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"The movie business is macabre. Grotesque.
It is a combination of a football game
and a brothel."
-- Federico Fellini

OnVideo

Nov 072013
 

 
photo for White House Down Every once in awhile a high concept idea bubbles up in Hollywood that's so good that, in the same year — sometimes only a few months apart — two "copycat" movies on the same or similar themes get made. Such was the case in 1998 with "Deep Impact" and "Armageddon" and "Antz" and "A Bug's Life," and in 2006 with "The Illusionist" and "The Prestige." This year the hot idea floating through Hollywood was "Die Hard in the White House," and so in March we got Antoine Fuqua's "Olympus Has Fallen," in which an ex-Secret Service agent (Gerard Butler) single-handedly fights off North Korean terrorists who have taken over the White House, and then in June we got Roland Emmerich's "White House Down," in which a wannabe Secret Service agent (Channing Tatum) single-handedly fights off U.S. terrorists who have taken over the White House. Both films scored about the same with critics and audiences, with "Olympus" taking in about $25 million more than its counterpoint (probably because it was first out of the gate). Both films have likeable (if not overly talented) leads; both films sport strong support by their co-stars (Morgan Freeman in "Olympus" and Jamie Foxx in "White House"); both films have great special effects and destruction sequences (Emmerich is used to destroying things; he wiped out the White House once before, in "Independence Day," and wiped out the world in "2012")); both films have despicable villains you can root against; both films vindicate the hero and freedom-loving people everywhere (I added that last part in just for the heck of it). If you liked ""Olympus," pop "White House" into your DVD player and enjoy the excitement. The synopsis: Capitol Policeman John Cale has just been denied his dream job with the Secret Service. Not wanting to let down his little girl with the news, he takes her on a tour of the White House, and, coincidentally, during their visit, the complex is overtaken by a heavily armed paramilitary group. Now, with the nation's government falling into chaos and time running out, it's up to Cale to save the president, his daughter … and the country. Extras: Four Featurettes: "A Dynamic Duo," a look at the chemistry between Tatum and Foxx and their on-screen presence; "Men of Action" featurette on Tatum's willingness and desire to perform his own stunts, as well as the extensive training required; "Roland Emmerich — Upping the Ante," a look at Emmerich's vision for the film; "Meet the Insiders" on the supporting cast. Blu-ray adds a gag reel and nine more featurettes: "The Beast," a look at the film's presidential limo; "The Full Arsenal: Guns, Grenades, Tanks and Choppers"; "VFX Boundaries Down"; "The Inside Story" about the film's fast-moving rise from concept to the big screen; "Presidential Treatment," a look at the size and scope of the massive production; "Lights, Camera, Heart-Pumping Action"; "Crashing the Oval Office," a look at how the filmmakers constructed a stunt set, then drove an SUV at full speed into the Oval Office; "Drowning the Beast" presidential limo escape from the White House pool; "Recreating the White House," about the meticulous detail that went into replicating the White House. Vitals: Director: Roland Emmerich. Stars: Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx, Maggie Gyllenhaal, James Woods, Richard Jenkins. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 131 min., Thriller, Box office gross: $72.425 million, Sony. 3 stars

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Nov 072013
 

 
photo for Girl Most Likely "Girl Most Likely" is a pretty dull outing for talented actress Kristen Wiig, who's been trying to step out from her supporting roles as everyman's wife and girlfriend and hold down a film by herself. Coming off 2011's "Bridesmaids," in which she almost lost the film to an overpowering Melissa McCarthy, Wiig took on the lead in this boxoffice flop about a failed New York playwright — dumped by her high-society boyfriend — who has to move back home with her younger brother, her gambling-addicted mother (Annette Bening), and her mom's oddball new boyfriend (Matt Dillon). It's a worked to death premise not made any better by lackluster direction, slow pacing, and laughs that are far and few between. Extras: "Making Most Likely" featurette, "Life in the Human Shell" featurette, deleted scenes, gag reel. Vitals: Director: Shari Springer Berman, Robert Pulcini. Stars: Kristen Wiig, Annette Bening, Matt Dillon, Darren Criss, Christopher Fitzgerald, June Diane Raphael, Natasha Lyonne, Bob Balaban. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 104 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $1.370 million, Lionsgate. 2 stars

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Nov 072013
 

 
photo for Lovelace Who would have thought that a movie about a porn star — a movie about sex, drugs and the adult film industry — would be boring. Well, that's just the case with "Lovelace," a bio-drama about unlikely porn star Linda Lovelace and "Deep Throat," the first scripted adult theatrical feature film (in 1972) that was a phenomenal success and pretty much legitimized adult films for the American middle class. Linda Susan Boreman (Amanda Seyfried) escaped a strict religious family and discovered freedom and the high-life when she fell for and married charismatic hustler Chuck Traynor (Peter Sarsgaard), who coerced her into the biz as the "girl-next-door" with an impressive capacity for fellatio, then fell prey to his abuse, eventually leaving "Hollywood" for a mid-West, suburban life, where she fought violence against women. It's really not much of a story; aside from the few sexual hijinks highlighted in the film, both Lovelace, Traynor and their friends and entourage are pretty uninteresting — which just goes to show that show biz can be just as dull as any other biz. Extras: Behind-the-scenes featurette. Vitals: Director: Bob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman. Stars: Amanda Seyfried, Peter Sarsgaard, Hank Azaria, Wes Bentley , Adam Brody, Bobby Cannavale, James Franco, Debi Mazar, Chris Noth, Robert Patrick, Eric Roberts, Chloe Sevigny, Sharon Stone, Juno Temple. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: R, 93 min., Drama, Box office gross: $.354 million, RADiUS-TWC/Anchor Bay. 2 stars

