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More News: December 2010

Fasten Your Seatbelts for Two
Fox Classics

photo (December 31) Two critically-acclaimed films make their high definition debut in limited-edition Blu-ray Books, available February 1 from Fox Home Entertainment: "An Affair to Remember" (1957, directed by Leo McCarey and starring Cary Grant, Deborah Kerr and Richard Denning; and "All About Eve" (1950, directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz and starring Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, George Sanders, Celeste Holm, Gary Merrill, Hugh Marlowe, Gregory Ratoff, Barbara Bates, Marilyn Monroe and Thelma Ritter. Both films are a prefect addition to any cinephile's collection, and include commentaries, documentaries and rare photos. Read more about "All About Eve" and "An Affair to Remember."

DVD Sales 'Despicable' Again

photo (December 29) Universal Studios Home Entertainment's "Despicable Me" stayed in the No. 1 position as top DVD seller last week -- its second consecutive week in the top spot -- fending off "Salt," which was the top-selling new release. "Salt," the No. 1 renter, landed at No. 3 in both disc sales and Blu-ray sales. In Blu-ray sales, "Inception" beat out "Despicable Me" and "Salt" by moving up from No. 2 to No. 1. Among other new releases on the sales chart, according to Home Media Magazine, 20th Century Fox's "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" landed at No. 7, Fox's Return of the Jedi spoof "Family Guy: It's a Trap" placed at No. 9, Sony's "Easy A" debuted at No. 12 and Disney's "Step Up 3" opened at No. 19. See DVD charts

'Just Announced: 'Life As We Know It'

photo (December 28) Warner Home Video has announced a February 8 release date for the DVD and Blu-ray versions of the romantic comedy "Life As We Know It" -- just in time for Valentine's Day. The comedy of mismatched lovers stars Katherine Heigl as an up-and-coming caterer and Josh Duhamel as a promising network sports director whose disastrous first date augers naught -- until their mutual best friends die and make the unlikely duo joint guardians of 1-year-old Sophie. The "Baby Boom" for the 21st century took in a mild $52 million at the box office and didn't fare well with the critics or audiences. Read more about "Life As We Know It."

This Week's Releases (December 28)
From the Big Screen:

"Resident Evil: Afterlife" and "The American." For more releases this week, see the "Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases."

From TV to Video: (12/28)

"Archer: The Complete First Season" (2010) is a two-disc set with 10 episodes of FX's original animated spy comedy series, $29.98 from Fox ... "Jersey Shore Uncensored: Season two" (2010) is a four-disc set with 13 episodes, $36.99 from MTV/Paramount ... "United States of Tara: The Second Season" (2010) is a two-disc set with 12 episodes, $46.99 from CBS/Paramount.

Buzzin' the 'B's: (12/28)

In "Twelve" (2010), directed by Joel Schumacher and starring Chace Crawford, Curtis Jackson, Emma Roberts, Rory Culkin, Ellen Barkin and Esti Ginzburg, a young Upper East Side Manhattan drug dealer -- who peddles an exotic new designer drug known as "Twelve" -- watches as his high-rolling life is dismantled in the wake of his cousin's murder, which sees his best friend arrested for the crime; from Fox ... photo When two American girls on a bike trip in a remote part of Argentina split up and one of them goes missing, the other must find her before her worst fears are realized, in "And Soon the Darkness" (2009), starring Amber Heard, Odette Yustman, Karl Urban, Gia Mantegna, Adriana Barraza and Cesar Vianco; from Anchor Bay ... A decorated anti-terrorist black-ops soldier who is captured and tortured when a military effort to bring down an international arms dealer goes horribly awry, returns to his Brooklyn apartment struggling to overcome the effects of severe paranoia and anxiety in "Legacy" (2009), starring Idris Elba; from Codeblack Entertainment ... Ten years after a tragic train accident killed his girlfriend, a young man finds himself haunted by disturbing visions from somewhere between the world of the living and the dead -- haunting memories that keep him from moving on in "The Haunting of Amelia (aka The Other Side of the Tracks)" (2008), starring Brendan Fehr, Tania Raymonde, Sam Robards, Stephnie Weir, Chad Lindberg and Shirley Knight; from MTI Home Video ... The search for a brutal serial killer becomes other-worldly: When a series of bizarre and violent killings haunt a dark and decadent city, a corrupt cop must face his own demons to put an end to the brutal string of rape-murders in "Dying God" (2008 -- Argentina), starring James Horan and Lance Henrickson; from Green Apple Entertainment.

