Monday, February 22, 2016

The Film Detective Preps A Blu-ray Restoration Of The Red House For Delivery On Mar. 29

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
The Film Detective announced this past week that writer/director Delmer Daves’ 1947 film adaptation of George Agnew Chamberlain’s twisted mystery thriller (and often counted in the film noir category), The Red House, will be getting a Blu-ray push — featuring a full restoration from original source 35mm film elements — on Mar. 29.

This big budget psychological thriller, released theatrically by United Artists, sports an all-star cast that toplines Edward G. Robinson as Pete, a disabled farmer who guards a terrible secret.   He shares his place with his sister (played by Judith Anderson) and Meg (Allene Roberts in her film debut — Knock on Any Door, Union Station, The Hoodlum, etc.), a “relative” that they have adopted.   

The dreaded secret has been safe for years, but now Meg — a senior in high school — has discovered boys, including classmate Nath Storm (Lon McCallister — The Big Cat, The Boy from Indiana, etc.) and has become curious about her upbringing and the prohibition against wandering in the nearby woods.

Others in the cast included two rising stars, Rory Calhoun as Teller, a sinister local and Julie London as Tibby, a less-than-pure classmate of Meg and Nath.  Tibby uses her seductive charms to manipulate the brutish Teller and sets in motion a series of events that ultimately push Pete over the edge.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

The Criterion Collection Announces Its May 2016 DVD And Blu-ray Release Line Up — Director Robert Altman's The Player Leads The Way

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
The Criterion Collection announced its slate of DVD and Blu-ray product offerings for the month of May this past week … and there are some real treasures to be found here.

Indeed, there is something planned for each and everyone of the five street-date Tuesdays during the month, but the real kingpin of the group will arrive on the fourth Tuesday of the month, May 24, and that would be auteur filmmaker Robert Altman’s 1992 film industry tell-all masterpiece, The Player.

A new 4K restoration is planned.  Bonus goodies for both the DVD (a double-disc affair) and Blu-ray editions kick-off with a vintage 1992 commentary track featuring director Robert Altman (who was nominated for Best Director for his work here … five Best Director nominations and he didn’t win a single one), writer Michael Tolkin (also nominated for the Oscar in adapting his own novel for the screen … his only nomination) and cinematographer Jean Lépine.   The film’s brilliant opening sequence (which clocks in at around eight minutes) also features a commentary option delivered by Altman, Tolkin and Lépine.

There is a vintage interview session with director Robert Altman and a newly-minted video session with writer Michael Tolkin and production designer Stephen Altman (Robert Altman’s son, who was nominated for Best Art Director/Set Direction for his work on Gosford Park).
DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

Not done yet, The Criterion Collection also has deleted scenes, outtakes, a short documentary titled “The Player at LACMA” and a featurette titled “Map to the Stars” which details the numerous cameo appearances contained within the film.

As to other gems on the May release calendar, the month opens on May 3 with a restored HD transfer (supervised by László Kovács) of Dennis Hopper’s 1969 breakthrough film, Easy Rider.

Bonus features include two vintage commentary options, two short documentaries — “Born to be Wild” and “Easy Rider: Shaking the Cage” — TV clips from 1969 at the Cannes Film Festival featuring Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda and more.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Arriving on May 10 is a new 2K restoration of director Nicholas Ray’s 1950 film noir entry, In a Lonely Place, teaming Humphrey Bogart with Gloria Grahame in a pulp fiction tale of Hollywood wheelings and dealings … drip by drip love turns to hate; trust devolves to absolute terror!

Bonus features include a newly prepared commentary track by film scholar and professor of Department of Cinema Studies at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, Dana Polan, and a 1948 radio adaptation of Dorothy B. Hughes novel, upon which the film was based.

Rounding out the May release selections from The Criterion Collection are the May 17 release of director Kaneto Shindo’s 1960 film release of The Naked Island and the May 31 collection titled Wim Wenders: The Road Trilogy, which features Alice in the Cities, Wrong Move and Kings of the Road.