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Nov 072013
 

 
photo for Grown Ups 2 Adam Sandler keeps making the same junky films over and over again — and keeps making tons of money. "Grown Ups 2" is no exception. Here we have the same characters, the same stupid bits, the same sloppy jokes, the same bathroom humor — from "Grown Ups" and almost every previous Sandler film — with a different locale and slightly different situations. After reuniting with his high school classmates three summers before (in 2010's "Grown Ups"), Lenny (Adam Sandler) decides he wants to move his family back to his hometown and have them grow up with his gang of childhood friends and their kids. It's boring, disgusting and stupid. Nuff said. The should-be-ashamed co-stars include Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, Salma Hayek, Maya Rudolph and Maria Bello. Extras: Eight deleted scenes, "Shaq and Dante: Police Force" featurette. Blu-ray adds three featurettes: "Look Who Stopped By" look at the cameos throughout the film, "Mr. Spade's Wild Ride" with Spade as he prepares to be rolled down the hill in a tire, and "The Feder House" look at the construction of the sound stage where the Feder house was built. Vitals: Director:. Stars: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, Salma Hayek, Maya Rudolph, Maria Bello, Shaquille O'Neal, Nick Swardson, Alexander Ludwig, Milo Ventimglia. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 101 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $130.188 million, Sony. 2 stars

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Nov 072013
 

photo for Insidious: Chapter 2 Sequel to 2010's horror-thriller in which a family tried to prevent evil spirits from trapping their comatose child in a realm called The Further. Here, the haunted Lambert family seeks to uncover the mysterious childhood secret that has left them dangerously connected to the spirit world. They must rely on familiar allies to exile the demons that follow them and unearth the secret before the evil continues its deadly rampage. Extras: "Peripheral Vision: Behind the Scenes" featurette, "Ghostly Transformation" featurette on how the actors were transformed into ghosts in The Further through make-up effects. Blu-ray adds "Haunted Hospital: On Location" featurette; "Leigh Whannell’s Insidious Journal"; "Work in Progress: On Set Q&A" with Barbara Hershey, Patrick Wilson, Jason Blum, James Wan and screenwriter Leigh Whannell; "Insidious: Spectral Sightings" three-part webisodes. Vitals: Director: James Wan. Stars: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Barbara Hershey, Ty Simpkins, Lin Shaye, Leigh Whannell, Angus Sampson. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 106 min., Supernatural Horror, Box office gross: $82.133, million, Sony.

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Nov 072013
 

 
photo for Dance film follows a legendary break-dancing crew's return to its roots in order to reclaim the world championship after more than a decade of defeat. The Battle of the Year competition is an all out war of mind-blowing dance moves, explosive routines and electrifying displays of skill and imagination. The American team, a group of underdogs, is pitted against the world's elite as they tear it up in their struggle for the top spot. Extras: "This Is Planet B Boy" featurette explores B-Boy history and culture, "Preparing for Battle: Training & Rehearsals" behind-the-scenes featurette. Blu-ray adds Extended dance sequences from three scenes in the film; "The Art of B-Boying: A Guide to Breaking" featurette. Vitals: Director: Benson Lee. Stars: Josh Holloway, Laz Alonso, Caity Lotz, Josh Peck, Chris Brown. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 110 min., Music, Box office gross: $8.792 million, Sony.

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Nov 072013
 

 

warner-archive-11-05

Brave, Bold and Now on Blu-ray!

BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD – THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON (2008) Bat-mite (voiced by Paul Reubens) put it best: "Batman's rich history allows him to be interpreted in a multitude of ways. To be sure, this is a lighter incarnation, but it's certainly no less valid and true to the character's roots than the tortured avenger crying out for mommy and daddy. AND BESIDES, THOSE EASTER BUNNIES LOOK REALLY SCARY, RIGHT?!" Under the aegis of producer James Tucker, B:TBATB bravely challenged modern fan conceptions of The Dark Knight while boldly exploitating the richness of the entire DC Comics universe. The result is a sly and skillful blend of Dick Sprang's Batmen, TV's timeless 1966 incarnation, Bruce Timm's animated series and scores of others which creates a unique show that appeals to fans both new and old. Lead voice actor Diedrich Bader (The Drew Carey Show) uses his crack comic skills to channel Kevin Conroy's Caped Crusader making his Bats the ultimate straight man in the world's funnest cape cartoon. And he's aided by a legion of vocal acting titans (and directed by legendary voice director Andrea Romano) that includes John Dimmagio (Aquaman), James Arnold Taylor (Green Arrow), Will Friedle (Blue Beetle), Tom Kenny (Plastic Man), Grey Delisle (Black Canary) and Neil Patrick Harris (The Music Meister). This 2-Disc, 26-Episode Blu-ray Disc Collection presents B:TBATB's inaugural season in all its crisp and clear 1080p High Definition, as it was meant to be enjoyed. A galaxy of Bat-tastic team-ups await as they face any peril ­ including other heroes OUTRAGEOUSLY stealing the show ­ in their relentless pursuit of justice.
And fun. And really scary Easter Bunnies.

Kissing the Grits

FLO: THE COMPLETE SERIES (1979-80) Polly Holliday's character Flo's ever-burgeoning popularity proved irresistible spin-off allure, and the sassy Texas belle was lured out of the confines of Alice's Mel's Diner and set-up shop in her own show and roadhouse, Flo's Yellow Rose. After an Alice-like car breakdown, Flo ends up in her infamous hometown of Cowtown, TX where, thanks to the desperate wiles of local banker Farley Waters (Jim Baker), Flo buys the local rundown roadhouse. Now she just has to talk the he-man cowboy bartender (Geoffrey Lewis) into letting a woman be his boss… Also stars Sudie Bond as Flo's raucous Mama, Lucy Lee Flippin as Flo's prim sister Fran, Joyce Bulifant as waitress/BFF Miriam, Leo Burmeister as madcap mechanic Randy and Stephen Mills as laconic ivory-tickler Les. Flo: The Complete Series features all 29 episodes from its two-season run plus a bar full of guests including James Cromwell, Robert Englund, Forrest Tucker, Joanna Cassidy, Hoyt Axton and Alice's Vic Tayback as Mel.

