Monday, April 25, 2016

108 Media Corp. Teams With MVD Entertainment Group For The May 10 DVD Debut Of Director Matthew Kowalchuk’s Lawrence And Hollowman

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Lawrence & Holloman, Ralph Tribbey
108 Media Corp., with domestic sales and distribution support provided by MVD Entertainment Group, has tagged May 10 as the DVD release date for writer/director Matthew Kowalchuk’s “oddest of odd couple” film adaptation of Morris Panych’s stage play, Lawrence & Holloman.

Holloman (Daniel Arnold, who co-wrote the film script) is wallpaper, a cypher, someone that could pretty much pass unnoticed through life.   He knows this, and when thoughts of killing himself come his way, he dismisses them because no one would care; no one would notice.   He’s the sad sack of sad sacks with a vivid imagination that is carefully tucked away.

Ben Cotton plays Lawrence, the “other” character of this buddy piece.   He literally knows no boundaries … there’s something clinically wrong with him, but we are not sure what it is.   Maybe it’s a medical condition, who knows … maybe he’s just so dim-witted that he’s blissfully unaware of just how offensive he can be.

He’s the sort of guy that would walk up to 100 different women and ask to sleep with them knowing that at least one or two would say, “sure, why not.”   He could care less about the embarrassment of both the question and the 98 rejections.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Lawrence & Holloman, Ralph Tribbey
Holloman, on the other hand, wouldn’t dare ask the question … he already knows the answer.   

A chance encounter in an elevator gives Lawrence free reign to have his way with Holloman, who absorbs the abuse like a sponge.  A “friendship” is born.  

Lawrence gives Holloman advice, Holloman listens, Holloman absorbs.  And the film proceeds to go from quirky to delightfully demented; from just being odd to black comedy at its very best.

So come May 10, put Lawrence & Holloman on your DVD shopping list … you will not be disappointed, especially if you like your comedies with an edge.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Lawrence & Holloman, Ralph Tribbey

The Criterion Collection Announces Its July 2016 Release Slate — Terrence Malick's The New World Arrives With "Extended Cut"

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, The Critierion Collection, Ralph Tribbey
The Criterion Collection announced its slate of new DVD and Blu-ray product offerings for the month of July this past week.  As always, there is a little something for every taste.

Topping the list of selections is auteur filmmaker Terrence Malick’s 2005 film release of The New World, which arrives on Blu-ray as a new 4K restoration and in the form of a three-disc presentation that showcase three different cuts of the film on July 26.

There will be the original 135-minute theatrical cut, a “first cut” that clocked in at 150 minutes and a newly-prepared “extended cut” supervised by Malick and eight-time Oscar nominee, cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki (he was nominated for his work on The New World … he won for Best Achievement in Cinematography the past three years, Gravity in 2013, Birdman in 2014 and for The Revenant) that has a running time of 172 minutes.

The DVD SKU is a four-disc affair.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, The Critierion Collection, Ralph TribbeyAs to bonus goodies, there are newly-prepared video sessions with actors Colin Farrell and Q’orianka Kilcher, a new making-of featurette, a 2004 documentary directed by Austin Jack Lynch titled Making The New World and new featurette examining the process of “cutting” the various versions of the film featuring interviews with three of The New World editors Hank Corwin (Oscar-nominated for The Big Short), Saar Klein (Oscar-nominated for Almost Famous and The Thin Red Line) and Mark Yoshikawa.

Other July selections from Criterion include the new 2K restoration of director Arthur Hiller’s 1979 comedy, The In-Laws, teaming Peter Falk and Alan Arkin.   The film is often remembered for its inspired “serpentine” sequence and the often chaotic adventures that “CIA” agent Vincent (Falk) ropes his would-be in-law Sheldon into … all involving stolen Treasury plates.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, The Critierion Collection, Ralph Tribbey
Blu-ray and DVD editions, which will be available on July 5, feature a vintage commentary track with director Arthur Hiller, writer Andrew Bergman and actors Arkin and Falk, a newly-prepared video session with Alan Arkin and a tag-team session titled “In Support of The In-Laws” featuring actors Ed Begley Jr., Nancy Dussault, James Hong and David Paymer.

July 12 marks the arrival of a new 4K transfer of director Herk Harvey’s 1962 cult horror classic Carnival of Souls, which says quite a bit about its status when Criterion takes an interest in this micro-budget film.
Bonus features for the Blu-ray and double-disc DVD editions include the 1989 documentary, The Movie That Wouldn’t Die!, a 2000 featurette titled “The Carnival Tour” (updating the actual locations from the film), outtakes, deleted scenes, selected commentary featuring director Herk Harvey and screenwriter John Clifford and more.