For the Family: (12/28)

"Fireman Sam: Ready for Action" (2010) features five episodes of the CGI adventures of Fireman Sam and his Pontypandy crew, $9.98 from HIT Entertainment/Lionsgate ... In "Bob the Builder: The Golden Hammer -- The Movie" (2010), Bob the Builder and his Can-Do Crew embark on a swashbuckling adventure as they search for Pirate Brickbear's Golden Hammer, $9.98 from HIT Entertainment/Lionsgate.

Special Interest: (12/28)

"WWE: Bobby "The Brain" Heenan" (2010) is a two-disc set that covers the career of Bobby Heenan, WWE manager extraordinaire and one of the great color commentators of all time, $29.95 from WWE Home Video.

News: December 26:"Fockers" Conquers X-mas Box Office; "True Grit" Comes on Strong. Read the story at Moviefone.
See Weekend Top 5

News: December 24: "Despicable Me" a Big Meany on Top of DVD, Blu-ray Charts. Read the story at Home Media Magazine.
See DVD charts

This Week's Releases (December 21)
From the Big Screen:

"Devil," "Easy A," "Salt" and "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps." For more releases this week, see the "Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases."

DVD Collectibles: (12/21)

photo Sony and The Film Foundation have teamed for "The Films of Rita Hayworth," a nifty box set with five of the actress's finest films -- three of them for the first time -- fully restored and remastered. "Cover Girl" (1944), "Tonight and Every Night" (1945) (DVD debut), "Gilda" (1946), "Salome" (1953) (DVD debut) and "Miss Sadie Thompson" (1953) (DVD debut). $59.95. Extras include special introductory featurettes: Baz Luhrman on "Cover Girl," Patricia Clarkson on "Tonight and Every Night," Martin Scorsese and Baz Luhrman on "Gilda," "Introducing Miss Sadie Thompson With Patricia Clarkson," commentary by Richard Schickel on "Gilda." Read more about "The Films of Rita Hayworth".

From TV to Video: (12/21)

"The Andy Griffith Show 50th Anniversary: Best of Mayberry" is a three-disc set with 17 "best-of" episodes, including the Danny Thomas Show episode that introduced Sheriff Andy Taylor, the television reunion movie "Return to Mayberry," more. $24.99 from . Paramount ... photo "Billy The Exterminator: The Complete Seasons One and Two" $24.95 each from A&E Home Entertainment ... "Caprica: Season 1.5" (2010) is a three-disc set that includes the series' final five episodes, yet-to-be aired in the U.S., from Universal ... "Futurama Volume 5" is a two-disc set with 13 episodes, $39.98 from Fox ... "Family Guy: It's A Trap!" (2010) is the third installment of the Star Wars satire -- following 2005's "Family Guy: Blue Harvest" and last year's "Family Guy: Something, Something, Something Dark Side" -- the Griffins reprise their intergalactic roles in an outrageous retelling of "Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi." From Fox ... "Gene Simmons: Family Jewels: The Complete Seasons 4 and 5" (2008-09) are three-disc sets, each $19.99 from A&E Home Entertainment ... "The Secret Life of the American Teenager: Volume Five" (2010) is a three-disc set with the first 14 installments of the third season, $39.99 from Disney.

Buzzin' the 'B's: (12/21)

"Step Up 3" (2009) stars Adam G. Sevani, Alyson Stoner, Rick Malambri and Sharni Vinson in a story that centers on a pair of gritty street dance squads facing off in the World Jam, a high-stakes showdown that is the hip-hop Olympics; from Disney ... photo In "Pinprick" (2009 -- U.K.), starring Rachael Blake, Laura Greenwood and Ervin Nagy, a teenage girl hides a criminal inside her bedroom closet, striking up an innocent relationship, trading stories, making up rules, and goofing around, but slowly the man becomes bored with her girly ways and begins to spy on her lonely mother; from Vanguard Cinema ... In "The Horde" (2009 -- France), starring Jean-Pierre Martins, Eriq Ebouaney and Aurelien Recoing, cops and gangsters team up to battle a horde of zombies; from IFC Films ... During a routine hit, a hired killer learns a hit has been placed on his own life when a crooked cop, tries to kill him in "The Heavy" (2010), starring Gary Stretch, Vinnie Jones, Shannyn Sossamon, Stephen Rea and Christopher Lee; from Lionsgate.

