Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Film Detective Announces Ten New Film Restorations For The DVD Market On Dec. 22

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
The Film Detective announced ten new film restorations for delivery to the DVD format on Dec. 22 — just in time to serve as last minute stocking-stuffers for film fans and collectors.

There are a couple of real gems included in this mix, including director William Berke’s 1944 betrayal thriller, Dark Mountain.   

This major-studio, B-programmer stars Ellen Drew (Isle of the Dead, The Great Missouri Raid, etc.) as a gullible newlywed who soon discovers that her husband, played by Regis Toomey, is a black market thug (it’s World War II after all) who has implicated her in nefarious schemes and framed her for murder.   

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyTo her rescue comes her former boyfriend (Robert Lowery), a forest ranger, who spirits her away to the safety of the woods, but to no avail as her creepy husband tracks her down … a thrilling climax follows, with a four-legged hero playing a key role in bringing the villain to justice.

Another film treasure included in the Film Detective’s Dec. 22 release schedule is director Gordon Douglas’ 1941 comedy salute to all-things trains, Broadway Limited.   This United Artists theatrical release of a Hal Roach production stars Marjorie Woodworth, Victor McLaglen, Patsy Kelly, Zasu Pitts, Dennis O'Keefe and the famed New York to Chicago train, the Broadway Limited.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyRestored silent-film releases on Dec. 22 are Buster Keaton’s College (silent-1927) and Rudolph Valentino’s 1922 release of Blood and Sand.

For Western fans we have three from director Sam Newfield — all starring Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers film legend Buster Crabbe — the 1942 release of Billy the Kid Trapped (with Anne Jeffreys) and from the following year, Cattle Stampede (with Mary Dawson) and Devil Riders (with Patti McCarty) and lastly there is the Roger Rogers/Dale Evans 1944 classic, Cowboy and the Senorita.

Rounding out the Dec. 22 film restorations are director William A. Wellman’s 1943 mystery Lady of Burlesque, starring Barbara Stanwyck and Michael O'Shea and the Charles Coburn comedy, Colonel Effingham's Raid (1944, co-starring Joan Bennett).

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

Mill Creek Entertainment To Release The Thorn: The Live Theatrical Experience On DVD On Mar. 27

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Mill Creek Entertainment has added several new DVD selections to its already busy March of 2016 release calendar.

For over 20 years audiences have flocked to see John and Sarah Bolin unique stage production of the Passion Play — the life, death and ultimate resurrection of Jesus.    

Mill Creek Entertainment announced this past week that The Thorn: The Live Theatrical Experience will make its DVD debut on Mar. 1 — timed perfectly for 2016’s Mar. 27 Easter celebration.

The Thorn is not your traditional Passion Play, but rather a mix of theatrical disciplines that include aerial acrobatics, ballet, martial arts and more … all performed by a mix of professionals and volunteers.    

Over the years over one million people have witness this live production — now, for the first time, it will be available on DVD.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Also added to the Mar. 1 release calendar are DVD editions of director Kevin Connor’s 2000 film production of In the Beginning …, starring Martin Landau, Jacqueline Bisset, Bill Campbell and the late Christopher Lee as Rameses I, and My Big Fat Greek Life: The Complete Series, the short-lived sitcom spin-off of the wildly popular My Big Fat Greek Wedding, starring Nia Vardalos (of note, Mill Creek has timed this release perfectly as the long-awaited sequel, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, will make its theatrical debut on Mar. 25).   

And lastly, added to the Mar. 15 release calendar is the three-disc DVD collection of Dinotopia: The Series.

Paramount Home Media's Animated Capture The Flag Makes Its DVD Bow On Mar. 1

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Paramount Home Media announced its first wave of March home entertainment product offerings this past week.

Leading the parade is the Mar. 1 DVD debut of Capture the Flag, the animated race-to-the-moon adventure film from Spanish filmmaker Enrique Gato (Tad, the Lost Explorer). 

The film, a major box office hit in Spain, had a light 20 screen domestic theatrical break right after Thanksgiving (qualifying it for Oscar consideration) and pulled in $6,690 in ticket sales.   For the record, the ARR is 86 days.

We follow the adventures of 12-year-old Mike, the grandson of Frank, who was bumped from the Apollo landing when his son, Scott, developed chicken pox.  It has now come full circle and Scott is an astronaut in training for the next moon mission.     

