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


Oct 072013

photo for “Despicable Me’s” Gru, the newly reformed master criminal now trying to live life as a normal dad to his three adopted daughters, is recruited by the Anti-Villain League to track down a new criminal mastermind and save the world. Partnered with secret agent Lucy Wilde, Gru, along with the wildly unpredictable Minions, must figure out how to keep his cover while also keeping up with his duties as a father. Extras: “Gru’s Girls” behind-the-scenes featurette; “Gadgets Galore” featurette explores lipstick tasers, magnet ships, foam dart dispensers and jelly guns; commentary with directors Chris Renaud and Pierre Coffin. Blu-ray adds Three mini-movies starring the Minions, introduced by Gru: “Puppy,” “Panic in the Mailroom” and “Training Wheels”; “The Making of the Mini-Movies” featurette; deleted scene; “The Minions” featurette, a visit to Illumination Entertainment in Paris and Los Angeles to discover what it’s really like to work with the Minions; “Evil Minions” behind-the-scenes featurette; “A Gru-Some Transformation” with Steve Carell as he discusses the transformation of Gru from the ultimate super-villain to super-dad and international spy; “El Hombre Malo: The Villainy of El Macho” behind the scenes featurette with the new villain (Benjamin Bratt). Vitals: Director: Chris Renaud and Pierre Coffi. Stars: Steve Carell, Kristin Wiig, Benjamin Bratt, Miranda Cosgrove, Russell Brand, Steve Coogan, Ken Jeong, Elsie Fisher, Dana Gaier, Moises Arias. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 98 min., Animated, Box office gross: $361.774 million, Universal. 3 stars

 Posted by on October 7, 2013 No Responses »
Oct 062013

photo for We're the Millers David Burke (Jason Sudeikis) is a small-time pot dealer whose clientele includes chefs and soccer moms, but no kids — after all, he has his scruples. So what could go wrong? Plenty. Preferring to keep a low profile for obvious reasons, he learns the hard way that no good deed goes unpunished when he tries to help out some local teens and winds up getting jumped by a trio of gutter punks. Stealing his stash and his cash, they leave him in major debt to his supplier, Brad (Ed Helms). In order to wipe the slate clean — and maintain a clean bill of health — David must now become a big-time drug smuggler by bringing Brad’s latest shipment to the U.S. from Mexico. Twisting the arms of his neighbors, cynical stripper Rose (Jennifer Aniston), wannabe customer Kenny (Will Poulter), and the tatted-and-pierced streetwise teen Casey (Emma Roberts), he devises a foolproof plan. One fake wife, two pretend kids and a huge, shiny RV later, the “Millers” are headed south of the border for a Fourth of July weekend that ends with a bang. Extras: Extended cut of the film, “Miller’s Unleashed — Outtakes Overload,” “Stories From the Road” behind-the-scenes featurettes (“Extreme Aniston”, “The Miller Makeovers,” “Road Trippin’ With the Millers,” “Don’t Suck Venom,” “Getting Out of a Sticky Situation,” “I Am Pablo Chacon,” “Rollin’ in the RV”), Livin’ It Up with Brad” featurette, “When Paranoia Sets In” featurette, deleted scenes, gags & more outtakes. Vitals: Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber. Stars: Jennifer Aniston, Jason Sudeikis, Emma Roberts, Will Poulter, Ed Helms, Nick Offerman, Kathryn Hahn. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: R, 110 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $142.360 million, Warner. 2 stars

 Posted by on October 6, 2013 No Responses »
Oct 062013

photo for The Wolverine Summoned by an old acquaintance to modern day Japan, Wolverine finds himself out of his depth in an unknown world — a Japan he hasn’t seen since World War II, filled with Yakuza gangsters, ninjas, mutants and a brand new class of villains — where he faces his ultimate nemesis — the Silver Samurai — in a life-or-death battle that will leave him forever changed. Vulnerable for the first time and pushed to his physical and emotional limits, he confronts not only lethal samurai steel but also his inner struggle against his own immortality, emerging more powerful than ever before. Extras: “Inspiration — A Ronin’s Journey.” Blu-ray adds alternate ending, “X-Men: Days of Future Past” set tour, “The Path of the Ronin” immersive feature following the journey of a hero without a past, “Sync With Wolverine Second Screen App” for an interactive “Second Screen” experience, theatrical trailers. Unleashed Extended Edition includes extended, unrated cut (with an additional 30 minutes) and commentary by director James Mangold. Vitals: Director: James Mangold. Stars: Hugh Jackman, Will Yun Lee, Brian Tee, Rila Fukushima, Svetlana Khodchenkova, Hiroyuki Sanada, Tao Okamoto, Hal Yamanouchi, Famke Janssen. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 126 min., Action, Box office gross: $131.304 million, Fox. 3 stars

 Posted by on October 6, 2013 No Responses »
Oct 062013

Launched in 2012, Fox Cinema Archives includes more than 200 classic films drawing from the studio’s deep vault of movies. The collection dives into the studio’s rich catalog to resurrect some of the most memorable films from the 1930s, 40s and 50s.

Available Now – War

“Farewell to Yesterday” (1950), 89 min.
Narrated by Tony Award-winning actor Sidney Blackmer, this documentary portrayal of the cultural and social forces which led the world to war in the 1930s and 1940s, starting with the rise of the Third Reich and their leader Adolf Hitler, shows the war in all its horror.

“Decision Before Dawn” (1951), 119 min.
During World War II, as the American army approaches Nazi Germany, the U.S. recruits German prisoners to serve as spies for the Allies. Starring Richard Basehart, Gary Merrill, and Oscar-nominee Oskar Werner, “Decision Before Dawn” was nominated for two Academy Awards  (Best Film Editing and Best Picture) and a Golden Globe (Best Cinematography – Black & White).

