Monday, August 1, 2016

Icarus Films Preps The Homestretch (Oct. 4) And Under the Sun (Sept. 20) For DVD Release

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Icarus Films will be teaming with Bullfrog Films for the Oct. 4 DVD debut of the documentary filmmaking team of Anne De Mare and Kirsten Kelly’s The Homestretch, a harrowing look at Chicago teenagers in crisis.

If Chicago were a country, it could be chocked up as a failed state.   The murder rate is off the charts, the state of the city’s economy looks more and more like Detroit every day and nothing seems to work.   

De Mare and Kelly focus on just one element of this urban nightmare, teenagers on the streets; homeless … they estimate that over 2,000 are on the streets on any given night.   The city school system reports at least 19,000 students are classified as homeless.

But through all of this doom and gloom, there is hope.  

The Homestretch follows three of these homeless teens — Roque, Anthony and Kacey — and gives us glimpses into some of the issues that put teens like them in perilous straits.   It’s not always economics or the breakdown of families (yes, those are major factors — 23 percent of the city’s population lives in poverty), but many of the teens simply “don’t fit.”  Cultural mores put gays and transgender kids on the street … they are simply not welcome.   

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyAll three are trying to better themselves, Roque has made it to his senior year in high school and Kacey, a lesbian, has had the guidance and care that she couldn’t find at home.    Anthony, an example of kids having kids, not only has to overcome issues in his life, but has to succeed in order to provide for his infant son who is currently in foster care … you get the sense that he may develop the skills to do just that!

We also learn from The Homestretch that there are resources available, but they are “stretched” precariously thin.   TLP (Teen Living Programs) is cited as an example of what works — 83 percent of the kids that find their way into the program attended or completed school and three-quarters of them find jobs.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Also on added to the release calendar by Icarus Films this past week is Russian filmmaker Vitaly Manskiy’s extraordinary look at life in North Korea, Under the Sun.   The street date for the DVD debut will be Sept. 20.

This arthouse entry (and award-winner on the festival circuit) has pulled in $61,822 in its limited run and arrives with an ARR of 74 days.   It is now Oscar-eligible in the documentary category.  

Somehow the powers that be in Kim Jong Un's despotic kingdom thought it would be a good idea to produce a propaganda film showcasing the glorious life of an eight-year old girl and her family.   Perhaps the fact that Manskiy is Russian kept his minders from being suspicious that he would just keep on filming after the staged scenes were completed.

The story centers around Zin-Mi, who is a new member of the Children’s Union, having joined on the annual Kim Jong Il birthday celebration, which is called “The Day of the Shining Star.”   We see her at school, we follow her home to her parent’s apartment — her parents work at a very successful factory and, as a result, enjoy a lifestyle that certainly meets or exceeds Western standards.

The problem with this idyllic picture of life in Pyongyang is that it is all a fraud, but the clever way that Manskiy presents it is he shows the “staged” presentation and then after the obligatory “cut” the cameras continue to roll.   It’s like a Hollywood production!  Action!  Cut!  And then we see what goes on after the actors and crew move on to the next scene … everything is staged; a fantasy.
DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

This begs the question, no, wait, two questions.  First, how did Vitaly Manskiy get all of the raw footage out of the country?   Second, do you suppose Manskiy is planning any return trips to this worker’s paradise?

Under the Sun is presented in Korean with English subtitles.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Writer/Director Mark Elijah Rosenberg’s Approaching the Unknown Lands On DVD Oct. 11 Courtesy Of Paramount Home Media

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
When manned missions to Mars finally take place, potential crew members will likely watch Matt Damon’s Martian as a dramatic and entertaining reminder of what can go wrong once you’ve landed on Mars.   There is another film that will also be on the viewing list as a cautionary reminder as to why it will be unlikely that anyone will be doing this as a one-way solo trip.

This film for the future astronauts to see is writer/director Mark Elijah Rosenberg’s Approaching the Unknown, which will be making its DVD debut on Oct. 11 courtesy of Paramount Home Media.   

The ARR for that October release date works out to 130 days — the film had a very limited one-week, 11-screen theatrical break during the first week of June (for critical awareness).

The reason why Approaching the Unknown will be on the viewing list is to show crew members that going it solo is not a particularly good idea.  This we learn from Captain William Stanaforth (Mark Strong — Kingsman: The Secret Service, The Brothers Grimsby, The Imitation Game, etc.), a solo astronaut who is on a one-way mission to Mars.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
We learn, through a series of flashback sequences, that he has developed a machine that can process soil (even in the desert) and extract both hydrogen and oxygen, which — as your basic understanding of chemistry dictates — are the two key building blocks for water.   Mars, water … mission is a go!

What can possibly go wrong with one astronaut, an experimental life-sustaining machine and a one-way mission to Mars that takes 270 days (nine months) to complete?  Quick, grab a pencil and jot down a dozen things off the top of your head … OK, that’s a lot work, how about six, or even three.   Pick a number.  

