Saturday, March 19, 2016

Hitchcock's Suspicion On Blu-ray From Warner Bros. Home Entertainment On Apr. 12

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Suspicion Blu-ray, Ralph Tribbey
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has selected Apr. 12 as the Blu-ray debut date for director Alfred Hitchcock’s 1941 thriller, Suspicion.

The late Joan Fontaine won her only Oscar in the Best Actress category for her performance here as Lina, the demure heiress, who is swept off her feet by a devious playboy (Cary Grant).    As Hitchcock twists and turns the plot elements, Lina begins to suspect that her husband is plotting her murder!

Fontaine was nominated the previous year Hitchcock’s Rebecca, losing out to Ginger Rogers for her performance in Kitty Foyle — it didn’t help her chances that year that both Bette Davis (The Letter) and Katharine Hepburn (The Philadelphia Story) were also in the running.  

She was also nominated in the Best Actress category in 1943 for The Constant Nymph.
As for Hitchcock, both Rebecca and Suspicion were nominated for Best Picture, winning for Rebecca and losing out to How Green was My Valley — of course, Citizen Kane should have won that year, but life isn’t always fair (ask Steven Spielberg about Saving Private Ryan).    

And speaking of Oscars’ fickleness, Alfred Hitchcock, certainly one of the greatest filmmakers of all time, was nominated five times, but never won an Oscar for directing.   Oh well.

Arrow Video Tags Apr. 26 As Street Date For 2K Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Restoration Of Writer/Director John Milius' Dillinger

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Dillinger, Ralph Tribbey
Arrow Video, with domestic sales and marketing expertise provided by MVD Entertainment Group, has a new 2K restoration (from the original film elements) of writer/director John Milius’ 1973 cult gangster classic, Dillinger, ready for release as a Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack on Apr. 26.

American International Pictures — James H. Nicholson and Samuel Z. Arkoff — had the luck of the Irish with Dillinger.   Milius was on fire as a screenwriter during the early 1970s and could have taken his script for the film to any of the major studios — Warner Bros. was over the moon with such scripts as Magnum Force and Jeremiah Johnson — but Milius wanted to move behind the camera and direct.

AIP gave him that chance.   They were not disappointed, Dillinger turned out to be an A-list film in every aspect … from the script, to the cast, which toplined Warren Oates as John Dillinger and Ben Johnson as his nemesis, FBI agent Melvin Purvis, to the final production (filmed on location), which was released during the summer of 1973.

Other cast members included Richard Dreyfuss as Baby Face Nelson (American Graffiti would be released theatrically several weeks after Dillinger), Harry Dean Stanton, Geoffrey Lewis, Michelle Phillips and Cloris Leachman as the “Lady in Red.”

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Dillinger, Ralph TribbeyAs to bonus goodies for the Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack release of Dillinger from Arrow Video, there are three newly-prepared video sessions — one featuring producer Lawrence Gordon (Oscar-nominated for Field of Dreams, plus such films as Die Hard, 48 Hrs., Predator and Boogie Nights); the second features Jules Brenner, the director of photography (Helter Skelter, Outlaw Blues, The Return of the Living Dead, etc.) and lastly, Barry De Vorzon (Oscar-nominated for Bless the Beasts & Children, plus such films as The Warriors, Xanadu, Bobbie Jo and the Outlaw, etc.) who composed the music for the film.

Author and film critic Stephen Prince (“The Warrior's Camera: The Cinema of Akira Kurosawa,” “Savage Cinema: Sam Peckinpah and the Rise of Ultraviolent Movies”) provides commentary and there is a photo gallery.

Paramount Home Media To Release Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Beyond the Known Universe As A Double-Disc DVD Collection On May 24

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Paramount Home Media announced this past week that Nickelodeon’s latest adventures starring Raphael, Leonardo, Donatello and Michelangelo will be ready for fans (of all ages) to enjoy on May 24 with the double-disc DVD release of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Beyond the Known Universe.

12 action-packed adventures, with a special focus on their space travels with Professor Honeycutt — a D'Hoonib humanoid alien — are included in this TMNT animated collection.   Their united goal is thwart the evil Triceratons and their dastardly plans to destroy the Earth.

Bonus features include the feature titled “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Kicking Shell and Taking Names.”

Wild Eye Releasing Tabs Friday June 24th As The DVD Debut Date For Writer/Director Donald Farmer's Shark Exorcist

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Shark Exorcist, Ralph Tribbey
Wild Eye Releasing has selected Friday, the 24th of June as the DVD debut date for writer/director Donald Farmer’s latest film trip into the world of scream queens and their eternal quest to entertain us.   

