Sunday, June 28, 2015

Well Go USA Has DVD And Blu-ray Editions Of Director David Lam's Z Storm Ready For Delivery On Aug. 18

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
What to make of director David Lam’s latest thriller Z Storm?   It is slick, complicated and loaded with action.   But is it also a well-produced propaganda piece?

Viewers will have the opportunity to make their own assessment of Z Storm on Aug. 18 when Well Go U.S.A. brings both DVD and Blu-ray editions to the domestic market. 

The ICAC, which dates back to British rule of Hong Kong, is short for Independent Commission Against Corruption.   Agents of the ICAC are the heroes of the story (think: FBI) as hints and tantalizing clues of a massive financial con are slowly uncovered in the film’s build up to the big reveal.   

A black bag full of money (maybe … no proof, just a tip) is supposedly brought in from neighboring Macau by Superintendent Wong Man Bin (Gordon Lam/Ka Tung Lam — Internal Affairs, IP Man, etc.) of the Hong Kong Police Force’s Commercial Crime Bureau.   ICAC top cop William Luk (Louis Koo — the Overheard film series, Drug War, The White Storm, etc.) orders him brought in and questioned.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyThere’s no evidence, but something seems amiss.   Which eventually leads Luk’s investigators to a high-powered Hong Kong law film run by Malcolm Wu (Michael Wong — Knock Off, Cold War, etc.) and that’s when the political heat descends on Luk’s investigation.   Push back … by individuals with heavy connections.

Wu is up to his ears in the pending launch of the Z Hedge Fund, a multi-billion dollar enterprise with (sinister) international connections.   Not only are there political foes pushing back against Luk’s investigators, but soon guys in suits with guns are in on the action.   

A tangled web of financial wheeling-and-dealings, a mystery woman (played by Dada Chan) and a shootout on the otherwise peaceful streets of Hong Kong are all played out against a fixed deadline.   Will the debut of the fund bring financial ruin to Hong Kong … only the ICAC stands in the way!

The suits of the ICAC shine … evil, especially the foreign corruption of local officials, will not be tolerated.   Yes, Z Storm is an action thriller with a message.

Z Storm is presented in Cantonese with English subtitles.

Paramount Home Media To Release Director Fabrizio Conte's Club Life On DVD This Coming Aug. 25

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Paramount Home Media Distribution added The Orchard film release of director Fabrizio Conte's Club Life to its DVD release calendar this past week.   The street date selected is Aug. 25.

A very limited theatrical break (to generate critical awareness) yielded ticket sales of $4,444.   The ARR comes in at 95 days.

In a story drawn from (suggested by) actual events, the “Turtle” from HBO’s Entourage series, Jerry Ferrara, stars in this indie film production as Johnny D, limo driver, entrepreneur and would-be ladies man.  He has to break out of his easy-going comfort zone when his father has a stroke and is confined to hospital care without coverage.   

That’s a big nut with the mounting bills, but as luck would have it a Manhattan nightclub promoter named Mark, played by Danny A. Abeckaser, who also co-wrote the script and upon whose experiences the story is based, sees in our boy Johnny an opportunity to generate some cash.   With his limo service, he need only find hot chicks
(models) and steer them to the clubs that Mark promotes.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyThe more successful he is at the hustle, the more estranged he is to his family and small circle of friends.   With success — and the glamour of it all — comes even bigger problems … and potentially bigger enemies.

Club Life is one of those “don’t look behind the curtain” cautionary tales, because that seemingly innocent peek comes at a very high personal price.

Indican Pictures Will Release Gone Doggy Gone On DVD On July 10

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Dogs (and cats too) can be the stars of movies.  Rin Tin Tin and Lassie are classic animal film stars … Old Yeller too (that was a tearjerker), Cujo (scary) and we all know the animated ones from Charlie and Itchy in All Dogs Go to Heaven to all of those little spotty guys and gals in 101 Dalmatians.

But what happens when personifying the family pet becomes an obsession?   That’s what Kasi Brown and Brandon Walter have cooked up in the Indican Pictures’ July 10 (yes, a Friday street date) theatrical and DVD release of Gone Doggy Gone.

