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More DVD News: March 2012

This Week's Releases (March 27)
From the Big Screen:

"Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close," "A Dangerous Method" and "Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked." For more releases this week, see the "Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases."

DVD Collectibles: (3/27)

The major release this week: Warner Home Video commemorates seven decades of one of the greatest films of all time, "Casablanca" (1942, directed by Michael Curtiz and starring Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, Conrad Veidt, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, S.Z. Sakall, Madeleine Lebeau, Dooley Wilson, Joy Page) with its spectacular "Casablanca 70th Anniversary Edition" a three-disc Blu-ray and DVD Combo Pack: New limited numbered Blu-ray + DVDs boast all new 4k feature scan in a gift set with 14 Hours of bonus content, including two new documentaries and collectible memorabilia that includes reproduction of the original 1942 French film poster, a 60-page production art book and collectible drink coaster set. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray Disc. photo Extras: Three comprehensive feature length documentaries: "The Brothers Warner," "You Must Remember This: The Warner Bros. Story" and "Jack L. Warner: The Last Mogul"; Commentary by Roger Ebert, commentary by Rudy Behlmer, introduction by Lauren Bacall, two new documentaries: "Michael Curtiz: The Greatest Director You Never Heard Of" and "Casablanca: An Unlikely Classic," "Now Voyager" theatrical trailer: "Warner Night at the Movies"; Newsreel: "Warner Night at the Movies"; "Vaudeville Days": "Warner Night at the Movies";" The Bird Came C.O.D.": "Warner Night at the Movies"; "The Squawkin' Hawk": "Warner Night at the Movies"; "The Dover Boys at Pimento University or The Rivals of Roquefort Hall"; "Great Performances: Bacall on Bogart"; "You Must Remember This: A Tribute to Casablanca"; "As Time" Goes By: The Children Remember"; deleted scenes; outtakes; "Who Holds Tomorrow?" "Carrotblanca vintage cartoon; scoring stage sessions; 4/26/43 "Lady Esther Screen Guild Theater" radio broadcast; 11/19/47 "Vox Pop" radio broadcast. $64.99.

Producer-director Roger Corman has been the king of 'B' and exploitation films for some six decades, ranging from the sci-fi romps "The Beast With a Million Eyes," "Attack of the Crab Monsters" and "Not of This Earth" in the mid-fifties photo to rock 'n' roll/youth exploitation ("Rock All Night" and "The Wild Angels") and horrorfests ("The Little Shop of Horrors," "A Bucket of Blood," "X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes") to classic drive-in fare like "Bloody Mama," "The Trip," "Women in Cages" and "Big Bad Mama" in the late-sixties/early seventies ... and he's still going strong -- iMDB lists 401 production titles and 56 directed by the man. "Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel" (2011)is a tantalizing and star-studded tribute to Corman, certainly Hollywood's most prolific writer-director-producer, and seminal influencing force in modern independent moviemaking. Directed by Alex Stapleton, "Corman's World's" interview roster boasts such modern Hollywood icons and cinematic luminaries as Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro, Jonathan Demme, Ron Howard, Eli Roth, David Carradine, Peter Fonda, William Shatner, Pam Grier, John Sayles, Brett Ratner, Bruce Dern, Paul W.S. Anderson, Peter Bogdanovich (many who got their start in the Corman factory) and many more actors and filmmakers. Available on DVD and Blu-ray Disc from Anchor Bay Films.

We're coming up on the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic on April 15, 1912, and it seems like everyone is getting onboard -- so to speak -- with documentaries and reissues of dramatic films that tackle the subject (not to mention James Cameron's re-release of his 1997 "Titanic" in 3D). One of the best depictions of the disaster is "A Night to Remember" (1958), which is getting The Criterion treatment this week on DVD and Blu-ray. On April 14, 1912, just before midnight, the unsinkable Titanic struck an iceberg. In less than three hours, it had plunged to the bottom of the sea, taking with it more than 1,500 of its 2,200 passengers. In his unforgettable photo rendering of Walter Lord's book of the same name," A Night to Remember," the acclaimed British director Roy Ward Baker depicts with sensitivity, awe, and a fine sense of tragedy the ship's final hours. Featuring remarkably restrained performances, "A Night to Remember" is cinema's subtlest, finest dramatization of this monumental 20th-century catastrophe. New high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition. Bonus features include commentary by Don Lynch and Ken Marschall, author and illustrator of "Titanic: An Illustrated History"; "The Making of A Night to Remember" (1993), a 60-minute documentary featuring William MacQuitty's rare behind-the-scenes footage; archival interview with Titanic survivor Eva Hart; "En natt att minas," a 45-minute Swedish documentary from 1962 featuring interviews with Titanic survivors; and a booklet featuring an essay by film critic Michael Sragow.

