Sunday, November 22, 2015

Paramount Home Media Distribution Adds Director Jerry Jameson's Captive To Its Jan. 5 DVD Release Calendar

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Paramount Home Media has added director Jerry Jameson’s film adaptation of the Ashley Smith’s first-person novel, “Unlikely Angel: The Untold Story of the Atlanta Hostage Hero” — which was mercifully shortened for the screen to just Captive — to its Jan. 5 DVD release calendar.

The ARR works out to 109 days and box office receipts for the film’s limited theatrical run amount to $2.6 million.

Based on actual events that took place in Atlanta, Georgia on March 11 and 12, 2005, meth-addict Ashley Smith was taken hostage by Brian Nichols, an inmate on the run, who had murdered four people earlier in the day.   That screams “MOW” — you know the type that pop up on “certain channels” and seem to last for five hours with commercial breaks every six and half minutes.   UGH, that’s painful!

Instead, Captive is a well-paced, faith-based thriller that is more or less an accurate re-telling of the events that unfolded between 2:00 AM and 9:00 AM on the morning of March 12, 2005.
DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

Nichols (played by David Oyelowo) snaps, beats a guard, takes her gun, murders the judge, the court reporter and a deputy and then escapes.   Later he kills an ICE agent.   All true.   We know from the get-go that Nichols is violent and capable of murder.

Meanwhile, we are introduced to Smith (Kate Mara), a young widow, a mother and a meth-addict … she has come into possession of a copy of Rick Warren's “The Purpose Driven Life” (the actual arrival of that book in her life in the movie is different than what really happened, but that’s called “dramatic license” … and that’s OK).   That book will become very important for this loser on a downward spiral.   

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
At two in the morning, death awaits, the desperate Nichols grabs her, takes her into her apartment, ties her up and then what transpires over the next seven hours changes her life — and perhaps his — forever.  

At some point during the evening she shares her drug stash with Nichols, declines to join him … later she will read him passages from the book.  At nine in the morning he will let her go.   Simple enough, but what transpires during those seven tense-filled hours changed Smith … the arrival of Nichols proved to be nothing short of an “angel of redemption.”

Bonus features include a pair of featurettes — “Journey Through Darkness: Filming Captive” and “Faith and The Purpose Driven Life.  

The Film Detective Announces 16 New Film Restorations For Delivery To The DVD Market Place On Nov. 24

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
The Film Detective announced this past week that there will be 16 new film restorations ready for DVD library-builders and collectors on Nov. 24.

Priced to own is a newly restored DVD presentation of producer/director Brooke L. Peters’ (aka: Boris Petroff) classic 1961 suspense thriller, Anatomy of a Psycho, starring Darrell Howe as Chet, a teen who becomes increasing unhinged after his brother is caught, convicted and executed for murder.   What pushes our boy Chet over the edge is when he discovers that his sexy sister, Pat (played by Pamela Lincoln — The Tingler), is dating Mickey (Ronnie Burns), the son of the rat who provided the testimony that sent their brother to the gas chamber.   

There is plenty of historical evidence that famed filmmaker Ed Wood had a hand in the script for Anatomy of a Psycho (and several music clips from his sci-fi opus, Plan Nine From Outer Space are noted).

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Which is a nice segue to another film on the Nov. 24 release calendar from the Film Detective that is every bit an Ed Wood’s gem.   That would be his 1954 lurid film noir, Jail Bait, starring Clancy Malone as a two-bit thug named Don Gregor, who is the son a famous plastic surgeon and the brother of the alluring Marilyn (played by Dolores Fuller — Bride of the Monster, Glen or Glenda, etc.).   

