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More DVD News: August 2011

Coming Soon: 'The Tree of Life,'
'Zookeeper' and 'Water for Elephants'

photo (August 31) From the sublime to the ridiculous: Fox has announced an Oct. 11 release for the Cannes Film Festival Palm d'Or winner "The Tree of Life." Here's the blurb from Fox: "An impressionistic story of a Midwestern family in the 1950's, the film follows the life journey of the eldest son, Jack (played as an adult by Sean Penn), through the innocence of childhood to his disillusioned adult years as he tries to reconcile a complicated relationship with his father (Brad Pitt). Through stunning cinematography and raw emotional power, Terrence Malick's hymn to life excavates answers to the most haunting and personal human questions through a kaleidoscope of the intimate and the cosmic, from raw emotions ... to the wildest, infinite edges of space and time." At the other end of the spectrum is Sony's Oct. 11 release of "Zookeeper,' starring Kevin James as a man more at ease with animals than humans; when he decides to leave the zoo in search of love, the animals come to aid -- revealing the best-kept secret in the universe; They can talk. In between is Fox's Nov. 1 release of "Water for Elephants," about a disillusioned young man who joins a circus as a veterinarian during the depression, falling in love with the owner's wife; stars Robert Pattinson, Reese Witherspoon and Christoph Waltz.

From the Big Screen This Week:

August 30-September 5: "In a Better World," "Tyler Perry's Madea's Big Happy Family" and "Prom." For more releases this week, see the "Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases."

DVD Collectibles (8/30):

Highlight of the week is another important set of films from The Criterion Collection: "The Complete Jean Vigo." Even among cinema's greatest legends, Jean Vigo stands alone. The son of a notorious anarchist, Vigo had a brief but brilliant career making photopoetic, lightly surrealist films before his life was cut tragically short by tuberculosis at age 29. Like the daring early works of his contemporaries Jean Cocteau and Luis Bunuel, Vigo's films refused to play by the rules. This set includes all of Vigo's titles: "A propos de Nice" (1930), an absurdist, rhythmic slice of life from the bustling coastal city of the title; "Taris" (1931), an inventive short portrait of a swimming champion; "Zero de conduite" (1933), a radical, delightful tale of boarding-school rebellion that has influenced countless filmmakers; and, of course, "L'Atalante" (1934), widely regarded as one of cinema's finest achievements, about newlyweds beginning their life together on a canal barge. These are the endlessly witty, visually adventurous works of a pivotal film artist. New high-definition digital restorations of all of the films, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks on the Blu-ray edition. Bonus features include commentaries featuring Michael Temple, author of "Jean Vigo"; alternate shots from "A propos de Nice," featuring footage Vigo cut from the film; animated tribute to Vigo by filmmaker Michel Gondry ; Ninety-minute 1964 episode of the French television series "Cineastes de notre temps" on Vigo, directed by Jacques Rozier; conversation from 1968 between filmmakers Francois Truffaut and Eric Rohmer on "L'Atalante"; "Les voyages de L'Atalante," Bernard Eisenschitz's 2001 documentary tracking the history of the film; video interview from 2007 with director Otar Iosseliani on Vigo; booklet featuring essays by film writers Michael Almereyda, Robert Polito, B. Kite and Luc Sante. Also available on Blu-ray Disc.
photo Also from The Criterion Collection: "Orpheus." This 1950 update of the Orphic myth by Jean Cocteau depicts a famous poet (Jean Marais) scorned by the Left Bank youth, and his love for both his wife Eurydice (Marie Dea) and a mysterious princess (Maria Casares). Seeking inspiration, the poet follows the princess from the world of the living to the land of the dead through Cocteau's famous mirrored portal. "Orpheus" represents the legendary Cocteau at the height of his abilities for peerless visual poetry and dreamlike storytelling. New high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition.

On Thursday evening, January 11, 1973 at 9 p.m., American television viewers stepped into the home of the William C. Loud family of Santa Barbara, California, in the ground breaking WNET documentary series "An American Family." Chronicling the lives of its seven members, the photo television series made parents Pat and Bill Loud and their five children instant celebrities. Over 12 episodes, viewers watched dramatic life events unfold during the seven months the family lived in front of the camera -- including Pat asking for a separation from Bill, and the Bohemian New York life of their gay son Lance. Unlike most documentaries of its day, "An American Family" had no host, no interviews, and almost no voice-over narration. Producer Craig Gilbert presented the family's daily life -- as captured by filmmakers Alan Raymond behind the camera, and Susan Raymond covering sound -- in the style of cinema verite. It was the most controversial and talked-about television program of its era. Now, 40 years later, WNET has brought all 12 hours out of its archives and, working with the original filmmakers, edited them into "An American Family: Anniversary Edition," this two-hour feature-length special capturing the most memorable and compelling moments of the landmark series. $24.99 from PBS Distribution.

Featuring ground-breaking special effects, "The Incredible Shrinking Man" (1957), directed by Jack Arnold and written by Richard Matheson, is considered one of the most innovative and thought-provoking films of 1950s sci-fi. When Scott Carey (Grant Williams) encounters a mysterious radioactive mist on a boating trip, he soon finds his life taking on a bizarre and frightening twist: His physical size begins to diminish as he shrinks to a mere two inches. Suddenly, ordinary household situations loom over him with lethal intensity, a playful cat becomes a demon and a spider is a gargantuan monster, and Carey finds he must rely on his wits to survive in his new oversized world. From Universal.