Also from Criterion this week comes "David Lean Directs Noel Coward": In the 1940s, the wit of playwright Noel Coward and the craft of filmmaker David Lean melded harmoniously in one of cinema's greatest writer-director collaborations. With the wartime military drama sensation "In Which We Serve" (1932), Coward and Lean (along with producing partners Ronald Neame and Anthony Havelock-Allan) embarked on a series of literate, socially engaged, and enormously entertaining pictures that ranged from domestic epic ("This Happy Breed," 1944) to whimsical comedy ("Blithe Spirit," 1945) to poignant romance ("Brief Encounter," 1945). These films created a lasting testament to Coward's artistic legacy and introduced Lean's visionary talents to the world. New high-definition digital transfers of the BFI National Archiveís 2008 restorations, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks on the Blu-ray edition.

Also worth checking out this week is "I, Claudius: 35th Anniversary Edition" from Acorn Media. This epic 1976 BBC series spans the history of the Roman Empire from Augustus through Claudius, a stuttering scholar who learns early to play the fool and stay alive. Based on the novels by Robert Graves, it stars Derek Jacobi in a career-defining role. Extras include extended original versions of episodes 1 and 2; "I, Claudius: A Television Epic" behind-the-scenes look at the series, a new Derek Jacobi interview, more ... And, lastly, new to Blu-ray this week are "Dragonheart" (1996), starring Dennis Quaid, David Thewlis, Pete Postlethwaite and Dina Meyer; "The Quest" (1996), starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, Roger Moore, James Remar and Janet Gunn; both from Universal; and the 20th Anniversary of "The Bodyguard" (1992), starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner, with Houston's "I Will Always Love You" music video and the making-of documentary "Memories of The Bodyguard," from Warner.

Buzzin' the 'B's: (3/27)

"In the Land of Blood and Honey" (2011), directed by Angelina Jolie and starring Zana Marjanovic and Goran Kostic, is set against the backdrop of the Bosnian War that tore the Balkan region apart in the 1990s; the film tells the story of Danijel and Ajla, two people from different sides of a brutal ethnic conflict, who could have found love with each other, but their relationship grows darker as the armed conflict takes hold of their lives. photo Includes the authentic language film with English subtitles on the Blu-ray and the English language version featured on the DVD disc. From Sony ... After a powerful billionaire is murdered, his secret adoptive son must race to prove his legitimacy, find his father's killers and stop them from taking over his financial empire in "The Heir Apparent: Largo Winch" (2008), starring Tomer Sisley, Kristin Scott Thomas, Miki Manojlovic and Melanie Thierry. From Music Box Films ... Speaking of Roger Corman, the maestro's latest is "Camel Spiders" (2012), starring Brian Krause, C. Thomas Howell, Melissa Brasselle and Diana Terranova. It's a horror film about killer camel spiders -- based on the actual arachnids that for years have tormented our photo armed forces in the Middle East -- who travel with a wounded U.S. soldier back to the states, where they breed in the Southwest and can freely hunt for prey, unafraid of any predator -- including man. A small band of hearty fighters are forced to make one last stand against the creatures. From Anchor Bay ... "Die" (2011) is a another "Saw" clone in which six people wake up in an unknown place and are subjected to a sadistic experiment in which the unwilling participants have to face disturbing truths about themselves and decide each other's fate. Stars John Pyper-Ferguson, Elias Koteas, Stephen McHattie, Emily Hampshire and Caterina Murino. From Entertainment One ... In "The Kate Logan Affair" (2010 -- Canada), starring Alexis Bledel, Laurent Lucas and Noemie Godin-Vigneau, a psychologically unstable young police woman and a married Frenchman find themselves caught up in a dramatically twisted affair when she mistakenly detains the man, thinking he's a rape suspect; she seduces him to prevent him from talking to her superiors. From Entertainment One.

On the Indie Front: (3/27)

When a kind-hearted angel leaves a pendant for 12-year-old "Trinity Goodheart" (2011), the precocious, street-wise youngster concludes that her long lost mother must be in danger and needs her help. Trinity's subsequent sojourn results in an effort to reunite her disjointed family; and in the process, Trinity teaches them the values of love, faith and forgiveness. Stars Erica Gluck, Eric Benet, Mark LaMura, Jennifer Van Horn, Karen Abercrombie and Willie Stratford.From One Village Entertainment/Image Entertainment ... "The Broken Tower" (2011) is writer-director-star James Franco's probing biodrama of the life of visionary American poet Hart Crane, who lived a life of beauty, passion, and tragedy. From Entertainment One.

Foreign: (3/27)

"Jitters" (2010 -- Iceland) is a gay coming-of-age drama about a budding relationship between two teenage boys: the uptight Gabriel and free-spirited Marcus. Stars Atli Oskar Fjalarsson and Haraldur Ari Stefansson. From TLA Releasing.

