There's so many collectible goodies this week that we just don't know where to start ... but we'll begin with one of our favorite ladies of the big screen, Jean Harlow. "Harlow 100," Warner Archive's inaugural box set collection, spotlights the Platinum Bombshell. A true trendsetter, the first "Platinum Blonde" provided the template for an archetype that stretches from Marilyn to Madonna to Gwen Stefani and beyond. Not only was she a big-screen sex symbol, but Harlow was a gifted comedienne and a talented dramatic actress. This special collection celebrates her centennial year with seven of her films, three newly remastered: "Bombshell" (1933) (remastered), "The Girl From Missouri" (1934) (remastered), "Reckless" (1935)(remastered), "Riffraff" (1935) "Suzy (1936) "Personal Property" (1937) and "Saratoga" (1937). Read more here ... Next up is a pair of wild and crazy guys: "Laurel & Hardy: The Essential Collection,"
a 10-disc set with 58 of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy's talking shorts and feature films, produced under legendary movie mogul Hal Roach from 1929 through 1940, available for the first time in the U.S. -- in one magnificent collection, digitally remastered and digitally restored. $99.98 from Vivendi Entertainment/RHI Entertainment.
The long-awaited Blu-ray version of "Jurassic Park" will be available in two sets: "Jurassic Park Ultimate Trilogy," a three-disc set with hours of bonus features including a new "Return to Jurassic Park" six-part documentary that features new interviews with many of the cast members from all three films, the filmmakers and Steven Spielberg ("Dawn of a New Era," "Making Pre-history," "The Next Step in Evolution," "Finding The Lost World" and "Something Survived"); a "Limited Edition Blu-ray Trilogy Gift Set" that includes a custom T-rex dinosaur statue. There will also be a new three-disc DVD set. From Universal. Read more about the releases.
From The Criterion Collection this week comes "Island of Lost Souls"
(1932), a twisted treasure from Hollywood's pre-Code horror heyday. "Island of Lost Souls" is a cautionary tale of science run amok adapted from H. G. Wells's novel "The Island of Dr. Moreau." In one of his first major movie roles, Charles Laughton is a mad doctor conducting ghastly genetic experiments on a remote island in the South Seas, much to the fear and disgust of the shipwrecked sailor (Richard Arlen) who finds himself trapped there. This touchstone of movie terror, directed by Erle C. Kenton ("House of Frankenstein"), is elegantly shot by Karl Struss ("The Great Dictator"), features ground breaking makeup effects that inspired generations of monster-movie artists, and co-stars Bela Lugosi in one his most gruesome roles. New high-definition digital restoration of the uncut theatrical version, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition.
And don't forget the Blu-ray debut of "The Conversation (1974), directed by Francis Ford Coppola and starring Gene Hackman John Cazale, Allen Garfield, Frederic Forrest, Cindy Williams, Teri Garr and Harrison Ford. Bonus features include a new interviews with Coppola and composer David Shire, archival footage, commentaries, making-of featurette, retrospective featurette, short film, marketing gallery. From Lionsgate.
From TV to Video: (10/25)
"Barney Miller: The Complete Series" is a 25-five disc set with all 168 episodes from the eight seasons of the series, $159.99 from Shout! Factory ... "It Takes a Thief: The Complete Series" is an 18-disc set containing all 66 digitally remastered episodes, $199.98 Entertainment One ... "Pawn Stars: Volume 3" (2011) is a two-disc set with 16 episodes, $19.95 from A&E ... Preparing for the Dec. 9 feature film adaptation of "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" starring Gary Oldman and Colin Firth, Acorn Media has re-released the TV version of the classic Cold War spy drama (1979) starring Alec Guinness in his BAFTA-winning role as George Smiley, a retired spymaster recruited to find a mole in the British intelligence service. Repackaged three-disc set includes six episodes, along with a 28-min. interview with John le Carre. $49.99 from Acorn Media ... "Young Justice Season 1 Volume 2" (2010-11) is a single disc with nine episodes, $14.97 from Warner.
