DVD Collectibles (10/30):Universal finally does right visually by Alfred Hitchcock with its release of a limited edition Blu-ray set of the "Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection. This ultimate box set with 15 films includes 13 never before on Blu-ray, with more than 15 hours of bonus features including a newly created documentary on "The Birds" and a 50-page book. Available for a limited time only. "Psycho" (previously on Blu-ray), "The Birds," "Vertigo," "Rear Window," "North by Northwest" (previously on Blu-raY, "The Man Who Knew Too Much," "Marnie," "Saboteur," "Shadow of a Doubt," "Rope," "The Trouble with Harry," "Torn Curtain," "Topaz," "Frenzy" and "Family Plot." $299.98.
Terrifying and darkly comic, "Rosemary's Baby (1968) marked the Hollywood debut of Roman Polanski. This wildly entertaining nightmare, faithfully adapted from Ira Levin's best seller, stars Mia Farrow as a young mother-to-be who grows increasingly suspicious that her overfriendly elderly neighbors, played by Sidney Blackmer and an Oscar-winning Ruth Gordon, and self-involved husband (actor and filmmaker John Cassavetes) are hatching a satanic plot against her and her baby. In the decades of occult cinema Polanski's ungodly masterpiece has spawned, it's never been outdone for sheer psychological terror. In a new high-definition digital restoration, approved by director Roman Polanski. Extras include new interviews with Polanski, Farrow and producer Robert Evans; "Komeda, Komeda," a feature-length documentary on the life and work of jazz musician and composer Krzysztof Komeda, who wrote the score for "Rosemary's Baby"; a 1997 radio interview with author Ira Levin from Leonard Lopate's WNYC program "New York and Company" on the 1967 novel, the sequel, and the film; and a booklet featuring an essay by critic Ed Park and Levin's afterword for the 2003 New American Library edition of his novel, in which he discusses its and the film's origins. On DVD and Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection.
"All In The Family: The Complete Series" is the much-anticipated 28 disc set (with all 213 episodes, uncut and in their original broadcast form) of the ground-breaking TV series that shattered taboos and traditions. The set includes a wealth of bonus features including a 40-page collectible book with essays by Pulitzer Prize–winning TV critic Tom Shales and USC Media Professor Marty Kaplan, a new interview with Norman Lear, the documentary "Those Were the Days: The Birth of All in the Family," the documentary "The Television Revolution Begins: All in the Family Is On the Air," the original "All in the Family" pilot "Justice For All," the second "All in the Family" pilot "Those Were the Days" and the spin-off pilot episodes of "Gloria," "Archie Bunker's Place" and "704 Hauser." $199.99 from Shout! Factory.
From TV to Video (10/30):"Cannon: Season 3" (1973-74) is a six-disc set with 24 episodes, $39.95 from CBS/Paramount ... "Chuck: The Complete Series" (2007-12) features all five seasons on 23 discs, on DVD for $149.98 and Blu-ray for $179.98, with hours of bonus features including featurettes, commentaries, deleted scenes, gag reels and more; from Warner ... "Coma" (2012), starring Lauren Ambrose, Steven Pasquale, Geena Davis, James Woods, Richard Dreyfuss and Ellen Burstyn, is the recent A&E miniseries based on the bestselling novel by Robin Cook and 1978 film written and directed by Michael Crichton: A medical student discovers that something sinister is going on in her hospital after routine procedures send more than a few seemingly healthy patients into comas on the operating table. From Sony ..."Copper" (2012) is a three-disc set with 10 episodes of the first original scripted series from BBC America, about an Irish-American detective in the Five Points slum of New York City in 1864. On DVD and Blu-ray from BBC America ... "Love's Christmas Journey" (2011) stars Natalie Hall, JoBeth Williams, Greg Vaughan, Dylan Bruce, Bobby Campo, Charles Shaughnessy and Ernest Borgnine in a holiday melodrama inspired by the best-selling "Love Comes Softly" book franchise; from Fox ... "My Favorite Martian: Season Three" (1965-66) is a five-disc set with 32 episodes, $39.98 from MPI Video ... "The Streets of San Francisco: Season 5" (2011) is a six-disc set with 24 episodes, $89.98; Season 1 and Season 2 are available separately for $45.98 each; from Paramount.
Buzzin' the 'B's (10/30):"Outlaw Brothers" (1990 -- Hong Kong), starring Frankie Chan, Ken Boyle and Anthony Carpio, follows the exploits of two car thieves and the butt-kicking female police officer who is on their trail. Add in drug smugglers and choreographed fight scenes -- by Jackie Chan -- with brooms, fans, wrenches, and knives to make this a turbo-charged, high-octane, martial arts action film. From The Weinstein Company ... In "Excision" (2012), starring AnnaLynne McCord, Traci Lords, Ariel Winter, Roger Bart, Jeremy Sumpter and Malcolm McDowell, a disturbed and delusional high school student, Pauline, with aspirations of a career in medicine, goes to extremes to earn the approval of her controlling mother . While dealing with being an outcast teenager and an obsession over curing her sister's cystic fibrosis, Pauline becomes continually deranged as her fascination with surgery and the human flesh grows into something abysmal and demonic. On DVD and Blu-ray from Anchor Bay ... Warner has two 1970s theatrical films based on the "Dark Shadows" soap opera: "House of Dark Shadows" (1970), starring Jonathan Frid, Grayson Hall and Kathryn Leigh Scott, in which Vampire Barnabas Collins searches for a cure so he can marry the lovely woman who resembles his long-lost fiancee Josette; and the 1971 sequel "Night of Dark Shadows," starring David Selby, Lara Parker, John Karlen, Kate Jackson, Grayson Hall and Nancy Barrett, which centers on the story of Quentin Collins and his bride Tracy at the Collinwood Mansion in Collinsport, Maine. Both on DVD and Blu-ray.
Foreign (10/30):The offspring of some of the movies' greatest names come together in "Americano" (2011 -- France), a moving drama concerning inheritance, legacy and the enduring pull of the past. After receiving news of his mother’s death, Martin (Mathieu Demy, who also directed and is the son of filmmakers Agnes Varda and Jacques Demy) leaves his girlfriend (Chiara Mastroianni, daughter of Catherine Deneuve and Marcello Mastroianni) and home in Paris and sets off for his childhood home in Los Angeles to tie up the loose ends of his rocky maternal relationship. Arriving in the United States, Martin is greeted by his mother's best friend Linda (Geraldine Chaplin, daughter of Charlie Chaplin), who agrees to help him settle his mother's affairs. As Martin digs deeper into his mother's past, he discovers she had a hidden relationship with a beautiful woman named Lola (Salma Hayek), who he finds at a seedy strip club in Tijuana called the Americano. While Lola recounts her affair with his mother, Martin realizes there is more than he ever hoped to know about his mother's sordid past and his own problems with commitment. The movie serves as a tribute to filmmaking and to Demy's parents; it incorporates scenes from Varda's 1981 "Documenteur," featuring grade-schooler Mathieu Demy. On DVD and Blu-ray from MPI Home Video.
For the Family (10/30):"Chuggington: Icy Escapades" (2012) includes six seasonal episodes: "Chilly Chuggers," "Snowstruck Wilson," "Wilson’s Icy Escapade," "Heave-Ho Harrison," "Hodge Sails Away" and "Rolling Reporter Wilson"; from Anchor Bay ... In "A Christmas Story 2" (2012), starring Daniel Stern, Braeden Lemasters, Stacey Travis and Valin Shinyei, Ralphie, Randy, mom and the Old Man return five years later in this belated sequel to the 1983 classic; on DVD and Blu-ray from Warner ... "Love Comes Softly 10th Anniversary Collection" is a 10-disc set with "Love Comes Softly," "Love's Enduring Promise," "Love's Long Journey," "Love's Abiding Joy," "Love's Unending Legacy," "Love's Unfolding Dream," "Love Takes Wing," "Love Finds A Home," "Love Begins," "Love's Everlasting Courage." From Fox.
"Seeking a Friend for the End of the World," "Magic Mike," "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" and "Madea's Witness Protection." For more releases this week, see the "Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases."
