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More DVD News: November 2011
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From the Big Screen This Week:
November 29-December 5: "The Smurfs," "Friends With Benefits," "Our Idiot Brother," "Another Earth," "30 Minutes or Less" and "One Day." For more releases this week, see the "Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases."
DVD Collectibles: (11/29)
In the '30s and '40s, the Indian actor known as Sabu (born Selar Shaik) captured the hearts of moviegoers in Britain and the United States as a completely new kind of big-screen icon. Sabu was a maharaja's elephant driver when he was discovered by documentary trailblazer Robert Flaherty ("Nanook of the North"), who cast him as the lead in "Elephant Boy," a Kipling adaptation Flaherty directed with Zoltan Korda ("The Four Feathers") that would prove to be enormously popular. Sabu went on to headline a series of fantasies and adventures, transcending the exoticism projected onto him by commanding the screen with effortless grace and humor. "Eclipse Series 30: Sabu!" collects three of the lavish productions Sabu starred in for the British film titans the Korda brothers: "Elephant Boy" (1937), the colonialist battle adventure "The Drum" (1938) and the timeless "Jungle Book" (1942). From The Criterion Collection.
From TV to Video: (11/29)
"The Girls Next Door: The Complete Series" is a 17-disc set with all 91 episodes, $129.98 from MPI Home Video ... "Look: Season 1" (2011) is a single disc with 13 episodes of the show, shot entirely from the point of view of security cameras, that looks at the things that people do when they don’t know they're being watched, taking viewers on a voyeuristic journey into the most personal parts of people's lives. $24.98 from Image Entertainment ... "Mission Impossible: The 88 TV Season" (1988-89) is a five-disc set with 19 episodes, 32.99 from CBS Home Entertainment/Paramount Home Entertainment ... "Smallville: The Complete Series" (2011) is housed in new packaging consisting of two picture books that hold 62 discs with over 192 hours of content, including all 218 episodes, more than five hours of newly added special features (such as an unaired, never-before-seen "Superboy" pilot from 1961), a retrospective look at the series with over 100 minutes of season featurettes, a decade of Comic-Con featurette and more; $339.88 from Warner ... "Smallville: The Complete Tenth Season" (2010-11) is a six-disc set with 21 episodes, $59.98 from Warner ... "30 Rock: Season 5" (2011) is a three-disc set with 22 episodes, $49.98 from Universal ... "The Six Million Dollar Man: Season 1" (1974-75) is a six-disc set with all 13 uncut episodes; all three made-for-TV movies in their original, unedited versions; and over two hours of never-before-seen bonus materials; from Universal.
Buzzin' the 'B's: (11/29)
"Chillerama" (2011) is a four-film anthology of gore, guts, goofiness and good times that celebrate the golden age of B horror schlock: "Wadzilla," "I Was a Teenage Werebear," "The Diary of Anne Frankenstein" and "Zom-B-Movie." Extras: Directors' video commentary, "Wadzilla" deleted scenes, "The Making of The Diary of Anne Frankenstein," "I Was a Teenage Were Bear." From the depraved minds of directors Adam Rifkin ("Detroit Rock City," "The Dark Backward"), Tim Sullivan ("2001 Maniacs"), Adam Green ("Hatchet," "Frozen") and Joe Lynch ("Wrong Turn 2," "Knights of Badassdom") and Image Entertainment ... In "The Art of Getting By" (2011), starring Freddie Highmore, Emma Roberts, Michael Angarano, Rita Wilson, Sam Robards, Alicia Silverstone, Elizabeth Reaser and Blair Underwood, a lonely and fatalistic aspiring young artist and a "popular" girl find themselves in a charming yet unconventional high school romance; from Fox ... "5 Days Of War" (2011) is a thriller by director Renny Harlin, set during the five-day war between Russia and Georgia in 2008, that focuses on an American journalist, his cameraman, and a Georgian native who witness and document the devastation from the full-scale crossfire and cold-blooded murder of innocent civilians. From Anchor Bay ... In "Needle" (2011), college student Ben Rutherford (Dorman) inherits a strange 18th century machine with supernatural powers from his deceased father and when the device goes missing, Ben's friends turn up dead -- all having been killed in bizarre ways; from Lionsgate ... in the horror comedy "Tucker & Dale vs. Evil" (2011), best friends Tucker and Dale head out for a relaxing weekend of fishing at their secluded cabin but, unfortunately for them, evil has different plans when a series of misunderstandings and tragic events start killing a group of preppy college students, who believe Tucker and Dale are backwoods hillbillies out to kill them. From Magnolia Home Entertainment's Magnet Label.
On the Indie Front: (11/29)
"The Future" (2011) is a slow-moving, erratic indie drama about a thirtysomething couple (Miranda July and Hamish Linklater) who decide to adopt a stray cat, altering their entire perspective on life: They give themselves one month of freedom to prepare for the adoption, and both wander away from their relationship and reality.Miranda July, Hamish Linklater, David Warshofsky, Isabella Acres. From Lionsgate ... "Seven Days In Utopia" (2011), starring Robert Duvall, Deborah Ann Woll, Lucas Black and Melissa Leo, is a family drama that follows the story of Luke Chisolm (Lucas Black), a talented young golfer set on making the pro tour whose first big shot turns out to be a very public disaster, stranding him in Utopia, Texas, where he meets eccentric rancher Johnny Crawford (Robert Duvall) and discovers a new path for his life. From Arc Entertainment.