Available Now – Western

“The Cisco Kid and The Lady” (1939), 73 min.
When The Cisco Kid comes upon a dying miner who’s been attacked by bandits, he vows to secure the rights to the mine for the man’s orphaned infant and find her mother. Golden Globe-nominee Cesar Romero leads the star-studded cast, including Marjorie Weaver, Chris-Pin Martin, and George Montgomery, in this edition of the franchise.

“The Gay Caballero” (1940), 57 min.
Golden Globe nominee Cesar Romero once again stars in The Gay Caballero, leading an all-star cast of Sheila Ryan, Robert Sterling, and Janet Beecher. When the Kid rides into town with his faithful friend Gordito (Chris-Pin Martin) he finds that he is believed to be dead. What’s even more shocking is that, in a mix-up of identity, he was accused of stealing Susan Weatherby’s land. So in a race against time, he must prove his innocence and that he is the true Cisco Kid.

Due October 8  Film Noir (Mystery/Drama)

“Cry of the City” (1948), 95 min.
In this gritty crime drama that was nominated for the Writers Guild of America’s Robert Meltzer Award, two childhood best friends take divergent paths; one becomes a cop (Victor Mature), and the other a cop-killer (Richard Conte). The killer must grapple with confessing to a murder he did not commit in order to save his girlfriend from being framed for the crime.

“Moss Rose” (1947), 81 min.
Set in turn-of-the-century London and starring Peggy Cummins, Victor Mature and Oscar-winner Ethel Barrymore4, Moss Rose tells the suspense story of a woman trying to solve the mystery of a friend’s murder when she finds that she may be the next victim.

Due October 15 – Film Noir (Mystery/Thriller)

“Backlash” (1947), 66 min.
This murder mystery follows the story of a man (Richard Travis) who tries to frame his wife (Jean Rogers) for a murder that he himself committed. As the plot thickens, Detective Jerry McMullen (Larry J. Blake) slowly gets to the bottom of the case and the incentive behind why it was committed.

“Circumstantial Evidence” (1945), 67 min.
When a man (Primetime Emmy-nominee Michael O’Shea5) well known for his foul temper is wrongly convicted of murder, his young son and a family friend (Primetime Emmy-winner Lloyd Nolan6) work to prove him innocent.

Due October 22 – Sherlock Holmes

“Hound of the Baskervilles” (1939), 79 min.
Sherlock Holmes (two-time Oscar-nominee Basil Rathbone) and his partner Watson (Nigel Bruce) investigate the legend of a hound, a creature that may be after the heirs of the famed Baskerville estate where several deaths have occurred on the moor.

“The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” (1939), 81 min.
Sherlock Holmes (Oscar nominee Basil Rathbone) and his partner (Nigel Bruce) are at it again in attempt to stop his greatest Professor Moriarty (George Zucco) and his attempt to steal the Crown Jewels.


 Posted by on October 6, 2013 No Responses »
Oct 042013

photo for This Is the End Every once in a while a comedy comes along that pushes the boundaries of what one expects in a movie. “Pink Flamingos,” “The Life of Brian,” “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” “Borat” and “The Hangover” come to mind. Now add to the list “This Is the End,” an outrageous, raunchy comedy directed by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg and starring a bevy of Hollywood stars playing themselves as petty, selfish, lascivious Hollywood stars attending a party at James Franco’s house in the Hollywood Hills. In attendance are Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Craig Robinson, Aziz Ansari, Paul Rudd, Mindy Kaling, Jason Segel, Michael Cera, Rihanna, Emma Watson, Martin Starr, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and many, many others — all having a wild time until a series of strange and catastrophic events — the apocalypse — devastate Los Angeles. Five of the partygoers, all friends — Franco, Hill, Rogen, Baruchel and Robinson — soon joined by Danny McBride — are trapped in the house and, as the world outside burns in the heat of damnation, dwindling supplies and cabin fever inside threaten to tear the friendships apart. There’s some very, very nasty, almost pornographic scenes and crazy special effects that, in conjunction with the actors poking fun at themselves and their lifestyles, makes for a very funny ride. I was shocked, titillated and fell off my chair with laugher. But beware — this is rated a very hard “R.” Extras: Commentary with directors Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg; “Directing Your Friends” featurette; “This Is the Marketing”: Marketing outtakes, cast featurette, redband sizzle trailer, and four additional confessionals: “Aziz Haunts Craig Confessional,” “James & Danny Confessional.” “Jonah Confessional,” “Seth & Jay Confessional.” Blu-ray adds deleted scenes; “This Is the Gag Reel,” line-o-ramas blooper reel with back-to-back shots of the actors’ different delivery of certain lines from the film; six featurettes: “Meta-Apocalypse in which the cast discusses the unique acting challenges of playing versions of themselves, “Let’s Get Technical” visual effects & technical aspects of the film, “Party Time” behind-the-scenes look at the making of the party scene at James Franco’s house, “The Cannibal King” with Channing Tatum and Danny McBride, “The Making of ‘The Making of Pineapple Express 2′” behind-the-scenes look at the cast making the sequel to “Pineapple Express,” “Jay & Seth vs. The Apocalypse” original short that inspired the film. Vitals: Director: Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. Stars: Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Aziz Ansari, Paul Rudd, Mindy Kaling, Jason Segel, Michael Cera, Rihanna, Emma Watson, Martin Starr, Christopher Mintz-Plasse. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: R, 107 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $96.505 million, Sony. 3 stars