Showtime on TNT

NEVER FORGET (1991) Leonard Nimoy and Blythe Danner star in this telefilm inspired by the life of Mel Mermelstein, the man who in the face of manipulations and machinations by the historical revisionism of professional hate groups, caused the US courts to recognize the holocaust as uncontestable fact. After the horrors of Nazi occupation, Hungarian born Auschwitz survivor Mermelstein finds a new life and new family in the new world, but strives to keep the memory of the family he lost alive by educating a new generation to the truths of Nazi depredations. When the Institute for Historical Review issues a hectoring challenge to Mel Mermelstein to prove the holocaust happened in a court of their making, Mel defiantly teams up with local lawdog Bill Cox (Dabney Coleman) to teach the Institute a lesson in truth. One of Nimoy's finest performances in a career littered with them.

CRAZY IN LOVE (1992) Holly Hunter, Gena Rowlands, Frances McDormand and Bill Pullman star in this adaptation of Luanne Rice's novel about a family of women living on an island in the Puget Sound. Georgie (Hunter), the youngest of the women, is head over heels for businessman hubby Nick (Pullman), but the dangers of commuting by puddle-jumper plane start to unravel their domestic stability. Then, as Geogie's insecurities mount, a dashing photog (Julian Sands) enters the picture. Hunter and Pullman are the focus, but the quiet truths of Rowlands and McDormand are the show.

A LIFE IN THE THEATRE (1993) Playwright David Mamet and frequent collaborator director Gregory Mosher re-team to adapt their stage wonder, A Life in the Theatre, for the small screen starring a pair of true stage and screen superstars, Jack Lemon and Matthew Broderick. This two-man show focuses on the backstage ramblings of a pair of repertory actors – one an aging vet, the other a rising (wannabe) star – across seasons and shows as the pair wrestle with their craft and each other. Lemon and Broderick are masterful as they each, in turn, subsume their gifts to inhabit the shoes of the showmen who stand in the shadows.

THE HEIDI CHRONICLES (1995) Wendy Wasserstein's blockbuster stage chronicle of the baby boomer generation's slow rise to self-knowledge as seen through the lens of a young, independent woman stars Jamie Lee Curtis. Art student Heidi Holland navigates the choppy waters of a culture in flux, from sock hops and student protests in the Sixties to the sexual revolutions of the Seventies and the cynicism and tragedies of the Me-decade Eighties. Tom Hulce delivers an outstanding (and award winning performance) as Heidi¹s pal Peter Patrone. Also stars Peter Friedman and Kim Cattrall.

DEADLOCKED (2000) Charles Dutton and David Caruso star in this crackerjack suspense thriller that mixes courtroom drama, hostage crisis and murder mystery to brew up a powerful stew that takes aim at racial inequality in America while simultaneously examining personal responsibility and family obligations. When correction officer Jacob Doyle's (Dutton) estranged son is convicted of murder in the first, Doyle snaps and takes the jury hostage inside their own courtroom. Doyle then tasks the DA (Caruso) that just convicted his son with proving his innocence – in 24 hours, or the jury starts to die.

HBO is Here to Help

THE WEIGHT OF THE NATIONS FOR KIDS (2012) This three part series take aim at childhood obesity through a series of short films designed to empower and educate young people on how to battle this rising epidemic. "The Great Cafeteria Takeover" follows a group of New Orleans kids, who dubbed themselves the Rethinkers, as they make a difference in their community by transforming their school lunch menu with healthier, better-tasting options. "Kebreeya's Salad Days" follows 17-year-old Kebreeya's crusade to improve nutrition awareness on a personal, family and community level in her North Carolina town by maintaining a garden at an elementary school and encouraging others to do the same via the student group SWARM (Students Working for an Agricultural Revolutionary Movement). "Quiz Ed!" tests the nutrition and physical activity knowledge of students of varying ages and activity levels to inspire them to choose foods with less sugar and not skip meals. Directed and Produced by Shari Cookson & Nick Doob.
NOTE: These DVDs are Manufactured on Demand (MOD); to order, fans must visit The Warner Archive Collection or WB Shop.com

 Posted by on November 7, 2013 No Responses »
Nov 052013
 

From the Big Screen:

"White House Down," "Girl Most Likely," "Lovelace" and "Grown Ups 2." For more releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.

Collectibles:

And the gift-set assault begins … With Hanukkah just three weeks away and Christmas following a month later, the studios are raising the ante on their box sets for gift-giving. This week there's some pretty nifty offerings, headed up by photo for "Naked City: The Complete Series" (1958-63), a 29-disc set with all 138 classic episodes of the acclaimed Emmy Award-winning police drama series filmed entirely in New York City and starring Paul Burke, Horace McMahon, Harry Bellaver, James Franciscus, John McIntire and Nancy Malone. "Naked City's" first season featured half-hour episodes while the remainder of its four season run was comprised of hour-long episodes. The classic TV series — which focused on the lives of the detectives of New York's 65th Precinct, but wasn't shy on vivid chases and gun fights — was famous for the signature closing line of every episode, "There are eight million stories in the Naked City. This has been one of them." The show featured an amazing list of guest stars including Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford, William Shatner, Martin Sheen, Robert Duvall, Rip Torn, Alan Alda, George C. Scott, Telly Savalas, Leslie Nielsen, Dennis Hopper, Peter Fonda, James Caan, Jack Klugman, Jean Stapleton, Walter Matthau, Jon Voight, Gene Hackman, Christopher Walken, Carroll O'Connor, Jean Stapleton, Peter Falk, George Segal, Jack Warden, Ed Asner, Doris Roberts, Suzanne Pleshette, Diane Ladd, Vic Morrow, James Coburn, Mickey Rooney and Burgess Meredith, to name just a few. From Image Entertainment.

