Monday, January 26, 2015

Paramount Home Media Distribution To Release DVD And Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Editions Of Interstellar On Mar. 31

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Paramount Home Media Distribution has tagged Mar. 31 for the DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack debut of writer/director Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar.  

The ARR is 144 and the domestic ticket sales at the local multiplex currently stand at a toasty $185.9 million.

Nominated for five Oscars (Production Design, Music, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing and Visual Effects), Interstellar is a whole lot more than what the theatrical trailers presented it as.   And there is a good reason for that — wormholes, gravitational distortions and time paradoxes are difficult concepts to convey in a limited amount of time.

To be honest, the trailers (plural) were way off the mark.   These snippets of film portrayed a global warming catastrophe (oh please … that does not sell tickets), political correctness malarkey and some sort of disjointed space thrills that take place on alien landscapes.   Instead, Interstellar is a well-told, if a little complicated, adventure tale, complete with a villain (surprise!) and a series of edge-of-your-seat encounters on planets in a galaxy far, far away.   
DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

Matthew McConaughey absolutely shines as former NASA astronaut Cooper, who is sent on what seems to be an impossible mission to survey three distant planets as a possible new home for humanity.    Joining him on the Endurance are Amelia (Anne Hathaway), Romilly (David Gyasi) and Doyle (Wes Bentley), while his daughter Murphy (variously played by Mackenzie Foy, Jessica Chastain and Ellen Burstyn) is left behind to fend for herself. 

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeySo best advice is to ignore the trailer(s) and join Cooper and crew on an intergalactic adventure that plays as quite nicely as a tribute to films of sci-fi lore.

Bonus goodies here includes 15 production featurettes, some of which are titled: “Plotting an Interstellar Journey,” “The Endurance,” “Across All Dimensions and Time” and “The Simulation of Zero-G.”

Also getting a DVD release date this past week is the Comedy Central series starring Amy Schumer, Inside Amy Schumer - Seasons 1 & 2 (a three-disc set).   This series blends sketch comedy bits with stand-up routines and featured such guests as Paul Giamatti, the incredible Parker Posey, Josh Charles, SNL’s Rachel Dratch and Patrick Warburton.

The street date is Apr. 7.

Bonus nuggets include unaired sketches, Amy Schumer’s stand-up routines and the featurette titled “Behind Amy Schumer.”

May 5 Is The Street Date For Warner Bros. Home Entertainment's Five-Film Blu-ray Promotion Celebrating The Career Of Frank Sinatra

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has announced a tribute to screen and recording legend Frank Sinatra that will take place on May 5.   Planned for delivery on that date are the debut of three new Blu-ray gems and the launch of a five-film Blu-ray collection.

Making its Blu-ray debut is director George Sidney’s 1945 Best Picture nominee, Anchors Aweigh, which teamed Frank Sinatra with Gene Kelly (nominated Best Actor for his performance here) and Kathryn Grayson.   

Of note, the film opened theatrically one month before the end of World War II and would remain as an active theatrical release for the next eight years as world markets reopened … Anchors Aweigh finally making its theatrical debut in Japan almost eight years to the day after its opening in the United States. 

Bonus features here include a pair of vintage short films — “Football Thrills of 1944” and Tex Avery’s 1945 theatrical cartoon, “Jerky Turkey” — there is also a featurette titled “Hanna & Barbera on the Making of  The Worry Song."

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Next up as a first time Blu-ray release is the 1949 musical comedy, On the Town, which once again teams Frank Sinatra with Gene Kelly … Ann Miller, Betty Garrett and Vera-Ellen join the fun.

Bonus features include the 1949 Tex Avery theatrical cartoon, “Doggone Tired,” plus the Passing Parade short film titled “Mr. Whitney Had a Notion” (with Lloyd Bridges as Eli Whitney).

The last of the new Blu-ray SKUs starring Frank Sinatra is director Gordon Douglas’ 1964 “rat pack” comedy, Robin and the 7 Hoods.   In addition to Sinatra, the cast of characters includes “rat pack” cohorts Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr., plus Bing Crosby, Peter Falk, Barbara Rush … and such familiar faces as Victor Buono, Jack La Rue and Allen Jenkins.
DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

Bonus nuggets include commentary by Frank Sinatra Jr., the featurette “What They Did to Robin Hood” and three classic theatrical cartoons sporting the Robin Hood theme — “Robin Hood Makes Good,” “Robin Hood Daffy” and “Rabbit Hood.”