 Posted by on October 4, 2013 No Responses »
Oct 042013

photo for Fast & Furious 6 Since Dom (Vin Diesel) and Brian’s (Pauk Walker) Rio heist toppled a kingpin’s empire and left their crew with $100 million, the “Fast” gang has scattered across the globe. But their inability to return home and the angst of living forever on the lam have left their lives incomplete. Meanwhile, federal agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) has been tracking an organization of lethally skilled mercenary drivers across 12 countries, whose mastermind (Luke Evans) is aided by a ruthless second-in-command revealed to be the love Dom thought was dead, Letty (Michelle Rodriguez). The only way to stop the criminal outfit is to outmatch them at street level, so Hobbs asks Dom to assemble his elite team in London. Payment? Full pardons for all of them so they can return home and make their families whole again. Extras: Deleted scenes; “The Making of Fast & Furious 6” four-part featurette (“The Fastest of Them All” chronicles the saga of the “Fast” films from Chapters 3 through 6; “Reuniting the Team” explores the characters (and actors) that make up the “Fast” family, with a focus on founding partners Dom and Brian (and Vin and Paul); “Letty’s Return”: ­Heralded by a crowd-pleasing cliffhanger in “Fast Five,” Michelle Rodriguez makes a dramatic return in the sixth installment; “The Mastermind and The Mole”: introduces “Fast” “newbies” Luke Evans and Gina Carano as they share their experience joining the cast of “Fast & Furious 6” and how their characters fit into the new plot); “On the Set With Vin”; commentary with Justin Lin. “Blu- ray” adds an extended version of the film; “Take Control” in which Diesel, Walker, Rodriguez and Lin appear at key moments throughout the film, offering observations and reflections on the movie, behind-the-scenes footage and more; “Planes, Tanks and Automobiles” four-part featurette (“The London Chase” gives viewers a front-row seat for the filming of the sprawling car chase through the streets of one of the world’s most historic ­and congested ­cities; “Highway Heist: The Convoy Attack” is a first-hand account of the meticulously planned and executed action sequence; “The Antonov Takedown” explores what went into creating “Fast & Furious 6’s” spectacular finale sequence, featuring the world’s largest plane, including first- and second-unit filming, special effects, visual effects, car rigging, stunt drivers, green-screen shooting and more: “Dom and Letty Race Again”); “Gearhead’s Delight”: ­From the shop to the test track, to the set and back again, a look at the latest hot cars showcased in “Fast & Furious 6”, featuring Dom’s latest Charger, Brian’s Nissan Skyline GTR, the BMW M5s, the Alfa Romeo and the classic cars from the film’s car-auction scene; “The FLIP Car” ­provides an inside look at the “Fast” franchise’s newest mind-blowing vehicle, ­the pivoting FLIP car; “Hand-to-Hand Fury” offers viewers a detailed look at the rehearsals, choreography, stunt work and filming of some of “Fast & Furious 6’s” most bone-jarring fight sequences. Vitals: Director: Justin Lin. Stars: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Sung Kang, John Ortiz, Gal Gadot, Elsa Pataky, Luke Evans, Gina Carano, Shea Whigham, David Ajala, Kim Kold, Thure Lindhardt, Joe Taslim. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 131 min., Action, Box office gross: $238.673, million, Universal. 3 stars

 Posted by on October 4, 2013 No Responses »
Oct 042013

photo for Former race car driver Brent Magna (Etahn Hawke) is pitted against the clock. Desperately trying to save the life of his kidnapped wife, Brent commandeers a custom Ford Shelby GT500 Super Snake, taking it and its unwitting owner (Selena Gomez) on a high-speed race against time, following the orders of the mysterious villain holding his wife hostage. Extras: Crash cams, “Destroying a Custom Shelby,” “Metal and Asphalt,” “Selena Gomez: On Set,” “The Train Station.” Vitals: Director: Courtney Solomon. Stars: Ethan Hawke, Selena Gomez, Jon Voight, Rebecca Budig, Paul Freeman. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 90 min., Action, Box office gross: $10.494 million, Warner. 2 stars

 Posted by on October 4, 2013 No Responses »
Oct 032013



 Halloween Haunts

THE BEAST WITH FIVE FINGERS (1946) At last, this surreal horror suspense classic crawls onto DVD! Robert Florey directs Peter Lorre in this definitive “Phantom Limb” shocker in which the inhabitants of an isolated villa are seemingly stalked by the hand of a dead pianist and this hand won’t stop killing until it gets its revenge! Lorre, as the pianist’s put-upon, occult obsessed secretary, is as sublime as ever. Robert Alda plays a grifter/arranger and Andrea King plays the object of desire for both man and ghost. Screenplay by horror master Curt Siodmak, with story suggestions by the legendary Louis Buñuel, and a peerless score from Warner Bros.’ resident maestro, Max Steiner. NYC fans: see below for a rare screening! Newly Remastered

 NIGHTMARE HONEYMOON (1974) The 70s saw a slew of twisted revenge thrillers thanks to the grindhouse breakout success of Wes Craven’s Last House on the Left as demonstrated by Nightmare Honeymoon’s poster’s announcement, “Thank Heavens It’s Only a Movie!” The aptly named Dack Rambo plays a Vietnam vet whose honeymoon turns horrific thanks to the ministrations of a psychotic hood (Nichol’s John Beck). But this psycho is not the only trained killer on the streets of New Orleans, and the war hero husband embarks on a private war. Also stars Pat Hingle and Rebecca Dianna Smith. Adapted from the book Deadly Honeymoon by crime czar Lawrence Block, directed by Elliot Silverstein (Cat Ballou, Tales from the Crypt). Special Feature: Contains both the Not Rated Alternate Theatrical Version and the Not Rated Alternate TV Version. Newly Remastered

 CASPER‘S HALLOWEEN SPECIAL (1979) Hanna-Barbera takes the Friendly Ghost on a Halloween romp in this classic TV special. It’s Halloween and Casper leaps at the chance to experience the delights of the night “just like a real boy.” It’s trick or treat time for Casper – the treats in the form of a gang of orphan kids who accept Casper as one their own, and the tricks from Hairy Scary and his ghostly gang who bedevil the hapless urchins. Can Casper save the night for his new pals? The answer may lie with Hairy Scary himself… Special Holiday Bonus Feature: The Thanksgiving That Almost Wasn’t (1972) Learn the secret history of the first Thanksgiving as Jeremy Squirrel braves the wilderness to save a lost pilgrim boy and his Native American playmate on the eve of the first feast in this half-hour animated TV holiday classic.