From TV to Video: (8/30)

"Cougar Town: The Complete Second Season" (2010-11) is a three-disc set with 21, $34.99 from Disney ... "Desperate Housewives: The Complete Seventh Season" (2010-11) is a five-disc set with 23 episodes, $45.99 from Disney ... photo "Detroit 1-8-7: Season One" (2011) is a four-disc set with 18 episodes, $29.98 from Lionsgate ... "Doc Martin: The Movies" features the two full-length TV movies that inspired the huge hit dramedy currently airing on public television stations across the U.S. Proving there's more than one way to tell a good story, BAFTA-winner Martin Clunes stars as the kinder, gentler­ but still slightly grouchy­Dr. Martin Bamford in the made-for-TV movies that introduced the misanthropic doctor and the picturesque Cornish fishing village of Port Isaac before the television series' launch in 2004. From Acorn Media ... "House Season Seven" (2010-11) is a five-disc set with 23 episodes, $59.98 from Universal ... "iCarly: The Complete 3rd Season" (2009-10) is a two-disc set with 10 episodes, $19.99 from Nickelodeon/Paramount ... "Murphy's Law Complete Collection" is BBC's hit undercover cop series that offers a gritty and compelling character study of a man with nothing left to lose. This contemporary series stars acclaimed, award-winning actor James Nesbitt. From Acorn Media ... "Nikita: The Complete First Season" (2010-11) is a five-disc set with 22 episodes, $69.97 from Warner ... "90210: The Third Season" (2010-11) is a six-disc set with 22 episodes, $47.99 from CBS Home Entertainment/Paramount ... "Paranormal State: The Complete Season Five" (2011) is a three-disc set with six episodes, $24.95 from A&E Home Entertainment ... photo "Parenthood: Season 2" (2010-11) is a five-disc set with 22 episodes, from Universal ... "Running Wilde: Season One" (2011) is a two-disc set with 13 episodes, $29.98 from Lionsgate ... "Sons of Anarchy Season Three" (2010) includes 13 episodes, $59.98 from Fox ... "Storage Wars: The Complete Season One" (2010) is a three-disc set with 19 episodes, $19.95 from A&E Home Entertainment ... "The Vampire Diaries: The Complete Second Season" (2010-11) is a five-disc set with 22 episodes, $59.98 from Warner ... "Vera" (2011) is a four-disc set of the ITV series based on the award-winning novels by Ann Cleeves; Brenda Blethyn stars as cantankerous but brilliant detective DCI Vera Stanhope. Includes four feature-length mysteries. U.S. debut of the U.K. series. $59.99 from Acorn Media.

Buzzin' the 'B's: (8/30)

In "Wrecked" (2011), starring Adrien Brody, Caroline Dhavernas, Ryan Robbins and Adrian Holmes, Brody stars as an unnamed man who wakes trapped in a car in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by two dead passengers, a pile of cash and a gun. He has no recollection of who he is or how he got there. Is he an innocent victim? A dangerous criminal? All he knows is he's fighting for his life and his sanity in the middle of the deep woods. From IFC Entertainment ... "The Perfect Host" (2011) stars David Hyde Pierce and photo Clayne Crawford in a wacky black comedy. Warwick Wilson is the consummate host. The table is set and the duck is perfectly timed for 8:30 p.m. John Taylor is a career criminal. He's just robbed a bank and needs to get off the streets. He finds himself on Warwick's doorstep posing as a friend of a friend, new to Los Angeles, who's been mugged and lost his luggage. As the wine flows and the evening progresses, it becomes clear that appearances can be deceiving. Who's the real bad guy? From Magnolia Home Entertainment/Magnet Label ... "Skateland" (2010), starring Ashley Greene and Shiloh Fernandez, is a coming of age tale in the early 1980s about a 19-year-old boy whose life revolves around the skating rink in a small Texas town. From Fox ... A group of ex-marital arts students attend a reunion party to reminisce about their old "fight club," but the reunion is cut short when some of the members are kidnapped by a group of deadly assassins, leaving the remaining men to save their friends in the ultimate battle for survival in "BKO: Bangkok Knockout" (2010), starring Tony Ja, Dan Chupong and Jija Yanin, from Magnolia Home Entertainment ... Two call girls -- one just leaving the profession, one just starting out -- become hunted prey after witnessing a murder in "X" (2011), starring Viva Bianca and Hanna Mangan Lawrence, from IFC Films.

On the Indie Front: (8/30)

"The 5th Quarter" (2010), starring Aidan Quinn, Andie MacDowell and Ryan Merriman, is an inspiring true story of family, faith and football in which the brother of a photo football star killed in a tragic accident leads his football team to last minute victories. From Fox ... A couple is joyously expecting their first child, but a secret from the husband's past threatens to destroy their happiness in "The Ideal Husband" (2008), starring Darrin Henson, Shanti Lowry, Jackee Harry and Erica Hubbard. From Image Entertainment ... In "True Adolescents" (2011), Mark Duplass stars as Sam Bryant, an aging Seattle rocker with no job, no record deal, and no place to stay until he finds some room at his aunt's house in the suburbs. He's also the last guy anyone would pick to take two teens camping for some quality dude time in the rugged Pacific Northwest, where unforeseen revelations and transformations force them to face adulthood in this coming-of-age story set to an indie rock soundtrack featuring Band of Horses, The Black Keys and Devendra Banhart. Co-stars Bret Loehr, Carr Thompson, Melissa Leo. From New Video/Flatiron Film Company.

Foreign: (8/30)

In "Phantom Pain" (2009 -- Germany), starring Til Schweiger and Jana Pallaske, Marc Summer Schweiger) is a passionate cyclist and urban slacker -- good looking, charming, but always broke, a constant heartbreaker and an unreliable drunkard refusing to photo take responsibility for anything -- whose life changes in an instant when he loses his left leg in a hit-and-run accident. When he falls in love with Nika (Jana Pallaske), he realizes he can either wallow in self-pity -- or tackle the beast called life with the help of love, willpower and his own two feet. From Entertainment One ... In 1984, high-ranking Norwegian diplomat Arne Treholt was tried and convicted of acting as a spy on behalf of the Soviet Union. But what if the case against him was a sham and Treholt was not a spy at all but a patriot of the highest order and the leader of a secret ninja force created by King Olav? "Norwegian Ninja" (2010 -- Norway) is a fictionalized account of the most notorious political scandal in Norwegian history is a tongue-in-cheek spoof of the Cold War spy movie, with added ninja action, blending historical events and actual newsreel footage of the Treholt affair. From Dark Sky Films/MPI Media Group.