IFC Films has three off-beat offerings this week: "Kidnapped"
(2011 -- Spain), in which three hooded Eastern-European criminals burst into a home in a Madrid gated community, holding the family hostage in its own home, forcing the father to empty his credit cards -- or watch his wife and daughter die ... "Vampires" (2010 -- Belgium), a mockumentary has a film crew recording the day-to-day existence of a bored family of vampires in Belgium who eat illegal immigrants, children, and the handicapped -- and bleed the country's social benefits for all they're worth ... and "The Wave" (2008 -- Germany), in which a high school teacher's unusual experiment to demonstrate to his students what life is like under a dictatorship spins horribly out of control when he forms a social unit that takes on a life of its own as The Wave.
Special Interest: (11/29)
In "Cave of Forgotten Dreams" (2011), the incomparable Werner Herzog follows an exclusive expedition into the nearly inaccessible Chauvet Cave in France, home to the most ancient visual art known to have been created by man. A hit at this year's Toronto Film Festival, "Cave of Forgotten Dreams" is an unforgettable cinematic experience that provides a unique glimpse of the pristine artwork dating back over 30,000 years ago -- almost twice as old as any previous discovery. From IFC Films ... "Becoming Chaz" (2011) is a documentary about the physical transformation of Chaz Bono (born Chastity Bono to Sonny & Cher), from Virgil Films & Entertainment ... "Radioactive Wolves" (2011) is a cautionary but surprisingly upbeat documentary on humankind's ability to destroy nature. It's been 25 years since disaster struck the Chernobyl nuclear power plant deep in the former Soviet Union. Radioactive fallout from the accident created a "dead zone" around the reactor, too contaminated to be safely inhabited by humans. In the interim, something remarkable has happened: forests, marshes, fields and rivers have reclaimed the land. Now that access to the zone is permitted, at least on a limited basis, scientists are trying to learn how the surviving wildlife is coping with the invisible blight of the land. As the top predators in this new wilderness, wolves reflect the condition of the entire ecosystem. And, surprisingly, they're doing well. From PBS Distribution.
This Week's Releases (November 22-28)
From the Big Screen:
"Super 8," "Sarah's Key," "Spy Kids: All the Time in the World," "Conan the Barbarian" and "The Devil's Double." For more releases this week, see the "Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases."
DVD Collectibles: (11/22)
This week's top Blu-Ray debuts:
"Rushmore" (1998), the dazzling sophomore film from Wes Anderson, is equal parts coming-of-age story, French New Wave homage and screwball comedy. Tenth grader Max Fischer (Jason Schwartzman) is Rushmore Academy's most extracurricular student -- and its least scholarly. He faces expulsion, and enters into unlikely friendships with both a lovely first-grade teacher (Olivia Williams) and a melancholy self-made millionaire (Bill Murray, in an award-winning performance). Set to a soundtrack of classic British Invasion tunes, Rushmore defies categorization; it captures the pain and exuberance of adolescence with wit, emotional depth, and cinematic panache. New high-definition digital transfer of the director's cut, supervised by director Wes Anderson, with DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack ...
"12 Angry Men" (1957) "12 Angry Men," by Sidney Lumet, may be the most radical big-screen courtroom drama in cinema history. A behind-closed-doors look at the American legal system as riveting as it is spare, the iconic adaptation of Reginald Rose's teleplay stars Henry Fonda as the initially dissenting foreman on a jury of white men ready to pass judgment on a Puerto Rican teenager charged with murdering his father. What results is a saga of epic proportions that plays out in real time over 90 minutes in one sweltering room. Lumet's electrifying snapshot of 1950s America on the verge of change is one of the great feature film debuts. New high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack. Both are from The Criterion Collection).
More Collectibles: (11/22)
"Doctor Who: The Complete Sixth Series" (2011) is a six-disc set with all 13 episodes of the new season (which included a two-part premiere set in the U.S. and an episode penned by long-time Doctor Who fan and award-winning writer Neil Gaiman) as well as the 2010 Holiday Special, "A Christmas Carol." $79.98. Bonus features for fans of the Doctor include five "Night and the Doctor" specially recorded scenes exclusive to the DVD release; five specially recorded episode prequels; two sketches recorded for the UK's Comic Relief charity event; four "Monster Files" that allow you to get under the skin and inside the minds of the Doctor's most challenging opponents; "Doctor Who Confidential" inside look at each episode; commentary on select episodes. Also available on Blu-ray Disc for $89.98. From BBC Worldwide ... To prepare for Steven Spielberg's "The Adventures of Tintin," due theatrically Dec. 23, you might want to take a look at the precursor, "The Adventures of Tintin," adapted from the long-running French comic strip and graphic novels (begun in the 1920s) by the late cartoon artist Herge (a.k.a. Georges Remi) that chronicles the young and intrepid investigative reporter Tintin and his faithful dog Snowy, as they embark on incredible globe-trotting adventures full of excitement, mystery and fun. The first season of the 1991 animated TV series has just been released as a two-disc set with 13 episodes, $19.93 from Shout! Factory.
