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More DVD News: March 2011

New Blu-ray: Sony Launches 'Das Boot,'
MGM Sets Five Mother's Day Releases

photo (March 30) Sony Pictures Home Entertainment announced that they will unleash the harrowing 1981 epic World War II film, "Das Boot," for the first time on Blu-ray on June 7 for $34.95. Newly remastered for high definition, the director’s cut of this prized film adds 60 nail-biting minutes to the original version, which was nominated in 1982 for six Academy Awards® including Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Effects/Sound Effects Editing and Best Sound. The film also introduced German star Jurgen Prochnow to American audiences. Also included in the two-disc set is the original theatrical version of the film and almost three hours of all-new Blu-ray exclusive special features, including a retrospective documentary with Director Wolfgang Petersen. Read more about the "Das Boot" Blu-ray edition. Meanwhile, MGM has set an April 5 release date for five romantic comedies just right for Mother's Day: "Lars and the Real Girl" (2007), "Much Ado About Nothing" (1993), "De-Lovely" (2004), "Mystic Pizza" (1988) and "Benny & Joon" (1993).

This Week's Releases (March 29)
From the Big Screen:

"Black Swan," "Tangled," "Fair Game," "Made in Dagenham" and "All Good Things." For more releases this week, see the "Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases."

DVD Collectibles (3/29):

You don't need a miracle to enjoy "The Ten Commandments" (1956), Cecil B. DeMille's epic take on the Book of Exodus. photo The three and a half hour epic has thrilled generation after generation of movie lovers with its drama, suspense, intrigue, romance and biblical messages -- not to mention the pre-computer special effects. The film is availabe as a two-disc DVD ($19.99) and Blu-ray ($39.99) and as a six-disc Blu-Ray/DVD Combo Gift Set (three Blu-ray Discs, three DVDs) packaged in a limited edition box featuring an image of the Red Sea that parts when the box is opened to reveal two tablets holding all six discs. The box also contains a photo and archive book and sells for $89.99. The Paramount film stars Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner, Anne Baxter, Edward G. Robinson, Yvonne De Carlo, Debra Paget, John Derek, Cedric Hardwicke, Nina Foch, Martha Scott, Judith Anderson, Vincent Price, John Carradine.

The folks at The Criterion Collection celebrate Gilbert and Sullivan this week with two G&S-themed films. First up is "The Mikado" (1939), in which the legendary Gilbert and Sullivan troupe the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company joined forces with Hollywood for a 1939 Technicolor version of the fabled comic opera, the first complete work by the famed duo to be adapted for the screen, directed by musician and Oscar-nominated filmmaker Victor Schertzinger. Next comes "Topsy-Turvy" (1999), in which director Mike Leigh brings the world of Gilbert and Sullivan to vivid life in an extraordinary dramatization of the staging of their legendary 1885 comic opera "The Mikado." Jim Broadbent and Allan Corduner brilliantly inhabit the roles of the world-famous Victorian librettist and composer, respectively, who, along with their troupe of temperamental actors, must battle personal and professional demons while mounting this major production. Both films come with the usual Collection attention to detail: excellant bonis features and booklets. Available on DVD nd Blu-ray.

"Mesrine: Public Enemy #1" (2010 -- France) is the second of the acclaimed two-part crime saga that's received recognition photo around the globe as "an instant gangster classic." The film stars Vincent Cassel in a mesmerizing performance as Jacques Mesrine, the last of the great French gangsters whose criminal career spaned more than 20 years of kidnappings, robberies, murders and prison escapes in some half-dozen countries. Mesrine's criminal reign came to an end in a hail of bullets by police in the middle of Paris in 1979, a spectacular demise that put the crowning touch on his legend. "Mesrine: Killer Instinct" (Part 1) was released last month. Set aside four hours to watch this absorbing saga. Highly recommended. Co-stars Cecile De France, Gerard Depardieu, Roy Dupuis, Gilles Lellouche, Elana Anaya and Ludivine Sagnier. From Music Box Films.

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, and PBS/Paramount has marked the occasion with the release of "The Civil War: 150th Anniversary Edition," a six-disc set of Ken Burn's 1990 epic nine-part documentary; the sixth disc includes interviews with author Shelby Foote and Burns. Bonus features include Battlefield maps and biographies; $99.99.

From TV to Video (3/29):

"Anything Goes" (1954) is a Colgate Comedy Hour production of the famed Cole Porter musical comedy in which Frank Sinatra and Ethel Merman made their television debuts; from The Archive of American Television; $29.98 from Entertainment One photo ... "The Capture of the Green River Killer" (2010) is a Lifetime Movie dramatization about the hunt for the notorious Washington state serial killer, from A&E Home Entertainment ... "Dennis the Menace: Season One" (1959-60) is a five-disc set with 32 episodes, $29.93 from Shout! Factory ... "Emergency! The Final Rescues" (1978-79) is a two-disc set with all nine Season 7 episodes, $39.98; from Universal ... "Gangland: The Final Season" (2010) is a four-disc set with 15 episodes, $39.95, from A&E Home Entertainment ... "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys -- Season Two" (1995-96) is a five-disc set with 24 episodes, $26.98 from Universal ... "In Plain Sight: Season Three" (2010) is a three-disc set with 13 episodes, $39.98 from Universal ... "Mad Men: Season Four" (2010) is a four-disc set with 13 episodes, $49.98 from Lionsgate ... "Treme: The Complete First Season" (2010) is a four-disc set with 10 episodes, $59.99 from HBO ... "VEGA$: The Second Season, Volume 2" (1980-81) is a three-disc set with the second season's last 11 episodes, $39.99 from CBS/Paramount ... "Xena: Warrior Princess -- Season Two " (1996-97) is a five-disc set with 22 episodes, $26.98 from Universal.

