Monday, May 8, 2017

Mill Creek Entertainment Expands Its June DVD Release Package With Merlin Mini-Series And More!

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Mill Creek Entertainment expanded its already busy June home entertainment release calendar with five new priced-to-collect DVD product offerings this past week.

Added the June 6 package is director Steve Barron’s 1998 epic mini-series Merlin, starring Sam Neill as King Arthur’s wizard mentor, Merlin.   Others in the cast include Miranda Richardson as the Lady of the Lake (she also pulls double-duty as Queen Mad), Helena Bonham Carter as Morgan le Fay, Paul Curran as Arthur, plus the likes of Martin Short, James Earl Jones, Rutger Hauer and Sir John Gielgud.

The timing of the DVD release of Merlin by Mill Creek Entertainment couldn’t be more spot-on as Warner Bros. mega-budget production of director Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur: Legend of the Sword hits theatres nationwide on May 17.

Also on the way to retailers on June 6 are four movie collections.  First up is a set of five early John Wayne Westerns, which is being promoted as John Wayne: American Legend.   Included in the group are Riders of Destiny (1933, with Gabby Hayes and Cecilia Parker), Sagebrush Trail (also 1933, with Yakima Canutt, Lane Chandler and Nancy Shubert), The Lucky Texan (early 1934 release that includes both Yakima Canutt and Gabby Hayes, plus Barbara Sheldon), West of the Divide (1934, Canutt, Hayes and Virginia Brown Faire) and lastly, Blue Steel (from the spring of 1934, Hayes and Canutt ride again with Eleanor Hunt).

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
More Hollywood Hounds in a four-film set targeted for dog fanciers … the set includes director John Clayton’s 1977 family comedy, Summerdog (an abandoned mutt is taken in by the Norman family while on vacation), Buddy (1997, based on Gertrude Davies Lintz’s book “Animals are My Hobby … a true story about a rich girl named Trudy (aka Gertrude), who raised championship Briards and a gorilla named Buddy), George! (writer/director Wallace C. Bennett’s 1972 film release about a mischievous St. Bernard named George) and Mooch Goes to Hollywood (Mooch — aka: Higgins the Dog — joins the likes of Jim Backus, Vincent Price, James Darren and Jill St. John as themselves in Hollywood).

Rounding out the June 6 new DVD additions are More Star-Studded Stallions (a four film set that includes Return of October, Red Fury, Casey's Shadow and All the Pretty Horses) and the double-disc release of Selma Hayek: 4-Movie Collection (which includes Living it Up, Lonely Hearts, Timecode and The Velocity of Gary).

The Film Detective Sets Five New Film Restorations For DVD Release On May 9

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
The Film Detective announced this past week that five new film restorations are on tap for delivery to the home entertainment marketplace on May 9.

Up first is director Ralph Staub’s 1936 romantic musical Sitting on the Moon. This Republic Pictures production teamed would-be composer Roger Pryor (Belle of the Nineties, The Return of Jimmy Valentine) with songstress Grace Bradley (Six of a Kind, The Cat’s-Paw, Too Much Harmony, etc. … a star in her own right, she walked away from her Paramount contract to manage the career of her husband, William “Hopalong Cassidy” Boyd) in a romantic tale that involves a jealous song-writing partner (played by William Newell) who recruits a blond floosy (Joyce Compton) to break up the romance between Pryor and Bradley.   

Misunderstandings follow, songs follow and a happy resolution is at hand by the end credits … Sitting on the Moon is a breezy little number that is well worth a look.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyUp next is the 1915 silent film from Cecil B. DeMille titled The Cheat, which is noted for being the film that launched the screen career of Sessue Hayakawa (he would also star in the 1937 French-language sound remake).   His co-star is Fannie Ward, who was married to Jack Dean, who plays her husband in the film (talk about a small world).  

The plot casts Ward’s character as a socialite who embezzles a considerable sum from a charity (to buy fancy things for herself) and to avoid discovery she turns to a wealthy ivory merchant (Hayakawa) to bail her out.   It does not end well for all involved.

