Monday, August 28, 2017

Wolfe Picks Nov. 7 For The DVD Debut Of Director Darren Thorton's A Date For Mad Mary

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
You might want to take note of Irish actress Seána Kerslake, who seemed to have come and gone with her 2012 performance in writer/director Kirsten Sheridan’s Dollhouse, as she is back and nothing short of a standout in Irish filmmaker Darren Thornton’s film adaptation of the Yasmine Akram stage play, “10 Dates for Mad Mary”   titled for the screen as A Date for Mad Mary.

Wolfe announced this past week that the domestic DVD rollout for A Date for Mad Mary will take place on Nov. 7.

To say that Mary (Seána Kerslake) is angry is an understatement.   She literally returns to society after six months in the clink to be the maid of honor at her friend Charlene’s wedding (Charleigh Bailey).   Bad enough, the timing and all of that, but in her absence things between her and Charlene have changed, and that heightens the anger and frustration that Mary is wearing on her sleeve.   

Oh, and one other little nagging detail, Mary needs a date for the wedding, and Charlene won’t let her off the hook!   

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
After a series of disastrous dates, which serve as both comic relief and to further bring out Mary’s complete lack of people skills (she is her own worst enemy) — imagine a young person, male or female, walking around blind, knowing; sensing that something is wrong, but just can’t put a finger on it.  We get to a point where we feel for Mary (Seána Kerslake is just outstanding in sketching out Mary’s persona), but there is also this sense that things are going to go south in a hurry.

In addition to finding a date for the wedding, Mary is charged with recruiting a videographer to record the blessed event.   And this brings us to Jess (Tara Lee — The Odd Life of Timothy Green, Moon Dogs), who gets the assignment, and a change of outlook for Mary.  Their friendship brings Mary to the realization that she is quite insane … insane in the sense of doing the same things over and over again and expecting a different result.   

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyA Date for Mad Mary is a coming-of-age film that is not presented as a coming-of-age film.   It is only when it begins to dawn on Mary that everyone is moving on in their lives, while she is still fighting the same emotional battles of the past, that real change for her can take place.   There are some nice twists and turns along the way … but life is like that, even for “Mad Mary.”

Bonus features include a behind-the-scenes featurette and a closed captioning option (the Irish brogue can be a bit daunting here and there for the American ear).

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

Icarus Films Marks Oct. 17 On Its DVD Release Calendar For The Domestic Debut Of Director Julie Bertuccelli's School Of Babel

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
French filmmaker Julie Bertuccelli, who is perhaps best known to American audiences for her award-winning 2003 film release of Since Otar Left (two prestigious Cannes Film Festival awards, plus France’s César Awards winner) and her 2010 film adaptation of the Judy Pascoe novel, The Tree, turns her creative eye towards subjects in the non-fiction world of documentary filmmaking with School of Babel.

Icarus Films announced this past week that this film festival favorite will be making its domestic DVD debut on Oct. 17.

It is an interesting film in that the first few minutes with the non-French language speaking class at the Granges-aux-Belles school in Paris seems like noise and chatter … different languages being spoken by immigrants new to France who find themselves being mainstreamed in a special class.   

The first day; the first class with their teacher, Brigitte Cervoni, begins with “bonjour,” which American audiences immediately recognize as “hello.”   However, you quickly discover that “hello” in each of the languages spoken by the participants can have many connotations … this will not be easy.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyFilmmaker Julie Bertuccelli spent an entire year with the class, with much of the film work being handled by her.   She effectively immersed herself into the process, even to the point of attending progress updates with the parents.   During this year-long process we also discover the various reasons for these students — from the four corners of the earth — to be in Paris and in this class (some of which are life-and-death decisions). 

With Bertuccelli’s School of Babel we, as viewers, get a sense of the process and the progress, plus there is an over-arching theme that comes through loud and clear … and that is hope.

