From the Big Screen:
“Iron Man 3,” “Room 237,” “In the House” and “Unfinished Song.” For more releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.
It’s beginning to smell a lot like holiday gift-giving time — in late September? Yep. This week marks the beginning of an onslaught of box sets, collectors’ editions, remasters from the vaults, and all sorts of merchandising gambits to loosen our grip on our wallets. And I couldn’t be happier. Here’s this week’s majestic releases, in order of age-appropriateness:
Warner Home Video is unleashing “The Dark Knight Trilogy: Ultimate Collector’s Edition Blu-ray,” a six-disc set with “Batman Begins,” “The Dark Knight” and “The Dark Knight Rises,” with the existing extra content for each film. “Batman Begins” and its special features reside on one disc; “The Dark Knight” and its special features take up two discs; “The Dark Knight Rises” also takes up two discs; a sixth disc is devoted to new special features, which include two new featurettes — “The Fire Rises: The Creation and Impact of The Dark Knight Trilogy” (with never- before-seen footage, rare moments, and exclusive interviews with Guillermo Del Toro, Damon Lindelof, Michael Mann, Richard Roeper, Zack Snyder and others) and “Christopher Nolan & Richard Donner: A Conversation” (Nolan and Richard Donner [“Superman”] sit down to discuss the trials and triumphs involved in bringing the two most iconic superheroes of all time to the big screen, and how “Superman” influenced Nolan when developing” Batman Begins”); IMAX sequences: Scenes from “The Dark Knight” and “The Dark Knight Rises” in the original IMAX aspect ratio; exclusive new collectible memorabilia: Premium Mattel Hot Wheels Vehicles: Batmobile, Batpod and Tumbler, newly commissioned collectible art cards by Mondo featuring Scarecrow, Joker, Bane, Harvey Dent, and Ra’s al Ghul, 48-page hardcover book featuring production stills and behind the scenes images from all three movies. Whew! The set, which carries a $99.97 price tag (but is much lower via Amazon), is also available as a download and via UltraViolet.
Next up is Anchor Bay’s “Halloween 35th Anniversary Blu-ray” (1978), in an all-new HD transfer personally supervised by the film’s original cinematographer, Dean Cundey, with a new 7.1 audio mix (as well as the original mono audio), a brand-new feature length audio commentary by writer-director John Carpenter and star Jamie Lee Curtis, an all-new bonus feature with Curtis, as well as selected legacy bonus features from previous releases. Available in a collectible limited-edition book-style package (available only for the first printing) with 20 pages featuring archival photos, an essay by “Halloween” historian Stef Hutchinson and specially commissioned cover art by Jay Shaw. $34.99. Other extras include “The Night She Came Home” new featurette with Jamie Lee Curtis, “On Location,” trailers, TV and radio spots, additional scenes from TV version. The film co-stars Donald Pleasence, P.J. Soles, Kyle Richards, Nancy Loomis, Charles Cyphers and Brian Andrews.
Let’s move to the early 1970s now for a stay with one of the true kings of cool, Frank Sinatra’s Rat Pack second in command, Dean Martin. Martin’s career as a singer and actor, and as an entertainer, in movies and Las Vegas, spanned the 1950s and 1960s; he was a king of primetime TV from 1965 to 1974 with his “Dean Martin Variety Show”. He next segued to “The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast,” a series of television specials that ran from 1974 to 1984 in which Martin and friends would periodically “roast” a celebrity. “The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts: Complete Collection” is the ultimate Roasters DVD set, featuring all 54 roasts with such roastees as Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Johnny Carson, Sammy Davis Jr., Jack Benny, Lucille Ball, Jackie Gleason, George Burns, Don Rickles, Hank Aaron, Wilt Chamberlin, Joe Namath, Muhammad Ali, Ronald Reagan, Martin himself, and many, many more. The 25-Disc set includes over 40 hours of incomparable comedy, along with more than 15 hours of bonus features highlighted by comedy sketches from “The Dean Martin Show,” exclusive interviews (with 34 former Roast participants, production personnel, critics and fans including: Don Rickles, Carol Burnett, Ruth Buzzi, Tony Danza, Abe Vigoda, Angie Dickinson, Dan Haggerty, Ed Asner, Fred Willard, Jimmie Walker, Rich Little, Rip Taylor, Shirley Jones, Tim Conway, Florence Henderson and many more), rare home movies, 11 featurettes and a 44-page collector’s book with archival production materials and more. Available exclusively online at deanroasts.com, $249.95. Ships this week. Read the complete press release here. (StarVista Entertainment/Time Life).
