Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Paramount Home Media Distribution Places Noah On Its July 29 Release Calendar

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Paramount Home Media Distribution will unleash director Darren Aronofsky’s end-of-the-world biblical epic, Noah, to the home entertainment market place on July 29.

There will be separate Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack (with UltraViolet) and DVD editions … no word just yet if a 3D version on Blu-ray is planned for a post-Labor Day push.

The ARR is 123 days and domestic ticket sales at multiplexes nationwide — despite all of the pre-release controversy — currently stand at $100.6 million (with an additional $240 million from the film’s international release).

After Black Swan and The Wrestler filmmaker Darren Aronofsky was in a position to make whatever film he desired (studios go with winners) … Noah was certainly an interesting choice.  

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Technically the film is sound (come Oscar time Noah will be at the forefront in the completion in virtually all of the technical categories).  The cast is excellent — Russell Crowe as Noah holds it together and Ray Winstone is properly villainous — and Aronofsky’s telling of the Noah saga from the Book of Genesis in the Old Testament is as good as any.  

Indeed, if you were to give ten different filmmakers the same challenge (and budget) you would likely get ten completely different visions.  

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyAs to bonus nuggets, these are reserved for the Blu-ray SKU and included three featurettes — “Iceland: Extreme Beauty,” “The Ark Exterior: A Battle for 300 Cubits” and “The Ark Interior: Animals Two By Two.”

Noah is not the only release news from Paramount Home Media this week.   Teaming with CBS Home Entertainment, DVD collections of some of the most popular television series will be heading home in two back-to-back release waves on Aug. 19 and Aug. 26.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Mark Harmon’s NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigation Service - Season Eleven will lead the way on Aug. 19 with a six-disc collection.   On the same date, the spin-off series, NCIS Los Angeles: The Fifth Season, is also on the release calendar … as is The Good Wife: The Fifth Season (both are six-disc collections).

The following week, Aug. 26, the hit detective series Criminal Minds: The Complete Ninth Season and Elementary: The Second Season will both be available for fans to enjoy as six-disc set.

Lastly, Aug. 26 also marks the DVD debut (a five-disc collection) of the 1999 sci-fi/comedy series Now and Again teaming Eric Close and Dennis Haysbert as human-experiment and doctor respectively.   This unique series is being released as Now and Again: The DVD Edition.

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

Indican Pictures Selects July 22 For DVD Debut Of Writer/Director Steven Hicks' Fuzz Track City

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Indican Pictures will bring to the DVD market place on July 22 writer/director Steve Hicks’ award-winning detective thriller, Fuzz Track City.

Gumshoe Murphy Dunn (Todd Robert Anderson — Repli-Kate, Buttleman, etc.) lives, seemingly, in another time period.  Perhaps too many late night movies or reruns of Starsky and Hutch … he grooves to a golden era of ‘70s sleuthing that has long since past.  Out of place and out of time.

One day, as luck would have it, he gets his dream assignment when a woman that he had the hots for years ago, Dawn Lockwood (played by Dee Wallace), hires him to find her missing son.  Being warned off the case is like a siren’s call … come hither, let’s get this done.  
For Murphy Dunn it is deceptively simple.   Solve the case, win her heart … fade to black.   Well, that’s the plan, but with Fuzz Track City nothing goes exactly as planned!

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyPhillip Marlowe would be right at home with Dunn in the back alleys, seedy venues and storm drains (those too) of Los Angeles.  With guns, tough guys, a dame and a Macguffin that would make even Hitchcock proud, Fuzz Track City delivers its loopy tale with vigor — even honesty — as we are taken along on a fun ride with our “stylish” shamus in a well-polished film that is full of all sorts of visual treats and snappy dialog.

Film festival audiences have loved it, the awards have piled up and its time for a much wider audience to join in the fun with this winner from Indican Pictures.

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

Well Go USA Sets Writer/Director Keith Parker's Swelter For DVD And Blu-ray Action On Aug. 12

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Well Go USA has tabbed Aug. 12 as the DVD and Blu-ray release date for writer/director Keith Parker’s modern “Western” shoot’em up, Swelter.

A Las Vegas luxury resort is assaulted by the “Rat Pack.”  No, not Frank, Dean and the boys … not that Rat Pack, but a group of five heavily armed men who make off with close to $10 million.   

But four of the five are captured, while the fifth (with the loot) gets away.  That’s the set-up.
Off to prison are Boyd (Josh Henderson), Cole (Grant Bowler), Kane (Daniele Favilli) and Stillman (Jean-Claude Van Damme).   And there they sit for ten long years, until they escape.