For the Family: (8/30)

"Angelina Ballerina: The Shining Star Trophy -- The Movie" (2011) is Angelina Ballerina's first full-length feature. Angelina and friends enter the talent show at Camembert Academy to vie for the Shining Star Trophy; $14.98 from HIT Entertainment/Lionsgate ... "Castle Farm Vol. 1 and 2" (2011) is an animated preschool series set in an idyllic but busy English country farm based on the grounds of a castle. The series follows the two main characters, Farm Girl and her best friend, Piggy, and their friends, as they photoembark on a series of quests to find out about the world around them to learn lessons about friendship and responsibility. $14.95 each from Organa Kids ... "Happy Valley, Vol. 1 & 2" (2011) is a new pre-school series from England for children aged two to five years, set in a beautiful countryside by the sea. Using traditional and contemporary nursery rhymes and songs, each episode tells a story about the children who live in the valley, in which they go about their daily lives and learn about the world around them, whether it's the seasons, the weather or the animals. The series focuses on experiences familiar to young viewers, such as a school trip to the farm, a visit to grandma to look at old photos, a shopping expedition with mother or a walk in the woods to see the falling leaves. $14.95 each, also from Organa Kids ... In "Strawberry Shortcake: Growing Up Dreams" (2011), Strawberry and her friends use their imagination to visualize what careers they will have when they grow up. From Fox ... "Dora the Explorer: Dora's Halloween Parade" (2011) features four Halloween-themed episodes, $16.99 from Nickelodeon/Paramount ... "The Man Who Walked Between the Towers ... and More Inspiring Tales" (2011) is an animated adaptation of the lyrical Caldecott Award-winning book by Mordecai Gerstein about Philippe Petit, the French man who walked a tightrope between the massive World Trade Towers in 1974; narrated by Jake Gyllenhaal. Includes three other tales: "Miss Rumphius," "Crow Boy" and "The Dinosaurs of Warehouse Hawkins," $14.95 from Scholastic Storybook Treasures.

Special Interest: (8/30)

"September 11th Memorial Edition" is a two-disc collection of 9/11 documentaries timed to the broadcast of a brand new History special, "Voices from the Towers." The set includes the Emmy-Award winning program "102 Minutes That Changed America," an intensely personal perspective of the tragedy as it was experienced by people around New photo York; "Hotel Ground Zero," the incredible tale of the 940 tourists, visitors and staff in the Marriott WTC Hotel, located beneath and between the Twin Towers; "The Miracle of Stairway B," the story of 12 fire fighters, three office workers, and a Port Authority police officer who survived the collapse of the North Tower; and "The Day the Towers Fell," a riveting special that reveals the never-before-told stories of eyewitnesses, including amateur and professional photographers, caught in the horror of the World Trade Center tragedy. $24.95 from A&E Home Entertainment ... "If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front" (2011) is a rare behind-the-curtain look at the Earth Liberation Front, the radical environmental group that the FBI called America's "number one domestic terrorist threat." With unprecedented access and a nuanced point of view, the documentary tells the story of Daniel McGowan, an ELF member arrested in 2005 who faced life in prison for two multi-million dollar arsons against Oregon timber companies. The film employs McGowan's story to examine larger questions about environmentalism, activism, and terrorism. From Oscilloscope Laboratories ... In "Only in America With Larry The Cable Guy: Volume One" (2011), the blue collar comedian crisscrosses the nation, going totally off the beaten path to find the people, places and things that define this nation's unique history. Two-disc set with 10 episodes, $19.95 from A&E Home Entertainment.

This Week's Releases (August 23)
From the Big Screen:

"Win Win," "Pom Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold" and "The Beaver." For more releases this week, see the "Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases."

DVD Collectibles: (8/23)

Due this week from The Criterion Collection is the latest in their budget-priced Eclipse Series of compilations of the work of one prominent director: "Eclipse Series 28: The Warped World of Koreyoshi Kurahara." Over the course of his varied career, Koreyoshi Kurahara made exacting noirs, jazzy juvenile delinquency pictures, and even nature films. His free-form approach to moviemaking was perfectly suited to the spirit of the 1960s; he was one of the biggest hit-makers working at the razzle-dazzle, youth-oriented Nikkatsu studio during the radical Japanese New Wave. The five films collected here hail from that era, and photo encompass breathless teen escapades, cruel crime stories, a Mishima adaptation, and even a Hollywood-inspired romantic comedy. "Intimidation" (1960): Koreyoshi Kurahara's ingeniously plotted, pocket-sized noir concerns the intertwining fates of a desperate bank manager, blackmailed for book-cooking, and his resentful but timid underling, passed over for a promotion. "The Warped Ones" (1960): A juvenile delinquent gets out of the pen and immediately embarks on a rampage of misdirected anger, most of it unleashed on an unsuspecting young woman. Shot through with the same kind of bebop bravado that Godard was experimenting with half a world away, the anarchic descent into amoral madness that is "The Warped Ones (Kyonetsu no kisetsu)" sounded a lost generation's cry for help and kicked off Japan's cinematic sixties with a bang. "I Hate But Love" (1962): Inspired by Preston Sturges's "Sullivan's Travels," "I Hate But Love (Nikui anchikusho)" is a high-octane romantic comedy and road movie that follows a celebrity dissatisfied with his personal and professional life who impulsively leaves Tokyo to deliver a much-needed Jeep to a remote village. When his controlling girlfriend (also his career manager) follows, the two must reconcile while dodging reporters. "Black Sun" (1964): You've probably never seen anything quite like this manic, oddball, anti-buddy picture about a young, jazz-obsessed Japanese drifter and a black American GI on the lam in Tokyo. The two outsiders become outlaws, and Kurahara depicts their growing bond as an increasingly absurd culture clash. Features original music by American jazz drummer Max Roach. "Thirst for Love" (1967): Kurahara adapted a novel by Yukio Mishima for this tense psychological drama about a young woman who is widowed after marrying into a wealthy family, and becomes sexually involved with her father-in-law while harboring a destructive obsession with the family gardener. Kurahara's atmospheric style is a perfect match for Mishima's brooding sensuality.

