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More News: January -- June 2007
This Just In:
Disney has just announced an August 14 release date for the smash "road" comedy "Wild Hogs," starring Tim Allen, John Travolta, Martin Lawrence, William H. Macy, Ray Liotta, Marisa Tomei, Kevin Durand and Jill Hennessy. No word yet on bonus features ... On August 21 Sony will release arguably the best film of 2006, "The Lives of Others," winner of this year's Foreign-Language Oscar. At once a political thriller and human drama, the film, which takes place in East Berlin in 1984 at the peak of the crushing power of the East German government, follows the investigation of a celebrated writer and his actress girlfriend by a disillusioned Stasi (secret police) officer; the film is nothing less than a study of the transformative effect of the involvement in other people's lives. (Posted June 27)
One of the most influential, radical science fiction films ever made (the
inspiration for "12 Monkeys") and a mind-bending freeform travelogue throughout
the contemporary world, "La jette (The Jetty)" (1962) and "Sans soleil (Sunless)" (1983), respectively, couldn't seem more different -- yet they're the twin pillars of one of the most daring and uncompromising careers in cinema's history. Chris Marker has been challenging moviegoers, philosophers, and himself for years with his complex queries about time, memory, and the rapid advancement of life on Earth, and these two films -- a tale of time travel told in still images and a journey to Africa and Japan -- remain his best-loved and most widely seen. Both films are on one disk and feature new, restored high-definition digital transfers, approved by Marker. Extras include a new video interview with filmmaker Jean-Pierre Gorin; "Chris on Chris," a video piece on Marker by filmmaker and critic Chris Darke; an excerpt from the French TV series "Court Circuit: The Magazine," presenting a clip from David Bowie's music video, "Jump They Say," inspired by "La jetee"; a booklet featuring a new essay by Marker scholar Catherine Lupton, an interview with Marker, and notes on the films and filmmaking by Marker. From The Criterion Collection. (Posted June 26)
Also due this week are four volumes of cult classics, all three-disc sets packed in neat boxes, from Warner Home Video: "Cult Camp Classics Volume 1: Sci-Fi Thrillers" with "Attack of the 50 Foot Woman" (1958), "Queen of Outer Space" (1958) and "The Giant Behemoth" (1958); "Cult Camp Classics Volume 2: Women in Peril" with "The Big Cube" (1968), "Caged" (1950) and "Trog" (1969); "Cult Camp Classics Volume 3: Terrorized
Travelers" with "Hot Rods to Hell" (1966), "Skyjacked" (1972) and "Zero
Hour!" (1957); and "Cult Camp Classics Volume 4: Historical
Epics" with "The Colossus of Rhodes" (1961), "Land of the Pharaohs"
(1955) and "The Prodigal" (1955). Each boxed set sells for $29.98. (Posted June 26)
From TV to Video:
Due this week: "Gomer Pyle, USMC: Season Two"
(1965-66), a five-disc set with 30 episodes, $42.99 from Paramount ... "Poirot: The Classic Collection 2," a 10-disc set with nine movie-length specials starring David Suchet ("The ABC Murders," "Death in the Clouds," "Dumb Witness," "Hercule Poirot's Christmas," "Hickory Dickory Dock," "Murder on the Links," "The Mysterious Affair at Styles," "One, Two, Buckle My Shoe," "Peril at End House") pus a bonus program, "Agatha Christie's Garden," an intimate look at the author's life; $99.99 from Acorn Media ... "Porterhouse Blue" (1987), a two-disc set of four episodes of the British satire of academia, starring Ian Richardson and David Jason, $39.99 from Acorn Media ... "Reno 911!: The Complete 4th Season -- Uncensored" (2006), a two-disc set with 13 episodes, $26.99 from Paramount. (Posted June 26)
Buzzin' the 'B's:
MPI Home Video has a "Drive-In Double Feature" this week, featuring "Search and Destroy" (1979), starring Perry King, Don Stroud, George Kennedy and Tisa Farrow, about ex-GIs fighting for their lives as members of their elite combat unit are picked off one-by-one by the embittered soldier they left behind enemy lines; and "The Glove" (1979), starring John Saxon and Rosey Grier, about a down-on-his-luck bounty hunter who buys a one way ticket to Hell when he tries to capture a vengeful ex-con ... "Behind The Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon" (2006) stars Nathan Baesel, Angela Goethals, Robert Englund, Scott Wilson and Zelda Rubinstein in a grisly tale set in a world where Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees exist: A young, up-and-coming homicidal maniac, who aspires to follow in the footsteps of his legendary predecessors, grants a documentary filmmaker exclusive access to his life as he plans and executes an epic reign of terror, from Anchor Bay ... In "The Last Letter" (2004), jurors must decide the fate of a serial killer tried for 14 brutal slayings, starring William Forsythe, Yancy Butler and Grace Zabriskie, from MTI Home Video ..."Isolation"
(2005) stars Essie Davis, Sean Harris and Marcel Iures in a thriller in which a biotech experiment gone wrong threatens five people isolated on a remote farm, from First Look Home Entertainment ... "The Masutatsu Oyama Trilogy" is a three-disc set featuring the Sonny Chiba martial arts actioners "Karate Bull Fighter," "Karate Bear Fighter" and "Karate For Life"; $24.98 from BCI Eclipse/Ronin Entertainment ... "Uncle P"
(2007) stars Master P, Romeo, Cheech Marin and Ella Joyce in a comedy about a world famous rapper who moves to California to take care of his sister's three kids, from New Line ... In "Who Can Kill a Child?"
(1976 -- Spain), a couple of English tourists arrive on an island where all the children have gone crazy and are murdering the adults, from MPI Home Video ... "The Stone Merchant" (2006) stars Harvey Keitel, F. Murray Abraham, Jane March and Jordi Molla in a downer of a story about an Italian stone merchant, recently converted to Islam, who plots a catastrophic terrorist action against the West, from Monarch Home Video ... "Young Cesar" (2007) is an urban drama that explores themes of family, fatherhood, promise, redemption and the consequences of limited choices in the rough streets of the inner city, starring Clifton Powell, Sean Blakemore, Sam Sarpong, Dominic Daniel, Richard Gant and Art Evans, from CodeBlack Entertainment. (Posted June 26)
On the Indie Front:
In "Standing Still" (2006), a group of college friends reunite four years after graduation for a wedding, starring James Van Der Beek, Amy Adams, Mena Suvari, Xander Berkeley, Ethan Embry, Adam Garcia, Jon Abrahams, Lauren German and Melissa Sagemiller, from Genius Products ... "Four Last Songs" (2007) stars Stanley Tucci, Rhys Ifans, Hugh Bonneville and Jena Malone in a comic drama set on a Mediterranean island, where a motley collection of characters seek musical redemption, from Union Station Home Entertainment ... "The Last Confederate: The Story of Robert Adam" (2005) is the true story of a Civil War soldier's dedication to the South and his love for Eveline McCord, his beloved from the North, starring Julian Adams, Gwendolyn Edwards and Eric Holloway, from ThinkFilm. (Posted June 26)
For the Family:
"Arnie the Doughnut ... and Other Fantastic Adventure Stories" is the latest collection of animated tales from Scholastic Video Collection; it features the title story and three other adventures. Narrators include Michael McKean and Sean Hayes; $14.95 ... "The New Adventures of Batman" (1977) is a two-disc set with 16 animated episodes, $26.99, from Warner ... "The New Adventures of Superman" (1966) is a two-disc set with 36 animated episodes, $26.99 from Warner ... "My Little Pony: Pony Puppy and Other Stories" features four original, uncut episodes from the 1980s animated series; $9.95 from Rhino Home Video ...
"High School Musical: The Concert Extreme Pass"
(2007) highlights performances from the recent "High School Musical" 42-city North American Concert tour, $19.99 from Disney ... "Hannah Montana: Pop Star Profile" features four episodes from the popular Disney Channel series; $19.99 from Disney ... "Bozo, the World's Most Famous Clown: Collection #1" is a four-disc set with 30 episodes of the TV series featuring Bozo. "The Bozo the Clown" show ran for 47 years on TV, making it one of the longest running shows ever. Extras include an interview with Larry Bozo the Clown Harmon. Episodes are digitally re-mastered and transferred from Larry Harmon's original film masters; $39.98 from Infinity Entertainment/Falcon Pictures. (Posted June 26)
Due this week: "Screamers" is a 2007 documentary about the Armenian genocide, with music by System of a Down, from First Look Home Entertainment ... "Epidemic: Ebola, Aids, Bird Flu and Typhoid"
is a four-disc set that examines some of the world's most significant epidemics and the impact these deadly diseases have on our very existence, $49.95 from WGBH Boston Video ... "Last Days on Earth" is a 2006 ABC News' 20/20 Special Report on the real possibilities of how the Earth might end, $19.98 from MPI Home Video ... On a lighter note there's "Louis C.K.: Shameless," a no-holds barred stand-up special with the comic, $19.97 from HBO Video; and "Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection -- Volume 11" is a four-disc set with four feature-length films with jokes and judgments delivered by Joel, Mike, Tom Servo and Crow. The four films: "Ring of Terror," "Indestructible Man," "Tormented" And "Horrors of Spider Island"; $59.95 from Rhino Home Video ... In the performing arts there's "Dancing in the Light" (2007), a made-for-PBS special originally recorded for the American Dance Festival's 2001 Emmy Award-winning documentary series "Free to Dance" showcasing six historic dance compositions by black choreographers, from 1932 to 1989; hosted by Taye Diggs; $19.99 from Kultur ... "Pop Legends Live!" (2005) is a three-disc set with with live performances by The Association, Gary Puckett, and Gary Lewis and the Playboys; $29.99 from SRO Entertainment ... "Wired for Sound" features vintage performances by some of the greatest players in modern music history, incluing Les Paul, Tom Petty, B.B. King, Peter Frampton, Dave Matthews, Ron Wood, Hank Williams Jr., Billy Corgan and others; $24.98 from MPI Home Video ... "This Is Tom Jones" is a three-disc set with nine episodes of the variety show that ran on ABC from 1969-71; $39.99 from Time Life ... And, lastly, from First Look Home Entertainment comes "Ultimate Fighting Championship 66," featuring UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Chuck Liddell putting his belt on the line against Tito Ortiz at a sold-out bout at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas on December 30, 2006; the undercard includes eight other bouts; $19.98. (Posted June 26)
Disney has just announced an October 23 release for its smash animated hit
"Meet the Robinsons," with the voices of Angela Bassett, Tom Selleck, Harland Williams, Adam West, Tom Kenny and Ethan Sandler. The time-traveling tale comes packed with extras, including deleted scenes, a "Keep Moving Forward: Inventions That Shaped the World" featurette, music videos and more; the film will also be available on Blu-ray Disc ... On August 14 Rhino Entertainment will release David Lynch's latest on-the-edge outing, "Inland Empire," starring Laura Dern, Jeremy Irons, Justin Theroux, Harry Dean Stanton, Peter J. Lucas, Karolina Gruszka, Jan Hencz, Krzysztof Majchrzak, Grace Zabriskie, Diane Ladd, Julia Ormond and Ian Abercrombie. Filmed entirely in digital video, this surreal visual voyage about a woman who gets mixed up in a mystery, landing her in trouble in the Inland Empire near Los Angeles, was shot in Los Angeles and Poland. The two-disc set comes packed with extras. (Posted June 21)
The Criterion Collection will release three revolutionary films this week Lindsay Anderson's "If ...." (1968), a landmark, daringly anarchic vision of British society set in a boarding school in late sixties England. Before Stanley Kubrick made his mischief iconic in "A Clockwork Orange," Malcolm McDowell made a hell of an impression as insouciant Mick Travis, who, along with his school chums trumps authority at every turn, finally turning violent savior against the draconian games of one-upmanship played by both students and the powers-that-be. Mixing color and black-and-white as audaciously as it mixes fantasy and reality, "If...." remains one of cinema's most unforgettable rebel yells. The restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised by cinematographer Miroslav Ondricek, includes such extras as commentary featuring film critic and historian David Robinson and Malcolm McDowell; "Thursday's Children" (1955), Anderson's Academy Award-winning breakthrough documentary about a school for deaf children, narrated by Richard Burton; a 2003 episode from BBC Scotland's TV series "Cast and Crew" about "If....," featuring interviews with McDowell, Ondricek, director's assistant Stephen Frears, assistant editor Ian Rakoff, and screenwriter David Sherwin; plus a booklet featuring essays by critic David Ehrenstein, screenwriter Sherwin, and Anderson ... What does the energy harnessed through orgasm have to do with the state of
communist Yugoslavia circa 1971? Only countercultural filmmaker extraordinaire and art-house provocateur Dusan Makavejev has the answers (or the questions). His surreal documentary-fiction collision "WR: Mysteries of the Organism" (1971) begins as an investigation of the life and work of controversial psychologist and philosopher Wilhelm Reich (the orgone box) and then explodes into a freeform narrative of a beautiful young Slavic girl's sexual liberation. Banned in the director's former homeland, "WR" is both whimsical and bold in its intersection of politics and sexuality ... Pushing his themes of sexual liberation to their boiling point, Makavejev followed "WR" with "Sweet Movie" (1974), a full-throated shriek in the face of bourgeois complacency (and movie-watching). "Sweet Movie" tackles the limits of personal and political freedom with kaleidoscopic feverishness, shuttling
viewers from a gynecological beauty pageant to a grotesque food orgy with
scatological, taboo-shattering glee. With its lewd abandon and embracing of
sketch-comic perversity, "Sweet Movie" became both a cult staple and exemplar of the envelope pushing of 1970s cinema. Both films, as per Criterion's modus operandi, feature new, restored high-definition digital transfers, supervised and approved by Makavejev, as well as commentary, essays and features. (Posted June 19)
Three interesting collections are due this week: First off there's the "Lucille Ball Collection," a six-disc set with "Critic's Choice," "Dance Girl Dance," "Du Barry Was a Lady," "The Big Street," "Mame" and "Best Foot Forward"; $49.92 or $19.97 each from Warner. "Critic's Choice" (1964) is a forgettable Ball-Bob Hope vehicle while "Dance, Girl, Dance" (1940) is a Dorothy Arzner-directed "pre-feminist" story about a dance company, starring Maureen O'Hara, Louis Hayward and Ball. "Du Barry Was a Lady" (1943) starring Red Skelton, Ball and Gene Kelly, "The Big Street" (1942) starring Henry Fonda and Ball, and "Best Foot Forward" (1943) starring Ball, June Allyson, Nancy Walker and Tommy Dix are average outings; "Mame" (1974) is an adequate film version of the musical, here starring Ball, Beatrice Arthur, Robert Preston and Bruce Davison ...
