Monday, November 16, 2015

Mill Creek Entertainment Announces New Priced-To-Collect DVD And Blu-ray Product Offerings For The Month Of February

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Mill Creek Entertainment announced new, priced-to-collect Blu-ray and DVD product offerings for the month of February this past week.

Streeting on Feb. 16 is director Kevin Conner’s Emmy-winning (for Best Makeup) 2004 mini-series, Frankenstein.  Mill Creek will be bringing both DVD and Blu-ray editions to mark (priced respectively at just $9.98 and $14.98 each).

Told in flashback, Dr. Frankenstein (Alec Newman) is rescued in the Arctic by explorer Capt. Walton (Donald Sutherland), who then proceeds to relate his story and what events have brought him to the dangers of the ice in the Arctic.   

Quite different from the Universal Pictures 1930s vision of Mary Shelley’s novel, the “Monster” here (played Luke Gross) is an articulate, but tortured soul who ultimately comes in conflict — in very deadly terms — with his creator. 

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyElsewhere on the Feb. 16 release calendar is the double-disc DVD release of The Beast: The Complete Series.   This FBI-themed series stars Patrick Swayze as a grizzled agent — who is not afraid to “color outside the lines” — who is assigned a new partner (Travis Fimmel), an IA mole assigned to see if Swayze has gone rogue!

On the movie front, Mill Creek Entertainment has two double-disc, six film DVD collections — priced at just $9.98 each — retail-ready on Feb. 16.    

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyTitled Street Heat, this collection features XXX: State of the Union (2005, starring Ice Cube, Willem Dafoe and Samuel L. Jackson), Hustle and Heat (aka: Ride or Die — with Vivica A. Fox and Duane Martin), The Take (2007, teaming John Leguizamo with Rosie Perez and Tyrese Gibson), Connor's War (2006, Treach Criss and Nia Peeples), Simon Sez (1999, starring Dennis Rodman) and The Contractor (2007, starring Wesley Snipes).

The other six-film collection in the mix on Feb. 16 is titled Tales from the Prison Yard and it contains some real hard-to-find film gems.   Chief among these is director Fred F. Sears’ 1955 gripping bio-drama, Cell 2455, Death Row, starring William Campbell as the condemned to die “The Red Light Bandit,” Caryl Chessman.   Although Chessman never committed murder — or any other “capital” crime — he was nevertheless convicted under aspects of California’s then “Little Lindbergh Law” and ultimately died in the gas chamber at San Quentin.   

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyOther films in the Tales from the Prison Yard collection are Escape from San Quentin (1957, also directed by Fred F. Sears and starring Richard Devon, Johnny Desmond and Merry Anders), Convicted (1950, with Glenn Ford, Dorothy Malone and Broderick Crawford) The Last Detail (1973, directed by Hal Ashby and starring Jack Nicholson, Otis Young and Randy Quaid), The Valachi Papers (1972, teaming Charles Bronson with Jill Ireland) and once again San Quentin is the focus of attention in director Irving Lerner’s 1959 atomic-age thriller, City of Fear, starring Vince Edwards as an escaped killer with the deadliest package of them all!

The DVD double-disc animated collection, Bump in the Night: The Complete Series, featuring “monsters” Mr. Bumby (voiced by Jim Cummings) and Squishington (voiced by Rob Paulsen) and their “stuffed” doll friend, Molly Coddle (voiced by Gail Matthius) will be available for fans to enjoy on Feb. 12.   The SRP is just $14.98 for all 25 fun-filled episodes!

Oscilloscope Laboratories Selects Jan. 12 For The DVD Debut Of Brazil's Official Oscar Selection - The Second Mother

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Oscilloscope Laboratories has gotten a jump on the 2015 film releases that will be entering the Oscar battle with the announcement this past week that Brazil’s official entry will available as a special edition DVD release on Jan. 12 — the nominations will be announced on Jan. 14 and the 88th edition of the Academy Awards will be broadcast on Sunday, Feb. 28.