Baker in Blu

THE MENTALIST: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON (2008-09) On BLU-RAY! Follow the cases of Patrick Jane and the CBI as they were meant to be seen – in arresting High Definition! Simon Baker stars as the sly, acerbic and oh-so-damaged celebrity psychic Patrick Jane whose hubris in taunting serial killer Red John cost him his family. Acknowledging his supposed paranormal abilities were merely his own intense powers of observation and a deep understanding of human psychology, Jane brings the con to consultant as he aids the California Bureau of Investigation. But no matter how many criminals he catches, Patrick never forgets his central goal: Find Red John. Co-starring Robin Tunney and created by Bruno Heller. Special Features: Evidence of a Hit Series – Interviews with the creators, directors and cast; Cracking the Crystal Ball: Mentalist Vs. Psychic – The producers, directors, cast, and real-life detectives, mentalists and police psychics discuss the reality of psychic gifts: Surveillance Video: Gag Reel.


The Boys Are Back!

THE BOWERY BOYS COLLECTION: VOLUME THREE (1948-1949) The third volume of the complete Bowery Boys film collection contains many milestone moments along with more mirth and malaprops than you can swing a crumpled fedora at! Moving from the “Gabe Dell and the gangsters” Bowery Boys of the 40s all the way to Huntz Hall headlining in the late 50s, we bid a fond farewell to beloved Bernard Gorcey who died suddenly after completing Dig That Uranium. Son Leo (Slip) would depart the series shortly thereafter, leaving Hall to carry the comedy alongside new boy Duke (Stanley Clements). But allow us to regurgitate one salient pint – Slip, Sach, Duke, Louie and the boys will be back for another round in volume 4! Newly Remastered

Volume Three contains:

  • ·         Angels’ Alley (1948) The Boys look back to their “Dead End” roots as the 40s wind down, complete with gangsters, urchins and two-fisted Fathers (O’Hanlon in this case).
  • ·         Jinx Money (1948) It’s time for a suspenseful trip to pulp land, as the boys discover a cursed bundle of loot and face the eerie menace of “the Umbrella.”
  • ·         Angels in Disguise (1949) Sach and Slip take a wrong turn and end up trapped inside a full blown piece of Film Noir! Shadows, alleys, murderous thugs, and best of all – Slip provides a megaton of malaprops in his hard boiled first person narration.
  • ·         Feudin’ Fools (1952) This prime piece of the “What’s the matter with Sach?” stories sees Horace Debussy Jones inherit a parcel of land right in the middle of feudin’ territory.
  • ·         Jalopy (1953) Sach the chemical king accidentally cooks up a superfuel just as Slip is heading off to the races.
  • ·         Paris Playboys (1954) It’s Huntz Hall squared as the UN discovers that Sach is the double for a missing French scientist, and sends him to Paris to flush the scientist out.
  • ·         Dig that Uranium (1956) The boys and Louie head out west where they encounter crooks and king cowboy Raymond Hatton – Monogram Nevada Jack fans take note!
  • ·         Crashing Las Vegas (1956) Leo Gorcey’s swan song to the series sees him go out in style as he guides a suddenly savant Sach through the gambling dens of Vegas.
  • ·         Hot Shots (1956) Sach and Duke take charge of a pre-teen TV star. Guest starring Inspector Henderson himself, Robert Shayne!
  • ·         Spook Chasers (1957) The Boys go full on Scooby and a foil a plot of ghost-impersonating gangsters. There’s even traps and hidden loot!
  • ·         Looking for Danger (1957) Bowery Boys go the retcon route as we discover Duke and the Boys serving overseas and going undercover as Nazis during World War II.
  • ·         Up in Smoke (1957) It’s Sach versus the Devil – but pity the demon.

NOTE: These DVDs are Manufactured on Demand (MOD); to order, fans must visit The Warner Archive Collection or WB Shop.com