"The Al pacino Collection" is a four-disc set with three unusual Pacino outings: "Chinese Coffee" (2000), directed by Pacino and starring Pacino and Jerry Orbach, "The Local Stigmatic" (1990) and "Looking For Richard" (1996), Pacino's acclaimed documentary about the process of bringing Shakespeare's "Richard III" to the stage; a fourth bonus disc includes an hour-long program, "Babbleonia," an intimate look at the actor and his craft; $34.98 from Fox ... and just in time for the theatrical release of "Live Free or Die Hard" comes the "Die Hard Collection," a four-disc set with all three "Die Hard" films, plus a bonus disc with featurettes; $39.98 from Fox. (Posted June 19)
From TV to Video:
Due this week: "Longford" (2006), starring James Broadbent, Samantha Morton, Lindsay Duncan and Andy Serkis, is an HBO telefilm that explores the extraordinary and controversial friendship between British Lord Frank Aungier Pakenham, 7th Earl of Longford and one of Britain's most notorious criminals, the child murderess Myra Hindley, from HBO Video ... "Perry Mason: Season Two, Volume 1" (1958-59) is a four-disc set with 15 episodes, $42.99 from Paramount ... "Picket Fences: Season One" is a six-disc set with 22 episodes, $59.98 from Fox ... "Silver Spoons: The Complete First Season" (1982-83) is a three-disc set with 22 episodes, $29.95 from Sony ... "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea: Season Three, Volume 1," is a three-disc set with 13 episodes, $39.98 from Fox. (Posted June 19)
Buzzin' the 'B's:
The Weinstein Co. and Genius Products have added four classic Shaw Brothers titles to its Dragon Dynasty label of martial arts films: "King Boxer" (1971), "My Young Auntie" (1981), "The One-Armed Swordsman" (1967) and "The 36th Chamber of Shaolin" (1985); each $19.95 disc includes commentary, featurettes and interviews
... "Inside Out" (2005) stars Eriq La Salle, Steven Weber, Russell Wong, Tyler Posey, Nia Peeples and Kate Walsh in a thriller about a husband and father whose happy family and friendly neighbors' lives are shattered by the arrival of a mysterious doctor who moves in across the street, from Starz Home Entertainment ... In "Big Nothing"
(2006), starring Simon Pegg, David Schwimmer and Natascha McElhone, a scheme to blackmail a corrupt reverend backfires when the man of cloth is murdered, from First Look Home Entertainment ... In "A Get2Gether" (2005), a quiet get-together for a college student and his girl friend erupts into a neighborhood party, from First Look Home Entertainment ... "In a Dark Place" (2006), starring Leelee Sobieski, Christian Olson and Gabrielle Adam, is a modern interpretation of Henry James' "The Turn of the Screw," from First Look Home Entertainment. (Posted June 19)
On the Indie Front:
"The Life and Hard Times of Guy Terrifico" (2005) is a mockumentary about the rise and fall of a fictional country singer, featuring interviews with country rock legends Kris Kristofferson, Ronnie Hawkins, Merle Haggard, Levon Helm and more, $27.98 from ThinkFilm ... "Conventioneers" (2005) is set in New York during the contentious 2004 Republican National Convention and follows a Red State-Blue State love affair between a Texas delegate and an old college friend who has come to the city to protest President Bush's policies; from Cinema Libre Studio. (Posted June 19)
In "Close to Home" (2007 -- Israel), two young, very different female soldiers -- one rebellious and one obedient -- forge a bond while patrolling the anxious streets of Jerusalem, questioning Palestinians and looking for suicide bombers, from Genius Products ... In "Stolen Life" (2005 -- China), a young woman leaves her reclusive life to go to college and embarks on a variety of adventures, including love and motherhood, from First Run Features/Global Lens Collection ... "Max and Mona" (2004 -- South Africa) is a comedy about young Max, who leaves his small village to become a doctor. On his way to the university he is enlisted with the task of delivering a sacred goat (Mona) to another village, but he gets lost and arrives in the big city too late to pay his tuition. Now he has no place to stay -- but he does have Mona; also from First Run Features/Global Lens Collection. (Posted June 19)
For the Family:
Surprise. It's been 30 years since the release of the first Pooh feature film, "The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh," and the folks at Disney have re-released the 1977 film in "The Friendship Edition," which features a remastered and restored version with loads of extras, $29.99 ... MGM has acknowledged the 25th anniversary of "The Secret of NIMH" with a two-disc "Family Fun Edition" that includes set-top games and featurettes, $19.98 ... "The Tales of Hans Christian Andersen" series from First Run Features includes two DVDs with two animated films featuring the charming work of Michael Sporn: "The Red Shoes & The Little Match Girl" and "The Emperor's New Clothes & Nightingale," $14.95 each ... Three kids TV shows make their way to DVD: "The Powerpuff Girls: Season One" is a two-disc set with 13 episodes, $26.99 from Warner ... "Animaniacs Volume 3" is a five-disc set with 25 episodes, $44.98 from Warner and "Pinky and the Brain Volume 3" is a four-disc set with 22 episodes, $44.98 from Warner. (Posted June 19)
"Musica Cubana" is the follow-up to Wim Wenders' hit "Buena Vista Social Club" and features the next generation of Cuban musical talent; the two-disc docu-drama (produced by Wenders and directed by German Kral) is available from Cinema Libre. (Posted June 19)
"Blades of Glory," the smash comedy hit starring Will Ferrell and Jon Heder, will skate to DVD on August 28, from Paramount ... On August 7, Paramount will release the thriller "Disturbia," starring Shia LaBeouf, Sarah Roemer, Carrie-Anne Moss and David Morse ... On July 24, Sony will release post-9/11 drama "Reign Over Me," starring Adam Sandler, Don Cheadle, Jada Pinkett Smith, Liv Tyler, Saffron Burrows, Donald Sutherland, Robert Klein and Melinda Dillon ... and on July 31, Universal will release cop comedy "Hot Fuzz," starring Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Jim Broadbent,. (Posted June 12)
Three new release announcements from Sony this week: Due August 7 is the comedy "Are We Done Yet?" starring Ice Cube, Nia Long and John C. McGinley ... On August 4 the company will release the horror-thriller "Vacancy," starring Luke Wilson, Kate Beckinsale, Frank Whaley and Ethan Embry .. And on August 21 "Perfect Stranger," starring Halle Berry, Bruce Willis, Giovanni Ribisi, Gary Dourdan and Patti D'Arbanville, will make a visit. (Posted June 11)
Topping off this week's collectibles are two Paul Newman outings: "The Hustler Collector's Edition" (1961), directed by Robert Rossen and starring Newman, Jackie Gleason, Piper Laurie, George C. Scott, Myron McCormick, Murray Hamilton, Michael Constantine and Stefan Gierasch; and "The Verdict Collector's Edition" (1982), directed by Sidney Lumet and starring Newman, Charlotte Rampling, Jack Warden, James Mason, Milo O'Shea, Lindsay Crouse, Ed Binns and Julie Bovasso. Both are packed as two-disc sets and loaded with extras, from Fox ... From The Criterion Collection comes Claude Berri's "The Two of Us" (1967) in a new, restored high-definition digital transfer. A young Jewish boy living in Nazi-occupied Paris is sent by his parents to the countryside to live with an elderly Catholic couple until France's liberation. Forced to hide his identity, the boy, Claude, bonds with the irascible, staunchly anti-Semitic Pepe (Michel Simon), who, improbably, becomes a friend and confidant to the child. Based on own childhood experiences, the poignant, light-hearted "The Two of Us" was acclaimed director Claude Berri's first feature film and gave legendary actor Michel Simon one of his most memorable roles at the twilight of his career ... Criterion will also release he latest installment in their budget, no-frills Eclipse line: "Late Ozu (Eclipse Series 3)," a five-disc set with master filmmaker Yasujiro Ozu's "Early Spring," (1956), "Tokyo Twilight" (1957), "Equinox Flower" (1958), "Late Autumn" (1960) and "The End of Summer" (1961), $69.95. (Posted June 11)
From film's Golden Age comes the "James Stewart: Screen Legend Collection," a three-disc set with "Next Time We Love" (1936), "You Gotta Stay Happy" (1948), "Thunder Bay" (1953), "The Glenn Miller Story" (1953) and "Shenandoah" (1965), $26.98 from Universal ... "The Original Nancy Drew Movie Mystery Collection," a two-disc set with four Nancy Drew mysteries starring Bonita Granville: "Nancy Drew, Detective" (1938), "Nancy Drew, Reporter" (1939), "Nancy Drew, Troubleshooter" (1939) and "Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase" (1939), $24.98 from Warner ... "The Jeeves Collection" features two P.G. Wodehouse films with Arthur Treacher as the erudite manservant, on a single disc: "Thank You, Jeeves" (1936)" and "Step Lively, Jeeves" (1937), $19.98 from Fox ... Strong>"Charley's Aunt"
(1941) stars Jack Benny, Kay Francis, Anne Baxter, Edmund Gwenn and Reginald Owen, from Fox. (Posted June 11)
More collectibles: "Jumpin' & Jivin' Volume 1"
(2007) is an anthology of jazz Soundies -- short films for the visual jukeboxes of 1940s -- featuring 27 rare performances by the likes of Cab Calloway, Louis Jordan, Fats Waller, Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie, Lena Horne, Duke Ellignton, Gene Krupa, more; $19.99 from Acorn Media ... "52 Pick-Up" (1986), a nasty thriller in which a secret fling between a man and his mistress leads to blackmail and murder, is not one of director John Frankenheimer's better outings, but still worth seeing; the film stars Roy Scheider, Ann-Margret, Vanity, John Glover, Kelly Preston, Doug McClure and Clarence Williams III, from MGM. (Posted June 11)
From TV to Video:
Due this week: "Blue Murder Set 1" (2007), a three-disc set with six episodes of the British police procedural, $49.99. from Acorn Media ...
"Diagnosis: Murder: The Second Season" (1994-95), a six-disc set with 22 episodes, $54.99 from Paramount ... "Jesse Stone: Night Passage" and "Jesse Stone: Death in Paradise"
(2006), two sequels to 2005's "Stone Cold," starring Tom Selleck, based on the best-selling books by Robert B. Parker about a former Los Angeles homicide detective who leaves California to become the police chief in a small
New England town, from Sony ... "Noah's Arc: The Complete Second Season," a three-disc set with eight episodes, $39.99 from Paramount ... "The Practice: Volume 1," a four-disc set with 13 episodes, $39.98 from Fox ... "The Rat Patrol Season Two<," a three-disc set with 26 episodes, $39.98 from MGM ... "Ruffian"
(2007), starring Sam Shepard and Frank Whaley in the true story of the greatest filly racehorse of all time, from Genius Products ... "Walker, Texas Ranger: The Third Season" (1995-96), a seven-disc set with 26 episodes, $54.99 from Paramount ... "Welcome Back, Kotter: The Complete First Season," a four-disc set with 22 episodes, $29.98 from Warner ... "What's Happening Now!: The Complete First Season" (1985-86), a three-disc set with 22 episodes, $29.95 from Sony. (Posted June 11)
Buzzin' the 'B's:
"The Mapmaker" (2001) is a thriller about a mapmaker
who uncovers the body of an alleged informer while mapping in Ireland, starring Brian F. O'Byrne, Susan Lynch and Brendan Coyle, from BFS Entertainment ... "The Screwfly Solution" (2006) stars Jason Priestley, Elliott Gould, Kerry Norton and William S. Taylor in Joe Dante's contribution to the Showtime Masters of Horror series in which "the battle of the sexes" turns murderous as women are slaughtered all over the world, from Anchor Bay ... In "Pretty Cool Too" (2007) a high school grad gets a cell phone whose special tone will make anyone do whatever he commands; stars Julia Lehman, Angela Dodson, James Ferris and Jennifer Day, from MTI Home Video ... In "The Honeymooners" (2003), starring Jonathan Byrne and Alex Reid, a young man, jilted at the altar, takes off on his honeymoon anyhow -- with a fired waitress, from BFS Entertainment. (Posted June 11)
"American Masters Atlantic Records: The House That Ahmet Built"
is a 2007 PBS documentary that follows Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun's remarkable career and its impact on the evolution of the world's most popular musical genres while offering an insider's look at the recording industry, from its infancy to today. Features interviews with Solomon Burke, Ray Charles, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, Aretha Franklin, Mick Jagger, Kid Rock and many others,
with narration by Bette Midler; $19.99 from Rhino Entertainment/Atlantic Records ... "An Unreasonable Man" is a 2007 documentary that traces the life and career of consumer advocate and presidential candidate Ralph Nader, one of the most unique, important, and controversial political figures of our time; $26.95 from Genius Products ... In "Dr. Andrew Weil's Guide to Eating Well" America's best-known doctor provides advice on diet and nutrition, from Acacia ... "Glastonbury" is a 2006 documentary on the 30th anniversary of one of Britain's best-known music festivals. Features Bjork, David Bowie, Billy Bragg, James Brown, Nick Cave, Joe Strummer, $24.98 from ThinkFilm ... For animation fans there's "Hellboy Animated: Blood & Iron" (2007), with the voices of Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, John Hurt and Doug Jones, from Starz Home Entertainment; and "Hellsing Ultimate Series: II<" (2005), a feature "reborn" from the original manga by series creator Kouta Hirano in which the Hellsing organization must struggle to save humanity when an unusual new breed of vampires terrorizes England, $29.98 from Geneon Entertainment. (Posted June 11)
No need to tout the films in the following two sets arriving this week -- they're all classics and must-sees: "World War II Collection Vol. 2: Heroes Fight for Freedom" is a six-disc set with "Air Force," "Command Decision," "Hell to Eternity," "The Hill," "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo" and "36 Hours"; $59.92 with individual titles selling for $19.97, from Warner ... "The Sergio Leone Anthology" contains four two-disc sets: "A Fistful of Dollars," "For a few Dollars More," "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly," and "Duck, You Sucker." Each film has been restored and remastered with great picture and sound; each two-disc set is loaded with extras; $89.98 the box or $26.98 each, from MGM ... "The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert Extra Frills Edition" (1994) is the Australian film that blitzed overseas boxoffices, caused a near riot at the Cannes Film Festival, and won an Academy Award for best costume design. It's a road movie with attitude and the occasional frock, in which two drag queens and a transsexual get a cabaret gig in the middle of the Australian desert. Stars Terence Stamp, Hugo Weaving and Guy Pearce, from MGM ... Boomers and War Babies will appreciate the nostalgia factor in "Hopalong Cassidy --- The Collector's Edition,"
a four-disc set with 12 classic movies starring William Boyd as the cowboy hero, housed in a deluxe, real wood package, $24.99 from Echo Bridge Home Entertainment. (Posted June 4)
From TV to Video:
Due this week: "The Best of Chappelle's Show (Uncensored)," with 25 sketches from the three-season series, $19.99 from Comedy Central/Paramount ... "Chicago Massacre: Richard Speck" (2007) is a dramatization of the Richard Speck nurse murders in Chicago in 1966, from Lionsgate ... "CHiPs: The Complete First Season" is a six-disc set with 22 episodes, $39.98 from Warner ... "The Cosby Show Season Three" and "The Cosby Show Season Four" are three-disc sets with 25 and 24 episodes, respectively, $24.98 from First Look Home Entertainment ... "Dante's Cove: The Complete Second Series" is a two-disc set with five episodes, $29.95 from Genius Products ... "The Fall Guy Season One" is a six-disc set with 22 episodes, $59.98 from Fox ... "The Henry Rollins Show: Season 1" (2006) is a three-disc set with 20 episodes, $22.95 from Genius Products ... "Hex: The Complete First Season" (2004-05) is a three-disc set with 10 episodes of the BBC America series, $49.95 from Sony ... "Hogan's Heroes: The Complete Sixth Season" (1970-71) is a four-disc set with 25 episodes, $42.99 from Paramount ... "Mission Impossible: The Second Season" (1967-68) is a seven-disc set with 25 episodes, $54.99 from Paramount ... "Rescue Me: The Complete Third Season" is a four-disc set with 13 episodes, $49.95 DVD, $79.95 Blu-ray disc, from Sony ...