Things do go wrong and the entire mission is very much in jeopardy.  

Or, and this is just supposition, imagine that our astronaut is not really on his way to Mars, but is dying of thirst in the desert.  His experimental gizmo doesn’t work — and he has deliberately puts himself in the position that if his machine doesn’t work he will die, alone, in the desert.   

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeySo it is entirely possible that Capt. Stanaforth is hallucinating and the solo mission to Mars is all in his head — the problems he encounters are all related to his failures on Earth.

Rosenberg’s Approaching the Unknown can be viewed on several levels and that is what makes Stanaforth’s descent into madness — alone, with critical things going south on him — all the more compelling.   In any case, going it solo to Mars, even with a cohort (played by Sanaa Lathan) some thirty days behind you on a duplicate trajectory (carrying additional supplies), is not a particularly good idea.   

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Also added to Paramount’s very busy DVD & Blu-ray release schedule this week are both DVD and Blu-ray editions of Penny Dreadful: The Final Season — both will be three-disc sets featuring all nine episodes from the third season that just wrapped on June 19th.   The street date selected by Paramount Home Media for this Showtime series is October 4.

On the complete series front, Paramount will be running promotions for Dexter: The Complete Series (Blu-ray set on Oct. 4) and Perry Mason: The Complete Series (DVD on Oct. 11).

And from Nickelodeon news comes this week that Oct. 11 will mark the DVD debut of A Very Nick Jr. Christmas.   Over two hours of fun featuring Christmas-themed adventures of Shimmer and Shine, the Paw Patrol, Blaze and the Monster Trucks and more.

MVD Entertainment Group Tabs Dec. 13 For The DVD Debut Of Director John Stuart Wildman’s The Ladies of the House

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ladies of the House, Ralph Tribbey
MVD Entertainment Group will be guiding the Stripped Movie, LLC production of director John Stuart Wildman’s wickedly twisted horror tale, The Ladies of the House, to the DVD arena on Dec. 13.

Serial killers, cannibals, pole dancers, a plot with a very clever twist and one of the best set designs for an indie film that’s been seen in quite some time, those are just a few of the selling points for The Ladies of the House.

First impressions can be deceiving and that is certainly true here.  We begin at a strip club, where Jacob (Gabriel Horn) and his buddy Derek (Samrat Chakrabarti) have taken Jabob’s brother, Kai (RJ Hanson), who is something of a gentle giant and just a tad on the slow side, to celebrate his birthday.

After a few drinks, Derek, who is more or less a bully, convinces the dimwitted Kai that girls — in this case, a pole dancer named Ginger (Michelle Sinclair, aka: adult film star Belladona) — who work at strip clubs like to have their customers follow them home so that they can have sex in private.   

So what we’ve got going here is the makings of a stalker/rape movie when Kai and his “escorts” do just that … and follow Ginger home.   Kai is a little overwhelmed by Ginger’s initial reaction to having him on her doorstep, he panics … and then kills her.   Her behavior becomes clear after the fact.
DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ladies of the House, Ralph Tribbey

It is at this point that everything you are expecting to happen goes right out the window!   You are thinking, they’ll dispose of the body, cover their tracks and the rest of the movie will be a cat-and-mouse game of whether their crime is uncovered, solved or revenged. 
Before they can make their getaway, Ginger’s roommates arrive home, Jacob and Derek find hiding places and poor Kai is confronted by Getty (Melodie Sisk), Lin (Farah White) and “baby” Crystal (Brina Palecia), who don’t seem all that upset that poor Ginger is dead.   Once he is lured back inside the payoff begins!

Hauling his dead carcass off the street would be a lot of work — the “ladies” see him as rump roast for a month — so they let him do the heavy lifting by walking under his own power back to the kitchen, where he is promptly dispatched with a butcher knife.   He will end up as tasty morsels in the freezer in no time.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ladies of the House, Ralph Tribbey
You see, these “ladies” are cannibals and Ginger was just doing her job of bringing dinner home.   And although Jacob and Derek are trying their best to hide, this will be to no avail, as these hungry felines will eventually catch the “mice.”   Derek gets a taste — perhaps a poor choice of words, “taste,” in a cannibal movie — of his own medicine, while Crystal takes a fetish liking to Jacob (children are often reminded not to play with their food).

All of this plays out in a house that is a “character” in its own right.   Imagine something along the lines of neon goth meets ‘50s modern — set decoration was handled by Winona Yu (she consulted on vintage set decoration for the 11.22.63 mini-series, plus her work can be seen in such films as Secrets of a Psychopath, Daylight's End and Windsor) and Adam Dietrich (a man with many talents, including acting and producing) was in charge of production design. 
DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ladies of the House, Ralph Tribbey

Wildman’s The Ladies of the House is a real horror treat (can you say “treat” when referring to a movie populated by lesbian cannibals?) that easily transcends your typical homage to Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre — it colors (in a deep red) well outside the lines!