From TV to Video:(8/23)

"The Angry Beavers: Seasons One & Two" (1997-98) is a four-disc set with 26 episodes, $29.93 from Shout! Factory is a five-disc set with 22 episodes, $45.99 from Disney ... "Citizen Jane" (2009) stars Ally Sheedy, Sean Patrick Flanery, Meat Loaf and Nia Peeples in a Hallmark Channel film based on a true story about a San Francisco woman photo whose charismatic lover kills her beloved aunt and disappears with her money. The woman spends the next 13 years tracking him down, eventually bringing him to justice. From Green Apple Entertainment ... "The Event: The Complete Series" (2010-11) is a five-disc set with 22 episodes, from Universal ... "Gossip Girl: The Complete Fourth Season" (2010-11) is a five-disc set with 22 episodes, $59.98 from Warner ... "NCIS: The Eighth Season" (2010-11) is a six-disc set with 24 episodes, from CBS Home Entertainment/Paramount Home Entertainment ... "NCIS: Los Angeles -- The Second Season" (2010) is a six-disc set with 24 episodes, $64.99 from CBS Home Entertainment/Paramount Home Entertainment ... "Off the Map: The Complete Series" (2011) is a three-disc set with 13 episodes, $29.99 from Disney ... Helen Mirren delivers a riveting performance as Detective Jane Tennison in "Prime Suspect, Series 1" (1991), the revolutionary police drama broadcast on PBS to universal acclaim and more than 20 major international awards, including seven Emmys. Series 1 finds the skilled Tennison grappling with her first major murder investigation, determined to prove herself worthy of her male colleagues' respect. $24.99 from Acorn Media ... In "Prime Suspect, Series 2" (1992) DCI Jane Tennison's (Helen Mirren) investigation of a murder is complicated with the unexpected participation of her secret lover in her detective unit, from Acorn Media.

Buzzin' the 'B's:(8/23)

In "Henry's Crime" (2010) Keanu Reeves, stars as Henry Torne, a wrongly accused man who winds up behind bars for a bank robbery he didn't commit. Now, having done the time, he decides he may as well do the crime. But his outlandish plan to rob the very same bank spins wildly out of control, as he finds himself performing in a stage play and falling in love with the production's seductive leading lady (Vera Farmiga). Co-stars James Caan, Judy Gree, Bill Duke, Peter Stormare. From Fox ... photo "TrollHunter" (2010 -- Norway) is a cult hit that follows three Norwegian film students as they travel to the mountains to catch a real-life troll on camera, a creature whose existence has been covered up for years by the government. Their persistence quickly pays off as they trail a shadowy hunter, leading them straight into the path of the menacing trolls and documenting every last second of the Trollhunter's heroics. From Magnolia Home Entertainment/The Magnet Label ... Trapped in a forgotten amusement park, a young girl finds herself terrorized by the living memories of the park, and she must break free from the park's grasp before she becomes its next victim in "Closed for the Season" (2010), starring Aimee Brooks, Damian Maffei and Joe Unger, from MTI Home Video ... "Little Big Soldier" (2010 -- Hong Kong), starring Jackie Chan and Wang Leehom, is set in the war period in China between 476 BC -- 221 BC. A soldier (Jackie Chan) abducts a downtrodden general (Wang Leehom) from an opposing state and attempts to bring him back to his state to collect a reward, but a mutual enemy forces the pair to join forces in order to survive. From Well Go USA ... A stranger with mysterious intentions comes to stay the night at a secluded country home, but what he finds inside is a family torn apart by a violent past and a secret more deadly than he expected in "The Bleeding House" (2011), starring Alexandra Chando, Patrick Breen and Charlie Hewson, from New Video/Tribeca Film ... In "Meteor Storm" (2010 -- TV), starring Michael Trucco, Kari Matchett, Kristen Prout and Eric Johnson, San Francisco becomes a target for waves of destructive meteors after a rogue comet orbits around the earth. From Monarch Home Entertainment ... "NEDS: Non Educated Delinquents" (2010) stars Conor McCarron in a gritty coming-of-age drama set in 1970s Glasgow. With no support system at home or school, a young man takes to the savage street life with a vengeance. Written and directed by Peter Mullan ("Orphans," "The Magdalene Sisters"). From New Video/Tribeca Film ... Shout! Factory's "Sword and Sorcery Collection 2-DVD Set" includes four films: "Deathstalker" (1983), "Deathstalker II" (1987), "Barbarian Queen" (1985)and "The Warrior And The Sorceress" (1984); $24.97.

On the Indie Front:(8/23)

A newly paralyzed DJ gets more than he bargained for when he seeks out the world of faith healing in "Sympathy for Delicious" (2010), starring Mark Ruffalo, Christopher Thornton, Juliette Lewis, Orlando Bloom and Laura Linney. Feeling cursed with the power to heal, DJ Delicious contends with all of the glory and attention that comes with his newfound gift. From Maya Entertainment.

Foreign:(8/23)

Strand Releasing's "To Die Like a Man" (2011 -- Portugal) is part melodrama, part phantasmagorical fairy tale. Tonia is a larger-than-life drag icon of Lisbon's night life in the late 1980s. At the peak of her career, she meets and falls in love with Rosario, a young soldier who's gone AWOL. Under pressure from Rosario, Tonia begins a series of operations to become a woman, but the final step proves much harder than she could have guessed. Torn between her love for Rosario and her deeply-rooted religious convictions, Tonia looks for distraction in a trip to the countryside with Rosario. Lost along the way, the couple find themselves in an enchanted forest where everything they think they know about life and love is proven wrong.