Buzzin' the 'B's: (10/25)
"Fire of Conscience" (2011 -- Hong Kong) is another of director Dante Lam's cops vs. gangsters thrill rides with heart-racing action sequences, distinct character development and stunning visual imagery. Investigator Captain Manfred is at a crossroads in life when he's assigned to the case of a lethal car accident and the death of a prostitute and finds himself working with aggressive Inspector Kee, who is determined to rise in the fast-paced world of Hong Kong law enforcement. Manfred is soon swept up into a shadowy world of dirty politics, graphic murders and dangerous secrets when his squad is betrayed by someone within the department. Stars Leon Lai, Richie Ren, Baoqiang Wang, Vivian Hsu, Kai Chi Liu, Michelle Ye. From Indomina Releasing
Watch the trailer:
"Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale"
(Finland -- 2010) is a horror film that just might become a new Christmas staple. It's the eve of Christmas in northern Finland, and an American "archeological" dig has just unearthed the real Santa Claus. But this particular Santa isn't the one you want coming to town. When the local children begin mysteriously disappearing, reindeer hunters try to capture the mythological being. Santa's elves, however, will stop at nothing to make sure their just unearthed leader stays free. From Oscilloscope Laboratories ... In "Father of Invention" (2011), an eccentric inventor turned ego-driven infomercial guru lands in jail when one of his products -- the "Ab-Clicker" -- maims thousands of customers. Released 10 years later, he strives to redeem his name, rebuild his billion dollar empire and make amends with his estranged 22-year-old daughter. Stars Kevin Spacey, Camilla Belle, Heather Graham, Johnny Knoxville, John Stamos, Craig Robinson, Virginia Madsen. From Anchor Bay ... Andy Lau, Nicolas Tse and Jackie Chan star in "Shaolin" (2011 -- Hong Kong), a remake of Jet Li's "Shaolin Temple" (1982), about sadistic warlords squaring off against noble monks in the early years of the Chinese republic. From Well Go USA ... "Wrong Turn 4: Bloody Beginnings" (2011) is the unrated bloody beginnings of Three Finger and his family of hillbilly cannibals. From Fox ... "Attack the Block" (2011), starring Nick Frost, Jodie Whittaker, John Boyega and Luke Treadaway, is a funny and frightening action adventure movie that pits a teen street gang against an invasion of savage alien monsters. A London housing project is turned into a sci-fi battleground and the low-income apartment complex into a fortress under siege as a crazy mix of tough street kids become kick ass heroes fighting off an invasion from outer space. From Sony ... In "A Little Help" (2010), a Long Island dental hygienist who wants nothing more than to run her own life and who relies on guilty pleasures -- cigarettes and beer -- to help her cope with an unruly lifestyle in order to take care of herself and her 12-year-old son, gets entangled in a series of bizarre lies when her unfaithful husband dies. Stars Jenna Fischer, Chris O'Donnell, Rob Benedict, Daniel Yelsky, Lesley Ann Warren, Ron Leibman, Brooke Smith. From Image Entertainment ... In "Mardi Gras: Spring Break" (2011), a group of college buddies sow their wild oats in New Orleans. Stars Danneel Ackles, Arielle Kebbel, Carmen Electra, Nicholas D'Agosto, Regina Hall, Josh Gad. From Sony.
For the Family: (10/25)
"Winnie the Pooh" (2011) features the voices of John Cleese, Jim Cummings, Bud Luckey, Craig Ferguson, Jack Boulter, Travis Oates in new animated adventures of Winnie the Pooh and friends in the Hundred Acre Wood; inspired by three stories from A.A. Milne's books, rendered in Disney's classic, hand-drawn art style. From Disney ... There two new releases from Scholastic Storybook Treasures this week: "The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog ... and More Stories By Mo Willems" (2011) In the lead story -- an animated adaptation of the sequel to the best-selling "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!" -- Pigeon finds a delicious hot dog, but a sly and hungry duckling comes along who also wants a bite. Also includes "Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity" and "Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed." $14.95. "Teeny Tiny and the Witch-Woman ... and More Spooky Halloween Stories!" contains five Halloween-themed tales: The lead story plus "The Boy With Two Shadows," "Los Gatos Black on Halloween," "What's Under My Bed" and "King of the Cats"; $14.95 ... "The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes Volume 3 -- Iron Man Unleashed" features six episodes and "The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes Volume 4 -- Thor's Last Stand" features seven episodes, $19.99 each from Disney.
Special Interest: (10/25)
"Anti-Nazi Classics Vol. 2" is an anthology of four films about Nazi Germany. "Rotation" (1949): From the director of "The Murderers Are Among Us" and ranked as one of Germany's most important films ever, "Rotation" is the story of a German family that becomes divided over supporting the Nazis. "Council of the Gods" (1950): Based on testimony from Nuremberg, this classic was inspired by the collaboration between Nazi scientists and chemical giant I.G. Farben -- a collaboration that led to the death of millions. "The Axe of Wandsbek" (1951): In 1934, when the Nazis need a hangman to execute a group of political prisoners, the town butcher makes the biggest mistake of his life: facing bankruptcy, he agrees to do the dirty deed. "The Adventures of Werner Holt" (1964): Two 17 year-olds are pulled out of school and into Hitler's army; while one becomes a fanatical soldier, the other, Werner Holt, begins to understand the senselessness of war. $59.95 from First Run features ... "The Art of Filmmaking" is an anthology of five documentaries about filmmaking: "Tales From the Script" (featuring Shane Black, Frank Darabont, Paul Schrader, among others), "Directors: Life Behind the Camera" (featuring Robert Altman, Robert Benton, Tim Burton, James Cameron, Chris Columbus, Wes Craven, Cameron Crowe, Frank Darabont, Jonathan Demme, Richard Donner, Clint Eastwood, Nora Ephron, William Friedkin, Terry Gilliam, Ron Howard, Lawrence Kasdan, Spike Lee, Barry Levinson, George Lucas, David Lynch, Adrian Lyne, Garry Marshall, Penny Marshall, Sydney Pollack, Rob Reiner, Martin Scorsese, Ridley Scott, Tony Scott, Bryan Singer, Steven Spielberg, Oliver Stone, Robert Zemeckis & David Zucker), "Capturing Reality: The Art of Documentary," "Light Keeps Me Company" (about Sven Nykvist) and "Lavender Limelight: Lesbians in Film." $79.95 from First Run Features ... "Bill Moyers: Own Our Own Terms" (2000) is the newest DVD release from Bill Moyers' acclaimed library, featuring insightful, practical discussions about death and dying in America. Moyers interviews dozens of terminally ill patients in this four-part exploration of end-of-life issues. From Acorn Media ... "Hamlet at Elsinore" (1964) stars Christopher Plummer, Michael Caine, Robert Shaw, Donald Sutherland and Roy Kinnear in this historic production of "Hamlet" filmed on location at Elsinore, Denmark, the actual location where the play is set. From BBC/Warner ... "Joseph Campbell: Mythos III" is the third installment of Joseph Campbell's fascinating lecture series, seen on PBS. Offering five newly remastered and visually stunning lectures from one of the greatest storytellers of our time. Hosted by Susan Sarandon. From Acorn Media ... "The People vs. George Lucas" (2010) is a documentary that delves deep into the 'Star Wars' phenomena and George Lucas's cultural legacy, exploring the issues of filmmaking and fanaticism around one of the industry's most famous franchises. From Lionsgate.