Rounding out the July release schedule is the July 19 Blu-ray and double-disc DVD release of director King Hu’s 1971 film A Touch of Zen (a new 4K restoration) and new releases showcasing the talents of French filmmaker Alain Resnais — July 19 will see separate Blu-ray and DVD editions of Night and Fog (1955) and Muriel, or The Time of Return (1963).

Film Chest Media Group Selects May 31 For The DVD Release Of 12 Sci-Fi Cult Classics

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, 12 Sci-Fi Cult Classics, Ralph Tribbey
Film Chest Media Group announced this past week that a 12-film, three-disc collection featuring 11 classic sci-fi thrillers from the 1950s and 60s, plus Fritz Lang’s 1927 masterpiece from the silent era, Metropolis, will be available on May 31.

Titled 12 Sci-Fi Cult Classics, in addition to Metropolis, fans can savor the thrills — in chronological order — of such sci-fi gems as:

Director W. Lee Wilder’s 1953 invasion of Southern California by the occupant of downed flying saucer in Phantom from Space.  The Griffith Observatory serves as the focal point for the grand finale as the “alien” (played by Dick Sands) desperately tries to communicate with the earthlings who have hounded him before he succumbs to our atmosphere. 

We skip ahead six years to not one but five sci-fi treasures from 1959 — director Bernard L. Kowalski’s Attack of the Giant Leeches (produced by Roger Corman, with a script from actor-turned-screenwriter, Leo Gordon), the Roger Corman-directed (with Jack Hill), The Wasp Woman (again with a Leo Gordon script), f/x ace Ray Kellogg took time off from his busy studio schedule to be the writer and director of two classics from the period, The Giant Gila Monster and The Killer Shrews — both produced by actor Ken Curtis — and lastly, writer/director Tom Graeff’s Teenagers from Outer Space.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, 12 Sci-Fi Cult Classics, Ralph Tribbey
The year 1960 contributes iconic filmmaker Edgar G. Ulmer’s The Amazing Transparent Man to Film Chest’s 12 Sci-Fi Cult Classics collection.

Director William Marshall’s The Phantom Planet (from 1961), writer/director Joseph Green’s The Brain that Wouldn't Die (1962), filmmaker Joseph Mascelli’s The Atomic Brain (1964) and the Japanese import showcasing the talents of Gamera, Destroy All Planets (released by AIP in 1969), round out this impressive assembly of classic sci-fi films.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, 12 Sci-Fi Cult Classics, Ralph Tribbey

Paramount Home Media's Ed Hoxsie Reveals The Planning That Went Into The Studio's 4K Ultra HD Product Launch

By Chris Tribbey

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Paramount Home Media, 4K Ultra HD, Ralph Tribbey
There was a lot of work — and a lot of thought — behind Paramount Home Media Distribution’s first two Ultra High-Def (UHD) Blu-ray Disc releases, Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness, both streeting June 14 (with a May 3 preorder date).

Before the studio became the fourth major (fifth if you include Lionsgate) to join the UHD release game (Universal would announce their UHD BD release intent later in April), Paramount spent a lot of time making sure their first releases would be top of the line, according to Ed Hoxsie, SVP of worldwide product production and fulfillment for the studio.

“We were working on these films [for UHD] long before they were announced,” he said. “And we’re doing a lot of work upstream to prepare.  We prep things from the theatrical release window to prepare for home entertainment to do it.”

Knowing how important the upgraded, 4K home viewing experience needed to be with these first releases from the studio, Paramount had dozens of eyeballs on the picture, from master to compression, along with people from the studio working directly with third party quality control vendors to look at how the picture would come through on as many screens and as players as possible.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Paramount Home Media, 4K Ultra HD, Ralph Tribbey“All monitors are not the same, and not all players are the same,” Hoxsie said. “They all respond differently.  So what we do is look at the best-case scenario, be sure we catch everything we can catch, then put them on other types of systems, blow up brightness, gamut, whatever, and try to look at it like a consumer who just takes something out of the box and puts it in their living room.”

For these first two Paramount UHD Blu-rays, the studio is also including HDR [high dynamic range] 10, the industry baseline standard for the upgrade contrast between the brightest whites and darkest blacks, a feature being highly touted for 4K sets and content.  Additionally, Paramount is including Dolby Atmos on both releases. Atmos is Dolby’s object-based, next-gen sound technology, that puts sound above, below and all around the viewer.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Paramount Home Media, 4K Ultra HD, Ralph Tribbey“We’re going out with HDR 10, and we won’t release UHD without HDR.  We feel it’s both the resolution and the high dynamic range that makes the product great.  And we’ve also updated the audio on these first two titles to have Atmos, so it’s a full, immersive audio mix and visual experience,” Hoxsie said.  “We went back to the [2009] Star Trek and actually had the original [sound] mixers go in and do an Atmos mix from the ground up with the original elements.  They’re perfect for Atmos.  Since we’re doing HDR, we needed to bring up the audio with it.”