Buzzin' the 'B's (3/29):

In the exciting but predictable "The Resident" (2011), Hilary Swank takes a sexy turn as a young ER doctor who moves into a spacious new apartment in Brooklyn, then finds that she's not alone: photo She's being stalked by her handsome landlord, who peeks in on her from hidden rooms and corridors. Co-stars Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Christopher Lee and Lee Pace; from Image Entertainment ... While driving from Texas to Los Angeles, a young couple takes refuge in a roadside motel in the desolate Mojave Desert, where they're plagued by mysterious apparitions, messages and visitations ... as well as a jukebox that plays the same song over and over in "Beneath the Dark" (2010), starring Jamie-Lynn Sigler and Josh Stewart; from IFC Films ... In "Fatal Secrets" (2010), starring Dina Meyer, Vincent Spano, Lela Rochon, Lea Thompson, Ernie Hudson, Ed Begley Jr. and Tess Harper, a woman enlists two friends to fend off an overly aggressive suitor with dire consequences; from MTI Home Video ... photo A group of friends enters a supernatural game of cat and mouse when they're left stranded next to a desolate cornfield and farmhouse in "Husk" (2010), starring Devon Graye, Wes Chatham, CJ Thomason, Tammin Sursok and Ben Easter; from Lionsgate ... After serving a 40-year prison term, Coffin Joe is finally released from the Mental Heath wing of the Sao Paulo State Penitentiary and, back on the streets, the sadistic undertaker is set upon fulfilling the goal which sent him to jail in the first place: find a woman who can give him the perfect child in "Embodiment of Evil" (2008 -- Brazil); from Synapse Films/CAV Distributing ... Hitching a ride on a cargo truck, a group of friends discover they're keeping company with hundreds of cartons of blood on the way to feed bloodthirsty vampires in "Prowl" (2009), starring Courtney Hope, John Bowman, Saxon Trainor and Bruce Payne; from Lionsgate.

On the Indie Front (3/29):

photo Four aging lesbians -- members of a defunct band called The Screech -- dream of better times but a long-kept secret comes back to haunt them in "The Owls" (2010). starring V.S. Brodie, Skyler Cooper and Cheryl Dunye, from First Run Features ... An aimless young elementary schoolteacher finds out that he has cancer and takes off on a trans-Canada road trip via motorcycle in "One Week" (2008), starring Joshua Jackson, Liane Balaban and Gord Downie; from IFC Films/MPI Media ... "Who's the Caboose?" (1997) is a mockumentary that follows a New York stand-up comedian (Sarah Silverman) as she heads to L.A. to do a TV pilot, followed by her boyfriend, who ends up getting sucked into the Hollywood scene. Co-stars Sam Seder, H. Jon Benjamin, Andy Dick, David Cross and Kathy Griffin; from Flatiron Film Co./New Video.

Foreign (3/29):

"The Swimsuit Issue" (2008 -- Sweden) is a comedy about an unemployed and divorced man, estranged from his daughter, who gets the idea to mold his motley buddies into Sweden's only all-male synchronized-swimming team, with the World Cup finals in Berlin as the seemingly unattainable goal; what starts out as a lark turns into a quest to give their lives new meaning. Stars Jonas Inde, Amanda Davin and Andreas Rothlin Svensson; from Tribeca Film/New Video.

Special Interest (3/29):

This is an incredible week for documentaries -- almost a dozen on varied subjects from World War II to bees to the bible. Here's a rundown:
  • "Apocalypse: World War II" (2011) Three-disc set documentary series takes an in-depth and uncensored examination of the Second World War through the eyes of those who lived through it. (Entertainment One).
  • "The Good War and Those Who Refused to Fight It" (2000) Narrated by Ed Asner, this important film tells the story of a previously ignored chapter of WWII -- the American conscientious objectors who refused to fight. It's a story of personal courage, idealism and nonconformity based on both ethical and religious beliefs -- about men whose love of country could not extend to killing their fellow man. (First Run Features).
  • "Our Planet: The Past, Present and Future of Earth" (2011) Three-disc set with three History programs: "How the Earth Was Made," "A Global Warning?" and "Life After People," $19.95. (A&E Home Entertainment).
  • "Dinosaurs: Giant of Patagonia" (2011) Documentary focuses on the history, evolution and extinction of the dinosaurs. Narrated by Donald Sutherland. IMAX 3D. (Image Entertainment).
  • "Mummies: Secrets of the Pharaohs" (2011) Documentary probes ancient tombs, follows forensic scientists as they unravel the mysteries of these enshrouded time capsules. IMAX 3D. (Image Entertainment).
  • "The Restaurateur" (2010) This intimate documentary follows Danny Meyer, one of America's preeminent restaurant owners, over a 12 year span as he struggles to open not one but two ambitious restaurants next to New York's Madison Square Park. (First Run Features).
  • "Colony" (2009) Few people realize that honey bees pollinate one-third of our fruits and vegetables, and although honey bees are some of the most resilient, efficient and industrious insects, entire colonies are dying off. Why? This documentary investigates the circumstances and the impacts of "colony collapse disorder" by focusing on beekeepers dealing with the crisis. (Docurama Films).
  • "The Human Experience" (2010) An altruistic group of young men endeavor to understand the true essence of the human spirit by visiting forgotten souls such as homeless New Yorkers, Peruvian orphans and isolated Ghanaian lepers. By spotlighting heartwarming stories from around the world, this uplifting documentary shows viewers that every single person, no matter his or her lot in life, is beautiful, and explores with depth and compassion what it means to be a human being. Features insight and commentary from spiritual leaders and philosophers including: Anna Halpine, Dr. William Hurlbut, Rabbi Simon Jacobson, Dr. Alveda King, and Rev. Richard Neuhaus. (Docurama Films).
  • "Ingredients" (2009) Documentary unearths the roots of the local food movement and digs into the stories of the chefs, farmers and activists transforming our broken food system. From innovative farm-to-table programs in Harlem to picturesque sheep farms in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, "Ingredients" shows the heart of an alternative food system. (Docurama Films).
  • "Teenage Paparazzo" (2010) A firsthand look at the relationship between celebrities and the people who make a living selling their images. One night in Los Angeles, Adrian Grenier, star of the HBO series "Entourage," encountered 14-year-old paparazzo Austin Visschedyk. Astounded and inspired by the fast-talking, faster-snapping teen, Grenier decided to turn the cameras on Visschedyk in an effort to better understand this unique teenager's world and gain insight into what motivates people to stalk the famous. (HBO Home Entertainment).
  • "Charlton Heston Presents The Bible" Four films featured on single DVDs: "Genesis," "The Story of Moses," "Jesus of Nazareth" and "The Passion," each narrated by the late Charlton Heston and each with a 28-minute behind-the-scenes featurette. Filmed entirely on location in the Holy Land, from Beit She'an, Jericho, Jerusalem, the Negev Desert, the Red Sea to the Sea of Galilee, the documentaries combine dramatic readings by Heston of passages from the Old and New Testaments with historical commentaries in the land where the stories took place. First aired on A&E in the early 1990s. $12.97 each.