For the Family:(8/23)

photo "The Garfield Show: Spooky Tails" (2011) includes six Halloween-themed episode, $14.93 from Vivendi Entertainment ... "Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension" (2011), Phineas Flynn and his stepbrother Ferb Fletcher go on their biggest adventure yet: When the boys discover that their pet platypus Perry is in fact a secret agent who battles the forces of evil daily, they join him on a grand adventure that blasts them to another dimension where a truly evil Dr. Doofenshmirtz has taken over an alternate Tri-state Area. $26.99 from Disney ... "Tom and Jerry & the Wizard of Oz" (2011) is a new animated feature that has the popular duo whisked to the land of Oz by a tornado; $19.98 from Warner ... "Bambi II Special Edition" (2006) is a sequel that reveals how Bambi was raised by his father, the Great Prince of the Forest. Available as a two-disc Blu-ray + DVD Combo Pack and a single DVD from Disney.

Special Interest:(8/23)

Documentaries:
  • "Dear Uncle Adolf: The Germans and Their Fuhrer" photo (2011) More than any other documents, it is the personal private letters written by the German people to Adolf Hitler that provide the most intimate details of the Third Reich. A treasure of more than 100,000 such letters was recently found, hidden in a secret Russian archive. The uncensored letters, which include declarations of loyalty, love letters and the occasional words of protest, reveal the true feelings of the German people -- their hopes, longings and fears. Women who wrote particularly ardent letters were monitored by the Gestapo as Hitler feared that his cult of personality could lead to a destabilization of home life in the Reich. As his power became absolute, so the tempo of the letters increased. Like a seismograph, they reflect the changing mood in Nazi Germany, and the highs and lows of the German spirit, from 1932 to 1945. A shocking documentary. $24.95 from First Run Features.
  • "Wrong Side of the Bus" (2011) Sidney Bloch, an internationally recognized professor of psychiatry from Australia, returns to Cape Town, South Africa for his medical school reunion. Sid has suffered from a troubled conscience for 40 years and wants to resolve his guilt for colluding with Apartheid -- but what will it take to free him from his past? He's accompanied on his quest for reconciliation by his son, Aaron, who is also his harshest critic. Narrated by Aaron, the film explores how easy it is for a good person to accept injustice and compromise one's morals. $24.95 from First Run Features.
  • "Remembering 9/11" (2011) In observance of the 10th anniversary of the world's deadliest act of terrorism comes this powerfully moving documentary and commemoration that goes beyond the historical facts, exploring the background of the perpetrators and of the U.S. government's response. From amidst the debris rise stories of courage and survival. $12.98 from Inception Media Group.
  • Sports:
  • "Money in the Bank 2011" (2011) Eight Raw Superstars and eight Smackdown Superstars compete in Money in the Bank matches, with the winners receiving a championship opportunity. Includes John Cena vs. CM Punk, Randy Orton vs, Christian, a Smackdown Money in the Bank Ladder Match (Sheamus vs Cody Rhodes vs Wade Barrett vs Sin Cara vs Justin Gabriel vs Heath Slater vs Daniel Bryan vs Kane, more. $24.95 From World Wrestling Entertainment.
  • "OMG! The Top 50 Incidents in WWE History" (2010) The 50 most shocking, surprising, amazing moments in WWE history. What moments will make the top 10, and what is the greatest moment of all time? Is it the King of the Ring tournament where Austin 3:16 was born? Mick Foley's devastating fall off the top of the Hell in a Cell cage? The Montreal Screwjob? The explosion that consumed Mr. McMahon's limo? Three-disc set, $39.95. From World Wrestling Entertainment.
  • Fox Adds 23 New Films to its MGM On-Demand Catalog

    photo (Augsut 16) 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment's "manufacturing on demand" (MOD) program has added 23 films as part of MGM's Limited Edition Collection, available through major online retailers. This group of releases features classics from 1940 to 1995 including performances by such Hollywood's greats as Boris Karloff, Orson Welles, Natalie Wood, Anthony Hopkins and Bill Cosby, among many, many others. Titles include "Tomorrow Is Forever" (1945) with Claudette Colbert, Orson Welles, George Brent and Natalie Wood; "Hong Kong Confidential" (1958) starring Gene Barry; "The Glory Stompers" (1967) with Dennis Hopper and Jody McCrea; "Hickey and Boggs" (1972) starring Bill Cosby and Robert Culp (who also directed); and "The Last of the Finest" (1990), starring Brian Dennehy, Joe Pantoliano, Jeff Fahey and Bill Paxton. Read the press release.

    From the Big Screen This Week:

    August 16-22: "Jane Eyre," "Priest," "The Conspirator," "Something Borrowed," "Meet Monica Velour" and "Hoodwinked Too! Hood Vs. Evil." For more releases this week, see the "Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases."

    DVD Collectibles:(8/16)

    Two ground-breaking films from two masters arrive this week from The Criterion Collection on both DVD and Blu-ray: "The Killing" and "Cul-de-sac." Stanley Kubrick's account of an ambitious racetrack robbery is one of Hollywood's tautest, twistiest noirs. Aided by a radically time-shuffling narrative, razor-sharp dialogue from pulp novelist Jim Thompson, photo and a phenomenal cast of character actors, including Sterling Hayden, Coleen Gray, Timothy Carey and Elisha Cook Jr., "The Killing" (1956) is both a jaunty thriller and a cold-blooded punch to the gut. And with its precise tracking shots and gratifying sense of irony, it's Kubrick to the core. New high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition. In "Cul-de-sac" (1966), Roman Polanski orchestrates a mental menage a trois in a slyly absurd tale of paranoia from the director's golden 1960s period. Donald Pleasance and Francoise Dorleac star as a withdrawn couple whose isolated house is infiltrated by a rude, burly American gangster on the run, played by Lionel Stander. The three engage in a game of shifting identities and sexual and emotional humiliations. "Cul-de-sac" is an evocative, claustrophobic, and morbidly funny tale of the modern world in chaos. New digital restoration, approved by director Roman Polanski, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition.