"Seinfeld: Season Eight" (1996-97) is a four-disc set with 22 episodes, $49.95 from Sony ... "Wait Till Your Father Gets Home: The Complete First Season" is a four-disc set with 24 episodes, $44.98 from Warner. (Posted June 4)
Buzzin' the 'B's:
"Red Mercury" (2005) Stockard Channing, Ron Silver, Peter Postlethwaite, Juliet Stevenson and David Bradley star in a thriller about three British-born Muslim fundamental extremists who hold a restaurant hostage with a bomb , from MTI Home Video ... "The Glamorous Life of Sachiko Hanai" (2003) is a Japanese "pink film" about a lusty, private home tutor who takes a non-fatal bullet to the head, transforming her into an unlikely genius who has sex to the collected works of Noam Chomsky. Entrusted with the perfect replica of George Bush's naughty trigger finger, Sachiko deftly dodges North Korean spies in hot pursuit of the sole fingerprint capable of unleashing a devastating nuclear apocalypse; from Palm Pictures ... "Highlander: The Search for Vengeance" (2007) is an animated feature-length adventure featuring the immortal Colin MacLeod, from Manga Entertainment. (Posted June 4)
On the Indie Front:
"Brothers Lost: Stories of 9/11" (2007) is a documentary that explores the unique love and loss shared by 31 men who lost their brothers almost simultaneously during 9/11; aired on HBO; from Tango Entertainment (www.tango-entertainment.com) ... "The Derby Stallion"
(2005) is a coming-of-age drama about a 15-year-old boy who finds himself by racing in steeplechase derbys, from Echo Bridge Home Entertainment. (Posted June 4)
For the Family:
"What's New Scooby-Doo? The Complete Second
Season" (2003-04) is a two-disc set with 13 episodes, $19.98 from Warner ... "Kenny the Shark: Feeding Frenzy" and "Kenny the Shark: Good Guys Vs. Bad Guys" each
feature six episodes of the Discovery Kids animated series, $14.95 from Genius Products ... "Tutenstein: The Beginning" and "Tutenstein: A Bad Spell" each contain four episodes of the Discovery Kids animated series, $14.95 from Genius Products ... "Flight 29 Down: Volume 1" features the first four episodes of the Discovery Kids Channel live-action series, $14.95 from Genius Products. (Posted June 4)
"Secrets of the Code" (2006), based on best-selling book by Dan Burstein, is a feature-length documentary that includes interviews and commentary by renowned scholars, theologians, scientists and historians, exploring the global obsession resulting from "The Da Vinci Code"; narrated by Susan Sarandon; $24.96 from Sony ... "Maxed Out"
(2005) is a documentary that reveals the shocking secrets of the modern financial industry and unearths the personal stories behind consumer credit card debt; $26.98 from Magnolia Home Entertainment ... "Fired!"
(2007) is a comic documentary on downsizing, firing and hiring in American society. When actress Annabelle Gurwitch was fired from a play by Woody Allen she wondered how she would cope with being fired by a cultural icon. Turning to friends in show business she was assured she was not alone. Gurwitch decided to write a book about the experience of being fired -- and this film documents her journey around the country interviewing and researching , concluding that firing may be both the best and the worst thing that can happen in one's working life. From Shout! Factory .. "Henry Rollins: Uncut From NYC" (2006), filmed at The Town Hall in New York City during a stop on Rollin's spoken word tour, contains Rollins' uncensored commentary on politics and pop culture; $19.95 from Genius Products ... "Solar Energy: Saved by the Sun" is a NOVA documentary on solar energy, from WGBH Boston Video ... "Rachel Carson's Silent Spring" is a NOVA documentary on the writer-biologist who became a fearless champion for the environment, also from WGBH Boston Video ... Two action-packed documentaries debut from Westlake Entertainment this week: "Family Motocross" and "Behind the Monsters": In "Family Motocross," Pee-Wees, Minis, Privateers and Pros all take their turns on the screen in a look at the sport of Motocross, filmed on location at Lake Elsinore Motocross Park and Starwest Motocross Park in Southern California; "Behind the Monsters" combines car-crushing freestyle Monster Truck action and side-by-side Chicago-style racing. Both are part of the Extreme Series and sell for $19.98. (Posted June 4)
Get ready, Spartans. Warner Home Video has just announced the July 31 release of the blockbuster hit "300." The film will be released in a single-disc and a two-disc Special Edition; extras on the Special Edition will include commentary by director Zack Snyder and others, deleted scenes, and several featurettes: "The 300: Fact or Fiction?" "Who Were The Spartans: The Warriors of 300," "Frank Miller Tapes," more. Also available on Blu-ray and HD DVD. (Posted May 29)
There's lots of other new release announcements this week: Due June 12 is crocodile tale "Primeval," starring Dominic Purcell, Orlando Jones, Brooke Langton and Jurgen Prochnow, from Buena Vista ... On June 19 Disney will release kids fantasy tale "Bridge to Terabithia,"
starring Josh Hutcherson, Anna Sophia Robb, Zooey Deschanel and Robert Patrick; and The Weinstein Company will release biodrama "Miss Potter," starring Renee Zellweger, Ewan McGregor and Emily Watson ... Three theatrical fetaures will hit home on June 26: horror flick "Dead Silence," starring Ryan Kwanten, Amber Valletta, Donnie Wahlberg and Bob Gunton, from Universal; "Pride," starring Terrence Howard, Bernie Mac, Tom Arnold and Kimberly Elise, from Lionsgate; and thriller "Shooter," starring Mark Wahlberg, Michael Pena, Danny Glover, Kate Mara, Elias Koteas, and Ned Beatty, from Paramount ... July 17 will see the release of "The Hills Have Eyes II" from Fox ... On July 24 DreamWorks/Paramount will release Tom Tykwer's "Perfume -- The Story of a Murderer," starring Ben Whishaw, Alan Rickman, Rachel Hurd-Wood and Dustin Hoffman; also on that day Warner will release the thriller "Zodiac," starring
Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr., Anthony Edwards, Elias Koteas, Donal Logue and Dermot Mulroney ... Turtle lovers will appreciate the August 7 release of "TMNT," with the voices of Chris Evans, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Mako, Kevin Smith, Patrick Stewart, Laurence Fishburne and Ziyi Zhang, from Warner ... And, on August 14, New Line will release the mystery thriller "Fracture," starring Anthony Hopkins, Ryan Gosling, David Strathairn, Rosamund Pike and Embeth Davitz. (Posted May 29)
Due this week is TCM and Warner Home Video's tribute to Katharine Hepburn, "The TCM Spotlight: Katharine Hepburn
Collection," a six-disc set with 1978's TV drama "The Corn is Green," "Dragon Seed" (1944), "Morning Glory" (1933), George Cukor's "Sylvia Scarlett" (1936), Vincente Minnelli's "Undercurrent" (1946) and "Without Love" (1945), reteaming her with Spencer Tracy; $59.92 or individually $19.97 each ... Two Weinstein Co. Dragon Dynasty Hong Kong martial arts films showcasing prodigious physical prowess and action will be released this week: "Above the Law" (1986), directed by Corey Yuen and starring Biao Yuen and Cynthia Rothrock, in which a lawyer takes justice into his own hands when the legal system turns a blind eye to the murder of his family; and "Shanghai Express" (1986), directed by Sammo Hung Kam-Bo and starring Biao Yuen, Sammo Hung Kam-Bo, Cynthia Rothrock and Rosamund Kwan in a train-heist adventure about multiple cutthroat gangs plotting to rob a luxury locomotive and its wealthy passengers. (Posted May 29)
From TV to Video:
Due this week: "The Closer: The Complete Second
Season," a four-disc set with 14 episodes, $39.98 from Warner ... "F-Troop: The Complete Second Season," a six-disc set with 31 episodes, $39.98 from Warner ... "Rawhide: Season Two, Volume One" (1959), a four-disc set with 16 episodes, $54.99 from Paramount ... "Warlords (Allies at war)" (2001) is a two-disc set of the four-part British documentary about Hitler, Stalin, Churchhill and Roosevelt during World War II, $39.99 from Acorn Media. (Posted May 29)
Buzzin' the 'B's:
In "Rapid Fear" (2005), an ex-con with a chance at parole is teamed with six teenage offenders in a rehab program designed to frighten the streetwise youths into going straight; they're dropped in an isolated
forest to travel down river by raft but someone, or something, doesn't want them
to survive, from MTI Home Video ... In "The Final Patient"
(2005), a physician uncovers the key to eternal youth, but the lust for immortality has deadly consequences, from Echo Bridge Home Entertainment. (Posted May 29)
For the Family:
"Franklin and the Turtle Lake Treasure" (2005) is a feature-length animated film based on the celebrated Scholastic children's books and now a Noggin kids series; $14.98 from HBO Video. (Posted May 29)
There's several interesting releases from Kultur International this week: The Vocal Group Hall of Fame was created to honor the greatest vocal groups of the world, to preserve their music at a world-class museum, and to pay tribute to the Inductees as National Music Treasures. "The Vocal Group Hall of Fame Induction Concert Vol. 4" is a DVD/2-CD set featuring performances by 2005 inductees The Association, The Lettermen, Mary Wilson of The Supremes, The Tokens and The Diamonds. Also performing are a host of acts, including The Skyliners, The Ink Spots, The Platters, The Coasters and The Drifters; $19.99 ... "Steve Reich's City Life," a documentary that traces the background to the creation of renowned American composer Steve Reich's "City Life." Reich masterfully captures sounds from New York City street life with the aid of two sampling keyboards and microphone, forging the noise of the city street into a work for string quartet, wind, percussion and two pianos. The film culminates in a performance of the piece from the Frankfurt Opera House with the Ensemble Modern conducted by Sian Edwards, $19.99 ... and eight documentaries that reveal the lives of Russia's most influential writers; the "Great Russian Writers" DVD lines includes individual DVDs ($19.99) on Alexander Blok, Alexander Pushkin, Anton Chekhov, Boris Pasternak, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Leo Tolstoy, Maxim Gorky and Vladimir Mayakovsky. (Posted May 29)
Universal Studios Home Entertainment has just announced the DVD set that many, many people have been waiting for: "Heroes: Season One," a seven-disc set with 23 episodes plus tons of extras, due August 28 with a retail price of $59.98. Bonus features include the unaired 73-minute version of the pilot episode, a "making of" featurette, special effects, score, and stunts featurettes, deleted and extended scenes, and more.