As mentioned, these three new Blu-ray releases — along with the previously released Blu-ray versions of Guys and Dolls and Ocean’s 11 — are included in a five-film collection titled The Frank Sinatra Collection.   The SRP for the entire collection is $69.95, while the individual Blu-ray releases are priced at $19.98 each … so it is quite the bargain for those who do not already own either Guys and Dolls or Ocean’s 11.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyAlso added to the release schedule this week by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment is director Jay Oliva’s latest feature-length animated film, Batman vs. Robin.   Both DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack editions will be available for fans to own on Apr. 14.

Robin/Damian Wayne (voiced by Stuart Allen) is seduced to the dark side by the mysterious Talon (voiced by Jeremy Sisto) and secretive Court of Owls.   This places him on a collision course with Batman (voiced by (Jason O'Mara) … will Gotham survive this clash of super heroes?

Bonus features include two production featurettes — “Gotham's City Secret: The Mythic Court of Owls” and “Talons of the Owl” — plus commentary and unspecified cartoons from the DC Comics film vault.

Lastly, a three-disc DVD edition of The Mentalist: The Complete Seventh Season will be released on Apr. 28.

Mill Creek Entertainment Adds Eight Additional DVD And Blu-ray SKUs To Its Mar. 17 Release Slate

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Mill Creek Entertainment dramatically expanded its Mar. 17 DVD and Blu-ray release selections with the addition of eight additional priced-to-own selections, including newly-prepared Blu-ray releases for auteur filmmaker Orson Welles’ 1947 film noir thriller, The Lady from Shanghai (starring Rita Hayworth and Orson Welles) and director Laslo Benedek’s 1953 high-tension film masterpiece, The Wild One, starring Marlon Brando, Mary Murphy and Lee Marvin. 

Both of these new-to-Blu-ray cinema treasures are priced at just $14.98 each.

There are also four additional four-film DVD collections streeting on Mar. 17 under Mill Creek Entertainment’s double-disc “Hollywood Legends” promotional banner.   Both Orson Welles and Rita Hayworth are featured here … along with Fred Astaire and Cary Grant.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyHollywood Legends: Orson Welles includes the aforementioned The Lady From Shanghai, plus The Stranger (1946, directed and starring Orson Welles along with Loretta Young and Edward G. Robinson), The Southern Star (1969, Orson Welles is teamed with George Segal and the original Bond Girl, Ursula Andress) and the 1960 biblical epic, David and Goliath.

Hollywood Legends: Cary Grant showcases of his films — His Girl Friday (1940, directed by Howard Hawks and co-starring Rosalind Russell), The Amazing Adventure (1936, Mary Brian co-stars), Penny Serenade (1941, directed by George Stevens and featuring Irene Dunne) and Once Upon a Time (1944, with Janet Blair).

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyNext up is Hollywood Legends: Fred Astaire, which includes among its four-films You’ll Never Get Rich (1941, his co-star is Rita Hayworth), The Notorious Landlady (1962, teamed with Kim Kovak and Jack Lemmon), Second Chorus (1941, opposite Paulette Goddard) and director Stanley Donen’s 1951 romantic musical, Royal Wedding, which featured Fred Astaire along with Jane Powell and Peter Lawford.

And the last four-film SKU is Hollywood Legends: Rita Hayworth, which includes Music in My Heart (1940 with Tony Martin), Tonight and Every Night (1945), Down to Earth (1947) and Miss Sadie Thompson, which teamed Hayworth with José Ferrer and Aldo Ray.

And last, but not least, Mill Creek Entertainment will be releasing three-disc DVD collections of Bewitched: Season Five and Bewitched: Season Six, starring Elizabeth Montgomery, Dick York and Agnes Moorehead as Endora on Mar. 17.  SRP for each set is just $9.98 each.

Arrow Video To Release A Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Edition Of Director Yasuharu Hasebe’s Massacre Gun On Apr. 7

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Arrow Video, with sales and distribution support provided by MVD Entertainment Group, has two new Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack product offerings ready for release during the month of April.

Japanese filmmaker Yasuharu Hasebe’s 1967 Yakuza crime drama, Massacre Gun, has been unearthed and will be released for the first time to the domestic home entertainment market place on Apr. 7.   A new hi-def transfer, plus a newly prepared English subtitle translation mark this ultra-rare Blu-ray/DVD release. 

Jô Shishido (Gate of Flesh, Temptation, Branded to Kill, etc.) stars as a mob hitman, who is forced to carry out an assignment that turns him against his “master” … a trail of blood and intercine warfare follows that numbs the mind.