Buzzin' the 'B's: (11/22)
During a routine stop at a gas station, Lorraine (Maria Bello), a vulnerable single mom, and her 5 year-old son (Connor Hill) are carjacked by Roy (Stephen Dorff), a vicious bank robber on the run who forces her to drive him to meet up with his accomplice in In "Carjacked" (2011), from Anchor Bay ... In "Helldriver" (2010 -- Japan), a meteorite crashes into Japan, releasing a toxic ash that turns inhabitants in the northern half of the country into bloodthirsty zombies; a stunning high school girl armed with an artificial heart-powered chainsaw sword leads a motley crew of desperadoes into the zombie-infected wilds to exterminate the zombie queen. This low-budget flick has more ambition than smarts; after the first foray into zombieland, the killings become an endless loop of bloodshed with no rhyme nor reason nor story line. From Well Go USA ... And from Shout! Factory comes an "Action Double Feature" of 1974 films: "The Nickel Ride," abut the "key man" who manages the mob's warehouses of solen goods, starring Jason Miller, Linda Haynes and Bo Hopkins; and "99 and 44/100% Dead," in which rival gangsters battle it out in a future where the laws of reality have been suspended, starring Richard Harris, Edmond O'Brien, Bradford Dillman and Chuck Connors.
On the Indie Front: (11/22)
When a bizarre accident leaves desperate housewife Bunnie with a case of amnesia, her dysfunctional family -- consisting of husband, Jack and twin 17-year-olds Eric and Kelly -- gets an unexpected second chance at happiness in the offbeat comedy "The Family Tree" (2011), starring Hope Davis, Dermot Mulroney, Max Thieriot and Brittany Robertson. From Entertainment One ... Two female rockers reunite for a benefit concert 10 years after their band's dramatic breakup, with the hope of recapturing their once-magical connection, in "Trigger" (2010), a Toronto International Film Festival 2010 Official Selection starring Tracy Wright and Molly Parker. From Wolfe Video.
For the Family: (11/22)
The Caldecott Medal was named in honor of 19-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott, and it is awarded annually by the American Library Association, to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children. The three-disc "Caldecott Favorites" set features adaptations of some of the 20th Century's best loved children's literature, 20 tales across the three volumes: "The Ezra Jack Keats Collection," "Make Way for Ducklings ... And More Delightful Duck Tales" and "Antartic Antics ... And More Hilarious Animal Stories." $24.95 from Scholastic Storybook Treasures ... "Conan the Adventurer: Season Two, Part 1" is a two-disc set with 13 episodes of the animated version of the pulp hero, $19.93 from Shout! Factory ... "Giving Thanks ... And More Stories to Celebrate American Heritage"
includes four stories to help celebrate what makes our country great, including the recent Parent's Choice Award winner "Lincoln & Douglass: An American Friendship" by Nikki Giovanni, narrated by Danny Glover. Other stories include "Giving Thanks," narrated by Native American Mohawk leader Chief Jake Swamp and offering an alternative language track in the Mohawk language, "Hiawatha," and Marcia Sewall's "The Pilgrims of Plimouth," which dramatically chronicles the arrival of the Pilgrims in the New World. $14.95 from Scholastic Storybook Treasures ... "Prep & Landing" (2009) is an animated holiday short about a high-tech team of elves who work in the North Pole's Prep and Landing elite unit to ensure homes around the world are properly prepared for their visit from Santa. From Disney ... In "Timmy Time: Go Kart Timmy" (2011), Timmy and his barnyard buddies get involved with a brand new go-kart, soccer games, riding tricycles and more in five adventures, $14.98 from HIT Entertainment/Lionsgate.
Special Interest: (11/22)
The documentary "These Amazing Shadows: The Movies That Make America"
tells the history and importance of The National Film Registry, a roll call of American cinema treasures that reflect the diversity of film, and indeed, the American experience itself. The film documents the passage of the National Film Preservation Act of 1988 and how this law set in motion a system to identify notable films. The Librarian of Congress, with input from the public and advice from the National Film Preservation Board, selects films each year to add to the Registry. The film includes interviews with the Librarian of Congress (Dr. James Billington), famous directors (including Christopher Nolan, John
Lasseter, Rob Reiner, Julie Dash, John Singleton and John Waters), producers (Gale Anne Hurd and James Schamus), archivists and actors and actresses. From PBS Distribution ... "Becoming Santa" (2011) is a humorous documentary that follows one man's journey to regain his Christmas spirit. After Jack Sanderson's parents died, he realized he wasn't looking forward to the holidays and, in a dominant commercial culture, avoiding Christmas seemed impossible. So with that, Jack decided that the best way to get through the Christmas Season was to become Santa Claus. Director Jeff Myers followed Jack on his journey, which entailed getting a custom Santa suit from Adele Saidy of Adele's of Hollywood, attending the American Events Santa School taught by Susen Mesco in Denver, Col., and ultimately booking Santa jobs. $19.95 from Cinema Libre Studio ... "Making the Boys" (2010) explores the enduring legacy of Mart Crowley's stage play "The Boys in the Band," which changed everything as the first ever gay play to successfully reach a mainstream audience. With Edward Albee, Mart Crowley, Dominick Dunne, William Friedkin, Carson Kressley, Tony Kushner, Terrence McNally, Robert Wagner and more. $29.95 from First Run Features.