Say Hello to My Little Friend

photo (March 27) With machine guns blazing, the explosive underworld epic "Scarface," directed by Brain de Palma and starring Al Pacino, arrives on Blu-ray Sept. 6 from Universal Studios Home Entertainment. One of the most controversial -- and popular -- gangster films ever made, nasty "Scarface's" gritty depiction of Tony Montana's lethal ambition has made it a cultural touchstone. Now, fans can experience the film's raw power in the newly restored, high-resolution, high-definition picture and 7.1 audio. Exclusive new bonus content created especially for this release reveals the film's iconic legacy. For a limited time only, the "Scarface" Special Limited Edition Blu-ray comes with collectible SteelBook packaging, 10 exclusive art cards, a digital copy of the film and a DVD of the original Howard Hawk's 1932 "Scarface," making it a must-own addition to every film fan's library. Read more and watch the "Scarface" trailer.

'Platoon' Marches to 25th Anniversary
Blu-ray Edition

photo (March 24) Oliver Stones breakthrough "Platoon" makes its Blu-ray debut on May 24 from MGM Home Entertainment to celebrate the film's 25th anniversary. The remastered, first-ever Blu-ray edition brings the sounds and images of Stone's critically acclaimed Vietnam War drama to life in an entirely new way. "Platoon" received eight Academy Award nominations, winning four: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Sound and Best Film Editing. The all-star cast includes Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger, Willem Dafoe, John C. McGinley, Forest Whitaker, Kevin Dillon, Keith David and Johnny Depp. A bevy of extras include commentaries, behind-the-scenes featurettes and documentaries on the era of the Vietnam War. Read more about "Platoon."

Triple Knock-Out for 'The Fighter'
on DVD Charts

photo (March 23) According to Home Media Magazine, Paramount Home Entertainment scored a rare triple play on the national home video charts for the week ended March 20 as the Oscar-winning drama 'The Fighter' debuted at No. 1 on all three charts. The David O. Russell drama, which took in $93.4 million at the domestic box office, topped the DVD sales, rentals and Blu-ray sales charts; in fact, 40 percent of its unit sales came from Blu-ray Disc, an impressive figure for a non-special effects film. Read the story at Home Media Magazine.
See DVD charts

This Week's Releases (March 22)
From the Big Screen:

"How Do You Know," "Skyline," "The Tourist" and "Yogi Bear." For more releases this week, see the "Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases."

DVD Collectibles (3/22):

Even 25-year-old films can need restoration, and that's what was needed for "The Times of Harvey Milk" (1984), which was undertaken by the UCLA Film and Television Archive and then transferred to DVD and Blu-ray by the folks at The Criterion Collection. Harvey Milk, a true 20th century trailblazer, was an outspoken human rights activist and the first openly gay U.S. photo politician elected to public office; even after his assassination, in 1978, he continues to inspire disenfranchised people around the world. The Oscar-winning "The Times of Harvey Milk," directed by Robert Epstein and produced by Richard Schmiechen, was, like its subject, groundbreaking. One of the first feature documentaries to address gay life in America, it's a work of advocacy itself. This exhilarating trove of archival footage and interviews is as much a vivid portrait of a time and place (San Francisco's historic Castro District in the '70s) as a testament to the legacy of a political visionary. Bonus features include commentary featuring Epstein, co-editor Deborah Hoffmann, and photographer Daniel Nicoletta; new program about "The Times of Harvey Milk" and Gus Van Sant's "Milk," featuring Epstein, Van Sant, actor James Franco, and Milk friends Cleve Jones, Anne Kronenberg, and Nicoletta; interview clips not used in the film; rare collection of audio and video recordings of Harvey Milk; panel discussion on San Francisco Supervisor Dan White's controversial trial; excerpts from the 25th anniversary commemoration of Milk's and San Francisco Mayor George Moscone's assassinations; and more.

