"The movie business is macabre. Grotesque.
It is a combination of a football game
and a brothel."
-- Federico Fellini
Nov 052013

From the Big Screen:

“White House Down,” “Girl Most Likely,” “Lovelace” and “Grown Ups 2.” For more releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.


And the gift-set assault begins … With Hanukkah just three weeks away and Christmas following a month later, the studios are raising the ante on their box sets for gift-giving. This week there’s some pretty nifty offerings, headed up by photo for “Naked City: The Complete Series” (1958-63), a 29-disc set with all 138 classic episodes of the acclaimed Emmy Award-winning police drama series filmed entirely in New York City and starring Paul Burke, Horace McMahon, Harry Bellaver, James Franciscus, John McIntire and Nancy Malone. “Naked City’s” first season featured half-hour episodes while the remainder of its four season run was comprised of hour-long episodes. The classic TV series — which focused on the lives of the detectives of New York’s 65th Precinct, but wasn’t shy on vivid chases and gun fights — was famous for the signature closing line of every episode, “There are eight million stories in the Naked City. This has been one of them.” The show featured an amazing list of guest stars including Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford, William Shatner, Martin Sheen, Robert Duvall, Rip Torn, Alan Alda, George C. Scott, Telly Savalas, Leslie Nielsen, Dennis Hopper, Peter Fonda, James Caan, Jack Klugman, Jean Stapleton, Walter Matthau, Jon Voight, Gene Hackman, Christopher Walken, Carroll O’Connor, Jean Stapleton, Peter Falk, George Segal, Jack Warden, Ed Asner, Doris Roberts, Suzanne Pleshette, Diane Ladd, Vic Morrow, James Coburn, Mickey Rooney and Burgess Meredith, to name just a few. From Image Entertainment.

For Doctor Who fans there’s “Doctor Who: The Complete Series 1-7 Limited Edition Blu-Ray Gift Set,” a 29-disc set celebrating Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary. The set includes the complete adventures of the Ninth Doctor (Christopher Eccleston) and Tenth Doctor (David Tennant), available in newly remastered Blu-ray versions at full 1080p resolution for the first time ever, sitting alongside those of the Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith). Also includes fully remastered complete Tenth Doctor Specials as well as The Complete Fifth and Sixth Series (previously available on Blu-ray), to full 1080p resolution, and the photo for Doctor Who: The Complete Series 1-7 Limited Edition Blu-Ray Gift Set new “Doctor Who: The Complete Seventh Series Blu-ray.” Extras include hours and hours of bonus features from the past collections plus 120 minutes of bonus material that has never previously been available on disc. Add in a Doctor Who Universal Remote Control Sonic Screwdriver, a gesture-based remote control replica of the Eleventh Doctor’s trusty tool, crafted from real metals and featuring sound effects from the show; now you can control your television with a wave of your hand and feel like a Time Lord yourself. There’s also three exclusive original art cards and an exclusive Doctor Who comic book. $349.98 from BBC Home Entertainment … The “James Dean Ultimate Collector’s Edition” is a beautifully designed and packaged limited and numbered seven-disc Blu-ray set celebrating James Dean. When he died in 1955 at the age of 24 in a car crash, Dean — a talented “method” actor, rebel and risk taker — was mourned by millions of fans throughout the world. Despite only making three films — all of them for Warner Bros. — Dean became one of Hollywood’s most spectacular stars, and 50 years later still remains an internationally compelling force, an iconic image, and a cult favorite of timeless fascination. The core of the set are his three films: “East of Eden,” “Rebel Without a Cause” and “Giant,” each in a 4k restoration from original camera negatives remastered at Warner Bros. Motion Picture Imaging. For “Rebel Without a Cause,” the stereo soundtrack was reconstructed from the magnetic photo for James Dean Ultimate Collector's Edition BLU-RAY DEBUT soundtrack stripes of CinemaScope release prints. Also included are three full-length documentaries: “James Dean Forever Young,” narrated by Martin Sheen; “American Masters: James Dean — Sense Memories” and “George Stevens: A Filmmaker’s Journey” (Stevens directed “Giant”). The collection also contains a 48-page photo book with behind-the-scene images and rare insight into each film, three mini reproductions of the original theatrical movie posters, and reproductions of production memos from “East of Eden” and “Rebel Without a Cause.” The “Ultimate Collector’s Edition” will sell for $99.98; each film will also be available as a stand-alone Blu-ray book for $27.98 each. Extras include a new featurette: “Dennis Hopper: Memories from the Warner Lot”; vintage documentaries: “James Dean Remembered,” “Forever James Dean,” “George Stevens: Filmmakers Who Knew Him,” “Return to Giant, “Memories of Giant,”” East of Eden: Art in Search of Life,” “Rebel Without a Cause: Defiant Innocents”; commentaries on all three films; premiere footage for “East of Eden” and “Giant”; wardrobe tests; screen tests; deleted scenes for “East of Eden” and “Rebel Without a Cause”; and much, much more. From Warner … Also from Warner, just ahead of the December 13 release of “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” comes “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Extended Edition” The set — available as a five-disc Blu-ray 3D set ($54.98), a three-disc Blu-ray set ($35.99) and a five-disc DVD set ($34.99) features a 13-minute longer cut and nine hours of new special features, including commentary with director-producer-screenwriter Peter Jackson and co-producer/screenwriter Philippa Boyens, and “The Appendices,” a multi-part documentary focusing on various aspects of the film and the Trilogy. From New Line.