On the Indie Front: (12/21)

"The Big Shot-Caller" (2009) is an inspiring New York City story about a lonely outsider who rediscovers his self-esteem through salsa dancing, starring David Rhein and Marlene Rhein, from Vanguard Cinema ... photo "Left/Right" (2008), starring Matthew Wolfe and Caitlin Mulhern, is a coming-of-age comedy about a small-town have-not who has grown up to be a conspicuous, big-city socialite; after a human resource audit reveals an overstated educational background, he loses his job, his gaudy paycheck, and in turn, his identity; from Vanguard Cinema ... Set in the late 1970s, "Turning Green" (2005), starring Timothy Hutton, Alessandro Nivola, Colm Meaney and Donal Gallery, centers on 16-year-old James Powers, forced to leave America for Ireland to live with his three aunts after his mother dies, who gets involved in pornographic literature and becomes a smashing success; from Image Entertainment.

Foreign: (12/21)

Two lost souls make an unexpected connection in the sexy thriller "Map of the Sounds of Tokyo" photo (2009 -- Japan, Spain), starring Rinko Kikuchi and Sergi Lopez. Ryu (Rinko Kikuchi) is a fish-market employee by day, contract killer by night who falls in love with her latest hit; from IFC Films ... Two brothers try to bring new life to a struggling Hamburg restaurant in "Soul Kitchen" (2010 -- Germany), directed by Fatih Akin and starring Adam Bousdoukos, Moritz Bleibtreu and Pheline Roggan; from IFC Films ... In early 20th-century England Angelica Deverell (Romola Garai), the headstrong daughter of a grocer, writes an over-the-top melodramatic novel, which becomes a bestseller, making her the talk of London in "Angel" (2007 -- UK/Belgium/France), starring Romola Garai, Sam Neill, Michael Fassbender and Charlotte Rampling; from IFC Films.

'TRON: Legacy' Dominates Box Office

photo (December 19) Christmas week is supposed to be a time for heavy dramas and Academy-Award bound small films, but this weekend saw a virtual winner at the box office when Disney's "TRON: Legacy" topped the charts with an impressive (for a cult film sequel) take of $43.6 million. Next was the family CGI film "Yogi Bear," with $16.7 million, followed by "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader," "The Fighter" and 'The Tourist.' Read more about this weekend's box office at Moviefone.

No Dream: 'Inception' Tops DVD,
Blu-ray Sales

photo (December 16) Warner had a dream week in DVD and Blu-ray sales as its Christopher Nolan-directed/Leonardo DiCaprio starring mind-bending sci-fi thriller "Inception" flew off retail shelves, displacing Summit Entertainment's "Eclipse" at the top of the charts. According to Home Media Magazine, Paramount/DreamWorks' "Shrek Forever After," meanwhile, topped the rental chart for the week, largely due to high demand at Redbox and Netflix. Paramount is one of the only studios that doesn't impose a rental window on its new releases for the two rental services, which together generate nearly 60 percent of all rental transactions.
See DVD charts

'Facebook' Friends DVD/Blu-ray

photo (December 15) On a fall night in 2003, Harvard undergrad and computer programming genius Mark Zuckerberg sat down at his computer and heatedly began working on a new idea. In a fury of blogging and programming, what began in his dorm room soon became a global social network and a revolution in communication. A mere six years and 500 million friends later, Mark Zuckerberg became the youngest billionaire in history ... but for this entrepreneur, success led to both personal and legal complications. Sony will release "The Social Network," David Fincher's interpretation of the Facebook story, on DVD and Blu-ray on January 11. Stay tuned for information on bonus features.

