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


Apr 022014

Here's the April titles for Sony's manufacture-on-demand program:

Feature Films

Too Tough To Kill (1935)too-tough
John O’Hara (Victor Jory, "Papillon") is a tough-talking, hard-fisted man brought in to make sure the construction of a tunnel is completed before his company loses a valuable contract. But a conniving rival company is trying to ruin the project, and only John and smooth journalist Ann Miller (Sally O’Neil, "The Brat") can stop the rivals from destroying the tunnel ­ and risking lives in the process.

Devil's Playground (1937)
Two submarine officers, Dorgan (Richard Dix, "Cimarron") and Mason (Chester Morris, "Alibi"), find their friendship strained when they both fall for a dance girl, Carmen (Dolores del Rio, "Flying Down to Rio"). Dorgan marries Carmen, but while Dorgan is on duty, Carmen seduces Mason. Dorgan and Mason become romantic rivals but Dorgan must forget his anger when Mason’s sub goes down and only Dorgan can save him.

Lightning Guns (1950)
The Durango Kid (Charles Starrett, "Blazing Across the Pecos") and Smiley (Smiley Burnette, TV’s "Petticoat Junction") are back for an all-new, exciting adventure! Two ranchers find themselves in the middle of a row over the building of a dam in Piute Valley, and when murder is involved, the sheriff’s father is accused of the crime. The Durango Kid investigates the murders and realizes that there is more to the story than originally believed.

Bait (1954)
A tale of deception and seduction, this film directed by and starring Hugo Haas ("Paradise Alley") features three people searching for a lost gold mine – the dangerous Marko (Haas), young miner Ray (John Agar, "Sands of Iwo Jima") and the comely Peggy (Cleo Moore, "One Girl’s Confession"). As Marko and Ray search for the mine, Peggy arrives, stirring Ray’s passion and igniting Marko’s suspicion. As months pass, the three find themselves closing in on the mine, but the tension between them is rising. In the end, the three find themselves involved with a lot of gold and a game of dangerous deceit.

Thunder at the Border (1966)
Winnetou (Pierre Brice, "Apache Gold"), Chief of the Apaches, must deal with the vicious Silers (Harald Leipnitz, "Creature With the Blue Hand") after his gang murders four of Winnetou’s men and nearly kills Winnetou’s sister, Nscho-tschi (Marie Versini, "Yellow Devil"). With the aid of Old Firehand (Rod Cameron, "Wake Island"), Winnetou agrees to defend a small town from Silers and his gang, who vow to burn the town down in order to free his jailed brother. Also featuring Todd Armstrong ("Jason and the Argonauts").

Confessions of a Window Cleaner (1974)
Timothy Lea (Robin Askwith, "Computer Killers") finds himself in many sexy and hilarious situations working for his brother-in-law’s window cleaning operation. Timothy quickly learns that his female customers expect more than a squeegee, but he realizes that he’s really in love with Elizabeth (Linda Hayden, "The Blood on Satan’s Claw"), a police officer he meets on duty.

Confessions of a Driving Instructor (1976)
Timothy Lea (Robin Askwith, "Confessions of a Window Cleaner") is back again in a new profession, this time working as a driving instructor for his brother-in-law, Sidney (Anthony Booth, TV’s "Till Death Us Do Part"). Timothy has an array of comely clients interested in more than going for a spin, but he will have to use all of his wits to help his agency compete against a rival driving school.
The Eyes of Laura Mars (1978)
Faye Dunaway ("Chinatown") plays fashion photographer Laura Mars, whose photographs bear a striking and unsettling similarity to actual crime scenes. Her work catches the attention of Detective John Neville (Tommy Lee Jones, "Men in Black"), who is suspicious of Mars’ “inspiration.” When models and acquaintances of Laura are murdered, the question of her involvement becomes more serious and disturbing. The screenplay is by horror film mastermind John Carpenter (Halloween, 1978), with a concept creepy enough to rival the plots of better-known suspense films of the era.

Alamo Bay (1985)
From acclaimed director Louis Malle comes this powerful drama based on true conflicts erupting along the Texas Gulf Coast between local fishermen and Vietnamese refugees. Ed Harris ("A Beautiful Mind") stars as Shang, a shrimper and a veteran of the Vietnam War who, like many of his friends, feels bitter resentment towards the refugees who have settled in the Gulf’s port towns. Shang's mistress, Glory (Amy Madigan, "Field of Dreams"), is a courageous woman who must choose between the rights of those who have fled a warring land and her love for Shang. Complex emotional issues arise when the locals, who had helped defend the Vietnamese during the war, now compete with the refugees for a livelihood. Dinh (Ho Nguyen, TV’s "Final Verdict") is one of these refugees who refuses to leave the area, even withstanding violent harassment from the locals. Both sides are determined in their fight for a share of the American Dream in this compelling and controversial film.