For Doctor Who fans there's "Doctor Who: The Complete Series 1-7 Limited Edition Blu-Ray Gift Set," a 29-disc set celebrating Doctor Who's 50th anniversary. The set includes the complete adventures of the Ninth Doctor (Christopher Eccleston) and Tenth Doctor (David Tennant), available in newly remastered Blu-ray versions at full 1080p resolution for the first time ever, sitting alongside those of the Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith). Also includes fully remastered complete Tenth Doctor Specials as well as The Complete Fifth and Sixth Series (previously available on Blu-ray), to full 1080p resolution, and the photo for Doctor Who: The Complete Series 1-7 Limited Edition Blu-Ray Gift Set new "Doctor Who: The Complete Seventh Series Blu-ray." Extras include hours and hours of bonus features from the past collections plus 120 minutes of bonus material that has never previously been available on disc. Add in a Doctor Who Universal Remote Control Sonic Screwdriver, a gesture-based remote control replica of the Eleventh Doctor's trusty tool, crafted from real metals and featuring sound effects from the show; now you can control your television with a wave of your hand and feel like a Time Lord yourself. There's also three exclusive original art cards and an exclusive Doctor Who comic book. $349.98 from BBC Home Entertainment … The "James Dean Ultimate Collector's Edition" is a beautifully designed and packaged limited and numbered seven-disc Blu-ray set celebrating James Dean. When he died in 1955 at the age of 24 in a car crash, Dean — a talented "method" actor, rebel and risk taker — was mourned by millions of fans throughout the world. Despite only making three films — all of them for Warner Bros. — Dean became one of Hollywood's most spectacular stars, and 50 years later still remains an internationally compelling force, an iconic image, and a cult favorite of timeless fascination. The core of the set are his three films: "East of Eden," "Rebel Without a Cause" and "Giant," each in a 4k restoration from original camera negatives remastered at Warner Bros. Motion Picture Imaging. For "Rebel Without a Cause," the stereo soundtrack was reconstructed from the magnetic photo for James Dean Ultimate Collector's Edition BLU-RAY DEBUT soundtrack stripes of CinemaScope release prints. Also included are three full-length documentaries: "James Dean Forever Young," narrated by Martin Sheen; "American Masters: James Dean — Sense Memories" and "George Stevens: A Filmmaker's Journey" (Stevens directed "Giant"). The collection also contains a 48-page photo book with behind-the-scene images and rare insight into each film, three mini reproductions of the original theatrical movie posters, and reproductions of production memos from "East of Eden" and "Rebel Without a Cause." The "Ultimate Collector's Edition" will sell for $99.98; each film will also be available as a stand-alone Blu-ray book for $27.98 each. Extras include a new featurette: "Dennis Hopper: Memories from the Warner Lot"; vintage documentaries: "James Dean Remembered," "Forever James Dean," "George Stevens: Filmmakers Who Knew Him," "Return to Giant, "Memories of Giant,"" East of Eden: Art in Search of Life," "Rebel Without a Cause: Defiant Innocents"; commentaries on all three films; premiere footage for "East of Eden" and "Giant"; wardrobe tests; screen tests; deleted scenes for "East of Eden" and "Rebel Without a Cause"; and much, much more. From Warner … Also from Warner, just ahead of the December 13 release of "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug," comes "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Extended Edition" The set — available as a five-disc Blu-ray 3D set ($54.98), a three-disc Blu-ray set ($35.99) and a five-disc DVD set ($34.99) features a 13-minute longer cut and nine hours of new special features, including commentary with director-producer-screenwriter Peter Jackson and co-producer/screenwriter Philippa Boyens, and "The Appendices," a multi-part documentary focusing on various aspects of the film and the Trilogy. From New Line.

"Farscape: Complete Series" (1999-2003) is a 15th Anniversary Edition with all 88 complete and unedited episodes from the four-season run. Includes a 16-page mini comic book created by the same team that made Jim Henson's acclaimed graphic novel "Tale of Sand." Based on the prequel "Peacekeeper Wars," the comic includes select images from The Jim Henson Company's archive and an exclusive interview with Brian Henson revealing never-before-shared facts about the Farscape Legacy. In 20-disc Blu-ray ($149.95) and 27-disc DVD ($129.95) sets. Extras include "Memories of Moya: An photo for Farscape: Complete Series Epic Journey" documentary; "Farscape Undressed," the home-video premiere of the rarely seen, long-sought-after never before released behind-the-scenes special; three archival documentaries: "In the Beginning: A Look Back With Brian Henson," "Making of a Space Opera" and "Season Three: A Look Back With Executive Producer David Kemper"; three "Inside Farscape" featurettes: "Villains," "Visual Effects" and "Inside Farscape: Save Farscape," in which fans, cast and crew discuss the fate of the series; 31 audio commentaries; deleted scenes, director's cut scenes, and an alternate version of the Season 2 premiere; behind-the-scenes interviews with the characters, cast, and creative team of "Farscape"; and more. From Cinedigm … "Twilight Forever: The Complete Saga"celebrates the 5th anniversary of the theatrical debut of the first "Twilight" film; this boxed set features all five films, more than two hours of brand new bonus content and every special feature ever produced for the blockbuster franchise. The deluxe packaging arrives in a double-sided box that highlights the iconic characters, one side featuring Edward and Bella and the other side featuring Jacob; and the discs are held in a commemorative photo album highlighting the most iconic moments from the entire saga. In a 12-disc DVD, $64.98; 10-disc Blu-ray, $74.99. From Summit/Lionsgate … "Absolutely Fabulous: Absolutely All of It" is a 10-disc set that contains every episode and special from the award-winning five-season series, spanning over 20 years of misguided adventures with fashionista best friends Edina (Jennifer Saunders) and Patsy (Joanna Lumley) — all tucked away in a superr-luxe limited edition faux iguana skin clutch bag. $158.72 from BBC Home Entertainment.