Wild Eye Releasing's Killersaurus Rips Its Way To DVD On Sept. 27

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Killersaurus, Ralph Tribbey
Professor Gerald Deemer (Leo G. Carroll) labored away in his desert laboratory, with all of the best intensions, to bio-engineer a superior food supply.   He got a giant tarantula for his efforts.

Professor Peterson (Steven Dolton — Nocturnal Activity, Zombie Undead, etc.) is also working on a bio-engineering project that proposes to marry 3D printing technology with some sort of medical research (saved the world, cure a disease, etc.).   He has all the best of intentions.   

To you see something of a plot parallel here?   

Wild Eye Releasing announced this past week that British filmmaker Steve Lawson’s tale of research gone awry, Killersaurus, will be making its domestic DVD debut on Sept. 27.

In a well-constructed prologue, we get an introduction to the project, lots of bells and whistles; flashing lights with computer screens ablaze with code … secret stuff.   And then something goes horribly wrong, as one would expect in a film with the title Killersaurus, and then the credits roll.

We skip ahead a few months and the good professor is out of cash, but he’s learned from his mistakes, and is close to a major breakthrough.   Enter a suspicious looking chap by the name of Andrews (Julian Boote — Jack the Giant Killer, Dead Room, Evil Souls, etc.), who is willing to fund the project, but has other plans for the research.   

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Killersaurus, Ralph Tribbey3D printing technology married to the bio-engineering of the perfect killing machine, a T-Rex!   Envision an army of these gung-ho “soldiers” leading the way on the battlefield … that’s what Andrews has in mind!

Now imagine what could possibly go wrong with that plan!   The answer is plenty, and that’s the fun of it.

Killersaurus is an effective mad scientist thriller that uses its indie/mirco-budget resources to good purpose (think: Val Lewton and his ability to keep the “creature” in the shadows and unseen for as long as possible) and is blessed by a solid performance from heroine Helen Crevel (Survival Instinct), Professor Peterson’s assistant, in her film debut.

Bonus features include commentary from director Steve Lawson (Survival Instinct, Nocturnal Activity).

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment To Release DVD And Blu-ray Editions Of Director James Wan's The Conjuring 2 On Sept. 13

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, The Conjuring 2, Ralph Tribbey
Sure enough, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment “cleared the decks” last week with an Aug. 23 street date for writer/director Shane Black’s The Nice Guys, which will be followed on Aug. 30 by director Thea Sharrock’s Me Before You.

Both had respectable theatrical runs, with The Nice Guys pulling in $36.2 million in ticket sales and Me Before You gathering up $55.7 million at local multiplexes during its June/July theatrical run.   

But Warner Bros. has three films in inventory (currently in theatrical release in one form or another) that have exceeded $100 million at the box office and with the focus now on the post-Labor Day to Christmas timeframe, The Nice Guys and Me Before You needed to be “deck-cleared” to make way for those larger theatrical hits.

The first of these is director James Wan’s haunted house thriller, The Conjuring 2, which will be released on Sept. 13 as both DVD and Blu-ray product offerings.

Domestic ticket sales currently total $101.8 million and the ARR for this mid-September street date works out to 95 days.

Bonus features for both SKUs included deleted scenes and five production featurettes — “The Enfield Poltergeist: Living The Horror,” “The Conjuring 2: Hollywood’s Haunted Stage,” “Creating Crooked,” “Crafting The Conjuring 2,” and “Sounds of Scary.”

Shami Media Group Tabs Aug. 16 For The DVD Release Of Director Jason Winn’s The Adventures of Paula Peril

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Shami Media Group, with domestic sales and distribution expertise provided by MVD Entertainment Group, has selected Aug. 16 for the DVD debut of director Jason Winn’s The Adventures of Paula Peril, the first feature-length entry into the Paula Peril adventure series.

Ace reporter Paula “Peril” Perillo, played by Valerie Perez, has her origins in comic book adventures, which were adapted for a series of shorts beginning back in 2007 — Paula Peril: Trapped in the Flames, Paula Peril: Midnight Is the Darkest Hour, Paula Peril: Mystery of the Crystal Falcon, Paula Peril: The Invisible Evil and Paula Peril: Midnight Whistle (also directed by Jason Winn).

Filmmaker Jason Winn (The Fat Boy Chronicles, Spiral Bound, etc.) as mentioned, handled the directorial chores for Paula Peril: Midnight Whistle, and based on the buzz from that short film and the cult status of the others, was recruited to take his Paula Peril entry and combine it into a coherent narrative with footage from Paula Peril: Mystery of the Crystal Falcon and Paula Peril: The Invisible Evil.  