This Week's Releases (November 15-21)
From the Big Screen:
"Beginners" and "Larry Crowne." For more releases this week, see the "Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases."
DVD Collectibles: (11/15)
This week's top Blu-Ray debuts:
Considered one of the greatest films ever made, "The Rules of the Game" (1939), by Jean Renoir, is a scathing critique of corrupt French society cloaked in a comedy of manners, in which a weekend at a marquis's countryside chateau lays bare some ugly truths about a group of haute bourgeois acquaintances. The film had a tumultuous history -- it was subjected to cuts after premiere audiences rejected it in 1939, and the original negative was destroyed during World War II; it wasn't reconstructed until 1959. That version, which has stunned viewers for decades, is presented here, in a high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack. From The Criterion Collection ... "Three Colors: Blue, White, Red" (1993-1994), a boldly cinematic trio of stories about love and loss from Krzysztof Kieslowski ("The Double Life of Veronique"), was a defining event of the art-house boom of the 1990s. The films were named for the colors of the French flag and stand for the tenets of the French Revolution -- liberty, equality, and fraternity. Set in Paris, Warsaw and Geneva, and ranging from tragedy to comedy, "Blue," "White" and "Red" (Kieslowski's final film) examine with artistic clarity a group of ambiguously interconnected people experiencing profound personal disruptions. Marked by intoxicating cinematography and stirring performances by such actors as Juliette Binoche, Julie Delpy, Irene Jacob and Jean-Louis Trintignant, Kieslowski's "Three Colors" is a benchmark of contemporary cinema. New high-definition digital restorations, with DTS-HD Master Audio. Also from Criterion.
Five decades after its historic debut, the iconic "West Side Story" returns in a 50th anniversary hi-def edition. With a record-breaking 10 Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Directing and Best Original Score, the 1961 film took home more awards than any other movie-musical in the history of cinema. This monumental production not only featured the timeless lyrics from master American composer Stephen Sondheim, but a brilliant score from Leonard Bernstein, and beautiful direction from Robert Wise and co-director and choreographer Jerome Robbins. Stars Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, Russ Tamblyn, Rita Moreno, George Chakiris, Simon Oakland, Ned Glass, William Bramley and Tucker Smith. "West Side Story: 50th Anniversary Edition" boasts hundreds of hours of restoration, new 7.1 digital audio, and a collection of bonus features spotlighting the songs and elaborate dances of the original film. Available as a two-disc Blu-ray set and a limited edition Blu-ray Gift Set with the two-Disc Blu-ray, newly restored DVD and tribute CD along with photo book and other collectibles. From Fox/MGM ...
"Farscape: The Complete Series Blu-Ray Edition" is a 20-disc set with all 88 episodes of the mesmerizing sci-fi series. Bonus features include "Memories of Moya: An Epic Journey Explored," featuring new interviews with creators Brian Henson and Rockne O'Bannon, writer Richard Manning, and stars Ben Browder and Claudia Black as they look back at the legacy of the sci-fi series. In addition, the set also includes all of the bonus material from the DVD release: more than 15 hours of commentaries, featurettes, deleted scenes, trailers, promos and more. $199.99 form A&E. Read more here.
"Crime Story: The Complete Series" (1986-88) Set in the 1960s, "Crime Story" is the story of the Chicago Police Major Crime Unit headed by Lieutenant Mike Torello (Dennis Farina), a man driven by his obsessive pursuit of Ray Luca (Anthony Denison), a ruthless hood who is rapidly ascending the underworld's corporate ladder. As Luca murders, steals, and extorts his way to the top, Torello, backed by his dedicated team of detectives, pursues him from the grit of Chicago to the glitz of Las Vegas, their paths clashing again and again. Features a supporting cast that includes Darlanne Fluegel, Stephen Lang, Bill Campbell, Ted Levine, Joseph Wiseman. Guest stars include David Caruso, Julia Roberts, Gary Sinise, Kevin Spacey, Ving Rhames, Lorraine Bracco, Michael Madsen, Pam Grier, Stanley Tucci, David Hyde Pierce, Andrew Dice Clay and Deborah Harry -- as well as an appearance by jazz legend Miles Davis. This 25th anniversary edition includes the two-hour pilot. $29.98 from Image Entertainment ... Fusing the heist and espionage genres, "It Takes a Thief" was an action-adventure series that aired on ABC for two-and-a-half seasons between Jan. 9, 1968 and March 24, 1970. Marking the TV debut of Robert Wagner, the cult classic series was inspired by Hitchcock's 1955 Cary Grant film, "To Catch a Thief," and was among the last of the 1960s spy television genre. The premise: Stealing to finance his life as a playboy and sophisticate, Alexander Mundy (Wagner) was the world's greatest cat burglar ... until the day he got caught. But thievery skills are an asset in the world of espionage, so Mundy is pardoned when he agrees to use his wily ways to help steal for the SIA, an American espionage agency. Entertainment One's 18-disc set contains all 66 digitally remastered episodes plus a safe-full of extras, $199.98 ... Also this week, Paramount will release the Blu-ray debut of "My Fair Lady" (1964), directed by George Cukor and starring Audrey Hepburn, Rex Harrison, Stanley Holloway, Wilfrid Hyde-White, Gladys Cooper, Jeremy Brett, Theodore Bikel and Mona Washbourne.