D.W. Griffith changed the course of film history with his 1915 Civil War blockbuster "The Birth of a Nation," and, spurred on by its colossal success, he went even bigger on his next epic, the ambitious and still awe-inspiring (1916) "Intolerance," in which he masterfully links four centuries-apart stories of universal suffering — and which makes its Blu-ray debut this week. Stung by charges of glorifying racism in "The Birth of a Nation," Griffith decided to make his next film a plea for tolerance, acceptance and understanding. An epic like nothing that came before , the monumental film remains as powerful today as it was almost a century ago; the major innovation in screen narrative tells four stories in parallel about social injustice and the effects of intolerance through the ages. "The photo for Modern Story," about a working man wrongly accused of a crime, was later issued as a separate film ("The Mother and the Law," 1919). "The Judean Story" tells of Jesus' conflicts with the Pharisees and Rome. "The Medieval Story" is about the effects of the massacre of 16th-century French Huguenots. "The Babylonian Story," about the conquest of Babylon by Persia, also was issued later as a separate film ("The Fall of Babylon," 1919). Skillful cross-cutting and linking shots of a figure representing Eternal Motherhood rocking a cradle, bring all four stories to a tense climax. With the profits from "The Birth of a Nation," Griffith spared no expense on "Intolerance," constructing huge sets and hiring thousands of extras for spectacular crowd scenes; the most iconic representation of this lavishness remains the sequence set at the immense walls of Babylon. Many of the leading stars of the silent screen appear in the film, including Griffith regular Lillian Gish, Mae Marsh, Elmo Lincoln, Robert Harron and Constance Talmadge. Remastered in 2K. The musical soundtrack is in mono for the DVD and 2.0 LPCM for the Blu-ray. Carl Davis' orchestral score is in 5.1 Dolby Digital. Extras include the two full-length features drawn from "Intolerance": "The Fall of Babylon" and "The Mother and the Law," accompanied by new scores by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra; a 2013 featurette with film historian Kevin Brownlow; new essays by Cineaste magazine editor Richard Porton and historian William M. Drew; and a theatrical rerelease trailer. From Cohen Film Collection.

On Blu-ray this week: Heading up the list this week is the gorgeous Blu-ray debut of "The Best Years of Our Lives" (1946), directed by William Wyler with an all-star cast of Myrna Loy, Fredric March, Dana Andrews, Teresa Wright, Virginia Mayo, Cathy O'Donnell, Hoagy Carmichael, Harold Russell, Gladys George, Roman Bohnen and Ray Collins. One of the greatest films of all time encapsulates the dreams, desires and realities of mid-20th century America. The Academy Award-winning film photo for (seven Oscars, including Best Film and Best Director) follows three WWII veterans who return home to small-town America to discover that they and their families have been irreparably changed. Capt. Fred Derry (Andrews), a soda jerk before the war, returns to a loveless marriage; Sgt. Al Stephenson (March), a banker, returns a stranger to a family that's grown up without him; and sailor Homer Parrish, a machinist, returns home, tormented by the loss of his hands, to his loving and understanding girlfriend. Extras include an introduction by Virginia Mayo, interview with Mayo and Teresa Wright, theatrical trailer … also from warner comes "The Right Stuff " (1983), directed by Philip Kaufman and starring Sam Shepard, Scott Glenn, Ed Harris, Barbara Hershey, Dennis Quaid, Fred Ward and Jeff Goldblum. The 30th Anniversary Blu-ray Book includes rare photos, production notes and more; extras include "The Journey and the Mission" scene specific commentary, "John Glenn: American Hero" [1998 PBS Documentary], "Realizing the Right Stuff," "T-20 Years and Counting," "The Real Men With The Right Stuff" … "The Three Faces of Eve" (1957), starring Joanne Woodward, who won a Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of a woman with multiple personality disorder — Eve White, a troubled housewife who begins seeing a psychiatrist and, under hypnosis, reveals her additional personalities: a vamp and an independent sophisticate. From Fox … and "The Bishop's Wife" (1947), directed by Henry Koster and starring Cary Grant, Loretta Young, David Niven, Monty Woolley, James Gleason, Gladys Cooper and Elsa Lanchester. From Warner.

From TV to DVD:

"Clear History" (2013) stars Larry David, Jon Hamm, Kate Hudson, Eva Mendes, Michael Keaton, Bill Hader, Phillip Baker Hall, Danny McBride, Amy Ryan, J.B. Smoove in an HBO Original Film about a marketing executive (David) at a start-up electric car company who gives up his 10 percent of the business after a petty argument with his boss (Hamm). The company subsequently makes billions of dollars, destroying his life and leaving him publicly humiliated. Ten years photo for Magic City: The Complete Second Season later, after changing his name and moving to a small island off the Massachusetts coast, all is well — until something from the past threatens his new life. On DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo, from HBO … "Duck Dynasty: I'm Dreaming of a Redneck Christmas" (2013) is a double-length Christmas special, $9.98 from Lionsgate … "I Love Lucy: Colorized Christmas" includes both colorized and black-and-white versions of "The Lucy Christmas Special," "Lucy Goes to Scotland" and "Lucy's Italian Movie," three previously hard-to-find episodes, $16.99 from CBS/Paramount … "Ice Road Truckers: Season 7" (2013) is a four-disc set with 12 episodes, $24.98 from Lionsgate … "Law & Order: The Thirteenth Year" (2002-3) is a five-disc set with 24 episodes, from Universal … "Mad Men: Season 6" (2013) includes all 13 episodes, $49.98 in a four-disc DVD, three-disc Blu-ray, from Lionsgate … "Magic City: The Complete Second Season" (2013) is a three-disc set with eight episodes. On DVD, $44.98; Blu-ray Disc, $54.99; from Anchor Bay.

