Sunday, April 2, 2017

Paramount Home Media Joins Forces With Nickelodeon On May 23 For The DVD Debut Of The Loud House: Season One, Volume One

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Paramount Home Media will be teaming up with Nickelodeon on May 23 for the double-disc DVD debut of the animated hit series, The Loud House: Season One, Volume One.

Lincoln Loud, who is 11-years old, comes from a large family.   Large indeed, as he has ten siblings … ALL GIRLS!!!    Oh yes, and one other little ditty about his ten sisters, their names all begin, like his, with the letter L — Lori, Leni, Luna, Luan, Lynn, Lucy, Lana, Lola, Lisa and Lily (the baby of the family).   There are family pets too, but they have regular names — Charles (the dog), Cliff (the cat), Geo (a hamster), Walt (canary) and Izzy (a lizard that belongs Lana, Lola’s twin sister).

With five older sisters and five younger sisters it is always a challenge for Lincoln, but somehow he always manages to hold his own.   There are 13 double-adventures (each pair running 22 minutes), so there are plenty of examples of Lincoln coping with the challenges that ten sisters can throw his way!

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyAlso on the way from Paramount Home Media are five complete television series collections.   Leading the parade on May 30 is the 20-disc, four-season presentation of Beauty and the Beast: The Complete Series, starring Kristen Kreuk as NYPD detective Catherine Chandler and Jay Ryan as Vincent, a mysterious ex-soldier with a very sketchy past and an even darker secret.

All 70 episodes are featured in this collection, which also includes numerous featurettes, deleted scenes and a gag reel.

There are four — count’em, four — complete series collections that will be available on DVD on D-Day, the sixth of June.  

In descending collection size, we start with the 31-disc, 117-episode (case files) collection of Numb3rs: The Complete Series, starring Rob Morrow as FBI agent Don Eppes and David Krumholtz as his math-whiz brother, Professor Charlie Eppes, with Judd Hirsch as their always-wise father, Alan.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyNext up is the 17-disc presentation of Becker: The Complete Series, starring Ted Danson as the easily-annoyed Dr. John Becker, who runs a family practice in the Bronx.   All 129 episodes from the series six seasons (1998 through early 2004) are included here. 

Next up on June 6 is the 12-disc set of the Emmy-nominated Joan of Arcadia: The Complete Series, toplining Amber Tamblyn as Joan, who has a personal relationship with God — who appears to her in many forms.

All 45 episodes from the series two seasons (2003-2005) are included here.

And last, but certainly not least, Paramount Home Media rounds out the June 6 onslaught with the ten-disc collection of Father Dowling Mysteries: The Complete Series, teaming Tom Bosley as Catholic Priest and detective, Father Dowling, with Tracy Nelson as the “streetwise” Sister Oskowski.

Included here are all 43 episodes from the series three seasons, plus the feature-length MOW, Fatal Confession: A Father Dowling Mystery.

The Film Detective Tabs May 23 As The Release Date For DVD And Blu-ray Editions Of A 2K Film Restoration Of Voodoo Black Exorcist

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
The Film Detective announced this past week that they have a new 2K transfer of recently unearthed 35mm archive elements of the 1975 Horizon Films domestic theatrical release of famed Spanish voice actor-turned-filmmaker Manuel Cano García’s (aka: Manuel Caño; aka: Michael Cannon) Voodoo Black Exorcist, which will be available as both DVD and Blu-ray product offerings on May 23. 

During the Christmas season of 1973, a little film from director William Friedkin caused quite the stir and launched a wave of films designed to take full advantage of his terror masterpiece.   Of course it was The Exorcist and Cano, being no stranger to the film world — since the mid-1960s he was Spain’s go-to guy for dubbing American actors, which included the likes of Steve McQueen, Robert Redford and even Sidney Poitier — was right there with a Spanish language entry titled Vudú Sangriento, which was subsequently dubbed into English for domestic consumption as Voodoo Black Exorcist.