Meanwhile, Bishop (Lennie James), the fifth member of their group, hasn’t gone far.  With no memory of the events (wounded during his escape) that led him to the desert in the first place, he has become the sheriff of a nearby desert hamlet (seemingly trapped in time).   He senses that he’s not “right,” but he’s trying to do the right thing.

The local doctor (played Alfred Molina) can find no particular reason for Bishop’s lapse in memory, but then again “Doc” spends most of his off-hours at the local cantina getting drunk.   It’s the Old West, but with cell phones, computers and cars instead of horses.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Following a gun battle with State Troopers, the Rat Pack seals off the town and is ready (and willing) to take it apart and kill anyone who gets in their way to find what belongs to them!   The clock is ticking and only Bishop stands in their way.

Swelter takes elements from several different film genres, deftly mixes them together — throws in some nice twists (one of the Rat Pack actually wants a real life) — and ultimately delivers a nicely turned action piece.  Slick.   Solid.  And well worth a look-see this August.

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

Virgil Films And Entertainment's DVD Debut Of Documentary Filmmaker Elisabeth Rasmussen’s The Heart of Bruno Wizard Set For Sept. 2

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Virgil Films & Entertainment has selected Sept. 2 for the domestic DVD debut of documentary filmmaker Elisabeth Rasmussen’s The Heart of Bruno Wizard.

This off-kilter look at the life and times of anti-establishment musician, harmonicist and punk poet Bruno Wizard is not for the uninitiated … they might pass this icon of ‘70s punk rock on the street and view him as a homeless derelict.  There is a lot of mileage in the face of this man and one hell of a story to tell.

A regular at the Neal Street Roxy Club in London and former frontman for the likes of The Rejects and The Homosexuals, Bruno Wizard was at the forefront of the punk scene.   Included in this documentary are vintage clips from the period and interviews with such contemporaries as Stephen Jones of the Sex Pistols and documentary filmmaker Don Letts (Dancehall Queen, Punk: Attitude).

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

Cinema Libre's DVD Debut Of Documentary Filmmaker Joshua Bell's In Between Songs Set For DVD On Aug. 5

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
The remote northern coastal town of Nhulunbuy, Australia is the ancestral home of the Galpu clan of Aborigines, famed for their didgeridoo wind instruments and the subject of documentary filmmaker Joshua Bell’s In Between Songs.

Cinema Libre announced this past week that In Between Songs will be made available to the domestic DVD market on Aug. 5.

Hosted by James Cromwell, the documentary focuses on how over 1,500 years of craftsmanship and tradition are in danger of being swept aside by the incursion of modern industry, specifically Rio Tinto bauxite mining operation which has come to dominate the area — despite its remote location — over the past 50 years.

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

KimStim's Vic + Flo Saw A Bear On DVD This Coming June 17

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
In one sense, why should anyone care what Victoria (Pierrette Robitaille — Mambo Italiano, Laura Cadieux ... La Suite, etc.) and Flo (Romane Bohringer — The Apartment, Savage Nights, Total Eclipse) do with their lives … or, for that matter, to one another.   

From one look at them you can plainly see two women who seem to wear the mileage of their lives on their faces.   They’ve travel rough roads.   Seedy bars and prison have been stops along the way.  

They are the subjects of writer/director Denis Côté’s award-winning drama, Vic + Flo Saw a Bear, which is heading to DVD on June 17 from New York City-based KimStim.

Victoria Champagne, the name sort of rolls off the tongue, is fresh from a stint in prison and now seeks the solitude of rural Quebec by moving in with her infirmed uncle Émile (Georges Molnar).   He doesn’t talk (can’t) and she doesn’t have much to say.   It has all the makings of a perfect living arrangement.

It is here that she hooks up with Flo, who has also done some time.   It doesn’t take long for one to get the feeling that they would like nothing more than to enjoy each other’s company and the quiet of the seemingly idyllic locale.   
DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

 But life, people and circumstances have a way of intruding … and that would include the likes of Victoria’s parole officer (Marc-André Grondin), a strange woman that just shows up (Marie Brassard) and a fat man who seems to be following her.   They will combine to change everything!

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

Monday, June 2, 2014

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment Sets Captain America: The Winter Soldier For DVD And Blu-ray On Sept. 9

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
The tip off that box office monsters would be heading home came last week when Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment announced that Need for Speed (Aug. 5) and Muppets Most Wanted (Aug. 12) were being positioned for release in August to make way for the mega theatrical hits.

Sure enough, Captain America: The Winter Soldier arrives on Sept. 9 as a three-SKU product offering (DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack with or without a 3D viewing option).  The ARR is 158 days and ticket sales were a robust $254.1 million.

Bonus features include commentary, deleted scenes and featurettes.