In the late 1940s, the incandescent Hollywood star Ingrid Bergman found herself so moved by the revolutionary neorealist films of Roberto Rossellini that she sent the director a letter, introducing herself and offering her talents. The resulting collaboration produced a series of films that are works of both sociopolitical concern and metaphysical melodrama, each starring Bergman as a woman experiencing physical dislocation and psychic torment in postwar Italy. It also famously led to a scandalous affair and eventual marriage between the filmmaker and star, and the focus on their personal lives in the press unfortunately overshadowed the extraordinary films they made together. Criterion’s “3 Films By Roberto Rossellini Starring Ingrid Bergman” brings together “Stromboli” (1950), “Europe ’51” (1952) and “Journey to Italy” (1954) in a five-disc DVD set and a four-disc Blu-ray set. The films are intensely personal portraits that reveal the director at his most emotional and the glamorous actor at her most anguished, and that capture them and the world around them in transition. There are new digital film restorations of the English- and Italian-language versions of “Stromboli” and “Europe ’51” and the English-language version of “Journey to Italy”, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks on the Blu-ray editions. A partial list of the extras includes archival television introductions by Rossellini to all three films; audio commentary for “Journey to Italy” featuring scholar Laura Mulvey; “Rossellini Through His Own Eyes,” a 1992 documentary on the filmmaker’s approach to cinema, featuring archival interviews with Rossellini and Bergman; new visual essays about Rossellini by scholars Tag Gallagher and James Quandt; “Rossellini Under the Volcano,” a 1998 documentary that returns to the island of Stromboli 50 years after the making of “Stromboli”; new interview with film historian Elena Degrada about the different versions of “Europe ’51”; new interviews with Isabella Rossellini and Ingrid Rossellini, daughters of Rossellini and Bergman; “Ingrid Bergman Remembered,” a 1996 documentary on the actor’s life, narrated by her daughter Pia Lindstrom; “My Dad Is 100 Years Old,” a 2005 short film, directed by Guy Maddin and starring Isabella Rossellini; a booklet featuring essays by critics Richard Brody, Fred Camper, Dina Iordanova, and Paul Thomas; letters exchanged by Rossellini and Bergman; “Why I Directed Stromboli,” a 1950 article by Rossellini; a 1954 interview with Rossellini conducted by Eric Rohmer and Francois Truffaut for “Cahiers du cinema”; and excerpts from a 1965 interview with Rossellini conducted by Apa and Maurizio Ponzi for “Filmcritica.”
Blu-ray debuts this week: “Prince of Darkness (Collector’s Edition)” (1987), directed by John Carpenter and starring Donald Pleasence, Jameson Parker, Victor Wong, Lisa Blount, Alice Cooper and Dennis Dun. Extras include commentary with Carpenter, “Sympathy for the Devil”: new interview with Carpenter, “Alice at the Apocalypse”: new interview with actor and rock legend Alice Cooper, alternate opening from the TV version, more. From Shout! Factory/Scream Factory …“Psycho II (Collector’s Edition)” (1983), directed by Richard Franklin and starring Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles, Meg Tilly, Robert Loggia and Dennis Franz; and “Psycho III (Collector’s Edition)” (1986), directed by Anthony Perkins starring Perkins, Diana Scarwid, Jeff Fahey, Roberta Maxwell and Hugh Gillin. Both sequels hail from Shout! Factory/Scream Factory.