Here's two wild and wonderful cult classics on a double-bill (like the good old days in movie theaters): photo"Roger Corman's Cult Classics: Jackson County Jail/Caged Heat! Double-Feature Collector's Edition." "Jackson County Jail" (1976), stars Yvette Mimieux, Tommy Lee Jones, Robert Carradine, Howard Hesseman and Mary Woronov in a tale about a Los Angeles advertising executive (Mimieux) on her way to New York whose road trip spirals out of control when she's beaten up by hitchhikers, stranded in a small town, arrested for vagrancy, and then escapes with another prisoner. "Caged Heat!"(1974) stars Juanita Brown, Roberta Collins, Erica Gavin, Ella Reid, Rainbeaux Smith and Barbara Steele in a girls-behind-bars saga about three inmates who find themselves on a sexy and violent adventure seeking escape, money and revenge. From Shout! Factory).

Buzzin' the 'B's (3/22):

When the remote, drought-stricken farming community of Perseverance resorts to child sacrifice to bring healing rains to their land, a terrible curse is unleashed that haunts their bloodlines for generations in "Dark Fields (aka The Rain)" (2009), starring David Carradine, Richard Lynch, Dee Wallace Stone and Ellen Sandweiss; from Entertainment One ... photo In Strong>"Vanquisher"> (2010), rising martial arts action star Sophita Sribanchean stars as a CIA agent who is betrayed by her own agency and forced into hiding after a covert mission goes awry; she resurfaces in Bangkok with a vengeance to find out who wants her dead and to help stop another fatal crime from happening; from Magnolia Home Entertainment/Under the Magnet ... A cruel twist of fate catapults a small time crook into the big league as temporary head of a brutal London gang poised on the brink of a lucrative human-trafficking deal in "The Big I Am" (2010), starring Leo Gregory, Michael Madsen, Vincent Regan, Beatrice Rosen and Steven Berkoff; from Entertainment One ... In "River of Darkness" (2011), starring Kurt Angle, Kevin Nash and Psycho Sid Vicious, a small town sheriff battles the vile evil of the spirits of two old river squatters who have returned from hell to terrorize the community; from Green Apple Entertainment ... A troubled young man on the run from the law stumbles upon a beautiful young woman and three eccentric sanctified spirits trying to save their Baptist church from a land developer in "Heaven Ain't Hard to Find" (2010), starring Clifton Powell, Kym Whitley, Andre Pitre and Tasha Taylor; from Entertainment One ... A small-town detective is called upon to solve a juvenile homicide that occurred during a home burglary in his affluent town of Hilliard in the mystery-thriller "Meskada" (2010), starring Nick Stahl, Rachel Nichols, Kellan Lutz, Grace Gummer, Michael Cerveris and Norman Reedus; from Anchor Bay.

MVD/Midnight Legacy has released an uncut, English language, 1.85 widescreen version of the 1980 Italian Horror/Sci-Fi film "Alien 2 On Earth," directed by Ciro Ippolito (Sam Cromwell) and never released in the U.S. A group of cave explorers discover a mysterious living rock that bears photo home to deadly, flesh-eating creatures intent on wiping out the entire human population. Extras include the only surviving trailer from the mega rare Dutch VHS ... In "Consinsual" (2010), starring Terrance Moore and Keena Ferguson, a faithful husband compromises his own moral principles to satisfy his wife's perverse sexual appetite only to be falsely accused of rape, setting into motion a dangerous sequence of events fueled by lies, lust, and betrayal; from Entertainment One ... A promiscuous young woman with a zealously active sex life, who makes keepsake "baseball cards" of each of her male conquests, races to uncover the identity of her "baby-daddy" after unexpectedly becoming pregnant in "The People I've Slept With" (2009), starring Karin Anna Cheung, Wilson Cruz and Archie Kao; from Maya Entertainment

For the Family (3/22):

The heroes from "Arthur and the Invisibles" are back for two new, full-length animated adventures, "Arthur and the Invisibles 2 & 3 The New Minimoy Adventures" (2011), with the voices of Freddie Highmore, Selena Gomez, Mia Farrow, Snoop Dogg, Lou Reed, will.i.a.m, and Fergie; from Fox ... In "Strawberry Shortcake: Puttin' on the Glitz" (2011), Strawberry and her friends play with fashion, $14.98 from Fox ... "The Little Engine That Could" (2011) is a new, feature-length animated film with the voices of Whoopi Goldberg, Jamie Lee Curtis, Corbin Bleu, Brenda Song, Alyson Stoner; from Universal.

Special Interest (3/22):

World Wrestling Entertainment has released four ring-smashing DVDs these week:
The True Story of WrestleMania (2011) The story of WrestleMania from its early beginnings through the week-long spectacular it has become, routinely drawing fans from all 50 states and around the world. This documentary feature includes new and insightful interviews from the Superstars and creative forces behind the event. Two-disc set, $39.95. Also available on Blu-ray Disc.
The Big Show: A Giant's World photo (2011) Three-DVD set chronicles the life and times of WWE wrestler Big Show with new candid interviews, details on his struggles growing up, and a look at some of his most epic ring battles. Includes matches with greats like Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Sting, Undertaker, Triple H, John Cena, and more. $34.95.
Royal Rumble 2011 (2011) Each year, the Royal Rumble pits 40 wrestlers against each other for a chance to earn a championship match at WrestleMania. Features all the action from the 2011 Royal Rumble Match, featuring Rey Mysterio, John Cena, Jack Swagger, Wade Barrett, Kane, Kofi Kingston, Sheamus, John Morrison, Mark Henry, the surprise return of Diesel and more. $24.95. Also available on Blu-ray Disc.
Elimination Chamber 2011 (2011) Six superstars vie for ultimate supremacy inside an unforgiving 18-foot-high steel structure made of two miles of chain and 10 tons of steel. At stake is a world championship and a date with the main event at WrestleMania. Six Raw superstars battle in the elimination chamber for the WWE Championship and six of Smack Down's best fight for the World Heavyweight Championship. $24.95.

