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OnVideo's Guide to Blu-ray Releases

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    November 6
  • Bonfire of the Vanities

    (1990) Dir.: Brian De Palma; Tom Hanks, Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Melanie Griffith. (Warner).
  • The Client

    (1994) Dir.: Joel Schumacher; Susan Sarandon, Tommy Lee Jones, Anthony La Paglia, Brad Renfro. (Warner).
  • Guys and Dolls

    (1955) Dir.: Joseph L. Mankiewicz; Marlon Brando, Jean Simmons, Frank Sinatra, Vivian Blaine, Stubby Kaye, Sheldon Leonard. Blu-ray book with production notes, bios, photos, trivia. (Warner).
  • Patton

    (1970) George C. Scott, Karl Malden, Stephen Young. Extras: Introduction by Francis Ford Coppola, commentary by Coppola, "History Through the Lens: Patton -- A Rebel Revisited" documentary, "Patton's Ghost Corps" documentary, "The Making of Patton" documentary, production still gallery accompanied by Jerry Goldsmith's complete musical score, behind-the-scenes still gallery accompanied by an audio essay on the historical Patton, theatrical trailer (Fox).
  • Planes, Trains and Automobiles 25th Anniversary Blu-ray

    (1987) Dir.: John Hughes; Steve Martin, John Candy, Laila Robins, Michael McKean, Kevin Bacon, Dylan Baker. Extras: "John Hughes: Life Moves Pretty Fast," an in-depth look at the work and legacy of John Hughes, including "John Hughes: The Voice of a Generation" and "Heartbreak and Triumph: The Legacy of John Hughes"; "Getting There Is Half the Fun: The Story of Planes, Trains And Automobiles"; "John Hughes for Adults"; "A Tribute to John Candy"; deleted scene: "Airplane Food." (Paramount).
  • Rashomon

    (1950) A riveting psychological thriller that investigates the nature of truth and the meaning of justice, "Rashomon" is widely considered one of the greatest films ever made. Four people recount different versions of the story of a man's murder and the rape of his wife, which director Akira Kurosawa presents with striking imagery and an ingenious use of flashbacks. This eloquent masterwork and international sensation revolutionized film language and introduced Japanese cinema -- ­and a commanding new star by the name of Toshiro Mifune -- ­to the Western world. New digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray Disc. Extras: Commentary by Japanese-film historian Donald Richie; video introduction by director Robert Altman; excerpts from "The World of Kazuo Miyagawa," a documentary on "Rashomon's" cinematographer; "A Testimony as an Image," a 68-minute documentary featuring interviews with cast and crew; archival audio interview with actor Takashi Shimura; original and rerelease trailers; a booklet featuring an essay by film historian Stephen Prince, an excerpt from director Akira Kurosawa's "Something Like an Autobiography," and reprints of "Rashomon's" two source stories by Ryunosuke Akutagawa, "Rashomon" and "In a Grove." (The Criterion Collection).
  • Sunset Blvd.

    (1950) Dir.: Billy Wilder; William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Erich von Stroheim, Nancy Olson, Fred Clark, Lloyd Gough, Jack Webb. Newly restored. Not only a cinematic masterpiece, "Sunset Boulevard" also captures some extraordinary moments in Hollywood history, including Cecil B. DeMille on the set of "Samson and Delilah," which was erected in a soundstage still in use on the Paramount lot. Director Erich von Stroheim, who had directed Swanson previously in real life, appears as Norma Desmond's butler and former director. Various notable figures make photo appearances in the film as themselves, including actors Buster Keaton, Hedda Hopper, Anna Q. Nilsson and H.B. Warner. And, of course, there are the iconic images of Hollywood itself, including the well-known shot of Paramount's legendary gates.

    The main objective of the restoration effort was to remain faithful to the distinctive look created by the director and cinematographer. Stark shadows and darkness occasionally cut by the bright light of a film projector are themselves essential in telling the disturbing story of madness and obsession. The restoration team secured a vintage print made at the time of release from the Library of Congress to view and study the tones and extensively researched documentation from the production to accurately present the director's original vision. Although none of the original nitrate materials survive, the restoration team conducted a worldwide search for the earliest generation elements, ultimately using an acetate 35mm duplicate negative as a primary source for scanning at 4K to create the highest picture quality possible. In addition, work done on the film's original mono soundtrack back in 2001-2002 was expanded upon. As with the picture, no original sound materials survive, but a variety of source elements were analyzed, transferred, digitally cleaned and incorporated into the final restoration -- including optical soundtrack negatives, music and effects tracks and partial music master materials.