Pre-order a copy now and get a 35% discount. (Posted May 22)
Due July 17 is the supernatural thriller "Premonition,"
starring Sandra Bullock, Julian McMahon, Jeff Galpin, Nia Long, Amber Valletta, Marcus Lyle Brown and Mark Famiglietti, with such bonus features as deleted scenes including an alternate ending, a blooper reel, a "Bringing Order to Chaos" featurette that looks at the major events of the movie put in 'normal' order, "Real Life Premonitions: The Truth About Seeing The Future" documentary, and more; also available on Blu-ray Disc; from Sony. (Posted May 22)
Oh what a week for collectors. There's a host of sets, four films from the wild era of the late 70s-early 80s, classics from the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, two Criterion Collection editions, plus a profundity of films starring Gary Cooper and John Wayne. (Posted May 22)
Paramount and Warner kick off the week with a celebration of John Wayne's 100th birthday on Tuesday by releasing 48 titles and four collections. The centerpieces of Warner's contribution are the "Rio Bravo: Special Edition" two-disc set and "The Cowboys: Deluxe Edition." Paramount will release "True Grit: Special Collector's Edition". All are loaded with bonus features and documentaries. Warner also has the "John Wayne Film Collection," a six-disc set of never-released-to-DVD "Allegheny Uprising," "Reunion in France," "Tycoon," "Without Reservations," "Trouble Along the Way" and "Big Jim McLain"; $42.92. Paramount has three sets of Wayne films: the John Wayne Century Collection" with "The High and the Mighty," "Island in the Sky," "True Grit," "Hondo," "McLintock!" "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance," "The Shootist," "Big Jake," "Donovan's Reef," "In Harm's Way," "Hatari!" "Rio Lobo," "The Sons of Katie Elder" and "El Dorado" for $99.99; the "John Wayne Western Collection" with "True Grit," "Hondo," "McLintock!" "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance," "The Shootist," "Big Jake," "Rio Lobo," "The Sons of Katie Elder" and "El Dorado" for $74.99; and the "John Wayne Adventure Collection" with "The High and the Mighty," "Island in the Sky," "In Harm's Way," "Donovan's Reef" and "Hatari!" for $42.99. (Posted May 22)
For Gary Cooper fans there's the "M-G-M Movie Legends Gary Cooper
Collection," a four-disc set with "Vera Cruz" (1954), "Cowboy and the Lady" (1938) (new to DVD), "The Real Glory" (1939) and "The Winning of Barbara Worth" (1926); $39.98 from MGM; as well as four single releases including the classic Howard Hawks' "Ball of Fire" (1941), starring Cooper and a leggy, sweltering Barbara Stanwyck in a screwball comedy gem that's a sexy take on "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," about a group of professors who are putting together a dictionary and who realize they are woefully out of tune with "modern slang"; Stanwyck -- a gun moll on the lam) -- enters their midst to update their vocabulary (and more). The three other titles: "The Adventures of Marco Polo" (1938), starring Cooper, Basil Rathbone and Sigrid Gurie; "Casanova Brown" (1944), starring Cooper, Teresa Wright and Anita Louise; and "The Wedding Night" (1935), starring Cooper and Anna Sten. (Posted May 22)
From the 1930s comes the classic gangster outing that set the standard for mobster movies to come, "Scarface" (1932), directed by Howard Hawks and Richard Rosson and starring Paul Muni, Ann Dvorak, Karen Morley and George Raft, from Universal Cinema Classics; and "Pigskin Parade" (1936), starring Stuart Erwin, Patsy Kelly, Jack Haley, Betty Grable and Judy Garland, digitally remastered and restored, from Fox Marquee Musicals Collection ... from the '40s there's "So Proudly We Hail!" (1943), starring Claudette Colbert, Paulette Goddard, Veronica Lake and George Reeves, from Universal Cinema Classics ... from the '50s comes "On the Riviera" (1951), directed by Walter Lang and starring Danny Kaye and Gene Tierney, digitally remastered and restored, from Fox Marquee Musicals Collection; and "No Man of Her Own"
(1950), starring Barbara Stanwyck, John Lund, Jane Cowl, Phyllis Thaxter and Lyle Bettger, from Universal Cinema Classics ... and from the 1960s comes the film that offended Russia's Nikita Khrushchev for its risque underpinnings, "Can-Can" (1960), directed by Walter Lang and starring Frank Sinatra, Shirley MacLaine, Maurice Chevalier, Louis Jourdan and Juliet Prowse, digitally remastered and restored, from Fox Marquee Musicals Collection. (Posted May 22)
Further into the 20th century Warner has released "Prince of the City" (1981), directed by Sidney Lumet and starring Treat Williams, Jerry Orbach, Bob Balaban and Lindsay Crouse, in a two-disc set; "Steelyard Blues" (1972), starring Jane Fonda, Donald Sutherland, Howard Hesseman, Peter Boyle and John Savage; "Straight Time" (1978), starring Dustin Hoffman, Theresa Russell, Harry Dean Stanton, Gary Busey, M. Emmet Walsh and Kathy Bates; and "Whose Life Is It Anyway?" (1981), directed by John Badham and starring Richard Dreyfuss, John Cassavetes, Christine Lahti and Bob Balaban. (Posted May 22)
From The Criterion Collection: "Sansho the Baliff"
(1954 -- Japan), directed by Kenji Mizoguchi; the stunning film, set in medieval Japan, centers around an idealistic governor who disobeys the reigning feudal lord and is cast into exile; his wife and children are left to fend for themselves and eventually are wrenched apart by vicious slave drivers. The monumental, empathetic expression of human resilience in the face of evil gets the Criterion special edition treatment with a new, restored high-definition digital transfer and loads of extras, in a two-disc set. Criterion also will release a new, restored, high-definition digital transfer of "The Third Man" (1949), directed by Carol Reed and starring Joseph Cotton, Alida Valli, Orson Welles, Trevor Howard and Bernard Lee, in a two-disc set featuring a video introduction by writer-director Peter Bogdanovich; commentary by film scholar Dana Polan; "Shadowing the Third Man," a 90-minute 2005 feature documentary on the making of the film; a booklet, and much, much more. (Posted May 22)
Want comedy: There's the "M-G-M Movie Legends Peter Sellers
Collection," a four-disc set with "The Pink Panther" (1963), "Casino Royale" (1967), "The Party" (1968) and "What's New, Pussycat?" (1965); $39.98 from MGM ... and the Brett Ratner-Jackie Chan-Chris Tucker collaborations "Rush Hour" (1998) and "Rush Hour 2"
(2001), both digitally remastered in time for the late-summer release of "Rush Hour 3." (Posted May 22)
Finally, there's the "Flags of Our Fathers Special Collector's
Edition" of Clint Eastwood's World War II film from last year; Paramount has re-released it to coincide with Warner's release of Eastwood's "Letters From Iwo Jima"; the two-disc set adds an introduction by Eastwood and six featurettes; there's also a "Flags of Our Fathers/Letters From Iwo Jima Commemorative Edition" five-disc set with the two-disc "Letters From Iwo Jima," the two-disc "Flags of Our Fathers" and a fifth disc of extras, $49.96 ... And Warner will release "Roots: 30th Anniversary Special
Edition," a four-disc set of the series with commentary, featurettes, and DVD-ROM content; $59.98. (Posted May 22)
From TV to Video:
Due this week: "Airwolf: Season Three," a five-disc set with 22 episodes, $39.98 from Universal ... "Disappeared"
(2004) stars Ray Winstone in a telefilm about a self-made man who investigates the disappearance of his daughter in Istanbul, from First Look Home Entertainment ... "Kitchen Confidential: The Complete
Series," a two-disc set with all 11 episodes, $29.98 from Fox ... "Kyle XY: The Complete First Season -- Declassified," a three-disc set with 10 episodes from the ABC Family Channel series, $39.99 from Buena Vista ... "The Magnificent Seven Season Two," a two-disc set with 13 episodes, $29.98 from MGM ... "The O.C.: The Complete Fourth Season," a five-disc set with the final 16 episodes, $59.98 from Warner ... "Scrubs: The Complete Fifth Season," a three-disc set with 24 episodes, $39.99, from Buena Vista. (Posted May 22)
Buzzin' the 'B's:
In "The Hard Easy" (2005), starring Henry Thomas, David Boreanaz, Nick Lachey, Vera Farmiga, Bruce Dern, Peter Weller and Gary Busey, a pair of losers are both approached by separate groups of thieves looking for accomplices in a bank robbery; an "easy" job gets complicated when the men find themselves involved in the same hold-up at the same time, from HBO Video ...
A researcher in Brazil is haunted by nightmarish visions of a shadowy predator who abducts young girls in "Memory" (2005), starring Billy Zane, Tricia Helfer, Ann-Margret and Dennis Hopper, from Echo Bridge Home Entertainment ... "Alone With Her" (2005) is the harrowing story of a disturbed young voyeuristic man's attempts to win the affections of an unsuspecting young woman, starring Colin Hanks and Ana Claudia Talancon, from Genius Products ... College kids party on an island inhabited by genetically engineered killer dogs in "The Breed" (2006), starring Michelle Rodriguez, Taryn Manning, Hill Harper and Oliver Hudson, from First Look Home Entertainment ... "Constellation" (2005) centers on interracial romance and race identity in the ever-changing landscape of the Deep South, starring Gabrielle Union, Billy Dee Williams, Melissa De Sousa, Hill Harper, Lesley Ann Warren, Rae Dawn Chong and Zoe Saldana, from Fox ... In "Dark Corners" (2006), starring Thora Birch, Toby Stephens and Christien Anholt, a young woman leads two lives: as a downtrodden mortuary employee who, when she sleeps, dreams of a sunny life, and of a sunny upscale housewife who dreams she's the mortuary employee when she sleeps, from Union Station Media ... A bar-hopping, bed-hopping jerk of a TV reality show producer decides to change his ways when he runs into his college sweetheart in "Loveless in Los Angeles" (2007), starring Dash Mihok, Brittany Daniel, James Lesure, Navi Rawat and Geoffrey Arend, from Allumination FilmWorks ... In "The Mad" (2007), starring Billy Zane, Jordan Madley, Maggie Castle and Rothaford Gray, a road trip through the countryside turns gruesome and deadly when diner patrons are transformed into relentless flesh-hungry zombies, from Genius Products ... In "Three Bad Men" (2005), starring George Kennedy, Mike Moroff and Chris Gann, three outlaws make a promise to a dying man to save his wife from a notorious killer, from ThinkFilm. (Posted May 22)
On the Indie Front:
Due this week: "Fay Grim" (2006), directed by Hal Hartley and starring Parker Posey, Jeff Goldblum, Saffron Burrows, Thomas Jay Ryan, James Urbaniak, Liam Aiken and Chuck Montgomery, is a continuation of sorts of 1997's "Henry Fool"; here Fay Grim (Parker Posey) is coerced by a CIA agent (Jeff Goldblum) to try and locate notebooks that belonged to her fugitive ex-husband (Thomas Jay Ryan) -- notebooks that could compromise national security. The film, which opened just last week to excellent reviews, is released by Magnolia Home Entertainment ... "American Pastime" (2007) is based on the true events of the World War II home front in the United States, where nearly a quarter of a million Japanese Americans were placed in remote internment camps because of a perceived security threat; the film's story centers around one family in Utah's Topaz camp where the interned community ironically uses baseball, for decades a part of the Japanese American fabric, as a way to rise above their daily hardships and adversity. The film stars Gary Cole, Leonardo Nam, Aaron Yoo, Masatoshi Nakamura, Judy Ongg Nakano,
Sarah Drew and Jon Gries, from Warner ... In "Big Dreams in Little Hope (aka Mom)" (2006), two mismatched women doing market research in
small town America begin to question where they've been and where they are going
when their plans go awry; stars Julie Goldman and Emma Bowers, from Wolfe Video ... "The Mistress of Spices" (2005) chronicles the plight of a young Indian woman living in San Francisco who is forced to choose between the culture and conventions she has always known and those of her new land; stars Aishwarya Rai and Dylan McDermott, from Genius Products. (Posted May 22)
For the Family:
"The Adventures of the Black Stallion" is a four-disc set of the Family Channel series, $39.99 from Echo Bridge Home Entertainment ... "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Chipmunks Go to the Movies" features three episodes spoofing movies: "Star Wreck," "Batmunk" and "Funny, We Shrunk the Adults," $14.99 from Paramount .. . "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Season 1 Part 1" is a two-disc set with 12 episodes, $16.98 from 4Kids Entertainment ... "Franklin and the Turtle Lake Treasure" is an original movie based on the celebrated Scholastic children's books; the feature is available exclusively on DVD from HBO Video ... For the wee ones there's a new series of titles that key in on early communication: "Baby IQ," from the folks at the Brainy Baby Company, feature two charming puppet characters who introduce babies (six months to three years) to the world around them. The first four 35-minute DVDs are "The World Around Us," "Baby's First Words," "Colors" and "Counting," $17.95 each; go to www.babyiq.com for more information ... And for toilet training time there's "Go Potty GO!" which introduces twin Pandas who, with their animal friends, show kids that "anyone and everyone uses the potty and how fun and easy it is to learn"; the Mazzarella Media DVD from Big Kids Video (www.bigkidsvideo.com) sells for $14.95. (Posted May 22)
The 1960s was a heady time of change, defined in part by a common effort to fight against injustice. Chicago filmmaker Mike Gray was there, using his camera to document the politics of the streets. His "American Revolution 2" (1969) is a documentary about the police riots that followed the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago; his "The Murder of Fred Hampton" (1971) is a documentary that began as a film portrait of Fred Hampton and the Illinois Black Panther Party, and ended up as an investigation into his death at the hands of the Chicago Police Department; both titles are from Facets Video and sell for $24.95 each ... "Cannes: All Access" (2007) is a documentary on the Cannes Film Festival (which is underway in the South of France), hosted by film historian Richard Schickel, from Genius Products ... PBS Video/Paramount has three military-themed releases due this week: "Dogfight Over Guadalcanal," an up-close look at two ace fighter pilots' showdown over the Pacific in 1942; "The Marines," a definitive documentary about the rich history and tradition of the United States Marine Corps; and "Warplane," which explores the evolution of the warplane by telling the stories of the creative minds who, out of necessity, have created awe-inspiring machines; $24.99 each ... "Where Is the World Going, Mr. Stiglitz" is a five-part series on two discs featuring Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz explaining how the world's economy works. Stiglitz makes complex international economic processess intelligible to a lay audience, boiling down jargon to simple terms and offering a crash course in globalization and its effects, global warming, trade and immigration, security and terrorism, and ultimately, the future of mankind; $39.95 from First Run Features ... First Run Features also will release this week two documentaries by Allan Miller on one disc: "The Bolero," made in 1973, captures the essence of an orchestra and the titular piece as Zubin Mehta conducts the Los Angeles Philharmonic in a stellar performance of Ravel's classic, giving viewers insight into the music and the workings of a great orchestra; and "In Search of Cezanne," an exploration of the life and legacy of the 19th century French painter Paul Cezanne, as seen through the eyes of a young female documentary filmmaker who is just discovering his work; the film journeys from New York to Paris to the South of France, interweaving more than 45 of Cezanne's paintings into the narrative; $24.95. (Posted May 22)
To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Elvis' death, Warner Home Video and Paramount Home Entertainment will join forces to pool their DVD sales and marketing resources to re-release a total of 24 Elvis Presley films on August 7. The lead WHV titles in the promotion are deluxe editions of "Viva Las Vegas" and "Jailhouse Rock," two-disc special editions of "Elvis: That's the Way It Is" and "This Is Elvis" (making its DVD debut), and "Elvis: The Hollywood Collection."
The lead Paramount offering is the "Lights! Camera! Elvis! Collection" presented in a collectible blue suede case.