The Client List (2012): The Complete Second Season
The popular and controversial series returns for a second season. Riley Parks (Jennifer Love Hewitt, TV’s "Party of Five") continues to work at The Rub, a massage parlor that offers additional, illegal services to its clientele. Raising her kids as a single mother, Season Two brings the return of her ex-husband, Kyle (Brian Hallisay, "Hostel: Part III"), who has been thrown in jail. Riley tries to help Kyle, causing friction in her relationship with Kyle’s brother Evan (Colin Egglesfield, "Something Borrowed"), who also has feelings for Riley. Also starring Loretta Devine ("Waiting to Exhale") and Cybill Shepherd (TV’s "Moonlighting").

 Posted by on April 2, 2014 No Responses »
Apr 022014


Only the Good …

THE CLASS (2006-07) Comedy kings David Crane ("Friends") & Jeffrey Klarik ("Mad About You") bring you the tale of an overeager romantic (Jason Ritter) who hosts the ultimate surprise party for his fiancée: a reunion of their third-grade classmates to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the day they met. Unfortunately, things do not go as planned as we are plunged into the dark comic world of this ahead-of-its-time sitcom serial that plays like the mutant spawn of "Friends" and "Melrose Place." Extra-marital affairs, suicidal tendencies, friendship and other lies all provide ample fodder. Classmates of note include "The Walking Dead's" Jon Bernthal, "Modern Family's" Jesse Tyler Ferguson, "Mr. Sunshine's" Andrea Anders, "Once Upon a Time's" Sean Maguire and "Party Down's" Lizzy Caplan. Notable guest stints from David Keith, Sara Gilbert, and Sam Harris. Directed by James Burrows ("Frasier". 19-Episode, 2-Disc Collection.


THE LAST OF MRS. CHEYNEY (1929) This first film adaptation of the stage play – and Norma Shearer's second sound film – embodies the same froth and frill as the later Joan Crawford/William Powell version while providing a fascinating glimpse at how the story must have played on-stage. Shearer plays the eponymous Mrs. Cheyney, an Australian arriviste to the socialite circle who employs a valet of most particular resources (George Barraud) who is more than what she seems. Basil Rathbone plays Lord Dilling, the aristocrat who gets a lesson in morals from the criminal class.

HER CARDBOARD LOVER (1942) George Sanders plays the romantic rogue that Norma Shearer's socialite can't say no to, driving her to the desperation play of hiring Robert Taylor's muse-blocked songsmith to play her faux amour. Unfortunately for the socialite, this is one song and dance man that isn't playing around. Norma Shearer's cinema swan-song finds her in fine form ably supported by the dashing pair of Taylor and Sanders. Sanders depiction of romantic conceit flummoxed is a particular delight. Co-starring Frank McHugh and keep your eyes out for western mainstay Chill Wills in a judicial turn. Directed by George Cukor.


FIRST COUSIN ONCE REMOVED (2012) A distinguished poet, translator, critic and teacher, Edwin Honig wrote dozens of books and poems that attracted critical praise around the world. His seminal translations awakened English-speaking readers to previously overlooked literary giants, resulting in honorary knighthoods from the king of Spain and the President of Portugal. Shot over the course of five years, acclaimed documentary filmmaker Alan Berliner paints a deeply personal portrait of his "good friend, cousin and mentor" Honig as he journeys through the ravages of Alzheimer's disease and memory loss. The film reflects Honig's life steeped in tragedy, love, loss, irony and literary daring with the same raw honesty that resonates in his poetry.

LIFE ACCORDING TO SAM (2014) This official selection in the U.S. Documentary Competition at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival explores the remarkable world of Sam Berns and the relentless pursuit of a treatment and cure by his parents (both doctors) to save him from the fatal and extremely rare progressive aging disorder, progeria. Directed by Sean and Andrea Fine, this incredibly moving film chronicles three years of the family's inspiring efforts which lead to the first clinical drug trials and the discovery that progeria is linked to the human aging process. As Sam's resilient parents race against the clock (average life expectancy: 13 years), he embraces his circumstances with admirable courage. He becomes empowered to enjoy his childhood while his parents seek to make the most of their time together.

 Posted by on April 2, 2014 No Responses »
Mar 312014

photo for The legend of the 47 Ronin, a real-life group of master-less samurai in 18th-century Japan who avenged the murder of their master, has been the backbone of stories and plays for a couple centuries now, so it's a shame that the story had to be tarnished by this uninspired special-effects yarn starring Keanu Reeves, Hiroyuki Sanada, Kou Shibasaki, Tadanobu Asano and Rinko Kikuchi. In this outing, Reeves plays Kai, a half-Japanese, half-British outcast, raised in the forest by mystical Tengu warriors, who is taken in by a benevolent master to become a samurai, only to be sold into slavery when the master is treacherously murdered by a rival warlord. Kai is freed from slavery by one of the ronin, and helps lead the 47 ronin into battle with the evil warlord, but not before fighting a never-ending supply of weird creatures, mystical warriors, and a bewitchingly beautiful witch. Unfortunately, Reeves is just not up to the chore of being an action star, and despite the support of a talented cast, the movie stumbles and falls before the sword of dull action, cardboard characters, and leaden pacing. It's been done better before.Extras: "Re-Forging the Legend":­ The story of 47 Ronin is one of Japan's most time-honored legends; filmmakers talk about how they brought this "dream world" to the big screen, from script to costumes, visual design, and culture; deleted scenes. Blu-ray adds "Keanu & Kai" martial arts featurette; "Steel Fury: The Fights of 47 Ronin" action sequence choreography featurette; "Myths, Magic & Monsters: The Fx of 47 Ronin" featurette. Vitals: Director: Carl Rinsch. Stars: Keanu Reeves, Hiroyuki Sanada, Kou Shibasaki, Tadanobu Asano, Rinko Kikuchi. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 118 min., Action-Adventure, Box office gross: $38.297 million, Universal. 2 stars

 Posted by on March 31, 2014 No Responses »
Mar 312014

From the Big Screen:

"Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues" and "47 Ronin." For more information on these and other releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.