Director Michelle Boyaner’s Packed in a Trunk: The Lost Art of Edith Lake Wilkinson Makes Its DVD Debut From Wolfe On Apr. 29

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
A true-life detective story is what is in store for viewers on Apr. 29 from Wolfe.  That end of April calendar date is the DVD street date for documentary filmmaker Michelle Boyaner’s Packed in a Trunk: The Lost Art of Edith Lake Wilkinson.

Imagine the following, you are a young woman — born just after the Civil War in the newly formed state of West Virginia — who moves to New York City at the age of 20 to become an artist.   That’s the early, and quite daring life of Edith Lake Wilkinson.

For the next three decades she lived in New York, traveled the world and would spend many of her summers in Provincetown, Massachusetts.   She painted, she lived and traveled with a woman named Fannie and her parent’s lawyer — a scoundrel by the named of George Rogers — saw an opportunity to swindle her of her inheritance by having her committed to Sheppard Pratt Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland in 1924.

All of her belongings — including paintings and notebooks — were packed up and shipped off to her nephew.   For the next 33 years she was confined … and died; forgotten.

Pretty chilling that such a thing could actually happen.   It’s the sort of stuff that Hollywood horror movies are made of.   

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
For decades the trunks would sit in an attic until a distant relative paid a family visit, discovered the contents and brought many of the paintings home.   Her daughter, the future Emmy-winning writer, Jane Anderson, grew up with Wilkinson’s paintings and over time began to wonder about her great aunt, the mystery of her life and all of those marvelous paintings.

Packed in a Trunk: The Lost Art of Edith Lake Wilkinson is that story … a detective story that would have made the great Sherlock Holmes proud.  A life forgotten is rediscovered … an amazing story is discovered and retold.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

Vinegar Syndrome Targets Mar. 29 For Restored Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Editions Of Marc Lawrence's Pigs And Norman Thaddeus Vane’s Frightmare

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Vinegar Syndrome goes hog wild on Mar. 29 with a Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack featuring a new 2K restoration of director Marc Lawrence’s 1972 horror tale, Pigs.   

If you’ve seen this guilty pleasure in its various forms over the years — on VHS and DVD — then the news that Vinegar Syndrome has restored director Marc Lawrence’s slasher flick — an early entry into the cycle — from the original 35mm interpositive is very good news.   Most of what is out there is pretty bad.

The film itself, an indie production (with a checkered distribution history) from tough guy character actor Marc Lawrence (The Asphalt Jungle, Key Largo, Dillinger, etc.) was produced, written and directed by Lawrence, and, as legend has it, was designed as a star vehicle for his daughter, Toni Lawrence (M.A.D.D.: Mothers Against Drunk Drivers) — who does share a bit of matrimonial trivia history with none other than Angelina Jolie.  

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyThe star vehicle part didn’t work out so well and, if you think about it, the whole concept of the film is kind of creepy in that Marc Lawrence co-stars as a former circus performer who becomes enamored with the deranged young woman (Toni) and abets her murder spree by feeding her sliced and diced victims to his pigs.   But, then again, that’s part of the charm of Pigs.

Bonus goodies include a pair of featurettes — one featuring Toni Lawrence and the second with the film’s composer, Charles Bernstein — a video session with cinematographer Glenn Roland and two alternate opening sequences (from the film’s different release incarnations over the years) and one alternate ending sequence.

Also getting a Mar. 29 Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack release date from Vinegar Syndrome is writer/director Norman Thaddeus Vane’s 1983 supernatural horror thriller, Frightmare.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Restored from the original 35mm film elements, Frightmare is always worth a look-see for the casting of Ferdy Mayne as the risen-from-the-dead hambone actor Conrad Razkoff.   Along with Christopher Lee and Lugosi, Ferdy Mayne will be long remembered as one of the great screen vampire personas of all time for his performance as Count von Krolock in Roman Polanski’s 1967 film release of The Fearless Vampire Killers.