DVD Collectibles: (10/18)
Warner Home Video is sweetening up the fourth quarter home video landscape with its impressive "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory 40th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition." The 1971 film, directed by Mel Stuart and starring Gene Wilder, Jack Albertson, Peter Ostrum, Roy Kinnear, Julie Dawn Cole, Leonard Stone and Denise Nickerson, has charmed (and frightened) a couple generations of kids and, even though a Blu-ray of the film was released just last year, Warner Home Video has decided to go all out for this birthday celebration. They've packed a Blu-ray and DVD of the film, along with a third disc of bonus features, in an oversized 8 1/2 by 11 1/2-inch box that also contains some nifty Willy Wonka mementos: 'Pure Imagination: The Making of Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory,' a 144 page behind-the-scenes production book; 14 pages of replica production correspondence; a Wonka Bar Tin with scratch-n-sniff pencils and scented eraser; and a facsimile Wonka Bar Golden Ticket. It's a collector's delight. Bonus features include several ported over from previous 'Wonka' editions: Commentary by the 'Wonka' kids, a behind-the-scenes documentary, sing-along songs, and a vintage featurette from 1971. New to this edition (on the second disc) is 'Mel Stuart's Wonkavision,' a new featurette in which the director reminisces on the production, and 'A World of Pure Imagination,' a recently discovered vintage featurette that has an interview with author Roald Dahl.
The Criterion Collection has two fine offerings this week: "Eclipse Series 29: Aki Kaurismaki's Leningrad Cowboys" and "Kuroneko." In the late '80s and early '90s, Aki Kaurismaki ("The Match Factory Girl"), the master of the deadpan, fashioned a waggish fish-out-of-water tale about a U.S. tour by "the worst rock-and-roll band in the world." "Leningrad Cowboys Go America's" posse of fur-coated, outrageously pompadoured hipsters struck such a chord with international audiences that the fictional band became a genuine attraction, touring the world. Later, Kaurismaki created a sequel, "Leningrad Cowboys Meet Moses," and filmed a gigantic stadium show the band put on in Helsinki for the rollicking documentary "Total Balalaika Show." This Eclipse series three-disc set presents these crackpot musical and comic odysseys, along with five Leningrad Cowboys music videos directed by Kaurismaki. In the poetic and atmospheric horror fable "Kuroneko" (1968), set in a village in war-torn medieval Japan, a malevolent spirit has been ripping out the throats of itinerant samurai. When a military hero is sent to dispatch the unseen force, he finds that he must struggle with his own personal demons as well. From Kaneto Shindo, director of the terror classic "Onibaba," "Kuroneko" (Black Cat) is a spectacularly eerie twilight tale with a shocking feminist angle, evoked through ghostly special effects and exquisite cinematography. New high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition.
Two films debut on Blu-ray this week: "The Guns of Navarone 50th Anniversary," remastered following an extensive 4K digital restoration from the original camera negative. The 1961 film was directed by J. Lee Thompson and starred Gregory Peck, David Niven, Anthony Quinn, Stanley Baker, Anthony Quayle, James Darren, Irene Papas, Gia Scala, James Robertson Justice, Richard Harris and Bryan Forbes. Bonus features include "The Resistance Dossier of Navarone," an interactive dossier that gives viewers all new access to detailed information on the film, the real world history that inspired the film, and insights from film and military historians on the continuing effect the film has on popular culture; commentary by film historian Stephen J. Rubin; commentary by director J. Lee Thompson; "Forging the Guns of Navarone: Notes from the Set"; "Iconic Epic of Heroism"; "Epic Restoration"; "A Heroic Score"; "Memories of Navarone" retrospective documentary; message from blacklisted screenwriter Carl Foreman; and much more. From Sony ... The 1991 remake "Cape Fear," though not one of director Martin Scorsese's better outings, features a really slimy Robert De Niro facing off against Nick Nolte and threatening (both physically and psychologically) Jessica Lange and Juliette Lewis; features performances by Robert Mitchum and Gregory Peck, the leads from the 1962 version, as well as Martin Balsam, who played the police chief in the original. From Universal.
