Monday, June 20, 2016

108 Media Teams With MVD Entertainment Group For The July 12 DVD Debut Of Director Jonas Odenheimer’s Classroom 6

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Classroom 6, Ralph Tribbey
School is out on July 12 for reporter Annie Monroe and her film crew!   That’s when 108 Media Corporation will be teaming up with MVD Entertainment Group for the DVD debut of director Jonas Odenheimer’s Classroom 6.

Perky local TV news reporter, Annie Monroe (played by Valentina Kolaric, who is making her feature film debut here), is on assignment with her crew for one of those filler pieces that takes up a couple of minutes of air time on the local news, but will take all night to shoot.  

Now genre fans will immediately recognize this plot device of Annie with a film crew being the “victim” pool … and the way filmmaker Jonas Odenheimer has structured the film, we know from the outset that they are indeed just that, THE VICTIM POOL!!!

The assignment is to do a piece on the anniversary of a stranger-than-strange event that took place at the local college where an instructor and student mysteriously vanished from classroom number six.   Gone!  Vanished!   Never seen again!

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Classroom 6, Ralph Tribbey
The plan — which in retrospect seems poorly thought out (hence: victim pool) — is to get locked inside the aforementioned classroom overnight and film anything strange that might happen.   

Off course they all think that it’s a joke, but then you need some local interest filler on the news to keep viewers interested so you go along with the plan.   But once locked in, with no way to escape or call for help, they quickly find that the joke is on them!!!  

Paramount Home Media Adds Four TV-On-DVD Collections To Its August 2016 Release Calendar

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigative Service - Season Thirteen, Ralph Tribbey
Paramount Home Media was very busy this past week with announcements for not one, two or even a trio of TV-on-DVD releases, but with street dates for four full seasons worth of well-established fan-pleasers!   Let’s get right to it!

Kicking off the TV series hit parade on Aug. 23 is NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigative Service - Season Thirteen.   Gibbs (Mark Harmon), DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly), Abby (Pauley Perrette), McGee (Sean Murray) and “Ducky” (David McCallum) are back for 24 new cases, including episode 300 (“Scope”) in the series.

Bonus goodies include selected episode commentaries, deleted scenes and at least two featurettes — “300th Episode” and “Michael Weatherly Says Goodbye.”

Also streeting on Aug. 23 is Elementary: The Fourth Season, teaming Jonny Lee Miller with Lucy Liu as the contemporary Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick Dr. Joan Watson.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Elementary: The Fourth Season, Ralph Tribbey24 new case files (episodes) are included in this six-disc DVD collection.  Bonus nuggets include selected commentaries and four featurettes — “The Sign of Fourth,” “Elementary in Villainy!,” “Mina, Cassie, & Ally; and Father Holmes” and “Wag the Dog: Hounded.”

The following week, Aug. 30, Paramount returns with two additional TV-on-DVD series (already in place on that date — announced last week — are: CSI: Cyber - The Final Season and Limitless: Season One).

Criminal Minds: The Complete Eleventh Season arrives on Aug. 30 with 22 episodes showcasing the work of the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit — comprised of Agents Hotchner (Thomas Gibson), Rossi (Joe Mantegna), Morgan (Shemar Moore), "JJ" (A.J. Cook), Dr. Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler), the adorable Penelope Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness) and the new kid, forensic psychologist Dr. Tara Lewis (Aisha Tyler).

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Criminal Minds: The Complete Eleventh Season, Ralph Tribbey
Bonus features include selected episode commentaries, a gag reel and a trio of featurettes.
Rounding out the TV “Title” wave is the Aug. 30 release of NCIS Los Angeles: The Seventh Season.   Agents "G" Callen (Chris O'Donnell) and Sam Hanna (LL Cool J) are back for 24 new episodes in this six-disc DVD collection.

Bonus goodies include commentary on select episodes, newly prepared video sessions with the cast and crew and featurette showcasing the 150th episodes in the series.

Arrow Video Tabs July 5 For A Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Edition Featuring A 2K Restoration Of Mario Bava's Blood And Black Lace

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Blood and Black Lace, Ralph Tribbey
Arrow Video, with domestic sales and distribution support provided by MVD Entertainment Group, has two new 2K restorations ready for release as Blu-ray/DVD Combo Packs on July 5.