Based on their own experiences, Brown and Walter co-wrote, co-directed and star is this award-winning comedy (wins at the 2014 Edmonton International Film Festival, Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival and more) as Abby and Eliott Harmon, self-obsessed thirty-somethings who have little time for a family, but plenty of time for Laila, their Yorkshire Terrier.   

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Now filmmakers Brown and Walter could have played this dog-obsession story several different ways.   A drama (sad couple meet tragedy) or perhaps a family-themed tale (young couple love their dog and make personal sacrifices to ensure its well-being), but what we have with Gone Doggy Gone is both a knockout-slapstick comedy and a satire on pet culture run amok.

The set up involves a series of slice-of-life sequences that set up the relationship between Abby and Eliott and Laila and then we get to the introduction of their friend Jill (Shaina Vorspan), a wide-eyed, sad-sack waif of a woman who is recruited to dog-sit while more pressing issues are dealt with.  

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
She is smitten with her new “best friend” and everything is absolutely wonderful … until poor Laila is dognapped!!!

From this point forward it is the doggy-version of It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.   A road trip, a ransom video, screwy friends, even goofier detectives and a couple unhinged that are all thrown at you at a breakneck pace.   And then there’s Jill … we say no more.   Gone Doggy Gone is laugh-out-loud funny!!!

Director Maxime Giroux's Félix and Meira Arrives On DVD From Oscilloscope Laboratories On Sept. 29

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
In what could be an early frontrunner in the Oscar derby for Best Foreign Language Film this year is French Canadian filmmaker Maxime Giroux’s beautiful love story, Félix and Meira.  

Oscilloscope Laboratories announced this past week that Félix and Meira will be available on DVD this coming Sept. 29.

With the byzantine rule of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences one has to wonder if the film’s extensive festival release activity in 2014 (with multiple wins, including the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival) somehow disqualifies it for 2015 contention.  

The film did open theatrically in mid-April of this year, so that makes it a 2015 theatrical release … and it is in French and Yiddish.   Even if it is from our neighbor to the north it sure looks like a foreign language film with a theatrical release … sounds like a contender.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyIn any case, ticket sales have been exceptionally good at $435,628 and that mid-April rollout for Félix and Meira generates an ARR of 165 days.

Meira (played by Israeli actress Hadas Yaron — Fill the Void) is a 20-something Hasidic Jew, married and living in Montreal.   Her life is bound by orthodox rules that prevent her from doing little more than being a faithful wife to her husband, Shulem (Luzer Twersky — Where Is Joel Baum?, Romeo and Juliet in Yiddish) and a dutiful mother to their young daughter.

Félix is a French Canadian in his early 40s and he is having something of a crisis in his life.   His father has recently passed and there was no closure.   

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
He is without faith and she lives within doctrine of faith that spells out everything form a to z … they are from completely opposite worlds.   They don’t even speak the same language and have to use their limited English skills to bridge the gap between French and Yiddish.

But a chance meeting brings these two opposites together.   It’s a slow process and filmmaker Maxime Giroux (who co-wrote the script with Alexandre Laferrière) does a marvelous job in getting the audience to feel for Félix and Meira; to root for them.   It is a love story that seems so wrong, but somehow their growing affection for each other makes it feel so very right.

Félix and Meira is presented in French and Yiddish, with two separate subtitle options — one in English, the other in French.

Artsploitation Films Tabs Sept. 29 For The Domestic DVD Debut Of Filmmaker Jean-Luc Herbulot's Dealer

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
So you think you know Paris.   You know, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre and a stroll down the Champs-Élysées with a tasty beverage and some people watching at a sidewalk café.   Sure, that’s Paris, but for the more adventurous you might want to explore a little more of the city.

Filmmaker Jean-Luc Herbulot has just that, another side of Paris on view in the Artsploitation Films DVD release of Dealer on Sept. 29.  And this one-day slice of life thriller might just give you second thoughts about seeing what’s down that quaint little side street.