From TV to Video: (10/18)
"American Pickers: Volume 2" (2011) is a two-disc set with eight episodes, $19.95 from A&E ... "Captain America and Captain America: Death Too Soon" (1979) is a set of two live-action Captain America TV movies; from Shout! Factory ... "Gift of the Magi" (2010) stars Mark Webber and Maria Sokoloff in a Hallmark Channel modernized version of the O'Henry classic; from RHI Entertainment/Vivendi Entertainment ... "Gigolos: The First Season" (2011) is a single disc with eight episodes, $26.99 from Showtime/Paramount ... "Masterpiece Mystery!: The Complete Inspector Lewis" is a 10-disc set with all 20 mysteries, $129.99 from PBS Distribution ... "The Real L Word The Second Season" (2011) is a three-disc set with nine episodes, $39.99 from Showtime/Paramount ... "The Rise and Fall of Margaret Thatcher" is a three-disc set of TV dramas about British Prime Minster Margaret Thatcher, in time for the Dec. 16 theatrical release of "The Iron Lady," starring Meryl Streep as Thatcher: "Margaret Thatcher: The Long Walk to Finchley" (2008), "The Falklands Play" (2002) and "Margaret" (2009); from Warner ... "Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The Complete Season Three" (2010-11) is a four-disc set with 22 episodes, $44.98 from Warner ... "V: The Complete Second Season" (2011) is a three-disc set with 10 episodes, $39.98 from Warner.
Buzzin' the 'B's: (10/18)
In "Attack on Leningrad" (2009), a British and an American journalist are trapped within the devastated city of Leningrad during the infamous Nazi siege in the winter of 1941; stars Gabriel Byrne and Mira Sorvino. From Entertainment One ... In "Zombie Apocalypse: Redemption" (2011), starring Johnny Gel, Fred Williamson and Alicia Clark, Zombies and humans team up in a post-apocalyptic world to battle maniacal raiders who kill or kidnap everybody in sight. From Pacific Entertainment Corporation ... "The Howling: Reborn" (2011) is a direct-to-video sequel that has a high school student discovering that he is heir to a powerful line of werewolves. From Anchor Bay ... In "Beware" (2010), five unsuspecting kids discover that the urban myth -- about a boy tortured and chained to a tree who now wanders the woods in search of revenge -- is gruesomely true. From Maya Entertainment ... In "Freerunner"
(2011), starring Sean Faris, Tamer Hassan and Danny Dyer, a freerunner desperately tries to break free from a mobster who controls a stable of street runners for a nasty sporting event; the freerunners, with exploding collars locked around their necks, have one hour to make it across town ... or lose the race and their lives. From Image Entertainment.
For the Family: (10/18)
"Robotech: The Complete Original Series" (2010) is a 17-disc set with all 85 half-hour episodes of the original series (re-mastered from original elements for this release), $99.95 from A&E Networks Home Entertainment ... "Batman: Year One"
(2011) is a DC Universe Animated Original Movie with the voices of Bryan Cranston, Ben McKenzie, Eliza Dushku, Katee Sackhoff. Based on the 1987 Frank Miller DC Comics titles in which young Bruce Wayne returns to Gotham City in his first attempts to fight injustice as a costumed vigilante. Available as a Blu-ray DVD/Combo and DVD; from Warner ... "CatDog: Season One -- Part One" (1998) is a two-disc set with 10 episodes, $19.93 from Shout! Factory ... "Dr. Seuss's Holidays on the Loose!" includes three Dr. Seuss TV specials: "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," "The Grinch Grinches The Cat in the Hat" and "Halloween is Grinch Night"; $26.99 from Warner ... "Peanuts: Snow Days" includes remastered TV special "She's a Good Skate, Charlie Brown" as well as an episode from "The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show," $14.97 from Warner ... "Dr. Seuss' Holidays on the Loose!" includes "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," "The Grinch Grinches The Cat in the Hat," "Halloween Is Grinch Night,: $26.99 from Warner ... "Thundercats: Season One, Book One" features eight episodes of the new animated series in a two-disc set, $19.97 from Warner.
Special Interest: (10/18)
"The Captains" (2011) is a feature-length documentary written and directed by William Shatner that "boldly goes where no man has gone before," giving viewers an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at one of the most durable and profitable franchises in entertainment history, as well as the men and women (including all the "Star Trek" captains) who have made the Star Trek brand an international phenomenon since 1966. From Entertainment One ... "Page One: Inside The New York Times" (2011) is a documentary that reveals the inner-workings of The New York Times newsroom by following the reporters for paper's Media Desk as they work through a tumultuous time in journalism and face new players and platforms such as WikiLeaks, Twitter, tablet computers and more. From Magnolia Home Entertainment/Magnet Label.
'Belle de jour,' 'Godzilla' Top Criterion's January Releases
The Criterion Collection begins the New Year with a beauty and a beast. The beauty is Catherine Deneuve in Luis Bunuel's iconic erotic art-house hit "Belle de jour" (1967) on DVD and Blu-ray for the first time on Jan. 17 and packed with such bonus features as commentary featuring Michael Wood, author of the BFI Film Classics book "Belle de jour"; a new video piece featuring writer and sexual-politics activist Susie Bright and film scholar Linda Williams; a new interview with screenwriter Jean-Claude Carriere; an excerpt from the French television program "Cinema," featuring interviews with Carriere and Deneuve; and a booklet featuring an essay by critic Melissa Anderson and a 1970s interview with director Luis Bunuel. The beast is "Godzilla" (1954), which busts onto DVD and Blu-ray with the original 1954 Japanese version, along with "Godzilla: King of the Monsters!", the 1956 American reworking starring Raymond Burr ... as well as the usual complement of excellent bonus features; due Jan. 24. The other highlights: Steven Soderbergh's Oscar-winning drama "Traffic" gets a Blu-ray upgrade (Jan. 17) and "Three Popular Films by Jean-Pierre Gorin," an Eclipse Series set of films by French director (and Godard collaborator) who, after moving to Southern California, became so fascinated by America that he made three tributes to some of the people he discovered there.
