Saturday, October 10, 2015

Paramount Home Media Selects Dec. 29 As The Street Date For Both DVD And Blu-ray Collections Of Ray Donovan: Season Three

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
When the second season of Ray Donovan ended it was clearly a time of desperation for the Donovan clan.   Mickey’s (Jon Voight) ill-conceived heist went south, landing Terry (Eddie Marsan) in jail, leaving poor Bunchy (Dash Mihok) alone to carrying on the management of the gym (along with other haunting issues).   

As for Ray (Liev Schreiber), he is prepared for prison — if that is his fate — his relationship with this wife, Abby (Paula Malcomson) is unresolved and his close associate, Avi (Steven Bauer), has gone rogue.   There were some good things too … Ray took care of business by killing Cookie Brown (Omar J. Dorsey) right in front of his bodyguards (nice touch leaving a million dollars for them to “divide up”).

When you are a “fixer” to the wealthy and famous your life can get complicated.   Ray knows this … it’s part of the job   This is especially true if your father is a double-dealing lowlife and your family closet is full of skeletons.  
DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

Thus begins Ray Donovan: Season Three, 12 all-new episodes of murder, betrayal and various schemes involving our boy Ray and his associates. Paramount Home Media will have both DVD (a four-disc set) and Blu-ray (three discs) edition available for fans to enjoy at their leisure beginning on Dec. 29.

Bonus goodies include episodes one and two of The Affair and the pilot episode of Showtime’s new series, Billions (debuts Jan. 17 and stars Paul Giamatti, Damian Lewis, Malin Akerman, Maggie Siff, Toby Leonard Moore and David Costabile).

VCI Entertainment Picks Nov. 3 For The DVD Release Of Restore Editions Of D.W. Griffith's The Birth Of A Nation And Intolerance

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
VCI Entertainment announced this past week a film restoration celebrating the 100th anniversary of D.W. Griffith’s 1915 silent film classic, The Birth of a Nation, will be released on DVD this coming Nov. 3.

As a bonus, his follow-up masterpiece in 1916, Intolerance, is also included in this double-disc collection titled 2015 Centennial Edition: The Birth of a Nation/Intolerance

Regardless of the politics associated with The Birth of a Nation — one can’t help but think how different “Reconstruction” would have been if president Lincoln had not been assassinated — it remains a landmark film, which technically-speaking was far ahead of its time.   Sadly, that “timeline” of Lincoln as the overseer of the post-Civil War healing process was lost to us.

VCI Entertainment has restored The Birth of a Nation to its original theatrical aspect ratio (1.33:1) and its proper projection speed of 16 frames per second (FPS), which yields a running time of 199 minutes for this presentation.   

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
A new recording of Joseph Carl Breil’s original 1915 orchestral score for the film has also been prepared for this restoration release and the appropriate “color tint” sequences have been restored as well.   

Intolerance has also been digitally restored to its proper aspect ratio and 16 FPS theatrical projection speed (with restored color-tinted sequences).  The running time clocks in at 180 minutes. 

Also included as a bonus feature is a newly-prepared video presentation of the original souvenir programs for both The Birth of a Nation and Intolerance.   Additionally, renowned musicologist Eric Beheim’s “Music Notes” for both The Birth of a Nation and Intolerance have been reprinted and are included here as an insert.

Wild Eye Releasing Picks Nov. 24 For The DVD Launch Of Director Video Rahim's Rebel Scum

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Wild Eye Releasing will be delivering award-winning filmmaker and prolific music video director Video Rahim’s (aka: Anthony Hakmati) feature-length documentary, Rebel Scum, to DVD retailers on Nov. 24.

Filmed over a two-year period, this no-holds-barred look at the lifestyle and music of Knoxville’s very own “white trash punk band,” The Dirty Works, has worked the festival circuit — with the most recent Audience Choice win at the Y'Allywood Film Festival in September of this year — and has had selected major metro screenings.  Those venues are all well and good, but by their very nature, limiting.

But now, with Wild Eye Releasing’s DVD product offering of Rebel Scum on Nov. 24, both fans and the curious, can have access to this provocative tale.  

Is the frontman for The Dirty Works, Christopher Scum (aka: Christopher Andrews) talented?   The answer is yes — you have to give him that even if his music is not your particular cup of tea.