DVD Collectibles (10/23):The highlight of the week has to be the "Blade Runner 30th Anniversary Collector's Edition," a four-disc Blu-ray/DVD and UltraViolet 30th anniversary commemorative gift set that includes all 10+ hours of bonus content from the critically acclaimed Ultimate Collector's Edition from 2007 plus a 72-page production art book of newly discovered sketches from director Ridley Scott, photos from the set and more; a special motion lenticular scene; a numbered collectible spinner car designed by visual futurist Syd Mead Content; and the "Dangerous Days" documentary. The set includes all five feature film versions: The Final Cut, '92 Director's Cut, Domestic and International Theatrical versions and the rare Work Print. $64.98. The films are also available as a three-disc Blu-ray book with The Final Cut version and a 36 page hard cover book with never-before-seen images from the set and scene sketches from Scott; $34.99. From Warner Home Video.
Overwhelming demand for the first Ernie Kovacs collection -- released in 2011 -- fueled the release of "The Ernie Kovacs Collection Volume 2," a second volume of material, with more than nine hours of previously unreleased and rare classic television content from the comedian's archive. Included here: eight more episodes from Kovacs' national morning show; 18 bonus sketches featuring many of his most beloved characters; three complete episodes of his oddball game show "Take A Good Look"; "A Pony for Chris"; rare TV pilot for "Medicine Man" co-starring Buster Keaton; "The Lively Arts" featuring the only existing filmed solo interview with Ernie Kovacs; 2011 American Cinematheque panel, featuring Harry Shearer, Jeff Garlin, Bob Odenkirk, Merrill Markoe, George Schlatter, Jolene Brand and Ben Model. In a three-disc set, $29.93 from Shout! Factory.
The folks at The Criterion Collection have released a remastered edition of one of the 1970s benchmark films, John Schlesinger's "Sunday Bloody Sunday" (1971). The director followed his Academy Award–winning "Midnight Cowboy" with this sophisticated and highly personal take on love and sex. "Sunday Bloody Sunday" depicts the romantic lives of two Londoners, a middle-aged doctor and a prickly thirtysomething divorcee -- played by Oscar winners Peter Finch and Glenda Jackson -- who are sleeping with the same handsome young artist (Murray Head). A revelation in its day, this may be the 1970s' most intelligent, film about the complexities of romantic relationships. In a new high-definition digital restoration, supervised by director of photography Billy Williams, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack ... Kino Lorber will release Stanley Kubrick's first feature, "Fear and Desire" (1953), starring Frank Silvera, Paul Mazursky, Kenneth Harp and Stephen Coit. The WWII film follows a squad of soldiers who have crash-landed behind enemy lines and must work their way downriver to rejoin their unit. In the process, they encounter a peasant girl (Virginia Leith) and tie her to a tree, where she is tormented by a mentally unbalanced soldier. Before making their escape, the soldiers determine the location of an enemy base and formulate a plot to assassinate its commanding officer. Independently financed, and shot by a skeleton crew -- with Kubrick controlling almost every aspect of production -- "Fear And Desire" was conceived as a European-style art film, cloaked in the guise of a Hollywood war picture. On DVD and Blu-ray Disc.
From TV to Video (10/23):"Agatha Christie's Poirot: The Early Cases Collection" includes all 45 mysteries (in the U.K. broadcast order) from the first six series of the television phenomenon starring David Suchet as Agatha Christie's mustached mystery-solver Poirot, in an 18-disc DVD set for $199.99 and a 13-Disc Blu-ray set, $249.99; from Acorn Media ... "The Duchess of Duke Street Complete Collection" (1979-80) is a 10-disc set with 31 episodes, $79.99 from Acorn Media ... "Fantasy Island: The Complete Third Season" (1979-80) is a six-disc set with 23 episodes, $34.97 from Shout! Factory ... "The FBI: The Third Season, Part 1 and Part 2" (1967-68) includes Part 1 in a four-disc set with 16 episodes, $35.98 and Part 2 in a three-disc set with 11 episodes, $35.98; from Warner Archive ... "Happy Endings: The Complete Second Season" (2011-12) is a two-disc set with 22 episodes, $45.99 from ABC/Disney ... "Law & Order: Criminal Intent -- Season 8" (2009) is a four-disc set with 16 episodes, $44.99 from Shout! Factory ... "Perry Mason: Season Seven, Volume Two" (1963-64) is a four-disc set with 15 episodes, $55.98 from CBS/Paramount ... "Rules of Engagement: The Complete Sixth Season" (2011-12) is a three-disc set with 15 episodes, $38.99 from Sony ... "Sanctuary: The Complete Series" (2008-11) is an 18-disc set with all 59 episodes and a 16-page guidebook, from Entertainment One ... "Shazam!" (1974-77) is a three-disc set featuring every episode (28) of the television show about a young boy who transforms himself into the world's mightiest mortal, Captain Marvel, by uttering a single magic word: SHAZAM! From Warner Archive ... "Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns: Season 7" (2010) is a three-disc set with 20 episodes, $29.98 from Lionsgate ... "Upstairs Downstairs: Season Two" (2012) is a two-disc set with six episodes, $34.98 from Warner ... "Wish Me Luck: The Complete Collection" (1988-1990) is a six-disc set with 23 episodes of the series based on the true stories of British heroines who crossed enemy lines to work undercover with the French Resistance during WWII, $79.99 from Acorn Media.
Buzzin' the 'B's (10/23):MVD Entertainment has released four creepy horror films just in time for Halloween: After his friends slip him LSD on a camping trip, ultra-nerdy Nancy hallucinates that they are evil beings and begins to systematically hunt them down; meanwhile, a mysterious corporation monitors the entire event for their own hidden purpose in "Dropping Evil" (2012), starring Armin Shimerman, Tiffany Shepis, Edwin Neal, Tom Taylor, Zachary Eli Lint, Fred Williamson ... A sensual and damaged actress leads two friends into a destructive love triangle in "Cherry" (2010), starring Rey Valentin, Lili Bordan, David Crane and Benjamin Riley ... In "Bloody Christmas" (2012), while small town police are searching for a child murderer, a has-been 80's action movie star is playing Santa on a Public Access TV show and fantasizing about murdering the people that have done him wrong, starring Robert Arensen, Geretta Geretta, Adriana Kaegi, James Balsamo and Steve Montague ... The name Rudyard Kipling has long been connected to a little jungle boy, dancing apes and a big blue bear ... but those unaware of his writings beyond "Jungle Book" might be surprised to learn that he wrote several horror stories over the course of his life. One of his most popular was "Mark of the Beast," which follows two people as they try to deal with saving a friend who, after defacing a religious shrine, becomes cursed by the silver leper who lives in the forest that surrounds their homes. "Rudyard Kipling's Mark of the Beast" (2012) stars Debbie Rochon, Dick Boland and Ellen Muth.
When a small mining town hosts the legendary Mountain Man Festival on Halloween, where crowds of costumed partygoers gather for a wild night of music and mischief, a killer celebration soon gives way to a blood-soaked feeding frenzy when an inbred family of hillbilly cannibals trick and treat themselves to a group of visiting college students in "Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines" (2012), starring Camilla Arfwedson, Roxanne McKee, Doug Bradley and Simon Ginty; from Fox ... When four friends travel to a lakeside cabin for a carefree weekend, the fun turns into a nightmare when three of them end up locked in a hot sauna that begins to approach 247°F, the temperature at which the human body expires in "247°F" (2011), starring Scout Taylor-Compton, Christina Ulloa, Travis Van Winkle and Tyler Mane; from Anchor Bay ... "Crooked Arrows" (2012) is a sports drama about a team of Native American high school lacrosse losers whose spirits are raised when former star player Joe Logan (Brandon Routh) agrees to coach the rag-tag group to seal the deal on a lucrative casino project, co-starring Gil Birmingham, Crystal Allen and Chelsea Ricketts; from Fox.
On the Indie Front (10/23):In "Take This Waltz" (2011), directed by Sarah Polley and starring Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen, Luke Kirby and Sarah Silverman, Williams plays 28-year-old Margot, happily married to Lou (Rogen), a good-natured cookbook author. But when Margot meets Daniel (Kirby), a handsome artist who lives across the street, their mutual attraction is undeniable, taking us through the familiar, but uncharted question of what long-term relationships do to love, sex and our image of ourselves. From Magnolia Home Entertainment.