 Posted by on October 3, 2013 No Responses »
Oct 022013

photo for In the year 2154, two classes of people exist: the very wealthy, who live on a pristine man-made space station called Elysium, and the rest, who live on an overpopulated, ruined Earth. The people of Earth are desperate to escape the planet’s crime and poverty, and they critically need the state-of-the-art medical care available on Elysium — but some in Elysium will stop at nothing to enforce anti-immigration laws and preserve their citizens’ luxurious lifestyle. The only man with the chance to bring equality to these worlds is Max (Matt Damon), an ordinary guy in desperate need to get to Elysium. With his life hanging in the balance, he reluctantly takes on a dangerous mission — one that pits him against Elysium’s Secretary Delacourt (Jodie Foster) and her hard-line forces — but if he succeeds, he could save not only his own life, but millions of people on Earth as well. Written and directed by Neill Blomkamp, who brought the innovative sci-fi morality tale “District 9” to the big screen. Extras: “Collaboration: Crafting the Performances in Elysium” behind-the-scenes cast featurette; “Engineering Utopia: Creating a Society in the Sky” featurette on designing and creating the utopian space station. Blu-ray adds an extended scene; “Visions of 2154,” an interactive exploration of the art and design of Elysium; “The Journey to Elysium,” a three-part documentary with “Envisioning Elysium,” a pre-production diary, “Capturing Elysium” location featurette, and “Enhancing Elysium,” a post-production diary that explores the editing process; “In Support of Story: The Visual Effects of Elysium,” an in-depth look at the process of shooting visual effects scenes and incorporating CGI environments and vehicles into those scenes in post-production; “The Technology of 2154,” a featurette that offers insights into the film’s depiction of the technology of Elysium, from independently functioning Droids to next-generation military tech that gives humans machine-enhanced power. Vitals: Director: Neill Blomkamp. Stars: Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley, William Fichtner, Michael Shanks, Alice Braga, Talisa Soto, Diego Luna, Carly Pope. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: R, 109 min., Science Fiction Action, Box office gross: $90.790 million, Sony. 3 stars

 Posted by on October 2, 2013 No Responses »
Oct 012013

From the Big Screen:

“This Is the End” and “The Croods.” For more releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.


It’s another great week for filmlovers, with restored versions of “The Littler Mermaid,” “The Big Parade,” “From Here to Eternity” and “House of Wax,” as well as a new edition of “The Wizard of Oz.”

Kids today may not have heard of King Vidor, but he was one of the early geniuses of Hollywood filmmaking, beginning in silent films in the 1910s and working his magic right through the 1950s. Along the way he made such classics as “The photo Crowd” (1928), “The Champ” (1931), “Stella Dallas” (1937), worked on the Kansas scenes in “The Wizard of Oz,” “Northwest Passage” (1940), “Duel in the Sun” (1946), “The Fountainhead” (1949) and “Solomon and Sheba” (1959). “The Big Parade,” making its DVD and Blu-ray debut this week, is his monumental masterpiece, a 140-minute opus that tells the harrowing story of a young man’s (John Gilbert) front-line experiences in World War I. It was the highest-grossing silent film of all time, as well as the first realistic war drama, and stands the test of time as a stunning work of art. The Blu-ray is packed with a 64-page book with comprehensive notes by film historian Kevin Brownlow, with original art, photos and advertising material. Other extras include commentary by historian Jeffrey Vance with King Vidor, “The Men Who Made the Movies: King Vidor” documentary, and a vintage 1925 studio tour short. Co-stars Renee Adoree, Hobart Bosworth and Claire McDowell. A must-have for every cinephile. From Warner.

Disney has brought one of their most-in-demand DVDs out of the vault and plied their magic with it in a Diamond Edition Blu-ray and DVD with digital image restoration and high-definition sound: We’re talking about none other than “The Little Mermaid” (1989), which ushered in a renaissance of Disney animated films that set the stage for “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Lion King.” Though this is not one of my favorites — that has to go to the aforementioned two titles — “The Little Mermaid” is still a wonderful tale about a headstrong young mermaid, Ariel, who falls for a human and trades her beautiful singing voice to the evil Sea Witch Ursula for human legs. The Blu-ray transfer is fabulous with colors ever-so bolder and clearer than the photo for The Little Mermaid DVD; the new soundtrack improvements will only be noticed if you have a surround sound set-up. The film features the voices of Jodi Benson, Samuel E. Wright, Jason Marin, Pat Carroll, Buddy Hackett, Christopher Daniel and Kenneth Mars, with the fabulous lyrics and music by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken. “The Little mermaid” is available in a variety of packages, including a 3D version: A three-disc Blu-ray combo pack (Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy + Music Download), $49.99; two-disc Blu-ray combo pack (Blu-ray + DVD/Digital Copy), $44.99; two-disc Blu-ray combo pack (Blu-ray + DVD), $39.99. Extras a new music video, “Part of Your World”; “@ Disney Animation” behind-the-scenes; a deleted character, Harold the Merman; “The Real Little Mermaid: Live Action Reference Model”; “Part of Her World: Jodi Benson’s Voyage to New Fantasyland”; and classic DVD bonus features.

“From Here to Eternity” (1953) was the film that reinvigorated Frank Sinatra’s flagging film career and featured incredibly nuanced performances by a bevy of Hollywood luminaries, including Montgomery Clift, Burt Lancaster, Deborah photo for From Here to Eternity BLU-RAY DEBUT Kerr, Donna Reed and Ernest Borgnine. Director Fred Zinnemann’s adaptation of the racy James Jones novel incensed both the film censors and the U.S. Army for it’s hot love scenes and depiction of army life; the film went on to win eight Academy Awards and become one of the highest grossing films of all time. Sony has meticulously restored the film from a 4k scan for its Blu-ray debut — and it’s scrumptious. Extras include commentary with Tim Zinnemann (the director’s son) and screenwriter Alvin Sargent; a vintage “The Making of From Here to Eternity” documentary; vintage “Fred Zinnemann: As I See It”; and a new “Eternal History” graphics in picture track that explores the story of how 1953’s Best Picture winner came to be told, with new interviews, exclusive photos and other rare material. Another must-have.