MGM Limited Editions Available Through 'Burn' on Demand

photo (March 18) Fox and MGM have joined Warner Home Video in making available via "manufacturing on demand" classic and cult catalog titles that don't warrant a widespread release through traditional retail channels -- titles that just wouldn't bring back enough return on investment. The MOD is a pretty nifty way for collectors to add to their libraries -- the prices are fairly decent, but there are no extras or extravagant packaging. Fox, which distributes MGM product, is making available 20 titles (through Amazon and other online retailers) from MGM's Limited Edition Collection this month, including Westerns "Billy Two Hats" (1974) and "Fort Massacre," Midnite Movies "The Black Sleep" (1958) and "Daughters of Satan" (1972), mystery/thrillers "The Ambulance" (1990) and "The Captive City" (1952), and dramas "A Cold Wind in August"(1961) and "Not as a Stranger" (1955). Read more about all 20 MGM releases.

This Week's Releases (March 15)
From the Big Screen:

"The Fighter," "Hereafter" and "The Switch." For more releases this week, see the "Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases."

DVD Collectibles (3/15):

photo On March 20, MGM Limited Edition Classics will release the controversial (and you either love it or hate it) "How I Won the War" (1967), Richard Lester's surreal collage of battle footage and one-liners lampooning the absurdity of war, starring Michael Crawford, John Lennon, Jack MacGowran, Roy Kinnear and Lee Montague. This DVD release debuts on the anniversary of John and Yoko Ono's highly publicized "Bed-In" protesting the Vietnam War, and John and Yoko's actual wedding. Under the supervision of Lester, the DVD has been fully remastered. For a limited time, a commemorative Booklet will be included with each purchase featuring an introductory Letter from Yoko Ono and behind the scenes stills from the film.

The always reliable Criterion Collection has released two gems on Blu-ray this week. Louis Malle's intensely personal "Au revoir les enfants" (1987) tells a heartbreaking story of friendship and devastating loss concerning two boys living in Nazi-occupied France. At a provincial Catholic boarding school, the precocious youths enjoy true camaraderie -- until a secret is revealed. photo Based on events from writer-director Malle's own childhood, "Au revoir les enfants (Goodbye, Children)" is a subtle, precisely observed tale of courage, cowardice, and tragic awakening. Restored digital transfer, supervised by director of photography Renato Berta, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack ... The extraordinary, internationally embraced "Yi Yi (A One and a Two ...)" (2000), directed by the late Taiwanese master Edward Yang, follows a middle-class family in Taipei over the course of one year, beginning with a wedding and ending with a funeral. Whether chronicling middle-age father NJ's tentative flirtations with an old flame or precocious young son Yang-Yang's attempts at capturing reality with his beloved camera, the filmmaker deftly imbues every gorgeous frame with a compassionate clarity. Warm, sprawling, and dazzling, this intimate epic is one of the undisputed masterworks of the new century. Newly restored digital transfer, with DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. Both titles, of course, have lavish bonus features and booklets.

Buzzin' the 'B's (3/15):

"Hemingway's Garden of Eden" (2008), starring Mena Suvari, Jack Huston and Caterina Murino, is an adaptation of Hemingway's last novel about a young American writer photo who completes his service in WWI and travels across Europe with his wife and her attractive Italian girlfriend; from Lionsgate ... "Sugar Boxx" (2009), stars Geneviere Anderson, Ellie Arket and Rainbow Borden in a Southern-fried women-behind-bars actioner in which a reporter goes undercover and gets a scoop on the corruption and abuse at the Sugar State Women's Prison; from Entertainment One ... "Gamera Double Feature" presents the final two films in the illustrious Gamera franchise: "Gamera vs. Zigra" and "Gamera: The Super Monster," featuring newly restored anamorphic widescreen transfers, English dubs, publicity gallery; from Shout! Factory ... "Battle of the Warriors" (2006) stars Andy Lau in a Manga-inspired story based on a novel set during China's Warring States Period, a series of civil wars, which spanned from the 5th to the 3rd century B.C.; from The Weinstein Co./Vivendi Entertainment.

On the Indie Front (3/15):

A lonely orphan's life is transformed by an photo extraordinary woman who teaches him to conquer grief and discover the magic in nature and himself in "A Shine of Rainbows" (2009), starring Connie Nielsen, Aidan Quinn and John Bell; from Fox ... "Spooner" (2009) is a quirky romantic comedy about a 30-year-old used car salesman who faces eviction from his parent's house and meets the girl of his dreams, all on the same day, starring Matthew Lillar, Nora Zehetner and Christopher McDonald; from Maya Entertainment ... A young American soldier returning from a tour of duty in Iraq and a female traveler are stalked by two goons while on a mountain-biking adventure in Europe; soon, however, all four are captured by a strange and vile mountain dweller who aims to torture them in "Shadow" (2009), starring Jake Muxworthy and Karina Testa from IFC Films.

Foreign (3/15):

photo "No One Knows About Persian Cats" (2009 -- Iran) is an indictment of artistic repression in Iran's exciting underground music scene and a funny and moving celebration of an entire generation of Iranians striving for personal and creative freedom. Follows a pair of young musicians (Negar Shaghaghi, Ashkan Koshanejad), recently released from prison, on a mission to take their rock band to Europe. Forbidden by the authorities to play in Iran, they plan their escape abroad with a fast-talking promoter. Vowing to play one last show before leaving Tehran, their dangerous mission takes them on a free-wheeling journey through the city's vibrant and diverse underground scene, home to an estimated 2,000 illegal independent bands. From IFC Films.