From TV to Video: (11/15)
"Bedlam: Season One" (2011) is a two-disc set with six episodes of the British supernatural series that aired in October on BBC America from BBC/Warner ... "Being Human: The Complete First Season" (2011) is a four-disc set with 13 episodes, $49.05 from Entertainment One ... "Smallville: The Complete Series" is a 62-disc set with 218 episodes, $339.98 from Warner ... "Smallville: The Final Season" (2010-11) is a six-disc set with 22 episodes, $59.98 from Warner ... The streets of Whitechapel are awash with blood as a murderer stalks the night, picking off vulnerable women and leaving them brutally butchered in "Whitechapel: The Ripper Returns" (2011), a three-episode arc that launched the series that follows the grisly crimes of a modern-day Jack the Ripper copycat killer. From BBC Worldwide Americas.
Buzzin' the 'B's (11/15):
In "Bellflower" (2011), best friends Woodrow and Aiden spend all of their free time building "Mad Max"-inspired flamethrowers and muscle cars in preparation for a global apocalypse. But when Woodrow meets a charismatic young woman and falls hard in love, he and Aiden quickly integrate into a new group of friends, setting off on a journey of love and hate, betrayal, infidelity, and extreme violence. Written, directed by and starring Glodell, the film is a heartfelt story of obsession, friendship, young-love gone awry. Filmed using Glodell's custom-built cameras and showcasing his real-life creations: homemade flamethrowers and a fire-spewing 1972 Buick Skylark, Medusa. The painfully honest and quirky film --which developed quite a cult following -- co-stars Jessie Wiseman, Tyler Dawson, Rebekah Brandes, Vincent Grashaw. From Oscilloscope Laboratories ... In "Griff the Invisible" (2010), starring Ryan Kwanten, Maeve Dermody, Patrick Brammall, Toby Schmitz, Marshall Napier and Heather Mitchell, Griff, a shy and awkward office worker by day, finds escape from his ordinary, "invisible" life by assuming the identity of a fantastic superhero each night. But his secret is jeopardized when he meets Melody, a cute but unconventional daydreamer who quickly becomes fascinated by his idiosyncrasies, which are equal only to her own, and who takes it upon herself to rescue "Griff the Invisible." A warm, loving "underdog" superhero romance -- that could have used stronger editing -- with offbeat, engaging characters. From Indomina/Vivendi Entertainment ... In "Flypaper" (2011), starring Patrick Dempsey, Ashley Judd, Jeffrey Tambor, Mekhi Phifer, Curtis Armstrong and Tim Blake Nelson, a nervous bank customer protects the teller he has a crush on when two gangs of robbers -- a high-tech trio who plan to break into the vault, and two dumb hicks whose idea of a big score is knocking off the ATMs -- descend on the same bank. From IFC Films ... In "Rio Sex Comedy" (2010), a mixed group of tourists and visitors on a working trip find themselves footloose and under the sway of the Brazilian city's erotic spell. Stars Charlotte Rampling, Bill Pullman, Irene Jacob, Jean-Maric Roulot. From FilmBuff/MPI Media Group ... The long unavailable "Highway Patrol Man" (1991) by director Alex Cox ("Repo Man") has finally made its way to DVD. Against his father's wishes, Pedro -- a naive kid from Mexico City -- joins the Federal Highway Patrol. His simple desire to do good rapidly comes into conflict with the reality of police work in a lonely rural environment populated by poor farmers, rich drug dealers, beautiful women, and his father's ghost. Stars Roberto Sosa, Bruno Bichir and Vanessa Bauche. From Microcinema International.
On the Indie Front: (11/15)
"Main Street" (2010), starring Orlando Bloom, Colin Firth, Amber Tamblyn, Patricia Clarkson, Ellen Burstyn and Andrew McCarthy, follows the close-knit residents of Durham, North Carolina as they meet a newcomer with a controversial plan to save their town from economic decay. The final screenplay by acclaimed writer Horton Foote. From Magnolia Home Entertainment ... Two weeks before his wedding, a homophobic young man is turned gay -- and his ridiculed gay co-worker turned straight -- by a magical Christmas tree ornament in "Walk a Mile in My Pradas" (2010), starring Nathaniel Marston, Tom Archdeacon, Tom Arnold, Mike Starr, Dee Wallace and Kirsten Lea. From Osiris Entertainment.
There's two new China Lion film releases this week via New Video: "The Warring States" (2011), a gorgeous looking but complicated story that centers on a rivalry between brothers and military strategists -- and their concomitant epic battles -- in the third and fourth centuries B.C.; and "What Women Want" (2011), a romantic comedy based on the Nancy Myers-directed film starring Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt, here starring Andy Lau and Gong Li.