Bonus features here include a newly-minted video interview with the film’s star, Jô Shishido, a video interview session with film critic and historian Tony Rayns and a photo gallery of promotional materials.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
The following week, Apr. 14, Arrow Video is back with a Blu-ray/2 DVD Combo Pack presentation of Italian filmmaker Mario Bava’s 1964 horror classic, Blood and Black Lace.
Genre fans will have two viewing options for this newly-restored Slasher/Giallo masterpiece.  The original Italian-language presentation (complete with newly-prepared English subtitles) or the English-dubbed domestic theatrical version released in the United States by Allied Artists in 1965.

The Blu-ray/2 DVD Combo Pack comes loaded with extras.  These include commentary from Mario Bava biographer Tim Lucas, four production featurettes, an alternative English-dubbed opening (from filmmaker Joe Dante’s private collection) and the original theatrical trailer.

VCI Entertainment To Release On Mar. 10 The DVD Double Feature Of My Dog Shep And Shep Comes Home

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
VCI Entertainment announced this past week that Mar. 10 will be the street date for the double feature DVD release of writer/director Ford Beebe’s 1946 family film classic, My Dog Shep, which is teamed with Beebe’s 1948 hit sequel, Shep Comes Home.

Danny (Lanny Rees) loses his parents in tragic a auto accident and is castoff to live with his less-than-friendly uncle (Russell Simpson).   It’s a depressing existence until he rescues an abandoned German Shepherd, Shep, but when the prospect of losing his new friend surfaces he takes to the road.   Adventures and new friendships follow … but an unusual twist for these two orphans surfaces that could change everything!

Olive Films Selects Mar. 31 As The Street Date For 14 New Blu-ray And DVD Film Releases

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
On Mar. 31, Olive Films will be offering 28 reasons for film fans to celebrate … that is the number of DVD and Blu-ray SKUs being released on that date.   They are an eclectic mix to be sure.

Where does one begin?   How about with the DVD and Blu-ray release of director Thom Eberhardt’s 1988 Sherlock Holmes comedy, Without a Clue, starring Ben Kingsley as Dr. Watson and Michael Caine as his bumbling, drunken assistant, Sherlock Holmes.

What great fun to see the traditional roles flipped as Watson has created a fictional Holmes by using an actor (with a bit of a drinking problem) as the master detective.  When their latest case involves the infamous Prof. Moriarty (played by Paul Freeman), it could be a bit of a sticky wicket for the British Empire.

Bob Hope teams with Lucille Ball in writer/director Melvin Frank’s 1960 comedy, The Facts of Life.   Nominated for five Oscars, with a win for Best Costume Design, Bob and Lucy find themselves married and in love … there’s just one little problem, they are not married to each other.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Also on the comedy front is director Robert Scheere’s 1980 film release of How to Beat the High Cost of Living.   Three friends, Elaine (Jane Curtain), Jane (Susan Saint James) and Louise (Jessica Lange) are struggling to make ends meet when they decide to turn to a heist of cash from a local mall’s “cash ball” promotion.   The results are disastrous!!!

There are a trio of cult film gems included in the Mar. 31 release mix … they are very different in nature, but very much off the beaten path just the same.  The three are director Charles F. Haas’ 1959 gritty crime thriller, The Beat Generation, starring Steve Cochran and Mamie Van Doren, with Ray Danton as a particularly nasty serial rapist; director Arthur Penn’s 1969 film adaptation of Arlo Guthrie’s song, Alice’s Restaurant (Penn was nominated Best Director for his work here) and director Gary Nelson’s 1986 film, Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold, which gets the cult nod because of Richard Chamberlain’s co-star, Sharon Stone (yes, Sharon Stone, who reprises the role of Jesse Huston from King Solomon’s Mines … a surprise hit the previous year).
DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey 
There are two Westerns on the calendar, Quiet Gun (1957, with Forrest Tucker, Jim Davis and Lee Van Cleef) and famed serial filmmaking legend William Witney’s 1956 Western, Stranger at My Door (with Macdonald Carey, Skip Homeier and Patricia Medina).

Rounding out the Mar. 31 release package from Olive Films are Night Game (1989, Roy Scheider and Karen Young), Shanghai Story (1954, Edmond O’Brien, Richard Jaeckel and Ruth Roman co-star), filmmaker Robert Siodmak’s little-seen 1945 film noir, The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry (with George Sanders, Geraldine Fitzgerald and Ella Raines), Behind the Enemy Lines (starring Thomas Ian Griffith and Chris Mulky) and director Blake Edwards’ 1966 war comedy, What Did You Do in the War, Daddy?