Frightmare is his film — one of those great scene stealing treasures — in that his “larger than life” character has a seven-strong victim pool of sex starved “drama” students to eviscerate one by one … by one!

Bonus features include a vintage commentary option and video sessions with filmmaker Norman Thaddeus Vane and cinematographer Joel King.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Paramount Home Media Preps Director Adam McKay's The Big Short For DVD And Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack For Release On Mar. 15

Paramount Home Media will have director Adam McKay’s Best Picture nominated film, The Big Short, ready for delivery to retail on Mar. 15 as both DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack editions.  

The VOD date is also Mar. 15.

The ARR works out to 95 days and domestic ticket sales currently stand at $65.7 million.

In addition to the Best Picture nomination, The Big Short also garnered Oscar nods for Christian Bale in the Best Supporting Actor category (his third nomination — he previously received a Best Actor nomination for American Hustle in 2013 and has a Best Supporting Actor win for The Fighter back in 2010) — Best Film Editing for Hank Corwin (his first) and both Best Director and Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay for Adam McKay (both Oscar nominations are his first).

McKay is the real surprise here in that his previous directing efforts have been big commercial comedies — Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Step Brothers, The Other Guys, etc. — plus a trio of Emmy nominations for his writing work on such television entries as Saturday Night Live and Drunk History.

It must have been all of that experience from “cat herding” in the comedy field that made his script adaptation of Michael Lewis’ 2010 best seller, “The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine,” so compelling.   Comedy is the toughest to do and his are usually pretty funny — he did, however, get a Razzie nomination for the forgettable Bewitched (2005).   

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
If you want a thriller, then McKay delivered that here.   How about a horror film?  A horror film as frightening as any zombie apocalypse tale — then look no further than The Big Short, it is terrifying. 

If you are unfamiliar with the story — which is all true — as early as 2005 a somewhat unpersonable guy by the name of Michael Burry (Christian Bale) — who is very bright, but diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome — used his trading savvy to find a way to bet against the subprime mortgage market.   Boom!   $100 million in profits for himself and over $700 million for the investors who stuck with him and did not panic … the market collapsed exactly as he predicted.

Burry knew — and it was all there for anyone to see — that the entire housing market was being fueled by unsustainable loans and backed by “ratings” that were basically fraudulent.   

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
The Big Short also details how others (variously played by Ryan Gosling, Steve Carell, Brad Pitt, John Magaro and Finn Wittrock) tumbled to this coming crisis and found ways to take advantage of the “bubble” bursting by shorting the market.

Now take out all of the financial mumbo jumbo — credit default swaps, collateralized debt obligations, etc. — and make all of these Wall Street players amateur astronomers who spot a giant meteor heading for earth.  They can see it coming, but government institutions keeping telling the public that it’s perfectly safe.   It’s the same basic story.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
This was all detailed in Michael Lewis book.   Who just happens to be the same writer who delivered “Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game” back in 2003 — Brad Pitt loved that one too as Moneyball arrived as a big budget film in 2011 and was subsequently nominated for Best Picture, plus Oscar nominations for Best Actor (Brad Pitt) and Best Supporting Actor (Jonah Hill), plus three additional nominations.

And if you want really scary, read Lewis’ 2014 book — coming up on its second anniversary — titled “Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt.”   He claims the market is rigged.   Really, who is going to believe that!! 

As to bonus goodies for The Big Short, which are all exclusive to the Blu-ray SKU, there are deleted scenes and five featurettes — “In the Tranches: Casting,” “The Big Leap: Adam McKay,” “Unlikely Heroes: The Characters of The Big Short,” “The House of Cards: The Rise of the Fall” and “Getting Real: Recreating an Era.”

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

Lionsgate Home Entertainment Struggles With The DVD And Blu-ray Launch Of Best Picture Nominee Room On Mar. 1

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
We have officially entered the realm of madness when it comes to the promotion of home entertainment products.   Someone is sleeping.   A deep slumber that even Rip Van Winkle would be envious of.