For the Family (10/23):This week's family highlight has to be the latest animated film from Disney, Secret of the Wings" (2012), the newest movie in the Tinker Bell Disney Fairies film franchise: Tinker Bell and her fairy friends travel into the forbidden world of the mysterious Winter Woods, where curiosity and adventure lead them to an amazing discovery and reveal a magical secret that could change their world forever. The gorgeous animated adventure introduces a new fairy named Periwinkle. Features the voices of Anjelica Huston, Timothy Dalton, Lucy Liu, Raven-Symone, Megan Hilty, Pamela Adlon, Matt Lanter, Debby Ryan, Mae Whitman, Lucy Hale. In DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo, 3D Blu-ray formats ... When Gabe the dog's happy life is turned upside down by his owner Eric's plan to move to England, Gabe plays Cupid to make Eric fall in love with the girl next door, hoping to get him to stay in America in "Gabe the Cupid Dog" (2012), starring Brian Krause, Boti Bliss, Linden Ashby, Michael Woods, Barbara Niven, Ashley Jones and Ralph Waite; from XLrator Media ... Despite repeated warnings about humans from their father, the Abominable Snowman, two Abominable Snowkids find themselves in a sleepy Colorado mountain town after being chased out of their hideaway by a scientist determined to capture them; a 7-year-old girl takes them home in "Abominable Christmas" (2012), starring Isabella Acres and the voices of Emilio Estevez, Ray Liotta and Ariel Winter; from ARC Entertainment.
Special Interest (10/23):In the highly absorbing "America Stripped: Naked Las Vegas" (2010), director David Palmer follows avant-garde photographer Greg Friedler as he embarks on an absurdly emotional, 30-day rollercoaster ride to bring together 173 naked human beings of every shape, size, and walk of life in Las Vegas as he shoots the fourth and final book in his renowned "Naked" series (the previous three volumes are "Naked New York," "Naked Los Angeles" and "Naked London"). In Friedler's unique and startling collection of photographic diptychs, we see average people -- men and women of all shapes, ages, colors, and classes: investment banker, junkie, bookseller, closet queen, unemployed pregnant woman, actor, cashier, Harvard grad student, retired salesman, nanny, and security guards -- first clothed, then completely naked. Only their ages and professions are given as captions. This documentary is a no-holds barred, behind the curtain exploration that follows Friedler's own personal search into the underbelly of Las Vegas to capture its diverse and at times bizarre denizens who, when stripped of clothing and society's judgments in front of his lens, discover an even playing field of beauty, humanity and ultimately self-love. Indeed, Friedler is an anthropologist of sorts, revealing himself and his subjects to be all the same, human and vulnerable. Highly recommended; $19.95 from Gravitas Ventures.
"Disasters Deconstructed: A History of Architectural Disasters" (2011) is a six-disc set with a variety of History Channel programs that look at man-made disasters: "Inspector America" follows an infrastructure safety inspector as he travels the country to see what is up to code and what needs to be fixed; "Titanic's Achilles Heel" chronicles the tragedy from design and construction to its ill-fated voyage and its lasting legacy; "Modern Marvels: Engineering Disasters" uses on-the-scene footage, powerful reenactments, expert analysis and graphic reconstructions to present some of the most notorious disasters of the past 40 years; and three specials on The Hindenburg. $49,99 from A&E ... "The Invisible War" (2011) is director Kirby Dick's critically acclaimed investigative documentary into the epidemic of the rape of soldiers within the U.S. military, one of America's most shameful and best-kept secrets. The film paints a startling picture: A female soldier in combat zones is more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire. The Department of Defense estimates there were a staggering 19,300 service members sexually assaulted in 2010 alone. $29.95 from Docurama ... "Apocalypse: Hitler" (2012) documents Hitler's rise to power and the beginning of evil; its the prologue to the landmark National Geographic Channel documentary series "Apocalypse: The Second World War". Features never-before-seen colorized and restored HD footage. From Entertainment One ... "Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview" (2012) is a candid, in-depth interview with the late visionary filmed in 1995 in which he discusses at length his early days, career battles, and vision for the future. Small portions of the piece were used for a television series at the time, but the vast majority was shelved and for 17 years thought to be lost. $26.98 from Magnolia Home Entertainment.
"Moonrise Kingdom," "Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted," "Chernobyl Diaries" and "That's My Boy." For more releases this week, see the "Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases."
DVD Collectibles (10/16):Heading up this week's releases is "The Forgiveness of Blood" (2011), from American director Joshua Marston, who broke out in 2004 with his jolting, Oscar-nominated "Maria Full of Grace," about a young Colombian woman working as a drug mule. In his remarkable follow-up, "The Forgiveness of Blood," he turns his camera on another corner of the world: contemporary northern Albania, a place still troubled by the ancient custom of interfamilial blood feuds. From this reality, Marston sculpts a fictional narrative about a teenage brother and sister physically and emotionally trapped in a cycle of violence, a result of their father's entanglement with a rival clan over a piece of land. "The Forgiveness of Blood" is a tense and perceptive depiction of a place where tradition and progress have an uneasy co-existence, as well as a dynamic coming-of-age drama. From The Criterion Collection.
Cartoon collectors will appreciate two offerings this week: The "Looney Tunes Platinum Collection Volume 2," which showcases 50 all-time favorite cartoon shorts, digitally remastered and restored, on a two-disc DVD, 26.99 and three-disc Blu-ray, $44.98. Disc one offers a collection of 25 signature cartoon shorts featuring an all-star line-up of some of the best-known Looney Tunes characters including Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Road Runner, Wile E. Coyote, Pepe Le Pew, Foghorn Leghorn, Speedy Gonzales and others. Disc two is comprised of 25 shorts, including a collection of memorable one-shot classics such as "Hollywood Steps Out," which features cartoon versions of such legendary actors as Cary Grant, Greta Garbo, Humphrey Bogart, Bing Crosby, Clark Gable and many others. Featured also are the complete collections of cartoons starring some of Looney Tunes notable but seldom seen characters such as Nasty Canasta, Cecil Turtle, Beaky Buzzard, A. Flea and others. Disc three, which is only available in the Blu-ray of the release, is devoted entirely to special content and rarities from the vault. From Warner ... "TV Toons to Go" is a 10-disc set with 40 hours of programming from 110 episodes of popular animated television shows packaged in a tin carrying case. Features episodes from "Busytown Mysteries," "The Busy World of Richard Scarry," "Johnny Test," "Horseland," "Postcards from Buster," "The Littles," "Where on Earth Is Carmen San Diego," "Archie's Weird Mysteries," "Sabrina's Secret Life," "Heathcliff," "The Get Along Gang," "The Legend of White Fang," "Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors," "C.O.P.S.," "Gadget Boy's Adventures in History," "Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century," "Paddington Bear. On DVD, $29.98, from Mill Creek Entertainment.
Here's a blast from the past, literally: "Gone in 60 Seconds" (1974), the classic car theft film written, directed, and produced by H.B. (Toby) Halicki and starring Eleanor, the only Ford Mustang in history to receive starring credit in a movie. The movie takes us back to a time when chases and crashes were real -- no CGI -- just raw talent, great driving, and unflinching stunts. Its legendary 40 minute chase scene -- wrecking 93 cars -- is part of car chasing lore. Car thief Maindrian Pace (Halicki) and his crew are commissioned to steal 48 cars but when Pace gets to the last one -- a 1974 Mustang code-named Eleanor -- he's double-crossed and goes on the run, chased by cops through five Southern California cities. In a Blu-ray/DVD Combo from Halicki Films and Anderson Merchandisers ... And, as we get ever closer to Halloween, there's more frightening DVDs coming your way. This week we get Tobe Hooper's "The Funhouse Collector's Edition" (1981), in which four terrified teens are trapped in the maze of a carnival's funhouse and stalked by a real monster, a horribly deformed killer who lurks among the freakish exhibits to butcher them one by one ... and "Terror Train Collector's Edition" (1980), directed by Roger Spottiswoode and starring Ben Johnson, Jamie Lee Curtis, Hart Bochner and David Copperfield. It's New Year's Eve and a group of college co-eds have planned a masquerade bash aboard a chartered train. What they didn't plan on was that a knife-wielding psycho would crash the party and begin slaughtering the guests one by one. Both films are sold as Blu-ray/DVD combos from Shout! Factory/Scream Factory.