Special Interest: (3/27)

photo The Blu-ray edition of "BBC Natural History Collection With Planet Earth Special Edition" is the ultimate "Natural History" collection, featuring the truly remarkable "Planet Earth Special Edition," now with over seven hours of extras, plus three additional landmark series: "The Blue Planet," "The Life of Mammals" and "The Life of Birds," all narrated by world renowned naturalist David Attenborough. More than 33 hours of programming and over 12 hours of bonus material on 18 discs, $179.98 from BBC Home Entertainment ... "Betty White: Champion for Animals" (2012) is a documentary about people working to understand and protect the world's precious animal populations. The award-winning actress and comedienne shares anecdotes about her own pets, as well as unforgettable experiences with the organizations that make the world of animals available to all. Featured are heroic stories of the military canine corps and the Humane Society, and journeys off the beaten path to America's national parks, world-class zoos and aquariums. From Image Entertainment.

This Week's Releases (March 20)
From the Big Screen:

"Carnage," "Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life," "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," "Hop," "The Muppets," "The Sitter" and "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy." For more releases this week, see the "Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases."

DVD Collectibles: (3/20)

The top release of the week is really not any of the theatrical movies making their way to DVD, but (Finally!) the release of "Battle Royale: The Complete Collection" (2000, 2003), a title that has shocked, thrilled and unnerved audiences; a film whose fiendishly simple premise has inspired many imitations, including the upcoming "The Hunger Games" motion picture. Based on the 1999 global best-seller by Koushun Takami, the photo futuristic tale first came to the screen in 2000, directed by the legendary Kinju Fukasaku. Authors, filmmakers and film fans the world over consider the film and its 2003 sequel, "Battle Royale II: Requiem," sacred cinematic classics. In the near future, the economy has collapsed, unemployment has soared and juvenile crime has exploded. Fearful of their nation's youth, the Japanese government passes The BR Law: Each year, a 9th grade class is sent to a remote island where they will be locked into exploding neck collars, given a random weapon, and forced to hunt and kill each other until there is only one survivor left. Chiaki Kuriyama and screen legend Takeshi Kitano star in the movie that has been argued, acclaimed and banned around the world. More than a decade later, it remains one of the most savage, shocking and emotionally powerful films of all time. Four-disc set: "Battle Royale Director's Cut" with both Japanese and English language tracks and English subtitles; "Battle Royale Theatrical Cut" with both Japanese and English language tracks and English subtitles; "Battle Royale II" with Japanese language and English subtitles; "Battle Royale Bonus Content" with Japanese language and English subtitles. $44.98 DVD, $49.99 Blu-ray. A single-disc DVD and Blu-ray of "Battle Royale Director's Cut" will also be available for $24.98 and $29.99. From Anchor Bay.

There's two impressive releases from the folks at The Criterion Collection this week: "Letter Never Sent" (1959): The great Soviet director Mikhail Kalatozov, known for his virtuosic, emotionally gripping films, perhaps never directed one more visually astonishing than "Letter Never Sent." This absorbing tale of exploration and photo survival concerns four members of a geological expedition who are stranded in the bleak and unforgiving Siberian wilderness while on a mission to find diamonds. Luxuriating in wide-angle beauty and featuring one daring shot after another (the brilliant cinematography is by Kalatozov's frequent collaborator Sergei Urusevsky), "Letter Never Sent" is a fascinating piece of cinematic history and a universal adventure of the highest order. "The War Room" (1993): The 1992 presidential election was a triumph not only for Bill Clinton but also for the new breed of strategists who guided him to the White House and changed the face of politics in the process. For this thrilling, behind-closed-doors account of that campaign, renowned cinema verite filmmakers D. A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus closely followed the brainstorming and bull sessions of Clinton's crack team of consultants -- ≠especially the folksy James Carville and the preppy George Stephanopoulos, who became media stars in their own right as they injected a youthful spirit and spontaneity into the process of campaigning. Fleet-footed and entertaining, "The War Room" is a vivid document of a political moment whose truths ("It's the economy, stupid!") still ring in our ears.

From TV to Video: (3/20)

photo "Hey Arnold! Season Two, Part 1" (2011), is a two-disc set with 10 episodes, $19.93 from Shout! Factory ... "Jane By Design: Volume 1" (2011) is a two-disc set with 10 episodes, $29.99 from ABC Studios ... "People Are Funny" (1955) features highlights from the debut season of one of classic television's most popular game shows, "People Are Funny", in a special DVD collector's edition, three-disc set with 16 episodes, $24.98 from Film Chest ... "Scarecrow & Mrs. King: The Complete Third Season" (2011) is a five-disc set with 22 episodes, $39.98 from Warner ... "South Park: The Complete Fifteenth Season" (2011) is a three-disc set with 14 episodes, $49.99 from Paramount ... "That '70s Show -- Season 1" (1998-99) makes its Blu-ray debut in a four-disc set with all 24 episodes, $24.98; from Mill Creek Entertainment.