Indeed, it would come as no surprise if the good folks over at A24 Films are close to being apoplectic right about now as everyone on the planet is busy taking orders for DVD and Blu-ray editions of director Lenny Abrahamson’s film adaptation of Emma Donoghue’s best-selling novel, Room.   The street date is Mar. 1.

There’s just one problem with that … there has been no official announcement from Lionsgate Home Entertainment.   

So what’s the big deal?    The film has only pulled in $12 million in its domestic theatrical run, so it’s not exactly a blockbuster.  True enough.

But you’d think that a film that was nominated Best Picture would at least get a press release. and Best Buy (among others) just start taking orders, Ingram Distribution confirms the date and even Lionsgate’s own retail site is taking orders for a Mar. 1 delivery.   But nothing, absolutely nothing in terms of promotion for the DVD and Blu-ray launch.   How on earth is that good business?

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyOK, maybe a Best Picture Oscar nomination is no big deal these days.   It’s a crowded field and Room has little chance to win.   And besides, Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith have organized a boycott of the Oscar ceremonies on Feb. 28, so maybe not promoting the Best Picture candidacy of Room is some sort of solidarity thing.   Must have missed the Tweet on that one.

But Room is also nominated in three other categories, including Brie Larson for Best Actress — she’s already won the Golden Globe (not that that means a whole lot) — and she is considered the odds-on favorite to win the Oscar.   That might be worthy of some promotional effort.    A little ink, you’d think!

Director Lenny Abrahamson has also been nominated in the Best Director category and writer Emma Donoghue has been rewarded with an Oscar nomination for the screen adaptation of her own book.   It seems like there is plenty of material to work with here.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
In all fairness to Lionsgate Home Entertainment, maybe the problem is with A24 Films.   Perhaps there is some internecine struggle taking place with respect to getting the exact verbiage of a press release correct.   Egos have to be soothed.   But this is sad … Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay and nothing.

For the record, the ARR for the DVD and Blu-ray of Room on Mar. 1 works out to 137 days.   That’s plenty of time to get something written and released.

Bonus features?   Well, that would require a press announcement.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment To Release Writer/Director Peter Landesman's Concussion As DVD, Blu-ray And 4K Ultra HD Editions On Mar. 29

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has selected Mar. 29 as the street date for writer/director Peter Landesman’s controversial film about the inherent dangers of playing professional football, Concussion.   

Planned for release on that date will be a three SKU selection that includes a DVD, a Blu-ray and the first day-and-date product offering for the new 4K Ultra HD format (this will be a Combo Pack featuring the 4K Ultra HD edition as well as a Blu-ray version of the film).

The ARR is 95 days and ticket sales were $34.3 million.

Will Smith did an excellent job in his portrayal of former Allegheny County, Pennsylvania pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu, who developed the working theory of CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy) as it related to NFL players.   Basically, constant head-impact causes, over time, traumatic brain injury, which has led to the death of a number of NFL players.   The NFL, being something of a gladiator blood sport these days, was resistant to this finding — hello, money, money, money.   

Concussion tells this story, which is well done, but highly reminiscent of an MOW.   The box office was “OK” and the reviews were mixed.   It is a commercial theatrical release with an interesting story, nothing more.   

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
But when the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences announced the five Best Actor nominees — Bryan Cranston for Trumbo; Matt Damon for The Martian; Leonardo DiCaprio for The Revenant; Michael Fassbender for Steve Jobs; and, Eddie Redmayne for The Danish Girl — Jada Pinkett Smith went into full meltdown mode and all but accused the Academy of being racist for not nominating a “person of color” for the second year in a row.  She then announced a boycott of the Oscars (soon joined by Spike Lee).