As the story develops we find that our boy Don has fallen in with unsavory types, namely career criminal Vic Brady (Timothy Farrell) and the pair are constantly under the surveillance of Inspector Johns (Lyle Talbot) and his sidekick, Lt. Lawrence (played by future Hercules legend Steve Reeves in his theatrical debut).   Vintage Los Angeles shooting sites (likely all done without permits by Wood), a robbery gone south, homicide and a twist ending make Jail Bait one Ed Wood’s “better” (meaning more coherent) film productions.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyAlso on the crime front on Nov. 24 are Monogram Pictures’ The Phantom Broadcast (1933, directed by the prolific Phil Rosen and starring Ralph Forbes, Gail Patrick, Arnold Gray and Vivienne Osborne), director William A. Graham’s 1974 full-length pilot film for Teresa Graves’ Get Christ Love (she would be featured in 22 additional episodes during 1974/1975 season and receive a Golden Globe nomination for her work) and the 1959 mixed-genre haunted house horror/mystery, The House on Haunted Hill, starring Vincent Price as a wealthy eccentric who concocts an elaborate “haunted house” story to unmask the culprits behind his intended murder — director William Castle does a nice balancing job between the traditional horror elements and those of a nice whodunit thriller — spoiler alert — it was, of course, his wife (played by Carol Ohmart) and her lover (Alan Marshal) ... or is the house really haunted!!!

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
For Western fans, the restored film-to-DVD selections from the Film Detective on Nov. 24 include Rage at Dawn (1955, Randolph Scott is joined by Mala Powers, Forrest Tucker, Myron Healey and J. Carrol Naish), Six Gun Trail (1938, starring Tim McCoy and Nora Lane), Riders of the Whistling Skull (1937, a Three Mesquiteers Western teaming Robert Livingston, Ray “Crash” Corrigan and Max Terhune with the lovely Mary Russell) and ultra-rare The Drifter (1932, directed by William O'Connor — an early sound film shot on location in Big Bear, California and William Farnum, Noah Berry and Phyllis Barrington).

Rounding out the film selections are the likes of director Ray Dennis Steckler’s 1962 film “classic,” Wild Guitar, starring cult (yes cult) actor Arch Hall, Jr. (who actually was a pretty good musician before giving up his Hollywood career to become a commercial pilot) as an up-and-coming singer who is taken full advantage by city slickers (the chief among them is Arch Hall, Sr.!!!), director Lewis Allen’s 1954 presidential assassination thriller, Suddenly, starring Frank Sinatra, Sterling Hayden and Nancy Gates and director William Pine’s 1954 Swamp Fire (filmed on location in Louisiana), starring ex-Tarzans Johnny Weissmuller and Buster Crabbe along with the sultry Virginia Grey (Target Earth, All That Heaven Allows, The Rose Tattoo, etc.).

For a complete listing of all of the Film Detective’s Nov. 24 DVD product offerings please see page 6 of this week’s edition of the DVD & Blu-ray Release Report.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

Director Harvey Lowry's Cassidy Way Will Makes Its DVD Debut On Feb. 23 Courtesy Of FilmWorks Entertainment

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
FilmWorks Entertainment announced this past week that makeup and F/X whiz Harvey Lowry’s trip behind the camera as director, Cassidy Way, will be making its DVD debut on Feb. 23.

Based loosely on actual events, Donald Connors (Christopher Rich), his wife, Mary (Lisa Long) and their two surviving children — Kelsey (Sydney Sweeney) and Jamison (Sean H. Scully) — are still grieving the loss of Ferris, their young son and brother, who was killed by security guards when he was caught trespassing on a Saxlow Industries’ fracking project.  

That was nearly ten years ago, but for the Connors it was like yesterday.   Time for them has stood still.

The locals know not to drink the water, but Donald has ignored that advice of late and has been guzzling down the tainted water as if it were a fine wine.  The result, he’s starting to lose it — grief and insanity can be a deadly combination.  