Rounding out the May 9 film restoration selections are Beware (1946, starring recording artist Louis Jordan), Dixiana (1930, early sound film starring Bebe Daniels and Everett Marshall, with the comedy team of Wheeler and Woolsey) and Streamline Express (1935, an ensemble cast that features Victor Jory, Esther Ralston, Ralph Forbes and Evelyn Venable).

Arrow Video's 4K Restoration Of Dario Argento's The Bird With The Crystal Plumage Will Be Ready On June 20

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Arrow Video, with domestic sales and distribution expertise provided by MVD Entertainment Group, has tabbed June 20 as the street date for a new 4K restoration of iconic filmmaker Dario Argento’s 1970 giallo/horror gem, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage.

Presented in this Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack are both the original Italian language track (with English subtitles) and the English-dubbed domestic theatrical release version.

Bonus features for this twisted murder mystery — where even the first-hand witness (played by Tony Musante) might not have seen what he thought he saw — includes a newly-prepared commentary track featuring giallo-genre expert, Troy Howarth, the author of “So Deadly, So Perverse: 50 Years of Italian Giallo Films.”

Other bonus nuggets include a new video session with writer/director Dario Argento, a newly-minted video session actor Gildo Di Marco, an analysis of the film by critic Kat Ellinger (editor in chief of Diabolique Magazine) and the featurette titled “The Power of Perception.”
DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

The Limited Edition slip case packaging also includes a 60-page booklet (illustrated by Matthew Griffin) and featuring analysis by Michael Mackenzie, Howard Hughes and Jack Seabrook.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Tabs June 27 As The Street Date For DVD And Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Editions Of Dax Shepard's CHiPs

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyWarner Bros. Home Entertainment will be taking home entertainment audience for a fun spin on the streets of Los Angeles on June 27 with the DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack debut of actor/writer/director Dax Shepard’s CHiPs.

The ARR comes in at 95 days and box office receipts currently stand at $18.4 million.

It’s bad news for the California Highway Patrol as someone on the inside is knocking off armored cars in Southern California and the FBI needs to get an undercover agent in there to crack the case.   Selected for the job is none other than Francis Llewellyn “Ponch’ Poncherello (played by Michael Peña — The Martian, End of Watch, World Trade Center, etc.), who is “transferred” to the CHP to be on inside — perhaps as something of a punishment for shooting his own partner in a hostage situation (but that’s another story).  

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Meanwhile, top motocross pro Jon Baker (played by Shepard — as Crosby on the Parenthood, plus writer/director and co-starring with his wife, Kristen Bell, in the 2012 comedy Hit & Run) has been forced into retirement — one too many bone-breaking accidents — and has managed to land a job at the CHP as a rookie.   He needs the money.

Now Baker can ride (perhaps not the way the CHP would like him to), he’s none too bright and his trophy bride (played by Kristen Bell) has kicked him to the curb because all of that sponsorship money has gone south, which makes him the perfect street partner for Ponch!

These two — Ponch and Baker — are not who you would like to respond to any accident you might be involved in.   Ponch’s focus is elsewhere and Baker is basically a man-child with no focus at all.   And yet, somehow, they must solve the mystery of who within the department is staging the armored car heists.   That’s going to be quite a challenge (on many fronts), especially since their standard issued rides can’t keep up with the bandits (that’s where Baker will actually shine)!

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyThe only bonus goodie common to both SKUs is the featurette titled “This is Not Your Dad’s   Exclusive to the Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack edition are commentary by Dax Shepard, deleted scenes (which were likely culled from the film to avoid an NC-17 rating … even at that CHiPs can be pretty crude in places as Shepard’s character seems to know no bounds) and two additional featurettes — “Practical Pursuit” and “Ducati: The Perfect Bike.”