From TV to Video (10/16):"Alcatraz: The Complete Series" (2012) is a three-disc set with 13 episodes, on DVD and Blu-ray from Warner ... "Cagney & Lacey: The Complete Series" (1981-88) is a 30th anniversary celebration of the hit show's television premiere; it's a 32-disc set with 119 episodes of Seasons Two through Seven (starring Tyne Daly and Sharon Gless), $139.99. Also available is a Limited-Edition Collector's Set with an additional 29 Hours of special features that include the feature-length, made-for-television, 1981 film of the same name, starring Loretta Swit as Cagney and with Daly originating the role of Lacey, from which the series was spun off; the series' premiere season (six episodes) with Meg Foster as Cagney; four made-for-TV films, and much more, $169.99; from Visual Entertainment ... "Check It Out! Seasons 1 and 2" (2010-12) includes all 12 episodes of the Adult Swim series that parodies a local market's newsmagazine show, starring John C. Reilly as Dr. Steve Brule; from Cartoon Network ... "Columbo: The Complete Series" is a 34-disc set with all 69 episodes from "Columbo's" seven seasons and all 24 television movies, $149.98 from Universal ... "The Complete Red Green Show: High (Quality) Quantity Collection" (1991-2006) is a 50-disc collector's edition with all 15 seasons, $299.99 from Acorn Media ... "Degrassi the Next Generation: Season 11, Part 2" (2011-12) is a two-disc set, $19.99 from Echo Bridge ... "The Firm: The Complete Series" (2012) is a six-disc set with 23 episodes, $39.98 from Entertainment One ... "Gunsmoke: The Sixth Season, Volume 2" (1960-61) is a three-disc set with 18 episodes, $36.98 from Paramount ... "Last of the Summer Wine: Vintage 1995 Reserve" (1995) features more episodes of the world's longest running sitcom about three old men from Yorkshire who have never grown up, in a two-disc set, $34.98 from BBC Home Entertainment ... "Mad Men: Season Five" (2012) includes all 13 episodes in a four-disc set, $49.98 from Lionsgate ... "Medical Center: The Complete Second Season" (1970-71) is a six-disc set with 24 episodes, $59.99 from Warner Archive ... "A Princess for Christmas" (2011) is a TV drama about an ordinary girl from Buffalo who gets swept away for Christmas to visit her long-lost royal family, from Lionsgate ... "Psych: The Complete Sixth Season" (2011-12) is a four-disc set with 16 episodes, $59.98 from Universal ... "Touch: The Complete First Season" (2012) is a three-disc set with 13 episodes, 49.98 from Fox ... "Waterloo Road Series One" (2006) is the North American DVD debut of the British series that follows the students and teachers at the beleaguered Waterloo Road Comprehensive School as they confront issues ranging from teen pregnancy to bullying, in a two-disc set with eight episodes, $39.99 from Acorn Media.
Buzzin' the 'B's (10/16):When six pals escape the chaos of the city for a brief getaway, the manor home they rent in the countryside turns out to be not so idyllic in "Back From Hell (Ex inferis)" (2012 -- Italy), starring Roberto Zibetti, Giovanni Guidelli, Jennifer Mischiati; from Inception Media Group ... In "40 West" (2011), starring Jennifer Nichole Porter, Scott Winters, Brian A. White, Kathleen Kimball and Wayne Newton, Maeve, a Blues musician, finds herself trapped in a sordid East Texas motel room with her violent husband, Colin -- who has been released from prison early -- a Good Samaritan and fan with an ulterior motive and Colin's jailhouse girlfriend, whose homicidal husband is due to arrive any minute. From WaxWorks/VideoWorks ... Based on true events, "Greystone Park" (2011) follows three aspiring filmmakers trying to document unexplainable events in an abandoned insane asylum known as Greystone Park, where the trio stumble across a mysterious realm of escaped patients, ghosts and demonic shadows. The feature directorial debut by Sean Stone, Oliver Stone's son. Stars Sean Stone, Oliver Stone, Alexander Wraith, Antonella Lentini, John Schramm, Monique Zordan and Monique Van Vooren. From XLrator Media/ARC Entertainment ... When an unidentifiable corpse is discovered on the grounds of Streech Grange, two detectives (Corin Redgrave and Daniel Craig) have to decide whether it's the start of a new case -- or the solution to a missing person case which started 10 years earlier in "The Ice House" (1997), based on the award-winning novel by Minette Walters. From BBC Home Entertainment ... An upper-middle-class couple's life is destroyed when their only child is kidnapped and killed and, obsessed with revenge, the couple seizes an opportunity to kidnap the killer and drag him to a remote cabin where the husband, a doctor, puts his medical skills to ghastly work in "The Tortured" (2010), starring Erika Christensen, Jesse Metcalfe, Bill Lippincott and Bill Moseley. From IFC Films.
On the Indie Front (10/16):In "Last Ride" (2009 -- Australia) Hugo Weaving stars as a troubled father, a fugitive from the law, who one night snatches up his 10-year-old son Chook and drives off into the rugged Australian outback. On the run for committing a crime of violence, Kev and Chook spiral into an increasingly complex and moving relationship as they head deeper and deeper into an unknown future where the only guarantee is danger. Also stars Tom Russell, Anita Hegh, John Brumpton, Sonya Suares, Kelton Pell; from Music Box Films.
Foreign (10/16):In "Nobody Else But You" (2011 -- France), a bestselling crime novelist who is desperately looking for a new story hones his focus on the apparent suicide of a small-town woman, an aspiring model who thought she was the reincarnation of Marilyn Monroe. The case was closed before it even opened and the cause of death declared suicide by sleeping pills. But the writer doesn't buy it and as he investigates the death, he finds that reality turns out to be stranger than fiction and uncovers the truth about the young woman's past and untimely death. Stars Jean-Paul Rouve and Sophie Quinton; from First Run Features ... When the last of a family of generals who have dedicated their lives to defending the Song Dynasty from foreign invaders is killed in battle, his widowed wife leads the other widows of the Yang clan into battle to continue the legacy of their husbands in "Legendary Amazons" (2011 -- China), starring Cecilia Cheung, Cheng Pei-Pei and Liu Ziaoqing. This remake of 1972's "The 14 Amazons" is from Well Go USA ... Three generations of a French family open up about their sexual experiences and desires after their 18-year-old son is caught masturbating in his biology class in "Sexual Chronicles of a French Family" (2012 -- French), starring Mathias Melloul, Valerie Maes, Stephan Hersoen and Leila Denio; from IFC Films.
For the Family (10/16):Add three more Christmas family films to your holiday viewing list: "Christmas Miracle" (2012), in which a blizzard forces eight strangers to take refuge in a church, where they learn the true meaning of Christmas; from Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment ... "The Christmas Pageant" (2011), in which a temperamental Broadway director (Melissa Gilbert), fired from yet another job, begrudgingly takes on the job of directing a community Christmas pageant in a small town; from Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment ... "The Heart of Christmas" (2011), the inspirational story of Austin and Julie Locke, who are devastated to learn that their young son, Dax, has been diagnosed with cancer. With courage, determination and faith, they decide to give Dax one last Christmas -- even if it has to be in October -- and their whole community rallies behind them; from Image Entertainment ... and "Power Rangers Samurai: Christmas Together, Friends Forever" (2012), which includes three holiday-themed episodes from the Power Rangers series: "Samurai Power Rangers: Christmas Together, Friends Forever," "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers -- I'm Dreaming of a White Ranger" and "Zeo Power Rangers -- A Season to Remember." From Lionsgate.
Also due this week: "Trooper and the Legend of the Golden Key" (2012), a Dove-approved family friendly film about the adventures of Trooper the Bloodhound and his 10-year-old friend Tommy as they investigate a mysterious legend; from Entertainment One ... "Big Bad Beetleborgs: Season One, Volume One" (1996), a three-disc set with 27 episodes, from Shout! Factory.