Warner Home Video has announced a Dec. 27 release date for the fourth sequel in its "Final Destination" series, "Final Destination 5." In this latest outing, Death is just as omnipresent as ever, and is unleashed after one man's premonition saves a group of co-workers from a terrifying suspension bridge collapse. But this group of unsuspecting souls was never supposed to survive, and, in a terrifying race against time, they try to discover a way to escape Death's sinister agenda. Bonus features include alternate death scenes, "Final Destination 5: Circle of Death, Your Final Destination" featurette, and a visual effects featurette. The $42 million grossing film will be available as a Blu-ray/DVD combo and on DVD. Both versions will include Ultraviolet "Cloud" digital copies.
The spectacular Technicolor epic "The Four Feathers" (1939), directed by Zoltan Korda, is considered the finest of the many adaptations of A.E.W. Mason's classic 1902 adventure novel about the British Empire's exploits in Africa, and a crowning achievement of Korda's legendary production company, London Films. Set at the end of the 19th century, "The Four Feathers" follows the travails of a young officer (John Clements) accused of cowardice after he resigns his post on the eve of a major deployment to Khartoum; he must fight to redeem himself in the eyes of his fellow officers (including Ralph Richardson) and fiancee (June Duprez). Featuring music by Miklos Rozsa and Oscar-nominated cinematography by Georges Perinal, "The Four Feathers" is a thrilling, thunderous epic. New high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition. From The Criterion Collection ... "Maniac Cop" (1987), a cult classic about a uniformed police officer brutally killing innocent people on the streets of New York, makes its Blu-ray debut this week. A young cop, Jack Forrest (Bruce Campbell) finds himself marked as the chief suspect after his wife is murdered. As Lieutenant Frank McCrae (Tom Atkins) investigates, the death toll rises and he suspects a mysterious police cover-up. High-definition transfer, featuring newly remixed DTS-HD Master Audio surround sound. Written and produced by the great Larry Cohen, directed by William Lustig. From Synapse Films.
From TV to Video: (10/11)
"Aqua Unit Patrol Squad 1" (2011) is a two-disc set with 17 episodes of the rebranded Aqua teen Hunger Force, $29.98 from Warner ... "Bonanza: The Official Second Season, Volume Two" (1960) is a four-disc set with 16 episodes, $42.99 from CBS Home Entertainment/Paramount Home Entertainment ...
"Bones: The Complete Sixth Season" (2010-11) is a six-disc set with 23 episodes, $39.99 from Fox ... "Chuck: The Complete Fourth Season" (2010-11) is a five-disc set with 24 episodes, $59.98 from Warner ... "Doctor Who: The Complete David Tennant Years" is a 26-disc set with 39 hours of programming, including every episode, every special, two animated spin-offs, 27 hours of bonus features, $199.00 from BBC/Warner ... "Gunsmoke: The Fifth Season, Volume One" (1959) is a three-disc set with 20 episodes, $36.99 from CBS Home Entertainment/Paramount Home Entertainment "Snuff Box" (2006) is a six-disc set of the British cult-hit comedy series that follows professional hangmen Matt Berry and Rich Fulcher as they down whiskeys at the Hangmen's Club, experience awkward moments, charm women, navigate a long white hallway, and repeatedly attempt to acquire a pair of silver cowboy boots. Darkly hilarious, "Snuff Box" is a genre-bending hybrid of sitcom and sketch, known for its unforgettable musical numbers such as "Rapper With a Baby" and the legendary "The Empty Room." From Severin Films.