For film buffs and genre fans this golden nugget not only checks off the horror box, but there was another film trend — another film exploitative trend, that is — in full bloom during the mid-1970s and that was Blaxploitation … and Voodoo Black Exorcist checks that box off as well (although, technically, perhaps in name only … but that’s another story)!
Of course producer director William Girdler’s Abby — another Blaxploitation/Exorcist film — beat Cano to market by five months (but ran into legal challenges from Warner Bros. at the time), but who is counting such minor details. 
DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

As the story goes here, the mummified remains of a West African prince (it is best not to ask to too many questions about the “mummy” traditions of that particular region of Africa) are unearthed (a quick backstory fills us in how things went south for him) and loaded onto a cruise ship, bound for the Caribbean.    

Once at sea, he escapes his sarcophagus and takes human form (played by veteran Spanish actor Aldo Sambrell, who played just about any type of character thrown his way during a career that spanned over 40 years), but when the prince needs to kill, he transforms back into the mummified black prince Guedé Nibo.     

Dr. Kessling (Alfredo Mayo) and his lover/assistant Silvia (Eva León) are desperate to get their murderous cargo to Haiti, but Jamaica will have to do as the captain of the ship becomes concerned over the carnage.   So it is pretty much a race against both time and discovery … to complicate things even further Nibo is convinced that the lovely Silvia is his reincarnated soul mate.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Voodoo Black Exorcist is what it is … an exploitation masterpiece that is to be savored and enjoyed (it defies criticism).   No vintage horror collection, or for that matter, no Blaxploitation film library, is complete without this mixed-genre film gem.   So circle May 23 on your release calendar for the addition of this new 2K transfer from The Film Detective to your home entertainment film library.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

Arrow Video's 4K Film Restoration Of The Climber Arrives As A Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack On May 16

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Arrow Video, with domestic sales and distribution support provided by MVD Entertainment Group, will release a new 4K film restoration (from the original film negative) of the late Italian filmmaker Pasquale Squitieri’s 1975 crime thriller, The Climber, on May 16 as a Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack.

In the wake of The Godfather came a wave of mafia/crime-themed films, including The Climber, which is pure Italian in nature, except for one little thing … the lead actor.   

There must be a terrific backstory as to how Squitieri was able to land Andy Warhol and Paul Morrissey’s “underground” superstar, Joe Dallesandro — he had a string of very interesting films from 1968 through 1974 that made him a very hot commodity — Flesh, Lonesome Cowboys, Trash and Heat … and of course Andy Warhol's Frankenstein, and Andy Warhol's Dracula (aka: Blood for Dracula).  

After shooting the two Morrissey films in Italy, Dallesandro could have headed back to the states and gone mainstream, but it just didn’t happen.   Instead, we find him in The Climber as a street thug named Aldo, who runs afoul of his criminal buddies and is beaten viciously.   Down, but not out, Aldo uses violence and bikes to form his own gang … revenge is clearly on his mind.   But we know that it is a fool’s game that will end badly for our boy.

This is the uncut 102-minute version of The Climber, which means extra gratuitous violence and nudity.   Arrow Video has both the original Italian language track, as well as an English-dubbed version, plus there is a new video session with Dallesandro titled “Little Joe’s Adventures in Europe” (perhaps we will get an answer to our early musing as to how he ended up working with Squitieri).

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

Writer/Director Ilaria Borrelli’s The Girl From The Brothel Arrives On DVD Apr. 25 Courtesy Of Cinema Libre

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Cinema Libre has tabbed Apr. 25 as the DVD release date for writer/director Ilaria Borrelli’s harrowing tale of child slavery, The Girl from the Brothel.

Mia (played by filmmaker Ilaria Borrelli) flies to meet her husband, Xavier (Philippe Caroit), in Cambodia to see about adopting a child (they have heard that it is just a matter of paperwork and some cash … not too difficult by Western standards).    