This Week's Releases (December 14)
From the Big Screen:

"The A-Team," "Cyrus," "Despicable Me," "Exit Through the Gift Shop," "Legend of the Guardians," "Micmacs," "Mother and Child," "Nanny McPhee Returns," "The Other Guys" and "The Town." For more releases this week, see the "Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases."

DVD Collectibles: (12/14)

In celebration of the life and career of French maestro Claude Chabrol, who recently passed away at the age of 80, First Run features presents two of the legendary director's classic thrillers in a two-disc Special Edition, photo "Chabrol: Two Classic Thrillers." Hailed as the French master of the Hitchcockian thriller, Chabrol directed more than 60 films in a career spanning more than half a century. Two of his most delightfully macabre are included here: "La Demoiselle d'Honneur" (The Bridesmaid) and "Merci Pour le Chocolat" (Thank You for the Chocolate). Extras: include director interviews, biographies, photo galleries, the documentary "Chabrol Directs the Bridesmaid," more ... "An Ultimate Collection of Gulliver's Travels" includes two animated features, "Gulliver's Travels" (1939) (produced by the legendary Max Fleisher and directed by his brother David) and "Gulliver's Travels Beyond the Moon" (1965), as well as seven Max Fleischer cartoons starring "Gabby" from "Gulliver's Travels" and a 1902 film by special effects pioneer Georges Melies. $15.95 from Film Chest/Virgil Films and Entertainment.

From TV to Video: (12/14)

"Army Wives: The Complete Fourth Season" (2009) is a four-disc set with 18 episodes, $39.99 from Disney ... "Gunsmoke: The Fourth Season, Volume Two" (1959) is a three-disc set, $39.99 from CBS Home Entertainment/Paramount Home Entertainment ... "Hawaii Five-O: The Tenth Season" (1977-78) is a six-disc set with 24 episodes, $54.99 from CBS Home Entertainment/Paramount Home Entertainment ... "Hoarders: Season 2, Part 1" (2010) is a two-disc set with seven episodes, $19.95 from A&E Home Entertainment ... "24: The Complete Series" is a 57-disc for $349.98 from Fox.

Buzzin' the 'B's: (12/14)

"Dear Mr. Gacy" (2009), starring William Forsythe, Jesse Moss and Emma Lahana, is a chronicle of the interaction between college student Jason Moss and the object of his obsession, serial killer John Wayne Gacy; photo from Anchor Bay ... In "Frenemy (aka Little Fish, Strange Pond)" (2010), starring Matthew Modine, Callum Blue, Paul Adelstein, Adam Baldwin, Lisa Brenner and Zach Galifianakis, Mr. Jack and Sweet Stephen cruise aimlessly through the streets of L.A. speculating about life, death, divine will and the force of power that predetermines their existence; from Lionsgate ... "Prayers for Bobby" (2009), starring Sigourney Weaver and Ryan Kelley, is a captivating and emotional true story about a deeply religious suburban housewife and mother who struggles to accept her son's homosexuality; from A&E Home Entertainment ... A New York City playboy's life is rocked when he learns that his childhood love is engaged, and he plunges into whiskey and self-destruction in "The Last International Playboy" (2009), starring Jason Behr, Krysten Ritter, Lucy Gordon, Monet Mazur, India Ennenga, Lydia Hearst and Mike Landry; from MTI Home Video.

On the Indie Front: (12/14)

When Montreal West high school student Leon Bronstein (Jay Baruchel) discovers that his birth name is the same as Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky, he comes to believe that he is the reincarnation of his namesake and -- though he leads a privileged upper middle class life, decides to embark on his own Bolshevik mission in the off-kilter comedy "The Trotsky" 2009), starring Jay Baruchel, Saul Rubinek, Colm Feore, Michael Murphy and Emily Hampshire; from Tribeca Film/New Video.

Foreign: (12/14)

Juliette Binoche, Liron Levo, Jeanne Moreau, Barbara Hendricks, Dana Ivgy, Hiam Abbass star in "Disengagement" (2007 -- Germany/Italy/Israel/France), a political drama centered around Israel's pullout from the occupied Gaza strip, in which a French woman returns to Israel and the Gaza Strip to find the daughter she abandoned at birth; from IFC Films ... "Resonances (aka Oddzwiek)" (2009 -- Poland) is a documentary about a young woman who, until her 17th birthday, wanted to become a nun. The film uncovers the reasons why the woman became a feminist against the grain of modern Catholic Poland; from CAV Distributing.

