Monday, November 28, 2016

Wolfe Sets Feb. 7 As The DVD Debut Date For Writer/Director Brian O'Donnell's Akron

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Wolfe announced this past week that writer/director Brian O’Donnell’s — with co-direction by Sasha King — Akron will be making its DVD debut on Feb. 7.   This heartfelt tale of love, family and the power of forgiveness is the first film-to-DVD announced by Wolfe in the New Year.

It is often said that, “life isn’t fair.”   When Benny (Matthew Frias — When the Game Stands Tall, The Duel, etc.), a college freshman, meets Christopher (Edmund Donovan) at school there is an instant attraction.   Everything between them seems perfect … perhaps, that old saw that “life isn’t fair” will not apply to them.   But, we, as the audience, are privy to a piece of information that will test just how fair or unfair life and love can be.

However, that bit of knowledge is neatly placed aside as the idyllic college days and the relationship between the two move from one day into the next until spring break arrives.   Christopher thinks nothing of asking Benny to take a road trip with him to Florida to meet his mother, it is the natural thing to do.   

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Once there, a tragic event from the past that will forever connect them bubbles to the surface.   A tragedy from their collective childhoods will be revealed that will test and tear at their relationship, which, when you thing about it, is so ironic, especially when it comes to stories about gay young men.   

Instead of their relationship being the flash point, as it so often can be when it comes to family, that is never an issue in Akron.   Acceptance is always there.  It is something beyond that that Benny and Christopher will have to resolve if their love for each other is to survive.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyAkron belies its origins not only as an independent production (it began its production life as a Kickstarter endeavor back in 2013) but the first film for Brian O’Donnell as a writer and director.   Judging on how well this film is put together, not only technically, but on an emotional level as well, we can expect to see more films in the future from O’Donnell.

Also heading to the DVD market place on Feb. 7 is director Piotr J. Lewandowski’s festival-winning German-language import, Jonathan.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Do you want the past explored and revealed so that the secrets are no more?   This is what haunts 24-year old Jonathan (Jannis Niewöhner), who has become the caretaker of the family farm as his father Berghard (André Hennicke) is dying of cancer.   Weeks, perhaps only days remain.   

His sister, Martha (Barbara Auer), knows some of the issues, but keeps them “safely” tucked away.   The nurse, Anka (Julia Koschitz), is as caring as she is alluring.   Jonathan can’t resist her … and that is a distraction that consumes time that he can’t afford right now if he is to resolve the issues — that itch that you cannot scratch — with his father.

Jonathan is a moody piece, deliberately so, that has a twist that arrives literally at the doorstep that is not what one could have expected.   Presented in German with English subtitles.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

The Film Detective Restores Director Tommy Loo Chung's 1975 Film Release Of The Black Dragon's Revenge For DVD And Blu-ray On Jan. 31

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
It was right around Thanksgiving in 1975 that the indie-produced martial arts thriller, Black Dragon’s Revenge, hit theatres in the Los Angeles area.   It would have normally been no big deal, but back in the 1970s that period between Thanksgiving and Christmas was death — a real dead zone.   

The Hollywood studios avoided releasing anything during this period on the calendar.  Indeed, it wasn’t until Paramount broke this vicious cycle with the release of Star Trek: The Motion Picture in 1979 that struggling independent theatre-owners were finally able to put patrons in empty seats in at the end of November until Christmas day.

The exception to this was if you just happened to be running a theatre that catered to the action crowd.   The Black Dragon’s Revenge, directed by actor-turned-filmmaker Tommy Loo Chung was like Gone With the Wind in Huntington Park, California and the California Theater.   Bruce Lee’s Enter the Dragon during the summer of 1973 and every chop-socky film that followed found a home there.   Throw in Blaxploitation films and there was always something to see at the California … Black Dragon’s Revenge fits neatly into both film genres.  

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyIt could get a little rough on Saturday and Sunday back then, I speak from first-hand experience as the VP of Operations for the chain that ran the California.  So you can imagine my surprise — a pleasant surprise to be sure — when The Film Detective announced this past week that The Black Dragon’s Revenge would be their kick-off film restoration (from the original 35mm film negative and properly formatted with an aspect ratio of 2.35:1) for 2017!    

The street date is Jan. 31 for both DVD and Blu-ray product offerings.

The film, which stars Ron Van Clief (Bamboo Trap, Fight to the Death, Way of the Black Dragon, etc.) as “The Black Dragon,” spins around (loosely) a hunt for the late Bruce Lee’s secret diary relating to his special “Kung Fu” skills.   Plot wasn’t important … action was, and The Black Dragon’s Revenge delivers that in spades!   And with this new restoration on the way, you can already hear those previously released DVD editions hitting the trash cans!!!