Is he destructive?  Angry?  Addicted?   Yes, yes and yes.   His life is an absolute train wreck and Rahim captures that on screen in spades.   
DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey 

It didn’t get any better in July of this year when he was involved in a rear-end auto accident in Spartanburg, Tennessee South Carolina that took the life of his girlfriend (Donna Renee Bailey) and left him badly burned in a nearby hospital.
Whether he returns to performing with The Dirty Works remains unanswered, but captured on film for all time is both his talent and his on-stage/off-stage behavior of excesses.  

Filmmaker Video Rahim does excellent job of being objective and yet a storyteller at the same time.   Wild Eye Releasing’s Rebel Scum is well worth a look-see on DVD on Nov. 24.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

Icarus Films And The KimStim Collection Ready Writer/Director Eskil Vogt’s Blind For The Domestic DVD Market Place On Dec. 8

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Icarus Films will be teaming the KimStim Collection on Dec. 8 for the domestic DVD debut of Norwegian filmmaker Eskil Vogt’s Blind.

After delivering a pair of award-winning scripts — Reprise (2006) and Oslo, August 31st (2011) — Vogt has taken his latest creation and elected himself as the director.  In the process, he has delivered not only another excellent screenplay (very offbeat), but his direction is sure and surprisingly mature for a first effort.

At the center of his story is Ingrid (Ellen Dorrit Petersen — King of Devil’s Island, Trouble Water, Into the Dark, etc.), a thirty-something writer, living in Oslo, married and faced with a life-changing condition.   She’s recently lost her sight (hence the title).

Let’s be honest, that doesn’t sound like much a starting point for a film — a blind woman wanders around her apartment while her marriage falls apart.  

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
But Vogt has many twists and turns and surprises in store for us in his clever narrative and the equally clever cinematic presentation (sound and cinematography as storytelling elements).   We hear Ingrid’s mind at work as she struggles with her condition and the tricks her active mind is capable of playing on her … and us as the story unfolds.

Indeed, we learn early on that two of the main characters in her world, Elin (Vera Vitali), her neighbor, a single-mom caught up in a joint custody battle, and Einar (Marius Kolbenstvedt), a deviant with an addiction to porn, are of her own creation.   They are real to us, but fictions created in her mind.   They serve a purpose that becomes clear(er) as the story unfolds.

Her husband, Morten (Henrik Rafaelsen), is real, but as things progress we can never really be sure if he is there — spying on her — or off to work.   And when he’s there, making noise and moving around, we can’t really be sure if Ingrid is manufacturing his presence in her mind.

Blind deals with being blind — a world of physical limitations — but also with loneliness, coping with despair and trying to adapt to a world that is not of one’s making.

Blind is presented in Norwegian with English subtitles.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

Will Bill Elliott Rides In Eight Classic Westerns From Warner Bros. Home Entertainment On Oct. 13

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will be bringing to the DVD market place on Oct. 13 a three-disc, eight-film collection featuring early 1950s program Westerns starring Wild Bill Elliott.

Titled the Wild Bill Elliott Western Collection, the collection features eight films from his post-Red Ryder series that he made famous during the 1940s.   Beginning in 1951, fans can enjoy The Longhorn, directed by Lewis Collins and teaming Elliott with Phyllis Coates, Myron Healey and I. Stanford Jolley.

Next are three of his Westerns from 1952 — Waco (directed by Collins, with Pamela Blake), Kansas Territory (also directed by Collins, with Peggy Stewart) and The Maverick (Thomas Carr handled the direction and Elliott is reunited with Phyllis Coates — the same year she would become the first Lois Lane on the Adventures of Superman television series and Thomas Carr would handle most of the early series directing honors for that series).
From 1953, we find Elliott starring in Rebel City (direction by Carr, with Marjorie Lord), Topeka (with Carr and Coates) and Vigilante Terror (direction by Lewis Collins, with an exceptional cast that includes Fuzzy Knight, I. Stanford Jolley, Myron Healy and Mary Ellen Kay).

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyThe last film in this collection in director Thomas Carr’s 1954 film release of The Forty-Niners, which teams Elliott with Virginia Grey and such familiar faces as I. Stanford Jolley, Harry Morgan and Harry Lauter.