First up is giallo king Mario Bava’s 1964 (1965 for its domestic theatrical release) breakthrough film, Blood and Black Lace, starring Cameron Mitchell and Eva Bartok as lovers with a deadly secret that must be guarded at all costs.  

Mario Bava had labored as a cinematographer throughout the post-war period, logging something like 50 film credits during the process, when he hit upon combining his camerawork with directing and came up with a little ditty titled Black Sunday starring Barbara Steele (released in the United States in early 1961). 

That was a turning point and after that quickly followed Black Sabbath (with Karloff) and The Whip and the Body (with Christopher Lee).   All three were more or less traditional horror films.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Blood and Black Lace, Ralph Tribbey
Blood and Black Lace took him to a completely different level as a filmmaker.   Heavily influenced by the commercial success of Hitchcock’s September of 1960 film release of Psycho, Bava ratcheted-up both the violence and the sexual aspects (fashion models as victims) of the plot and filmed in all in glorious color (Eastmancolor — his protégé Ubaldo Terzano handling the camerawork). 

And, the script is solid — it’s not just a slice-and-dice horror thriller.   The beginning of the third act clears the obvious killer with a solid alibi … ah, but there is a twist!

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Blood and Black Lace, Ralph TribbeyBonus features assembled by Arrow Video for this 2K restoration from the film’s original camera negative include both the Italian-language and English-dubbed presentations, a newly-prepared commentary featuring Bava biographer Tim Lucas (author of “Mario Bava: All the Colors of the Dark”) and alternative US opening titles provided by Joe Dante's private print.   

There are also three production featurettes and the biographical television episode titled “The Sinister Image: Cameron Mitchell.”

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Swinging Cheerleaders, Ralph Tribbey
Also getting the 2K restoration treatment on July 5 is legendary director Jack Hill’s 1974 sexploitation dramedy, The Swinging Cheerleaders, starring Jo Johnston (her only film role) as Kate, a journalist major who goes undercover to collect salacious material for an expose she plans to write about what she believes to be the vacuous members of the college’s cheerleading squad.   She not only has a change of heart, but comes up with even a bigger story.

Bonus features include a newly-prepared commentary from writer/director Jack Hill, a new video session with Hill and archived video sessions with Jack Hill, Johnny Legend and cinematographer Alfred Taylor, plus there’s 2012 video session featuring filmmaker Jack Hill and actors Colleen Camp and Rosanne Katon.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Blood and Black Lace, Ralph Tribbey

Universal Studios Home Entertainment Includes 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray Combo Pack In Its Aug. 23 Home Entertainment Launch Of The Huntsman: Winter's War

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, The Huntsman: Winter's War, Ralph Tribbey
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment will be giving director Cedric Nicolas-Troyan’s The Huntsman: Winter's War — the continuing adventures of Eric the Huntsman of the Brothers Grimm’s “Snow White” fable — the full treatment on Aug. 23.    

Planned are DVD, Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray Combo Pack editions of the film.

The ARR works out to 123 days and domestic ticket sales currently stand at $48 million — less than a third of what Snow White and the Huntsman pulled in back during its theatrical run in 2012.   

Although the film concludes with the hint of a possible sequel, it looks like this potential studio franchise has hit the end of the line.   

As to bonus features common to all SKUs, director Cedric Nicolas-Troyan provides commentary, plus there are deleted scenes (with commentary) and a gag reel.   There are also two featurettes — “Dressed To Kill” and “Love Conquers All.”

Exclusive to the Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD editions are three additional featurettes — “Two Queens and Two Warriors,” “Meet the Dwarfs” and “Magic All Around.”

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, The Huntsman: Winter's War, Ralph Tribbey

Artsploitation Films Goes Down Under For DVD And Blu-ray Editions Of Director Joseph Sims-Dennett's Observance On Aug. 2

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Observance, Ralph Tribbey
We are going to bury the lede here to focus first on Australian filmmakers in general.  Going all the way back to the Australian New Wave of the 1970s — which includes such notables as Peter Weir, George Miller, Bruce Beresford, Gillian Armstrong, Phillip Noyce, etc. — these “blokes and Sheilas” have been noted for their cutting-edge approach to storytelling and visual presentation.   