DVD Collectibles:

"The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts: Fully Roasted" is a six-disc set with 17 complete and unedited Celebrity Roasts representing the best of the nine years (beginning in 1974) of the "The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts," featuring a who's who roster of roastees, including Betty White, (then) Gov. Ronald Reagan, Bette Davis, Muhammad Ali, photo for The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts: Fully Roasted George Burns, Angie Dickinson, Telly Savalas, Dan Rowan & Dick Martin, Sen. Barry Goldwater, Suzanne Somers, George Washington (portrayed by Jan Leighton), Dennis Weaver, Ralph Nader, Gabe Kaplan, Redd Foxx, Hugh Hefner and Zsa Zsa Gabor. The list of roasters include Milton Berle, Red Buttons, Phyllis Diller, Bonnie Franklin, Rich Little, Abe Vigoda, Jimmie Walker, Orson Welles, Jack Benny, Dom DeLuise, Henry Fonda, Ruth Buzzi, Wilt Chamberlain, Howard Cosell, Billy Crystal, Gene Kelly, LaWanda Page, Jackie Mason, Jimmy Stewart, Shelley Winters, Bob Newhart, Carroll O'Connor, Jack Klugman, Johnny Bench, and many, many others. There's also bonus comedy sketches featuring Martin, Howard Cosell, Vincent Price, Steve Lawrence, Audrey Meadows, Buddy Hackett and others; three featurettes: "Ladies of the Dais," "Roast in Hell – Politicians Under Fire," "Beauty & the Beast: Ruth Buzzi vs. Muhammad Ali"; interviews with Phyllis Diller, Shirley Jones, Tony Danze, Carol Burnett, Ruth Buzzi, Angie Dickinson, Jimmie Walker. On DVD, $59.95 from StarVista/Time Life.

This week's Blu-ray debuts: "Fargo Remastered Edition" (1996), "Joe Kidd" (1972), "King Kong Escapes" (1968), "King Kong vs. Godzilla" (1963), "No Holds Barred" (1989), "Norma Rae" (1979), "Once" (2006), "Rooster Cogburn" (1975), "Two Mules for Sister Sara" (1970) and "The War Wagon" (1967). Read more.

From TV to DVD:

photo for Broadchurch: The Complete First Season"Broadchurch: The Complete First Season" (2013) is a three-disc set with eight episodes of BBC America's hot new series about two deliciously dueling detectives (Olivia Colman and David Tennant) who are brought together by circumstances to solve the murder of an 11-year-old boy found on a popular beach just before the onslaught of tourist season. From Entertainment One … "The Dick Van Dyke Show: Classic Mary Tyler Moore Episodes" (1961-66) is a three-disc set with 20 classic episodes revolving around Laura Petrie (Moore). $24.98. from Image Entertainment … "Psych: The Complete Eighth Season" (2014) is a three-disc set with nine episodes, $59.98 from Universal.

Buzzin' the 'B's:

"The Bag Man" (2014), starring Robert De Niro, John Cusack, Dominic Purcell, Crispin Glover, Sticky Fingaz and Rebecca Da Costa has all the right elements — a great cast, a line-up of weird and off-the-wall characters, and a Quentin Tarantino-like plot — but just doesn't click. Jack (Cusack), a low-rent thug, thinks he's hit the jackpot when legendary crime boss Dragna (De Niro) gives him a simple assignment: pick up a package and deliver it — don't open photo for The Bag Man it, and don't ask questions. But over the course of a long and increasingly violent night waiting in a seedy motel, the bag attracts the attention of a slew of shady characters — including femme fatale Rivka (Da Costa), the sleazy motel manager, a one-eyed gangster, an undersized hit man and a crooked cop. The result — a lot of bloodshed and inane conversation, false endings and improbable circumstances. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc, from Universal … In "Knights of Badassdom" (2013), three best friends and dedicated LARPers (Live Action Role Players) take to the woods to reenact a dungeons and dragons-like scenario fresh out of the Middle Ages, but trouble arises after they unwittingly conjure up some serious evil in the form of a blood-lusting Succubus from the pits of hell. For geeks only. Stars Peter Dinklage, Summer Glau, Steve Zahn, Jimmi Simpson, Tom Hopper, Margarita Levieva, Ryan Kwanten. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Entertainment One … Two parents fall in love over the course of a single day while playing hooky from their children's college tour in "At Middleton" (2013), starring Andy Garcia, photo for Knights of BadassdomVera Farmiga, Taissa Farmiga, Spencer Lofranco, Peter Riegert and Tom Skerritt. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Anchor Bay … Two strangers, a warrior held captive and a man whose family was murdered, set out on their individual quest for revenge. As they cross paths, they soon discover that their revenge lies with the same man and, joining forces, it will take more than an army to keep them from unleashing the ultimate retribution in "Warrior Assassin" (2011 — China), starring Pan Yuanjia, Ji Chunhua and Bryan Leung. From Lionsgate … On an unsanctioned mission in Africa, a covert team of U.S. Navy SEALs is sent to locate a secret mining operation and prevent the sale of weapons-grade uranium to international terrorists in "Seal Team 8: Behind Enemy Lines" (2014), the fourth installment of the popular film franchise. Stars Tom Sizemore, Langley Kirkwood, Tanya van Graan and Lex Shrapnel. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Fox.