    From TV to Video:(8/16)

    photo "Dexter: The Complete Fifth Season" (2010) is a four-disc set with 12 episodes, $49.99 from Showtime Networks/CBS Home Entertainment/Paramount Home Entertainment ... "Gone" (2011) is a Lifetime Original Movie about a woman whose 9-year-old daughter has been kidnapped and who is instructed to kill a patient at her hospital if she ever wants to see her again; stars Molly Parker; from A&E Home Entertainment ... "Horatio Hornblower: The Further Adventures" (2011) is a two-disc set with two feature-length chapters in the Emmy-winning Hornblower saga: "The Duchess and the Devil" and "The Wrong War," $14.95 from A& E Home Entertainment ... "Spin City: The Complete Fifth Season" (2000-01) is a four-disc set with 23 episodes (featuring Charlie Sheen as the new Deputy Mayor), $29.93 from Shout! Factory ... "The Thomas Hardy Collection" (2011) is a two-disc set with "Tess of the D'urbervilles" and "The Mayor of Casterbridge," $19.95 from A& E Home Entertainment).

    Buzzin' the 'B's:(8/16)

    photo What begins as a scenic road trip through Ireland soon turns deadly for a group of friends when an ancient curse takes wing by way of a bloodthirsty bird of prey in the Syfy Channel Maneater Series original "Roadkill" (2011), starring Kacey Barnfield, Eliza Bennett and Stephen Rea, from Vivendi Entertainment ... Entertainment One has two "Elvira's Movie Macabre" double bills this week: "The Terror "(1963) and "Eegah!" (1962) and "The Brain That Wouldn't Die" (1962)) and "The Manster" (1959), $14.98 each ... and Shout! Factory has a pair of "Mystery Science Theater 3000" spoofs: "Mystery Science Theater 3000: Red Zone Cuba" (1966), which escaped convicts volunteer to fight in the Bay of Pigs, and "Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Unearthly" (1957), in which Tor Johnson co-stars as Lobo in this horror flick about a mad scientist (John Carradine) whose experiments with immortality accidentally produce mutants.

    On the Indie Front:(8/16)

    photo "The Bang Bang Club" (2010), starring Ryan Phillippe, Taylor Kitsch and Malin Akerman, is a drama based on the true-life experiences of four combat photographers capturing the final days of apartheid in South Africa. The men were bonded by friendship and their sense of purpose to tell the truth. And, while this intense political period brought out their best work -- two won Pulitzers -- it also exacted a heavy price. From Entertainment One ... Set in the world of New York City's elite private kindergartens, "The Best and the Brightest" (2010) centers on a fresh-faced young couple from Delaware, who have only just moved into town, and the extreme lengths they must go to in order to get their five-year-old daughter into school; stars Neil Patrick Harris, Bonnie Somerville, Amy Sedaris, Peter Serafinowicz, Christopher McDonald and Kate Mulgrew; from New Video/Flatiron Film Co. ... "The Grace Card" (2010) is a "next generation" faith-based film that brings Church and Hollywood together with the Memphis' Calvary Church. When Mac McDonald (Michael Joiner) loses his son in an accident, years of bitterness and pain erodes his love for his family and leaves him angry with God ... and everyone else. Co-stars Louis Gossett Jr. and Michael Higgenbottom. From Sony.

    For the Family:(8/16)

    photo There's four super-sized adventures in "Bob the Builder: Super Scrambler" (2011), featuring Bob the builder and his crew: "Travis' New garage," "Scratch and the Dream House," "Super Scrambler" and "Roley and the Fix," $9.98 from HIT Entertainment/Lionsgate ... The 10th and 11th DVDs of the 12-part "Shalom Sesame" series arrive this week: "Shalom Sesame: The Sticky Shofar" (2011) sees the Sesame Street characters travel to Israel to introduce Jewish holidays, traditions and cultures to viewers of all ages. Here Grover Avigail and Brosh learn about Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New year; and "Shalom Sesame: Monsters in the Sukkah" (2011), where Avigail and Brosh get ready for the week-long Jewish festival of Sukkot. $14.95 each from SISU Home Entertainment ... "The Gruffalo," a 2011 Academy Award nominee for Best Short Film, is an animated film based on the classic children's picture book that tells the magical tale of a mouse who takes a walk though the woods in search of a nut. Encountering three animals who all wish to eat him -- a fox, an owl and a snake -- the plucky mouse has to use his wits to survive. Features the voices of Helena Bonham Carter, James Corden, Tom Wilkinson, John Hurt, Rob Brydon, Robbie Coltrane. $9.99 from NCircle Entertainment ... "Marley & Me: The Puppy Years" (2011) is a prequel to the smash hit "Marley & Me," from Fox.

    Special Interest:(8/16)

    Django Reinhardt is considered by many to be the single most important guitarist in the history of jazz. To honor the 100th anniversary of Django's birth, 100 of his disciples, including his grandson David Reinhardt, gathered together for the "Django 100 Centennial Tour," which is documented in "Life After Django" (2011), $19.95 from Cinema Libre Studio ... In "Lavell Crawford: Can a Brother Get Some Love?" (2011), the comedian takes on topics such as life in heaven, President Obama and Mama's unconditional love and the universal rules of grocery shopping with her. Recorded at the historic Orpheum Theatre in his hometown of St. Louis. $19.98 from Entertainment One.

    This Week's Releases (August 9)
    From the Big Screen:

    "Paul," "Jumping the Broom," "Your Highness" and "Mars Needs Moms." For more releases this week, see the "Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases."