For the Family: (11/15)
"Dora the Explorer: Celebrate With Dora" (2011) is a three-disc set with "Dora's Halloween," Dora's Christmas" and "Dora's Big Birthday Adventure," $29.99 from Paramount ... "The Littlest Angel" (2011) is an animated version of the 1946 kids book about a little boy who arrives in heaven before his time and must return to Earth to earn his wings; $19.98 from Anchor Bay ... "SpongeBob SquarePants: Holidays With SpongeBob" is a three-disc set with "SpongeBob SquarePants: Christmas," "SpongeBob SquarePants: Halloween" and "SpongeBob SquarePants: To Love a Patty." There's 26 episodes in all, $29.99 from Nickelodeon/Paramount.
Special Interest: (11/15)
"Superheroes" (2011) is a documentary that explores the world of real-life caped crusaders and chronicles the lives of these dedicated crimebusters as they protect and support their local communities all over America -- from New York to Seattle to Orlando to San Diego. These everyday citizens don masks, homemade costumes and elaborate utility belts in an attempt to bring justice to evildoers everywhere. From Docurama ... "The Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls" (2011) is the amazing story of Jools and Lynda Topp, the world's only yodeling country singing and comedy lesbian twins, known for their politically-charged comedy; $19.98 from The Disinformation Company ... "Frontline: Faith and Doubt at Ground Zero" (2011) explores how the spiritual lives of both believers and nonbelievers have been challenged since the 9/11 attacks; $24.99 from PBS Distribution ... "The Wavy Gravy Movie: Saint Misbehavin'" (2009) is a documentary look at the seminal hippie leader, activist, and founder of the SEVA foundation, which is dedicated to helping relieve poverty around the world; from Docurama ... From Robert Kenner, director and producer of the Oscar-nominated documentary "Food, Inc." comes "When Strangers Click: Five Stories From the Internet" (2011), a provocative examination on how the search for intimacy has changed in today's Internet-centric world: Over 122 million people worldwide log monthly into dating sites; 14 million people use mobile dating services; an estimated one in five heterosexual couples in the U.S. met online; $19.98 from The Disinformation Company ... "Sea Rex 3D: Journey to a Prehistoric World" (2011) is an imaginative look -- via state-of-the-art ultra-photo realistic imagery -- at the larger-than-life creatures who ruled the oceans 200 million years ago; from Universal.
From the Big Screen This Week:
November 8-14: "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2," "The Change-Up" and "Atlas Shrugged." For more releases this week, see the "Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases."
DVD Collectibles: (11/8)
"Mr. Magoo -- The Television Collection (1960-1977)"
is an 11-disc set with more than 30 hours of content, including 26 episodes of "The Mr. Magoo Show" (1960-61); the primetime TV Movie, "Uncle Sam Magoo" (1970); and for the first time on DVD, 26 episodes of "The Famous Adventures of Mr. Magoo" (1964). In addition, 16 episodes of "What's New Mr. Magoo?" (1977), as well as all-new DVD extras. Mr. Magoo first appeared in 1949 in the theatrical short cartoon "The Ragtime Bear." Voiced by Jim Backus, Quincy Magoo was a wealthy, short-sighted retiree who got into a series of sticky situations as a result of his nearsightednes and his stubborn refusal to admit the problem. An instant hit, Mr. Magoo went on to become a classic animated character starring in two Academy-Award-winning theatrical shorts, two TV series and two TV specials. Extras: "Oh, Magoo ... You've Done It Again!" featurette; commentaries by animation historians Jerry Beck, Darrell Van Citters, others; photo gallery with storyboards and drawings. From Shout! Factory.
This Week's Top Blu-ray Debuts: (11/8)
"Blue Velvet" (1986) is David Lynch's visionary story of sex, death, greed and resurrection in which he paints a perverted universe that lies just below the surface of a quiet suburban town. Clean-cut Jeffrey Beaumont (Kyle MacLachlan) realizes his Mayberry-like home town is not so normal when he discovers a human ear in a field, leading him into an erotic murder mystery that involves a disturbed nightclub singer (Isabella Rossellini) and a drug-addicted sadist (Dennis Hopper). The Blu-ray edition includes 50 minutes of never-before seen footage, a "Mysteries of Love" documentary, vignettes and "A Few Outtakes." From Fox.
"Fanny and Alexander (1982) Through the eyes of 10-year-old Alexander, we witness the delights and conflicts of the Ekdahl family, a sprawling bourgeois clan in turn-of-the-20th-century Sweden. Ingmar Bergman intended "Fanny and Alexander" as his swan song, and it is the legendary director's warmest and most autobiographical film, a four-time Academy Award–winning triumph that combines his trademark melancholy and emotional intensity with immense joy and sensuality. The Criterion Collection presents both the theatrical release and the original five-hour television version of this great work. Also included in the box set is Bergman's own feature-length documentary "The Making of “Fanny and Alexander," a unique glimpse into his creative process. From The Criterion Collection.