School of Babel is presented in French with English subtitles.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

Arrow Video Tabs Oct. 31 For The Release Of DVD And Blu-ray Editions Of Director Ivan Tverdovsky’s Zoology

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
It was 50 years ago when The Doors released their second album, “Strange Days,” and the song “People are Strange” was spun off as a hit single.   The opening stanza went like this:

People are strange when you're a stranger
Faces look ugly when you're alone
Women seem wicked when you're unwanted
Streets are uneven when you're down

Wow!   The Doors prophetically described the life of Natasha (Natalia Pavlenkova) in Russian filmmaker Ivan Tverdovsky’s latest, Zoology.   It will be making its domestic home entertainment debut on Halloween (yes, Oct. 31) as both DVD and Blu-ray product offerings from Arrow Video — MVD Entertainment Group will be directing the sales and distribution effort.

Natasha works at a zoo, lives with her mother and is in her early fifties.  Alone.  Unwanted.  She’s the butt of jokes at work — what’s a seven-letter word for Hippo?   N,A,T,A,S,H,A … get it.

But then a magical thing happens, Natasha grows a tail.  Yes, a tail.  Ah what the hell, how much worse can it get … so she flaunts it, spruces herself up and even has a fling with a younger man, Petya (Dmitri Groshev), who is the X-ray tech responsible for examining the odd growth.   
DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

Tverdovsky has created, in Zoology, a social satire on life in Russia.  A country that offers such promise, so many riches, and yet is stuck in some sort of never ending tale — or is it, tail? — of despair, where “women seem wicked when you’re unwanted” and church and state doctrine combine to crush the unorthodox.   

This film festival favorite has pulled in numerous awards for Natalia Pavlenkova’a tour de force performance and Ivan Tverdovsky’s marvelously quirky tale (er, tail).   Zoology is presented in Russian with English subtitles.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

The Godfather Trilogy: Omertà Edition On Blu-ray From Paramount Home Media On Nov. 7

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Omertà, the “Code of Honor” of the Mafia … or as Michael Corleone would put it, “The penalty for violating this law is death.”   

To celebrate the 45th anniversary of the theatrical opening of director Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece of cinematic arts, The Godfather, Paramount Home Media will be sending to market on Nov. 7 a four-disc Blu-ray collection titled The Godfather Trilogy: Omertà Edition
Included in the collection are Coppola Restoration editions of both The Godfather and The Godfather, Part II (both of which include commentary by Francis Ford Coppola) and the remastered presentation of The Godfather, Part III (also with commentary by Coppola).

The fourth disc is the previously released collection of “in-depth special features.”   

Exclusive to this collection are: Trivia Cards, Magnetic Poetry, An Anatomy of a Scene fold-out and Quote Cards.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

The Film Detective Sets Five New Film Restorations For Release On DVD This Coming Sept. 5

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
The Film Detective announced this past week that five new film restorations will be ready for DVD release on the first Tuesday after Labor Day … Sept. 5.   So let’s take a look at what is on the way.

Franklyn Warner launched Fine Arts Pictures Inc. in 1938 with three films, Shadow Over Shanghai, Frontier Scout and Cipher Bureau, which all hit theatres during a four week period beginning with Shadow Over Shanghai in mid-October and finishing with Cipher Bureau during the first week of November.

The Long Shot hit theatres in early January of 1939 and Panama Patrol arrived in May of that year and then nothing until Isle of Destiny in March of 1940.   That was it for Fine Arts Pictures Inc. … six films in under two years and then poof; gone!  

The Film Detective has the first these Fine Arts Pictures releases, director Charles Lamont’s Shadow Over Shanghai, ready for the collectible DVD marketplace on Sept. 5.   The film is an odd assortment of mystery and political intrigue set against the backdrop of the Sino-Japanese War that began in the summer of 1937 with the Chinese government abandoning the defense of Shanghai by November of that year.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyA Russian courier by the name of Peter Roma (Edward Woods — The Public Enemy, Tarzan the Fearless, etc.) is trying to reach San Francisco with an amulet that is the key to a Chinese fortune worth $5 million, which can be used to purchase arms to fight the invading Japanese army.  However, a Russian agent named Igor Sargoza (Robert Barrat — as Chingachgook in The Last of the Mohicans, plus such films as The Charge of the Light Brigade, Charlie Chan in Honolulu, Northwest Passage, etc.) brings his plane down.   