A drum roll please … the official entry from Brazil is none other than writer/director Anna Muylaert’s The Second Mother, which has already won the 2015 Berlin International Film Festival and the Sundance Film Festival’s Special Jury Prize.

The ARR for that Jan. 12 street date works out to 137 days and domestic ticket sales currently stand at an impressive $364,010 — that’s a solid number for a foreign language import, which are usually relegated to the arthouse circuit. 

The storyline for The Second Mother (the script is also from Muylaert, who established herself as a filmmaker in Brazil with her 2009 award-winner, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes) could have easily descended to the depths of the soap opera world … all the makings of a cliché-ridden mess.
DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

Consider this, Val (Regina Casé — Me You Them, Made in China, etc.) is a long-time housekeeper, working for an upscale family in São Paulo.  She’s all but raised the family’s son, Fabinho (Michel Joelsas), who is now about to depart for college.   This dedication on Val’s part came at the cost of leaving her own daughter behind in a rural small town with her estranged husband … economic opportunities were limited and every real (dollar) earned working for Carlos (Lourenço Mutarelli) and Bárbara (Karine Teles) over the years went home to support her daughter (and her future).

You can readily see that this has all the makings of a sudfest, but Muylaert’s script wisely focuses on Val and her loyalties, strengths, sacrifices and love.   There is nothing shallow about her character.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyThe catalyst that drives the story forward is the arrival of the aforementioned daughter, Jéssica (Camila Márdila), who is also of college age and has arrived to visit her mother in preparation for entrance examines.   Val “knows” her place, but to Jéssica, her mother is part of this São Paulo family, and so she views herself as a guest visiting and expects to be treated as such.   She’ll have nothing to do with a mattress on the floor of her mother’s basement hidey-hole — there’s a guest room with its own bathroom!

That “attitude” is a like breath of fresh air in this moribund household.   A series of vignettes play out — keenly observed, with humor, by Muylaert — that ultimately breaks down the barriers within this “home;” a home that has had love all around it, but never fully understood.   

Even Jéssica, at first reluctantly (with petulance), finds within her mother the strength and the love — and sacrifice — that has provided her with a path forward. 

Yes, The Second Mother is a worthy entry in this year’s Foreign Language Oscar derby and Oscilloscope Laboratories will have it available on DVD for all to see — whether it makes the final cut or not.

Bonus features include, deleted scenes, Anna Muylaert’s 1995 short film, The Origin of Babies, newly minted video sessions with filmmaker Muylaert, actors Regina Casé and Camila Márdila, plus producer Caio Gullane and French Journalist Pierre-Michel Meier’s interview session with Anna Muylaert in June of this year.

The Second Mother is presented in Portuguese with optional English subtitles.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

Wild Eye Releasing Looks To Jan. 26 For The DVD Debut Of Director Mike McKown's Survival Knife

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Director Mike McKown, working with a script from producer Jim Towns, will see his double-slasher/serial killer gem, Survival Knife, make it’s DVD debut from Wild Eye Releasing on Jan. 26.

Undoubtedly, if you are reading this announcement about a slasher film heading to the DVD arena, you’ve seen your fair share of these genre delights.   There are the good ones, the bad ones (which can be good in their own way) and the truly awful slasher films.    Survival Knife is unique among them, and despite its budgetary limitations, this is one that is worth catching come the New Year.

At first sight, Penny (Danielle Donahue — Queen Crab, Jurassic Prey, Empire of the Apes, etc.) is a perfect member of every slasher/horror film’s requisite “victim pool.”  You know the type, one of those very attractive young ladies who goes into the spooky house with her friends — or the haunted insane asylum — or goes out camping in the woods … or is counted as one of the party guests at a sorority party.   She will end up in a blood pool.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Slashers and other deranged killers need these beauties for their victim pools.   That’s understood; it is a given.