Special Interest: (12/14)

"Gasland" (2010) is a documentary about the perils of domestic natural gas drilling. The largest domestic natural gas drilling boom in history has swept across the United States. The Halliburton-developed drilling technology of "fracking" (hydraulic fracturing) has unlocked a "Saudia Arabia of natural gas" just beneath us. photo When filmmaker Josh Fox was asked to lease his land for drilling, he embarked on a cross-country odyssey uncovering a trail of secrets, lies and contamination. A nearby Pennsylvania town that had recently been drilled reported that its residents were able to light their drinking water on fire. This is just one of the many absurd and astonishing revelations of a new country called Gasland. Part verite travelogue, part expose, part mystery, part bluegrass banjo meltdown, and part showdown, the film premiered on HBO in June 2010; from New Video ... Short-listed as one of the 15 best documentaries of the year, "Mugabe and the White African" (2009) is the story of one family's astonishing bravery as they fight to protect their property, their livelihood and their country. Mike Campbell is one of the few white farmers left in Zimbabwe since its leader, Robert Mugabe, enacted his disastrous land redistribution program. Once the breadbasket of Africa, Zimbabwe has since spiraled into chaos, the economy decimated as farms given to Mugabe cronies are run into ruin. After enduring years of intimidation and threats, Campbell decides to take action. Unable to call upon help from his country's authorities, he challenges Mugabe before an international court. From First Run Features. "Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work" (2010) is the well-received documentary on the outspoken comedian; from IFC Films ... In the documentary "The Back Nine" (2009), a man turning 40 chases his dream of becoming a professional golfer at any cost. What he finds along the way changes his life forever. Features interviews with PGA instructor Tim Suzor, golf yoga instructor Katherine Roberts and mental game expert Dr. Joe Parent; from Magnolia Home Entertainment ... The "Concert for the Americas" (1982, Showtime), featuring Frank Sinatra, was recorded at the Altos de Chavon Amphitheater, a 5,000-seat open-air Greek-style amphitheater in the Dominican Republic. This 90-minute performance features the legendary Buddy Rich on drums and a special guest appearance by guitarist Tony Mottola on a memorable rendition of "Send in the Clowns." (Shout! Factory) ... "Robert Klein: Unfair & Unbalanced" (2010) is the comedian/actor's ninth HBO stand-up special, an hour of all new insights into society's foibles and follies, plus several memorable musical interludes, in front of a live audience at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts' Amaturo Theatre in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. $19.97 from HBO.

photo "World Wrestling Entertainment DVD Roundup" "WWE: Top 50 Superstars of All Time" It's a timeless debate for sports entertainment fans everywhere. Who is the greatest of all time? Better yet, what superstars make up your top 10. The debates and cross-generational comparisons can go on forever, as fans compare Stone Cold to the Hulkster, Ric Flair to Shawn Michaels, this generation's giant (Big Show) to the all-time Giant (Andre), or ask whether John Cena and Randy Orton have already done enough to cement a permanent legacy in this industry. Now, with the "50 Greatest Superstars in WWE History" three-disc giftset, fans can enjoy the first-ever countdown of the biggest superstars in history, complete with highlights of the top 50, commentary from today's WWE Superstars explaining their choices, and more. $34.95.
"Smackdown: The Best of 2009-2010" (2010) It has been quite a year for SmackDown. The popular show celebrated its 10th anniversary and the season featured a number of outlandish moments, outstanding matches, and bitter rivalries. Now fans can relive their favorite matches and moments with this three-disc release will includes more than 8 hours of the best of SmackDown. $34.95.
"WWE: Bragging Rights 2010" (2010) Pits the biggest superstars of the SmackDown brand vs the best of Raw in a series of matches for bragging rights. $24.95.
"WWE: Hell in a Cell 2010" (2010) It's sadistic and demonic. It's structure can make a career or end it. Some of the most iconic WWE moments of the last decade have happened in the Hell in a Cell and this DVD includes all the matches from this spectacular event with the stars of Raw and SmackDown battling each other. $24.95.