Stranded in war-torn China, Peter just happens to have a sister named Irene (Lynda Grey or Linda Grey in her only starring role … she had small parts in such films as This Gun for Hire, Louisiana Purchase, etc.), who is a teacher at a school in Shanghai.   He gives her the trinket and urges her to escape to the United States before the Chinese defenses collapse.  

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Igor is quickly on her, but an American reporter by the name of Johnny McGinty (played by future Best Supporting Actor winner, James Dunn for his performance as Johnny Nolan in Elia Kazan’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn) steps in and rescues her.   They turn to her friend, Howard Barclay (Ralph Morgan), for help in getting her out of the country, but he informs her that only Americans are being allowed to evacuate … no problem, a sham marriage to McGinty, who is more that willing to accommodate, will solve the problem.

Shadow Over Shanghai is a fast-paced 65-minute indie/B-movie programmer and you are not even half way through with it and you have Russian-on-Russian intrigue in war ravaged Shanghai, an innocent school teacher thrown into the mix and an American, who has been covering the war, ready and willing to marry a complete stranger … just to help out of course.    We are only getting started.   

Enter Fuji Yokahama (Paul Sutton — Sunset Murder Case, Little Old New York, etc.), the local head of the Japanese secret service, who is on to Johnny and Irene’s plan and sets a devious plan to murder the both of them on their wedding day.   You’ll have to pick up your copy of Shadow Over Shanghai on Sept. 5 to find out if Yokahama’s murder scheme comes off as planned!
DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

Also on the Sept. 5 release calendar from The Film Detective is director Lewis D. Collins’ between-the-wars aviation thriller, Skyway.   Released in the summer of 1933 by Monogram Pictures, we are introduced to Robert ‘Flash’ Norris (Ray Walker), a fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants flier, who works for the U.S. Postal Services as a mail pilot, who ends up in court for fighting on the midway of a traveling carnival.   A chance meeting with a beautiful young woman named Lila (Kathryn Crawford) sets things in motion.

First, he’s fired from the postal service for being in court and missing his required takeoff time.   No worries, he borrows a plane and impresses Lila with his stunt flying … they fall in love (fliers have a way with women).  

Secondly, if this love affair is going to work out, our boy Flash is going to need a job (it is the depression).    As luck would have it, Lila’s dad runs a bank and she talks dear old dad (Claude Gillingwater) into giving him a job.   Which, of course, he is not suited for.

This threadbare plot only serves as a vehicle for some spectacular stunt flying, which includes a daring seaplane landing (Flash to the rescue when one of the bank employees heads to South America with a satchel full of cash) and a romantic ending as the lovers fly away to get married (in Yuma).   

Rounding out the Sept. 5 selections are Rogue of the Range (1936, Johnny Mack Brown Western co-starring Lois January), Secrets of the Wastelands (1941, William Boyd stars as Hopalong Cassidy) and Sepia Cinderella (1947).

MVD Entertainment Group Preps Director Joe Brewer's Beside Bowie: The Mick Ronson Story For A Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Release On Oct. 27

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
MVD Entertainment Group will be guiding documentary filmmaker Joe Brewer’s Beside Bowie: The Mick Ronson Story, a look at the life and career of legendary guitarist Mick Ronson, to market on Friday, Oct. 27, as a Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack product offering.

The guitar work on “Jean Genie,” “The Man Who Sold the World” and “Aladdin Sane,” to name just a few of the Bowie/Ronson collaborations, are all Ronson.   Joe Brewer got access, not only to rare clips and previously unseen footage, but he seems have been able to wrangle interviews with nearly every major artist who ever worked with Ronson.   