Also announced this week from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment is director Max Joseph’s film release of We are Your Friends, starring Zac Efron as a wanna be DJ who double-crosses his mentor (Wes Bentley) by falling for his girlfriend (played by Emily Ratajkowski).
The street date for the DVD-only release is Nov. 17.    

The ARR is a zippy 81 and ticket sales were a lackluster $3.6 million.

The only bonus nugget is the featurette titled, “How Zac Efron Learned to DJ.”

Universal Studios Home Entertainment's Minions Will Be Retail-Ready On Dec. 8 With DVD And Two Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Editions (One With And One Without A 3D Viewing Option)

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
It was only last week that we speculated that Universal Studios Home Entertainment appeared to be clearing the decks for a major announcement by movie writer/director Joel Edgerton’s The Gift into the Oct. 27 release slot with a fast-to-market ARR of just 81 days.

Well, guess what, this week Universal is back with another one of their summer theatrical blockbusters, the directing team of Kyle Balda and Pierre Coffin’s smash hit, Minions.

The street for a stand alone DVD SKU, a Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack (with UltraViolet) and a Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack version featuring a 3D presentation of the film (also with UltraViolet) will be Dec. 8, which yields an ARR of 151 days.   Domestic ticket sales at local multiplexes this past summer were a healthy $333.9 million.   
Basically, when you have numbers like this the studio can make animated adventures starring the Minion for the next 100 years.  This spin-off (actually, sort of a prequel) of the Despicable Me series allows the little guys free reign to explore new adventures — and various villain masters (who don’t fare all that well) — of their own.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
During the Golden Age of theatrical cartoons, these little guys would have been a franchise in their own right.   Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Woody Woodpecker, Betty Boop and Minions … yup, they are characters cut from the same cloth.  

Indeed, counted among the bonus features are three new “mini movies” starring the Minions — “Cro Minion,” “Competition” and “Binky Nelson Unpacified” — plus “Jingle Bells Minion Style.”   If the studios were still making theatrical cartoons, you could expect to see Universal cranking out a half-dozen seven to eight minute cartoon adventures starring the Minions each year.   Sigh, those were fun days at the movies. 

Other bonus goodies include a deleted scene, over a dozen featurettes and three separate still galleries.

The X-Files Heads To Blu-ray On Dec. 8 Courtesy Of 20th Century-Fox Home Entertainment

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
The truth is out there on Dec. 8 when 20th Century-Fox Home Entertainment delivers Blu-ray editions of The X-Files — both as individual seasons and as monster collectible gift set (Christmas!!!). 

The studio wrapped the press announcement around the full-series (all nine seasons) on Blu-ray with the caveat: “Fans can also purchase each season individually on Blu-ray on December 8.”   The SRP for the full series (all 202 episodes) is $299.99, which likely means that each of the nine seasons will carry a $39.99 to $44.99 price tag (that sort of SRP pricing makes the full-set very attractive to fans).

One cool little extra associated with the Blu-ray box set is that Fox has left an open slot for fans to add the new six-episode The X-Files mini-series that will debut in spectacular fashion on Sunday, Jan. 24.

This Blu-ray collection also comes loaded with “23 hours” of bonus goodies, which includes selected episode commentaries, deleted scenes, numerous featurettes and a multi-part documentary titled “The Truth About …”

Lionsgate Home Entertainment Targets Nov. 24 For DVD And Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Editions Of Shaun The Sheep Movie

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Lionsgate Home Entertainment announced this past week that the writing and directing team of Richard Starzak and Mark Burton will see their beloved stop-motion animation hero — Shaun the Sheep — available as both DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack (with UltraViolet) editions on Nov. 24 in his motion picture debut, Shaun the Sheep Movie.

The film — a fan’s delight to be sure — pulled in $19.2 million in domestic ticket sales during its August theatrical run.   The ARR is 109 days.

Bonus features (limited to the Blu-ray SKU) include four featurettes and a “Parody Poster” gallery.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Wolfe Selects Dec. 8 For The DVD Debut Of Director Mika Kaurismäki’s The Girl King

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Wolfe announced this past week that director Mika Kaurismäki’s The Girl King, the award-winning look at the life of Queen Christina (Kristina) of Sweden — who found herself on the throne at the ripe old age of six following her father’s death in battle in 1632 — will be available to own on DVD this coming Dec. 8.