Buzzin' the 'B's: (3/20)

This definitely is horror week for 'B' films, with five, count 'em, five thrillers coming your way: When four suburbanite campers roll into the remote town of Enoch, they find southern hospitality still exists. But their weekend camping trip turns deadly when the locals serve up their own brand of "an eye for an eye" justice in "Resurrection County" (2008), starring Dayton Knoll, Adam Huss, Kathryn Michelle, Robert Miano, Rus Blackwell. From MTI Home Video ... In "Splintered" (2010), starring photo Stephen Martin Walters, Holly Weston, Sacha Dhawan, Sadie Pickering, Jonathan Readwin, Sol Heras and Colin Tierney, troubled teen Sophie drags her friends deep into a forest in search of a local legend -- a wild beast, half animal and half man, that uses its cunning ability and brutal strength to kill for pleasure. But when the beast leads Sophie and her friend, John, to an abandoned orphanage, the hunters become the hunted. From Well Go USA ... "Snow White: A Deadly Summer" (2012), starring Shanley Caswell, Maureen McCormick, Eric Roberts, offers a new twist on the fairy tale: Snow's parents send her off to a summer camp that has a murderous past. From Lionsgate ... A weekend to meet the parents becomes a weekend of trying to stay alive for perfect couple Steven and Erika when they're kidnapped and tortured by unknown assailants in "Behind Your Eyes" (2011), starring Frida Farrell, Tom Sandoval, Daniel Fanaberia, Arthur Roberts. From Osiris Entertainment ... A group of mountaineers in the Scottish Highlands discover a kidnapped girl, terrified, dehydrated and unable to speak a word of English, and are pursued by her captors in "A Lonely Place to Die" (2011), starring Melissa George, Ed Speleers, Eamonn Walker, Sean Harris, Alec Newman, Karel Roden. From IFC Films. The lone 'B' comedy this week: "The Legend of Awesomest Maximus" (2011), a National Lampoon spoof of sword and sandal films, from "Troy" to "300," starring Kristanna Loken, Rip Torn, Will Sasso, Ian Ziering, Sophie Monk. From Image Entertainment.

On the Indie Front: (3/20)

Let's rock: Set against the backdrop of hedonistic, swinging, early '60s London, "Telstar" (2008) is the stranger-than-fiction true story of Joe Meek, an enormously talented but quirky maverick who blazed a unique path as the world's first independent music producer. He enjoyed enormous success early on with the biggest selling photo record of its time, "Telstar," the first British album to hit #1 on American charts. But the flamboyant, tone-deaf songwriter was also a deeply troubled soul -- dabbling in the occult and addicted to amphetamines -- and his decline was as meteoric and spectacular as his rise. Bad luck, depression, heartbreak and paranoia soon lead to violence and self-destruction. Stars Con O'Neill, Kevin Spacey, Pam Ferris. From Inception Media Group ... In "Roadie" (2011), starring Ron Eldard, Bobby Cannavale, Jill Hennessy and Lois Smith, Jimmy Testagros, after 20 years on the road with Blue Oyster Cult, returns to his hometown in Queens to life with his ailing mother; complications arise when he falls for an old friend, who is now married to his longtime nemesis. From Magnolia Home Entertainment ... In "Jess + Moss" (2011), starring Sarah Hagan, Austin Vickers, second cousins in the dark-fire tobacco fields of rural Western Kentucky -- without immediate families that they can relate to and lacking friends their own age -- venture out on a summer journey exploring deep secrets, identity and hopes of the future in the wilds of their world. From Strand Releasing.

Foreign: (3/20)

Three offerings from First Run Features highlight this week's slate of foreign films: Bathed in the neorealist tradition of Roberto Rossellini and Vittorio De Sica, "Little Girl" ("La Pivellina") (2010 -- Italy) is a captivating tale of people at the margins of society who open their hearts to a stranger. In a run-down park on the outskirts of Rome, a 2-year-old girl is discovered and taken in by a family of hard-luck circus performers. A note in the child's pocket from a desperate mother reveals little about who she is or why she was left. As the bond grows between the girl and her surrogate family, this naturalistic drama becomes a revealing and soulful portrait of courage and photo discrimination, and of loss and togetherness ... "In the Garden of Sounds" (2010 -- Switzerland) is a documentary about Wolfgang Fasser who, deprived of his sight at an early age, turned to his ears for access to a world he once feared would be closed off forever. Awed by the restorative powers of sound, Fasser established a physical therapy retreat for disabled children where they use music and noise to communicate with others and gain control of their bodies ... "Secret Pleasures: Four Asian Films About Love, Longing and Fishhooks" (2011) is a new box set that features four edgy films from China and South Korea: "The Isle," an erotic arthouse thriller that tells the tale of a beautiful woman who lives on an eerie, remote lake, selling food to fisherman by day, and her body by night; "Electric Shadows," a charming tale of a delivery man and a young girl's passion for the movies -- which re-ignites his own longing for the days when the cinema enchanted China's masses; "The Personals," in which an attractive, successful doctor places a personal ad in a newspaper to try to meet (and eventually marry) Mr. Right. A succession of blind dates ensues, with men who are lonely, desperate, dangerous, perverted or all of the above; and "Ghosted," a mysterious love story set in Taiwan and Germany in which an artist tries to come to terms with the unsolved murder of her Taiwanese lover. Also due this week is "Sidewalls" (2011 -- Argentina), a romantic comedy that examines how the architecture of a city conditions the lives of two of its residents: Martin and Mariana live in the same apartment complex in bustling Buenos Aires, and they hurry about their lives unaware of each other. Both are young and beautiful -- and emotionally damaged, but when they encounter each other by chance, the end of loneliness may be at hand. Stars Javier Drolas, Pilar Lopez de Ayala. From IFC Films.