The film in question has a pedigree that pays homage to two iconic Best Picture nominees, William Friedkin’s 1973 horror classic, The Exorcist, and Steven Spielberg’s 1975 chiller that forever changed the way we look at the sea, Jaws.

Yes, from the man who delivered such guilty pleasures as Cannibal Hookers, Vampire Cop and Chainsaw Cheerleaders comes the next great leap in horror films, Shark Exorcist.

A demonic nun, Sister Blair (Christy Moritz), arrives at the quiet beach resort of Paris Landing with evil plans.   She imbues the local man-eating shark with the powers of Satan and gets more bang for her buck than she could have ever imagined when it takes a bite out of a local beauty, who becomes a possessed killer.   

Seduction, smile, come hither — as bikini-clad scream queens are prone to do — and then CHOMP!  Only Father Michael (Bobby Kerecz) stands between the jaws of hell — on both land and sea — and an all-out slaughter of the locals!

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Shark Exorcist, Ralph TribbeyIt may not be Jaws or The Exorcist, but Shark Exorcist, for genre fans, is the perfect storm.   A killer shark, a touch of Nunsploitation, demonic possession and bikini-clad scream queens … what!, you want zombies too (they are probably lurking in that creepy New Orleans’ grave yard that served as a location shoot).  

Filmmaker Gorman Bechard's A Dog Named Gucci To Make Its DVD Debut On Apr. 19

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, A Dog Named Gucci, Ralph Tribbey
Filmmaker Gorman Bechard devoted the first half of his film career to narrative feature films, writing and directing such fare as Psychos in Love (1987, starring Debi Thibeault and Carmine Capobianco as serial killers in love) and Friends (With Benefits) (2009, teaming Alex Brown with Margaret Laney).   

He then switched gears and began making documentaries, which have often focused on musicians (he was a music critic at one time).   These include: Color Me Obsessed: A Film About The Replacements (2011), What Did You Expect?: The Archers of Loaf - Live at Cat's Cradle (2012) and Every Everything: The Music, Life & Times of Grant Hart (2013).   All three documentaries are currently available on DVD.

From this track record of horror, romance and artist-themed documentaries you would never have expected a heartfelt tale of love, kindness and a story of a man and his dog … a man and his dog on a very special mission.   

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, A Dog Named Gucci, Ralph Tribbey
That’s what you have with his latest documentary film, A Dog Named Gucci, which is on its way to DVD on Apr. 19 from What Were We Thinking Films, with sales and distribution expertise provided by MVD Entertainment Group.

It was an evening in June of 1994 and a trio of miscreants thought it would be great fun to hang a 12 week-old puppy by its neck from a tree, beat it like a punching bag and then, bored with that, douse it with some lighter fluid and set the defenseless animal ablaze.  
That would have been the end to it, but a nearby resident named Doug James heard the dog’s screams and came to its rescue.

Over the next year some gentle souls at Auburn University performed the necessary surgeries to save the dog, now named Gucci.   In the meantime, Doug James (with Gucci as a witness) would testify in court as to the events of that night … all three were found guilty.   Guilty, but with light punishments — some jail time for one; community service for the other two.   Community service?!?  Are you serious?   It was a joke, but that was the law.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, A Dog Named Gucci, Ralph TribbeyFilmmaker Gorman Bechard could have taken the easy road with A Dog Named Gucci and made his film about hate, injustice and animal cruelty — certainly there was plenty of material to work with.   He could have focused his glare on the events of that night and those             responsible for such an atrocious act of savagery, instead, this incredible film (you will need Kleenex) follows the quest of an ordinary citizen, Doug James (a college professor) and his friend, Gucci, to reform the legal system to recognize that such behavior should not be rewarded with a simple slap on the wrist. 

As a result of his efforts in the state of Alabama today such behavior now results in a felony conviction and up to a ten-year jolt in prison.  It’s a start.   

As to Gucci, he lived to be 16-years old and became quite the celebrity.   How this little puppy could have ever trusted another human being after the events of that night speaks volumes about the love, the kindness and the care of one man, Doug James … an unlikely hero who just happened to be in the right place at the right time.     
DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, A Dog Named Gucci, Ralph TribbeyAs to bonus goodies, there is an extended video session with filmmaker Gorman Bechard, a North Carolina prosecutor gives tips on how ordinary citizens can become involved and there is a featurette devoted to Gucci memorabilia.