The restored "Jailhouse Rock Deluxe Edition" and "Viva Las Vegas Deluxe Edition" DVDs will sell for $19.97 each and feature Dolby 5.1 soundtracks, commentary and featurettes; the Las Vegas concert docu "Elvis: That's the Way It Is" and the behind-the-scenes bio "This is Elvis" retail for $20.97 each. The six-disc "Elvis: The Hollywood Collection" includes new-to-DVD "Charro," "Girl Happy," "Kissin' Cousins," "Stay Away," "Joe," "Tickle Me" and "Live a Little, Love a Little," $49.92 the set or $12.97 each. Paramount's eight-disc "Lights! Camera! Elvis" set contains "King Creole," "G.I. Blues," "Blue Hawaii," "Roustabout," "Girls! Girls! Girls!" "Fun In Acapulco," "Paradise, Hawaiian Style" and "Easy Come, Easy Go" and will sell for $76.99. (Posted May 16)
Two important releases this week from The Criterion Collection: Jean-Pierre Melville's "Army of Shadows" (1969 -- France) and Shohei Imamura's "Vengeance Is Mine" (1979 -- Japan). Jean-Pierre Melville's masterpiece about the French Resistance went unreleased
in the United States for 37 years before its triumphant theatrical
debut in 2006. Atmospheric and gripping, "Army of Shadows" is Melville's most
personal film, featuring Lino Ventura, Jean-Pierre Cassel, and the incomparable
Simone Signoret as intrepid underground fighters who must grapple with their own
brand of honor in their fight against evil. "Army of Shadows" was named best film of 2006 by critics from around the world, from the New York Times to Premiere magazine. The two-disc set features a new, restored, high-definition digital transfer, supervised by director of photography Pierre Lhomme, and is loaded with extras. "Vengeance Is Mine" (1979 -- Japan) is a diabolically funny tale about a thief, murderer and charming lady-killer on the run from the police. Acclaimed director Shohei Imamura turns a fact-based story, of a remorseless mass murderer from a devoutly Catholic family, into a cold, perverse, and, at times, humorous tale of the primitive coexisting with the modern. More than just a true-crime case, "Vengeance Is Mine" bares mankind's snarling id. "Vengeance Is Mine" was Imamura's biggest boxoffice hit in Japan and abroad, garnering acclaim and awards from around the world. In a new, restored high-definition digital transfer. (Posted May 15)
"Tex Avery's Droopy Dog: The Complete Theatrical Collection" is a two-disc set with 24 remastered and unedited animated shorts by this master of the cartoon genre. Avery created or developed some of the most timeless characters in cartoon history -- Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig and Droopy Dog -- along with the inimitable catchphrase "What's up, doc?" According to the Wikipedia entry for Avery, he "encouraged animators to stretch the boundaries of the medium to do things in a cartoon that could not be done in the world of live-action film. An often-quoted line about Avery's cartoons was, 'In a cartoon you can do anything,' and his cartoons often did just that." Extras in the $26.99 set include "Droopy and Friends: A Laugh Back" documentary retrospective featuring highlights of Tex Avery's iconic character and band of regular misfits, "Doggone Gags" montage of great moments from the Droopy series, culled together in the fashion of a gag reel, from Warner. (Posted May 15)
From TV to Video:
"American Dad! Volume Two" is a three-disc set with 19 episodes, $39.98 from Fox ... "Banacek: The First Season,"
a two-disc set with eight episodes, $29.95 from Hart Sharp Video ... "Coach: The Second Season," a two-disc set with 20 episodes, $26.98 from Universal ... "ER: The Complete Seventh Season," a
six-disc set with 22 episodes, $49.98 from Warner ... "Frasier: The Ninth Season" (2001-02), a four-disc set with 23 episodes, $42.99 from Paramount ... "Home Improvement: The Complete Sixth Season"
(1996-97), a three-disc set with 25 episodes, $23.99 from Buena Vista ... "The Last Detective, Series 3," a two-disc set with four episodes of the hit British mystery series about the "last" detective to get to be assigned cases, but the only one who can solve them; $39.99 from Acorn Media ... "Martin: The Complete Second Season," a four-disc set with 27 episodes, $29.98 from HBO Video ... "M*A*S*H Goodbye, Farewell and Amen," a three-disc set with the "Goodbye, Farewell and Amen" series finale on one disc, and two discs of bonus material; $29.98 from Fox ... "The Red Green Show: 1998 Season," a three-disc set with 14 episodes of the hit Canadian series about a backwoods handyman and his friends; $39.99 from Acorn Media ... "The Rockford Files: Season Four,"
a five-disc set with 21 episodes, $39.98 from Universal ... "The War at Home: The Complete First Season," featuring 22 episodes, $39.98 from Warner ... "Wings: The Fourth Season" (1992-93), a four-disc set with 22 episodes, $52.99 from Paramount. (Posted May 15)
Buzzin' the 'B's:
"Half Past Dead 2" (2005) stars Bill Goldberg and Ricardo "Kurupt" Brown in a direct-to-video sequel about two inmates serving time at a notoriously tough and violent penitentiary ruled by rival gangs; when a riot breaks out and the prison goes into lockdown, the two must form an unlikely alliance to stay alive, from Sony ... "Masters of Horror: Right to Die" (2007) is director Rob Schmidt's contribution to the Showtime horror anthology; stars Julia Anderson, Martin Donovan, Anna Galvin and Corbin Bernsen, from Anchor Bay ... "Seraphim Falls" (2006) is a Civil War adventure starring Liam Neeson, Pierce Brosnan, Michael Wincott, Ed Lauter and Angie Harmon, from Sony ... Recovering drug addicts are recruited into a clan of sex and gore-crazed vampires to get hooked on a new narcotic -- human blood, in "The Thirst" (2006), starring Jeremy Sisto, Adam Baldwin, Matt Keeslar, Clare Kramerk, Ellie Cornell and Erik Palladino, from Anchor Bay ... "Creepshow 3" (2006) features five new tales of spine-chilling horror, from HBO Video ... The lives of seven women are linked when a lonesome caretaker stumbles upon the body of a murdered girl in "The Dead Girl" (2006), starring Toni Collette, Bruce Davison, James Franco, Marcia Gay Harden, Mary Beth Hurt, Brittany Murphy, Giovanni Ribisi, Mary Steenburgen and Kerry Washington, from First Look Home Entertainment ... A best-selling author finds himself at the center of a murder mystery that could be from one of his books in "The Kovak Box" (2006), starring Timothy Hutton, David Kelly and Lucia Jimenez, from First Look Home Entertainment ... "The Last Sin Eater" (2007) stars Louise Fletcher, Henry Thomas, Liana Liberato and Soren Fulton in an inspirational film, set in 1850s Appalachia, that follows a girl whose guilt over her grandmother and sister's deaths leads her to "the sin eater" who she hopes will redeem her, from Fox Faith ... In "Love Trap" (2005), an up-and-coming law student's life is changed when he meets a temptress in a red dress, from First Look Home Entertainment. (Posted May 15)
On the Indie Front:
In "Bunny Whipped" (2006), a sportswriter-turned-superhero tracks down a "murdered" rap star and meets up with his old high-school girlfriend, now an animal-rights crusader, who needs his help to save her rabbits; stars Joey Lauren Adams, Laz Alonsoa and Rebecca Gayheart, from ThinkFilm. (Posted May 15)
In "Family Law" (2006 -- Spanish), a young man adjusts to his recent fatherhood by meditating on the ways in which he is similar -- and so very different -- from his own father. The film, which stars Daniel Hendler, Arturo Goetz, Eloy Burman, Julieta Diaz and Adriana Aizemberg, was Argentina's Official Submission to the 2007 Academy Awards for foreign-language film; from Genius Products. (Posted May 15)
For the Family:
"Learning Magic With Lyn" features 11 uncomplicated but impressive tricks any child can learn witthin minutes using ordinary, everyday household items, with the help of master illusionist Lyn Dillies. Each trick is performed by Dillies, who then lets viewers in on the secrets behind the tricks. Kids can make objects disappear, sever and magically repair a "Magic Ribbon," turn water into ice instantly, change the color of a lollipop, and astound friends with "Mindreading Crayons" and "Ropes Through Body." For ages seven and over; $14.99 (www.magicoflyn.com) ... "A Pup Named Scooby-Doo Volume 6" includes five 22 minute episodes from the preschool TV series, $14.97 from Warner ... "Tom and Jerry Tales: Volume 2" (2005) includes 12 episodes of the Kids' WB series featuring the first newly created Tom and Jerry shorts in 30 years, $14.97 from Warner ... "Curious George: Rocket Ride & Other Adventures" features eight shows from the PBS Kids TV series, $16.98 from Universal. (Posted May 15)
"Tim Buckley: My Fleeting House" features rare live performances from various television shows, interview footage spanning Buckley's entire career, 11 full-length songs and three partial performances from 1967 to 1974, and includes unreleased videos of Buckley on "The Steve Allen Show" (1969) and on WITF's "The Show" (1970). Includes a 12-page booklet of unreleased
Buckley photos and an album-by-album review by songwriter Larry Beckett,
guitarist Lee Underwood and author David Browne; $19.95 from MVD Visual ...
"Alexander Hamilton" (2007) is a PBS American experience documentary on the founding father, $24.99 from Paramount. (Posted May 15)
Six popular films get special treatments this week: "Donnie Brasco Extended Cut" expands director Mike Newell's 1997 "wise guy" film by adding back 20 minutes; the film stars Al Pacino, Johnny Depp, Michael Madsen, Bruno Kirby, James Russo and Anne Heche. Extras include commentary by Newell and a "Donnie Brasco: Out From the Shadows" featurette; from Sony ... Alfred Hitchcock's 1955 "To Catch a Thief" gets the royal treatment in a Special Collector's Edition from Paramount: The film, starring Cary Grant and Grace Kelly, has been digitally transfered from the 8-perf VistaVision elements. Extras include commentary by Peter Bogdanovich and DVD producer Laurent Bouzereau, a making-of featurette, "Alfred Hitchcock and To Catch a Thief: An Appreciation," more ... "Mrs. Doubtfire Behind-the-Seams Edition" is a two-disc set of the 1993 film directed by Chris Columbus and starring Robin Williams, Sally Field, Pierce Brosnan, Harvey Fierstein, Matthew Lawrence and Mara Wilson. Extras include new interviews with Williams, deleted scenes, alternate scenes, "From Man to Mrs.: The Evolution of Mrs. Doubtfire" featurette, "Aging Gracefully: A Look Back at Mrs. Doubtfire" featurette, "Makeup Application With Ve Neill" featurette, "The Improvisation of Mrs. Doubtfire," behind-the-scenes photo gallery, more; from Fox ... Six popular films get special treatments this week: "Donnie Brasco Extended Cut" expands director Mike Newell's 1997 "wise guy" film by adding back 20 minutes; the film stars Al Pacino, Johnny Depp, Michael Madsen, Bruno Kirby, James Russo and Anne Heche. Extras include commentary by Newell and a "Donnie Brasco: Out From the Shadows" featurette; from Sony ... Alfred Hitchcock's 1955 "To Catch a Thief" gets the royal treatment in a Special Collector's Edition from Paramount: The film, starring Cary Grant and Grace Kelly, has been digitally transfered from the 8-perf VistaVision elements. Extras include commentary by Peter Bogdanovich and DVD producer Laurent Bouzereau, a making-of featurette, "Alfred Hitchcock and To Catch a Thief: An Appreciation," more ... "Mrs. Doubtfire Behind-the-Seams Edition" is a two-disc set of the 1993 film directed by Chris Columbus and starring Robin Williams, Sally Field, Pierce Brosnan, Harvey Fierstein, Matthew Lawrence and Mara Wilson. Extras include new interviews with Williams, deleted scenes, alternate scenes, "From Man to Mrs.: The Evolution of Mrs. Doubtfire" featurette, "Aging Gracefully: A Look Back at Mrs. Doubtfire" featurette, "Makeup Application With Ve Neill" featurette, "The Improvisation of Mrs. Doubtfire," behind-the-scenes photo gallery, more; from Fox ... For "Dirty Dancing Twentieth Anniversary," starring Jennifer Grey, Patrick Swayze, Jerry Orbach, Cynthia Rhodes, Jack Weston, Jane Brucker and Kelly Bishop, Lionsgate has put together a two-disc set of the 1987 film with an interview with Swayze, deleted scenes, extended scenes, outtakes, and more. ... Two Tom Hanks films from Fox get special treatment in what the company is calling its Tom Hanks Promotion: "Big Extended Edition"
(1988), directed by Penny Marshall and starring Hanks, Elizabeth Perkins, Robert Loggia, John Heard, Jared Rushton, David Moscow, Jon Lovitz and Mercedes Ruehl, is a two-disc set with an extended cut with 25 additional minutes and such extras as commentary by writers Gary Ross and Anne Spielberg, deleted scenes, extended scenes, "Backstory: Big" featurette, "Big Beginnings" featurette, "Chemistry of a Classic" documentary, "The Work of Play" featurette, more; and
"That Thing You Do Tom Hanks' Extended Cut" (1996), directed by Hanks and starring Tom Everett Scott, Liv Tyler, Johnathon Schaech, Steve Zahn, Ethan Embry, Tom Hanks, Charlize Theron, Obba Babatunde, Giovanni Ribisi, Alex Rocco, Peter Scolari, Rita Wilson and Chris Isaak; the two-disc set includes a "Making That Thing You Do" featurette, "The Story of the Wonders" featurette, "That Thing You Do" reunion, more. (Posted May 8)
From TV to Video:
Due this week: "Cagney & Lacey Season One," a four-disc set with 22 episodes, $39.98 from MGM ... "Everybody Loves Raymond: The Complete Eighth Season,"
a five-disc set with 23 episodes, $44.98 from HBO Video ... "The 4400: The Third Season," a four-disc set with 13 episodes, $42.99 from Paramount ..."McLeod's Daughters: The Complete Second Season," a six-disc set with 22 episodes; $59.98 from Koch Vision ... "Starhunter: The Complete Series," a four-disc set with 22 episodes, $29.99 from Echo Bridge Home Entertainment ... "That '70s Show Season Six," a four-disc set with 25 episodes, $49.98 from Fox ... "The Waltons: Season Five," a five-disc set with 24 episodes, $39.98 from Warner. (Posted May 8)
Buzzin' the 'B's:
"Backslash" (2007) stars Tara Platt in a thriller about an unrelenting killer who stalks two beautiful freshman students after they're cast as the unwitting stars of a low-budget student slasher film and its deadly Web site, from Central Park Media/Below the Radar ... "From Other Worlds" (2004) is a Sci Fi comedy about a lonely housewife who teams with an African immigrant to fight UFOs and save the earth, starring Cara Buono and Isaach De Bankole, from BFS Entertainment & Multimedia Ltd. ... "Graveyard Alive" (2003) stars Anne Day-Jones, Samantha Slan and Karl Gerhardt in a horror comedy about a dowdy nurse transformed into a flesh-eating sex kitten by a zombie-infected woodsman, from BFS Entertainment & Multimedia Ltd. ... New genre label Deimos/BCI Eclipse has two cult films from Spain's legendary star-director Paul Naschy: "Night of the Werewolf (El Retorno Del Hombre Lobo)" (1980) and "Vengeance of the Zombies (La Rebelion De Las Muertas)" (1972) ... In "The System Within" (2006) starring Tariq Alexander, Chingy, Hawthorne James, Bryce Eilson and Kim Poter, a corrupt government, greed and jealousy topple a top fashion model, from First Look Home Entertainment ... In "Things to Do" (2006), starring Mike Stasko and Daniel Wilson, a 25-year-old man abruptly leaves his mundane city office job and returns to his childhood suburban home, where he reunites with an eccentric high school acquaintance and embarks on a wacky path of personal growth, seting out to complete a "Things To Do" list, a collection of bizarre aspirations plucked from the gaps of an incomplete adolescence, from LifeSize Entertainment. (Posted May 8)
"638 Ways to Kill Castro" (2006) is a documentary on the hundreds of alleged plots to assassinate Fidel Castro, and a look at the evolution of Cuban politics, from BCI Eclipse ... "Seven Spiritual Laws of Success" (2007) is based on the inspirational New York Times best-seller by the renowned doctor and scholar Deepak Chopra, from Fox ... "The Empire in Africa" (2006) unravels the complex dynamics behind the civil war in Sierra Leone, a war that lasted 11 years and resulted in tens of thousands of deaths and the displacement of more than 2 million people (or one-third of the population); narrated by acclaimed musician Richie Havens. $24.95 from Cinema Libre Studio ... Decca Vision/Decca Label Group will release this week the first installment of "On Stage at World Cafe," a series of live concerts available for the first time on DVD. The first four shows include such diverse artists as singer-songwriter David Poe, rockers Living Colour, Old 97's front man Rhett Miller and The Knack. Each show is hosted by WXPN's legendary Philadelphia radio personality David Dye, who also fronts the nationally syndicated "World Cafe" radio program. The shows also feature interviews with the artists by Michaela Majoun, host of WXPN's Morning Show. The series will be debuting on PBS in early May as a 13-episode television run (check local PBS station listings for airdates) ... "Dateline Afghanistan: Reporting the Forgotten War" explores the conflict in Afghanistan through the prism of the men and women who cover it. The United States alone has some 20,000 troops fighting for hearts and minds in Afghanistan -- in the shadow of the media spotlight shining on Iraq. Veteran journalist Bill Gentile spent a month in an embedded assignment with U.S. troops in Afghanistan, following fellow reporters and photographers from The New York Times, the BBC, Time, The Washington Post, and others, to reveal the daily personal and professional pressures of the men and women who send us the first draft of history. From Choices Inc. (www.choicesvideo.com). (Posted May 8)
"The mole is an animal that digs tunnels underground searching for the sun. Sometimes his journey leads him to the surface. When he looks at the sun, he is blinded." So begins Alejandro Jodorowsky's classic "El Topo," a surrealistic journey mixing religion, 1960s "Theatre of Cruelty," Western film motifs and downright craziness into a film that took the underground by storm and, when it began screening at New York's Elgin Theater in 1970, sparked the Midnight Movie phenomena. Long unavailable in any form in the United States, ABKCO Films and Anchor Bay have released this week "El Topo" and two other mind-bending Jodorowsky classics, "The Holy Mountain" and "Fando Y Lis." These astonishing films, which have been fully restored and remastered, are housed in a special limited edition collector's box set featuring the "El Topo" and "The Holy Mountain" soundtracks and "La Cravate," Jodorowsky's first film, never-before released; for $49.98, with "El Topo" and "The Holy Mountain" also available separately at $24.98 each. Classic Americana and avant-garde European sensibilities collide with Zen Buddhism and the Bible as master gunfighter and mystic El Topo (played by writer-director Jodorowsky) tries to defeat four sharp-shooting rivals on a bizarre path to allegorical self-awareness and resurrection. Jodorowsky's high budget follow up effort, "The Holy Mountain" (1973), takes his psychedelic allegorical mastery to another level. Grotesque, mystical and sacrilegious, it is an excursion into the meaning of earthly wealth and immortality. Rounding out the set is Jodorowsky's first full-length feature film, "Fando Y Lis." Based on Jodorowsky's memories of a play by surrealist Fernando Arrabal, it caused an uproar in the avant-garde community when it premiered in 1967 in Acapulco. A must for cinema lovers and cult-film fans who want to discover the precursor to the likes of Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez. (Posted May 1)
Also due this week is the "Tyrone Power: The Swashbuckler Box
Set" a five-disc set with "The Black Rose" (1950), "Blood and Sand" (1941), "Captain From Castile" 1947), "Prince of Foxes" (1949) and "Son of Fury: The Story of Benjamin Blake" (1942), $59.98 or $19.98 each, from (Fox) ... and "An Officer and a Gentleman Special Collector's
Edition" commemorating the 25th anniversary of the 1982 film, directed by
Taylor Hackford and starring Richard Gere, Debra Winger, David Keith, Robert
Loggia, Lisa Blount, Lisa Eilbacher and Louis Gossett Jr. Extras include commentary by Hackford, "An Officer and a Gentleman: 25 Years Later" retrospective documentary, "Return to Port Townsend" featurette, "True Stories of Military Romance" featurette, "The Music of An Officer and a
Gentleman," "Gere and Gossett: Hand to Hand Combat," and a photo gallery, from Paramount. (Posted May 1)
From TV to Video:
Due this week: "The Best of Barbara Mandrell & The Mandrell
Sisters," a two-disc set with over 44 musical performances by Johnny and June Carter Cash,
Dolly Parton, Ray Charles, Alabama, Glenn Campbell, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans,
the Statler Brothers, the Charlie Daniels Band, Ray Stevens and many more from
the show that ran from 1980-82; $24.98, from Time Life ... At long last, an official "best" set of the classic "Ozzie and Harriet" TV series: "The Best of the Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet" is a four-disc set with 24 episodes, with such extras as "The Story of Ozzie & Harriet," Nelson family home movies, commentaries by David Nelson and Ricky's son, Sam Nelson, an original radio episode (1949) and a Nelson family trivia quiz, $34.98 from Shout! Factory ... "Beverly Hills 90210: The Second
Season," an eight-disc set with 28 episodes, $61.99 from Paramount ... "Dinosaurs: The Complete Third and Fourth Seasons," a four-disc set, $39.99 from Buena Vista ...
"The Girls Next Door Season Two," a three-disc set with nine episodes from the reality series, $29.98 from Fox ... "The King of Queens: 8th Season"
(2005-06), a three-disc set with 23 episodes, $39.95 from Sony ... "Melrose Place" The Second Season," an eight-disc set with 31 episodes, $61.99 from Paramount ... "What I Like About You: The Complete First Season," a three-disc set with 22 episodes, $39.98 from Warner. (Posted May 1)
Buzzin' the 'B's:
In "Motives 2: Retribution" (2007), a wrongly
accused man is murdered in prison and new evidence surfaces about his
incarceration and an old murder, with all indications pointing to his best
friend; stars Vivica A. Fox, Brian J. White, Sean Blakemore and Drew Sidora, from Sony ...
"Illegal Aliens" (2007) is the last film made by Anna Nicole Smith; the Sci Fi satire is about three aliens who morph into "super-hot babes" and arrive to protect the earth from the intergalactic forces of evil; very dumb and totally beyond the realm of redeeming prurient interest in the dead; from MTI Home Video. (Posted May 1)
On the Indie Front:
"Diggers " (2007) stars Paul Rudd, Ken Marino, Ron Eldard, Josh Hamilton, Sarah Paulson, Maura Tierney and Lauren Ambrose in the story of two generations of hard-living blue collar
workers -- clam diggers -- trying to maintain their way of life in the face of
change during the 1970s; the film was released theatrically just last week; from Magnolia Home Entertainment. (Posted May 1)
For the Family:
For the little ones this week there's "Caillou the Creative,"
with 12 new animated adventures from the PBS Kids series, $14.99 from Paramount ...
"Jay Jay the Jet Plane: Jay Jay's Big Mystery," with six all-new high-flying animated episodes from the PBS Kids pre-school series, $12.99 from Paramount ... "Strawberry Shortcake: Berry Blossom Festival" (2007) is a new animated feature based on the kids TV series; $14.98 from Fox ... "Teletubbies: Time to Play!" features three new adventures available exclusively on DVD, $14.99 from Paramount ... And for older kids there's "Tom and Jerry Tales: Volume 2," with 12 cartoons from the Kids' WB series, $14.97 from Warner ... "The Sandlot 3: Heading Home" (2007), starring Luke Perry, Danny Nucci and Chauncey Leopardi in the second baseball sequel for young boys, from Fox. (Posted May 1)
"Who the #$&% Is Jackson Pollock?" (2006) is an Emmy and Peabody Award-winning short that documents a 15-year war between a retired truck driver and the art world over the value of a Jackson Pollock original, from New Line ... "Best of the Tony Awards: The Plays" (2005) is a compilation of amazing dramatic performances from the archives of the Tony Awards broadcasts in which legendary stars perform key scenes from 19 shows; hosted by Harvey Fierstein. $19.99 from Acorn Media ... "Camelot" (1982) is the acclaimed production of the Lerner and Loewe musical, mounted for Broadway at New York's historic Winter Garden Theatre and filmed for TV by HBO; stars Richard Harris, Meg Bussert, Richard Muenz, Barrie Ingham and James Valentine; $29.99 from Acorn Media ... "A Collection of 2006 Academy Award Nominated Short Films" (2006) is a compilation all the shorts nominated by the Academy; included are this year's Oscar-winners "The Danish Poet" (animated) and "West Bank Story" (live-action); $29.98 from Magnolia Home Entertainment ... "Matthew Barney: No Restraint" (2006) is a look at the mastery and abstract vision of renowned artist Matthew Barney, as he and his collaborator, singer-songwriter Bjork, embark on an unbelievable filmmaking journey in Japan; $24.95 from Genius Products ... "Finding Oprah's Roots: Finding Your Own" (2007) follows Oprah Winfrey as she discovers unsung heroes among her ancestors; hosted by Henry Louis Gates Jr., who guides viewers through the process of creating their own family histories; $24.99 from Paramount. (Posted May 1)
Three literary classics make their way home this week: "Anna Karenina"
(1948), starring Vivien Leigh and Ralph Richardson; "Jane Eyre"
(1944), starring Orson Welles, Joan Fontaine, Margaret O'Brien, Agnes Moorehead and Hillary Brooke; and "Les Miserables," a two-disc set with the 1935 version starring Fredric March, Charles Laughton and Cedric Hardwicke; and the 1952 version directed by Lewis Milestone and starring
Michael Rennie, Debra Paget, Robert Newton, Edmund Gwenn, Sylvia Sidney, Cameron
Mitchell, Elsa Lanchester; all have been delicately restored by Fox ... More classics: "James Cagney: The Signature Collection," is a five-disc set with "The Bride Came C.O.D.," "Captain of the Clouds," "The Fighting 69th," "Torrid Zone" and "The West Point Story"; $49.92 or $19.97 each, from Warner ... "Fixed Bayonets!" (1951) is one of director Sam Fuller's must-see war films, starring Richard Basehart, Gene Evans and Michael O'Shea, from Fox. (Posted April 24)
From TV to Video:
Due this week: "Columbo Mystery Movie Collection
1989," a three-disc set with all five feature-length "Columbo" telefilms from 1989,
$26.98 from Universal ... "The Drew Carey Show: The Complete First Season,"
a four-disc set with 22 episodes, $39.98 from Warner ... "Flipper Season One"
(1964),a four-disc set with 30 episodes, $39.98 from MGM ... "The Good Soldier"
(1981) starring Robin Ellis, Vickery Turner, Jeremy Brett and Susan Fleetwood in a Masterpiece Theatre tangle of religion, sex, deception and Edwardian-era social mores, based on the novel by Ford Madox Ford, from Acorn Media ... "Kidnapped: The Complete Series" (2005) is a three-disc set with all 13 episodes, $49.95 from Sony ... "Morel Orel: Volume One" is a two-disc set with 15 uncensored episodes of the Adult Swim 15-minute stop-motion, animated series, $29.98 from Warner ... "NCIS: The Third Season" (2005), a six-disc set with 24 episodes, $64.99 from Paramount ... "The Odd Couple: Season One," a four-disc set with 24 episodes, $42.99 from Paramount ... "One Day at a Time: The Complete First Season" (1975-76), a two-disc set with 15 episodes, $29.95 from Sony ... "The Ruby in the Smoke" (2006), a Masterpiece Theatre adaptation of the first book in the series of Phillip Pullman's quartet of novels set in Victorian
London about super sleuth Sally Lockhart, $19.85 from WGBH Boston Video ... "WKRP in Cincinnati Season One" (1978-79), a three-disc set with 22 episodes, $39.98 from Fox. (Posted April 24)
Buzzin' the 'B's:
In "Until Death" (2007) a dirty cop falls into a coma after a gunfight, awakens a "new" man, and tries to make amends by cleaning up the bad guys, starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, Stephen Rea, Rachel Grant and Mark Dymond, from Sony. ... A remote Thai village is overrun by
terrorists armed with a nuclear missile and an elite undercover operative leads a unique martial arts fighting force in a heroic bid to save the nation in the two-disc "ultimate" edition of "Born to Fight" (2004), from Dragon Dynasty/The Weinstein Company/Genius Products ... In "The Last Supper" (2006 -- Japan), a renowned plastic surgeon develops a taste for human flesh, from MTI Home Video ... "Small Town Conspiracy (aka Florida
City)" (2003) is a murder mystery set in Pearl Harbor that dove trails with the Japanese sneak attack, from Echo Bridge Home Entertainment ... ".45" (2006) stars Milla Jovovich, Angus Macfadyen, Stephen Dorff, Aisha Tyler, Sarah Strange and Vincent Laresca in a terribly boring and nasty tale about a gang moll who gets fed up with her abusive boyfriend and plots to get rid of him, from ThinkFilm ... "Tears of the Black Tiger"