For the Family (3/15):

photo "Barney: Mother Goose Collection" (2011) features a DVD, 64-page activity book and music CD with more than 35 classic nursery rhymes, $14.98 from HIT Entertainment/Lionsgate ... In "Barbie: A Fairy Secret" (2010), Barbie discovers that there are fairies living secretly all around us; from Universal ... "Batman: The Brave and the Bold Season 1 Part 2" (2008-09) is a two-disc set with 13 episodes, $19.97. from Warner ... "Peanuts Double Feature" includes two classic peanuts features: "A Boy Named Charlie Brown" and "Snoopy Come Home," $16.99 from CBS Home Entertainment/Paramount.

Special Interest (3/15):

"The Wildest Dream" (2010) uses re-enactments, photos and astonishing visuals to tell the intersecting stories of George Mallory, the first man to attempt a summit of Mount Everest, and Conrad Anker, the mountaineer photo who finds Mallory's frozen remains 75 years later. Voiceover by Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes and the late Natasha Richardson. From Virgil Film & Entertainment ... "Who Do You Think You Are? Season 1" (2010) is the TV series that follows seven celebrities as they journey through ancestral history and share their life-altering discoveries about their ancestors and their past. Sarah Jessica Parker, Dallas Cowboys' Emmitt Smith, Susan Sarandon, Spike Lee, Matthew Broderick, Brooke Shield, Lisa Kudrow. Two-disc set with seven episodes, $39.99, from Acorn Media ... "The Beautiful Truth " is an anthology of three anti-cancer films on one Blu-ray disc, each exploring the Gerson Therapy, based on an all-natural organic diet that is said to boost the immune system and works by removing the toxins that are absorbed from our air, water and food: "The Beautiful Truth," "Gerson Miracle" and "Dying to Have Known"; $29.95 from Cinema Libre.

Box Office News: March 13: "Battle: Los Angeles" Wins Box Office War, Beating Other Openers "Mars Needs Moms" and "Red Riding Hood." Read the story at Moviefone.
See Weekend Top 5

'Bambi' Tops DVD, Blu-ray Charts

photo (March 10) From our friends at Home Media Magazine: "Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment has done it again: taken a cinematic senior citizen, given it a first-class makeover for its Blu-ray Disc debut, and seen it go straight to the top of the national home video sales charts its first week in stores. This time, it's "Bambi," the beloved 1942 animated classic about a young deer growing up alone in the forest after his mother is shot dead by hunters. The two-disc "Diamond Edition" combo pack, which includes the film on Blu-ray Disc as well as standard DVD, easily debuted at No. 1 on the Nielsen VideoScan First Alert and Blu-ray Disc sales charts for the week ended March 6." Read the story at Home Media Magazine.
See DVD charts

This Week's Releases (March 8)
From the Big Screen:

"Inside Job," "Jackass 3," "Morning Glory" and "The Next Three Days." For more releases this week, see the "Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases."

Pick of the Week (3/8):

"The Man From Nowhere" (2010 -- South Korea), photo starring Bin Won, Sae-Ron Kim, is the kind of unexpected pleasure that will quicken the pulse of even the most die-hard action-mystery-thriller-gangster-martial arts aficionado.An ex-special agent -- who has disappeared from all official records and is leading a lonely life after the death of his wife at the hands of gangsters -- gets sucked back into action when he has to save the little girl next door from drug runners. The action and body count escalates as he tracks down the bad guys to rescue the girl -- staying one step ahead of the cops. South Korea's highest-grossing film of 2010. From Well Go USA. Read more

This Week's Blu-ray Debuts (3/8):

"Excalibur" (1981) (Warner)
"The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season" (2010) (Anchor Bay)
"Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie" (2002) (Lionsgate)


From TV to Video (3/8):

"The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season" (2010) is a two-disc set with six episodes, $39.99. Bonus features on this highly anticipated set include "The Making of The Walking Dead," "Inside The Walking Dead: Episode 1-6," "A Sneak Peek With Robert Kirkman," "Behind the Scenes Zombie Make-Up Tips," "Convention Panel With Producers," deleted scenes. From Anchor Bay ... "Hannah Montana Forever: Final Season" (2010-11) is a two-disc set with 13 episodes, $29.99, from Disney.

Buzzin' the 'B's (3/8):

Desperate to end her husband's domestic abuse, a young woman visits a local voodoo priestess and is given some potion to "change" the man ... photo but waking up in bed next to a zombie isn't exactly the transformation she was hoping for in "The Zombie Farm" (2009), starring Khotan, Adriana Catano, Roberto Montesinos and Monika Munoz; from Maya Entertainment ... In "Vampire Boys" (2011), starring Jason Lockhart, Christian Ferrer, Dylan Vox and Ryan Adames, time is running out for Jasin and his vampire brood, who need to find "The One" to turn into a vampire and live all eternity with. Jasin first has his eyes on Tara, a stunning blonde, but his gaze is diverted by a bewitching young man instead; from Ariztical Entertainment ... In "Alien From the Deep" (1989 -- Italy), starring Daniel Bosch, Marina Giulia Cavalli, Robert Marius, Luciano Pigozzi and Charles Napier, toxic waste from a chemical company deep in a jungle spawns a deadly monster that sets out to get revenge on the humans who unwittingly created it; from One 7 Movies/CAV Distributing.