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyIn lickity-split fashion everything goes wrong, both Mike and his grandfather end up on their way to the moon with one of Mike’s friends, Amy, and to make things even more complicated, a multi-billionaire named Carson, has launched his own space mission to eradicate all evidence that the original moon landing ever took place.  It is indeed a “space race to capture the flag!”

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyCapture the Flag is top-of-the-line animation and the story elements all click to make this a fun-filled, out-of-this-world, adventure.   The DVD features both the Spanish-language version (with English subtitles) and the English-dubbed theatrical release.

Also on the March release calendar from Paramount Home Media are the TV-on-DVD selections of Drunk History: Season Three (a double-disc product offering on Mar. 1) and the massive 27-disc collection of Hogan's Heroes: The Complete Series (which will be retail-ready on Mar. 8).

On the Kidvid release front, look for Marshall, Chase, Skye and their canine cohorts in their latest DVD release, Paw Patrol: Brave Heroes, Big Rescues, on Mar. 1, and those “heroes in the half-shell” — Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo and Raphael — will be back on Mar. 15 in the DVD debut of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Half-Shell Heroes: Blast to the Past.

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Announces Feb. 2 As The Street Date For Sandra Bullock's Our Brand Is Crisis

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Sandra Bullock is one of the smartest actresses, as well as one of the saviest film producers in Hollywood these days, but even she can make mistakes.  Big mistakes.   Multi-million dollar whopper mistakes! 

Billy Bob Thornton is an actor’s actor and George Clooney, as a producer, won the Oscar for Argo in 2012 (shared that with Ben Affleck and Grant Heslov).  So when you have Sandra Bullock, George Clooney and Billy Bob Thornton involved in a project you have to think: GOLD.   

Director David Gordon Green’s “dramedy” film adaptation of documentary filmmaker Rachel Boynton’s 2005 film, Our Brand is Crisis, was anything but “gold” … it bombed and bombed badly.   So there’s more to be done about that … with a meager $7 million in ticket sales it is time for Warner Bros. to move on.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyAnd that’s just what Warner Bros. Home Entertainment did this week with Our Brand is Crisis and the announcement that Blu-ray and DVD SKUs will be available on Feb. 2.   The ARR for this Groundhog’s Day release is just 95 days.

The only bonus feature — common to both the DVD and Blu-ray — is the featurette titled “Sandra Bullock: A Role Like No Other.”

Of much more interest — film-wise — is the Jan. 5 DVD debut of the writing and director team of Dorrell and Stuart McGowan’s 1958 outdoor adventure, Snowfire.   

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyFilmed on location in Utah’s Bryce Canyon National Park and starring Molly McGowan (Dorrell’s daughter), Snowfire is one of those “little” films that hit all the right notes in its storytelling and launched Molly McGowan into the spotlight as a bright and upcoming child star.    Sadly, her promising career came to a tragic end shortly after her final film, The Bashful Elephant, when she was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma ... she died at just 18 years of age.

As sad as McGowan’s life played out, her performance in Snowfire is a real treasure — starring opposite a wild white stallion — and now the film has been freed from the film vaults for yearning fans to finally enjoy on DVD.

Wild Eye Releasing Picks Mar. 8 For The DVD Debut Of Writer/Director Daniel Benedict’s Bunni

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Not since Mrs. Voorhees went on a killing rampage in Friday the 13th has there been such a loving mother so devoted to hacking up teens as there is in writer/director Daniel Benedict’s Bunni.

Wild Eye Releasing announced this past week that this indie horror delight will be cutting its way to DVD this coming Mar. 8 courtesy of Wild Eye Releasing.

It’s Halloween, which is a terrific bit of timing for our story on two fronts.  First, the scream queens are not out of place being dolled up in alluring “costumes,” and second, well, it’s Halloween and you already know about all that goes with that particular holiday.   

As our story unfolds — after a brief backstory set-up — a group of these party revelers slip away from the festivities to take advantage of a nearby abandoned warehouse — this, of course, is the victim pool.  Soon the likes of Ashley (Sara Ammons) and Nikki (Sabrina Hulsman) are sliced and diced like you would expect from any good ‘80s slasher flick.     
DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

There’s a ringer in the mix (pay close attention to the set-up) and we end up having to choose between Bunni (Cat Geary) and the plucky Paige (Mercedez Varble) to root for — slashers like Bunni are every genre fan’s guilty pleasure, so it is a hard choice!!

