in the wilds of Wyoming during the dead of winter!

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

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

Virgil Films And Entertainment Sets Mar. 18 For The DVD Debut Of Director Avi Nesher's The Wonders

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribber
Virgil Films & Entertainment has selected Mar. 18 as the DVD debut date for director Avi Nesher’s neo-noir thriller, The Wonders.

Based loosely on actual events, we are introduced to a “graffiti” tagger and part time bartender living in Jerusalem named Arnav (Ori Hizkiah), who gets caught up in what appears to be a hostage/kidnapping “thing.”   

As the film unfolds it turns out to be much, much more than that … at least a kidnapping and hostage situation you can understand.  With this one, you are never really sure what is going on.

The victim is Rabbi Knafo (Yehuda Levi), a mystical holy man with, what some believe, a direct connection to God.   However, we soon learn that Kanfo has been using his “powers” for other purposes (think: seduction).   

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribberWhen Arnav, who has been out tagging spots (rabbits as art, go figure) to catch his ex-girlfiend’s attention, comes across the hideout the easy thing for him to do would be to call the cops.  Instead, he gets sucked in by a shady private eye named Jacob Gittes (Adir Miller), who recruits him to keeps tabs on the comings and goings at the place where Rabbi Knafo is being held (which just happens to be across from his less-than-tidy digs).

Throw in a couple of beauties, a local pot dealer, comic bits and some really weird things and you have The Wonders, a truly unique film out of Israel … in Hebrew with English subtitles.

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

Frozen To Market From Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment On Mar. 18

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, once again with little fanfare or, for that matter, much enthusiasm, has selected Mar. 18 as the street date for the directing team of Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee’s smash animated hit and Oscar-nominee for Best Animated Feature Film, Frozen.

The ARR is 116 days and the box office haul was an impressive $317.3 million.

SKU configuration will be that of a DVD edition and Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack SKU (with Digital Copy) … bonus features include two featurettes (exclusive to the Blu-ray) four deleted scenes and the animated short titled “Get a Horse.”

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