Really?   So now the Oscars are racist?   The Oscars have all sorts of problems — please explain how Shakespeare in Love was Best Picture over Saving Private Ryan — but racist?  
As to the home entertainment release of Concussion, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has indicated that all three SKUs will contain a commentary option from writer/director Peter Landesman (Parkland) and the featurette titled “Inside the True Story.”   

Exclusive to the two Hi-Def editions are nine deleted scenes and the featurette titled “Crafting Concussion.”

Director Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight To Be Released As DVD And Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Editions From Anchor Bay Entertainment On Mar. 29

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Anchor Bay Entertainment announced this past week that auteur filmmaker Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight will be arriving as DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack selections on Mar. 29.

The ARR is 95 days — incidentally, that’s the identical number for both Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s Concussion and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment’s Point Break, which are also set for delivery to the home entertainment market place on Mar. 29.

After holding steady at around 115 days throughout 2013, 2014 and the first half of 2015 (a two-and-a-half year period), the studios (including non-studio participants with theatrical hits) appear to be consciously shortening the release window between a film’s initial theatrical debut and its subsequent release to home entertainment.   

Couple this with the immerging — and somewhat disturbing — trend of fewer films reaching the $25 million mark at the box office and you have to wonder if the current players in “Hollywood” are on a death march being driven by VOD.

As to The Hateful Eight, it doesn’t help that on the run-up to the film’s launch Quentin Tarantino took to the airwaves with an anti-cop rant.   Whether that cut into the domestic box office take of $53.4 million remains to be seen.   

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyHis two previous films, Django Unchanged pulled in $162.8 million during its stateside theatrical run in 2012 and Inglourious Basterds chimed in with $120.5 million back in 2009.   All three films were released during the same December time frame.

There’s nothing wrong with the film, perhaps a little long — clocking in at 168 minutes — but the Western/mystery script, complete with an outstanding cast (including Tarantino regular Samuel L. Jackson) makes this Tarantino film entry a keeper.   And, being shot in 70mm makes it absolutely gorgeous.  

As to bonus goodies, there are two featurettes — “Beyond the Eight: A Behind-the-Scenes Look” and “Sam Jackson’s Guide to Glorious 70mm.”   No word as of right now as to whether Anchor Bay Entertainment will enter the 4K Ultra HD market with The Hateful Eight — it seems the perfect candidate.

Arrow Video Tabs Apr. 5 For Restored Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Edition Of Director Lucio Fulci's The Black Cat

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Arrow Video, with domestic sales and distribution expertise provided by MVD Entertainment Group, will be serving up a new 2K restoration of Italian film maestro Lucio Fulci’s 1981 (1984 for its domestic theatrical release) neo-gothic chiller, The Black Cat, on Apr. 5 as a Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack.

Stage actor-turned-screen-character-actor Patrick Magee (A Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon, And Now the Screaming Starts!, etc.) stars as retired professor Robert Miles, a man who has turned to the occult and firmly believes that he can now channel the dead.   His only companion is a black cat with a nasty temper (apparently no treat for this kitty).

Into his quiet hamlet wanders an American tourist named Jill (Mimsy Farmer — Hot Rods to Hell, The Wild Racers, Four Flies on Grey Velvet and more), who will so become involved in a “cat and mouse” game of death.   The bodies pile up as one gruesome murder follows another … the police are helpless.

All evidence points to that poor kitty with the very nasty temper, but how is that possible?  
Arrow Video will give fans two viewing options — the original Italian-language version (with new English subtitles) and the English-dubbed theatrical version — plus there is a newly prepared commentary track by former Fangoria editor, composer and filmmaker Chris Alexander.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyAdditionally, there are two featurettes — “From Poe into Fulci: The Spirit of Perverseness” and “In the Paw-Prints of The Black Cat” — a newly prepared video session with actress Dagmar Lassander (who was Prof. Miles former love interest … and who dies a horrible death at the hands, or is that paws, of our mysterious killer) and a vintage video session with actor David Warbeck (who played Inspector Gorley (yup, dead too by film’s end).