Mary, his wife (a dysfunctional pill-popper) and her kids have issues of their own — anger and a thirst for revenge can be a combination that is just as deadly.   It’s like an itch that can’t be scratched.
DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

Meanwhile, in something of a parallel story, we are introduced to Gina (Nikki Moore — Kiss the Abyss, Sorority Row, The Babymakers, etc.), a college student working on her filmmaking thesis project, which just happens to be a documentary on fracking and the resulting tainted water supply.   Her filmmaking crew — which for any good horror thriller also doubles as the “victim pool” — includes Collin (Randy Wayne) and Mitch (Michael Nardelli), both of which are enamored with the lovely Gina and more than eager to go anywhere she wants to go.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Their worlds collide when Gina and her friends begin nosing around the area in an effort to build their film story.   Donald, being more than a little unhinged comes to believe that Gina and her crew are with Saxlow — which is very bad news for them.   

The Connors have descended into madness, but not without good reasons as executives (a nice turn by veteran Stan Shaw) from Saxlow Industries are after their land and violence is not beyond them.   That fuse lit so many years ago has continued to burn … there’s simply no reasoning with insanity!

Cassidy Way is a slick, well-produced (owing immensely to Lowry’s years of industry experience) thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat.   It’s not a horror film in the traditional sense, but a psycho-driven suspense thriller with horrific elements (torture, murder, madness and packed with some pretty grisly elements).

Bonus goodies include a photo gallery and a Making-Of featurette.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

Wolfe Announces The DVD Debut On Feb. 2 Of Writer/Director Josh Kim’s How To Win at Checkers (Every Time)

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Thai-American writer Rattawut Lapcharoensap’s 2005 collection of seven short stories, “Sightseeing,” is the backbone for Korean-American writer/director Josh Kim’s award-winning film, How To Win at Checkers (Every Time).

Wolfe announced this past week that Feb. 2 will be the DVD release date for this Thai-language import.

Told from the adult POV of the central character with a quick early prologue, we shift to an eleven-year-old named Oat (Ingkarat Damrongsakkul), where we learn that three things about his older brother, Ek (Thira Chutikul) — he’s the sole support for his brother (they are orphans who live with their aunt), his turn for the Thai Army lottery is drawing near and he’s gay.   Army life is clearly not for him.

For the wealthy none of these are an issue.   Being gay in Thailand is not quite the same as other Asian countries and those with resources can easily buy their way out of the annual game of “chance.”   Ek’s friend, Jai (Arthur Navarat) is from a family of means and has done just that.   Corruption is acceptable — drawing a black ticket, as opposed to a red ticket, or not having to draw any ticket at all can be arranged.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
For Oat, who loves, accepts and understands his older brother without exception, he has learned from living on the fringes of Thai society that there are winners and losers … and he sees his life as being that of a winner, no matter what it takes.   

His attempts at “working the system” only put his brother in greater peril, but it is a learning process that will color a “career” path for Oat as he moves from child to an adult.   The irony is, without giving too much away, that his efforts are over taken by events beyond his control.

Bonus features include Josh Kim’s short film, “Draft Day.”

Universal Studios Home Entertainment Announces Blu-ray And DVD Selections Of Straight Outta Compton And Everest For Delivery On Jan. 19

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Universal Studios Home Entertainment has tagged Jan. 19 as the street date for producer/director F. Gary Gray’s West Coast rap homage, Straight Outta Compton.

The ARR is a leisurely 158 days (the timing of the home entertainment push suggests Oscar considerations are in play — the announcements will be on Jan. 14) and box office receipts were a robust $161 million.

Universal has a stand alone DVD edition planned (the R-rated theatrical version) and a Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack, that includes both the theatrical cut and an unrated “Director’s Cut,” which clocks in with an additional 20 minutes worth of culled footage.

Common to both release SKU are commentary from F. Gary Gray (Law Abiding Citizen, The Italian Job, The Negotiator) and five production featuettes — “N.W.A.  The Origins,” “Impact,” “Director’s Journey,” “The Streets: Filming in Compton” and “N.W.A. Performs In Detroit.”

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Exclusive to the Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack are deleted scenes, an unspecified “never before seen performance” and an additional featurette titled, “Becoming N.W.A.”

Also getting a Jan. 19 release date this week from Universal Studios Home Entertainment is Baltasar Kormákur’s true-life adventure, Everest, featuring the all-star cast of Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Kelly, Sam Worthington, John Hawkes and Emily Watson.