On the Indie Front (3/8):

photo Liev Schreiber, Helen Hunt, Ezra Miller, Brian Dennehy, Carla Gugino, Eddie Izzard star in "Every Day" (2010), a comedy about a dysfunctional family headed up by Ned, whose job writing a scandalous TV series for a demanding boss is unfulfilling; then there's his stressed-out wife, an independent teenage son, and an embittered father-in-law who's turning his home upside down. Things get more complicated when late night rewrites with a sexy co-worker might just push him over the deep end. From Image Entertainment ... "Four Lions" (2010 -- U.K.) stars Riz Ahmed, Kayvan Novak, Nigel Lindsay, Adeel Akhtar and Arsher Ali in a satire on the war on terror that follows a quintet of British would-be suicide bombers whose story shows how terrorism may be about ideology but it is also about idiots; from Magnolia Home Entertainment.

Foreign (3/8):

"Rage (Rabia)" (2009 -- Mexico) stars Gustavo Sanchez Parra and Martina Garcia in a romantic thriller about a construction worker in hiding for killing his foreman; he sneaks into the mansion where his girlfriend works as a maid and there, hidden even from her, he watches as she is mistreated by her boss, yearning for the day they can be together. From Strand Releasing.

For the Family (3/8):

"The Backyardigans: We Arrrr Pirates" (2010) features four Backyardigan pirate adventures for pre-schoolers: "Pirate Camp," "Pirate Treasure," "Sinbad Sails Alone" and "The Tale of the Not-So-Nice Dragon," $16.99 from Nickelodeon/Paramount ... photo "SpongeBob SquarePants: The Great Patty Caper" (2010) includes the title episodes plus six more SpongeBob capers, $16.99 from Nickelodeon/Paramount ... "The Reef" (aka Shark Bait) (2007) is an animated feature -- in which one fish must find his destiny and save his home and the love of his life from a bullying shark -- with the voices of Freddie Prinze Jr., Evan Rachel Wood, Rob Schneider, Donal Logue, Andy Dick and Fran Drescher; from The Weinstein Co./Vivendi Entertainment ... The latest two installments in SISU Home Entertainment's 12-part "Shalom Sesame" series, that sees the Sesame Street characters travel to Israel to introduce Jewish holidays, traditions and cultures to viewers of all ages, have arrived: "Shalom Sesame: Be Happy, It's Purim!" and "Shalom Sesame: It's Passover, Grover!" $14.95 each.

Special Interest (3/8):

At the end of WWII, 60 minutes of raw film, having sat undisturbed in an East German archive, was discovered. Shot by the Nazis in Warsaw in May 1942, and labeled simply "Ghetto," this footage quickly became a resource for historians seeking an authentic record of the Warsaw Ghetto. However, the later discovery of a long-missing reel, with multiple takes and cameraman staging scenes, complicated earlier readings of the footage. "A Film Unfinished" photo (2010) presents the raw footage in its entirety, carefully noting fictionalized sequences (including a staged dinner party) falsely showing "the good life" enjoyed by Jewish urbanites, and probes deep into the making of a now-infamous Nazi propaganda film. "A Film Unfinished" is a film of enormous import, documenting some of the worst horrors of our time and exposing the efforts of its perpetrators to propel their agenda and cast it in a favorable light. From Oscilloscope Laboratories ... "Birds of the Gods" (2011) follows a team of young scientists on their challenging journey through the New Guinean rain forest to study and film the avian life hidden in the forbidding terrain -- birds so beautiful that the local people believe they have supernatural powers. Narrated by respected naturalist and broadcaster David Attenborough,$19.99 from PBS ... "Emergency Mine Rescue" (2011) is a NOVA documentary about the rescue of the 33 miners buried alive under nearly a half-mile of solid rock in a collapsed mine in Chile's remote Atacama desert in August of 2010; $24.99 from PBS ..."Can We Live Forever? -- New Technology for a Longer Life" (2011) is a NOVA documentary that explores whether we can slow down the aging process, while also looking at the latest developments regarding human hibernation, and checking in with those inventing ways to keep us "going forever"; $24.99 from PBS.

Sony, Amazon Team for VOD Columbia Film Classics

photo (March 8) Amazon's CreateSpace and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment have announced that the studio has released a special selection of hard-to-find screen classics through CreateSpace's DVD on Demand platform at Amazon. Sony plans on releasing 125 films from the Colombia Film Library, spanning 75 years, through the program, which will be a boon for classic film lovers. The first wave of releases -- available March 8, are:
  • "The Nevadan" (1950), an early partnership between Randolph Scott and producer Harry Joe Brown
  • "Storm Center"(1956) starring Bette Davis and Kim Hunter
  • "Screaming Mimi "(1958), a mystery featuring Gypsy Rose Lee and Anita Ekberg
  • "The Case Against Brooklyn" (1958) with Darren McGavin and Warren Stevens
  • "The Wrong Box" (1966), a British black comedy with Michael Caine, Dudley Moore and Peter Sellers
  • "The Mind of Mr. Soames" (1969), a sci-fi thriller with Terence Stamp and Robert Vaughn
  • "X, Y and Zee" (1971) written by Edna O’Brien, with a star-studded cast including Elizabeth Taylor, Michael Caine and Susannah York
  • "Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams" (1973), which garnered Joanne Woodward a Best Actress Oscar nomination and Sylvia Sidney a nomination for Best Supporting Actress
  • "40 Carats" (1973) starring Gene Kelly and Liv Ullman
  • "The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial" (1988) directed by Robert Altman with Eric Bogosian, Jeff Daniels and a screenplay by Herman Wouk.