Special Interest: (3/20)

In "Mister Rogers & Me" (2010), an MTV producer's life is transformed when he meets the recently retired host of "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood," Fred Rogers. Friendship with the PBS icon sets the young producer on a quest to find depth and simplicity amidst a shallow and complex world through conversations with Susan Stamberg (NPR), Tim Russert ("Meet The Press"), Marc Brown ("Arthur") and more. From PBS Distribution.

This Week's Releases (March 13)
From the Big Screen:

There's plenty of heavyhitters this week, with the debuts of "The Adventures of Tintin," "The Descendants" and "My Week With Marilyn," as well as "Young Adult," "Happy Feet Two," "The Three Musketeers" and "Melancholia." For more releases this week, see the "Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases."

DVD Collectibles: (3/13)

There's several noteworthy collectible films coming to DVD this week, two of them directed by Luchino Visconti: "La Terra Trema" (1948 -- Italy) is a haunting film that uses the early neorealism format developed by Roberto Rossellini and Vittorio De Sica to photo trace the doom and disintegration of one Sicilian fishing family. It's the wrenching study of one Sicilian family's struggle to find happiness when they plot to overthrow the greedy wholesalers depriving them of a decent living; against the odds, they still enjoy love, laughter and friendship within their close-knit community. Uses a cast and a coastal village of non-professionals. "Bellisima" (1951 -- Italy), starring Anna Magnani and Walter Chiari. A screenstruck mother, convinced that her daughter's star potential is her ticket to a better life, invests everything into the dream that she will be discovered at an open casting in this powerful, lyrical neorealist classic. Both are newly restored and re-mastered from Entertainment One.

The Criterion Collection is releasing the Blu-ray debut of Martin Scorsese's "The Last Temptation of Christ" (1988). It's a profoundly personal work of faith by Scorsese -- an adaptation of Nikos Kazantzakis's landmark novel that imagines an alternate fate for Jesus Christ -- but has always left us cold. Yes, we know that the filmmakers bucked serious odds getting this made -- in fact, the most exciting part of the film, for us at least, were the boycotts mounted by right-wing religious fanatics and a subsequent book covering the protests, "Hollywood Under Siege: Martin Scorsese, the Religious Right, and the photo Culture Wars," by Thomas R. Lindlof. There's outstanding performances by Willem Dafoe, Barbara Hershey, Harvey Keitel, Harry Dean Stanton and David Bowie; bold cinematography by the great Michael Ballhaus, but for the most part we just get bored. In a restored high- definition digital transfer, supervised and approved by cinematographer Michael Ballhaus and editor Thelma Schoonmaker, with a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack by supervising sound editor Skip Lievsay.

The folks at Turner Classic have put together three new film collections for this week: "TCM Greatest Classic Films Legends: Doris Day," with "Calamity Jane," "Please Don't Eat the Daisies," "Love Me or Leave Me" and "Romance on the High Seas"; "TCM Greatest Classic Films Legends: Katharine Hepburn" with "The Philadelphia Story," "Little Women," "Stage Door" and "Morning Glory"; and "TCM Greatest Classic Films Gangsters: Edward G. Robinson" with "Bullets or Ballots," "Kid Galahad," "Larceny, Inc." and "The Little Giant"; $27.92 each from Warner Home Video.

From TV to Video: (3/13)

In "Black Butterfly" (2010), starring Mahogany Monae, Richard Gallion, Sheree Bynum and Tiffany J. Curtis, a strong-willed high school student with dreams of making the U.S. swim team has her life shattered when she's brutally raped; from Entertainment One ... "Breakout Kings Season 1" (2011) is a four-disc set with 13 episodes, $39.98 from Fox ... "Call Me Fitz: The Complete Second Season" (2011) is a two-disc set with 13 episodes, $19.98 from photo Entertainment One ... There's four Doctor Who releases this week: "Doctor Who: The Tomb of the Cybermen Special Edition," "Doctor Who: The Three Doctors Special Edition," "Doctor Who: The Face Of Evil" and "Doctor Who: The Robots of Death Special Edition"; all from BBC Home Entertainment ..."Ghost Hunters International Season 2: Part 1" (2011) is a three-disc set with 13 episodes, $24.98 from Image Entertainment ... "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys -- Season Three " (1996-97) is a five-disc set with 22 episodes, from Universal ... "The Killing: The Complete First Season" (2011) is a four-disc set with 13 episodes, $49.98 from Fox ... "Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales: The Complete Collection" (1963-65) is a six-disc set with all 70 episodes, $49.97 from Shout! Factory ... "The Tribe: Series 1, Part 1" (1999-2000) is a four-disc set with 26 episodes, $29.93 Shout! Factory ... "Wallace & Gromit's World of Invention" (2010) contains the complete six-part BBC1 TV series featuring Wallace as host introducing viewers to a number of amazing, real-world contraptions; $14.99 from Lionsgate ... "Xena: Warrior Princess -- Season Three" (1997-98) is a five-disc set with 22 episodes, from Universal.