Dan (played by Dan Bronchinson — sort of a Gallic cross between Jason Statham and Woody Harrelson) is a street dealer who wants out in a big way.   He’s done enough, seen enough and bled enough to know that there’s no future in doing more of the same.   He’s the anti-hero of the piece … not a nice guy by any standards.

So when the “big deal” presents itself — a chance to cash-out and escape to Australia with his young daughter and his current lover, Chris (Elsa Madeleine) — it is the catalyst that sets the next 24 hours of hell in motion.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyOf course everything goes wrong and Dan has to make good on the deal or he’s dead and everyone associated with him is dead as well.   So when you’re a thug, you go to the default position when your life is on the line.   You beat, you extort, you run, you hustle and all the while the clock is going “tick, tick, tick.”

Director Jean-Luc Herbulot is clearly from the school of Luc Besson and Guy Ritchie when it comes to crime thrillers … lots of twists and turns and, of cource, non-stop action.   Dealer is an adrenaline rush (clocking in at just 75 minutes) that effectively uses the streets (and back alleys) of Paris as Dan’s “stomping” grounds.  

Dealer is presented in French with English subtitles.

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment To Release DVD And Blu-ray Editions Of Russell Crowe's The Water Diviner On July 28

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment was busy this past week with a flurry of new product announcements which includes Russell Crowe’s latest theatrical release (The Water Diviner), a new-to-DVD Bob Hope film comedy (director Jack Arnold’s 1964 comedy, A Global Affair), additional post-Labor Day TV series releases and last Christmas seasons animated television special, Elf: Buddy's Musical Christmas.   Busy indeed!

So let’s get right to it.   International film star Russell Crowe returns to his native Australia for a self-directed (his first film as a director) story about the aftermath of the World War I Battle of Gallipoli (made famous theatrically by director Peter Weir’s 1981 film, Gallipoli, starring Mel Gibson).   

Titled The Water Diviner, DVD and Blu-ray editions will be released by Warner Bros. on July 28.   The ARR for that date comes in at 95 days … domestic box office results were $4.2 million).

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Set in 1919, Crowe stars as Joshua Connor, an Outback farmer, whose life is full of absolute misery.   His three sons served with the ANZAC forces at Gallipoli and all are believed to have been killed during the slaughter that took place there between April of 1915 and January of 1916.   To make it in even more painful for Joshua his wife could not cope with the grief and killed herself.

With such a heavy heart he embarks upon a journey to Turkey to retrieve the bodies of his dead children and return them to Australia to be buried with their mother.   

As with Peter Weir’s film, Crowe also offers a stinging rebuke to the Australian’s commanding British “masters” who callously flung wave after wave of ANZAC forces into impregnable Turkish lines.   Once Joshua arrives in Istanbul he is met with nothing but resistance from the contemptuous British military command.

Indeed, his only help in his quest comes from an unlikely source and that would be Ayshe (Olga Kurylenko — Quantum of Solace, Oblivion), the widow of a Turkish soldier.   She helps him get to the forbidden Gallipoli, where he is once again met with resistance, this time from Aussies encamped there (grave registry and clean up).   They are, however, sympathetic … he is the only father who has made the journey to this deadly place.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyAt every turn his efforts are blocked by the very forces that his sons served so gallantly and the help he finds comes from his country’s former enemy, the Turks.   In the end his quest will be fulfilled … and it comes with surprises.

Bonus features for The Water Diviner are limited to the Blu-ray SKU and include a pair of production featurettes — “The Making of The Water Diviner” and “The Battle of Gallipoli.”

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has once again gone to the film vaults and has come away with a trio of new-to-DVD movie releases for June 30.   Chief among these is director Jack Arnold’s 1964 romantic comedy, A Global Affair, starring Bob Hope as Frank Larrimore, an employee of the United Nations who suddenly finds himself in charge of an abandoned baby!   Michele Mercier, Rod Sterling and Yvonne De Carlo co-star.

Also unearthed for delivery to the DVD market place on June 30 are two directed by Henry Levin — Come Fly With Me (1963, starring Dolores Hart and Hugh O'Brian) and Honeymoon Hotel (1964, with Robert Goulet, Nancy Kwan, Jill St. John and Robert Morse).