Special Interest (10/16):In "Bill Moyers: A World of Ideas II -- Great Thinkers" (1988), legendary journalist Bill Moyers sits down with 16 of the world's smartest people for comprehensive conversations about American life. Features conversations with winners of the Nobel Prize, the Pulitzer, an Academy Award, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, including Noam Chomsky, Jonas Salk, Cornel West, and Henry Steele Commager. Three-disc set, plus a 12-page viewer's guide, $59.99 from Athena ... "Chely Wright: Wish Me Away" (2011) is a documentary on Chely Wright, the first Nashville music star to come out as gay. Using interviews with Chely, her family, her pastor, and key players in the music world, alongside Chely's intimate private video diaries, the film goes deep into her back story as an established star and then forward as she steps into the national spotlight to reveal her secret. From First Run Features ... In "The Ambassador" (2011), Danish journalist Mads Brugger goes undercover as a European ambassador to embark on a dangerous yet darkly comic journey to uncover the blood diamond trade in Africa; from Image Entertainment/Drafthouse Films ... "Nazi Collaborators" (2011) is a 13-part documentary that explores the question, "How could anyone have collaborated with Adolph Hitler and the Nazis?" Drawing upon an unrivaled 4,000 hours of archival film, it shows how powerful individuals and organizations all across Europe and the Middle East collaborated, often with dark and disturbing motives, with the most evil regime of the 20th century. $39.98 from Shanachie Entertainment.
"Neil Young Journeys" (2011) is Jonathan Demme's documentary that follows Young, traveling from his hometown of Omemee, Ontario, to Toronto's iconic music venue, Massey Hall, in a 1956 Ford Crown Victoria, while sharing stories about his life and childhood. Demme weaves the stories together with mesmerizing music including live concert performances from the 2010 album Le Noise and powerful renditions of classics, From Sony ... The five-part documentary "Brave New World" (2011) explores recent headline-grabbing advancements in machines, health, technology, the environment, biology, and physics, to explore the amazing research and awesome inventions that will change the course of the world. Hosted by famed professor Stephen Hawking; $49.99 from Athena ... In "Nina Conti: Her Master's Voice" (2012), internationally acclaimed ventriloquist Nina Conti (daughter of famed actor Tom Conti) is at a career crossroads. Questioning whether she should continue in this bizarre career following the death of her lover and mentor, Ken Campbell, she takes his "bereaved" puppets on a pilgrimage to Vent Haven, the Kentucky resting place for puppets of dead ventriloquists. From Virgil Films ... Based on the New York Times best seller by Dinesh D'Souza, a former staffer for President Ronald Reagan and member of the American Enterprise Institute, "2016: Obama's America" (2012) explores President Barack Obama's past to speculate where America may be four years from now if he's re-elected. From Lionsgate.
"Prometheus," "A Cat in Paris," "Rock of Ages" and "The Raven." For more releases this week, see the "Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases."
DVD Collectibles (10/9):Be still my heart. This week's Blu-ray debuts will please movielovers of every ilk. Probably the most-waited for release is the 30th anniversary edition of Steven Spielberg's love letter to childhood innocence and wonder, "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial" (1982), starring Dee Wallace, Peter Coyote, Drew Barrymore and Henry Thomas. Iconic for so many reasons -- Carlo Rambaldi's E.T., the bicycle flying scene, the Reese's Pieces, Drew Barrymore's Gertie -- the film was the highest-grossing of all time until eclipsed by Spielberg's "Jurassic Park" 10 years later. Universal has packed the set (it comes as a Blu-ray/DVD/Digital/UltraViolet pack) with new and old bonus features, including "The E.T. Journals," a feature that retraces the day-to-day experience of creating E.T from never-before-seen, behind-the-scenes footage shot by Academy Award-winning cinematographer John Toll; "Steven Spielberg & E.T.," a new interview with Spielberg as he reflects back on the film and discusses his experience working with the actors, as well as his overall and current perspective on E.T.; two deleted scenes from 2002 version of the film; "A Look Back": A special insider's look into the making of E.T. featuring interviews with Spielberg, the cast, and others; "The E.T. Reunion": The cast and filmmaker reunite to discuss their thoughts on the impact of the film; and much, much more.
As you all know by now, we're rolling into the 50th anniversary of The Beatle's entrance to the recording scene (their first single, "Love Me Do," was released in the UK on Oct. 5 and the album, "Please Please Me," on March 22 in the UK), so be prepared for tons of Beatles-related material. Last week we had the release of "Beatles Stories" and this week we have a rarity: 1967's "Magical Mystery Tour." In September of that year The Beatles embarked on their third film, this time conceived and directed by themselves. Based on a loose unscripted narrative, in the spirit of the experimental mood of the time, and directed by The Beatles themselves, the film became the vehicle to present six new songs: "Magical Mystery Tour," "The Fool on the Hill," "Flying," "I Am the Walrus," "Blue Jay Way" and "Your Mother Should Know." Fully restored with unseen footage and newly-filmed interviews with Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and other members of the film's cast and crew, the DVD will sell for $29.98. It's also available as a deluxe box set with the Blu-ray, the DVD and a double-vinyl EP. Two of the nifty extras: the famous BBC-produced promo for "Hello Goodbye," broadcast on Top of the Pops, and a scene of Traffic performing and acting out "Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush," commissioned by The Beatles for possible inclusion in the film but not used in the final edit. From Capitol.
Two Hitchcock films get the Blu-ray treatment (in advance of the October 30 massive Universal set), both owned by Warner Home Video: 1954's "Dial M for Murder," starring Grace Kelly, Ray Milland, Robert Cummings and John Wiliams. Hitchcock's suspense classic was among the first films that helped Warners introduce 3D in U.S. theaters in the early '50s. Now, the studio has restored the original 3D presentation so audiences can see the film in their homes as it was originally meant to be seen. A 2D version will also be included. The other release: "Strangers on a Train " (1951), starring Farley Granger and Robert Walker. This iconic film -- based on the book by Patricia Highsmith (and screenplay by Raymond Chandler and Czenzi Ormonde) about two men who meet on a train and "agree" to swap murders -- gets a high-def restoration and includes commentary by Peter Bogdanovich, Joseph Stefano, Andrew Wilson, Joe Alves, Peter Benchley, Tere Caruba, Whitfield Cook, Katie Fiala, Richard Franklin, Alfred Hitchcock, Patricia Hitchcock O'Connell, Kasey Rogers, Richard Schickel and Mary Stone, as well as several featurettes.
Warner also has a Blu-ray debut of "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?" ((1962, directed by Robert Aldrich and starring Bette Davis, Joan Crawford and Victor Buono) in a 50th anniversary edition Blu-ray book that includes three documentaries, 36 pages of essays, behind-the-scenes photography, commentary and vintage featurettes ... and Blu-ray debuts of "Little Shop of Horrors: The Director's Cut" (1986), directed by Frank Oz and starring Rick Moranis, Ellen Greene, Vincent Gardenia and Steve Martin; "Dead Ringer" (1964), starring Bette Davis, Karl Malden and Peter Lawford; "Ice Station Zebra" (1968), directed by John Sturges and starring Rock Hudson, Ernest Borgnine and Patrick McGoohan. And, lastly, MGM has the Blu-ray debut of Sidney Lumet's second-to-last film, Find Me Guilty (2006), starring Vin Diesel and Alex Rocco in a courtroom drama based on the story of mobster Jack DiNorscio, who defended himself in court for what would be the longest Mafia trial in U.S. history.
From TV to Video (10/9):"Bones: The Complete Seventh Season" (2011-12), a four-disc set with 13 episodes, $49.98; from Fox ... "Doctor Who: Ep. 53 -- Ambassadors Of Death," is a two-disc DVD set, $34.98 from BBC/Warner ... "The Fantasia Barrino Story: Life Is Not a Fairytale" (2006), a biodrama about the "American idol" winner, with Fantasia playing herself; from A&E ... "Holliston: The Complete First Season" (2012) is a two-disc set with six extended episodes from the FEARnet original series; from Image Entertainment ... "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: The Complete Season 7" (2011) is a two-disc set with 13 episodes, on DVD, $39.98; Blu-ray Disc, $49.98; from Fox ... "The League: Season Three" (2011) is a two-disc set with 13 episodes; from Fox ... "The Lucy Show: The Official Complete Series" is a 24-disc set for $198.99 from Paramount ... "The Lucy Show: The Official Sixth & Final Season" is a four-disc set, $39.99 from Paramount ... "What Color Is Love?" (2009) is a Lifetime Original Movie starring Jennifer Finnegan and Roger Cross about a young white woman, a sports groupie, who falls for a married black pro basketball star; from A&E ... "Whitney: Season One" (2011-12) is a three-disc set with 22 episodes; from Universal.