    DVD Collectibles: (8/9)

    This week, the folks at The Criterion Collection bring two films about revolution to Blu-ray: Lindsay Anderson's "If ...." (1969) and Gillo Pontecorvo's ground-breaking "The Battle of Algiers" (1965). "If ...." is a daringly chaotic vision of British society, set in a boarding school in late-60s England. Before Kubrick made his mischief iconic in "A Clockwork Orange," Malcolm McDowell made a hell of an impression as the insouciant Mick Travis, who, along with his school chums, photo trumps authority at every turn, finally emerging as a violent savior against the vicious games of one-upmanship played by both students and masters. Mixing color and black and white as audaciously as it mixes fantasy and reality, "If ...." remains one of cinema's most unforgettable rebel yells. Restored high-definition digital transfer, approved by cinematographer Miroslav Ondricek and assistant editor Ian Rakoff, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack. One of the most influential political films in history, "The Battle of Algiers" vividly re-creates a key year in the tumultuous Algerian struggle for independence from the occupying French in the 1950s. As violence escalates on both sides, children shoot soldiers at point-blank range, women plant bombs in cafes, and French soldiers resort to torture to break the will of the insurgents. Shot on the streets of Algiers in documentary style, the film is a case study in modern warfare, with its terrorist attacks and the brutal techniques used to combat them. Pontecorvo's tour-de-force has astonishing relevance today. Two-disc set with high-definition digital transfer, supervised by director of photography Marcello Gatti, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack. Both releases contain Criterion's always excellent bonus features as well as booklets with essays and photos.

    From TV to Video: (8/9)

    "M.A.S.K.: The Complete Original Series" (1985-86) is a 12-disc set with 65 episodes, $99.99 from Shout! Factory ... "Secret Diary of a Call Girl: The Final Season" (2011) is a two-disc set with eight episodes, $26.99 from CBS Home Entertainment/Paramount ... "Top Gear 16" (2010) is a three-disc set with all six U.K. episodes, plus "U.S. Road Trip," "Middle East Special," $24.95 from BBC/Warner ... "Webster: Season Three" (1983-84) is a four-disc set with 29 episodes, $29.93 from Shout! Factiry.

    Buzzin' the 'B's: (8/9)

    In "Evil Things" (2009), starring Laurel Casillo, Morgan Hooper, Ryan Maslyn and Elyssa Mersdorf, five college friends go on a birthday celebration road trip to a remote, snowy mountain house, only to disappear forever; investigators, however, discover a video left behind that reveals not a tranquil getaway but a sinister and nightmarish descent into terror. From Inception Media Group ... An LAPD SWAT team begins a routine training exercise in an abandoned hanger, but things spiral dangerously out of control when they find themselves caught in a three-way war with two rival gangs who will kill anyone who gets in their way in "Tactical Force" (2010), photo starring Steve Austin, Michael Jai White and Keith Jardine. From Nasser Entertainment/Vivendi Entertainment ... A journalism student, with the help of her detective father and a therapist, tracks a serial killer who selects victims and forces them to choose between horrific options in "Choose" (2011), starring Katheryn Winnick, Nicholas Tucci, Kevin Pollak, Richard Short and Bruce Dern. From IFC Films ... Cheng Li-sheung is a young, upwardly mobile professional finally ready to invest in her first home. But when the deal falls through, she is forced to keep her dream alive -- even if it means shedding the blood of her would-be neighbors in "Dream Home" (2010 -- Hong Kong), starring Josie Ho. From IFC Films ... "The Last Godfather" (2010 -- USA/South Korea), starring Harvey Keitel, Hyung-rae Shim, Michael Rispoli and Jason Mewes. is director Hyung Rae Shim's Mafia spoof: Mob boss Don Carini Keitel) is retiring from the family business and surprises everyone by anointing his goofy grownup love child Younggu as his successor, fomenting a struggle for power among family, friends and enemies alike. From Lionsgate ... After his wife falls under the influence of a drug dealer, an everyday guy (Rainn Wilson) transforms himself into Crimson Bolt, a superhero with the best intentions, though he lacks for heroic skills in "Super" (2011), starring Rainn Wilson, Ellen Page, Liv Tyler, Kevin Bacon, Michael Rooker and Nathan Fillion. From IFC Films/MPI Media Group.

    For the Family: (8/9)

    photo "Hey Arnold: Season 1" (1996-97) is a four-disc set with 20 episodes, $29.93 from Shout! Factory ... "The Fox and the Hound" (1981) and "The Fox and the Hound 2" (2006) have been reissued by Disney as a 30th Anniversary 2-Movie Collection, available as a three-disc Blu-ray combo pack (one Blu-ray Disc that has both films on it, one DVD of "The Fox and the Hound," one DVD of "The Fox and the Hound 2," $39.99), and a two-disc DVD set of both films, $29.99) ... In "Yo Gabba Gabba: Music Makes Me Move!" (2011) The Gabba gang stars in four episodes where they start a band, learn it's okay to be different and ride on trains; $16.99 from Nickelodeon/Paramount ... Due Saturday is "Veggietales: Princess and the Pop Star" (2011), the latest outing from Big Idea: Princess Poppyseeds' life on her family's farm is far from the glamorous but lonely world of her favorite pop singer, Vanna Banana. On a chance meeting at a playground, Vanna and Princess cross paths and realize that they look almost exactly alike -- which leads to the crazy secret plan where they decide to switch lives. As each girl realizes that the life they longed for doesn't fulfill all of their dreams, they learn that the life they have is the one for which they were uniquely and lovingly designed.

    Special Interest: (8/9)

    "Cameraman: The Life & Work of Jack Cardiff" (2010) is a star-studded documentary about one of the greatest Oscar-winning cinematographers to capture the beauty of such stars as Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn and Sophia Loren in such memorable classics as "The African Queen", "The Red Shoes," "Barefoot Contessa" and "Black Narcissus." With a career spanning more than 80 years, this passionate documentary reveals the craft of one of cinema's most indelible image-makers, Jack Cardiff. $24.99 from Strand Releasing.

    This Week's Releases (August 2)
    From the Big Screen:

    "Stake Land," "Rio," "Exporting Raymond" and "Soul Surfer." For more releases this week, see the "Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases."