A family in the 1980s with five kids gets into a crisis during their summer vacation when the twin brothers fall in love with the same girl in "Lost Islands" (2008 — Israel), starring Oshri Cohen, Michael Moshonov, Shmil Ben Ari and Orly Silbersa. The autobiographical comedy-drama was the biggest box office success in Israel in 2008. From First Run Features.

For the Family:

Walt Disney's Peter Pan franchise has become quite a little moneymaker for the studio in recent years. In addition to the animated TV series spin-off, "Jake and the Never Land Pirates," which has spawned a half-dozen DVD releases, the company has sent out Tinker Bell on her own for a series of delicately animated features including "Tinker Bell" (2008), "Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure" (2009), "Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue" (2010) and "Secret of the Wings" (2012). Now Disney has released "The Pirate Fairy" (2014), a swashbuckling musical adventure (with fine animation, plenty of innocuous action, and "cool sisterhood forever" themes) that parents can watch with their kids and not be too terribly bored (after the 12th viewing). Zarina (voice of Christina Hendricks), a smart and ambitious dust-keeper fairy photo for The Pirate Fairy who's captivated by Blue Pixie Dust and its endless possibilities, gets into trouble, flees Pixie Hollow, joins forces with the scheming pirates of Skull Rock, and must be saved by Tinker Bell (voice of Mae Whitman) and her friends. On DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo from Disney … Another old franchise gets some new life in "The Little Rascals Save the Day" (2014), starring Doris Roberts, Greg Germann, Lex Medlin, Valerie Azlynn, Jet Jurgensmeyer, Drew Justice, Connor Berry, Jenna Ortega, Isaiah "Zay Zay" Fredericks, Camden Gray, Eden Wood, Grant Palmer, Chase Vacnin and Rio Mangini. A bunch of third graders hatch a series of madcap schemes to earn enough money to keep Grandma's bakery out of the clutches of conniving businessman Big Ray. From caddying to pet care to taxi service, each of their plans goes hilariously awry until they are left with just two options: find a way to win the local talent show or wave goodbye to the best cupcakes a kid ever tasted. On Blu-ray/DVD Combo from Universal … Let's merchandise: "Hot Wheels Battle Force 5: Fused Season 2, Volumes 1 and 2" (2009) consists of the complete second season of the CGI-animated series that follows a group of heroic drivers who use their incredible, high-flying cars to fight evil forces that threaten the planet. Five episodes photo for The Little Rascals Save the Day each, $14.95 each DVD, from Cinedigm … "Birds of Paradise" (2014), with the voices of Drake Bell, Ashley Tisdale, Ken Jeong, Jane Lynch, Jon Lovitz and Keith David, is a colorful adventure about Jack, an ordinary sparrow with dreams of becoming an extraordinary bird, who's accidentally covered in colorful paint; he's thrilled about his new exotic appearance and believes that he'll now be able to impress Aurora, a beautiful canary who has recently escaped from her indoor cage. But when Aurora's mean owner, Mr. Potter, finds her, Jack must enlist the help of his best friends — Vinnie, the loyal pigeon and Skeeter, the hyper hummingbird as well as Rosie, the caring bat and the wise Old Buzzard, in order to free her. On DVD from Lionsgate … "War of the Worlds Goliath" (2012) is an animated sci-adventure that takes place on the cusp of WWI 15 years after the Martians attacked the world (as portrayed in H.G. Wells' book) when, armed with a new weapon based on technology gleaned from the Martians, a multinational force uses steam-powered Goliath Tripods to fend off a second interplanetary invasion. Voices Adrian Paul, Adam Baldwin, Peter Wingfield, Mark Sheppard, Elizabeth Gracen, Jim Byrnes, Beau Billingslea, Matt Lescher, James Arnold Taylor. On DVD, 3D Blu-ray/Blu-ray Combo from Anderson Digital.