First made famous, cinematically-speaking, by Greta Garbo in director Rouben Mamoulian’s 1934 film release of Queen Christina, Kaurismäki’s production does not have the same studio restraints of the 1930s and is able to more fully explore both the cunning nature of this monarch’s rule and her sexual orientation. 

The title, The Girl King, is no accident.   History records that Queen Christina learned quickly about the control and use of power … she had to walk a fine line between representing her Protestant-leaning population and her underlying loyalty to Rome.   Further, marriage of convenience and political alliance was the norm of the day, which she rejected time and again.

Sex and religion, these are the things that could get a monarch murdered.  

Swedish actress Malin Buska (as was Garbo) plays Christina as the young woman on the throne.   She has been educated by her court advisers — her father dead; her mother insane — to handle herself in both the ways of the court (the political intrigues) as well as being schooled in the fighting and riding skills of any man of the day.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
We pick up her story as a young adult capable of outriding and fighting any man, who acts quickly to made peace with the Holy Roman Empire (much to the chagrin of her military advisors).   She also has her eye on Ebba Sparre (played by Sarah Gadon — Maps to the Stars, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, etc.) and their relationship proves to be as passionate as it is doomed.

The Girl King, beautifully unfolds as both a love story and as political action thiller.  It is an accurate retelling of the life and loves of this Northern Renaissance woman; a woman of letters, a lover and a queen.   Those who have marveled at the 1934 film and Garbo’s perfomance, will be well-served to catch filmmaker Mika Kaurismäki’s The Girl King … Malin Buska more than holds her own.

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Film Chest Tabs Nov. 17 As The Retail-Ready Date For The Eleven-Film DVD Collection Titled Dark Film Mysteries

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
The Film Chest announced this week that a three-disc, eleven-film collection will be heading to the DVD market place on Nov. 17.   We can report that this box set will have film noir affectionados, mystery fans and film buffs in general licking their chops to get their hands on a copy of this nicely priced SKU on this mid-November release date.

Titled Dark Film Mysteries, the company is reporting that they could have easily crammed these new transfers on two discs, but elected — for quality reasons — to spread the content over a full three-disc presentation.

Included in the mix are director Fritz Lang’s 1945 film release of Scarlet Street (with Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett and Dan Duryea), Orson Welles’ The Stranger (1946, also with Edward G. Robinson, along with Orson Welles and Loretta Young) and The Red House (1947, you got it, Edward G. Robinson).

Yes, there are films in this marvelous collection that don’t star Robinson.  For example, Woman on the Run (1950) teams Ann Sheridan with Dennis O’Keefe; director Lewis Milestone’s 1946 film noir The Strange Love of Martha Ivers is blessed with a cast that includes Barbara Stanwyck, Kick Douglas, Van Heflin and Lizabeth Scott and Kansas City Confidential features some of the silver screen’s greatest “faces” (character actors) — Neville Brand, Lee Van Cleef, Jack Elam and Preston Foster, all in support of John Payne and Coleen Gray.
DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

Rounding out the selections are Quicksand (1950, starring the late Mickey Rooney), director Edgar G. Ulmer’s 1945 micro-budget film noir masterpiece, Detour (with Tom Neal and Ann Savage), director Lew Landers’ 1948 film release of Inner Sanctum (starring Charles Russell and Mary Beth Hughes) and director Maxwell Shane’s 1947 film noir release of Fear in the Night (DeForest Kelley, Ann Doran and Paul Kelly).

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Icarus Films And The KimStim Collection Will Release Documentary Filmmaker Arne Birkenstock’s Beltracchi: The Art Of Forgery On DVD On Nov. 17

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Icarus Films is teaming with the KimStim Collection on Nov. 17 for the DVD debut of documentary filmmaker Arne Birkenstock’s Beltracchi: The Art Of Forgery.

Earlier this year (Jan. 27), Oscilloscope released Art and Craft, which told the story of artist Mark Landis and his seemingly endless stream of forged paintings.  Not only could he mimic the greats, put he would pull off elaborate schemes to get unsuspecting museums to take and display his donated works.   Technically-speaking, Landis never committed any crime since all of his paintings were donated free of charge.

This was not, however, the case with art forger Wolfgang Beltracchi.  Over a forty year period he sold over $45 million worth of French and German masterworks “created” by such artists as surrealist Max Ernst, cubist Fernand Léger, modernist Heinrich Campendonk, fauvist André Derain and expressionist Max Pechstein.   