    DVD Collectibles: (8/02)

    "Stake Land" is our pick for sleeper hit of the week. The 2010 indie film stars Connor Paolo, Nick Damici (who also wrote the script), Kelly McGillis and Danielle Harris. The simple story line: Survivors of a devastated America fight off vampires and photo religious fanatics as they travel across the land in search of the rumored safe haven of New Eden. This is a vampire film with a heart: Despite its non-stop action, there's plenty of time for the characters to interact and make us care about them -- and discuss topics with more meaning than just the best way to kill a "vamp." In fact, the film revolves around a survivalist who takes a young man under his wing and becomes his surrogate father, teaching him the ways of the world. Bonus features include two feature-length cast and crew commentaries; a "Going for the Throat: The Making of Stake Land" featurette; video diaries by director Jim Mickle; the Toronto International Film Festival premiere and Q&A; and a very cool series of "Character Prequels," seven short films that explore the pre-apocalypse life of the main characters. Highly recommended; from Dark Sky Films/MPI Media Group.

    "Streetwalkin'" (1985) gives you a peek at Academy Award winner Melissa Leo as a young, show-it-all starlet in a typical late-80s exploitation film. Leo stars as Cookie, a teen runaway who escapes her abusive stepfather and heads for the Big Apple along with her younger brother. When she arrives at the Port Authority bus terminal, she meets a charming but psychopathically violent pimp named Duke . With nowhere to go, Cookie is soon working for Duke, who introduces her to the harsh, brutal life of a prostitute. Also stars Dale Midkiff, Leon Robinson, Antonio Fargas, Julie Newmar, Randall Batinkoff, Khandi Alexander, Deborah Offner, Greg Germann. From Shout! Factory.

    From TV to Video: (8/02)

    "Eastbound & Down: The Complete Second Season" (2010) is a two-disc set with seven episodes, $29.98 from HBO ... "Everwood: The Complete Fourth photoSeason" (2005-06) is a five-disc set with 22 episodes, $39.98 Warner ... Tom Selleck returns as Robert B. Parker's Jesse Stone in "Jesse Stone: Innocents Lost" (2011), to avenge the lost innocence and subsequent death of the young girl he once mentored, from Sony ... "United States of Tara: The Third Season," (2011) is a two-disc set with 12 episodes, $46.99 from CBS Home Entertainment/Paramount ... "Zen: Vendetta, Cabal, Ratking" (2011) is a two-disc set with three feature-length episodes of the new (debuting July) BBC/PBS adaptation of the best-selling novels by Michael Dibdin about detective Aurelio Zen (Rufus Sewell) and his criminal investigations in Rome. Co-stars Caterina Murino and Callum Blue. From BBC/Warner.

    Buzzin' the 'B's: (8/02)

    "Quarantine 2: Terminal" (2011) is a sequel to 2008's "Quarantine." Here the deadly virus has escaped the infected building from the first film and is now on board a late night jetliner flight. Stars Mercedes Masohn, Josh Cooke, Mattie Liptak, Ignacio Serricchio, Noree Victoria. From Sony ... "MST3K Vs. Gamera: Mystery Science Theater 3000, Vol. XXI (Deluxe Edition)" is a five-disc set housed in a limited-edition tin, with five mini-posters, and includes the titles "Gamera," "Gamera Vs. Barugon," "Gamera Vs. Gaos," "Gamera Vs. Guiron" and "Gamera Vs. Zigra"; $64.99 from Shout! Factory ... photo "The Music Never Stopped" (2011) stars J.K. Simmons, Lou Taylor Pucci, Cara Seymour, Julia Ormond in a stirring melodrama. Once close, Gabriel and his father Henry have spent the last 20 years estranged from each other. But when Gabriel is diagnosed with a brain tumor that doesn't allow his mind to create new memories, he returns home, where Henry hires a music therapist to help engage the young man; eventually the two men forge a common bound trough classic rock music. Soundtrack with music by The Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Crosby, Stills & Nash. The extras feature interviews with neurologist Oliver Sacks ("Awakenings"). From Lionsgate ... "The Perfect Game" (2009), starring Clifton Collins Jr., Moises Arias, Ryan Ochoa and Jake T. Austin, tells the story of a team of impoverished baseball-loving kids from Mexico who achieved the impossible: Standing tall against hardships no child should face -- poverty, intolerance -- they crossed the border in 1957 to achieve a dream: Compete in and win the Little League World Series. Cheech Marin, Lou Gossett Jr., Bruce McGill, Emilie de Ravin snd David Koechner make guest appearances. From Image Entertainment.

    Foreign: (8/02)

    "Outside the Law" (2010 -- France) is a drama about the Algerian struggle for independence from France after WWII, as seen through the eyes of three men whose father's farmland was confiscated by the French 30 years before. Stars Sami Bouajila, Roschdy Zem, Jamel Debbouze. From Palisades Tartan ... photo Three successful Israeli couples plan a quiet evening together but are interrupted by the unexpected arrival of a fortune teller in "Bittersweet" (2007 -- Israel), starring Tzufit Grant, Nati Ravitz, Eyal Shehter, Michal Yannai, Safrira Zachai. Her prophecies disturb the group's fragile harmony and each of their lives begins to unravel.From SISU Home Entertainment ... In "Maya" (2010 -- Israel), starring Liron Ben-Chelouch, Gil Frank, Shiri Gadni, Alex Anski, Miki Varshaviak, Addi Kaplan, a young actress lands a role as a mental patient in an avant-garde play. To get in character, she enters a psychiatric ward, but the truth she finds there and her fracturing mental state lead to an explosive conflict with her director. Similar to 'Black Swan,' this edgy Israeli drama walks a thin line between acting and madness. From SISU Home Entertainment.

    Special Interest: (8/02)

    photo "Diana Rigg at the BBC" (2010) is a collection of classic performances by BAFTA and Emmy-winner Diana Rigg: "Three Piece Suite," "Little Eyolf," "Unexplained Laughter", "Genghis Cohn," "Mrs. Bradley Mysteries." $49.98 ftom BBC/Warner ... "John Pinette: Still Hungry" (2011) is a live, sold-out concert event taped at Chicago's famed Vic Theater. The food-obsessed, storytelling Broadway and television star delivers his smart, original, Bill Cosby-influenced observations on everyday life. $19.98 from Entertainment One ... "Tracy Morgan: Black and Blue" (2010) is Morgan's first-ever stand-up special, filmed at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem. $19.97 from HBO.

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    September 1, 2011
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