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyAn additional 30 minutes of new action and connecting sequences were shot in and around Atlanta, Georgia by Winn and his crew to yield this first full-length feature film showcasing the exploits of Paula Peril. 

During the golden age of theatrical serials, it was a common practice after the serial had complete its 12 to 15 week (chapters) run, to edit the roughly four hours of action down into a 70 or 80 feature version.   The same holds true here as this modern day Brenda Starr goes where ever the story leads, no matter the danger — and she’s no wallflower, she can more than handle her own in any situation.

Decked out in her signature red top and short black skirt, Paula is hot on the trail of mobster Vince Vincelli (Sam Gentry), but she’s attacked by a group of thugs, beaten into submission and tied to a chair in a dingy warehouse ... things don’t look good for poor Paula Peril!   Vince wants to know what she’s got on him and she’s not leaving that warehouse until she spills the beans.
DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

Meanwhile, her crack assistant, Jimmy (Stephen Hanthorn) tries his best to piece together the clues that might lead to Paula’s rescue.   Her co-worker and bitter rival, Veronica Vilancourt (Marla Malcolm), offers to help, but has her own agenda.   All of this takes place while the newspaper’s editor, Slim Jackson (James Connor) is running up against a deadline … find Paula, save Paula and get that story!!!

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment Begins Its Post-Labor Day Release Campaign In Earnest With Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (Sept. 20) And Warcraft (Sept. 27)

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment has added director Nicholas Stoller’s Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising to its Sept. 20 release calendar.  Both DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack editions will be available.

The ARR comes in at 123 days and ticket sales for this Seth Rogen and Zac Efron comedy were a tasty $55.3 million.

In an excellent show of tradecraft, Universal announced the Matthew McConaughey Civil War drama, Free State of Jones, last week and then waited until the following week with the more successful theatrical release of Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising.   They didn’t “step” on the lesser title by announcing both Sept. 20 releases at the same time.  That was smart.

As to bonus nuggets for Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising … there is a commentary option teaming filmmaker Nicholas Stoller (Neighbors, The Five-Year Engagement, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, etc.) with producer James Weaver, a gag reel, deleted scenes and three featurettes — “Nu Neighbors,” “The Prodigal Bros Return” and “Girls Rule.”

In other release news, Universal has tagged Sept. 27 as the release date for a four-SKU helping of director Duncan Jones’ film adaptation of the popular video games, books and other collectibles associated with “The World of Warcraft,” Warcraft.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Warcraft, Ralph TribbeyThat street date yields an ARR of 109 days and the domestic box office gross currently
stands at $47.2 million.

Planned for release are the following configurations: a 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray Combo Pack, a Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack, a 3D/2D Blu-ray Double-Disc Set and a stand-alone DVD presentation.   

Bonus features common to all SKUs include deleted scenes, a gag reel and three featurettes — “Origin Story,” “The Fandom of Warcraft” and “ILM: Behind the Magic of Warcraft.”

Exclusive to the Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD editions are a motion comic titled “Warcraft: Bonds of Brotherhood,” six additional production featurettes — “The World of Warcraft on Film,” “The World of Talent,” “The World of VFX,” Outfitting a World,” “The World of Stunts” and “The World of MOCAP” — plus a featurette from Madame Tussauds detailing the creation of Warcraft wax figures.

HBO Home Entertainment Picks Nov. 15 For The Shipment Of DVD And Blu-ray Sets Of Game of Thrones: The Complete Sixth Season To Retailers

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Game Of Thrones, Ralph Tribbey
HBO Home Entertainment gave notice this past week that both DVD and Blu-ray sets of Game of Thrones: The Complete Sixth Season will be arriving at retail on Nov. 15.

All ten episodes will be available in these five-disc collections that come loaded with bonus features, include commentary options for all episodes!

Other bonus goodies for fans of the series to savor are deleted scenes and three production featurettes — “The Battle of the Bastards,” “Recreating the Dothraki World“ and “18 Hours at the Paint Hall.”    

Exclusive to the Blu-ray SKU are an “In-Episode” Guide and an 18-part examination of the mythology of Westeros and Essos that is titled “Histories and Lore.”

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Banshee, Ralph Tribbey
In other TV Series release news this week from HBO, we find that all good things eventually do come to an end.   Such is the case for “Sheriff” Lucas Hood (Antony Starr) and his tight-knit band of “professional” thieves — Sugar (Frankie Faison), Job (Hoon Lee) and Carrie (Ivana Milicevic).

Oct. 4 will be the street date for DVD and Blu-ray editions of Banshee: The Final Season.  Bonus features include episode commentaries, deleted scenes and four production featurettes — “Banshee Origins: Webisodes,” “Zoomed In,” “Best Fight Scenes” and “Job’s Best Outfits.”