Special Interest:

"When Jews Were Funny" (2013) is an insightful survey of the history of Jewish comedy, from the early days of the Borsht belt to the present, ultimately exploring not just ethnicity in the entertainment industry, but also the entire unruly question of what it means to be Jewish. Features Shecky Green, Howie Mandel, Shelley Berman, Gilbert Gottfried, David Steinberg, David Brenner, Marc Maron and many others. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc, Blu-ray/DVD Combo from First Run Features … "American Experience: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" (2014) tells photo for When Jews Were Funny the true story of two of the Wild West's most notorious outlaws. Long before they were immortalized on screen by Paul Newman and Robert Redford, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid captivated Americans from coast to coast. In the 1890s, their thrilling exploits — robbing Western banks and trains and then seemingly vanishing into thin air — became front-page news and the basis of rumor and myth. But who were Robert Leroy Parker and Harry Alonzo Longabaugh? What really happened after they formed the Wild Bunch gang? And how did they manage to pull off some of the most spectacular holdups in Western history while eluding the Pinkertons, the nation's largest and most feared private detective force? On DVD from PBS Distribution … "An Unreal Dream: The Michael Morton Story" (2013): In 1986 Michael Morton's wife Christine was brutally murdered in front of their only child, and Michael was convicted of the crime. Locked away in Texas prisons for a quarter century, estranged from his son, he had years to ponder questions of justice and innocence, truth and fate. Though he is virtually invisible to society, the Innocence Project and Michael's pro bono attorney spent years fighting for the right to test DNA evidence found at the murder scene. Their discoveries ultimately revealed that the price of a wrongful conviction goes well beyond one man's loss of freedom. On DVD from First Run Features.


 Posted by on March 31, 2014 No Responses »
Mar 312014

photo for Based on the true story of an unlikely World War II platoon tasked by FDR to go into Germany to rescue artistic masterpieces from the Nazis and return them to their rightful owners. It was an impossible mission: With the art trapped behind enemy lines, and with the German army under orders to destroy everything as the Reich fell, how could these guys — seven museum directors, curators, and art historians, all more familiar with Michelangelo than the M-1 — possibly hope to succeed? But as the Monuments Men, as they were called, found themselves in a race against time to avoid the destruction of 1,000 years of culture, they would risk their lives to protect and defend mankind's greatest achievements. Extras: TBA. Vitals: Director: George Clooney. Stars: George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban, Hugh Bonneville, John Goodman. 2014, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 118 min., Drama, Box office gross: $73.881 million, Sony.

 Posted by on March 31, 2014 No Responses »
Mar 312014

photo for 3 Days to Kill A dying CIA agent is determined to give up his high stakes life in the time he has left to finally build a closer relationship with his estranged wife and daughter, whom he's previously kept at arm's length to keep out of danger. While tentatively reconnecting with his family, he's offered an experimental drug that could save his life in exchange for one last mission — but it means juggling the two toughest assignments yet: Hunting down the world's most ruthless terrorist and looking after his teenage daughter for the first time in 10 years while his wife is out of town. Extras: TBA. Vitals: Director: McG. Stars: Kevin Costner, Hailee Steinfeld, Amber Heard, Connie Nielsen, Tomas Lemarquis, Richard Sammel. 2014, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 117 min., Thriller, Box office gross: $28.462 million, Relativity.

 Posted by on March 31, 2014 No Responses »
Mar 282014

adventure-space-timeBBC Home Entertainment has announced the release of the feature drama "An Adventure in Space and Time," available in a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack on May 27, 2014. Travel back in time over 50 years to witness the creation of an icon – the birth of Doctor Who at the BBC – with this film from award-winning writer and executive producer Mark Gatiss ("Sherlock," "Doctor Who") and director Terry McDonough ("Breaking Bad").

What do you get when you mix C.S. Lewis with H.G. Wells, and sprinkle in a bit of Father Christmas? An alien Time Lord exploring space and time in a Police Box spaceship called the "TARDIS" (Time And Relative Dimension in Space). On November 23, 1963, a television legend began when the very first episode of Doctor Who was broadcast on BBC One. Actor William Hartnell (David Bradley, the Harry Potter films, "Game of Thrones") felt typecast by a succession of tough-guy roles. Wannabe producer Verity Lambert (Jessica Raine, "Call the Midwife") was frustrated by the TV industry's glass ceiling for women. Both of them were to find unlikely hope and unexpected challenges in the form of a Saturday afternoon drama filled with time travel and monsters. Allied with a brilliant creative team, including novice director Waris Hussein and Head of Drama for the BBC Sydney Newman (Brian Cox, "The Bourne Identity," "X2: X-Men United"), they went on to introduce the world to the longest running science fiction series ever. But all good things come to an end. How will Hartnell face leaving behind the part that has made him a hero to millions of children? And can the show survive without him?

Extras: The very first Doctor Who adventure, "An Unearthly Child," on a bonus disc with its own bonus content (including "The Pitch of Fear," a sketch starring Mark Gatiss and David Walliams that takes a comedic look at the creation of Doctor Who); "The Making of the Adventure" behind-the-scenes featurette hosted by Carole Ann Ford, the actress who played the First Doctor's companion; deleted scenes; reconstructions; "William Hartnell: The Original" featurette.