Planned for release are a DVD SKU and two Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack offerings — one with and one without a 3D viewing (the premium is fifteen bucks).

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
The ARR for Everest is 123 days and ticket sales currently stand at $43.1 million.

Based on the May of 1996 ill-fated Everest ascent in which eight of the climbers were caught in a massive storm and perished, bonus features included with all three home entertainment release versions include commentary from director  Baltasar Kormákur (101 Reykjavík, 2 Guns, Contraband) and two featurettes — “Race to the Summit: The Making of Everest” and “A Mountain of Work: Recreating Everest.”

Exclusive to the Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack SKUs are two additional featurettes, “Learning to Climb: The Actor’s Journey” and “A Mountain of Work: Recreating Everest.”

The Criterion Collection Announces It February 2016 DVD And Blu-ray Release Calendar — Headed By A Restored Presentation Of The Graduate

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Here’s to you Mrs. Robinson on Feb. 23, so say the Criterion Collection as it preps a new 4K restoration of director Mike Nichols’ 1968 film gem, The Graduate.

Nominated for seven Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actor for Dustin Hoffman, Best Actress for Anne Bancroft and Best Supporting Actress for Katharine Ross, the film walked away with just the Oscar for the late Mike Nichols direction (his only win despite being nominated five times — The Remains of the Day, Working Girl, Silkwood and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? were his other Best Director Oscar nominations).

Criterion has both a double-disc DVD edition and a Blu-ray release planned for that date.
Bonus nuggets include two vintage commentary tracks — from 2007, Mike Nichols and Steven Soderbergh, and from 1987, author and former chair of UCLA’s Film and Television Producers Program, Howard Suber — plus there are newly-prepared video sessions with Dustin Hoffman; producer Lawrence Turman and screenwriter Buck Henry, and film historian Bobbie O’Steen (co-author of “Cut to the Chase: Forty-Five Years of Editing America's Favourite Movies” (with her father Sam O’Steen) and author of “The Invisible Cut: How Editors Make Movie Magic”) gives insights into editor Sam O’Steen’s work on the film (he was Oscar-nominated for Best Film Editing on Silkwood, Chinatown and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?).

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Not done yet, the Criterion Collection also includes screen tests, the short film titled “Students of The Graduate,” the featurette, “The Graduate at 25” and Barbara Walters’ 1966 interview session with director Mike Nichols.

How’s that for a grand beginning to the Criterion Collection’s February release calendar?  
Also heading home in February as DVD and Blu-ray SKUs are director Jan Troll’s Emigrants/The New Land (Swedish) (3 disc DVD set or 2 disc Blu-ray) on Feb. 9; a new 4K restoration of Charles Chaplin’s 1921 film release of The Kid and Japanese filmmaker Nagisa Oshima’s 1968 film, Death by Hanging (both of these street on Feb. 16) and joining The Graduate on Feb. 23 is Italian filmmaker Antonio Pietrangeli’s 1965 film, I Knew Her Well.

Lionsgate Home Entertainment Opens Its 2016 Home Entertainment Product Campaign With DVD And Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Editions Of Director Denis Villeneuve’s Sicario On Jan. 5

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Director Denis Villeneuve’s oddly-titled, but surprisingly effective drug-war thriller, Sicario, will be available from Lionsgate Home Entertainment as DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack offerings on Jan. 5.

The ARR comes in at 109 days and domestic ticket sales were a nice $45.2 million.

Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro topline in a film where the “reveal” seems a tad silly — that aside — this is a slick thrill ride that never taps the brakes or disappoints.   

Bonus goodies (limited to the Blu-ray SKU) include four featurettes — “Stepping into Darkness: The Visual Design of Sicario,” “Blunt, Brolin & Benicio: Portraying the Characters of Sicario,” “Battle Zone: The Origins of Sicario,” and “A Pulse from the Desert: The Score of Sicario.”