Additionally, filmmaker Gorman Bechard has teamed with recording artists Lydia Loveless, Norah Jones, Aimee Mann, Susanna Hoffs, Neko Case, Kathryn Calder and Brian May (of Queen) — with the backing of the Yale Symphony Orchestra and four of its members (Jessica Oddie, Joan Rhee, Justina Sullivan and Jennifer Cha) — a string quartet — to showcase the soundtrack song, “One Voice.”   It will be released nationally on Apr. 16, with all proceeds benefitting animal charities.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Director Dan Mazer's Dirty Grandpa Heads Home As DVD And Unrated Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Editions Courtesy Of Lionsgate Home Entertainment On May 17

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Dirty Grandpa, Ralph Tribbey
Lionsgate Home Entertainment announced this past week that director Dan Mazer’s multi-generational hit comedy, Dirty Grandpa, will be available on May 17 as both a stand-alone DVD (which is an unrated cut of the film) as well as an unrated Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack.

The ARR is 116 days and multiplex revenues from the film’s January theatrical run came to $35.5 million.

The unrated cut features an extra four minutes of beyond-R-rated material, a gag reel, four featurettes and a commentary option that is being billed as “Filthy Filmmakers Who Have No Shame.”

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Preps DVD • Blu-ray • And 4K Ultra HD Editions Of J Blakeson's The 5th Wave For Delivery On May 3

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, The 5th Wave, Ralph Tribbey
It looks as though Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is getting whipsawed by either someone within their own organization, by eager retailers in a dog-eat-dog business environment or by factors related to an overly aggressive VOD window strategy that has slipped beyond their control.

In any case, everyone who cares about such things has known for at least the past ten days that director J (short for Jonathan) Blakeson’s film adaptation of Rick Yancey’s sci-fi novel, The 5th Wave, would be released as a three-SKU helping — DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack and 4K Ultra HD/BD Combo Pack (which is a day/date push for the new format) — on May 3.   

It wasn’t until Monday morning, Mar. 14 that this street date became official with a formal press announcement from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.   

The ARR works out to 102 days and ticket sales for this potential franchise launch currently stand at $33.9 million.

As to bonus goodies, all three SKUs include a commentary option from director J Blakeson and the film’s star, Chloë Grace Moretz (Carrie, Kick-Ass, The Equalizer, etc.) and two featurettes — “Inside the 5th Wave” and “Sammy on the Set.”

Exclusive to the Blu-ray and newly launched 4K Ultra HD SKUs are three additional featurettes — “The 5th Wave Survival Guide,” “Training Squad 53,” “Creating a New World” — a gag reel and deleted scenes.

20th Century-Fox Home Entertainment Times The Release Of DVD And Blu-ray Editions Of Independence Day: 20th Anniversary Edition To Take Advantage Of Independence Day: Resurgence

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Indepedence Day: 20th Anniversary Edition, Ralph Tribbey
With a June 24 theatrical release date ready and waiting for director Roland Emmerich’s mega-budget Independence Day: Resurgence — sans Will Smith, but with Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Judd Hirsch and Vivica A. Fox  — it was only natural that the good folks over at 20th Century-Fox Home Entertainment would come up with an anniversary edition of the original to take full advantage of all the media hype that will certainly be surrounding this long-overdue alien homecoming. 

Independence Day: 20th Anniversary Edition, which has a street date of May 3, will be available as a three-SKU array of home entertainment product selections.   

There will be a DVD edition that features a newly restored presentation of the original theatrical cut and two Blu-ray editions.   Both of these double-disc Blu-ray SKUs feature a restored extended-cut of the film (plus the original theatrical cut), with the upscale “Attacker Edition” sporting an on-pack replica of the alien space craft.

The extended cut of the film clocks in at an additional nine minutes of out-of-this-world invasion thrills.  As to other bonus nuggets, there is a 30-minute documentary (exclusive to the Blu-rays) that is titled “Independence Day: A Legacy Surging Forward.”

No word during this initial announcement as to whether or not Independence Day: 20th Anniversary Edition will get a 4K Ultra HD push.  20th Century-Fox Home Entertainment is one of four studios that currently support the newly launched format.

Vinegar Syndrome Announces A 2K Restoration Of Actor/Director D'Urville Martin’s Dolemite For Delivery As A Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack On Apr. 26

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Dolemite, Ralph Tribbey
Vinegar Syndrome announced this past week that a 2K restoration (from the original 35mm negative) of actor/director D'Urville Martin’s 1975 iconic Blaxploitation classic, Dolemite, will be available on Apr. 26 as a Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack.

Lawrence Woolner, a film producer and long-time associate of Roger Corman, founded Dimension Pictures in 1972 and hit gold with such low-budget productions as The Twilight People, The Doberman Gang and Beyond Atlantis.  