Warner has a new, restored and remastered high-definition release for the Blu-ray debut of director Andre de Toth’s creepy 1953 horror film “House of Wax,” the first color 3D feature released by a major studio and the first 3-D film with stereophonic sound to be presented in a regular movie theater. The film, starring Vincent Price, Frank Lovejoy, Phyllis Kirk, Carolyn Jones, Paul Picerni and Charles Buchinsky (aka Charles Bronson), become a huge hit (If adjusted to today’s gross, it photo would have brought in more than $401 million, placing it among the top 100 highest grossing films ever). It also marked Vincent Price’s first major starring horror role and changed the course of his career. Originally designed to lure audiences away from their TV sets, 3D utilized a “left-eye/right-eye” dual projection process and polarized glasses, the basis for what is seen today. Warner Bros. Motion Picture Imaging group’s work on “House of Wax” included a 4K scan, and a full restoration of the two “eyes,” as well as perfect 3D image alignment. Extras on the 3D Blu-ray/ 2D release include a new featurette, “House of Wax: Unlike Anything You’ve Seen Before”; “Mystery of the Wax Museum,” the original 1933 film on which “House of Wax” was based; commentary; “Round-the-Clock Premiere: Coast Hails House of Wax”; and the original trailer.

It seems like only yesterday that Warner gave us a souped up Blu-ray version of the wonderful
“The Wizard of Oz” — and, in fact, it was only four years ago, in 2009, that they releases a now-out-of-print collector’s edition of the classic. With “Wizard” turning 75, the company has put together yet another edition of the 1939 film, here in a “The Wizard of Oz 75th Anniversary Collector’s Edition” five-disc set that includes Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, DVD and photo UltraViolet versions of the film; a new documentary, “The Making of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”; bonus features from previous editions; premium collectibles (a collectible 75th Anniversary journal, Sparkle Ruby Slippers Globe, Noble Collection 3-piece enamel pin set, a map of Oz and a 48-page hardcover book); all for $105.43. Three more editions will be available separately: a two-disc 3D/Blu-ray ($35.99), a one-disc Blu-ray ($19.98) and a two-disc DVD ($16.95), all with the new documentary and extra content.

Also due this week: “Downton Abbey Seasons 1, 2 & 3” is a limited edition set that includes Season 1, Season 2 and Season 3 in special collectable gift-set packaging, with more than three hours of previously released bonus video, including “Downton Abbey: The Making of,” “Downton Abbey: Behind the Drama” and more; the set includes the bonus disc “Secrets of Highclere Castle,” a one-hour documentary that steps inside the castle featured in “Downton Abbey.” On DVD, $89.99, and Blu-ray Disc, $99.99, from PBS Distribution … In the mid-1960s the often rigid and colorless British way of life was irrevocably photo for Paul Mccartney -- Going Underground: McCartney, The Beatles and the UK Counter-Culture transformed by the emergence of a cultural underground movement. Led by a loose collective of young radicals, they introduced new social, sexual and aesthetic perspectives. Operating out of the heart of London, their various activities, from The International Times — a bi-weekly journal that no hipster could be seen without — to the psychedelic nightclub UFO, promoted alternative lifestyles and values, and sparked a social revolution. “Paul McCartney — Going Underground: McCartney, The Beatles and the UK Counter-Culture” (2013) not only traces the history of this underground scene, but also explores its impact on the pre-eminent British group of the era, The Beatles. Although they were well established by the time the movement emerged, The Beatles, and Paul McCartney in particular, were closely linked with several of its key players, and through their exposure to cutting edge concepts, brought ideas directly from the avant-garde into the mainstream. Features new interviews with key players from the time, including Barry Miles of the IT, Pink Floyd producer Joe Boyd, Robert Wyatt, and many more, as well as rare footage, archive photographs, and music from The Pink Floyd, The Beatles, The Soft machine, and others. On DVD from MVD Visual.

From TV to DVD:

In “Agatha Christie’s Poirot, Series 7 & 8” (2000), Poirot (David Suchet) solves complex cases with flair and finesse with the help of Captain Hastings (Hugh Fraser), Chief Inspector Japp (Philip Jackson) and Miss Lemon (Pauline Moran). Newly remastered editions of four mysteries in their original U.K. broadcast order: “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd,” “Lord photo for Edgware Dies,” “Murder in Mesopotamia” and “Evil Under the Sun.” In two-disc DVD, two-disc Blu-ray sets from Acorn Media … “Awkward Seasons One & Two” (2013) is a four-disc with all 24 episodes of MTV’s hit series about the trials and tribulations of being a teenager, $26.99 from Paramount … “Beauty & the Beast — The First Season” (2012-13) is a six-disc set with 22 episodes of the series that centers on homicide detective Catherine “Cat” Chandler, who teams with the mysterious Dr. Vincent Keller, the man who saved her life years earlier and who has a terrible secret — when he’s enraged, he becomes a terrifying beast, unable to control his super-strength and heightened senses. The pair develop a complex relationship, understanding that their connection is extremely dangerous for both of them. $54.99 from CBS/Paramount … “China Beach: The Complete Season One” (2012) is a three-disc set with eight episodes of the ground-breaking series set at an evacuation hospital during the Vietnam War, $22.95 from StarVista photo for China Beach: The Complete Season One Entertainment/Time Life … “Glee: The Complete Fourth Season” (2012-13) includes 22 episodes of the hit series, in a six-disc DVD set, $59.98, and four-disc Blu-ray set, $69.99, from Fox … “How I Met Your Mother Season Eight” (2012-13) is a three-disc set with 23 episodes, $39.98 from Fox … In “Jack Irish, Set 1” (2012), Guy Pearce stars as the brooding antihero of Australian writer Peter Temple’s award-winning novels; this Blu-ray/DVD Combo includes two feature-length movies (“Bad Debts” and “Black Tide”). From Acorn Media … “Magnum P.I.: The Complete Series” (1980-88) includes all eight season of the iconic series, collected together for the first time in a 162-episode, 42-disc collection, $169.98 from Universal … “New Girl Season Two” (2012-13) is a three-disc set with 25 episodes, $39.98 from Fox … “Teen Mom: The Complete First Season” (2009-10) is a three-disc set with eight episodes, $9.96, exclusively at Walmart, from MTV/Paramount.

Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:

“The Amityville Horror Trilogy Deluxe Collector’s Edition Blu-ray” is at three-disc set with “The Amityville Horror” photo for The Amityville Horror Trilogy Deluxe Collector's Edition BLU-RAY (starring James Brolin, Margot Kidder and Oscar(R)-winner Rod Steiger), “Amityville II: The Possession” (starring James Olson, Burt Young, Rutanya Alda, Andrew Prine, Jack Magner, Diane Franklin) and “Amityville 3D” (starring Tony Roberts, Tess Harper, Candy Clark). Extras: “The Amityville Horror”: New interview, “Haunted Melodies With Composer Lalo Schifrin”; “For God’s Sake, Get Out!” documentary with actors James Brolin and Margot Kidder; audio Commentary by Dr. Hans Holzer, Ph.D. in Parapsychology (author of “Murder in Amityville”); original theatrical trailer; TV spot; radio spots. “Amityville II: The Possession”: “The Possession of Damiani” interview with director Damiano Damiani; “Adapting Amityville” new interview with screenwriter Tommy Lee Wallace; “Family Matters” new interview with Actress Diane Franklin; “A Mother’s Burden” new Interview with actress Rutanya Alda; “Father Tom’s Memories” new interview with actor Andrew Prine; new interview with ghost hunter/author Alexandra Holzer (“Growing Up Haunted: A Ghostly Memoir”); new audio commentary with Holzer; original theatrical trailer. “Amityville 3-D”: “A Chilly Reception” new interview with actress Candy Clark, original theatrical trailer. From Shout! Factory … “Dead Before Dawn” photo for Dead Before t (2013), starring Devon Bostick, Martha MacIsaac, Christopher Lloyd, Brandon Jay McLaren, Brittany Allen, Kevin McDonald, Kyle Schmid, Rossif Sutherland and Ellen Dubin, is yet another take on Zombies. Casper Galloway (Bostick) and his college friends visit an occult shop run by Casper’s grandfather (Lloyd) and accidentally unleash an evil curse, causing people to kill themselves and turn in to Zombie Demons, aka Zemons. Armed with a slew of homemade weapons and a Winnebago, the college kids race through the night, killing Zemons and fighting time while frantically searching for a way to reverse the curse within 24 hours. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc, 3D Blu-ray Disc/DVD Combo (at Best Buy) from Wango Films/Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment … “Morning” (2010) follows five days in the life of an American couple immediately following the accidental death of their child; their grief becomes a private torment that threatens to destroy their world and, driven apart by sorrow, they try to find their way back to each other and the chance to love again. Stars Jeanne Tripplehorn, Leland Orser, Laura Linney, Elliott Gould, Kyle Chandler and Jason Ritter. From Anchor Bay … In “The Frozen Ground” (2013), starring Nicolas Cage, John Cusack, Vanessa Hudgens and Radha Mitchell, Alaskan State Trooper Jack Halcombe (Cage) sets out to end the murderous rampage of Robert Hansen (Cusack), a serial killer who has gone unnoticed for 13 years until one of his victims escapes and helps give the police vital information on the psychopath. Based on actual events. From Lionsgate …photo for The Frozen Ground In “Fright Night 2: New Blood” (2013), a group of high school students travel abroad to study in Romania and find themselves ensnared in a sexy female vampire’s chilling web of lust and terror. Stars Will Payne, Jaime Murray, Sean Power and Sacha Parkinson. On DVD and Blu-ray Disc from Fox … “100 Bloody Acres” (2012 — Australia), starring Damon Herriman, Angus Sampson, Anna McGahan, Oliver Ackland, Jamie Kristian, John Jarratt and Chrissie Page, is inspired insanity about two brothers, Reg (Herriman) and Lindsay (Sampson), who are struggling to keep their organic blood and bone fertilizer business alive. Though their secret “recipe” for success — ­using dead car crash victims in their product — ­has been a huge boon to business, their supply runs low until Reg stumbles upon three stranded travelers to use for even fresher ingredients. But when Reg finds himself falling for the lovely Sophie (Anna McGahan), one of his intended victims, things get trickier — ­and gorier — for both his bossy brother and himself. On DVD and Blu-ray Disc from Doppelganger Releasing … Aaron Kwok, Tony Leung Ka Fai, Charlie Young, Andy On and Terence Yin star in the Hong Kong police actioner “Cold War” (2012). In the safest city in Asia, the Hong Kong police department photo for Cold War has been untouchable for years. That was until they receive an anonymous call after a fully loaded police van, carrying five highly trained officers and equipment, disappears off the grid. After several cryptic phone calls, it becomes clear that the hijackers are aware of every crucial decision the task force makes. As the perpetrators execute a carefully planned attack, the police do their best to fight back but little do they know they’ve become unwitting pawns in a bigger, more dangerous game. From Lionsgate … An 18-year-old’s life is headed in the wrong direction — hanging out with a bad crowd and seeking an escape from the drama at home — until she volunteers for a Christmas play with underprivileged children, finding purpose by helping people in need and using that to help heal her troubled family in “So This Is Christmas” (2013), starring Vivica A. Fox, Eric Roberts, Lexi Ainsworth and Titus Makin Jr. From Image Entertainment … In “Eyes of the photo for Treasure Guards Woods Unrated Special Edition” (2009), starring Walter Phelan, Elizabeth O’Brick and Lira Kellerman, a group of teens find themselves lost and soon hunted by an unforgiving creature deep within the woods. From Lost Empire/MVD Entertainment … When a young man moves across the hall from his high school crush, his basic lust turns to obsession; he quickly discovers that voyeurism alone will not be enough to quench his desire for her in “My Boo” (2013), starring Ashlee Mclemore and Revon Usif. From Lee Production/MVD Entertainment … During an excavation in the remote Jordanian desert, an atheist archaeologist discovers an ancient parchment, buried in the ruins of an ancient temple, indicating the location of the long-lost “Seal of Solomon,” which, according to legend, was given by God to King Solomon. This sets into motion a treasure hunt by the Vatican’s elite Treasure Guards, the archaeologist’s estranged father (himself a famous archaeologist), and other schemers in “Treasure Guards” (2001), starring Anna Friel, Raoul Bova, Volker Bruch and Andre Jacobs. From Monarch Home Entertainment.