Buzzin' the 'B's: (11/8)
"13" (2011) is a remake of the award-winning 2005 international sensation "13 Tzameti," about a man who assumes a dead man's identity and finds himself embroiled in an underground world of power, violence, and chance where men gamble behind closed doors on the lives of other men in an underworld Russian roulette competition. Stars Jason Statham, Alexander Skarsgard, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Mickey Rourke, Michael Shannon, 50 Cent, Ray Winstone, Gaby Hoffmann, Ben Gazzara. From Anchor Bay ... "Boy Wonder" (2011) is an urban psychological-thriller about a young boy who witnesses the brutal murder of his mother during a Brooklyn car-jacking and who grows up to be a loner, obsessed with finding his mother's killer -- as a straight-A student by day and a self-appointed hero at night. From Inception Media Group ... A man with a rare sleep disorder, parasomnia, wakes up with blood on his hands and fears he may be a killer while sleepwalking in "In My Sleep" (2009), starring Philip Winchester, Lacey Chabert, Abigail Spencer, Kelly Overton, Michael Badalucco, Beth Grant, Tony Hale. From Freestyle Digital Media ... "Alleged" (2010) is a romantic story about a young reporter and his fiancee -- and moral responsibility and journalistic opportunity -- set against the whirlwind of fundamentalism and sensationalism that was the 1925 Scopes "Monkey Trial" that pitted William Jennings Bryan against Clarence Darrow. Stars Nathan West, Ashley Johnson, Brian Denny, Fred Dalton Thompson, Colm Meaney. From Image Entertainment ... "A Better Tomorrow" (2010 -- South Korea) stars Jin-mo Ju and Seung-heon Song in a remake of John Woo's 1986 cult classic, here about double-dealing and warfare among rival Thai and Korean mob syndicates. From Well Go USA ... A group of university students travel to sacred Native American land in Florida to finish their thesis project and encounter the supernatural in "The Sacred" (2009). From Osiris Entertainment.
On the Indie Front: (11/8)
A rock star retreats to his hometown after his sophomore album flops, reunites with his estranged partner, and the pair head out on the road in the hopes of salvaging their long lost dream in "The Perfect Age of Rock 'n' Roll" (2009), starring Kevin Zegers, Jason Ritter, Taryn Manning, Lukas Haas, Peter Fonda, Lauren Holly, Kelly Lynch, Aimee Teegarden. From Entertainment One ... In "The River Why"
(2010), starring Zach Gilford, Amber Heard, William Hurt, Dallas Roberts, Kathleen Quinlan and William Devane, a young man leaves the city to find himself through his love of fishing, encountering a group of eccentrics who change his life. From Image Entertainment.
"The Sleeping Beauty" (2011 -- French) is a twisted retelling of the fairy tale by French provocateur Catherine Breillat ("Fat Girl," "Bluebeard") that ends far from "happily ever after." Cursed at birth by an evil fairy, Anastasia is destined to prick her finger and die at the age of 16. When three fairy sisters discover this, they hatch a plan to alter the curse: Rather than die, Anastasia will sleep for 100 years and live in a world of dreams. Through her active dream life, Anastasia will find love, loss, and possibly a waking life. From Strand Releasing.
For the Family: (11/8)
"Beethoven's Christmas Adventure" (2011) is the latest in the direct-to-video franchise. A Christmas elf accidentally takes off in Santa's sleigh, crash lands in a small town, and loses Santa's magic toy bag. Beethoven must rescue the elf, recover the bag from greedy crooks, and return the sleigh to Santa in time to save Christmas. From Universal ... "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Space Adventure" (2011) is a full-length intergalactic adventure that takes the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse gang -- Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and Daisy -- into outer space on a search for the ultimate space treasure. From Disney ... PBS Distribution has two releases featuring Arthur, the world's most famous aardvark: "Arthur: Hooray For Health" features eight episodes with Arthur as he learns about chicken pox, eating right and more, and "Arthur: The Good Sport," featuring eight episodes with Arthur as he learns good sportsmanship, good citizenship and other important lessons. $12.99 Each ... "The Wild Thornberrys: Season 2, Part 1" (1999) is a two-disc set with the first 11 episodes of Season 2, $19.93 form Shout! Factory.
Special Interest: (11/8)
"Magic Beyond Words: The JK Rowling Story" (2011) stars Poppy Montgomery, Emily Holmes, Antonio Cupo, Janet Kidder in the Lifetime Original Movie that chronicles the British author's struggle to bring the beloved wizard fantasy to life -- while a single mother on welfare -- eventually becoming one of the world's wealthiest women. From A&E Network ... Alberto Villoldo, psychologist, medical anthropologist and best-selling author has studied the shamanic healing practices of the Amazon and the Andes for over 25 years. In the documentary "Amazonia: Healing With Sacred Plants"" (2011), Villoldo explores the secrets of the jungle's sacred plants and the healers who administer them in the deep Amazon rainforest, revealing how they are a central part of the philosophy of health and wellbeing. $19.98 from True Mind.
This Week's Releases (November 1)
From the Big Screen:
"Cars 2," "Crazy, Stupid, Love.," "Water for Elephants" and "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan." For more releases this week, see the "Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases."