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
In other restoration news this week, Nov. 29 will see a light load of just five new DVD releases.   These are North of the Border (a program Western released in 1946 starring Russell Hayden), director Joseph Kane’s 1937 mob thriller, Paradise Express (teaming Grant Withers with Dorothy Appleby), director Robert F. Hill’s 1936 boxing saga Prison Shadows (starring Edward J. Nugent), 1936 pre-Stagecoach Western starring John Wayne, Rainbow Valley and another from filmmaker Joseph Kane, his 1942 Western, Romance on the Range, starring Roy Rogers and Linda Hayes, with a stable-full of Republic Pictures “bad guys” of the period — Roy Barcroft (close to 400 film credits, including Retik in Radar Men from the Moon … he got to be a “good guy” in Oklahoma), Glenn Strange (as “The Monster” in Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein) and Harry Woods.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

Paramount Home Media Readies Four DVD Movie Collections For Delivery To Retail On Jan. 24

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Paramount Home Media announced this past week that a quartet of action-laced hit film collections — that are priced to own on DVD — will be available at retail this coming Jan. 24.

Leading the way is the three-film, three-disc collection titled The Ultimate Warrior Collection.    Featured here are Best Picture-winners Braveheart (1995), directed by and starring Mel Gibson (don’t be surprised if his latest, Hacksaw Ridge, surfaces about this time as well) and Gladiator (2000, directed by Ridley Scott), starring Russell Crowe, are joined by director Brett Ratner’s 2014 film release of Hercules, starring Dwayne Johnson, the mythological son of Zeus.

And speaking of Dwayne Johnson (notice the segue here), Paramount has him featured in the collection titled Dwayne Johnson: 3 Movie Action Pack, which features the aforementioned Hercules along with director Jon M. Chu 2013 film release of G.I. Joe: Retaliation and director Michael Bay’s film Pain & Gain (also from 2013) teaming him with Mark Wahlberg. 

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
This leads us nicely to The Mark Wahlberg Collection — a four-film pack — that features Pain & Gain, plus director Antoine Fuqua film adapatation of Stephen Hunter’s novel “Point of Impact,” — titled for the screen as Shooter — director F. Gary Gray’s 2003 remake of The Italian Job (opposite Charlize Theron) and director John Singleton’s 2005 film release of Four Brothers

Round out the Jan. 24 DVD selections is the collection simply titled Samuel L. Jackson, which includes William Friedkin’s Rules of Engagement (with Guy Pearce and Tommy Lee Jones), director John Singleton’s 2000 reboot of Shaft, the 2005 biopic, Coach Carter and director Roger Michell’s road-rage thriller, Changing Lanes (teamed with Ben Affleck).

Bseenmedia Teams With MVD Entertainment Group For The Dec. 9 DVD Launch Of Jim Florentine: A Simple Man

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Bseenmedia, with domestic sales and distribution expertise provided by MVD Entertainment Group, will be bringing Jim Florentine’s latest comedy standup DVD presentation, Jim Florentine: A Simple Man, to fans everywhere on Friday, Dec. 9.

Jim Florentine is the man who became the nightmare contact for every telemarketer and the hero of everyone plagued by unwelcomed dinner hour interruptions.   He’s also the co-host of “The Metal Show” and a voice talent for characters (Special Ed and Bobby Fletcher) featured on Crank Yankers

His latest hour-long set of comedy routines was filmed live at New Brunswick, New Jersey’s famed George Street Playhouse Theatre earlier this year and features a look as his nerd neighbors, the subject of “man caves,” how to use the word “Redskin” (trust us, Jim Florentine is not politically-correct) and much more.   Remember, he’s just a “simple man” … 

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

SMART: Specialized Mobile Animal Rescue Team On DVD From Cinema Libre On Dec. 6

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Cinema Libre has selected Dec. 6 as the DVD debut date for documentary filmmaker Justin Zimmerman’s SMART: Specialized Mobile Animal Rescue Team, a heart-warming tale of love, kindness and dedication to animals in need of help on the streets of Los Angeles.

Filmed over a course of three years, Zimmerman tracks Armando Navarrete and his team of highly skilled animal-rescue workers — really superheroes! — as they put their life-saving techniques into action on a daily basis in the “City of Angels.”    

From family pets in trouble to wild animals that have wandered — often terrified — into neighborhoods, it is their job to come to their rescue!  

VCI Entertainment To Release The 1941 Sky Raiders Serial On DVD On Nov. 29

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
VCI Entertainment will be bringing in for a DVD landing on Nov. 29 the directing team of Ford Beebe and Ray Taylor’s 1941 — pre-war — 12-chapter espionage serial, Sky Raiders.