So as Survival Knife opens, Penny and her friends are off for some fun in the woods and here lurks “The Survivalist,” a deranged serial killer who quickly slashes his way through her friends.  Nothing is left to the imagination.

And there she is, her left eye gouged out and god only knows what body part is next to follow, when she turns the tables and kills the slasher!!   Whoa!  That doesn’t happen in your typical slasher film!

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyHer friends have been carved up, the killer that mutilated her is dead, by her own hand, and she has made the local news.   But what hell now lurks in her head as these events fade?

At this point Survival Knife explores uncharted territory — in terms of slasher films — when the options of suicide and drugs solve nothing.   Penny becomes what nearly destroyed her, a slasher and serial killer — as with director E. Elias Merhige’s 2004 Suspect Zero, our heroine becomes a killer of killers.   GO Penny!!!

Writer/Director Leslye Headland’s Sleeping with Other People Heads To DVD And Blu-ray On Jan. 5 From Paramount Home Media

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
A romantic comedy with a twist is what Paramount Home Media has at the ready on Jan. 5 with the delivery of both DVD and Blu-ray editions of writer/director Leslye Headland’s Sleeping with Other People.

The ARR for this indie pick up is 116 days and ticket sales for the film’s limited theatrical break came to $360,579.

About a dozen years ago — as the film opens — college students Jake (Jason Sudeikis) and Lainey (Alison Brie — perhaps best known as Annie on the Community sitcom) have an “accidental” one-night stand.   They were actually looking for other hook-ups, but settled for what was available.

That would be the end of it, but then we wouldn’t have much of a movie about these two.   And Sleeping with Other People is not what you think.  

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Skip ahead to present day New York City and the lonely college guy — Jake — is now a first class womanizer, he’ll sleep with anyone, including friends of friends and this lifestyle has become a genuine addiction.   He needs help.

Lainey, now also in the city, was desperately in love with a fellow college student way back then when she settled for an evening with Jake.   That hasn’t changed.   His name is Matthew (Adam Scott), he’s married and is a successful gynecologist and Lainey throws herself at him at every opportunity — it’s unrequited love to the tenth degree.   And when he is busy or blows her, she’ll takes whatever is available because … she needs help.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
These two sick love hounds end up reunited at a support group for — are you ready for this? — sex addicts.   It’s a terrific set up that filmmaker Leslye Headland has concocted, it’s like having two alcoholics meet at a bar and help each other NOT to drink.   

Which is precisely what the pair sets out to do, keep each other out of trouble by being a friend and an all-knowing one member support group(ie)!!!   Sleeping with Other People is, like we said, an interesting “twist” with the romantic comedy stable of movies — neither Jake or Lainey are particularly likeable (especially Jake who comes across as creepy at times) and so it takes time for us to warm to them; to root for them to get beyond the forest and see the trees (metaphorically speaking).

VCI Tabs Dec. 15 The DVD Debut Of Classic Comedy Double Feature: Let's Live Again And Gay Intruders

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
VCI Entertainment has target Dec. 15 for the DVD release of the double-feature collection of two rare post-war comedy classics … it is titled Classic Comedy Double Feature: Let's Live Again and Gay Intruders.

The war is over, the atomic age has begun and Larry Blake (John Emery — Kronos, Rocketship X-M, Spellbound, Blood on the Sun, etc.) is on the cutting edge of nuclear science — which is stressful enough — but when word arrives that his brother, George (played by James Millican), has been killed in a plane crash the news could easily send this story off into the world of film noir, spy thrillers and international intrigue, but Let’s Live Again is a post-war comedy that is very much a forerunner to Disney’s Shaggy Dog.

George, the dead brother, returns in the form of a mongrel dog on a mission to protect his brother from the likes of spies and saboteurs.  It’s enough to get even the most prestigious of nuclear physicists locked up in the loony bin … my dead brother is a talking dog!!!   

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
On hand for the romantic interest in Larry’s life is none other than Hillary Brooke (Sherlock Holmes Faces Death, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Invaders from Mars … as herself in The Abbott and Costello Show and as Roberta in the My Little Margie comedy series).