DVD Collectibles: (11/1)
(1934) "Hollywood Party" -- eight directors and eight writers (two credited) strong -- is the wild, wildly inconsistent but ever fun musical-novelty film, packed with kicky dance montages offering pre-Code chorines and Berkeley-like kaleidoscopic shots, spiked with a color cartoon insert from Walt Disney, and thronged with notables (including Mickey Mouse, Ted Healy and his Three Stooges and Laurel and Hardy, who put an egg in Lupe Velez's shoe and are duly repaid). The story line -- such as it is -- has the screen's great Schnarzan (Jimmy Durante) attempting to wow the visiting Baron Munchausen (Jack Pearl, reprising his familiar vaudeville and radio character) by throwing him a big, bustling Tinseltown bash. From Warner. Blu-ray debuts this week: "The Big Country" (1958), "Brideshead Revisited: 30th Anniversary Edition" (1981), "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind" (2002), "It's a Wonderful Life Shadow Box Gift Set" (1946) (a two-disc set with the original B&W film and a colorized version, an exclusive bell ornament and a commemorative booklet, packed in a shadow box), "Quigley Down Under" (1990), "Scrooged" (1988), "Tom Cruise Blu-ray Collection" (a six-disc set with "Collateral," "Days of Thunder," "The Firm," "Minority Report," "Top Gun" and "War of the Worlds," bargain priced at $39.99, and "The Taking of Pelham One Two Three" (1974).
Buzzin' the 'B's: (11/1)
"Trespass" (2011) is a failed home invasion thriller directed by Joel Schumacher and starring Nicolas Cage, Nicole Kidman, Cam Gigandet, Liana Liberato and Ben Mendelsohn. When cold-blooded criminals swarm Cage's home, he fends off the bad guys while bringing his family together despite everyone being tangled up in betrayal, deception, temptation and scheming. From Millennium Entertainment ... Just when a spoiled, careless and irresponsible shopaholic gets cut off by her parents at Christmas time, she meets a little girl and her widowed father -- who runs a soup kitchen -- and finds a new life in "Dear Santa" (2011), starring Amy Acker, Gina Holden, David Haydn-Jones and Emma Duke. From Image Entertainment ... In "An Invisible Sign" (2011), Jessica Alba plays a quirky young woman who had retreated into a private world of numbers after her mathematician father was struck by mental illness, finally becoming an elementary school math teacher, bonding with the kids and entering in a romantic relationship with the school science teacher. Also stars Sophie Nyweide, Chris Messina, J.K. Simmons, Sonia Braga, Bailee Madison and John Shea. From MPI Media Group.
For the Family: (11/1)
After his sleigh is shot down while flying through restricted military airspace, an earthbound Santa is sought for questioning by a pair of overzealous Homeland Security agents in "The Santa Incident"
(2011), starring Ione Skye and Greg Germann. The fate of Christmas is in the hands of the disbelieving by-the-book duo, unless their faith in Santa can be restored by two children and a trio of elves who have arrived from up North to help out a friend in need. From RHI Entertainment/Vivendi Entertainment ... In "Strawberry Shortcake: Bright Lights, Big dreams" (2011), Strawberry and her friends spin and twirl in the annual dance-off. From Fox ... "The Nutcracker: The Untold Story" (2011) is a modern take on the famous story, with eight new songs by Oscar-winning lyricist Tim Rice ("The Lion King," "Evita"). Stars Elle Fanning, Nathan Lane, Frances de la Tour and John Turturro. From Universal ... "The Essential Daffy Duck Collection" contains 21 classics that define Daffy's vast career, from his breakthrough cartoons through classic clashes with co-stars Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam and Porky Pig. His creation was made possible by the combined efforts of Tex Avery, Bob Clampett, Frank Tashlin, Fritz Freleng, Chuck Jones, Art Davis and Robert Cannon. Daffy Duck has been involved in almost every era of Warner Brothers animation. $26.99 from Warner ... "The Super Hero Squad Show: The Infinity Gauntlet Season 2, Volume 2" (2011) contains the second seven episodes from the second season, $14.93 from Shout! Factory.
Special Interest: (11/1)
"Tabloid" (2011) is Errol Morris' documentary about the salacious adventures of Miss Wyoming Joyce McKinney, a beauty queen with an IQ of 168 who made her mark as a tabloid staple in the late 1970s by kidnapping her former beau, Kirk Anderson -- who had become a Mormon missionary in the U.K. -- and tying him to a bed to "deprogram" his religious beliefs by having nonstop sex with him. From IFC Entertainment/MPI Media Group ... "Magic Trip" (2011) is a documentary about Ken Kesey and The Merry Band of Pranksters' legendary, LSD-fuelled 1964 cross-country road trip to the New York World's Fair. From Magnolia Home Entertainment ... "Rejoice & Shout" (2011) is a documentary that traces the evolution of Gospel through its many musical styles, from the spirituals and early hymns, the four-part harmony-based quartets, the integration of blues and swing into Gospel, the emergence of Soul, and the blending of Rap and Hip Hop elements. Also from Magnolia Home Entertainment ... "His Way" (2011) is a documentary about legendary film producer and personal manager Jerry Weintraub, featuring interviews with friends, family and colleagues, including former president George H.W. Bush, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Bruce Willis, Matt Damon, Ellen Barkin, James Caan, Elliott Gould, Andy Garcia and others. From HBO ... "The Last Mountain" (2011) is a David vs. Goliath documentary about a coal mining corporation and a tiny community vying for the last great mountain in Appalachia in a battle for the future of energy that affects us all. From Docurama ... "Michael Jackson: The Life of an Icon" (2011) is a documentary that includes all-new interviews with Jackson's mother, Katherine Jackson, as well as siblings Tito and Rebbie Jackson, family, friends and music legends such as Smokey Robinson, Dionne Warwick and many more. From Universal.
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December 1, 2011
OnVideo News (ISSN 1094-3676).