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

Writer/Director Mike Flanagan's Oculus On DVD And Blu-ray Aug. 5 From 20th Century-Fox Home Entertainment

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyWriter/director Mike Flanagan’s clever fright tale, Oculus, has been given an Aug. 5 release date by 20th Century-Fox Home Entertainment.   DVD and Blu-ray with UltraViolet) editions are planned.

After delivering the award-winning Absentia in 2011 (on DVD from Phase 4 Films in 2012) this was the next step up for editor-turned-director Mike Flanagan … we expect even bigger projects going forward as he came through with flying colors.    

Ticket sales stand at $27.5 million and the ARR comes in at 116 days.    

No word just yet on bonus features.  

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

Pure Flix Entertainment Tabs Aug. 5 As The Street Date For Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack And DVD Editions Of Director Harold Cronk’s God’s Not Dead

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

There is a theatrical hit making its way to the home entertainment market place on Aug. 5 that the entrenched “Entertainment Community” should take notice of.   

Here are the reasons.   

First, there is this very important point related to finished film product that this publication has been making for some time now.   A quality film, with Hollywood-like production standards, can now be produced anywhere, by anyone.   You don’t have to be in Hollywood … and you don’t have to have studio bacing.

We are seeing it over and over again.   Sure, most are genre flicks, but there are more and more comedies and dramas that arrive with finished production values that far exceed their budgets every month on DVD (and Blu-ray).

Consider this, Johannes Gutenberg invented (or, perhaps better stated, refined) the printing press in the mid-15th Century and only those of wealth and power could produce books, pamphlets and the like.   Control the means of production and control of the message is assured. 

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Today anyone can write, design and print just about anything with a desktop computer.
In the world of film, the parallels are similar, but the timeline has been dramatically shortened from hundreds of years to just decades.   Movies, documentaries, how-to productions and on and on can be produced by anyone, anywhere and at relatively low costs, which has to make the Hollywood studios ever so nervous.   

Second, the film, due out on Aug. 5 as both DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack product offerings from Pure Flix Extertainment is director Harold Cronk’s God’s Not Dead.  It was absolutely savaged by the “mainstream” media film critics.   Most of these “professionals” gave it scathing reviews not because of its production values, but its message.
For the record, that Aug. 5 date yields an ARR of 137 days.

And yet, even with vitriol reserved for the likes of out-of-focused porn and big-budget productions destined for Razzie status, God’s Not Dead pulled in $59.9 million in ticket sales.   

An independent film, outside of any studio distribution system, pulling in over $50 million is rare indeed.   But, quite frankly, we expect to see more and more of these independently-produced films going forward … the technology is there.

While God’s Not Dead has too many side stories (a structural issue) that give it a padded feel, its message definitely resonated soundly with an audience that normally does not respond all that well to theatrical releases at the local multiplex.   Word of mouth sent these “lost souls,” who have fallen outside of Hollywood’s ever-shrinking target audience, with cash in hand to buy tickets.

Cash-paying theatrical patrons not queued up for one of their film productions also makes Hollywood nervous.   And, perhaps, curious.
DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

So what is the hubbub with God’s Not Dead?   

Josh (Shane Harper — as Austin Welch on TV series Awkward) is a college student confronted with a difficult choice.   To pass a required class he must deny his faith.

Professor Radisson (Kevin Sorbo), who is teaching some sort of required philosophy class, demands that each of his students sign a pledge that “God is Dead.”   Josh refuses, but instead of being handed a grade of F and sent packing, Radisson challenges him to a series of three 15 to 20 minute debates.   The students will decide the outcome.

Of course the fix is in … an experienced college professor against a neophyte student.  This show of defiance will serve perfectly as a “teaching” lesson.  

The outcome seems certain with Josh serving as the intellectual punching bag through the first two sessions.   The final round comes and filmmaker Harold Cronk (War Prayer, Jerusalem Countdown, etc.) delivers the “Rocky moment” when Josh lands the knockout punch by asking one simple question.

The intended audience loved it.   They can relate to a story about kids being indoctrinated (bullied) by “echo chamber” college professors … the students have to keep their mouths shut and take the classes.  

Of course those drawn to God’s Not Dead could see a bigger message … they see, in ever-growing numbers, students graduating with worthless degrees, buried under mountains of debt and destined to move back home.   They see the educational system that they pay for through their tax dollars used as a club to attack religion and family.   They don’t like it.

A straw man getting his comeuppance, what’s not to love!   Critics hated it.  Audiences loved it.   And the so-called “Hollywood” studios will take note of it.

Pure Flix Entertainment will savor this moment … and make more films for audiences all but ignored by Hollywood.   Do the math, invest $2,000,000, take in $60,000,000 theatrically and you still have all of the ancillary markets to go … what’s not to love about that?   

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