She is a professional, of means, as too is her husband, it is just a matter of selecting the proper child.   A nice getaway, with a plan, that will serve as an exotic vacation as well.  There will be none of that messy pregnancy stuff, or the pain and complications of childbirth, etc. … and besides, the lucky child will have a nice home and a bright future.  It’s a win-win for all!

Mia means well, she, as we shall learn, is actually a pretty descent human being whose senses, morality and life choices will be tested to the point of breaking.  This test begins immediately upon her arrival at her very beautiful hotel, where she spots her husband zipping away in a local tuk-tuk.    She just misses catching him, but no problem, excited at the opportunity to surprise him … she follows and discovers that his destination is a rather seedy “massage” parlor.   

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyOnce inside she witnesses him perform an unspeakable act with a young girl.  Her perfect world comes unglued in a heartbeat.   Who is this man?   Her husband?   How could he be so evil?

She comes to learn that the massage parlor is just a euphemism for brothel and that anything, or anyone, has a price.   Perhaps without thinking it through — she literally fainted at the sight of her husband’s vile act — she decides to rescue the young girl.   The price, five thousand dollars and the child, Srey (Setha Moniroth) is hers.   Is that even legal? 
Her mission then becomes to reunite this young girl with her family, a task that she will soon learn is fraught with peril.   The journey is no sooner underway when Mia discovers that Srey has plans of her own  — two of her friends, Daa (Kiri Sovann) and Sanan (Sen Somnag), also child brothel slaves — have been hidden in the back of the rented pickup truck.   “Stealing” these young girls is pretty much akin to a death warrant, but there is no turning back.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Ilaria Borrelli’s The Girl from the Brothel is not only an indictment of the child sex-trade “business,” but of the culture that gives rise to such activities.   Indeed, Borrelli reported in post-production interviews that even getting the film made in Cambodia was rather difficult as local authorities were none too keen on her film exposé.

The film is beautifully-mounted, with cinematography by David Vlasits (Emmy-nominated for his work on the television series Project Runway) and showcases both the raw beauty of Cambodia and the deadly “commerce” that this beauty seeks to hide.

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Selects May 16 For The Release Of DVD And Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Editions of Wonder Woman: Commerative Edition

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has tabbed May 16 for DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack “Commemorative” editions of director Lauren Montgomery’s 2009 direct-to-video animated feature, Wonder Woman, featuring the voice of Keri Russell (perhaps best known as Felicity Porter of the Felicity television series, plus such films as Mission: Impossible III, Austenland, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, etc.) as Wonder Woman.

Bonus features include commentary featuring director Lauren Montgomery (Justice League: Doom, Batman: Year One, etc.), writer Michael Jelenic and producers Bruce Timm and Gregory Noveck, a trio of featurettes — “What Makes a Wonder Woman,” “Wonder Woman: A Subversive Dream” and “Wonder Woman: Daughter of Myth” — and a sneak peak of Batman and Harley Quinn.

Pandemonium Merchanding Teams With MVD Entertainment Group For The May 19 DVD Debut Of Plasmatics: Live! — Rod Swenson's Lost Tapes 1978-81

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Pandemonium Merchandising LLC, with sales and distribution expertise provided by MVD Entertainment Group, will be bringing the DVD release of Plasmatics: Live! — Rod Swenson's Lost Tapes 1978-81 to the home entertainment marketplace on Friday, May 19.

Wendy O. Williams was an out-of-control punk rocker of the first order.   Her life as a teen and young woman was something out of Midnight Cowboy, but when punk rock became a thing, she was in the vanguard with her group, Plasmatics.

Meanwhile, Rod Swenson was the polar opposite, well-educated Yale graduate who gravitated to the “underground” music scene of the Big Apple during the same period — it was like Titanic and the iceberg, predestined paths to cross.