(2000 -- Thailand) is a cult film homage to Westerns and martial arts, billed as a
cross between a Toshiro Mifune samurai, a Clint Eastwood gunslinger and Bruce
Lee, from Magnolia Home Entertainment ... "Naked You Die (aka The Young, the Evil & the
Savage" (1968 -- Italian) stars Mark Damon, Eleonora Brown, Michael Rennie and Luciano Pigozzi in a macabre tale of murder at an all-girls school, from the minds of Italian horror kings Mario Bava and Antonio Margheriti; complete and uncut for the first time in the States from Dark Sky Films/MPI Home Video ... Two cunning and manipulative drifters venture into suburban Connecticut to seduce wealthy housewives in "Slingshot" (2005), starring David Arquette, Thora Birch, Balthazar Getty, Julianna Margulies, Joely Fisher, Michael Janik and Svetlana Metkina, from The Weinstein Co./Genius Products. (Posted April 24)
On the Indie Front:
Mena Suvari, Marsha Thomason, Katherine Heigl and Breckin Meyer star in "Caffeine"
(2006), a comedy about life, love and relationships among the staff and regulars of a hip,
offbeat coffee house, from First Look Home Entertainment ... A down-on-his-luck actor prepping for an upcoming role meets a quirky grocery clerk in L.A. and the pair hit the road to show one another their respective worlds in "10 Items or Less" (2006), starring Morgan Freeman, Paz Vega, Jonah Hill and Bobby Cannavale, from First Look Home Entertainment ... In "The Trouble With Men and Women" (2006), a young man embarks on a journey of self-discovery and search for love with a variety of casual encounters after being dumped by his girlfriend, from IFC/Genius
Products ... "Stand Up" (2007) is a comedy based on the off-beat world of stand up comedians, shot in and around Los Angeles and New York's most well-known comedy clubs, from SRO Entertainment. (Posted April 24)
The classic "How Tasty Was My Little Frenchman"
(1971 -- Brazil), directed by Nelson Pereira dos Santos and starring Arduino Colassanti and Ana Maria Magalhaes is the ironic tale of a Frenchman captured by Tupinambas indians in the late-16th century. In spite of efforts to convince them that he is French, they believe he is Portuguese, who support the rival Indian tribe, the Tupiniquins. Eventually he helps the Tupinambas defeat the Tupiniquins in a battle, and to celebrate their victory, they decide to eat him. From New Yorker Video. (Posted April 24)
For the Family:
"Ed, Edd, n Eddy: The Complete Second Season" is a two-disc set with 13 episodes, from the popular kids series, $19.98 from Warner ... "Binky Goes Nuts" features four stories from the Emmy Award-winning "Arthur" TV series, offering kids,
parents, and teachers insights into important health issues for kids, including
nut allergies and the benefits of exercise; $12.95 from WGBH Boston Video ... "James Marshall's Cinderella ... And More Beloved Fairy Tales" (2007) includes the title tale, based on the best-selling picture book by James Marshall, along with four other modern adaptations of classic fairy tales: "Hansel and Gretel," "The Three Billy Goats Gruff," "The Elves and the Shoemaker" and "The Fisherman and His Wife"; $14.95 from Scholastic Video Collection ... "Hanna-Barbera Storybook Favorites" is a neat three-disc set with three animated "Famous Classic Tales": "Black Beauty," "The Last of the Mohicans" and "Gulliver's Travels"; $19.98 from Koch Vision. (Posted April 24)
"Buddy Greco: The Man and the Music" (2007) is a disappointing
three-part single-disc DVD about the "singer's singer"; the documentary, hosted by Greco, features the jazz musician speaking in detail about his multi-faceted life, showing off his amazing collection of photographs and memorabilia, interspersed with combo performances in a small studio and some big band sessions in Las Vegas, all recorded fairly recently; the feature lacks adequate footage of Greco's breathtaking performances from the 60s and 70s; $19.99 from SRO Entertainment ... "The Fabulous 60s" (2005) is a year-by-year scrapbook that takes a kaleidoscopic look back at the decade that began in hope with man's exploration of space and the youngest elected President of the United States, John Fitzgerald Kennedy ... and ended in a welter of Cold War intrigue,political assassination, civil unrest, student demonstrations and U.S. involvement in Vietnam; narrated by Peter Jennings; four-disc set, $39.98 from MPI Home Video ... "The Legendary Crooners: Frank, Dean, Bing, Nat and Perry" (2005) is a PBS pledge program with 20 full-length song clips from Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Perry Como, Dean Martin and Nat "King" Cole; $19.99 from SRO Entertainment ... "Tim Buckley: My Fleeting House" is the first-ever collection of performances by Buckley, featuring rare live performances from TV appearances and interview footage spanning his short but spectacular career; includes interviews with songwriter Larry Beckett, Lee Underwood (Buckley's guitarist) and David Browne (author of "Dream Brother: The Lives of Jeff and Tim Buckley"); $19.95 from MVD Visual. (Posted April 24)
"Bugs!" features three NOVA documentaries: "Ants: Little Creatures who Run the World," "Bees: Tales from the Hive" and "The Unknown World"; $29.95 from WGBH Boston Video ... "Geronimo and the Apache Resistance" (1988), "The Hurricane of '38," "Surviving the Dust Bowl" and "Lost in the Grand Canyon" (1999), about the famous John Wesley Powell expedition into the Grand Canyon in 1869, are American Experience documentaries; $19.95 each from WGBH Boston Video ... "Tsunami, the Aftermath" (2006) is an HBO miniseries focusing on a group of fictional characters caught up in the harrowing aftermath of the tsunami that devastated the coast of Thailand two years ago, from HBO Video. (Posted April 24)
"Steven Wright: When the Leaves Blow Away" (2007) Showcases the work of the Oscar-winning comedian; features Wright's May 2006 namesake performance at Toronto's historic Elgin Theater, his first stand-up special since 1990's "Wicker Chairs and Gravity"; $14.99 from Image Entertainment ... In Kultur's new documentary "The Hollywood Sound: Music for the Movies," viewers can listen to the sounds of their favorite scores against a backdrop of momentous clips from original classic films. Host and narrator John Mauceri conducts the BBC national Orchestra of Wales, revisiting the works of composers: Max Steiner ("Gone With the Wind"), Franz Waxman ("Bride of Frankenstein") and Erich Korngold ("The Adventures of Robin Hood") while also taking a look at the accomplished works of composers David Raksin ("Laura") and Alfred Newman ("The Hunchback of Notre Dame"); $24.99 ... "Tropic of Gallagher Comedy Special" is a rare performance by the zany comedian, including a show-stopping "Sledge-O-Matic" ending, $14.99 from SRO Entertainment. (Posted April 24)
From Dream girl to big girl: The Eddie Murphy starrer "Norbit"
has been scheduled for a June 5 release date by Paramount. The comedy,
co-starring Thandie Newton, Cuba Gooding Jr., Marlon Wayans and Eddie Griffin
will be loaded with extras and will also be available on Blu-ray and HD DVD ...
Warner Home Video doubles the stakes with its "The Film Noir Classic
Collection Vol. 4," debuting July 31, with legendary Hollywood tough
guys and femme fatales once again colliding, this time on five discs with 10
smoldering suspense classics, all new to DVD. Titles include "Act of
Violence"/"Mystery Street"; "Crime Wave"/"Decoy"; "Illegal"/"The Big Steal";
"They Live By Night"/"Side Street" and "Where Danger
Lives"/"Tension." The movies, which have all been digitally remastered
for this collection, star film noir icons Robert Mitchum, Edward G. Robinson,
Robert Ryan, Van Heflin, Ricardo Montalban, Claude Rains and Farley Granger,
among others. The collection will be available for $59.92, or $20.97 per
disc. (Posted April 20)
Warner Home Video has set a May 22 release date for Clint Eastwood's visually and emotionally stunning "Letters From Iwo Jima," his Japanese-language "companion" to "Flags of Our Fathers" (which Paramount is re-releasing in a two-disc special edition on that day). The two-disc "Letters" includes two documentaries on the cast and
the making of the film. (Posted April 20)
Due this week: "Not Just the Best of the Larry Sanders
Show" is a four-disc set with 23 prime "Larry Sanders Show"
episodes and more than eight hours of newly produced material, including
recordings of personal and intimate visits with Shandling's friends that were
originally meant only for Shandling to see. These scenarios are the ultimate in
DVD verite, in that they are uncensored, real-life dialogues between Shandling
and stars who appear in the featured episodes, candid tete-a-tetes that take
place in the homes, offices and special haunts of the stars. The episodes chosen
are not necessarily the "best" of Larry Sanders but rather a reprentative
sampling from the groundbreaking, edgy series that ran from 1992 to 1998 on HBO;
$49.95 from Sony. (Posted April 17)
The Criterion Collection has three films dripping with social consciousness this
week: Prison melodrama "Brute Force" (1947), directed by a
pre-blacklisted Jules Dassin and starring Burt Lancaster, Hume Cronyn, Charles
Bickford, Yvonne De Carlo and Ann Blyth; "La Haine" (1995),
starring Vincent Cassel, Hubert Kounde and Said Taghmaoui, a gritty, unsettling,
and visually explosive look at the racial and cultural volatility in modern-day
France; and anti-war drama "Overlord" (1975). As hard-hitting
as its title, "Brute Force" was the first of Jules Dassin's forays into the crime
genre, a prison melodrama that takes a critical look at American society as
well. Burt Lancaster is the timeworn Joe Collins, who, along with his fellow
inmates, lives under the heavy thumb of the sadistic, power-tripping guard
Captain Munsey (a riveting Hume Cronyn). Matter-of-fact and ferocious, "Brute
Force" builds to an explosive climax that shows that man's desperation for
freedom knows no bounds. When he was just 29 years old, Mathieu Kassovitz took
the international film world by storm with "La haine" (Hate), a gritty,
unsettling, and visually explosive look at the racial and cultural volatility in
modern-day France, specifically in the low-income banlieue districts on Paris's
outskirts. Aimlessly whiling away their days in the concrete environs of their
dead-end suburbia,three men give human faces to France's immigrant populations,
their bristling resentments at their social marginalization slowly simmering
until they reach a climactic boiling point. Seamlessly interweaving archival war
footage and a fictional narrative, Stuart Cooper's "Overlord" is an immersive
account of one 20-year-old's journey from basic training to the battle front
lines at D-day, bringing all the terrors and isolation of war to its viewers
with jolting authenticity. Impressionistically shot by Stanley Kubrick's
longtime cinematographer John Alcott, the film is both a document of WWII and a
dreamlike meditation on man's smallness in a large, incomprehensible machine.
All three films have been restored with high-definition digital transfers. (Posted April 17)
From TV to Video:
Due this week: "Foxworthy's Big Night Out," a two-disc set with
12 episodes, $26.99 from Paramount ... "George Lopez: The Complete First
and Second Seasons," a four-disc set with 28 episodes, $39.98 from
Warner ... "Happy Days: The Second Season," a four-disc set
with 23 episodes, $42.99 from Paramount ... "Laverne & Shirley: The
Second Season," a four-disc set with 23 episodes, $42.99 from Paramount
... "Kraken: Tentacles of the Deep" (2006) is a telefilm about
a marine expedition to find a legendary Greek opal that is threatened by an
undersea creature, starring Victoria Pratt, Jack Scalia and Charlie O'Connell,
from Echo Bridge Home Entertainment ... "Mork & Mindy: The Second
Season" is a four-disc set with 24 episodes, $42.99 from Paramount ...
"The Venture Brothers: Season Two" is a two-disc set with 13
episodes featuring Adult Swim's dim-witted duo Hank and Dean Venture, $29.98
from Warner. (Posted April 17)
Buzzin' the 'B's:
A children's book author on retreat at a farmhouse experiences paranormal
episodes in "The Marsh"
(2006), starring Forest Whitaker, Gabrielle Anwar, Justin Louis and Niamh
Wilson, from Sony ... "National Lampoon's Pucked"
(2006) is another teen exploiter in the series, this one directed by Arthur
Hiller and starring Bon Jovi, Estella Warren, David Faustino, Curtis
Armstrong, Nora Dunn and Cary Elwes, from Sony ... "Masters of Horror:
Family" (2005) is John Landis' contribution to the Showtime series: a
mild-mannered bachelor in suburbia builds a family from the bodies of his
murdered neighbors; stars George Wendt, John B. Scott, Meredith Monroe and Matt
Keeslar., from Anchor Bay. (Posted April 17)
On the Indie Front:
A disheveled, grumpy high school umpire forms an unlikely friendship with a
troubled teenager in "Off the Black" (2006), starring Nick
Nolte, Timothy Hutton, Sally Kirkland and Trevor Morgan, from ThinkFilm ...
"The Art of Passion (Aka Unconditional Love)" (1994) is a
semi-autobiographical coming-of-age story of Realist and Impressionist painter
Arthur Bjorn Egeli, who also directed the film, and his relationships with a
teacher and three women who help him discover his craft as well as himself, from
Liberation Entertainment/Genius Products ... in "The Third
Wish" (2005), starring Jenna Mattison, Sean Maguire, Armand Assante,
Jennifer Blanc and Betty White, a bookshop clerk is seemingly granted three
wishes after she finds a first-edition copy of Charles Dickens' "Great
Expectations," from Echo Bridge Home Entertainment. (Posted April 17)
For the Family:
"George and the Dragon" (2004), starring James Purefoy, Piper
Perabo, Patrick Swayze and Michael Clarke Duncan, is a family adventure about an
English knight who returns from the Crusades to battle a dragon to save a damsel
in distress; originally aired on the Sci Fi Channel; from First Look Home
Entertainment. (Posted April 17)
"Larry King Live: The Greatest Interviews" is a three-disc set
that features more than 300 of Larry King's greatest interviews; the release is
part of CNN's celebration of Larry King's 50th anniversary in broadcasting;
$34.98 from Warner ... "Monsieur N."