He added that both UHD Blu-rays were done on 66 GB discs, with just the film and a commentary track found on the UHD discs (both films come with a standard Blu-ray of the film and a bonus disc).  The reasoning was simple: don’t cram too much on and overload what’s meant to be a top-notch visual-audio experience, Hoxsie said.

“Two years from now, if we want to put UHD bonuses on these discs, the 100 GB will come into play,” he added. “Or if one day we do a movie that’s three hours long, the 100 will do that.  We’re fanatics with our bit rates, and I can say that both are sufficient, and hold enough to adapt the Atmos tracks.”

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Mill Creek Entertainment Tabs June 7 For The Blu-ray Debut Of Dr. Seuss's The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T, Ralph Tribbey
Mill Creek Entertainment was busy this past week adding to its already bountiful June schedule and laying down early markers for the month of July.   So let’s get right to it.

June 7 marks the Blu-ray debut of director Roy Rowland’s 1953 film adaptation of Dr. Seuss’ (aka: Theodor Geisel) 1953 story (he also wrote the screenplay — his only theatrical screenplay), The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T.

A musical, surreal in nature, filmed in glorious Technicolor and written by Dr. Seuss, who could ask for more!   

Dr. Terwilliker (Hans Conried) is a piano teacher who has a student named Bart (Tommy Rettig — who would rise to stardom the following year as Lassie’s sidekick in the legendary television series of the same name), the son of a widowed mom named Heloise (Mary Healy).   That’s the surface story … a young boy who would rather be out playing than learning how to play the piano.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T, Ralph Tribbey
Of course, we wouldn’t have much of a story if it was just about Bart and not liking his piano lessons.   Instead, his imagination runs wild, he views Dr. T(erwilliker) as someone who is a mean taskmaster and stalking his vulnerable mother to boot.   When he dozes off during one of these lessons he suddenly finds himself in an alternate universe (think: Dorothy and the Land of Oz).   

It’s a strange land of music run by the wizard-like Dr. T who demands that young Bart — along with 499 other boys — learn how to play a massive piano (the equivalent of pushing a boulder up an endless hill)!  

Can Bart escape the clutches of Dr. T and will his mother find happiness with August Zabladowski, the plumber (played by Peter Lind Hayes)?   Who knew that piano lessons would be so fraught with danger!!!

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Quantum Leap, Ralph TribbeyIn addition to the Blu-ray debut of The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T on June 7, Mill Creek Entertainment has also added the double-disc DVD collection titled 5 Classic War Films, which includes Young Winston, The Prisoner, Commandoes Strike at Dawn, Castle Keep and Bitter Victory.  The SRP is just $14.98.

Also added to the June 7 release calendar this past week were DVD editions of the Emmy-winning series teaming Scott Bakula with Dean Stockwell, Quantum Leap: Season One (a double-disc set — the series was a late season replacement and ran just nine episodes) and Quantum Leap: Season Two (a four-disc set featuring a full season’s worth of 22 episodes).

Shifting to the first week of July we find attractively priced DVD collections of the James Garner detective series, The Rockford Files: Season One and The Rockford Files: Season Two (both are four-disc sets).

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
July 5 also marks the DVD debut of the eight-part, double-disc set titled Ghost Encounters.   Included in this unique paranormal collection are: documentary filmmaker Dan Marro’s Ghost Hunt: Paranormal Encounter at Burlington County Prison; there are four chilling encounters from documentary filmmaker Philip Gardiner, Ghost Attack on Sutton Street:  Poltergeists and Paranormal Entities, Haunted House: Demon Poltergist, Paranormal Rosslyn Chapel: Haunted Portal of Spirits and Ghosts and Haunted North America: Witches Ghosts and Demons; filmmakers Nick Padley and Nigel Albermaniche team for Unexplained Explained: Ghostly Paranormal Activity and filmmaker William Burke provides us with Ghosts at Sea: Paranormal Shipwrecks and Curses and Paranormal Prisons: Portal to Hell on Earth.

Not done yet!   July 5 also has the family-friendly four-film collection (SRP is just $9.98) titled Secret Lives of Dogs: 4 Paw-some Family Films — included in the mix are Summer's Shadow, Ugly Benny, Designer Pups and Bandit and the Saints of Dogwood — and director Stephen Gyllenhaal’s Talking to Heaven, starring Ted Danson, Mary Steenburgen, Diane Ladd and Michael Moriarty.