From Walkabout, Picnic at Hanging Rock, Money Movers (geeze, how come this film isn’t available on DVD and/or Blu-ray) and Mad Max to the likes of Aussie filmmaker Russell Mulcahy’s Razorback, P.J. Hogan’s Muriel’s Wedding and Greg McLean’s Wolf Creek one can find example after example … it’s a long list that could easily fill up this week’s edition of the report.  

Throw in The Lighthorsemen (Bruce Beresford … and not available domestically), the late Richard Franklin’s 1981 thriller, Road Games (starring two American actors … but Aussie nonetheless) and Sean Byrne’s 2009 horror gem The Love Ones, and you can see how quickly you can get lost in the great outback.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Observance, Ralph Tribbey
So with this “beaut” of an intro we can now get to the real thrust of this piece.   There is yet another “Down Under” film gem on its way to the domestic home entertainment market place on Aug. 2 that you will want to take note of.   This would be Aussie writer/director Joseph Sims-Dennett's Observance, which will be available as both DVD and Blu-ray product offerings from Artsploitation Films.

The story, which is deliberately obtuse (so as to keep you guessing), has Parker (Lindsay Farris — who also starred in Sims-Dennett's 2011 film, Bad Behaviour) landing a short term gig as a “peeper” (private detective), whose job it is to keep track of a woman by the name of Tenneal (Stephanie King — making her feature film debut).   

Parker’s son has recently died, his marriage is on the rocks and his finances (from the medical bills) are overwhelming … so he is open to just about anything that can take some of the load off.  And that’s what he’s got, a nasty little job that has him locked away in a dingy apartment literally spying on the woman across the way.   It’s a stink hole (you’ll feel in need of a shower after this one) and the job is voyeuristic and more than over-the-line creepy.   

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Observance, Ralph Tribbey
Despite watching her (complete with camera and telephoto lens) for hours on end, he knows very little about her.  His employer tells him not to worry about it … and then extends the gig and throws in even more money (so why ask too many questions).

Slowly Parker’s claustrophobic little world starts to unravel.   The apartment (stink hole), the job and his unrelenting depression all combine for a steady descent into madness … but is it all planned, or is it just the circumstances of the assignment!   And who is Tenneal?

Circle Aug. 2 on your viewing calendar … Observance on DVD and Blu-ray is a must.

The Film Detective Restores Director Francis Ford Coppola's Dementia 13 For A July 26 Blu-ray Release

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Dementia 13, Ralph Tribbey
Word arrived this past week from The Film Detective that they have unearthed an original 35mm print of auteur filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola’s 1963 gothic-like chiller, Dementia 13 and will be releasing it to the domestic market as a restored Blu-ray edition on July 26.

As with many of producer Roger Corman’s films from this period, Dementia 13 has a checkered history that includes additional scenes shot by such legendary auteurs as Jack Hill and Monte Hellman (the three — Hill, Hellman and Coppola — along with Roger Corman himself, also teamed for The Terror, which was released theatrically three months earlier). 
Even the casting of the film has an interesting backstory.   The Young Racers (directed by Corman and released theatrically in January of 1963) had just finished shooting in Ireland and so cast members William Campbell, Luana Anders and Patrick Magee all stuck around to work on this “quickie.”   The rest of the cast was flushed out with local actors and, as legend has it, friends of Coppola who fly to Ireland just for the chance to be in his film.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Dementia 13, Ralph Tribbey
This is just one of those films that — if you are either a genre fan, student of the art or film buff — you have to have in your personal library.   The Film Detective is presenting this Blu-ray edition in as aspect ratio of 1:85 and with an English subtitle option … the SRP is just $14.99 (and that’s before discounts at retail).

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Dementia 13, Ralph Tribbey

The Criterion Collection Announces Its September 2016 DVD And Blu-ray Release Calendar

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Valley of the Dolls, Ralph Tribbey
The Criterion Collection announced its selection of new DVD and Blu-ray product offerings for the month of September this past week … as always it is a question of taste as to what is at the front of the pack.