Buzzin' the 'B's (10/9):A man takes his family on a camping trip and becomes convinced they are being stalked by the legendary monster of the New Jersey Pine Barrens: the Jersey Devil, the winged beast spawned 400 years ago by Satan himself in "The Barrens" (2012), starring Stephen Moyer, Mia Kirshner, Erik Knudsen and Allie McDonald; from Anchor Bay ... Death comes to a small island at the hands of a young woman who has been brutally mistreated by the residents in the South Korean "Bedevilled" (2010), starring Yeong-hie Seo, Seong-won Ji and Jung-Hak Park; on DVD and Blu-ray from Well Go USA ... A struggling suburban couple have no idea what they're in for when they rent out the cottage behind their house to a quiet, charming romance novelist who's not who he says he is in "The Cottage" (2011), starring David Arquette, Kristen Dalton, Victor Brown, Ken Baumann, Morissa O'Mara and Alana O'Mara; from Entertainment One ... A specialist carrier is hired to deliver a mysterious case to the underworld's most dangerous hit man in "The Courier" (2011), starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Josie Ho, Til Schweiger, Mickey Rourke, Lily Taylor and Miguel Ferrer; on DVD and Blu-ray from Well Go USA ... "The Cup" (2011), starring Brendan Gleeson, Stephen Curry, Daniel MacPherson, Tom Burlinson and Alice Parkinson, is an inspirational true horseracing story about triumph over adversity and a family that overcame incredible odds to win the 2002 Melbourne Cup trophy; from Lionsgate ... The day after his wedding, Vince's perfect life is shattered and his friends come together to bring him back to life the only way they know how -- by taking a trip to Atlantic City in the raunchy comedy "Mancation" (2012), starring Joey Fatone, Matt Kawczynski, Danica McKellar, Mike Starr, Jake Matthews and Stephen Medvidick; from Lionsgate ... Dean Martin plays a notorious bandit who kidnaps a woman off a stagecoach to buy a Gatling gun on the black market so he can achieve "something big," only to discover that the woman is the wife of the local cavalry commandant in "Something Big" (1971), directed by Andrew V. McLaglen and starring Brian Keith, Carol White, Honor Blackman, Ben Johnson and Albert Salmi; from Paramount ... A summer heat wave and a series of sexual encounters connect a group of New Yorkers in "30 Beats" (2012), starring Paz de la Huerta, Justin Kirk, Ben Levin, Lee Pace, Condola Rashad, Thomas Sadoski and Jennifer Tilly; from Lionsgate ... A monstrous creature terrorizes a 19th Century European village by moonlight and a young man struggles to protect his loved ones from an unspeakable scourge in "Werewolf: The Beast Among Us Unrated" (2012), starring Ed Quinn, Stephen Rea, Guy Wilson, Nia Peeples, Rachel Katherine DiPillo, Adam Croasdell and Steven Bauer. On DVD and Blu-ray from Universal.
On the Indie Front (10/9):"The Giant Mechanical Man" (2012), starring Chris Messina, Jenna Fischer, Topher Grace, Malin Akerman, Bob Odenkirk, Lucy Punch and Rich Sommer, is an offbeat romantic comedy about two lost souls finding each other. Tim (Chris Messina) is a street performer who dresses up as a silver-painted mechanical man and whose girlfriend leaves him because he lacks motivation. Janice (Jenna Fischer), evicted from her apartment and living with her overbearing sister, is under pressure to date an egotistical self-help guru. The two meet and fall for each other when they both take jobs at the local zoo. From Tribeca Film/New Video ... In "Four More Years" (2010 -- Sweden), starring Bjorn Kjellman, Eric Ericson and Tova Magnusson-Norling, David Holst is handsome, charming and the favorite to become the next Prime Minister of Sweden. After a shocking turnaround at the polls, however, he is defeated and left on the sidelines ... where he meets and falls for Martin: charming, bright, fun-loving -- and the state secretary to the new Prime Minister of the rival party. From TLA Releasing ... A divorced man lives the high life in Hollywood until he meets "Crazy Eyes" (2012), the one woman he can't have, starring Lukas Haas, Madeline Zima and Jake Busey; from Strand Releasing.
For the Family (10/9):Halloween is almost upon us, so here's the first flush of ghoul-themed family films: In "Dear Dracula" (2012), starring Nathan Gamble, Ariel Winter, Marion Ross, Ray Liotta and Emilio Estevez, a young boy writes to Dracula for Halloween and much to his surprise a tired, out-of-touch, older Dracula shows up at his doorstep. In a modern world of hip vampires, can the young boy help Dracula get his mojo back? From ARC Entertainment ... In the animated "Monster High: Ghouls Rule" (2011), the students at Monster High have been warned for years that Halloween was a night to stay inside and avoid conflict at all costs. But Frankie and her friends discover that ghouls and "Normies" once loved to spend the holiday together, and they decide to turn back the clock and use the night to celebrate their individuality and show that it's okay to "Be Yourself. Be Unique. Be a Monster." From Universal ... "Big Top Scooby-Doo!" (2012) is a new animated feature that has Scooby and his pals joining a circus in an attempt to investigate a series of werewolf sightings; on DVD and Blu-ray from Warner.
Now get ready for Christmas releases: "An American Christmas Carol" (1979), starring Henry Winkler, Dorian Harewood and Susan Hogan, is a unique retelling of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" that has Scrooge portrayed as Benedict Slade, a heartless finance company president in Depression-era New England. On DVD and Blu-ray Disc from Shout! Factory ... Join the world's most famous aardvark, 8-year-old Arthur Read, and his family and friends, for an hour-long animated special about the holidays in "Arthur's Perfect Christmas" (2012), $9.99 from PBS Distribution ... Santa's daughter heads to sunny Southern California, where she spreads good will and seeks a husband to replace aging Santa Claus in "Annie Claus Is Coming to Town" (2011); from Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment.
Two kids series come to DVD this week: "Digimon: Digital Monsters -- The Official First Season" (1999-2000) is an eight-disc set with all 54 episodes; the boxed set includes all four story arcs and is the official North American release licensed in partnership with Toei Animation. Includes a 36-page character guide booklet featuring the seven original characters plus Kari; $79.95 from Flatiron Film Company ... For younger kids there's "Care Bears: The Original Series Collection" (2012), a limited edition 30-year anniversary collectors' set with 64 classic episodes and a full-length movies spread over a six-disc set, $29.98 from Lionsgate. Also for the wee ones there's "The Adventures of Scooter the Penguin" (2012), a CG animated family-friendly feature about a unique little bird from a lost colony of penguins adopted by a family of silver penguins; $14.98 from Entertainment One ... "My First Collection, Volume 4" (2012) is a three-disc set with 12 stories for kids ages 2 to 6: "Robot Zot! ... and More Rhyming Stories," "Too Many Toys ... and More Stories About Problem Solving" and "The Curious Garden ... and More Stories About Nature. $24.95 from Scholastic Storybook Treasures. Single DVDs will also be available individually for $12.95.