On the TV series release front, Sept. 29 will see the five-disc DVD debut of Jane the Virgin: The Complete First Season, starring Gina Rodriguez as Jane Villanueva, a twenty-something hotel worker who is accidently artificially inseminated during a routine doctor’s visit.   If her life wasn’t complicated before … it certainly is now, especially since the donor is her boss (played by Justin Baldoni)!

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyBonus goodies include two featurettes — “Jane the Virgin: Immaculate Creation” and “Getting to Know the Cast of Jane the Virgin” — plus deleted scenes and a gag reel.
Also available on Sept. 29 will be the three-disc DVD set of 100: The Complete Second Season.

The following week, Oct. 6, Reign: The Complete Second Season will be retail-ready as a five-disc DVD collection.

The 2014 animated Christmas-season short film, Elf: Buddy’s Musical Christmas, will be released as both DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack product offerings from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on Oct. 20.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyAnd lastly — for this week — Oct. 6 will mark the Blu-ray debut of four newly re-mastered horror classics from Hammer Film Productions.   These will only be available as part of the Horror Classics Collection, Volume 1.

Included in the mix are The Mummy (1959, directed by Terence Fisher and starring Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee), Dracula has Risen from the Grave (1968, directed by Freddie Francis with Christopher Lee as Dracula), Frankenstein Must be Destroyed (1970, directed by Terence Fisher and starring Peter Cushing) and Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970, directed by Peter Sasdy and Christopher Lee returns as Dracula).

Wild Eye Releasing Targets Sept. 29 For The DVD Debut Of 3’s A Shroud

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Wild Eye Releasing, with sales and distribution support provided by MVD Entertainment, has selected Sept. 29 for the domestic DVD debut of the horror Brit-flick that celebrates anew those devilishly clever anthologies of the late 1960s and early 1970s.   Produced, directed and written by the team Dan Brownlie, David VG Davies and Andy Edwards comes 3’s a Shroud.

Filmmaker Dan Brownlie kicks off the proceedings with the introduction of screen queen Suzi Lorraine (Satan’s Schoolgirls, Bikini Girls on Ice, When Death Calls, etc.) as the babysitter to a precocious young lad who wants to hear bedtime scary stories, not so much for himself, but for his teddy bear as it “keeps him calm.”

She them proceeds to spin three nightmare tales, beginning with Brownlie’s contribution to the anthology, “Don’t Open the Door.”   This nifty little piece spins around the admonition from a buxom raven-haired beauty (Morrigan Hel) to her husband (Brad Moore) that under no circumstances should he open the door if she comes knocking.   

Next up is filmmaker David V.G. Davies (Animal Soup, Self-Induced Nightmares) and his segment, which is titled “Over Developed.”   Here, Mickey (Michael Morgan-Gyekye) is professional photographer who becomes obsessed with a fashion model by the name of Sarah (Eleanor James — Slasher House) and becomes convinced — with the help of a little demon of his own invention — that he can “have her.”   You know that won’t go over well … insane thoughts never do.
DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

And that brings us to the babysitter’s last horror tidbit directed by Andy Edwards, “Time Traveller’s Knife.”   Here the alluring Hannah Wilder (Strings) is featured as a barkeep that stays after closing with a trio of her friends one evening for a private party, but there’s an uninvited guest.   The slaughter begins, but a magical timepiece allows her to jump about in time and relive events of the night — can she stop the carnage, or will she discover something that is too horrifying to contemplate!

3’s a Shroud is a nice tip of the hat to those gems of yesteryear — Dr. Terror's House of Horrors, The House That Dripped Blood, Tales from the Crypt and Asylum.   And, as a bonus, it has some tasty eye-candy to balance out the gore.

Icarus Films Sets Aug. 18 For The KimStim Collection DVD Release Of Director Troy Kotsur's No Ordinary Hero: The SuperDeafy Movie

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Icarus Films announced this past week that the KimStim Collection film release of director Troy Kotsur’s No Ordinary Hero: The SuperDeafy Movie will arrive on DVD this coming Aug. 18.