 Posted by on March 28, 2014 2 Responses »
Mar 282014

Looks like Olive Films is making a concerted effort to raise its profile in the home entertainment marketplace: The Chicago-based company — which boasts more than 500 titles cultivated from the libraries of Paramount, Republic, Warner and HBO — has created a monthly newsletter, written by SPPR, Inc. on behalf of Olive Films, highlighting its DVD and Blu-ray releases. The first "Olive Branch" newsletter outlines Olive Films' April 2014 release schedule, which span 1930s Golden Age of Animation to 1940's Film Noir to 1950's Cold War Sci-Fi to 1960's Social Commentary.  Check back here  on a regular basis for the latest Olive release information.

Titles include:

April 8: The Bamboo Saucer
April 8: Bang! Bang! You’re Dead!
April 8: Cry Danger
April 8: Young at Heart
April 15: Men in War
April 15: Sleep My Love
April 22: The Pawnbroker
April 22: Stranger on the Prowl
April 29: Betty Boop: The Essential Collection Volume 3
April 29: Up the Junction

Olive Branch April 2014_01Olive Branch April 2014_02Olive Branch April 2014_03Olive Branch April 2014_04Olive Branch April 2014_05Olive Branch April 2014_06Olive Branch April 2014_07Olive Branch April 2014_08

 Posted by on March 28, 2014 1 Response »
Mar 272014


Performance Rox the Blu-ray Disc

 PERFORMANCE (1970) Donald Cammell and Nicolas Roeg's genre-and-reality blending slice of surreal cinema remains as startling and surprising now as it did nearly 45 years ago. When a local legbreaker (James Fox) takes it on the lam in London after being a poor cog in the criminal-corporate enterprise machine, he ends down the rabbit-hole, hiding out in the Bohemian boarding house run by ex-rock superstar Turner (Mick Jagger). While Turner and his gal pal share the affections of a mysterious French androgyne, they suck rough boy Chas into their world – a world where "everything is permitted." Now available in a striking High Definition Blu-ray Disc edition, the hidden glories, mystery, grime and grit of "Performance" have never been more apparent. Nor has the arresting soundtrack popped so clear.

Quintuple Dix

PUBLIC DEFENDER (1931) Millionaire playboy Pike Winslow (Richard Dix) has a secret – a secret identity that is! Eight years before Bruce Wayne would don the cowl, two years before Doc Savage would crush crime alongside Ham and Monk, and just as Lamont Cranston walked in the doors of the Cobalt Club, the Reckoner (aka ex-military intelligence officer and idle man-about-town, Pike Winslow) battled the banksters behind the looting of Depression-era America. Aided by his amazing two assistants, the ratiocinating Professor (Boris Karloff) and the acrobatic mug Doc (Paul Hurst), the Reckoner deployed split-second timing and careful planning in his quest to bring vengeance on the guilty. But with the girl he loves lying at the center of the case, the Reckoner's timing may just be fatally off… Based on George Goodchild's "The Splendid Crime."

HIS GREATEST GAMBLE (1933) Richard Dix plays a professional gambler and bon vivant who lives the high life on the down low thanks to snatching his daughter from her mother with the best of intentions. When the gambler plays a losing hand landing a life-stretch in jail, its back to momma for beloved Alice (Edith Fellows/Dorothy Wilson). While the gambler Eden serves his time, Alice has her soul crushed thanks to her controlling mother. And so Eden makes a break – not for vengeance, but for love. Also stars Bruce Cabot.

ACE OF ACES (1933) This intriguing take on the WWI flying ace genre sees Dix playing an avowed pacifist who gets the four feathers treatment from his gal (Elizabeth Allen) so he signs up for a stint in the wild blue. By the time the frill has wised up to the horrors of war, thanks to a stint as a volunteer nurse, the pacifist has become a bloodthirsty killer of the sky devoted only to personal glory. Aeronautical bard John Monk Saunders (Wings, The Dawn Patrol) pens the script, while Merian Cooper (King Kong) executive produces. Ralph Bellamy co-stars.

RENO (1939) Reno is the history of the biggest little city in America, as lived by the lawyer that put it on the easy divorce map. Bill Shayne started out on the up and up, defending the little guy against the mining corporations, but when the veins ran out, Shayne slides into casino shyster Bill Shears, every wannabe divorcee's favorite fellow. Gail Patrick (Women in Bondage) gives a gun blazing star turn as Shayne's favorite girl. Also stars Anita Louise, directed by John Farrow.

MEN AGAINST THE SKY (1940) Melancholy and adventure intertwine in this tale of an alcoholic aviator barred from the air. Phil Mercedes (Dix) lost his reputation and his license, but not the love of his younger sister (Wendy Barrie). When Kay falls for her aeronautical engineer boss (Kent Taylor) at the experimental airplane factory, Phil finds he still has something to contribute to the sky.