Special Interest (10/9):Narrated by Bob Costas and crafted by the filmmakers of Major League Baseball Productions, "The World Series: History of the Fall Classic" (2012) is the definitive documentary on the World Series, with all the madness, triumphs, and exhilarating moments that make the game out national pastime. The expertly blended archival footage, thrilling game action and more than 100 interviews with players, managers, writers, broadcasters, and historians create an exciting and comprehensive chronicle of the Fall Classic. Available as a two-disc set with the complete four-hour documentary, $24.95; a Limited Edition Giftset includes the documentary and two hours of bonus material, including historic official game programs and scorecards, ceremonial first pitches, the ultimate World Series lineup, World Series clinchers, World Series MVP Award-winners, clubhouse celebrations, and extra interviews, $39.95. Both are from A&E ... "The Art:21 Collection: Art in the Twenty-First Century Seasons 1-6" (2012) features 24 one-hour programs that present ground-breaking artists of the new century at work and speaking in their own words about how, why and what they create. Art21 travels across the nation and the world to profile some of our era's most iconic artists -- including Richard Serra, Maya Lin, Sally Mann, Martin Puryear, Jeff Koons, Ai WeiWei, Marina Abramovic, and many more. Available as a six-disc DVD set, $79.99 from PBS Distribution ... "Nova: Space, Time and the Universe With Brian Greene" (2012) brings together two fascinating programs hosted by Brian Greene, Professor of Physics and Mathematics at Columbia University: "The Elegant Universe" and "The Fabric of the Cosmos." Available as a four-disc DVD set, $34.99 from PBS Distribution.
"Dark Shadows" and "People Like Us." For more releases this week, see the "Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases."
DVD Collectibles (10/2):With Halloween fast approaching, the home video studios are beginning to roll out their horror and monster catalogs; the king of them all, of course, is the monster catalog at Universal. This week the studio is releasing to Blu-ray "Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection," an eight-disc set with "Dracula," "Frankenstein," "The Mummy," "The Invisible Man," "Bride of Frankenstein," The Wolf Man," "Phantom of the Opera" and "Creature From the Black Lagoon" (with a 3D version of the film). The set includes a 48-page "House of Horror" book featuring behind-the-scenes photographs, original posters and rare correspondences. The set has a $159.98 retail price but is available for $111.99 at Amazon.
At the lighter end of the movie spectrum, a couple of princesses will arrive on Blu-ray this week: "Cinderella" (1950) will come out of the Disney vault in a Diamond Edition Collection version as a collector's six-Disc Jewelry Box Set (Cinderella Blu-ray + Cinderella 2: Dreams Come True Blu-ray/Cinderella 3: A Twist in Time on a single Blu-ray + Cinderella DVD + Cinderella 2 DVD + Cinderella 3 DVD + Cinderella Digital Copy Disc), a three-Disc Blu- ray Combo Pack (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy) and a two-Disc Blu-ray Combo Pack (Blu-ray + DVD). The other princess is "The Princess Bride" (1987) in a 25th Anniversary Blu-ray edition. Directed by Rob Reiner and starring Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin, Chris Sarandon, Christopher Guest, Wallace Shawn, Andre the Giant, Fred Savage, Robin Wright, Peter Falk, Peter Cook, Mel Smith, Carol Kane and Billy Crystal, the fairy tale evergreen contains a host of great features, including the new featurette "True Love: The Princess Bride Phenomenon" (Parts. 1 & 2): For 25 years, viewers have watched and loved The Princess Bride. But why does it resonate so strongly for all ages? This two-part featurette offers some answers, along with funny and touching tributes from its cast, director, writer and fans. The release also includes bonus features from the previous Blu-ray release. With the announcement this week that Capitol Records will release on Nov. 14 The Beatles Stereo Vinyl Box Set (14 Beatles albums remastered on vinyl), it's fitting that Cinema Libre will release this week the documentary "Beatles Stories". October 5, 2012, marks the 50th anniversary of the release of The Beatles' first single, "Love Me Do," launching the foursome's stellar career. Five decades later, The Beatles are still captivating audiences everywhere. Along with their musical legacy, The Beatles left behind personal stories with those lucky people who were able to share a moment with them. This documentary captures cherished stories from famous fans -- and the not so famous -- from around the world, about their unique encounters with the Fab Four. Over a period of eight years, director-producer Seth Swirsky traveled around the world filming an exceptional array of people who wanted to share their stories. Sometimes the stories even found him. He found stories in unexpected places, getting Beatles' intimates to open up -- neighbors, tour mates, business associates, and even former girlfriends -- telling stories never heard before. Some of the featured storytellers include: Ben Kingsley, Smokey Robinson, Brian Wilson, Henry Winkler, Jon Voight, Art Garfunkel, Davy Jones, Graham Nash and dozens of others. Other collectibles: "Singin' in the Rain 60th Anniversary Special Edition" (1952), starring Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor and Debbie Reynolds, is the DVD version of the recent Blu-ray release ... the Blu-ray debuts of "Annie" (1982) directed by John Huston and starring Albert Finney, Carol Burnett, Aileen Quinn, Bernadette Peters, Ann Reinking and Tim Curry; and Pet Sematary (1989), starring Dale Midkiff, Fred Gwynne, Denise Crosby and Brad Greenquist ... In the Mood for Love (2000), Wong Kar-wai's lyrically cinematic meditation on romantic longing and love, starring Tony Leung Chiu-wai and Maggie Cheung Man-yuk, remastered by The Criterion Collection ... "The Abbott and Costello Show: The Complete First Season" (1952), a four-disc set with 26 episodes, $39.98 from Entertainment One.
From TV to Video (10/2):This week's TV highlight: As excitement builds for "Downton Abbey Season 3," PBS has released a limited edition set, "Masterpiece Classic: Downton Abbey Seasons One & Two" (2010-11) in special collectable gift-set packaging. The "Downton Abbey" phenomenon began in the fall of 2010 when it hit British airwaves. With an outstanding cast and excellent story penned by Academy Award-winner Julian Fellowes ("Gosford Park"), it captivated millions. Upon crossing the Atlantic, American viewers were soon hooked as well. Available on DVD, $59.99 and Blu-ray Disc, $64.99. From PBS Distribution. Also due this week: "Bonanza: The Official Fourth Season" (1962-63), is a nine-disc set with 34 episodes $58.98, from CBS/Paramount ... "Ghost Hunters: Season 7: Part 2" (2012) is a four-disc set with 13 episodes, $24.98 from Image Entertainment ... "Happy Endings: The Complete Second Season" (2011-12) is a three-disc set with 21 episodes, from Sony ... "Hart of Dixie: The Complete First Season" (2011-12) is a five-disc set with 22 episodes, from Warner ... "House: The Complete Series" (2011) includes all eight seasons with 176 episodes, 16 hours of bonus features and a collectible booklet, from Universal ... "It Takes a Thief: The Complete First Season" (1968-69) is a five-disc set with 16 episodes, $39.98 from Entertainment One.
"Kidnap & Ransom Complete Series 1 & 2" (2011-12) revolves around master negotiator Dominic King (Trevor Eve) as he travels to exotic locales to bring kidnapping victims home, offering a captivating look inside a dangerous business; filmed on location in South Africa. Two-disc set with six episodes, $49.99 from Acorn Media ... "Kingdom" (2007-09) is a two-disc set with 12 episodes of the British series starring Stephen Fry as Peter Kingdom, a country solicitor standing up for the little guy. $34.98 from Warner ... "Magic City: The Complete First Season" (2012) is a three-disc set with eight episodes with extras such as behind-the-scenes footage and featurettes exploring the cars, fashion, glamour, set design, music and history of Magic City. From Anchor Bay ... "Nikita: The Complete Second Season" (2011-12) is a five-disc set with 23 episodes, from Warner ... "90210: The Fourth Season" (2011-12), is a six-disc set with 24 episodes, $47.99 with such extras as "Season in Review: Freshman Year," "Dressing Heads: Hair and Makeup of 90210," "Creating Beats: The Music of 90210," set tours, "I Don't Want You Anymore" music video, commentary, gag reel, deleted scenes. From CBS/Paramount ... "The Six Million Dollar Man: Season 2" (1974-75) is a six-disc set with 22 episodes, $39.98 from Universal ... "Thomas & Sarah" (1979) is an "Upstairs, Downstairs" spinoff starring real-life couple John Alderton and Pauline Collins as two of the series' most colorful characters: the wily chauffeur and the sassy cockney parlor maid. Two-disc set with 13 episodes, $49.99 from Acorn Media ... In "Vexed Series 1" (2010), two mismatched police detectives banter and bicker their way through London's toughest cases in this BBC series. Single-disc with three episodes, $29.99 from Acorn Media.