Buzzin' the 'B's: (3/13)

"@SuicideRoom" (2011 -- Poland) was an official selection at the 2011 Berlin International Film Festival and a box office hit in Poland; the film depicts a spoiled Warsaw teen (Jakub Giersza) who seeks solace in the sinister virtual world of the photo "Suicide Room" after being humiliated at school. Animated sequences draw the viewer into the virtual world portrayed in the psychological drama of a teenager trying to escape the torment of bullying. From Wolfe Video ... "Neverland" (2011), a modern take on the Peter Pan story, transports a young pickpocket and his gang to a land where time stands still and where they meet the gorgeous but deadly pirate Elizabeth Bonny, who has ruled the seas of Neverland for nearly two centuries, Smee, and a courageous Tree Spirit named Tinker Bell (voiced by Keira Knightley). Stars Rhys Ifans, Anna Friel, Charles Dance, Q'orianka Kilcher, Charlie Rowe, Bob Hoskins. From RHI Entertainment/Vivendi Entertainment ... In "Loosies" (2012), starring Peter Facinelli, Michael Madsen, Christy Romano, Jaimie Alexander, Joe Pantoliano, William Forsythe and Vincent Gallo, a young pickpocket in the New York subways, living a fast, free, lifestyle, is confronted by a woman with whom he had a one night affair and who is now carrying his child. Suddenly faced with the responsibilities of parenthood, Bobby must reevaluate his life of crime and decide if he can ever settle down. From IFC Films.

Foreign: (3/13)

"The Women on the 6th Floor" (2010 -- France), starring Fabrice Luchini, Sandrine Kiberlain, Natalia Verbeke and Carmen Maura, is an upstairs/downstairs comedy set photo in Paris in 1960. A bourgeois couple's world is turned upside-down when they hire Maria, a Spanish maid. Through Maria, husband Jean-Louis is introduced to an alternative reality just a few floors up on the building's sixth floor, the servants' quarters, where he befriends a group of sassy Spanish maids, refugees of the Franco regime, who teach him there's more to life than stocks and bonds, and whose influence on the house will ultimately transform everyone's life. From Strand Releasing ...In "House of Pleasures" (2011 -- France), director Bertrand Bonello offers a highly cinematic and atmospheric look at the final days of a turn of the century brothel when much of the Parisian sex trade was confined to grand maisons, populated by elegant madams and vetted clientele. Using a bag of cinematic techniques that include split screen, time shifts and a modern soundtrack, Bonello has made a provocative and beautiful film on not only the world's oldest profession but also a commentary on history as remembered by art and literature. From IFC Films/MPI Media.

Special Interest: (3/13)

As we approach the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, get ready for a host of documentaries and re-release of films about the tragedy (including a 3D version of James Cameron's 1997 "Titanic" on the big screen on April 4). This week brings "Titanic: photo The Complete Story," three feature-length programs about the April 15, 1912 sinking: "Death of a Dream," "The Legend Lives" and "Titanic's Achilles Heel"; $19.95 from A&E ... "The History of the World in Two Hours" (2011) is a 14-billion year tale, from the beginning of time to the present day, in 120 minutes; $19.95 from A&E ... Indie documentary distributor Docurama has three interesting releases this week: "Bag It" (2011): Americans use 60,000 plastic bags every five minutes that are then throw away. But where is "away"? Where do the bags and other plastics end up, and at what cost to our environment, marine life, and human health? This documentary follows everyman Jeb Berrier as he navigates our plastic world. Jeb is not a radical environmentalist, but an average American who decides to take a closer look at our cultural love affair with plastics. "Fresh" (2009) is a documentary that celebrates the farmers, thinkers and business people across America who are re-inventing our food system by coming up with healthier and sustainable alternatives. And "The Swell Season" (2011) is a documentary on Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, whose songwriting collaboration in the film "Once" (2006) culminated in a jubilant Oscar win. $29.95 each.

Home Video: A Glimpse Into the Past

photo (March 9) Home video has -- in a similar manner to cinema in general -- had an incredibly rich and varied past. The quality of the picture, the actors, the themes, the sounds: it all changes over time. Even the formats with which we view any home media have changed, with different home video vessels coming and going over the years. We might well be on DVD and Blu-ray these days, but we haven't always had it so easy and in such high definition. And the future promises more changes, of course: digital downloading, streaming and cloud storage of your own private collection of movies. Here's a brief look at the history of home video -- for those who want to learn from the past. Read more here.