MVD Entertainment Group's Devo: Hardcore Live! Heads To DVD And Blu-ray On Feb. 24

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Devo, the Ohio-based rock group that was formed in 1972, struggled during the early years and was little more than some guys playing their eclectic music mix in a garage.  But, as history records, they were in the right place at the right time with the arrival of MTV and the video that begins with “Crack that whip!”

Fame, eight commercial albums, retirement, revival, retirement, revival … Devo, ironically, “evolved.”

Now skip ahead 42-years from their humble beginnings to a June evening last year at the Fox Theatre in Oakland, California and the “Hardcore Devo” concert … a 21-song tribute to their recently departed band mate, Bob Casale (heart failure in February of 2014).   

MVD Entertainment Group has tabbed Feb. 24 as the release date for Devo: Hardcore Live!   This live concert event will be available as either DVD or Blu-ray editions.

Included in the mix are “Jocko Homo,” “Uncontrollable Urge,” “Mechanical Man,” “Space Girl Blues,” and “Satisfaction.”

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyAlso heading to the DVD market place on Feb. 24 from MVD Entertainment Group is documentary filmmaker Gary Bredow’s High Tech Soul: The Creation of Techno Music, a look at the birth and growth of techno music on the streets and clubs of Detroit over a 20-year period beginning in the late 60s.  

Interviewed are the likes of Juan Atkins (Belleville Three), producer and recording artist Carl Craig, Richie Hawtin (aka: Plastikman), Matthew Dear, Eddie Fowlkes and many more.   Bonus features here include deleted scenes, outtakes and bonus interviews.

Lastly, Feb. 24 will see the DVD debut of Hip Hop Story: Complete … a three-part assembly (running nearly four-hours) that includes “HipHop Story: Tha Movie,” “HipHop Story 2: Dirty South” and “HipHop Story 3: Coast to Coast.”

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

Oscilloscope Laboratories Tabs Mar. 10 For The DVD Debut Of Director Jeff Preiss' Low Down

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Oscilloscope Laboratories has tabbed Mar. 10 for the DVD debut of director Jeff Preiss’ film adaptation of Amy-Jo Albany’s memoir about her jazz pianist father, Joe Albany, “Low Down: Junk, Jazz, and Other Fairy Tales from Childhood.”  

Titled for the screen as simply Low Down, John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone, The Sessions, etc.) stars as Joe Albany, while Elle Fanning takes on the role of his young, but insightful, daughter, Amy-Jo.   

The ARR is 137 days and the film’s limited arthouse run generated ticket sales of $44,500.    The film made its debut at the Sundance Film Festival in January of 2014 and then worked the festival circuit throughout most of 2014.   The DVD rollout by Oscilloscope gives Low Down an excellent opportunity to reach a much wider audience, especially those drawn to the jazz milieu.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyA contemporary of Benny Carter, Charlie Parker, Charles Mingus and Miles Davis, Albany recorded no less than eight albums under his own name (and contributed his talents to others) and was celebrated by his peers for his touch of genius, but his demons of drug addiction and poor choices brought him a life of despair and all too predicable sad ending.   

The film pulls back the covers on a lifestyle that is equal parts music, creativity and darkness … all seen from the POV of his daughter.   

Of note, six-time nominee for acting Oscars, Glenn Close, does a nice turn as Albany’s streetwise mother.

Bonus features here include commentary with filmmaker Jeff Preiss, who is joined by jazz saxophonist and composer Ohad Talmor and Village Voice film critic Ed Halter, plus a behind-the-scenes featurette.

Lionsgate Home Entertainment Preps The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I For A Friday Mar. 6 DVD And Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Debut

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
When a successful film franchise entry takes in a whopping $332.9 million theatrically there are no rules when it comes to its release as either DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack editions.   Tuesdays are the normal street date for releases, but Lionsgate Home Entertainment has selected Friday, Mar. 6 instead for the home entertainment debut of director Francis Lawrence’s The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1.  

The ARR is 105 days.

Bonus features include an eight-part production documentary, deleted scenes and commentary from director Francis Lawrence and producer Nina Jacobson.

20th Century-Fox's Penguins Of Madagascar Left To Their Own Devices On Mar. 17

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private are funny, very funny, and they are of course the stars of the DreamWorks Animation production of Penguins of Madagascar.   With $80.8 million in ticket sales you’d figure that 20th Century-Fox Home Entertainment would be eager to sing their praises, but sadly that is not the case for the launch of DVD and Two Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack editions (one with and one without a 3D viewing option) on Mar. 17.  

As has become the modus operandi of 20th Century-Fox Home Entertainment of late, there will be no PR support for this animated laugh-fest.
The ARR works out to 109 days.    

Bonus features include a deleted scene, a pair of music videos and six featurettes.