Totally Tubular TV

SEARCH FOR THE GODS (1976) Kurt Russell and Stephen McHattie ("Watchmen") star in this pilot that blends the best of '70s popular non-fiction paperback fodder into an adventurous and intriguing mix that presages the '80s neo-pulp revival. McHattie play Vietnam vet and Cantabridgian scion Willie Longfellow, currently on walkabout across the American Southwest questing for a Yaqui way of knowledge. Before you can shout "von Daniken!" into a credulous crowd of reincarnated Atlanteans, Willie finds a shaman, a fragment of an otherworldly medallion, an unscrupulous international art collector and a beer-swilling cynical soldier of mis-fortune Shan Mullins (Russell). Russell's performance carries the seed of Big Trouble in Little China's Jack Burton, albeit buried in Kurt's then still-boyish Disney veneer.

DEATH AMONG FRIENDS (1975) Canadian stage queen Kate Reid stars as lady detective "Mrs. R," whose hausfrau demeanor hides an incisive and perceptive mind. Mrs. R and her aide-de-camp Officer Manny Reyes (A
Martinez) gets dispatched to the home of rogue international financier Ham Russell Buckner (Martin Balsam) after the how-did-they-do-it murder of one of Buckner's business partners. There's no shortage of folk that wish the financier foul across the globe thanks to his methods of acquiring money, but unfortunately for Mrs. R, the only folk to be found at Buckner's manse are the last who would wish the sugar daddy dead. Also stars John Anderson, Jack Cassidy, Lynda Day George and Paul Heinreid in one of his last appearances.

THE CHILDREN NOBODY WANTED (1981) A very young Michelle Pfeifer and Fred Lehne star in this TV biopic about Tom Butterfield who, at age 19 in 1959, became the youngest foster parent in Missouri. While a college freshman, Tom volunteers at an adult mental asylum and encounters the then-curious practice of dumping abandoned children in any institution. Taking a young boy out of the dangerous asylum and into his care, Tom stumbles into his life's work and ends up as a catalyst for sweeping changes to child care laws across the nation. Michelle Pfeiffer plays the POV college sweetie who gets swept up Tom's creation of the Butterfield Ranch for Children.

CHILDREN OF THE NIGHT (1985) Kathleen Quinlan ("Lifeguard") stars in this based-on-fact drama about Lois Lee, who started working with teen prostitutes as a sociology student, and eventually founded the non-profit "Children of the Night," dedicated to rescuing children. Unflinching in its portrayal of the brutality inflicted upon the teens, this TV movie is remarkably frank for its time. Features Pat Benatar's "Hell is for Children" as its apropos theme.

 Posted by on March 27, 2014 No Responses »
Mar 262014

From Warner Home Video:

harry-potterThe Harry Potter Wizard’s Collection, released in 2012, sold more than 30,000 sets at $499.99 SRP and is now completely sold out. To continue offering fans access to the most successful film franchise in history, a new collection will be available April 29 — the Harry Potter  Hogwarts Collection. The collectible box set is sure to please fans who want the world of Harry Potter  conveniently available in one place. Included in this set are all eight Harry Potter  films, plus a whopping 45+ hours of previously released bonus material that contains the complete eight-part documentary series, ”Creating the World of Harry Potter.”

The Harry Potter Hogwarts Collection will be offered at the new lower price of $249.99 SRP.

Films Included in this Collection – All on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD with UltraViolet:
• Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Theatrical Version on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD with UltraViolet and Extended Cut on Blu-ray
• Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Theatrical Version on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD with UltraViolet and Extended Cut on Blu-ray
• Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD with UltraViolet
• Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD with UltraViolet
• Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD with UltraViolet
• Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD with UltraViolet
• Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows  – Part 1 2D on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD with UltraViolet and 3D Version on Blu-ray
• Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows  – Part 2 2D on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD with UltraViolet and 3D Versions on Blu-ray

Special Features – everything previously released including the eight-part documentary “Creating the World of Harry Potter” on Blu-ray:

· Creating the World of Harry Potter – Part 1: The Magic Begins
The magic begins. The choices, the breakthroughs, the early decisions that impacted all the films are explored here via rare footage, cast and crew reminiscences and more. Learn about the extensive search by producer David Heyman and director Chris Columbus for the perfect actors to portray Harry, Ron and Hermione and see the earliest meeting of Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson.

Be on the scene as imagination and know-how combine to create a look that's distinctly wizardly. From details tiny (what about Hermione's buckteeth?) to huge (Quidditch, anyone?), this is the fun and fascinating opening of a whole new portal into Harry's world. Begin the magic.

· Creating the World of Harry Potter – Part 2: Characters
"We really do look at the story and characters first," producer David Heyman says. "That's the heart and that's the soul of the film." And that's the heart and soul of this incisive, decade-spanning exploration of how the series' actors bring the beloved Harry Potter characters to life. Discover which parts of the J.K. Rowling books helped Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson and more stars make their roles leap from page to screen.

See screen tests, including Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood) and Jessie Cave (Lavender Brown) working with the established stars. Learn why so many of Britain's acting greats wanted to be part of Harry Potter's world…and which ones became mentors to the young stars. Share each director's vision as you watch Daniel, Rupert and Emma grow up with Harry, Ron and Hermione. Your journey into Harry's world continues.