Buzzin' the 'B's: (10/11)
A married couple on the verge of separation are leveled by the news their 18-year-old son committed a mass shooting at his college, then took his own life in "Beautiful Boy" (2010), starring Michael Sheen and Maria Bello; from Anchor Bay ... A man kidnapped from his ordinary life is thrust into the savage world of a modern day gladiatorial arena where men fight to the death for the entertainment of the online masses in "Arena" (2011), starring Samuel L. Jackson, Kellan Lutz, Nina Dobrev, Daniel Dae Kim; from Sony ... "Call Me Mrs. Miracle" (2011) is an inspirational film about Mrs. Miracle, who makes dreams come true for hard-working people in a New York City department store, starring Doris Roberts, Jewel Staite, Eric Johnson, Lauren Holly, from Sony ... "Mr. Nice" (2010) is the true story of Howard Marks (aka Mr. Nice, a cult figure who inspired books and songs), a middle-class Welsh boy and Oxford scholar who became one of Britain's biggest marijuana smugglers and hobnobbed with Hollywood hotshots, Arab millionaires and IRA honchos until his arrest and eventual 25-year prison sentence. Stars Rhys Ifans, David Thewlis, Chloe Sevigny, Crispin Glover; from MPI Home Video ... A school principal and a shy-but-pretty teen girl take an overweight social misfit, Terri Thompson (Wysocki) -- the lone caretaker and guardian for his elderly Uncle James -- under their wings to help him find acceptance in school ... and life in "Terri" (2011), starring John C. Reilly, Creed Bratton, Jacob Wysocki, Olivia Crocicchia; from Fox ... When a newspaper offers Steve Coogan the chance to review a series of fine restaurants in the English countryside, he thinks it will make for a lovely getaway with his girlfriend Mischa, but when Mischa backs out, Rob Brydon -- Coogan's best friend and source of eternal aggravation -- fills in as a less-than-ideal travel companion in "The Trip" (2011). In semi-fictional performances using largely improvised dialogue from these two real-life friends, Coogan and Brydon can't help but try to outdo each other in conversations about their careers, literature, family, good food, fame, geology and ABBA as they endure long car rides between meal after meal. Directed by Michael Winterbottom; from IFC Films/MPI Media Group.
On the Indie Front: (10/11)
In "Adventures in Pornoland" (2008), a Canadian couple head to Hollywood to get work in the film industry but reluctantly get involved in the porn biz; from Walking Shadows/Virgil Films & Entertainment ... "Cafe" (2010), starring Jennifer dealing with life's challenges and trying to get things right; from Maya Entertainment ... Love Hewitt, Jamie Kennedy, Daniel Eric Gold, Alex Vega, chronicles a week in the life of a group of West Philadelphia residents -- who congregate in the local coffee house -- In "Lunopolis" (2009), starring Matthew Avant and Hal Maynor, two documentarians accidentally uncover proof of a hidden city on the moon inhabited by people from the future controlling life on Earth; from Walking Shadows/Virgil Films & Entertainment ... "Septien" (2011), starring Michael Tully, Onur Tukel, Robert Longstreet and Rachel Korine, is a comedy-drama about a reclusive sports hustler who returns home to his family farm after years of absence to reunite with his two eccentric, unhinged and emotionally damaged brothers. From IFC Films).
"Leap Year (Ano Bisiesto)"
(2010 -- Mexico) Stars Monica del Carmen, Gustavo Sanchez Parra. Laura, a young journalist living an isolated life in a cramped Mexico City flat, is not lucky in love. The banality of her daily life stands in stark contrast to her nightly pursuit of sex and love. These short- lived affairs barely take the edge off her isolation, but then she meets the brooding, would-be actor Arturo and their chemistry ignites feelings in Laura that leave her deeply troubled. The two embark on an increasingly dangerous sadomasochistic relationship in which pleasure, pain and love merge. From Strand Releasing.
"The Princess of Montpensier"
(2010 -- France) Dir.: Bertrand Tavernier; Stars Melanie Thierry, Lambert Wilson, Gregoire Leprince-Ringuet, Gaspard Ulliel. Love and intrigue set against the savage Catholic/Protestant wars that ripped France apart in the 16th century. Based on a novella by the celebrated Madame de Lafayette. From IFC Films.
(2010 -- Denmark) Stars Jakob Cedergren, Peter Plaugborg. Two siblings who grew up in a dysfunctional household -- and haunted by a dark secret -- pass their damage along to those around them, living separate and estranged lives from each other. One, a violent ex-con, tries to help out an old friend but falls quickly into his old habits. The other raises his son but is unable to escape the spectre of addiction. From Entertainment One.
For the Family: (10/11)
"Casper the Friendly Ghost Collection" is a three-disc set that includes all 81 cartoons (55 original theatrical cartoons and 26 new "Casper Cartoon Show" episodes) created between 1945-1963. $29.93 from Shout! Factory ... "The Chugger Championship" (2011) features six adventures with the three train trainees as they prepare for a test, invent a new contest and pick up a fun hobby -- all the while learning about the importance of accountability and responsibility, $16.98 from Anchor Bay.
The fourth quarter of this year is shaping up to be a great one for DVD and Blu-ray, and October kicks off with a bevy of remastered editions, including "The Lion King," "Pulp Fiction," "The Honeymooners" and much more. At the top of the heap is "The Lion King Diamond Edition Blu-ray"
(1994), a Blu-ray debut for the award-winning Disney movie. Simba, Mufasa, Nala, Timon and Pumbaa are back and better than ever; when "The Lion King" roared into theaters in 3D Sept. 16, it topped the weekend box office. This release showcases the Oscar- and Golden Globe-winning film in high-definition Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D (The Blu-ray debut marks the first time "The Lion King" has been available in any form since 2004). The Blu-ray features a host of picture and sound enhancements, interactive features and bonus content, including a new set of animated bloopers. Available as a four-disc Blu-ray Combo Pack (Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray 2D + DVD + Digital Copy for $49.99), two-disc Blu-ray Combo Pack (Blu-ray 2D + DVD for $39.99) and in an eight-disc Trilogy (for the suggested retail price of $100.00: "The Lion King" Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray 2D + DVD + Digital Copy, "The Lion King 1 1/2" Blu-ray 2D + DVD and "The Lion King II: Simba's Pride" Blu-ray 2D + DVD). A single-disc DVD Edition will be available on November 15.