'The Artist' Due April 24 In June

photo (March 4) The Weinstein Co. and Sony have pushed back the release date for the Academy Award-winning Best Picture "The Artist," moving it from April 24 to an unspecified date in June. The film is a heartfelt valentine to classic American cinema. Set during the twilight of Hollywood's silent era and shot on location in Los Angeles, the film tells the story of a charismatic movie star unhappily confronting the new world of talking pictures. Mixing comedy, romance and melodrama, the film is an example of the form it celebrates: a black-and-white silent film that relies on actors, images and music to weave its spell. Read more here.

This Week's Releases (March 6)
From the Big Screen:

"The Skin I Live In," "Footloose," "Immortals," "Like Crazy" and "Jack & Jill." For more releases this week, see the "Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases."

Two high profile debuts highlight the Blu-ray releases this week. First is the wacky (to say the least; words desert us when it comes time to describe this incredibly nasty comedy) "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" (1974), starring Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones and Michael Palin. Sony has pretty much ported over the special features from the last DVD release, which includes "The Holy Book of Days photo Second Screen Experience"; lost animations with introduction by Terry Gilliam; outtakes & extended scenes; commentaries by Terry Gilliam & Terry Jones and even more revealing commentaries by John Cleese, Eric Idle & Michael Palin; "Quest for the Holy Grail Locations" with Michael Palin & Terry Jones; "Lego Knights: The Knights of the Round Table in Lego"; special Japanese version; "How to Use Your Coconuts" (an educational film); "BBC Film Night" on location; three songs to sing-along; cast directory photo gallery. ... Paramount has for us the sophisticated cat burglar comedy-thriller "To Catch a Thief" (1955), directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Cary Grant, Grace Kelly. Bonus features include "A Night With the Hitchcocks," in which Alfred Hitchcock's daughter and granddaughter discuss the prolific director; "Unacceptable Under the Code: Film Censorship in America" look's at censorship during the time and its impact on the film; an exploration of the writing and casting; a "making-of" featurette; "Behind the Gates: Cary Grant and Grace Kelly" profiles; an interactive travelogue; "Alfred Hitchcock and To Catch A Thief: An Appreciation"; commentary by Hitchcock film historian Dr. Drew Casper; photo galleries; the original theatrical trailer, "Edith Head: The Paramount Years." Nice stuff.

Three other films are being re-released to Blu-ray this week in spiffed up versions: Michael Cimino's great "The Deer Hunter" (1978), starring Robert De Niro, John Cazale, John Savage, Christopher Walken, Meryl Streep, George Dzundza, here re-packed as a "Universal's 100th photo Anniversary" edition ... an "Out of Africa Collector's Series" edition (1985), directed by Sydney Pollack and starring Robert Redford and Meryl Streep, packed with a 44-page book with an introduction by Leonard Maltin, rare movie memorabilia, photos and more ... and "Reindeer Games: The Director's Cut" (2000), John Frankenheimer's last feature film, starring Ben Affleck, Isaac Hayes, Charlize Theron and Gary Sinese; bonus features include a behind-the-scenes featurette, audio commentary with Frankenheimer, scenes cut from the original theatrical film; from Lionsgate.

TV viewers have been clamoring for the first release from the highly popular "Game of Thrones" series, and here it is: "Game of Thrones: The Complete First Season" (2011), a five-disc set retailing for $59.99. Extras for all you George R.R. Martin fans include seven audio commentaries with cast and crew; "Complete Guide to Westeros" an interactive compendium of the noble houses and lands featured in Season One; "Making Game of Thrones"; "Character Profiles"; "Creating the Show Open"; "From the Book to the Screen": "The Night's Watch" featurette; "Creating the Dothraki Language." Also available on Blu-ray Disc, which adds "In-Episode Guides," an in-feature resource that provides background information about on-screen characters, locations, and relevant histories while each episode plays; "Anatomy of an Episode"; hidden dragon eggs. $79.98 from HBO.

And, lastly -- though I'm not quite sure about the reasoning behind this one -- Warner Home Video is re-releasing Ben Affleck's "The Town" in an Ultimate Collector's photo Edition. I guess the 2010 thriller about a Boston bank robbery and its aftermath is a lot more popular than one would suspect. The film -- which gets an alternate ending -- is packed as a three-disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack (with UltraViolet digital Copy) in a collectible set that includes the theatrical version of the film and extended cut with alternate ending. $49.99. Extras include "The Town: A Director's Journey" new 30-minute documentary; director commentary on the theatrical version and extended cut; "Pulling Off the Perfect Heist," "The Town," "Nuns With Guns: Filming in the North End," "The Real People of The Town," "Ben Affleck: Actor and Director," "The Cathedral of Boston." Collectible memorabilia includes a letter from Ben Affleck; 48-page photo book with behind the scenes photos, filmmaking and script notes; poster-size map of Charlestown with details on crime scenes from the film; film prop reproductions: rub-on tattoo sheet with the tattoo from Jem's neck; Desmond Elden's Vericom Employee File that the FBI obtained after the first robbery; four mug shot cards (from the FBI office); 15-page FBI report (as held by FBI Special Agent Adam Frawley in the film).