· Creating the World of Harry Potter – Part 3: Creatures
Soar on the back of Buckbeak. Battle a Hungarian Horntail. Trace Voldemort's terrifying transformation from grotesque infant-like creature to Dark Lord. Fascinating footage lets you experience the Harry Potter world of creatures through new eyes with this revealing look at a new group of wizards: the artists who create the monsters and marvels. Roam the Harry Potter Creature Effects workshop, where actors with a little FX magic are turned into beasts and sketches turn into animatronic wonders. Join Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson as they share stories about acting opposite everything from tiny computer-generated pixies to a four-ton mechanical spider (guess which young star is really afraid of spiders). New discoveries and new revelations all make your journeys into Harry's world even more thrilling!

· Creating the World of Harry Potter – Part 4: Sound & Music
Can you imagine the Yule Ball without the Potter Waltz? Quidditch without the whoooosh of flying? Or any Harry Potter film without the iconic Hedwig's Theme? Now, absorbing interviews and behind-the-scenes glimpses let you share the vision of composers, sound experts and others who make the Harry Potter films enchantment for the ears as well as the eyes. Experience sound and music that magnify triumph and fear, joy and suspense while transporting viewers on an emotional journey alongside the on-screen characters. Learn how specially created musical motifs identify individual characters and places. Watch as Foley artists use unusual techniques to replicate everyday sounds. Discover a whole new way to look at – and listen to – Harry's world.

· Creating the World of Harry Potter – Part 5: Evolution
Deeper. Bolder. Darker. As the eight Harry Potter films trace Harry's journey from innocent schoolboy to selfless hero, the series undergoes a transformation. Evolution – packed with exclusive content – takes you along for every exciting step of the 10-year filmmaking odyssey. Join the four directors and key members of the crew and cast, including Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson, as they explore how the creative vision for the films evolved to maintain the integrity and increasing intensity of J.K. Rowling's expansive literary series. From the ever-changing architecture of Hogwarts castle and growing landscape of the wizarding world, to the darkening palette of each successive film, to the young actors maturing along with their characters, it is a wondrous and spectacular adventure to experience.

· Creating the World of Harry Potter – Part 6: Magical Effects
In Harry Potter's world, portraits come to life, potions transform, time reverses, Quidditch players soar, dragons attack and magic is everywhere. Explore the moviemaking magic that created the wizardry and wonder of the Harry Potter film series. Now, fascinating insights, interviews and watch-it-happen footage let you experience the triumphs of the technical wizards who conjured up an awe-inspiring alternate reality. Share the fun as Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson negotiate the moving stairs. Marvel as an oversized water tank transforms into the depths of the black lake for the Triwizard Tournament. Discover which amazing sequence was filmed entirely using computer-generated imagery. Watch as blue- and green-screen backgrounds transform into towering structures and endless landscapes. You don't know the magic until you've seen Magical Effects.

· Creating the World of Harry Potter – Part 7: Story
Over the course of ten years, screenwriter Steve Kloves worked tirelessly with author J.K. Rowling to develop her seven magical books into eight magical films. From the beginning, Kloves had to decide what to keep, what to change and what to cut while staying true to Rowling's vision, initially without even knowing how the series ended! Learn the story behind the stories and see how the two collaborated and developed a friendship based on mutual trust and respect, as they sit down together for an intimate, free-flowing conversation. Gain new insight into J.K. Rowling's own conceptions of her beloved characters, and hear how Kloves was able to adapt them faithfully for the screen while maintaining the fine balance between heart, humor and heroism that exemplifies the series.

· Creating the World of Harry Potter – Part 8: Growing Up
They grew up with the world watching them. By the time the final film wrapped, the young stars of Harry Potter had spent nearly half their lives on set. In Growing Up, new and vintage interviews featuring Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson and other cast and crew show how the actors have grown over the course of the series, while behind-the-scenes footage gives an exclusive look at their lives as actors and as children who've grown into young adults. From early interviews shortly after being cast, to the poignant final day of filming, watch how their ideas of acting, fame, their characters and themselves have changed through four directors, eight films and ten years. Learn how the more experienced actors took the younger ones under their wings and see the friendships that only years of collaboration could create. Finally, say farewell to the series with Daniel Radcliffe as he delivers an emotionally charged speech to the cast and crew as the final film wraps.

harry-potter-2Harry Potter Hogwarts Collection Blu-ray Bonus Disc
More than 3 hours of features including:
“The Harry Potters You Never Met” – Meet the stunt doubles for Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson as they demonstrate how they balanced major stunt work while seamlessly mimicking the actors they represented.
“Designing the World of Harry Potter” – Explore how production designer Stuart Craig and his creative team brought J.K. Rowling's imagination to life on the screen.
“When Harry Left Hogwarts” (Extended Version) – Hear candid and emotional stories about the final days on set in this extended behind-the-scenes look.
“50 Greatest Harry Potter Moments” (Definitive Version) – Take a look back with cast members who share their on and off-screen memories.
“Secrets Revealed! Quidditch” – At last, the secrets behind the special effects required for the breathtaking Quidditch scenes are revealed.
“Secrets Revealed! Hagrid”- See the camera tricks, towering stand-in and voluminous body suits behind the beloved Keeper of Keys and Grounds at Hogwarts.

 Posted by on March 26, 2014 No Responses »