The film that put Quentin Tarantino on the map as a director, 1994's "Pulp Fiction," is a compendium of interrelated lurid crime-thriller-drama-comedy stories starring John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Ving Rhames, Uma Thurman, Bruce Willis, Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Amanda Plummer, Eric Stoltz, Rosanna Arquette and Christopher Walken. Bonus features include the new "Not the Usual Mindless Boring Getting to Know You Chit Chat" cast interviews, new "Here Are Some Facts on the Fiction" critic's retrospective featurette, "Pulp Fiction: The Facts" documentary, deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes montages, production design featurette, "Siskel and Ebert 'At the Movies': The Tarantino Generation," Independent Spirit Awards interviews, Cannes Film Festival Palm d'Or acceptance speech, "Charlie Rose Show" interview with Quentin Tarantino, theatrical trailers and TV spots, enhanced trivia track, stills gallery, soundtrack chapters. From Miramax/Lionsgate.
Before he traveled to Middle Earth, Peter Jackson directed the goriest film of all time, "Dead Alive" (1992), a riotous mix of horror and comedy that stands right up there with "The Evil Dead" as a modern classic of the weird. Set in Jackson's home of New Zealand, the film follows the trials and tribulations of Lionel, a young man whose domineering mother is bitten by a rat monkey and turns into a flesh-eating zombie who naturally infects everyone she bites. Lionel tries to unsuccessfully hide mom from the world, but she starts growing bigger and bigger until she becomes the size of a house -- literally -- and a party thrown by his uncle turns into a bloodbath the likes of which you have never seen before on the big (or little) screen. As Lionel tries to fend off the horde of zombies created by mom, he turns to his weapon of choice: a lawn mower. Fabulously over the top.
"The Honeymooners Lost Episodes: The Complete Restored Series" is a 15-disc collectible set of rare sketches and full-length shows -- many not seen since their original broadcast. The original "The Honeymooners" ran as a series from 1953-1956; between 1952 and 1957, "The Honeymooners" was also a regular feature of "The Jackie Gleason Show" on CBS. These classic episodes were broadcast live and never seen again until Jackie Gleason opened his private film vault in 1985 and announced that he had kinescopes -- films made from a television monitor -- of these thought-to-be-lost live shows. Among the highlights and firsts of this more-than-50-hour collection: 30 episodes and sketches never before on DVD, including the eight highly sought-after 1957 "Honeymooners" musical hours, which have not been seen anywhere since their original broadcasts; two previously unknown "Honeymooners" radio shows; rare color home movie footage of a 1957 "Honeymooners" rehearsal; the first home video release of the nine known surviving "Honeymooners" sketches from the DuMont Cavalcade of Stars variety show, featuring the original Alice Kramden, Pert Kelton; and new bonus features including an interview with Joyce Randolph. Included among the 107 "Honeymooners" live broadcasts in the collection are 14 full-length shows and four sketches not seen since their original airings in the 1950s. The collection has been digitally restored by the UCLA Film & Television Archive and includes a deluxe 42-page booklet containing the full "Honeymooners" history and rare photos, compiled by "Honeymooners" expert Robert S. Bader. $129.98 from MPI Home Video.
And don't forget: "Beauty and the Beast: Diamond Edition 3D,""The Walking Dead: Season 1 -- Special Edition" on DVD and Blu-ray (to usher in the new season on Oct. 16); as well as the Blu-ray debuts of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,""The Cider House Rules,""Cinema Paradiso", "Jackie Brown,""Planet Earth Six-Disc Special Edition,""Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom" and "Pee-wee's Big Adventure."
"Friday the 13th: The Ultimate Collection" is an eight-disc set with "Friday the 13th-Uncut" "Friday the 13th, Part 2," "Friday the 13th, Part 3-3D," "Friday the 13th, The Final Chapter," "Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning," "Friday the 13th, Part VI: Jason Lives," "Friday the 13th, Part VII: The New Blood" and "Friday the 13th, Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan." Includes hours of bonus material, a replica of Jason's hockey mask, an eight-page collector's booklet. $39.99. (Paramount)
From TV to Video: (10/4)
"Aaahh!! Real Monsters: Season One' (2011), a two-disc set with 14 episodes, $19.93 from Shout! Factory ... "Beavis and Butt-Head: Mike Judge's Most Wanted" (2011), an essential collection of 20 cartoons plus a behind-the-scenes look at the original series and the uncut, animated short that started it all; $14.99 from Paramount ... "The Best of Antiques Roadshow" (2011), three episodes, $19.99 from PBS Distribution ... "The Bionic Woman: Season 3" (1977-78), a five-disc set with 22 episodes, $39.98 from Universal ... "Bored to Death: The Complete Second Season" (2010), a two-disc set with eight episodes, $39.98 from HBO ...
"Friday Night Lights: The Complete Series" is a 19-disc set, $129.99 from Universal ... "In Treatment: The Complete Third Season" (2010-11) is a four-disc set with 28 episodes, $59.99 from HBO ... "Melissa & Joey: Season One, Part Two" (2011) is a two-disc set with 18 episodes, $24.97 from Shout! Factory ... "Perry Mason: The Sixth Season, Volume One" (1962) is a four-disc set with 14 episodes, $54.99 from CBS Home Entertainment/Paramount Home Entertainment.