“Farscape: Complete Series” (1999-2003) is a 15th Anniversary Edition with all 88 complete and unedited episodes from the four-season run. Includes a 16-page mini comic book created by the same team that made Jim Henson’s acclaimed graphic novel “Tale of Sand.” Based on the prequel “Peacekeeper Wars,” the comic includes select images from The Jim Henson Company’s archive and an exclusive interview with Brian Henson revealing never-before-shared facts about the Farscape Legacy. In 20-disc Blu-ray ($149.95) and 27-disc DVD ($129.95) sets. Extras include “Memories of Moya: An photo for Farscape: Complete Series Epic Journey” documentary; “Farscape Undressed,” the home-video premiere of the rarely seen, long-sought-after never before released behind-the-scenes special; three archival documentaries: “In the Beginning: A Look Back With Brian Henson,” “Making of a Space Opera” and “Season Three: A Look Back With Executive Producer David Kemper”; three “Inside Farscape” featurettes: “Villains,” “Visual Effects” and “Inside Farscape: Save Farscape,” in which fans, cast and crew discuss the fate of the series; 31 audio commentaries; deleted scenes, director’s cut scenes, and an alternate version of the Season 2 premiere; behind-the-scenes interviews with the characters, cast, and creative team of “Farscape”; and more. From Cinedigm … “Twilight Forever: The Complete Saga”celebrates the 5th anniversary of the theatrical debut of the first “Twilight” film; this boxed set features all five films, more than two hours of brand new bonus content and every special feature ever produced for the blockbuster franchise. The deluxe packaging arrives in a double-sided box that highlights the iconic characters, one side featuring Edward and Bella and the other side featuring Jacob; and the discs are held in a commemorative photo album highlighting the most iconic moments from the entire saga. In a 12-disc DVD, $64.98; 10-disc Blu-ray, $74.99. From Summit/Lionsgate … “Absolutely Fabulous: Absolutely All of It” is a 10-disc set that contains every episode and special from the award-winning five-season series, spanning over 20 years of misguided adventures with fashionista best friends Edina (Jennifer Saunders) and Patsy (Joanna Lumley) — all tucked away in a superr-luxe limited edition faux iguana skin clutch bag. $158.72 from BBC Home Entertainment.