Bob Dylan's 70th Birthday Present:
'Revealed' on DVD

photo (March 4) When Bob Dylan turns 70 in May, his iconic career will have spanned five decades. Through exclusive insider interviews, and never-before-seen photos and footage spanning Dylan's 50-year career, "Bob Dylan Revealed" offers an intimate biography of who Bob Dylan was, and who he is today. The documentary covers Dylan's early days at Columbia Records in 1962; the 1966 Bob Dylan and the Band electric world tour that changed rock 'n' roll forever; his 1974 comeback tour; his years as a born-again Christian; and culminating with Dylan's Never Ending Tour that began in 1992 and continues to this day. From Highway 61 Entertainment and MVD Visual. Read more about "Bob Dylan revealed."

'El Topo,' 'The Holy Mountain' Come to Blu-ray

photo (March 2) ABKCO Films and Anchor Bay Entertainment will release two of the most sought-after film titles yet to be released on Blu-ray, Alejandro Jodorowsky's "El Topo" and "The Holy Mountain" on April 26. "El Topo" is credited with starting the Midnight Movie phenomenon more than 40 years ago. To this day, both films continuously screen at art houses, museums and film festivals throughout the world. The films have been remastered for their high-definition debuts and will include all the bonus features that were part of their DVD release four years ago. Suggested retail price for each is $34.99. Read more about "El Topo" and "The Holy Mountain."

This Week's Releases (March 1)
From the Big Screen:

"127 Hours," "Love & Other Drugs," "Faster" and "Burlesque." For more releases this week, see the "Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases."

DVD Collectibles (3/1):

The Diamond Edition debut of "Bambi," Walt Disney's fifth full-length animated classic, comes out this week. The new Blu-ray version has been especially packaged with families in photo mind, providing an interactive hi-def home entertainment experience with a newly enhanced digital restoration, enhanced picture and sound, games, activities and more. The "Bambi" Diamond Edition will be available as a two-Disc Disney Combo Pack (Blu-ray + DVD) for $39.99 "Bambi" will also include Disney's new "Second Screen" technology, which is being introduced for the first time on this release. According to the studio, by downloading the new Disney Second Screen App onto an internet-connected computer or iPad and synching it to the movie, consumers will instantly be able to dive deeper into the film by engaging with interactive elements like animated flipbooks, galleries, photos, trivia and more." Bonus features include "Inside Walt's Story Meetings," never-before-seen deleted scenes, a deleted song: "Twitterpated," image galleries, "Disney's Big Book of Knowledge: Bambi Edition" (an interactive educational gaming experience), and extras from the original "Bambi" release.

From TV to Video (3/1):

"Beyblade: Metal Fusion Vol. 3" (2011) includes seven episodes from Season 1, $14.97 from Nelvana Enterprises/Vivendi Entertainment ... "Leave It to Beaver: Season Six" (1962-63) is a six-disc set with 39 episodes, $39.97 from Shout! Factory ... "Mystery Science Theater 3000: Vol. XX" brings to DVD four more episodes of the classic "Mystery Science Theater 3000": "Project Moonbase," "Master Ninja I," "Master Ninja II" and "The Magic Voyage of Sinbad"; $59.97 from Shout! Factory ... "ReBoot Seasons 1& 2" (1994-96) is a four-disc set with all 23 episodes from the first and second seasons, $29.93 from Shout! Factory.

Buzzin' the 'B's (3/1):

An insidious and unstoppable villain is determined to exact his revenge on the new, hot-shot instructor of Detroit's most elite crime fighting team in "S.W.A.T.: Firefight" (2011), starring Gabriel Macht, Kristanna Loken, Robert Patrick, Carly Pope and Giancarlo Esposito; from Sony.

For the Family (3/1):

"Angelina Ballerina: Ballet Dreams" (2011) features five episodes of the PBS KIDS series, with Angelina finding her way in a new school, putting together her own show and trying to land a role in the Mouskinov Ballet: "Angelina's New Home," "Angelina's New Ballet Teacher," "Angelina En Point," "Angelina's Ballet School" and "Angelina and the New Music Store"; $14.98 from HIT Entertainment/Lionsgate ... photo "Scooby-Doo! Curse of the Lake Monster" (2010) is a new live-action CGI Scooby-Doo feature that has the Mystery Inc. gang heading toward summer jobs at a country club owned by Daphne's uncle, only to stumble onto strange happenings around the local lake -- including an enormous Frog Monster terrorizing the locals. Stars Robbie Amell, Kate Melton, Hayley Kiyoko, Nick Palatas, Ted McGinley, Richard Moll, Nichelle Nichols and Marion Ross. From Warner ... In "Elmo's World: Penguins and Animal Friends" (2010) Elmo and his friends learn about penguins, horses and frogs in this three episode compilation; $12.99 from Sesame Street/Warner ... In "Thomas & Friends: Pop Goes Thomas" (2011), Thomas and his friends enjoy a picnic extravaganza on Sodor with four episodes: "Pop Goes Thomas," "Jitters and Japers," "Thomas' Crazy Day" and "Pingy-Pongy Pick Up"; $14.98 from HIT Entertainment/Lionsgate.

Special Interest (3/1):

"Pioneers of Television: Season 2" (2011) is the second installment in the PBS miniseries that looks at the formative years of TV via four genres: Western, Science Fiction, Crime and Local Kids TV. Narrated by Kelsey Grammer; $24.99 from PBS ... In the inspiring "Walking on Water" (2007), the world becomes the classroom for two teens as they travel to Hawaii, Peru, Australia, Indonesia, South Africa, and France on the pro surfer circuit, lead by Bryan Jennings , founder/director of Walking on Water; from Sony.

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April 1, 2011
OnVideo News (ISSN 1094-3676).