Buzzin' the 'B's:

"Parkland" (2013), starring Zac Efron, Marcia Gay Harden, Billy Bob Thornton, Jacki Weaver, Paul Giamatt, James Badge Dale, Jackie Earle Haley, Colin Hanks, David Harbour, Ron Livingston, Jeremy Strong and Tom Welling, recounts the chaotic events that occurred in Dallas on November 22, 1963, the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Weaves together the perspectives of a handful of photo for ordinary individuals suddenly thrust into extraordinary circumstances: the young doctors and nurses at Parkland Hospital; Dallas' chief of the Secret Service; an unwitting cameraman who captured what became the most watched and examined film in history; the FBI agents who nearly had the gunman within their grasp; the brother of Lee Harvey Oswald, left to deal with his shattered family; and JFK's security team, witnesses to both the president's death and Vice President Lyndon Johnson's rise to power over a nation whose innocence was forever altered. Released to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the assassination. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc, Blu-ray/DVD Combo from Millennium Entertainment … In "Passion" (2013), starring Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace, Brian De Palma returns to the sleek, sly, seductive territory of the erotic thriller with this lurid trashy melodrama. The rivalry between the manipulative boss of an advertising agency and her talented protege escalates from stealing credit to public humiliation to murder. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc, from Entertainment One … "Bonnie & Clyde: Justified" (2013) stars Eric Roberts, Dee Wallace, Ashley Hayes and Jim Poole in an A&E miniseries that uses the poems and letters of Bonnie Parker to bring to life the love that brought Bonnie and Clyde together, the crimes that made them infamous, and the deaths that made them legendary. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc, from Lionsgate … In "Killer Holiday" (2013), starring Michael Copon, Rachel Lara, Julia Beth Stern and Alex Mandel, psychotic killer Melvin "Spider" Holiday stalks eight unsuspecting teenage victims lured to an abandoned amusement park off old Route 66. They soon discover that the park comes complete with broken down carnival rides, the smell of death and a killer ready to give them one ticket to hell. From Lionsgate.

On the Indie Front:

Based on the best-selling book about a young man who comes up with a sexy new soda drink,"Syrup" (2013), starring Amber Heard, Shiloh Fernandez, Kellan Lutz and Brittany Snow, is a comedy that attempts to expose the cut-throat world of advertising through the eyes of a young prodigy chasing fame, fortune, and the woman of his dreams. When fresh-out-of-school Scat comes up with a brilliant new product that gives new meaning to the old saying "sex sells," he's sure that it will send him right to the top. But first he has to convince his boss, the beautiful and mysterious "6," that it's an idea worth millions, and overcome betrayal by his best friend. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc, from Magnolia Home Entertainment.

For the Family:

For the first time ever, the entire Robotech saga is collected in one, massive 20-disc gift set,"Robotech: The Complete Set," with all 85 episodes of the original series, three feature films and over 12 hours of bonus material, including a new bonus disc never released with any previous Robotech set, $89.98. "Robotech" — a sweeping science-fiction anime epic of humans defending their home world against photo for Robotech: The Complete Setalien domination — was instrumental in introducing anime to American audiences when it first appeared on television in 1985. The saga is told through the eyes of characters caught up in a series of wars that erupts when a mysterious spacecraft crash-lands on Earth at the turn of the millennium. The secrets of alien knowledge aboard this vessel were unlocked, leading to the development of "Robotechnology" and the creation of a vast arsenal of robotic "mecha" to defend the Earth against the alien threats that would eventually strike to lay claim to the mysterious power source known as "protoculture." From Lionsgate … "Ben 10 Omniverse: Aliens at War" (2012-13) is a two-disc set with 10 episodes from the second and third season of the Cartoon Network series, $19.97 from Warner … "Guess How Much I Love You: Hidden Treasure" (2013) features six animated episodes from the Disney Junior TV series inspired by the "Adventures of Little Nutbrown Hare" books by Sam McBratne, $12.98 from Entertainment One … "Dora the Explorer: Dora's Ice Skating Spectacular!" (2013) features three episodes: Dora and Boots skate to the rescue of the Snow Princess, Snow Fairy, and all their Snowy Forest friends!; Dora catches a runaway train; Dora races to rescue Boots with her puppy and Scooter. $14.98 from Nickelodeon/Paramount … photo for Angelina Ballerina: Twirling Tales In "Angelina Ballerina: Twirling Tales" (2013), Angelina and her friends stay on their toes in these twirling, whirling tales of friendship and fun for the little ones: "Angelina's Dance Like a Cake Day," "Angelina's Noisy, Messy Lunchtime," "Angelina and the Musical Plant," "Angelina and Her Parents' Dance Lessons" and "Angelina's Mother's Day." $14.98 from Lionsgate … In "The Fitzgerald Family Christmas" (2012), starring Kerry Bishe, Connie Britton, Edward Burns, Heather Burns, Dara Coleman and Brian d'Arcy James, the adult siblings of the Fitzgerald family prepare for their estranged father to return home for Christmas for the first time since he walked out on his family 20 years earlier. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc, from Magnolia Home Entertainment … "Care Bears: The Great Giving Holiday" (2013) is a new CGI holiday special with Great Giving Bear, Harmony and all their cuddly Bear friends. From Lionsgate … photo for Scoot & Kassie's Christmas Adventure After a young girl, Kassie, rescues a wounded former police dog, Scoot, she organizes a charity concert to raise money for less fortunate kids. When two crooks show up and plot to steal the cash, Scoot leads the way as the unlikely group of heroes work together to catch the bad guys and save Christmas in "Scoot & Kassie's Christmas Adventure" (2013), starring Luke Perry, Ariana Bagley, Taylor Negron and Anson Bagley. From Universal … In "Journey to the Christmas Star" (2012 — Norway), starring Agnes Kittelsen and Jakob Oftebro, a courageous girl sets out on a hazardous journey to find the Christmas Star in order to free her kingdom from a curse and bring back a long lost princess, against all odds and a mighty foe. $14.99 from Vertical Entertainment.