We’re going to go with the Sept. 27 restorations of director Mark Robson’s 1967 film adaptation of Jacqueline Susann’s best-selling novel about “mother’s little helpers,” Valley of the Dolls and cult filmmaker Russ Meyer’s 1970 satirical follow-up, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (with a script by legendary film critic Robert Ebert).

Valley of the Dolls, starring the late Patty Duke (Oscar-winner for her performance as Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker), Barbara Parkins (Emmy-winner for Peyton Place) and the doomed Sharon Tate (she would be murdered by the Manson Family less than two years later), arrives as a new 2K restoration on both Blu-ray and DVD (a double-disc set).

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Valley of the Dolls, Ralph Tribbey
Bonus goodies for Valley of the Dolls include a vintage commentary (circa 2006) featuring Barbara Parkins and journalist Ted Casablanca (“The Awful Truth”), newly-minted video sessions with author Amy Fine Collins and critic Kim Morgan and a pair of vintage short promotional films from 1967.

As to Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, Criterion has two vintage commentary tracks — one featuring the late Roger Ebert (circa 2003) and the second featuring cast member Dolly Read, Cynthia Myers, Harrison Page, John La Zar, and Erica Gavin (circa 2006) — plus a new video session with auteur filmmaker John Waters (one of the funniest men on the planet), a vintage video session with Russ Meyer, a Q&A session from 1992 featuring Russ Meyer, Roger Ebert and actors John La Zar, Dolly Read, David Gurian, Charles Napier (who also produced), Michael Blodgett and Edy Williams and five documentaries on the film — Above, Beneath and Beyond the Valley, Look on Up at the Bottom, The Best of Beyond, Sex, Drugs, Music and Murder and Casey & Roxanne.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, Ralph TribbeyCriterion goes to the vaults on Sept. 20 for a new 2K restoration of director Jacques Tourneur’s 1942 film masterpiece, Cat People.

The bonus goodies here include a 1977 video session with director Jacques Tourneur, a newly-minted video session with cinematographer John Bailey (Groundhog Day, As Good as it Gets, etc.) and director Kent Jones’ 2007 feature-length documentary titled Val Lewton: The Man in the Shadows.

Also on Sept. 20, the Coen Brothers get another Criterion Collection look-see with a 4K restoration of their 1984 film noir treasure, Blood Simple.  There will be a Blu-ray and double-disc DVD release on that date.

Bonus features include new video sessions featuring the Coen Brothers and the film’s stars, Frances McDormand and M. Emmet Walsh (among others).

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Blood SImple, Ralph Tribbey
Rounding out the September Blu-ray and DVD selections from the Criterion Collection are Japanese filmmaker Kenji Mizoguchi’s 1939 film, The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum (Japanese) — which didn’t wash up on these shores until 1979 — it will be available on Sept. 13 as DVD and Blu-ray selections; a Blu-ray edition of director Carol Reed’s 1940 film release of Night Train to Munich (Sept. 6) and the epic 1988 film series from Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Kieślowski, Dekalog — five-disc DVD and four-disc Blu-ray sets will be available on Sept. 27.

VCI Entertainment Targets Aug. 2 For A Blu-ray Restoration Release Of The Night Visitor

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Night Visitor, Ralph Tribbey
VCI Entertainment announced this past week that Aug. 2 will be the street date for a new HD restoration — from the original film negative — of director László (Laslo) Benedek’s 1971 meticulous thriller, The Night Visitor.

Ingmar Bergman regulars, Max von Sydow, Liv Ullmann (who co-starred in Bergman’s Hour of the Wolf, Shame, etc.) and Per Oscarsson are joined by the likes of Trevor Howard, Rupert Davies and Andrew Keir in this English-language chiller, which was actually shot on familiar Bergman ground (which works wonders for the type of film that is presented here — cold, bleak and blessed with an unrelenting feeling of despair).   

What makes this film so much “fun” is that the plot is clever and always keeps you guessing as to whether von Sydow’s character, Salem, is really insane, or a victim falsely imprisoned who has figured out a foolproof plan to gain his revenge.   He is a brutal killer, but you understand the why of it … and the whole affair is tied together with a marvelous twist in the final act.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Night Visitor, Ralph Tribbey