He saw the Blaxploitation trend developing and jumped on it during February of 1975 with director Jack Arnold’s Boss Nigger (starring and written by Fred Williamson) and followed it up with a distribution deal for actor/producer Rudy Ray Moore’s Dolemite.  

It was a monster at the box office (in certain precincts).   But, let’s be frank, Dolomite is an anti-hero film on steroids.   Rudy Ray Moore as the title character (in his film debut — he would reprise his role the following year in The Human Tornado, plus such films as The Monkey Hu$tle and Disco Godfather) is a mega-bucks pimp and actor/director D'Urville Martin’s character (The Legend of Nigger Charley, Black Caesar, Hell Up in Harlem, etc.), Willie Green, is a drug-dealing crime lord.   A match made in heaven.

Bonus features include a vintage commentary track featuring Rudy Ray Moore and biographer Mark Jason Murray, the making-of documentary titled I, Dolemite and two featurettes — “Lady Reed Uncut” and “Locations, Then and Now.”

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Dolemite, Ralph Tribbey

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Icarus Films Adds Documentary Filmmaker Justin Webster’s Gabo: The Creation of Gabriel García Márquez To Its May 10 DVD Release Calendar

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Icarus Films announced this past week that documentary filmmaker Justin Webster’s Gabo: The Creation of Gabriel García Márquez, loving tribute to the life of Nobel Prize in Literature-winner Gabriel “Gabo” García Márquez, has been added to its May 10 DVD release calendar.

Already in place on that date is director Marianne Lambert’s I Don't Belong Here: The Cinema of Chantal Akerman.

Gabo: The Creation of Gabriel García Márquez had a very limited arthouse run during the fall of last year that generated ticket sales of $14,796 and arrives with an ARR of 221 days.

The Colombian-born literary giant, who was affectionately known as simply Gabo, was a journalist, a screenwriter (a Silver Ariel-winner for his 1979 screenplay, El Ano de La Peste (aka: The Year of the Plague) and renown author, whose works include the best-selling “One Hundred Years of Solitude” (for which he won the Nobel Prize) and “Love in the Time of Cholera.”

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Gabo: The Creation of Gabriel García Márquez is presented in Spanish with English subtitles and features interviews with president Bill Clinton and biographer Gerald Martin.

The Last Ship: The Complete Second Season From Warner Bros. Home Entertainment On May 3

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, The Last Ship, Ralph Tribbey
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment announced this past week that Captain Chandler (Eric Dane) and the crew of the USS Nathan James will return on May 3 in both DVD and Blu-ray 3-disc collections of The Last Ship: The Complete Second Season.    

The second season for this post-apocalyptic thriller was upped to 13 episodes from the first season’s ten-episode cycle … season three episodes begin airing in June, thus the home entertainment launch is well-timed.

Post features include the “Inside the Episodes” viewing feature and a pair of featurettes — “Exclusive Look at Season 2” and “The Making of Season 2.”

Wild Eye Releasing Targets May 10 For The DVD Debut Of Writer/Director Sean K. Robb’s Scars

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Scars, Ralph Tribbey
Meet Scar and Scarlett, beautiful — in a freaky sort of way — sisters by “blood,” who have a penchant for killing “dudes.”   They are serial killers, but they didn’t start out that way.

Scar (Danielle Cole) is a goth; a punk who is perhaps best described as being “adrift” in the world; morose, while Scarlett (Neale Kimmel) is a knockout blonde who uses her brains and dynamite good looks to hustle her marks — she’s a scam artist.   

These seemingly mismatched women are the stars of writer/director Sean K. Robb’s Scars, which will be making its DVD debut on May 10 courtesy of Wild Eye Releasing.

Alone neither Scar nor Scarlett would be what you would call deadly.   Scar would be prone to go “turtle,” while Scarlett’s tendencies lean towards talking — “flirting” — her way out of a jam.   When events — a catalyseur if you will — throw them together they become one … a killing machine with no future, but they are going to enjoy the rush as long as they can.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Scars, Ralph Tribbey
When the bodies begin to pile up — gruesome, stylistic murders — a local detective, Mike Adams (Matt Wells), is assigned to the case, but we begin to suspect early on that he admires their work and is, perhaps, none too keen to see Scar and Scarlett’s bloody killing spree come to an end.

Filmmaker Sean K. Robb has a keen eye for visuals, which makes Scars something of a cross between a ghastly horror tale and Kabuki theatre … a bloody, visual feast that will certainly please genre fans come May 10.