D.W. Griffith changed the course of film history with his 1915 Civil War blockbuster “The Birth of a Nation,” and, spurred on by its colossal success, he went even bigger on his next epic, the ambitious and still awe-inspiring (1916) “Intolerance,” in which he masterfully links four centuries-apart stories of universal suffering — and which makes its Blu-ray debut this week. Stung by charges of glorifying racism in “The Birth of a Nation,” Griffith decided to make his next film a plea for tolerance, acceptance and understanding. An epic like nothing that came before , the monumental film remains as powerful today as it was almost a century ago; the major innovation in screen narrative tells four stories in parallel about social injustice and the effects of intolerance through the ages. “The photo for Modern Story,” about a working man wrongly accused of a crime, was later issued as a separate film (“The Mother and the Law,” 1919). “The Judean Story” tells of Jesus’ conflicts with the Pharisees and Rome. “The Medieval Story” is about the effects of the massacre of 16th-century French Huguenots. “The Babylonian Story,” about the conquest of Babylon by Persia, also was issued later as a separate film (“The Fall of Babylon,” 1919). Skillful cross-cutting and linking shots of a figure representing Eternal Motherhood rocking a cradle, bring all four stories to a tense climax. With the profits from “The Birth of a Nation,” Griffith spared no expense on “Intolerance,” constructing huge sets and hiring thousands of extras for spectacular crowd scenes; the most iconic representation of this lavishness remains the sequence set at the immense walls of Babylon. Many of the leading stars of the silent screen appear in the film, including Griffith regular Lillian Gish, Mae Marsh, Elmo Lincoln, Robert Harron and Constance Talmadge. Remastered in 2K. The musical soundtrack is in mono for the DVD and 2.0 LPCM for the Blu-ray. Carl Davis’ orchestral score is in 5.1 Dolby Digital. Extras include the two full-length features drawn from “Intolerance”: “The Fall of Babylon” and “The Mother and the Law,” accompanied by new scores by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra; a 2013 featurette with film historian Kevin Brownlow; new essays by Cineaste magazine editor Richard Porton and historian William M. Drew; and a theatrical rerelease trailer. From Cohen Film Collection.

On Blu-ray this week: Heading up the list this week is the gorgeous Blu-ray debut of “The Best Years of Our Lives” (1946), directed by William Wyler with an all-star cast of Myrna Loy, Fredric March, Dana Andrews, Teresa Wright, Virginia Mayo, Cathy O’Donnell, Hoagy Carmichael, Harold Russell, Gladys George, Roman Bohnen and Ray Collins. One of the greatest films of all time encapsulates the dreams, desires and realities of mid-20th century America. The Academy Award-winning film photo for (seven Oscars, including Best Film and Best Director) follows three WWII veterans who return home to small-town America to discover that they and their families have been irreparably changed. Capt. Fred Derry (Andrews), a soda jerk before the war, returns to a loveless marriage; Sgt. Al Stephenson (March), a banker, returns a stranger to a family that’s grown up without him; and sailor Homer Parrish, a machinist, returns home, tormented by the loss of his hands, to his loving and understanding girlfriend. Extras include an introduction by Virginia Mayo, interview with Mayo and Teresa Wright, theatrical trailer … also from warner comes “The Right Stuff “ (1983), directed by Philip Kaufman and starring Sam Shepard, Scott Glenn, Ed Harris, Barbara Hershey, Dennis Quaid, Fred Ward and Jeff Goldblum. The 30th Anniversary Blu-ray Book includes rare photos, production notes and more; extras include “The Journey and the Mission” scene specific commentary, “John Glenn: American Hero” [1998 PBS Documentary], “Realizing the Right Stuff,” “T-20 Years and Counting,” “The Real Men With The Right Stuff” … “The Three Faces of Eve” (1957), starring Joanne Woodward, who won a Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of a woman with multiple personality disorder — Eve White, a troubled housewife who begins seeing a psychiatrist and, under hypnosis, reveals her additional personalities: a vamp and an independent sophisticate. From Fox … and “The Bishop’s Wife” (1947), directed by Henry Koster and starring Cary Grant, Loretta Young, David Niven, Monty Woolley, James Gleason, Gladys Cooper and Elsa Lanchester. From Warner.

From TV to DVD:

“Clear History” (2013) stars Larry David, Jon Hamm, Kate Hudson, Eva Mendes, Michael Keaton, Bill Hader, Phillip Baker Hall, Danny McBride, Amy Ryan, J.B. Smoove in an HBO Original Film about a marketing executive (David) at a start-up electric car company who gives up his 10 percent of the business after a petty argument with his boss (Hamm). The company subsequently makes billions of dollars, destroying his life and leaving him publicly humiliated. Ten years photo for Magic City: The Complete Second Season later, after changing his name and moving to a small island off the Massachusetts coast, all is well — until something from the past threatens his new life. On DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo, from HBO … “Duck Dynasty: I’m Dreaming of a Redneck Christmas” (2013) is a double-length Christmas special, $9.98 from Lionsgate … “I Love Lucy: Colorized Christmas” includes both colorized and black-and-white versions of “The Lucy Christmas Special,” “Lucy Goes to Scotland” and “Lucy’s Italian Movie,” three previously hard-to-find episodes, $16.99 from CBS/Paramount … “Ice Road Truckers: Season 7” (2013) is a four-disc set with 12 episodes, $24.98 from Lionsgate … “Law & Order: The Thirteenth Year” (2002-3) is a five-disc set with 24 episodes, from Universal … “Mad Men: Season 6” (2013) includes all 13 episodes, $49.98 in a four-disc DVD, three-disc Blu-ray, from Lionsgate … “Magic City: The Complete Second Season” (2013) is a three-disc set with eight episodes. On DVD, $44.98; Blu-ray Disc, $54.99; from Anchor Bay.

Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:

“Parkland” (2013), starring Zac Efron, Marcia Gay Harden, Billy Bob Thornton, Jacki Weaver, Paul Giamatt, James Badge Dale, Jackie Earle Haley, Colin Hanks, David Harbour, Ron Livingston, Jeremy Strong and Tom Welling, recounts the chaotic events that occurred in Dallas on November 22, 1963, the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Weaves together the perspectives of a handful of photo for ordinary individuals suddenly thrust into extraordinary circumstances: the young doctors and nurses at Parkland Hospital; Dallas’ chief of the Secret Service; an unwitting cameraman who captured what became the most watched and examined film in history; the FBI agents who nearly had the gunman within their grasp; the brother of Lee Harvey Oswald, left to deal with his shattered family; and JFK’s security team, witnesses to both the president’s death and Vice President Lyndon Johnson’s rise to power over a nation whose innocence was forever altered. Released to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the assassination. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc, Blu-ray/DVD Combo from Millennium Entertainment … In “Passion” (2013), starring Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace, Brian De Palma returns to the sleek, sly, seductive territory of the erotic thriller with this lurid trashy melodrama. The rivalry between the manipulative boss of an advertising agency and her talented protege escalates from stealing credit to public humiliation to murder. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc, from Entertainment One … “Bonnie & Clyde: Justified” (2013) stars Eric Roberts, Dee Wallace, Ashley Hayes and Jim Poole in an A&E miniseries that uses the poems and letters of Bonnie Parker to bring to life the love that brought Bonnie and Clyde together, the crimes that made them infamous, and the deaths that made them legendary. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc, from Lionsgate … In “Killer Holiday” (2013), starring Michael Copon, Rachel Lara, Julia Beth Stern and Alex Mandel, psychotic killer Melvin “Spider” Holiday stalks eight unsuspecting teenage victims lured to an abandoned amusement park off old Route 66. They soon discover that the park comes complete with broken down carnival rides, the smell of death and a killer ready to give them one ticket to hell. From Lionsgate.

On the Indie Front:

Based on the best-selling book about a young man who comes up with a sexy new soda drink,“Syrup” (2013), starring Amber Heard, Shiloh Fernandez, Kellan Lutz and Brittany Snow, is a comedy that attempts to expose the cut-throat world of advertising through the eyes of a young prodigy chasing fame, fortune, and the woman of his dreams. When fresh-out-of-school Scat comes up with a brilliant new product that gives new meaning to the old saying “sex sells,” he’s sure that it will send him right to the top. But first he has to convince his boss, the beautiful and mysterious “6,” that it’s an idea worth millions, and overcome betrayal by his best friend. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc, from Magnolia Home Entertainment.

For the Family:

For the first time ever, the entire Robotech saga is collected in one, massive 20-disc gift set,“Robotech: The Complete Set,” with all 85 episodes of the original series, three feature films and over 12 hours of bonus material, including a new bonus disc never released with any previous Robotech set, $89.98. “Robotech” — a sweeping science-fiction anime epic of humans defending their home world against photo for Robotech: The Complete Setalien domination — was instrumental in introducing anime to American audiences when it first appeared on television in 1985. The saga is told through the eyes of characters caught up in a series of wars that erupts when a mysterious spacecraft crash-lands on Earth at the turn of the millennium. The secrets of alien knowledge aboard this vessel were unlocked, leading to the development of “Robotechnology” and the creation of a vast arsenal of robotic “mecha” to defend the Earth against the alien threats that would eventually strike to lay claim to the mysterious power source known as “protoculture.” From Lionsgate … “Ben 10 Omniverse: Aliens at War” (2012-13) is a two-disc set with 10 episodes from the second and third season of the Cartoon Network series, $19.97 from Warner … “Guess How Much I Love You: Hidden Treasure” (2013) features six animated episodes from the Disney Junior TV series inspired by the “Adventures of Little Nutbrown Hare” books by Sam McBratne, $12.98 from Entertainment One … “Dora the Explorer: Dora’s Ice Skating Spectacular!” (2013) features three episodes: Dora and Boots skate to the rescue of the Snow Princess, Snow Fairy, and all their Snowy Forest friends!; Dora catches a runaway train; Dora races to rescue Boots with her puppy and Scooter. $14.98 from Nickelodeon/Paramount … photo for Angelina Ballerina: Twirling Tales In “Angelina Ballerina: Twirling Tales” (2013), Angelina and her friends stay on their toes in these twirling, whirling tales of friendship and fun for the little ones: “Angelina’s Dance Like a Cake Day,” “Angelina’s Noisy, Messy Lunchtime,” “Angelina and the Musical Plant,” “Angelina and Her Parents’ Dance Lessons” and “Angelina’s Mother’s Day.” $14.98 from Lionsgate … In “The Fitzgerald Family Christmas” (2012), starring Kerry Bishe, Connie Britton, Edward Burns, Heather Burns, Dara Coleman and Brian d’Arcy James, the adult siblings of the Fitzgerald family prepare for their estranged father to return home for Christmas for the first time since he walked out on his family 20 years earlier. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc, from Magnolia Home Entertainment … “Care Bears: The Great Giving Holiday” (2013) is a new CGI holiday special with Great Giving Bear, Harmony and all their cuddly Bear friends. From Lionsgate … photo for Scoot & Kassie's Christmas Adventure After a young girl, Kassie, rescues a wounded former police dog, Scoot, she organizes a charity concert to raise money for less fortunate kids. When two crooks show up and plot to steal the cash, Scoot leads the way as the unlikely group of heroes work together to catch the bad guys and save Christmas in “Scoot & Kassie’s Christmas Adventure” (2013), starring Luke Perry, Ariana Bagley, Taylor Negron and Anson Bagley. From Universal … In “Journey to the Christmas Star” (2012 — Norway), starring Agnes Kittelsen and Jakob Oftebro, a courageous girl sets out on a hazardous journey to find the Christmas Star in order to free her kingdom from a curse and bring back a long lost princess, against all odds and a mighty foe. $14.99 from Vertical Entertainment.

Special Interest:

Julien Temple’s “Oil City Confidential” (2009) is the last film in his trilogy on British music of the 1970s, a prequel to his landmark films about punk figureheads the Sex Pistols in “The Filth & the Fury” and Joe Strummer in “The Future Is Unwritten.” Rather than being standard “rockumentaries,” Temple uses the music as a prism through which he examines the social and cultural conditions of the times. The films share his characteristic cinematic language — an photo for Oil City Confidential irreverent and anarchic style of montage of archive and fictive footage, which he pioneered in “The Great Rock & Roll Swindle.” “Oil City Confidential” is a film noir feature length documentary about Dr Feelgood; it’s the story of four men in cheap suits who crashed out of Canvey Island in the early ’70s, sandpapered the face of rock ‘n’ roll and left all that came before a burnt-out ruin. From MVD Entertainment … “Bonnie & Clyde: The Real Story” (2013) is a compilation of two History Channel specials: “Bonnie & Clyde: The Story of Love and Death” and “Man, Moment, Machine: Hunting Bonnie and Clyde.” The story of Bonnie and Clyde — and their infamous tale of love and violence — has fascinated people for nearly 80 years. This release is timed for the “Bonnie & Clyde” miniseries airing on three networks: A&E, History and Lifetime. From Lionsgate … In a quest for world domination, the Nazis built some of the biggest and deadliest pieces of military hardware and malevolent technology in history. The six-part series “Nazi Mega Weapons” (2013) recounts Germany’s engagement in World War II from a unique perspective, uncovering the engineering secrets of iconic megastructures, telling the stories of the engineers who designed them and revealing how they sparked a technological revolution that changed warfare forever: “Atlantic Wall,” “U-Boat Base,” “V2 Rocket,” “Super Tanks,” “Jet Fighter Me262,” and “Fortress Berlin.” In a two-disc DVD set, $34.99 from PBS Distribution.

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