    The Blu-ray boasts over two hours of in-depth bonus material that sheds light on the film, its origins and its path to becoming a classic. Also includes a never-before-released deleted scene entitled "The Paramount-Don't-Want-Me Blues," which was obtained from the Academy Film Archive and features Academy Award-winning songwriters Jay Livingston and Ray Evans performing a comedic song that was cut for fear of being too Hollywood insider in 1950. Extras: Commentary by Ed Sikov, author of "On Sunset Blvd: The Life and Times of Billy Wilder"; featurettes: "Sunset Boulevard: The Beginning," "Sunset Boulevard: A Look Back," "The Noir Side of Sunset Boulevard," "Sunset Boulevard Becomes a Classic," "Two Sides of Ms. Swanson," "Stories of Sunset Boulevard," "Mad About the Boy: A Portrait of William Holden," "Recording Sunset Boulevard," "The City of Sunset Boulevard," "Franz Waxman and the Music of Sunset Boulevard," "Behind the Gates: The Lot," "Edith Head: The Paramount Years ," "Paramount in the '50s": "Morgue Prologue" script pages, deleted scene "The Paramount-Don't-Want-Me Blues"; Hollywood location map; production, movie and publicity galleries; theatrical trailer. (Paramount).


    November 13
  • Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure

    (1989) Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, George Carlin. Extras: Air guitar tutorial with Bjorn Turoque & The Rockness Monster, "One Sweet and Sour Chinese Adventure to Go," radio spots, theatrical trailer. (MGM).
  • Empire of the Sun

    (1987) Dir.: Steven Spielberg; Christian Bale, John Malkovich, Miranda Richardson, Nigel Havers, Joe Pantoliano, Ben Stiller. Based on J. G. Ballard's autobiographical novel. In a premium Blu-ray book featuring a collectible 36-page book with rare images, cast bios, facts about the film, essays and more. $34.99. Extras: "The China Odyssey: Empire of the Sun: Behind the scenes" documentary; "Warner at War." (Warner).
  • Friends: The Complete Series

    All 236 original broadcast episodes on 21 discs plus 20 hours of bonus features including over three hours of newly-added material. New content includes a retrospective documentary with new interviews looking back at the 10 years of the series, never-before-released cast appearances, unaired footage, a new gag reel and more. $279.98. (Warner).
  • Harold & Kumar Blu-ray Ultimate Collector's Edition

    All three Harold and Kumar films: "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle," "Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay" and "A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas" plus bonus features.$49.99. (Warner).
  • photo

    Lawrence of Arabia 50th Anniversary

    (1962) Dir.: David Lean; Peter O'Toole, Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn, Jack Hawkins, Omar Sharif, Jose Ferrer, Anthony Quayle, Claude Rains, Arthur Kennedy. Digitally restored director's cut. Available as a two-disc Blu-ray set with UltraViolet, $26.99; and as a three-disc boxed Gift Set, $95.99. Extras: "Secrets of Arabia" picture-in-graphic track; "Peter O'Toole revisits Lawrence of Arabia" new interview; "The Making of Lawrence of Arabia" documentary; conversation with Steven Spielberg; "Maan, Jordan: The Camels Are Cast"; "In Search of Lawrence"; "Romance of Arabia"; "Wind, Sand and Star: The Making of a Classic"; original newsreel footage of the New York premiere; advertising campaigns. The Gift Set adds a soundtrack CD; 88-page coffee table book; individually numbered 70mm film frame; a never-before-seen deleted scene; "The Lure of the Desert: Martin Scorsese on Lawrence of Arabia"; "In Love With the Desert" featurette; "King Hussein Visits Lawrence of Arabia Scene"; archival interviews with William Friedkin, Sydney Pollack, Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg; trailers and TV spots. (Sony).
  • The Postman Always Rings Twice

    (1946) Lana Turner, John Garfield, Cecil Kellaway, Hume Cronyn, Leon Ames, Audrey Totter. Extras: Introduction by Richard Jewell, "Lana Turner ... A Daughter's Memoir," "The John Garfield Story," "Phantoms, Inc.," "Red Hot Riding Hood," Screen Guild Theater broadcast, trailer. (Warner).
  • The Postman Always Rings Twice

    (1981) Dir.: Bob Rafelson; Jack Nicholson, Jessica Lange, John Colicos, Michael Lerner, John P. Ryan, Anjelica Huston. (Warner).
  • Trilogy of Life