Third 'Narnia' Treads Water
at Weekend Box Office

photo (December 12) Two new openers took the No. 1 and No. 2 box office positions this weekend, with "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader," the third film adapted from the C.S. Lewis book series, beating out the Angelina Jolie-Johnny Depp "The Tourist." Both films opened soft, however, with "Dawn Treader" taking in $24.5 million and "The Tourist" grabbing $17 million. "Tangled," in its third weekend, earned $14.6 million in third place, followed by "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1" with $8.5 million and the Denzel Washington-Chris Pine thriller "Unstoppable" with $3.8 million. Other new openers, in limited release, were the Christian Bale-Mark Wahlberg "The Fighter," with a respectable $80,000 per-screen average, and "The Tempest," with a fairly good $45,000 in five venues. And the much-buzzed about Darren Aronofsky-directed, Natalie Portman "Black Swan" added 72 theaters to gross $3.3 million in 90 outings for a hefty $37,022 per screen average (in sixth place).

DVD Ward Opens for
'It's Kind of a Funny Story'

photo (December 9) Universal will release on February 8 the delightful comedy "It's Kind of a Funny Story," starring Zach Galifianakis, Keir Gilchrist, Lauren Graham and Emma Roberts, and directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck ("Sugar," "Half Nelson"). Sometimes what's in your head isn't as crazy as you think ... that's certainly true for Craig (Gilchrist), a stressed-out teenager who checks himself into a mental health clinic for some time out. What he finds instead is an unlikely mentor (Galifianakis), a potential new romance (Roberts) and an opportunity to begin anew. It's charming, witty and smart. Read more about "It's Kind of a Funny Story.

Vampires 'Eclipse' DVD, Blu-ray Sales

photo (December 8) "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse," the third entry in Stephenie Meyers' romantic vampire saga, topped the national DVD and Blu-ray sales charts the week ended Dec. 5, even though it arrived in stores midnight Friday instead of the customary Tuesday, according to Home Media Magazine. Summit Home Entertainment reported that 3 million DVDs and Blu-ray Discs of the film were sold in its first two days in stores. Two other new releases, Disney's "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" and Fox's "Knight and Day," captured the No. 2 and No. 3 sales spots. As for Blu-ray Disc sales, "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" debuted at No. 2, followed at No. 3 by "Fantasia/Fantasia 2000" and No. 4 by "Knight and Day." Read the complete report at Home Media Magazine.
See DVD charts

'Raging Bull' Enters Blu-ray Ring Jan. 11

photo (December 7) A powerhouse film that introduced unflinching realism to stunned audiences in 1980, "Raging Bull" smashes onto Blu-ray in a special 30th Anniversary Edition from MGM Home Entertainment on Jan. 11. With an Academy Award-winning performance by Robert De Niro and celebrated direction by Martin Scorsese and editing by Thelma Schoonmaker, this critically-acclaimed film was described as an "exceedingly violent as well as poetic" fight picture that maps "the landscape of the soul" (The New York Times). The new Anniversary Edition Blu-ray boasts more than 50 minutes of brand new features, including exclusive, new interviews with De Niro and Scorsese. Read more about "Raging Bull."

This Week's Releases (December 7)
From the Big Screen:

"Inception" and "Shrek Forever After." For more releases this week, see the "Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases."

DVD Collectibles: (12/7)