In addition to vintage interviews with the late David Bowie and Mick Ronson himself (who died of cancer in 1993), Brewer has interview sessions with Bowie’s one-time wife, Angie, and such artists as Lou Reed, Mott the Hoople’s Ian Hunter, the Sex Pistols’ Glen Matlock, Queen’s Roger Taylor, Dana Gillespie, Earl Slick, Rick Wakeman and Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott, as well as producer Laurence Myers, Cherry Vanilla (who handled PR for Bowie and Ronson), tour manager Tony Zanetta and more.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
These session are nicely blended with footage — vintage interviews, home movies and live concert performances — to weave a marvelous story about the career and influence of Ronson in the world of music.

This is a must for all music fans, especially those who follow all things David Bowie. 

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

Director Aisling Walsh's Maudie Arrives On DVD From Sony Pictures Home Entertainment On Oct. 10

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Irish filmmaker Aisling Walsh has taken a script from Canadian producer/writer Sherry White, recruited Sally Hawkins, an English actress, and Ethan Hawke, an American, to spin a biopic about a Canadian artist that many Americans might not be familiar with (she’s been dead for 47 years).   The result is one of the best films of the year.

The film in question is Maudie, which will be making its way to DVD and Blu-ray on Oct. 10 courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.   The film’s limited theatrical run generated ticket sales of $5.6 million … the ARR comes in 179 days.   This is one to be caught on DVD … and come awards season it may get a second wind when people begin to discover it.

For those not familiar with Maud Lewis (nee Dowley), she was a self-taught artist who eked out a living with her paintings and illustrated greeting cards.  Much of her fame came after her passing … and Hawkins’ script and Walsh’s film presentation do not indicate that you are watching a biopic, but rather a heartfelt story of two very unlikely people finding happiness.   

Sally Hawkins, who was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performance in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine, absolutely shines as Maud (a Best Actress nomination is certainly possible for her performance here), a plain woman, suffering from early onset rheumatoid arthritis, who has no outward skill set.   She lives with her aunt (played by Gabrielle Rose) after her brother disposed of the family home, leaving her destitute.  
DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey

It is the depression and it is clear that this near crippled young woman has little in the way of a future.   By chance she answers an advertisement from a gruff fishmonger named Everett Lewis (Ethan Hawke), who was looking for a housekeeper (the house is so small that you wonder what that was all about).  

That’s the set up, what follows is an odd love story (with some poetic license taken) that is set in remote Nova Scotia — an unlikely couple, an unlikely artist, but a marvelous film emerges from these bleak prospects.

As to bonus features, there are deleted scenes and a pair of production featurettes — “Inside Story” and “Director’s Look Book.”

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment Selects Oct. 17 As The Street Date For Director Malcolm D. Lee's Girls Trip

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
The street date will be Oct. 17 for DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack editions of director Malcolm D. Lee’s super chick-flick comedy hit, Girls Trip … so says Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

The ARR is a swift-to-market 88 days and box office receipts were an impressive $104.1 million.

The Flossy Posse — Regina Hall, Tiffany Haddish, Jada Pinkett Smith and Queen Latifah — arrive with bonus goodies galore.   There are deleted scenes (with commentary by Lee), a gag reel, an extended Ne-Yo music video titled “Because of You” and a trio of featurettes — “Planning The Trip,” “Outrageous Moments” and “The Essence of NOLA.”

Target And Best Buy Jump The Starting Flag On The Official Nov. 7 Announcement For DVD And Blu-ray Editions Of Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment's Car 3

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph Tribbey
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment got sideswiped this week by both Target and Best Buy when the two jumped the flag on the release date for writer/director Brian Fee’s Cars 3.   

Amazon must have been off of the track and in the pits on this one.   It is usually either Amazon (notorious for taking orders for high profile releases before press releases can get the necessary sign-offs) or Disney itself, with its online Disney store (with its captive audience), who begin taking orders before a formal announcements are made.

This time the red flags can be waved at the two brick-and-mortar giants for the early order-taking.   In this particular case, both retail giants began their sales efforts during the middle of this past week for their own unique Blu-ray special editions of Cars 3, which will be ready for fans to enjoy on Nov. 7.   As with any rush job details are scant.

The ARR is a leisurely 144 days and domestic box receipts currently stand at $148.8 million.