They were lovers and friends and he managed her career … Williams was always on the verge of self-destruction.   That would come on Apr. 6, 1998 when she blew her brains out behind their home in the Connecticut woods … 20 years together with Swenson and yet she never found peace.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
But, between 1978 and 1981 Rod Swenson managed her career as the lead singer of the Plasmatics and three albums were produced before she went solo.   During that period he recorded videos of her performances at various venues and that is what is presented here … a literal treasure trove of Wendy O./Plasmatics live concert performances (which were always an adventure).

There are 16 concert videos from this period that have been restored for this release.   Nine of these are songs from the Plasmatics’ 1980 debut album, “New Hope for the Wretched” —  “Want You (Baby)” (recorded on July 26, 1978); “Tight Black Pants” (June 9, 1979); “Dream Lover,” “Sometimes I Feel It,” “Squirm” and “Butcher Bay,” all record on May 17, 1980; “Monkey Suit” (June 18, 1980); “Living Dead” (May 15, 1981) and “Squirm” (another rendition recorded on Sept. 22, 1981).

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyFrom the 1981 album, “Beyond the Valley of 1984,” we have “Summer Nite“ and “Fast Food Service” (recorded live on May 15, 1981); “Nothing” and a second rendition of “Summer Nite” (both recorded on June 19, 1981) and Sex Junkie” (Sept. 22, 1981).

Lastly, this priceless collection is rounded out with two selections from the October of 1981 album, “Metal Priestess” — “Lunacy” and “Black Leather Monster,” both recorded live on Sept. 22, 1981.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

The Sprocket Vault Sets Apr. 18 For The DVD Release Of The Emmy-Nominated Mini-Series Mussolini: The Untold Story

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
The Sprocket Vault announced this past week that director William A. Graham’s 1985 Emmy-nominated mini-series, Mussolini: The Untold Story, will be released on Apr. 18 as a double-disc DVD edition.

George C. Scott portrays the Italian dictator, Benito Mussolini, in this sprawling tale that begins with his rise to power in 1922 and ends with his roadside execution near Lake Como on Apr. 28, 1945 by Italian partisans.

While it is hard to work up much sympathy for this ruthless dictator, he was nevertheless a key player in European politics throughout the 1920s and 1930s and brought Italy into World War II as an ally of Germany.   

Of note, this 1985 production features a rather interesting cast that includes a very young Robert Downey, Jr. as one of Mussolini’s sons (Bruno) and another yet-to-be-star, Gabriel Byrne, as his other son Vittorio.   Lee Grant plays Mussolini’s wife, while Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio is Edda, his daughter, and newcomer Virginia Madsen is his mistress, Claretta, who meets the same fate as Benito.

Liongate Home Entertainment Targets June 13 As The Street Date For 4K Ultra HD • Blu-ray • And DVD Editions Of Director Chad Stahelski's John Wick: Chapter 2

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Lionsgate Home Entertainment will bring the next edition of its John Wick/ Keanu Reeves film franchise series, former stuntman-turned-director Chad Stahelski's John Wick: Chapter 2, to market on June 13 as a three-SKU product offering.

The ARR works out to 123 days and multiplex ticket sales to date are a very solid $90.9 million (Lionsgate can make John Wick films to the crack of doom if they continue the series in the footsteps of the first two entries).

Consumer viewing choices on June 13 consist of a stand-alone DVD edition, a Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack and a 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray Combo Pack SKU.

Bonus features include commentary by filmmaker Chad Stahelski and Keanu Reeves, deleted scenes, the short film titled Dog Wick and an eye-popping count of eight featurettes — “RetroWick: Exploring the Unexpected Success of John Wick,” “Training John Wick,” “WICK-vizzed,” “Friends, Confidantes: The Keanu/Chad Partnership,” “As Above, So Below: The Underworld of John Wick,” “Car Fu Ridealong,” “Beat Down: The Evolution of a Fight Scene,” “Wick's Toolbox” and “Kill Count.”