There's two very unusual films due this week from The Criterion Collection, both immaculately rendered and loaded with superb extras. Guillermo del Toro made an auspicious, audacious feature debut with "Cronos" (1993), photo a highly unorthodox tale about the seductiveness of the idea of immortality. Kindly antiques dealer Jesus Gris (Federico Luppi) happens upon an ancient golden device in the shape of a scarab, and soon finds himself possessor and victim of its sinister, addictive powers, as well as the target of a mysterious, crude American named Angel (a delightfully deranged Ron Perlman). Featuring marvelous special makeup effects and the unforgettably haunting imagery for which del Toro has become world-renowned, "Cronos" is a visually rich and emotionally captivating dark fantasy. In a new, restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised and approved by del Toro and cinematographer Guillermo Navarro, including optional audio with the film's original Spanish-language voice-over introduction as well as DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu-ray version ... photo Starring James Woods and Deborah Harry in an early film role, "Videodrome" (1983) is one of the most original and provocative works from writer-director David Cronenberg, and features ground-breaking special makeup effects by Academy Award winner Rick Baker. When Max Renn (Woods) goes looking for edgy new shows for his sleazy cable-TV station, he stumbles across the pirate broadcast of a hyperviolent torture show called Videodrome. His attempts to unearth the program's origins send him on a hallucinatory journey into a shadow world of right-wing conspiracies, sadomasochistic sex games and body modification. This Blu-ray edition features a restored high-definition digital transfer of the unrated version, with an uncompressed monaural soundtrack, approved by Cronenberg.

From TV to Video: (12/7)

"Bonanza: The Official Second Season -- Volume One" (1960-61) is a five-disc set, $42.99 from Paramount ... "Boy Meets World: The Complete Fourth Season" (1996-97) is a three-disc set with 22 episodes, $29.98 from Lionsgate ... "Law & Order: The Eighth Year" (1997-98) is a five-disc set with 24 episodes, $59.98 from Universal ... "Vega$: The Second Season -- Volume 1" (1979-80) is a three-disc set, $39.99 from CBS Home Entertainment/Paramount Home Entertainment.

Buzzin' the 'B's: (12/7)

Based on the novel "Life is a Strange Place" by critically acclaimed author, Frank Turner Hollon, "Barry Munday" (2010), starring Patrick Wilson and Judy Greer, follows a suburban wanna-be ladies man named Barry Munday, who wakes up in the hospital after being attacked in a movie theater only to realize that he is missing one of his most prized possessions ... his "family jewels." From Magnolia Home Entertainment ... photo "Disciples of the 36th Chamber" (1985), starring Gordon Liu and Hsiao Ho, is a classic Shaw Brothers martial arts film. Fong Sai Yuk, an incorrigible teenager whose troublesome antics constantly anger the Manchu officials, is sent by his mother to join the master of the Shaolin Temple, monk San Te, to learn the ways of the Shaolin. Yet Yuk's rebellious behavior soon leads the temple into a villainous trap and its up to monk San Te to save his temple and protect his troublesome new apprentice. From Vivendi Entertainment/The Weinstein Company/Dragon Dynasty Collection ... In "Hunter Prey" (2010), starring Isaac C. Singleton Jr., Clark Bartram, Damion Poitier and Simon Potter, a group of elite intergalactic commandos must capture their escaped alien prisoner after their spaceship crash-lands on an unknown planet. From Maya Entertainment ... In "Harpoon: Whale Watching Massacre" (2009 -- Iceland), a boatload of whale-watching tourists gets hijacked by a family of deranged killers. Available in rated and unrated versions from Image Entertainment.

On the Indie Front: (12/7)

There's two fascinating films from Indican Pictures this week: "Kings of the Evening" (2008), starring Tyson Beckford, Lynn Whitfield, Reginald T. Dorsey, Linara Washington, Bruce McGill, Glynn Turman, James Russo and Steven Williams. Homer Hobbs, home after two years in jail, discovers that life on the outside can be crueler than the back-breaking injustice of the chain gang. He returns to a bleak urban town caught in the depths of the Great Depression -- no jobs, no prospects, no hope -- where he is thrown together with four strangers, each struggling to survive as they scratch and scheme to dig their way out of poverty. But on Sunday nights, in a dingy hall in a forlorn neighborhood, the men of the ghetto piece together the finest attire their meager lives can beg, borrow or steal to compete in an underground contest like no other ... photo "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Undead" (2009), starring Jake Hoffman, Devon Aoki, John Ventimiglia, Ralph Macchio, Kris Lemche, Jeremy Sisto and Joey Kern, is a quirky twist on the Tom Stoppard classic. Living in the back room of his father's doctors office, broke and frustrated ladies man Julian scores his big break when he lands the job directing an off-Broadway version of "Hamlet." Except it's a bizarre adaptation written by a pale Romanian impresario named Theo who is actually a master vampire. Theo hopes to lure the real Hamlet out of hiding so the two can end a centuries long feud over Shakespeare's "Ophelia." Meanwhile, Julian pines for his ex-girlfriend, Anna, who is dating a mobster intent on creating the next great invention -- "Whack a Germ." Added into the mix is a dimwitted detective, the Holy Grail, the Rosicrucian Society, a bunch of sexy vamps, God, and a score by Sean Lennon ... "The Year of Getting to Know Us" (2007) stars Jimmy Fallon as a New York-based writer devoted to his work but unable to commit to his beautiful, intelligent girlfriend (Lucy Liu) -- or anything else in his personal life. After his estranged, golf-obsessed father Tom (Tom Arnold) suffers a debilitating stroke, he heads to his childhood home in Florida where, laying in wait, is his eccentric mother (Sharon Stone) and a litany of childhood issues that must be reconciled before he's able to move on with his life. From Entertainment One.