Special Interest:

Julien Temple's "Oil City Confidential" (2009) is the last film in his trilogy on British music of the 1970s, a prequel to his landmark films about punk figureheads the Sex Pistols in "The Filth & the Fury" and Joe Strummer in "The Future Is Unwritten." Rather than being standard "rockumentaries," Temple uses the music as a prism through which he examines the social and cultural conditions of the times. The films share his characteristic cinematic language — an photo for Oil City Confidential irreverent and anarchic style of montage of archive and fictive footage, which he pioneered in "The Great Rock & Roll Swindle." "Oil City Confidential" is a film noir feature length documentary about Dr Feelgood; it's the story of four men in cheap suits who crashed out of Canvey Island in the early '70s, sandpapered the face of rock 'n' roll and left all that came before a burnt-out ruin. From MVD Entertainment … "Bonnie & Clyde: The Real Story" (2013) is a compilation of two History Channel specials: "Bonnie & Clyde: The Story of Love and Death" and "Man, Moment, Machine: Hunting Bonnie and Clyde." The story of Bonnie and Clyde — and their infamous tale of love and violence — has fascinated people for nearly 80 years. This release is timed for the "Bonnie & Clyde" miniseries airing on three networks: A&E, History and Lifetime. From Lionsgate … In a quest for world domination, the Nazis built some of the biggest and deadliest pieces of military hardware and malevolent technology in history. The six-part series "Nazi Mega Weapons" (2013) recounts Germany's engagement in World War II from a unique perspective, uncovering the engineering secrets of iconic megastructures, telling the stories of the engineers who designed them and revealing how they sparked a technological revolution that changed warfare forever: "Atlantic Wall," "U-Boat Base," "V2 Rocket," "Super Tanks," "Jet Fighter Me262," and "Fortress Berlin." In a two-disc DVD set, $34.99 from PBS Distribution.

 Posted by on November 5, 2013 No Responses »
Nov 042013
 

 
Here are the titles releasing under the Sony Pictures Choice Collection manufacture-on-demand program on November 5.

Feature Films

Charley Chase Collection: Volume 2

The great comedic actor Charley Chase continued a very popular run at Columbia Pictures, making several two-reel comedies for the studio. Volume two of this collection highlights not only his slapstick comedy and hilarious sight gags, but also his singing ability in shorts such as The Grand Hooter and The Big Squirt. Chase was an immensely loved comedian, and these twelve shorts are a great addition to your collection.

 Unknown Valley (1933)

Joe Gordon (Buck Jones, Forbidden Trails) heads into the desert to meet his father for some prospecting, but discovers that his father left months earlier and hasn’t returned. Joe passes out in the desert heat, and is found by a group of villagers led by elders Crossett (Wade Boteler, The Green Hornet, 1940) and Snead (Ward Bond, It’s a Wonderful Life). After finding his father being held prisoner by the villagers, Joe must not only save his father, but a young woman (Cecilia Parker, Love Finds Andy Hardy), as well.

 Queen Bee (1955)

In a beautiful, Georgia mansion, the home’s matriarch, Eva (Joan Crawford, Grand Hotel), rules with an iron fist. Whether it‘s domineering her alcoholic husband, Avery (Barry Sullivan, The Tall Man), or preventing Carol (Betsy Palmer, Friday the 13th, 1980) from marrying Judson (John Ireland, All the King’s Men, 1949), Eva controls everyone around her. But when a cousin, Jennifer (Lucy Marlow, A Star Is Born, 1954), comes into town and develops a bond with Avery, Eva wants to take control of the situation again — leading to dark choices.

 Sail A Crooked Ship (1961)

Gilbert Barrows (Robert Wagner, TV’s “Hart to Hart”) tries to save a broken-down ship from being destroyed and hires a gang of oddball criminals to fix it, but they have other plans in mind — to rob a bank in Boston and pull off the greatest crime ever. The crew finds itself trying to dodge other ships, a hurricane and a mutiny in the process. Featuring comic legend Ernie Kovacs (North to Alaska), Carolyn Jones (TV’s “The Addams Family”), Frankie Avalon (Grease) and Frank Gorshin (TV’s “Batman”), SAIL A CROOKED SHIP is a zany, madcap comedy.

 Bambole! (AKA The Dolls, 1965)

Loosely based on episodes from Giovanni Boccaccio’s The Decameron, this Italian comedy is composed of four amusing vignettes. First, a husband (Nino Manfredi, Bread and Chocolate) is upset that his wife (Virna Lisi, Queen Margot) is always on the phone with her mother, so he searches for ways to entertain himself. Second, a student (Elke Sommer, A Shot in the Dark) bounds across Rome looking for the perfect father of her child. Third, a cheating woman (Monica Vitti, L’Avventura) tries to bump off her husband to be with her lover. Lastly, a woman (Gina Lollobrigida, Beat the Devil) tries to seduce the secretary (Jean Sorel, Belle de Jour) of a monsignor. Featuring beautiful women and lively comedy, BAMBOLE! is an entertaining romp.