Teamed with Let’s Live Again on this delightful comedy double-bill is director Ray McCarey’s summer of 1948 programmer (originally released by 20th Century-Fox), The Gay Intruders, also starring John Emery, but this time as the famous stage actor John Newberry, who is locked in mortal (verbal) combat with his equally famous stage wife, Maria (played by Tamara Geva — Manhattan Merry-Go-Round, Night Plane from Chungking, etc.). 

They trade barbs and insults … and eventually get the good doctors (psychiatrists) Matson (Leif Erickson — On the Waterfront, The Snake Pit … and as “Big John” Cannon in the TV series, The High Chaparral) and Nash (Virginia Gregg — The Amazing Mr. X, I'll Cry Tomorrow, Terror at Midnight … and she would supply the voice of Norma Bates in all three of the Psycho movies) involved in their verbal fisticuffs. 

Two little-seen comedies on their way to the collector’s market … and just in time to be a stocking stuffer during the Christmas holiday period!!!

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment's Pan Gets A Quick Flip From Theatrical To Home Entertainment On Dec. 22

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
It is hard to fathom what screenwriter Jason Fuchs had in mind when he crafted Pan.  Perhaps it was his stage acting background that influenced his thinking in constructing a “prequel” to J. M. Barrie’s turn-of-the-century (20th Century, that is) stage play, Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up (which was subsequently novelized).

Audiences over the past several generations have long forgotten Peter Pan’s “adult” origins — not a children’s tale to begin with.   That came later with the 1953 Walt Disney animated masterpiece, Peter Pan, which lightened up the tale to kid-friendly status.

We only point this out in that because director Joe Wright’s Pan, which is being moved very quickly to the home entertainment market place by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on Dec. 22 — as both DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack product offerings — failed to find an audience precisely because Fuchs returned (faithfully) to Barrie’s stage play origins.  

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Parents thought the trailers (and word-of-mouth) for Pan were too frightening for the little ones and so there went the kid audience and any thought of a box office bonanza.   Since it is well established that Peter Pan is Disney turf, so too the adult audience.  

Despite being a wonderful film production at all levels (acting, technical aspects, etc.), ticket sales for Pan were a lackluster $32.9 million (the IMDB is reporting a production budget of $150 million, so this is pretty much a box office disaster for Warner Bros.).   

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
As to the speed part, the ARR is just 74 days, which ties the record for the fastest transition from theatrical venues to home entertainment for any film grossing in excess of $25 million.   Paramount’s Katy Perry: Part of Me also made the move from the local multiplex to the nearest retail outlet in 74 days back in 2012.

Clearly, Warner Bros. thought that the Christmas holiday season was its best chance to salvage what they could — those who missed the film theatrically will not be disappointed if they pick up either DVD or Blu-ray editions for their viewing enjoyment during the holidays.

As to bonus features, common to both SKUs is the featurette titled “The Boy Who Would Be Pan.”   Exclusive to the Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack edition is commentary from director Joe Wright (Atonement, Pride & Prejudice, The Soloist) and three addition featurettes — “Never Grow Up: The Legend of Pan,” “The Scoundrels of Neverland” and “Wondrous Realms.”

Universal Studios Home Entertainment Targets Jan. 12 For The Release Of DVD And Blu-ray Editions Of Director Ciarán Foy’s Sinister 2

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Universal Studios Home Entertainment will be delivering DVD and Blu-ray editions of director Ciarán Foy’s demon thriller, Sinister 2, to retailers on Jan. 12.

Released in late August, this sequel to writer’s Scott Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill’s 2012 franchise launch, Sinister, pulled in $27.7 million in ticket sales and arrives with an ARR of 144 days.

Bonus goodies include commentary from director Ciarán Foy (Citadel), deleted scenes and two featurettes — “Time to Watch Another: The Making of Sinister 2” and “Extended Kill Films.”