For the Family: (12/7)

"The Dog Who Saved Christmas Vacation" (2010) stars Gary Valentine, Elisa Donovan, Casper Van Dien, Dean Cain and the voices of Mario Lopez and Paris Hilton in an ABC Family original live-action/animated movie sequel to last year's "The Dog Who Saved Christmas." The Bannister family and Zeus (voiced by Mario Lopez) travel to a beautiful Rocky Mountain ski lodge for their long-awaited holiday vacation but get bothered by obnoxious relatives and their prissy poodle Bella (voiced by Paris Hilton), who are also staying at the house. From Anchor Bay Entertainment ... photo "SpongeBob SquarePants: Season 6, Volume 2" (2008-09) is a two-disc set with 23 episodes, including the double-episode "SpongeBob and the Clash of Triton" that guest stars Victoria Beckham and Sebastian Bach. $26.99 from Nick/Paramount ... In "Thomas & Friends: The Lion of Sodor" (2010), Thomas the Tank Engine roars down the tracks with his most special delivery yet: The Lion of Sodor statue ... but Thomas thinks it's a real lion. Includes three other episodes: "Thomas and the Pigs," "Time for a Story" and "Hiro Helps Out." $14.98 from HIT Entertainment/Lionsgate ... In "Yogi Bear's All-Star Comedy Christmas Caper" (1982), Yogi poses as a department store Santa and helps a little girl restore her faith in Christmas. New, re-mastered version available for the first time on DVD -- just in time for the theatrical debut of "Yogi Bear," the new live-action/computer animated big screen adventure in 3-D. $14.97 from Warner.

Special Interest: (12/7)

"Restrepo" (2010), the winner of the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, photo directed by Tim Hetherington and award-winning journalist and best-selling author Sebastian Junger, is an intense study of modern warfare. Without political agenda, Hetherington and Junger capture the daily activities of American soldiers deployed at "Outpost Restrepo," a location named after a fellow soldier who was killed during battle. Set in one of Afghanistan's most dangerous valleys, viewers are presented with a raw portrait interspersed with up-close encounters between the comrades. $19.99 from Virgil Films & Entertainment ... "Mystery of the Hope Diamond" traces the epic journey of this most famous and coveted gem, from its origins to its journey across three continents -- passing from monarchs to thieves to millionaires to its final home at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. From Infinity/Smithsonian.

Just Announced: Lennon, Clones
and Conviction

photo (December 1) Three more indie films will grace DVD shelves in late January and early February. Beatles fans will get a closer look into the early years of music legend John Lennon when "Nowhere Boy" comes to Blu-ray Disc and DVD on January 25 from Sony; the haunting and heart-wrenching romantic-drama "Never Let Me Go," about three best friends who grow up together at a seemingly idyllic English boarding school with a chilling secret, based on the award-winning book by Kazuo Ishiguro, will arrive February 1 from Fox; and "Conviction," based on the real-life journey of Betty Ann Waters, a courageous woman who embarked on an 18-year quest to help clear the name of her wrongly-accused brother and win back his freedom, will also arrive February 1 from Fox.

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January 1, 2010
OnVideo News (ISSN 1094-3676).