20th Century-Fox Home Entertainment Prepares A Three-SKU Helping Of Director James Mangold's Logan For Delivery To X-Men Fans On May 23

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
20th Century-Fox Home Entertainment confirmed this past week what everyone following such things pretty much knew since early April (the pre-book was back on Apr. 19) that director James Mangold’s Logan — starring Hugh Jackman — would be retail-ready on May 23 as a three-SKU home entertainment release.

The ARR is a quick-to-market 81 days and ticket sales for this latest entry in the X-Men film franchise series currently stand at a solid $224.5 million.

Planned for release are a stand-alone DVD edition, a Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack and a 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray Combo Pack presentation.

As to bonus goodies, producer/writer/director James Mangold (The Wolverine, Knight and Day, 3:10 to Yuma, Walk the Line, etc.) provides commentary, plus there is a black-and-white viewing option for the film that is referred to as “Logan Noir,” deleted scenes (with optional commentary by Mangold) and a feature-length “making of” documentary titled “Making Logan.”

MVD Entertainment Group Selects June 13 As The Street Date For DVD And Blu-ray Editions Of Director Jeff Reyes' Navy Seals V Demons

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
MVD Entertainment Group will be guiding the Ripped Boxers Entertainment production of director Jeff Reyes’ Navy SEALS v Demons to market as both DVD and Blu-ray product offerings on June 13. 

Jack County, Texas is smack-dab in the middle of the Bible belt, but from the looks of things these days it is the Devil, and not God, who is in charge.   So who can set it right?

LT (Mikal Vega), a former Navy SEAL, has seen some hard times.   But now he has a chance to redeem himself as he is sent undercover to ferret out what is going on … it doesn’t take long before LT and his SEAL cohorts discover that hell-spawned demons are taking over.   Rape, torture and murder is the name of the game … a literal hell on earth!

LT quickly realizes that he and his SEAL team are going to need help to take down this adversary … and that help arrives from a very unlikely source!   Navy SEALS v Demons is an all-action horror thriller that delivers exactly what is promised, a titanic battle between good, the not-so-good and evil!

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment Announces Bambi: Anniversary Edition For June 6 Delivery

It is so hard to get a handle on what Disney is up to these days … it all seems so chaotic.   We can’t say for sure that June 6 is a train wreck waiting to happen or not, but it will be an important release date for Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment one way or another … that much is certain.

The confusion comes from both Target and Best Buy being out early with news that their “special edition” versions of director Bill Condon’s theatrical smash, Beauty and the Beast, would be available on June 6.   They then, collectively, took that date down from their respective sites and now just list the title as a pre-order.   

In the meantime, WaxWorks, a national distributor of home entertainment products, confirmed June 6 as the street for Beauty and the Beast in the latest edition of the company’s “Hot Sheet” sales solicitation bulletin — after teasing the release in a double-truck ad in the previous edition of the “Hot Sheet.”

Then just when you think that Disney’s is about to confirm the release up pops news of an “Anniversary Edition” of the 1942 animated classic, Bambi.   That would make it a 75th Anniversary Edition of the theatrical release — late summer of 1942 theatrical debut.

That seems a bit rushed, but then you have to acknowledge that Disney knows what they are doing … but announcing an important anniversary edition of Bambi after the pre-book?   What’s the rush?  

So it is for sure that June 6 is the street for the Bambi: Anniversary Edition (a Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack), and as far as we know, Beauty and the Beast will arrive on the same date (but we are beginning to suspect that the early June date is being scrubbed in favor of a street date closer to Labor Day).   
DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

As to newly-prepared bonus goodies for the Bambi: Anniversary Edition, there are two deleted scenes — “Bambi’s Ice and Snow” and “The Grasshopper” — a pair of featurettes and the 1928 silent Oswald the Rabbit animated short release of Africa Before Dark.

There are also recycled bonus nuggets from previously released versions of Bambi and these are: a six-part “making-of” documentary titled “The Making of Bambi: A Prince is Born” and 1937 theatrical cartoon presentation of Silly Symphony: The Old Mill … among others.