    In the early 1970s, the great Italian poet, philosopher, and filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini ("Salo, or The 120 Days of Sodom") brought to the screen a trio of masterpieces of premodern world literature: ­Giovanni Boccaccio's "The Decameron" (1971), Geoffrey Chaucer's "The Canterbury Tales" (1972) and "The Thousand and One Nights" (often known as "The Arabian Nights") (1974) ­and in doing so created his most uninhibited and extravagant work, which he titled his "Trilogy of Life." In this brazen and bawdy triptych, the director set out to challenge consumer capitalism and celebrate the uncorrupted human body while commenting on contemporary sexual and religious mores and hypocrisies. His scatological humor and rough-hewn sensuality leave all modern standards of decency behind; these are physical, provocative, and wildly entertaining films, all extraordinarily designed by Dante Ferretti and featuring evocative music by Ennio Morricone. New high-definition digital restorations of all three films, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks on the Blu-ray editions. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray Disc. Extras: New visual essays by film scholars Patrick Rumble and Tony Rayns on "The Decameron" and "Arabian Nights," respectively; new interviews with art director Dante Ferretti and composer Ennio Morricone about their work with Pasolini, and with film scholar Sam Rohdie on "The Canterbury Tales"; "The Lost Body of Alibech" (2005), a 45-minute documentary by Roberto Chiesi about a lost sequence from "The Decameron"; "The Secret Humiliation of Chaucer" (2006), a 47-minute documentary by Chiesi about "The Canterbury Tales"; "Via Pasoli; "Pier Paolo Pasolini and the Form of the City" (1974), a 16-minute documentary by Pasolini and Paolo Burnatto about the ancient Italian cities Orte and Sabaudia; deleted scenes from "Arabian Nights," with transcriptions of pages from the original script; Pasolini-approved English-dubbed track for "The Canterbury Tales"; trailers; a booklet featuring essays by critic Colin MacCabe; Pasolini's 1975 article "Trilogy of Life Rejected," excerpts from Pasolini's Berlin Film Festival press conference for "The Canterbury Tales," and a report from the set of "Arabian Nights" by critic Gideon Bachmann. (The Criterion Collection).
  • Weekend

    (1967) This scathing late-sixties satire from Jean-Luc Godard is one of cinema's great anarchic works. Determined to collect an inheritance from a dying relative, a bourgeois couple travel across the French countryside while civilization crashes and burns around them. Featuring a justly famous centerpiece sequence in which the camera tracks along a seemingly endless traffic jam, and rich with historical and literary references, "Weekend" is a surreally funny and disturbing call for revolution, a depiction of society retreating to savagery, and -- ­according to the credits -- ­the end of cinema itself. New, restored high-definition digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray Disc. Extras: New video essay by film critic Kent Jones; archival interviews with actors Mireille Darc and Jean Yanne and assistant director Claude Miller; excerpt from a French television program on director Jean-Luc Godard, featuring on-set footage of "Weekend" shot by filmmaker Philippe Garrel; trailers; a booklet featuring an essay by critic and novelist Gary Indiana. (The Criterion Collection).

    November 20
  • Deathtrap

    (1982) Dir: Sidney Lumet; Michael Caine, Christopher Reeve, Dyan Cannon. Extras: (Warner Archive Collection).
  • Gypsy

    (1962) Rosalind Russell, Natalie Wood, Ann Jillian, Karl Malden. (Warner Archive Collection).
  • Hard Core Logo

    (1996) Hugh Dillon, Callum Keith Rennie, John Pyper-Ferguson, Bernie Coulson. Pseudo-documentary by Bruce Macdonald follows punk bank Hard Core Logo on a harrowing last-gasp reunion tour throughout Western Canada (MVD Entertainment).
  • Heaven's Gate

    (1980) A visionary critique of American expansionism," Heaven's Gate," directed by Oscar winner Michael Cimino ("The Deer Hunter"), is among Hollywood's most ambitious and unorthodox epics. Kris Kristofferson brings his weathered sensuality to the role of a Harvard graduate who has relocated all the way to Wyoming as a federal marshal; there, he learns of a government-sanctioned plot by rich cattle barons to kill the area's European settlers for their land. The resulting skirmish is based on the real-life bloody Johnson County War of 1892. Also starring Isabelle Huppert and Christopher Walken, "Heaven's Gate" is a savage and ravishingly shot demystification of western movie lore. This is the full director's cut, letting viewers today see Cimino's potent original vision. New, restored transfer of director Michael Cimino's cut of the film, supervised by Cimino. New restoration of the 5.1 surround soundtrack, supervised by Cimino, in DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu-ray edition. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray Disc. Extras: New illustrated audio interview with Cimino and producer Joann Carelli; new interviews with actor Kris Kristofferson, soundtrack arranger and performer David Mansfield, and second assistant director Michael Stevenson; "The Johnson County War," a video interview with historian Bill O'Neal about the real-life conflict that inspired the film, and its resonance in popular culture; trailer and TV spots; a booklet featuring an essay by critic and programmer Giulia D'Agnolo Vallan. (The Criterion Collection).
  • Tarantino XX: 8-Film Blu-ray Collection

    photo Contains eight films chosen by Quentin Tarantino to illustrate the first 20 years of his career, featuring the films that helped define his early success, including "Reservoir Dogs," "True Romance," "Pulp Fiction," "Jackie Brown," "Kill Bill Vol. 1," "Kill Bill Vol. 2," "Death Proof" and "Inglourious Basterds." To complete the stunning high definition 10-disc set, the Tarantino XX: 8-Film Collection also features two discs with five hours of all-new bonus material, highlighted by a critics' retrospective on Tarantino's ground-breaking catalog of films and “20 Years of Filmmaking” that contains interviews with critics, stars and other masters of cinema. Read the complete press release. $119.99. (Lionsgate).


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October 31, 2012