 Kill Me Quick, I'm Cold (1967)

Giovanna (Monica Vitti, L’Avventura) and Franco (Jean Sorel, Belle de Jour) are lovers pretending to be brother and sister in order to con unsuspecting marks while staying in the most luxurious locales throughout Europe. In their travels, they come across the beautiful Christina (Daniela Surina, Divorce His – Divorce Hers), a girl who is being threatened by her brother, Sergio (Roberto Bisacco, Romeo and Juliet), in order to get the family fortune. But as Giovanna and Franco delve into her story, the double-crossing begins, and no one is sure who is getting tricked.

 The Horseman (1971)

In Afghanistan, the ruthless sport of buzkashi (similar to polo) is a game of great pride. When Uraz (Omar Sharif, Lawrence of Arabia) breaks his leg and loses a spirited match, he brings shame to his village, especially his father, Tursen (Jack Palance, City Slickers), a former champion. After losing his leg below the knee, Uraz, in order to regain his honor, must learn to ride again and win with a special, one-of-a-kind horse. Directed by John Frankenheimer (The Manchurian Candidate, 1962), THE HORSEMEN is an epic, gripping tale.

 

TV on DVD

Battle Dome: The Complete First Season

BATTLE DOME combines brute strength with unquestionable beauty in a competition requiring brains, brawn and athletic endurance. Average people get into the Dome to face a cadre of colorful competitors (including Terry Crews from TV’s “Everybody Hates Chris”) in a variety of exciting games to see who will hold the Battle Dome championship belt. Also featuring an assortment of gorgeous ladies (including Playboy’s Dahm Triplets), BATTLE DOME is a fast, frenetic mixture of sports and entertainment.

 The Lindbergh Kidnapping Case (1976, TV Movie)

In the story that shocked the world, THE LINDBERGH KIDNAPPING CASE is a compelling crime drama. When the baby of Anne (Sian Barbara Allen, Billy Two Hats) and legendary pilot Charles Lindbergh (Cliff De Young, Glory) is kidnapped and held for ransom, the story becomes a media sensation. Although the ransom is paid, the baby is found dead in the woods and Bruno Richard Hauptmann (Anthony Hopkins, The Silence of the Lambs) is suspected. Through courtroom testimonies and eyewitness accounts, the truth of this shocking crime is revealed.

 Breaking Up is Hard To Do (1979 – TV Movie)

Six men (Ted Bessell, TV’s “That Girl”; Jeff Conaway, Grease; Robert Conrad, TV’s “The Wild Wild West”; Billy Crystal, When Harry Met Sally…; Tony Musante, We Own the Night; and David Ogden Stiers, Beauty and the Beast), all newly single, stay at a beach house in Malibu to rediscover their young, partying ways. While the nights are meant for fun and frolic, their amazing summer causes the six men to learn about themselves and the importance of their friendships.

 Beach Patrol (1979 – TV Movie)

The sands of Southern California are protected by the BEACH PATROL, policemen who cover the coast in dune buggies. When the patrol’s newest officer, Jan (Christine De Lisle, TV’s “The A-Team”), spots a drug kingpin on her first day, she becomes a target for murder. It’s up to the patrol to track down the crime boss before Jan or her partners wind up dead. Also featuring Robin Strand (TV’s “Generations”) and Jonathan Frakes (TV’s “Star Trek: The Next Generation”), BEACH PATROL is a wild, fast-paced crime story.

 Salvage 1: Golden Orbit (1979 – TV Movie)

Harry Broderick (Andy Griffith, TV’s “The Andy Griffith Show”) is not like any junk dealer you’ve met. Harry has dreams, and one of them is to go to space, reclaim all of the useless satellites and salvage them. He builds his own spaceship, The Vulture, out of junk and brings on former astronaut Skip Carmichael (Joel Higgins, TV’s “Silver Spoons”) and fuel expert Melanie Slozar (Trish Stewart, TV’s “The Young and the Restless”). Together the team goes into space to get a dead communications satellite, but the government wants them stopped, as there is secret information on it.

 Once Upon A Spy (1980 – TV Movie)

When NASA’s mega-computer is stolen, the government calls on Jack Chenault (Ted Danson, TV’s “Damages”), a wisecracking computer expert, to help track it down. Partnered with Paige Tannehill (Mary Louise Weller, Animal House), the two find out that Marcus Valorium (Christopher Lee, The Lord of the Rings series), a mysterious and powerful millionaire, is in control of the computer and plans to use it to take over the world.  It is up to Jack and Paige to take down Valorium and save the day.

 Posted by on November 4, 2013 No Responses »
Oct 302013
 

 
Far From Vietnam (1967) Initiated and edited by Chris Marker, this is an epic 1967 collaboration between cinema greats Jean-Luc Godard, Joris Ivens, William Klein, Claude Lelouch and Alain Resnais in protest of American military involvement in Vietnam. The film brings together an array of contributions, none individually credited, under a unified editorial vision. The elements span documentary footage shot in North and South Vietnam and at anti-war demonstrations in the United States; a fictional vignette and a monologue that dramatize the self-interrogation of European intellectuals; interviews with Fidel Castro and Anne Morrison, widow of Norman Morrison, the Quaker pacifist who burned himself alive on the steps of the White House in 1965; reflections from French journalist Michele Ray; and a range of repurposed media material. Passionately critical and self-critical, it's a milestone in political documentary and in world cinema. Formats: DVD, VOD. Extras: "The Sixth Side of the Pentagon" (Chris Marker & Francois Reichenbach, 1967), original theatrical trailer.  $29.98 from Icarus Films.

 

 Posted by on October 30, 2013 No Responses »