From TV to Video: (3/6)

"Happily Divorced Season One" (2011) is a two-disc set with 10 episodes, $21.99 from Paramount Home Entertainment ... "MI-5: Volume 10" (2011) is a two-disc set with six episodes, $29.98 from BBC Home Entertainment.

Buzzin' the 'B's: (3/6)

In "Recoil" (2011), starring Steve Austin, Danny Trejo and Serina Swan, a cop turns vigilante after his family is murdered, exacting vengeance on the killers -- and then on all criminals who have slipped through the system; from Nasser Entertainment/Vivendi Entertainment ... An heiress who's been shut inside her apartment building for nearly two photo decades is forced to confront her fears after one of her neighbors is killed and a detective arrives to begin the investigation in "Columbus Circle" (2010), starring Selma Blair, Amy Smart, Jason Lee, Giovanni Ribisi, Kevin Pollak and Beau Bridges; from Universal ... "Screwball: The Ted Whitfield Story" (2010) is a mockumentary that takes place during the Major League Baseball strike in 1994, when the nation turned its eyes from baseball -- the Great American pastime -- to professional wiffleball; stars Ross Patterson, Joey Kern, Christine Lakin and Richard Riehle; from Anchor Bay ... When the Prime Minister of Serbia is assassinated and a military coup arises, an elite special ops team is called in to repair the damage in "Mercenaries" (2011), starring Billy Zane, Geoff Bell and Stewart Scudamore; from Lionsgate ... "Blade of Kings" (2004 -- Hong Kong) is a comedy-fantasy-martial arts actioner, directed by Corey Yuen, starring Edison Chen, Donnie Yen, Jackie Chan and Bing Bing Fan: In the mythical land of Huadu, Charcoal Head, a humble boy born to rule an empire, must undertake his journey to claim his throne; from Well Go USA ... "Wyatt Earp's Revenge" (2012) is based on the true story of the legendary lawman; Earp here recounts how he brought together the "Best of the West" to avenge the vicious murder of his beloved Dora; stars Shawn Roberts, Trace Adkins, Matt Dallas and Val Kilmer; from Sony ... "Decision" (2011), starring Natalie Grant, Billy Dean, Michael Rosenbaum and Rusty Whitener, is an inspirational drama about a mother who struggles to make ends meet after the tragic death of her fire fighter husband; from Image Entertainment ... And, finally, here's a release to give you a pain in the, err, mouth: "Tooth Fairy 2" (2012), starring Larry the Cable Guy, David Mackey, Erin Beute, Brady Reiter, Lucius Baston and Noah Kronenberger. This direct-to-video sequel is worse than a root canal; from Fox.

On the Indie Front: (3/6)

In "High Road" (2011), starring Lizzy Caplan, James F. Pumphrey, Abby Elliot, Dylan O'Brien, Ed Helms, Rob Riggle, Horatio Sanz and Zach Woods., a totally improvised script has ex-rocker Glenn "Fitz" Fitzgerald dealing pot out of his garage and bonding with 16-year-old neighborhood kid Jimmy. As his former band mates begin finding success and one of his drug deals goes awry, Fitz hits the road with Jimmy and, amid car chases, guns, broken bones, sassy cabbies and a suspicious doctor, he has to navigate the way to safe harbor. From Millennium Entertainment.

For the Family: (3/6)

"Tom & Jerry in the Doghouse" (2011) is a collection of 22 "Tom and Jerry Tales" cartoons from the new TV series, $19.97 from Warner ... Shout! Factory is releasing "Transformers Prime: The Complete First Season" (2010) in a four-disc set with 26 episodes, $29.93; it's also available in a Limited Edition Blu-ray Disc set, which is packed with a Transformers Prime graphic novel and bonus content, $64.99 ... Disney this week is re-releasing two direct-to-video sequels (in Blu-ray Combo packs) based on the modern animated classic "The Lion King": "The Lion King 1.5" (2004) and "The Lion King 2.0" (1998).

Special Interest: (3/6)

photo Journalist Eric Sevareid relives the war-torn years on the American home front during World War II in the 10 episode series "America Goes to War": "While the Storm Clouds Gather," "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition," "Thanks for the Memories," "Accentuating the Positive," "Sacrifices and Shortages," "A String of Pearls," "On the Shady Side of the Street," "Right in the Fuerher's Face," "Mood Indigo: Blacks & Whites," and "Itís Been a Long, Long Time." Two-disc set, $29.99 from PBS Distribution ... "Ocean Giants" (2011) is a documentary that highlights the many spectacular animals that call the great sea their home; among these are the mysterious yet beautiful dolphins and whales, which have enticed and mesmerized children and adults alike. $24.99 from BBC Home Entertainment.

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April 1, 2012
OnVideo News (ISSN 1094-3676).