In a summer full of mega-budget superhero films this “superhero” movie is something of a breath of fresh air.   The director is deaf.  The star of the film is deaf.  And the subject is about being deaf in a world of the hearing and how it is to be different.

So if you are lucky enough to catch No Ordinary Hero: The SuperDeafy Movie it will not all be about feeling sorry for the deaf.   Simply because it is directed by and starring individuals with hearing “issues” doesn’t make it any different than any other well-told story.

SuperDeafy is actually a real-world character that filmmaker Troy Kotsur (The Number 23, Universal Signs) has personified for the past 15-years in live appearances to bring humor and education together in “talking” about the world of deafness, sign language and understanding the challenges that these individual face.  

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
This film takes the real-world of Kotsur’s persona — SuperDeafy — and spins a story about a young boy named Jacob (Zane Hencker), who is both in conflict with his father — who wants him to be “normal;” read-lips, use that hearing aid, get along, etc. — and with some of his fellow students who are at that age where differences are notices and rarely understood.   

The television version of SuperDeafy, played by deaf actor John Maucere as Tony Kane, is also in conflict.   He wants his bumbling comedy character, who is a bit of superhero klutz, to be taken more seriously.   He’s frustrated with the advice not to “mess with success.”

So what happens when SuperDeafy/Tony Kane meets Jacob?   Well, superheroes do what superheroes do … they come to the rescue, but in this case in both a real-world and a family-friendly story way.   Life-lessons are both taught and learned and preaching is avoided in favor of humor.

Bonus features include an interview session with Marlee Matlin (who is featured in the film as herself).

Furious 7: Extended Edition On Blu-ray From Universal Studios Home Entertainment Gets Post-Labor Day Street Date Of Sept. 15

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
With $350.8 million in pre-summer season ticket sales, director James Wan’s Furious 7: Extended Edition is a monster by any standards.   The seventh entry in any franchise series is usually reserved for hardcore fans, but clearly this action thriller has an audience all onto itself.

Universal Studios Home Entertainment has selected Sept. 15, the same post-Labor Day Tuesday that Disney picked for the release of the live-action reboot of Cinderella, as the street day for Blu-ray and DVD editions of Furious 7.   Is that an in-your-face statement … maybe, maybe not.

The ARR is 165 days and as stated, ticket sales currently stand at $350.8 million.

The tragedy here is the death of cast stalwart Brian (Paul Walker), who was killed in a car accident during the filming.   That led to rewrites and the use of both stand-ins (brothers Caleb and Cody) and CGI to complete Walker’s shooting schedule.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyIt’s not the first time that a major star has died during the production of a major Hollywood production — James Dean in Giant and Natalie Wood in Brainstorm immediately come to mind.

With that box office take — $350.8 million — and even with the death of Paul Walker — this film franchise with continue.  Fast and Furious 8 has a tentative theatrical release date slated for April of 2017.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyAs to bonus goodies for Furious 7: Extended Edition, there are four featurettes common to both the DVD and Blu-ray release SKUs — “Back to the Starting Line,” “Race Wars: Furious 7,” “Snatch and Grab” and “Making of Fast & Furious Supercharged Ride.”

Exclusive to the Blu-ray edition are deleted scenes, five additional featurettes and the music video from Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth titled “See You Again.”

Magnolia Home Entertainment Goes With Sept. 22 As The Street Date For Director Andrew Bujalski’s Results

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Rising cult filmmaker Andrew Bujalski’s latest theatrical offering, Results, starring Guy Pearce, Cobie Smulders and Kevin Corrigan, will be making its way to DVD and Blu-ray on Sept. 22 courtesy of Magnolia Home Entertainment.

The ARR works out to 116 days and domestic ticket sales for the film’s limited major metro run were $101,183.

Part character study, part romantic comedy, Results follows Danny (Corrigan), a wealthy, out-of-shape 40-something divorcee, as he tries to get in shape at the Powerful Life Gym (run by Pearce) and becomes enamored (awkwardly so) with his personal trainer Kat (Smulders).