Buzzin' the 'B's: (10/2)An unknown, cannibalistic beast stalks a group of shipwreck survivors on an uncharted island, picking them off one-by-one in "After Dusk They Come (aka The Forgotten Ones)" (2009), starring Marc Bacher, Justin Baldoni, Nikki Griffin, Kellan Lutz and Jewel Staite. From Lionsgate ... In "Chained" (2011), directed by Jennifer Lynch and starring Vincent D'Onofrio, Gina Phillips, Conor Leslie, Evan Bird, Jake Weber and Julia Ormand, a psychopathic cab driver kidnaps a young boy, chaining him in his house and training him to be his unwilling protege, forcing him to clean up after each murder. As the years pass, the boy is instructed in the art of murder until, as a teenager, he is pressed to start his own homicidal spree -- or attempt to escape. From Anchor Bay ... "Flying Swords of Dragon Gate" (2011 -- China), directed by Hark Tsui and starring Jet Li, Xun Zhou and Kun Chen, is set three years after 1992's "Dragon Inn." Innkeeper Jade has disappeared and a new inn has risen from the ashes - one that's staffed by marauders masquerading as law-abiding citizens, who hope to unearth the fabled lost city buried in the desert. From Indomina Releasing ... "Headshot" (2011 -- Thailand) is an existential thriller in which a disgraced cop-turned-hit man in corrupt Thailand is shot in the head during an assignment and wakes up after a three-month coma to find that he sees everything upside down, literally. From Kino Lorber ... A pair of brothers stumbles upon a mysterious hole in their basement that leads to the darkest corridors of their fears and nightmares in "The Hole" (2009), directed by Joe Dante and starring Chris Massoglia, Haley Bennett, Nathan Gamble, Bruce Dern and Teri Polo. From Big Air Studios ... A family returns to their favorite winter getaway for some peaceful ice fishing, little suspecting that they are about to become bait for a hideous underwater creature in "Hypothermia" (2010), starring Michael Rooker, Blanche Baker and Greg Finley. From Dark Sky Films.
Here's a fun one: "Iron Sky" (2012), starring Christopher Kirby, Udo Kier, Stephanie Pau, Gotz Otto and Julia Dietze. In the last moments of World War II, a secret Nazi space program evaded destruction by fleeing to the dark side of the moon. During the following 70 years of utter secrecy, the Nazis constructed a gigantic space fortress with a massive armada of flying saucers. Their plan: travel back to Earth and re-colonize the planet. From Entertainment One ... When a New York City lawyer's life begins to fall apart, she travels with her two teens to Woodstock to stay with her estranged flower-child mother in "Peace, Love and Misunderstanding" (2012), directed by Bruce Beresford and starring Catherine Keener, Elizabeth Olsen and Jane Fonda. From IFC Films ... Four friends decide to record themselves having a seance but when they summon a demon by mistake they have to find a way to drive it out before it destroys them all in "Seance: The Summoning" (2011), starring Bobby Campo, Nazneen Contractor, Chris Olivero abd Devon Ogden. From Lionsgate ... "This Is Sodom" (2010 -- Israel) is a comedy by the "Israeli Monty Pythons," set at the dawn of monotheism, about Abraham agreeing to be recruited by God only if He saves Abraham's nephew, Lot, from the most sinful and corrupt city on Earth, Sodom, before it's destroyed. From SISU Home Entertainment ... When four friends travel to a lakeside cabin for a carefree weekend, the fun turns into a nightmare when three of them end up locked in a hot sauna that begins to approach 247°F, the temperature at which the human body expires in "247°F" (2011, starring Scout Taylor-Compton, Christina Ulloa, Travis Van Winkle and Tyler Mane. From Anchor Bay ... When the owner of Hartman's Rock Club (Richard Chamberlain) falls ill, his estranged family swoops into town to sell the club and collect the money in "We Are the Hartmans" (2011). What they don't expect is a full-scale neighborhood rebellion by the eccentric musicians, drunks and drag queens that frequent the club. From Virgil Films.
On the Indie Front (10/2):Challenged in love, strangled at work, and tormented at home, Joel Slater (played by the film's director-writer Jake Torem), searches for a way to juggle all three with the help of three large, clumsy and lovable rescue dogs in "Letting Go" (2012), starring Jake Torem, Shirly Brener, Luca Bercovici, Greg Baker, Christopher Knight and David Foster. From Osiris Entertainment ... "General Education" (2012) is a coming-of-age comedy about a young man set to go to the local university on a tennis scholarship who neglects to tell his parents one thing -- he didn't graduate. Stars Chris Sheffield and Maiara Walsh. From Well Go USA ... "Funkytown" (2011) follows the lives and loves of a disco-dancing group of eight people in Montreal in 1976 -- at the height of the dance craze. Based on true events, the film brings back the glitter, glamour and edginess of that era. From Wolfe Video ... "4 Wedding Planners" (2011), starring Illeana Douglas, Janel Parrish, Mia Riverton and Kimberly-Rose Wolter, is the unlikely story of a three-times divorced wedding planner whose business is being run into the ground by two of her three daughters. From Osiris Entertainment ... A handsome and popular student athlete with high expectations for his senior year in college has yet to develop a game plan for his heart -- but after he begins keeping a personal journal, he finds himself guided to the love he needs most in "Note to Self" (2011), starring Christian Keyes, Brian McKnight, Letoya Luckett, Richard T. Jones, Valarie Pettiford and Clifton Powell. From One Village Entertainment/Image Entertainment.
For the Family (10/2):In the family animated adventure "Sea Level" (2011), Pup the young shark ventures out from the ocean he knows to save his family from poachers. From Lionsgate ... Celebrate Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas with 10 year-old Martha Stewart and her friends as they solve holiday mishaps using their crafty skills in the animated "Martha & Friends: Holiday Collection" (2011). Includes downloadable recipes and holiday craft instructions. From Vivendi Entertainment/A Squared Entertainment ... "Dora the Explorer: Dora's Royal Rescue" (2012) is a double-length, never-before-aired episode in which Dora comes to the aid of the famous Don Quixote, featuring the voices of Andy Garcia as Don Quixote and Placido Domingo as Malambruno. Also included is the new-to-DVD episode "Dora's Knighthood Adventure," which features the voice of Garcia as Don Quixote. $14.99 from Nickelodeon/Paramount ... "ThunderCats: Season 1 Book 3" is a two-disc set with 10 episodes, $19.97 from Warner ... "Transformers Rescue Bots: Roll to the Rescue" (2012) includes five episodes of the new Transformers series, $14.93 from Shout! Factory ... "Tom & Jerry: Robin Hood and His Merry Mouse" (2012) is an original, animated film from Warner ... "VR Troopers Season One, Volume One" (1994) is a three-disc set with 26 episodes, $19.93 from Shout! Factory.
Special Interest (10/2):"Whittle -- The Jet Pioneer" (2011) is a fascinating documentary on Sir Frank Whittle, the aviator and engineer who invented the jet engine, told in dramatic style against the backdrop of WWII and a race against the Nazis for air superiority. Includes exclusive interviews with veteran test pilot Captain Eric Brown and German jet pioneer Hans von Ohain. Their accounts are mixed with fantastic wartime color archive images of Whittle's first jet planes and more in a powerful and inspiring story filled with dramatic elements. $24.98 from Shelter Island ... The documentary "The Clintons: An American Odyssey" (2011) pieces together the many pivotal moments during the Clintons' sometimes controversial terms in office, from the Middle East peace movements to the Monica Lewinsky scandal that shook the nation. $19.98 from Image Entertainment ... "The Lady" (2012), directed by Luc Besson and starring Michelle Yeoh and David Thewlis, is a biodrama about "The Lady of Rangoon," Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma's national heroine, who was at the core of that country's democratic movement. It's a tale of politics and repression as well as love and longing between Suu Kyi and her husband, Michal Aris, played out against imprisonment, long separations and Burma's dangerously hostile regime. From Cohen Media Group ... In "Breast Cancer: The Path of Wellness & Healing" (2009), notable breast cancer survivors join forces with America's premiere cancer doctors and wellness experts as they share wisdom, insight and their intimate stories of hope and triumph. The DVD helps women navigate complex decisions about treatment and recovery with a mission to heal the whole person. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. $19.98 from Lionsgate.
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September 1, 2012
OnVideo News (ISSN 1094-3676).