Bonus features include commentary from writer/director Daniel Benedict, a behind-the-scenes featurette and selected music videos from Bunni.

The Criterion Collection Announces It March 2016 Release Slate

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
The Criterion Collection announced its March of 2016 Blu-ray and DVD selections this past week and leading the parade is a new 4K restoration of a film that near and dear to the heart of this writer.  That would be director John Frankenheimer’s 1962 film masterpiece, The Manchurian Candidate.

Back in the day, when I was the head of marketing for MGM/UA Home Video, word arrived that Frank Sinatra had given permission for this Cold War thriller to be released on VHS and laserdisc (remember those formats?).   As rumor had it, his daughter — Nancy Sinatra — asked the question “why isn’t The Manchurian Candidate available for home entertainment?”   

The JFK assassination, the movie Suddenly (also starring Sinatra) and The Manchurian Candidate were all loosely connected, so the latter was something of a no-no, but when Nancy asked the question, her father, by the late 1980s, couldn’t come up with a good reason to keep the film in the dark any longer.  So we released it (which was good for me in that I got to meet auteur filmmaker John Frankenheimer, screenwriter George Axelrod and the Chairman of Board).

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
On Mar. 15, Criterion will release both newly restored DVD and Blu-ray editions of The Manchurian Candidate.   

Bonus goodies include a vintage commentary track featuring filmmaker John Frankenheimer, a newly-minted video session with actress Angela Lansbury and new video session with Errol Morris (Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker for The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara), a vintage interview session with George Axelrod and Frank Sinatra (from my MGM days, 1988) and another newly prepared video session featuring historian Susan Carruthers (Rutgers University).

Also on the March DVD and Blu-ray release calendar from the Criterion Collection is one of French New Wave filmmaker Jacques Rivette’s early works, Paris Belongs to Us (Mar. 8).  

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyBonus features for this new 2K restoration include his 1956 short film, Le Coup du Berger (look closely for three familiar New Wave filmmakers who do brief cameo walk-ons) and a newly prepared video session with writer Richard Neupert (author of “A History of the French New Wave Cinema”).

The debut of Taiwanese filmmaker Edward Yang’s 1991 epic, A Brighter Summer Day, takes place on Mar. 22 and it includes, as a bonus feature, the feature-length documentary from director Hsiao Chu-chen, Our Time, Our Story (a 2002 look at the history of Taiwanese New Wave filmmakers).

And lastly, the month of March concludes with two releases on the 29th — director Les Blank’s A Poem is a Naked Person, his 1974 random documentary on the life and times of rocker Leon Russell (with performances by such legends as Willie Nelson and George Jones) and a new 4K restoration for Blu-ray of Vittorio De Sica’s 1948 film, Bicycle Thieves.

Director Danny Boyle's Steve Jobs Biopic Heads To DVD And Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack On Feb. 16

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Universal Studios Home Entertainment announced this past week that director Danny Boyle’s controversial biopic on the life and times of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs — which just happens to be titled Steve Jobs (starring Michael Fassbender as Steve Jobs, with Seth Rogen as Steve Wozniak) — will be available as both DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack (with UltraViolet) product offerings on Feb. 16.

The ARR is 130 days and domestic theatrical ticket sales currently stand at $17.8 million.

Bonus features include two commentary options — one with director Danny Boyle (Best Director for Slumdog Millionaire) and the second teaming writer Aaron Sorkin (Oscar-winner for The Social Network and Oscar-nominated for Moneyball ... plus four-time Emmy-winner for The West Wing) and editor Elliot Graham (Oscar-nominated for Milk) — and the featurette titled “Inside Jobs: The Making of Steve Jobs.”

Anchor Bay Entertainment Tabs Jan. 26 For DVD And Blu-ray Editions Of Burnt

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Director John Wells’ double-entendre titled Burnt — starring Bradley Cooper as one of the best chefs in Paris, perhaps the world, who lost it all to drugs and an incendiary temper — will be heading to the home entertainment market place from Anchor Bay Entertainment as Blu-ray and DVD editions on Jan. 26.

The ARR is a quick-to-market 88 days and the box office take was a disappointing $13.6 million.

Bonus features include commentary from John Wells and chef consultant Marcus Wareing, deleted scenes and six featurettes.