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
The 20th Century artists were all of different disciplines, but they all had one thing in common.  They all died after World War II, which meant that Europe was in chaos from before 1939 and up through the early 1950s.  Museums were raided (Nazis), paintings stolen, priceless masterpieces lost, destroyed or in the hands of private collectors.

Beltracchi, like Mark Landis, is a gifted artist (and also an art historian) in his own right, but his confidence scheme used the chaos of the war years and the demise of these famous artists to fill in the gaps of their collective works.   Think about it, there are no witnesses, so if suddenly a “missing” Max Ernst painting is found, who is to say, “I didn’t paint that!!!”

Indeed, his wife, Helene became part of his elaborate hoax.   She convinced the world that her grandfather had hidden many of the German painters works from the Nazi onslaught.   Museums, curators and even the renown Sotheby's auction house fell for it.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyHe was finally undone when a rare work of modernist Heinrich Campendonk, that he had “envisioned,” contained paint that did not exist prior to World War I.

Wolfgang Beltracchi ended up doing six years in prison and owes millions in fines.   Filmmaker Arne Birkenstock was able to get Beltracchi to sit down and talk about his “work.” 

There remains a great irony to his collective “work,” many of those who bought such paintings remain in denial that they are actually forgeries.   If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, then it must be a duck!!!

Beltracchi: The Art Of Forgery is presented in German with English subtitles.  Bonus features include separate video sessions with Wolfgang and Helene Beltracchi and filmmaker Arne Birkenstock, plus the featurette titled, “Art Authenticators Visit Beltracchi’s Studio.”

FilmWorks Entertainment Will Release On DVD Documentary Filmmaker Kayla McCormicked SelectED This Coming Dec. 15

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
It is a saying that is often heard among those who have faced addiction.  It goes something like this: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting a different result.”   

Drugs, alcohol … and education.   They all seem to be categories that fit into this “definition” of insanity.    

On Dec. 15, FilmWorks Entertainment will release on DVD documentary filmmaker Kayla McCormick’s SelectED, an insightful, thought-provoking look at the competition and process of getting into Chicago’s Whitney Young High School.

This is THE public high school in the city of Chicago to get into.   It is, for the lucky ones, perhaps their only “ticket out of poverty.”

Consider this, 10,000 apply each year for the 350 open enrollment spots.   The competition is fierce.   But beyond this “lottery,” why does this particular school work, while so many others in Chicagoland are failing?

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyFor one full year McCormick tracked the process; the students; their parents — their hopes and dreams — and the result is a finished film that is every bit as riveting in its storytelling as any Hollywood thriller.   Clearly, those involved with the educational process at Whitney Young High School have found a way to break this educational cycle of insanity.   

SelectED shines some light on just how that works.   Can it be replicated?  And what of those who don’t make the cut?

Bonus features include extended and additional sequences that did not make the final cut of the film.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

Cinema Libre Will Bring DVD And Blu-ray Editions Of Director Carlos Bolado's Olvidados To Domestic Home Entertainment On Dec.1

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
One of Mexico’s premiere filmmakers, Carlos Bolado (six Ariel Awards nominations, with a win for Bajo California: El Límite del Tiempo), heads to South America for the all too familiar tale of how “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

Titled Olvidados (aka: Forgotten), this film was Bolivia’s official entry into last year’s Best Foreign Language competition, and will now be available from Cinema Libre on Dec. 1 as both DVD and Blu-ray product offerings.

Central and South America served as the turf for Cold War proxy battles between the United States and the Soviet Union — our ruthless dictators held in check their ruthless “freedom fighters” and visa-versa.    Brutality was not only overlooked, but actually funded.

In the case of Olvidados, we follow the reprehensible fallout of “Operation Condor” in such countries as Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay, where “our” dictators were in favor over their revolutionaries.   This dramatic tale has former military strong man José Mendieta (played at various ages by Lorenzo Quinteros and Damián Alcázar) coming face to face with his own mortality with a near-fatal heart attack.    

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyThis prompts him to get his past deeds off his chest by writing letters to his son Pablo (Bernardo Peña).

It is pretty ugly, countless thousands died, prisons were full and, if the truth be known, José (and those like him) is nothing more than a sociopath operating under the color of authority.   Rape, torture and murder … all under the clandestine auspices of “Operation Condor.”