“With Love … From the Age of Reason” (2010 — France/Belgium) stars Sophie Marceau, Marton Csokas, Michel Duchaussoy and Jonathan Zaccai. “Dear Me. Today I am seven years old and I’m writing you this letter to help you remember the promises I made when I was 7, and also to remind you of what I want to become …” Thus begins the letter that Margaret receives on her 40th birthday. An executive at a multinational construction firm, Margaret’s regimented lifestyle revolves around meetings, business dinners and pre-scheduled sex with her partner. But when a retired notary delivers a stack of letters written by Margaret when she was seven years old, the successful professional begins to rethink her existence. From First Run Features.

For the Family:

In “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Ultimate Showdown” (2012-13), the Turtles face off against new enemies and old in a two-disc set featuring the final 12 episodes of the first season. $12.99 from Nickeloden/Paramount … “Wow! Wow! photo for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Ultimate Showdown Wubbzy!: Best of Collection” (2013) is a four-disc set with 28 episodes of the preschoolers’ favorites, with each disc devoted to one Wuzzleburg friend: “Best of Wubbzy,” “Best of Widget,” “Best of Walden” and “Best of Daizy.” $19.98 from Anchor Bay … “Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel” (2012) is a perfect example of cross-pollination between divisions of a conglomerate, here Disney, which broadcasts “Phineas and Ferb” on its Disney Channel, and Marvel Comics, which Disney bought in 2009. Phineas and Ferb team up with Marvel Super Heroes (Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor, and Hulk) in one of seven episodes in this anthology. After Dr. Doofenshmirtz’s latest “-inator” scheme accidentally removes the powers of some very well-known Marvel Super Heroes (Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor, and Hulk), the heroes enter the world of Danville and team up with Phineas and Ferb to relocate their powers, defeat the Marvel Super Villains (Red Skull, MODOK, Whiplash and Venom) and save Danville from ultimate destruction. Includes a collectible comic book and an exclusive Marvel poster.

Special Interest:

  • “Branca’s Pitch” (2013): On October 3, 1951 Ralph Branca became a legendary figure in baseball history. The 26-year old Brooklyn Dodger pitcher became infamous for losing the 1951 National League Pennant to the bitter rival New York Giants, by giving up the game winning homerun termed “The Shot Heard Round the World.” Jeered by once-adoring fans and labeled a scapegoat for the rest of his life, Ralph never reclaimed his career. This feature-length documentary follows Branca’ journey to pen a memoir that finally tells his side of the story (he shares a secret held for over 50 years — that the New York Giants cheated) to try and restore his fascinating, yet overlooked legacy in baseball. From Strand Releasing. photo for Branca's Pitch
  • “Bruce Lee: A Warrior’s Journey/In Pursuit of the Dragon” (2013): Two documentaries on the legend: “A Warrior’s Journey” reveals the soul of Bruce Lee and includes 33 minutes of continuous action footage that was shot for “The Game of Death” but had been lost and appears for the first time here. “In Pursuit of the Dragon” follows the chronology of Lee’s four films: “The Big Boss,” “Fist of Fury,” “The Way of the Dragon” and “Enter the Dragon.”From MVD Visual.
  • “A Fierce Green Fire” (2012): Spanning 50 years of grassroots and global activism, this Sundance documentary brings to light the vital stories of the environmental movement where people fought — and succeeded — against enormous odds: From halting dams in the Grand Canyon to fighting toxic waste at Love Canal; from Greenpeace to Chico Mendes; from climate change to the promise of transforming our civilization. Narrated by Robert Redford, Ashley Judd, Van Jones, Isabel Allende and Meryl Streep. From First Run Features. photo for Bruce Lee: A Warrior's Journey/In Pursuit of the Dragon
  • “North America” (2013): The Discovery Channel journeys deep into a hidden world, crossing impossible mountains and endless deserts, diving into unexplored forests and crashing into rugged coasts to discover Earth’s most spectacular wildlife. “North America” showcases the unforgiving and brutal, yet beautiful, continent and the boundless rewards it offers for those brave enough to take on this land and call her home. Narrated by Tom Selleck. Formats: DVD, $29,93; Blu-ray Disc, $34.99. An additional Blu-ray, with a 32-page photo booklet of the continent’s untamed wildlife and wilderness, will be available for $39.93. Extras: Blu-ray adds a photo gallery. From Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment.
  • “Shaquille O’Neal Presents All Star Comedy Jam — Live from Atlanta”
    (2013): Hosted by funnyman Faizon Love and hand-picked by NBA All Star Shaquille O’Neal, this evening of stand-up comedy presents a top-notch lineup pairing veterans with up-and-coming talent: Robert Powel, Lavar Walker, Gina Yashere, Finesse Mitchell, Red Grant and a special guest appearance by DJ Big Tigger. Filmed at the Atlanta Symphony Hall in front of a live audience during the 2013 NCAA Final Four Weekend. From Lionsgate.

 Posted by on October 1, 2013 No Responses »