Unearthed Films And MVD Entertainment Group Team For The May 10 DVD Launch Of Director Kurtis Spieler’s Sheep Skin

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Sheep Skin, Ralph Tribbey
Unearthed Films, with sales and distribution supported provided by MVD Entertainment Group, has tabbed May 10 for the DVD debut of writer/director Kurtis Spieler’s Sheep Skin.

You’ve likely heard the expression, “he’s got a tiger by the tail.”   That’s pretty much the position that Nathan (Michael Schantz) has put himself in when he convinces his band (a punk rock band at that) to kidnap a philandering businessman named Todd (Laurence Mullaney).

It seems that Nathan’s sister was literally ripped to shreds “by a bear” (or some other large animal), so say the police.   She’s not the only one … and these violent crimes have all taken place during the phase of the full moon.

There’s one other thing that might, just might, connect these grisly murders together.   And that brings us back to Nathan, who thinks that Todd was hitting on his sister and at least one or more of the other victims as well.   He’s married, but Todd likes to play around and that’s the honey trap that Nathan sets for him.

Perhaps Nathan has seen one too many horror films.  Or, perhaps one too many head-banging, rock-all-night sessions has clouded his judgment, but when he adds dead sister (ripped to pieces), full moon and a sexual predator together he comes up with: WEREWOLF!   Todd’s got to be a werewolf!
DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Sheep Skin, Ralph Tribbey 
A lonely basement, Todd tied to a chair and Nathan and his band mates are ready to pound a confession out of him.   Filmmaker Kurtis Spieler flushes out his 2007 short film of the same name with this mix of part crime thriller and twisted tale of horror.   Once they’ve kidnapped Todd is there a way out that doesn’t involve going to jail for kidnapping, killing Todd … or, being ripped to shreds “by a bear” (or some other large animal)?

Bonus features for Sheep Skin include commentary from writer/director Kurtis Spieler, deleted scenes, a behind-the-scenes featurette, the short film Sheep Skin and two viewing options for the film — black and white or color.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Sheep Skin, Ralph Tribbey

20th Century-Fox Home Entertainment Selects June 28 As The Street Date For DVD And Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Editions Of The Kung Fu Panda 3: Awesome Edition

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Kung Fu Panda 3, Ralph Tribbey
DreamWorks Animation, in conjunction with 20th Century-Fox Home Entertainment, has selected June 28 for the home entertainment launch of DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack editions of Kung Fu Panda 3: Awesome Edition.

This third installment in the Kung Fu Panda animated film franchise series pulled in $141.3 million in ticket sales and arrives with a leisurely ARR of 151 days.

Bonus features include five featurettes — “Po’s Posters of Awesomeness,” “Panda Paws,” “Make a Panda Party Paper Pal,” “Play Like a Panda” and “The Origin of Skadoosh” — deleted scenes and a sing-a-long titled “Everybody Loves a Panda Party.”

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment To Support The Newly Launched 4K Ultra HD Format

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Lone Survivor 4K Ultra HD, Ralph Tribbey
With Lionsgate, Warner Bros., Paramount, 20th Century-Fox and Sony Pictures on board with the new 4K Ultra HD format, it was only a matter of time before Universal Pictures Home Entertainment joined the party.   

That happened on April 19 with an announcement that wasn’t really much of announcement.   “Yes, we are in, but we have nothing set as of yet.”

Here’s what we know.   Forthcoming theatrical hits, such as f/x whiz-turned-director Cedric Nicolas-Troyan’s The Huntsman: Winter's War (opening this weekend, Apr. 22), director Duncan Jones’ Warcraft (in theatres beginning June 10) and Matt Damon’s return as Jason Bourne in filmmaker Paul Greengrass’ Jason Bourne (opening July 29), will all be 4K Ultra HD product offerings.  Presumably these will be released on a day/date basis.

Universal has been averaging 118 days from theatrical launch to home entertainment, so we could see a 4K Ultra HD edition of The Huntsman: Winter's War at retail by mid-August.
The studio will also be releasing the likes of Everest, Lucy and Lone Survivor as 4K Ultra HD SKUs, but dates were not assigned in the press release.   Those films will likely to be released as 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray Combo Packs during June and July if mid-August is the earliest window for a day/date outing. 

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Lone Survivor 4K Ultra HD, Ralph TribbeyThese are to be counted among as many as 100 films that will be available as 4K Ultra HD releases by the end of the year.  That’s what Universal is committing to.

Now all that remains is for Walt Disney Studios to join their studio brethren in support of the 4K Ultra HD format.   Of course, they have already missed a golden opportunity to do just that with a day/date release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but that didn’t happen.