War rages in Europe and World War I flying ace Capt. Bob Dayton (Donald Woods — The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, Corregidor, Anthony Adverse, etc.) knows what horrors that could bring to America if it finally reaches our shores.   So he, and his flying buddy from the war, Lt. Ed Carey (Robert Armstrong — King Kong, Man of Conquest, Adventures of the Flying Cadets), run Sky Raiders, Inc., an aviation research and production plant.   

As the story unfolds, we find that they are feverishly at work on a new fighter for the Army, which has come under the purview of “foreign interests.”

Veteran villain Eduardo Ciannelli — Guru in Gunga Din, the High Priest in The Mummy’s Hand and many others — plays Felix Lynx who has, naturally, come up with a diabolical plan to steal the aircraft in question.   This involves a perfect doppelgänger of Dayton by the name of John Kane (also played Donald Woods).    

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyLynx is ably assisted by Innis Clair (Jacqueline Dalya), while Kathryn Adams co-stars as Mary Blake, Dayton’s love interest … “Dead End Kid”/”East Side Kid” Billy Halop is also on hand as Dayton’s flying protégé.

12 thrill-pack cliffhangers featuring planes crashing, automobile wrecks and impossible escapes are featured in this vintage serial adventure.  

Artsploitation Films Tabs Dec. 13 For The DVD Debut Of Director George Moïse’s Counter Clockwise

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Movie time travelers have traditionally been leading men.   Handsome dudes, you know Rod Taylor (The Time Machine), Malcolm McDowell (Time After Time), Michael J. Fox (Back to the Future), Bruce Willis (Looper) and on and on … it’s a long list, even Bill Murray is in there with Groundhog Day.   

So when it comes to the protagonist in director George Moïse’s Counter Clockwise, whose name is Ethan (played by Michael Kopelow — The Stoned Age), we get the decidedly unexpected; a nebbish.

Artsploitation Films has tabbed Dec. 13 as the domestic DVD debut date for Counter Clockwise.   

Ethan is science whiz who is hard at work with some sort of teleportation gizmo (think: Vincent Price and The Fly) — you know, transporting an object from point A to point B — when we are introduced to him and his lab partner, Ceil (Alice Rietveld).   The backstory has him married to Tiffany (no offense Ethan, but she seems way out of your league), has a sister named Fiona (Kerry Knuppe) and a one-eyed dog named Charlie. 

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Without telling Ceil, he decides to try out the machine on Charlie.   Poof, Charlie’s gone!    The little pooch doesn’t go from point A to point B like a Fed-Ex delivery, but simply vanishes.   It is just about that moment in time that you’re thinking that the ASPCA needs to be called in on this rat of a human being when Charlie reappears.   
So what does any good scientist do when something scary like that happens?   That scenario would bore you to tears, so Ethan does what any good “mad scientist” would do … he tries the machine out on himself!   Poof!  Ethan is gone!

This is where Counter Clockwise become inventive, a sci-fi mystery if you will.  Ethan arrives in the future, at his lab, which has been shut down.  He quickly discovers that he is wanted for the murders of both his wife and his sister and to make matters worse, he’s got two crazed killers out to do him in (he has no clue as to who they are).   He and Ceil haven’t invented a teleportation device, but a time machine.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
The only good news is that he is able to find Ceil — the future Ceil — and she too is   And she realizes that they’ve invented a time machine and that device will be Ethan’s salvation.
convinced that Ethan didn’t murder his wife or sister.

If you are familiar with Tom Cruise’s character in Edge of Tomorrow, he goes back in time (over and over again) and gets smarter each time, learns new things and is finally able to solve the puzzle that he is faced with.   Ethan, sadly, is no Tom Cruise.   He has to go back in time, undo the murders, find the real killer and not get killed by the assassins that are after him or captured by the police.   Good luck Ethan!

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Preps Director Jay Oliva's Latest DC Animated Adventure — Justice League Dark — For A Home Entertainment Launch On Feb. 7

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment announced this past week that DC Entertainment’s animation special-products filmmaker Jay Oliva’s latest feature-length creation, Justice League Dark, will be making its home entertainment debut as both DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack product offerings on Feb. 7.   

Counted among Olvia’s previous animated features are Batman: Bad Blood, Justice League: War and Batman: Assault on Arkham.

Bonus goodies include a trio of featurettes — “The Story of Swamp Thing,” “Did You Know?” and “2016 NY Comic Con Panel” — a sneak peek look at Teen Titans: The Judas Contract and a pair of bonus episodes from Batman: The Brave and the Bold.