Buzzin' the 'B's: (10/4)
In "Silent Night, Zombie Night" (2009), starring Jack Forcinito, Andy Hopper and Nadine Stenovitch, a viral outbreak the week before Christmas turns the citizens of Los Angeles into the walking dead; from Pacific Entertainment Corporation ... A troubled divorcee is tormented by a series of sinister phone calls from a mysterious woman who claims she's calling from the past in "The Caller" (2011), starring Stephen Moyer, Rachelle Lefevre and Luis Guzman; from Fox ... "Grandview, U.S.A." (1984), starring Jamie Lee Curtis, C. Thomas Howell, Patrick Swayze, Troy Donahue, Jennifer Jason Leigh and William Windom, is a Middle America coming-of-age story about a love triangle between an idealistic young man (Howell), the owner of a demolition derby (Curtis) and the derby's hotshot driver (Swayze). First time on DVD, from Paramount ... "Submarine" (2008), starring Craig Roberts, Yasmin Paige, Sally Hawkins, Noah Taylor and Paddy Considine, is a coming-of-age story about 15-year-old Oliver, prone to daydreaming, listening to French crooners and concocting various self-absorbed fantasies, who suddenly finds himself submerged in dual, real-life challenges: plotting to lose his virginity with a quirky new girlfriend and struggling to salvage his parents' marriage and keep his mom from taking up with the self-help guru next door. From The Weinstein Co./Anchor Bay ... On her way to Paris to perform in a Can-Can revue in 1851, Elvira (Cassandra Peterson) and her maidservant must spend the night at a mysterious castle in the Carpathian Mountains of Romania in "Elvira's Haunted Hills"
(2001), from Entertainment One ... In the darkly romantic ghost story ">The Presence" (2010), a woman (Mira Sorvino) travels to an isolated cabin where she finds herself stalked by an apparition (Shane West) who has come to inhabit her space as his own. With the unexpected arrival of the woman's boyfriend (Justin Kirk), the dark spirit's haunting grows more obsessive; from Lionsgate.
On the Indie Front: (10/4)
"The High Cost of Living" (2010) stars Zach Braff and Isabelle Blais in the story of a young, pregnant woman whose world falls apart when she loses her child in a hit and run accident and the drug dealer who becomes her unlikely guardian angel; from New Video/Tribeca Film ... "Buck" (2011) is a documentary on Buck Brannaman (the man who inspired "The Horse Whisperer"), a true American cowboy and sage on horseback who travels the country for nine grueling months a year helping horses with people problems; from IFC Entertainment/MPI Media Group ... "Master Harold ... and the Boys"
(2010) is a coming-of age story about a young boy in apartheid-era South Africa who is torn between his intolerant father and his black caretakers; stars Freddie Highmore, Ving Rhames and Patrick Mofokeng. From Image Entertainment.
Special Interest: (10/4)
"Planet Earth Six-Disc Special Edition" features all six programs in DVD
($59.98) or Blu-ray sets ($79.98). A Limited Collector's Edition, packed in a collectible, numbered globe package with four art cards, will also be available: $79.98 DVD, $99.98 Blu-ray. Extras: Four new specials, producer commentaries, music only viewing options, 11 production video diaries, "Planet Earth: The Future." From BBC/Warner ... "African Cats" (2011) is a Disneynature documentary that takes viewers deep into the breathtaking African savanna to witness the heart-stopping rivalry between two lion prides and the epic journey of one brave cheetah family; from Disney ... "The Pee-wee Herman Show on Broadway" (2011) is an HBO special based on Paul Reubens' original Broadway stage show "The Pee-wee Herman Show" and the multiple Emmy-winning Saturday morning television show "Pee-wee's Playhouse"; from Image Entertainment ... "Bette Midler: The Showgirl Must Go On" (2011) is an Emmy-nominated 70-minute special that was taped before thousands in The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Joining Bette Midler on the gargantuan stage are the staggering Harlettes, 20 dazzling dancers she calls The Caesar Salad Girls and a 13-piece band. Included in the act -- part of the $10 million extravaganza that played over 300 performances in a nearly three-year run at Caesar's Palace -- are renditions of "The Rose," "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy," "From a Distance," "Hello in There" and "Wind Beneath My Wings." $19.98 from Image Entertainment ... "Jig" (2011) is a feature-length documentary about the 40th Irish Dancing World Championships, held in Glasgow, Scotland; from (Screen Media Films ... "American Experience: Houdini" (2011) is a documentary on Harry Houdini, the greatest illusionist of all timer; $24.99 from PBS Distribution ... "Anaheim Angels 2002 World Series Collector's Edition" and "Angels Memories: The Greatest Moments in Angeles Baseball History" (2011) commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The World Series collection is a seven-disc set that contains every hit, pitch and clutch home run in the Angels first ever World Series championship, $69.95. "Angels Memories" is a single disc that highlights the Angels growth from lowly expansion team to World Champion, $19.95. Both from A&E ... "Ken Burns: Prohibition"
(2011) is a six-disc set of the recent Ken Burns' six-hour, three-part PBS series on Prohibition; includes two hours of bonus content. $39.99 from PBS.