(2003) is a documentary that uses a combination of historical record and
creative speculation to explore the possibility that Napoleon Bonaparte escaped
his exile at St. Helena in a clever ruse undiscovered until now, from Empire
Pictures/First Run Features ... "MXC: Most Extreme Elimination Challenge
Season Two" is a two-disc set of the cult Spike TV show that uses
footage from the 1980s Japanese TV show "Takeshi's Castle" in a wacky cross
between "Mystery Science Theater 3000," "What's Up Tiger Lily" and the X-games,
$34.98 from Magnolia Home Entertainment. (Posted April 17)
New Line Cinema has changed the release date for the Kate Winslet-starring "Little Children," moving it from April 24 to May 1. (Posted April 12)
Sony will release on June 12 the exciting "Ghost Rider," starring Nicolas Cage, Jon Voight, Wes Bentley, Eva Mendes, Matt
Long, Sam Elliott, Peter Fonda and Donal Logue in the big screen adaptation of the comic book of the same name. Available in a single-disc theatrical version and a two-disc extended cut, as well as Blu-ray Disc. (Posted April 10)
Due this week is "The Doris Day Collection Volume 2,"
a six-disc set with "Romance on the High Seas," "By the Light of the Silvery
Moon," "I'll See You in My Dreams," "Lucky Me," "My Dream Is Yours" and "On
Moonlight Bay"; $59.92 or $19.97 each, from Warner ... Anchor Bay has revived two films by cult director Don Coscarelli: "Phantasm"
(1979), starring Michael Baldwin, Angus Scrimm, Reggie Bannister and
Bill Thornbury; and "Phantasm III" (1994), again starring Michael Baldwin, Angus Scrimm, Reggie Bannister and Bill Thornbury. Both films have been remastered with Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 sound and include fan favorite extras. The
gore-infested films follow a pair of brothers who encounter a ghoulish mortuary filled with killer dwarves controlled by the demonic Tall Man. And just to sweeten the pot, Anchor Bay's parent company, Starz Home Entertainment, will release a third Coscarelli outing,
"Survival Quest" (1989), a thriller about a wilderness challenge that goes awry when five stangers from the city cross paths with a sadistic paramilitary squad, starring Dermot Mulroney, Catherine Keener, Lance Henriksen, Mark Rolston, Steve
Antin, Ben Hammer and Reggie Bannister, fully restored from original vault elements under the personal supervision of Coscarelli and remastered in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Ex.
(Posted April 10)
From TV to Video:
Due this week: "Murder in Suburbia Series 2"
(2004), a two-disc set with six episodes of the complete second season of the BBC America mystery series about a pair of female detectives who solve crimes in an upscale English suburb, from Acorn Media ... "The Streets of San Francisco -- Season One,
Volume One " is a four-disc set with 14 episodes, $42.99 from Paramount ... "Sweeney Todd"
(2006) is a British telefilm about the 18th century serial killer, starring Ray Winstone, Essie Davis, Tom Hardy, David Warner and David Bradley, from Acorn Media ... "The Untouchables -- Season One, Volume
One" is a four-disc set with 15 episodes including the unofficial pilot, $42.99 from Paramount. (Posted April 10)
Buzzin' the 'B's:
"Dead and Deader" (2006) stars Dean Cain, Guy Torry, Susan Ward and Peter Greene in a ghoulish USA Network tale of undead soldiers, mutant scorpions and marauding zombies -- with a healthy dose of humor, from Anchor Bay ...
"Legend of the Doll" (2007) is the first live-action film in the Akihabara Trilogy, focusing on the trials and tribulations of a lonely guy who creates the perfect female figure from a special model kit -- only to discover, to his surprise and
delight, that the figure has a life of its own, from Central Park Media ... "The Investigator" (1997) is a British drama about a modern military witch-hunt into homosexuality in the British military, from Acorn Media ... "Sleeping Dogs
Lie (aka Stay)" (2006) is a weak comedy about love and sex, written and directed by Bob Goldthwait, from First Look Home Entertainment. (Posted April 10)
On the Indie Front:
"A Way of Life" (2004) stars Brenda Blethyn, Michael Conway and Gareth Gethyn Evans in a drama about troubled teenagers searching for meaning, from BFS Entertainment & Multimedia ... In "Life of the Party" (2005),
a young man must come to grips with the excessive drinking that has ruined his life, starring Ellen Pompeo, Eion Bailey, John Ales, Clifton Collins Jr. and Larry Miller, from ThinkFilm. (Posted April 10)
"Le petit lieutenant"
(2006 -- French) is a critically lauded film about an ambitious young cop who finds himself in over his head when a routine investigation spirals out of control, starring Nathalie Baye and Jalil Lespert, from Koch Lorber ... "The Aura" (2005 --
Argentina) is a psychological journey into the head of an epileptic man who works out the perfect heist, from Genius Products. (Posted April 10)
For the Family:
"Station Jim" (2001) is a British telefilm, set in Victorian
England, about a dog who escapes his mean master and ends up in a small country railway station, where he is taken in by the station porter and the kids from a local orphanage, from BFS Entertainment & Multimedia ... "Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! The
Complete Third Season" is a two-disc set with the last 16 episodes of the kids favorite, $34.98 from Warner ... "The Batman: The Complete Third Season" is a two-disc set with 13 episodes of the Kids WB! series, $19.98 from Warner
... "Teen Titans: The Complete Third Season" is a two-disc set with 13 episodes, $19.98 from
Warner. (Posted April 10)
"My Father the Genius" (2002) is an intriguing documentary on dreamer and visionary architect Glen Howard by his daughter, Lucia Small, from Metro Home Entertainment ... "Jonestown: The Life and Death of People's
Temple" (2006) is a PBS documentary about the tragic events that led up to the infamous Jonestown massacre, $24.99 from Paramount. (Posted April 10)
There's a melange of collectible DVDs being offered this week. First off is a
new DVD version of Bob Fosse's 1979 all singing, all dancing, all dying "All
That Jazz": "All That Jazz Music Edition," starring Roy
Scheider, Jessica Lange, Leland Palmer, Ann Reinking, Cliff Gorman and Ben
Vereen. This version replaces the Roy Scheider commentary in the 2003 version
with commentary by film editor Alan Heim, and adds a "Portrait of a
Choreographer" featurette, a "Perverting the Standards" featurette, making of
the song "On Broadway," Movie-oke with the song "Take Off With Us," a music machine scene selection feature that takes viewers directly to musical numbers,
Bob Fosse photo gallery, production snapshots gallery, more, from Fox ...
Stanley Donen's 1967 "Bedazzled," starring Peter Cook, Dudley
Moore and Raquel Welch, is a weird comedy about Stanley, a short-order cook, who
sells his soul to the devil to make a shapely waitress fall in love with him;
extras include an interview with Stanley Moon (Dudley Moore) and the Devil
(Peter Cook), "Bedazzled" conversation with Harold Ramis, stills gallery, from
Fox ... "Royal Flash" (1975) is Richard Lester's adaptation of
one of the "Flashman" series of novels about the Victorian Era world-be
aristocrat and coward Harry Flashman, starring Malcolm McDowell, Alan Bates,
Oliver Reed and Joss Ackland, with commentary by Malcolm McDowell and film
historian Nick Redman, an "Inside Royal Flash" featurette and still gallery,
from Fox ... "S*P*Y*S" (1974) is a forgettable spy spoof
notable only for its reteaming of Elliott Gould and Donald Sutherland, from Fox ...
"The Natural: Director's Cut" is a two-disc set of the 1984
baseball saga directed by Barry Levinson and starring Robert Redford, Glenn
Close, Kim Basinger, Wilford Brimley, Barbara Hershey, Robert Prosky and Richard
Farnsworth. Levinson added in 15 minutes of never-before-seen footage for this
release, and the set comes loaded with extras, including 11 featurettes, from
Sony. (Posted April 3)
From TV to Video:
Due this week: "Entourage: Season Three, Part One" is a three-
disc set with 12 episodes, $39.98 from HBO ... "Jump In! Freestyle
Edition" 2007), a Disney Channel original movie about a young boxer who
takes up Double Dutch jump roping, from Disney ... "Law & Order: The
Fifth Year," a five-disc set with 23 episodes, $59.98 from Universal
... "The Lost Room" (2006), the Sci Fi Channel miniseries
starring Peter Krause, Julianna Margulies, Margaret Cho, Roger Bart and Kevin
Pollak, from Lionsgate ... "Mind of Mencia: Uncensored Season
2" (2006) is a two-disc set with 15 episodes, $26.99 from Paramount ...
"Tom Goes to the Mayor: The Complete Series" is a three-disc
set with 30 episodes of the Adult Swim series, $34.98 from Warner ...
"Twin Peaks: The Second Season" is a six-disc set with 22
episodes, remastered from the original negatives with new 5.1 Surround Sound,
$61.99 from Paramount. (Posted April 3)
Buzzin' the 'B's:
"Attack of the Gryphon" (2007) is the recent Sci Fi Channel
telefilm that chronicles the tale of two kingdoms brought together in their
quest to defeat the flying Gryphon and the evil sorcerer who controls him,
starring Andrew Pleavin, Jonathan LaPaglia and Amber Benson, from Sony ...
"The King Maker" (2005) stars Gary Stretch and John Rhys-Davie
in the tale of a Portuguese soldier-of-fortune who travels to the Orient in
search of his father's killer only to become implicated in a conspiracy to
dethrone the King of Siam, from Sony ... In "Bottom Feeder"
(2006), a maintenance crew is hunted and terrorized by an indestructible monster
mistakenly created by the military, starring Tom Sizemore, Wendy Anderson, Joe
Dinicol, Simon Northwood and Martin Roach, from Genius Products ... Anchor Bay
has some real cult releases this week, directed by Italian schlock horror cult
priest Mario Bava: "Kidnapped (aka Rabid Dogs)" (1974), about a botched robbery that results in a hostage crisis; the film was
never released theatrically and this edition includes the original Bava version,
known as "Rabid Dog," and a version known as "Kidnapped" with footage shot by
the producer and Bava's son and longtime assistant Lamberto; and "The Mario
Bava Box Set: Volume 1," a five-disc set of five landmark films from
the first half of Bava's impressive career as a cinematographer, special effects
designer and director of macabre films: "The Mask of Satan (Black Sunday)"
(1960), "The Three Faces of Fear (Black Sabbath)" (1963), "The Girl Who Knew Too
Much" (1963), "Knives of the Avenger" (1966) and "Kill, Baby ... Kill!" (aka
"Curse of the Living Dead") (1966); $49.98. (Posted April 3)
On the Indie Front:
"Aurora Borealis" (2005) is a heartwarming story about a young
man who finds romance when he helps his defiant grandfather cope with
Parkinson's Disease, starring Donald Sutherland, Joshua Jackson, Juliette Lewis
and Louise Fletcher, from Regent Releasing/Liberation Entertainment ... When the
owner of a venerable diner in the wrong part of town has an "accident," the men
in her life scheme and fight for control of the establishment in "Hard
Scrambled" (2006), starring Kurtwood Smith, Richard Edson, Beth Grant,
Eyal Podell, Alanna Ubach and Thomas Kopache, from New Visions Fellowship. (Posted April 3)
For the Family:
"Little Robots: Reach for the Sky" features four 11-minute
"bite-sized" episodes starring the little robots who have created their own
little world right in the middle of a junk yard -- by ingenuity and recycling;
the series has received the Dove Foundation stamp of approval for telling
inspirational and educational stories, for preschool boys; $14.98 from Fox ...
"Sesame Street: Moving Together" features the baby Sesame
Street Muppets and their caregivers exploring all types of movements, with
special guest appearance by Sarah Jessica Parker, for the under 2-year-old set;
$12.98 from Sony Wonder ... In "Billy and Mandy's Big Boogey
Adventure" (2005), Billy, Mandy, Irwin and the Grim Reaper star in
their first-ever long form, made-for-TV movie, based on the popular Cartoon
Network animated series "The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy"; $14.97 from
Warner. (Posted April 3)
Warner and Fox reach way back into their archives for a pair of sets this week. First off there's "Errol Flynn: The Signature Collection Volume
2," a five-disc set with "Adventures of Don Juan" (1948), directed by Vincent Sherman and starring Flynn, Viveca Lindfors, Alan Hale, Ann Rutherford; "The Charge of the Light Brigade" (1936) directed by
Michael Curtiz and starring Flynn and Olivia de Havilland; "The Dawn Patrol" (1948) starring Flynn, David Niven, Basil Rathbone; "Dive Bomber" (1941), directed by Michael Curtiz and starring Flynn, Fred
MacMurray, Ralph Bellamy, Alexis Smith and Robert Armstrong; and "Gentleman Jim"
(1942), directed by Raoul Walsh and starring Flynn, Alexis Smith, Jack Carson, Alan Hale; $49.92 or $19.97 each. Each disc contains a variety of extras, from director commentary to shorts, cartoons and newsreels ... Fox meanwhile has "The Shirley
Temple Collection Volume 5," a three-disc set with "The Little Princess" (1939), "The Blue Bird" (1940) and "Stand Up and Cheer" (1934); $29.98. (Posted March 26)
From TV to Video:
Due this week: "Dick Van Dyke -- In Rare Form," featuring classic monologue, pantomime and song and dance routines from appearances on the 1958-59 season of "The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom"; $14.98 from MPI Home Video ...
"Family Affair Season 3," a five-disc set with 28 episodes, $39.98 from MPI Home Video ... "Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes -- Volume
One," featuring four episodes from the Cartoon Net series, $14.98 from Fox ... "Full House: The Complete Sixth
Season," a four-disc set with 24 episodes, $29.98 from Warner ... "The Jeffersons: The Complete Sixth
Season," a three-disc set with 24 episodes, $29.95 from Sony ... "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman: Volume
One," a three-disc set with 25 episodes, $29.95 from Sony ... "Midsomer Murders: Set Eight," a three-disc set with three British murder mysteries set in villages brimming with rose-covered cottages and eccentric characters, $39.99
from Acorn Media ... "7th Heaven: The Complete Fourth Season" (1999-2000), a six-disc set with 22 episodes, $54.99 from Paramount ... "The Shield Season Five,"
a four-disc set with 11 episodes, $59.98 from Fox ... "Sleepers" (1991) is a quirky BBC spy caper about two Russian spies, sent to England 25 years ago, who have assimilated and don't want to be found when the Kremlin comes calling; stars
Nigel Havers, Warren Clarke and Michael Gough; in a two-disc set for $39.99 from Acorn Media ... "Touched by an Angel: The Fourth Season, Volume
1" (1997),a four-disc set with 13 episodes, $42.99 from Paramount. (Posted March 26)
Buzzin' the 'B's:
In "Kill Baby Kill" (1966 -- Italy), a Balkan village is haunted by the ghost of a little girl, from Dark Sky Films/MPI Home Video ... "Comeback Season" (2006) stars Ray Liotta, Shaun Sipos, Rachel Blanchard and Glenne
Headley in a comedy about a married man who needs the help of a high school star quarterback to win back his wife after he was caught cheating on her, from First Look Home Entertainment ... "Pumpkinhead Ashes to Ashes" (2006) is the third
installment in the horrifying Pumpkinhead franchise, starring Doug Bradley, Lance Henriksen, Lynne Verrall and Douglas Roberts, from Sony ... An encounter with a beauty next door goes horribly wrong and turns into a chilling nightmare for a reclusive social misfit
in "Roman" (2006), starring Kristen Bell, Lucky McKee, Nectar Rose and James Duval, from Echo Bridge Home Entertainment ... In "El Cortez" (2006), Lou Diamond Phillips plays an autistic man who gets a clerk job at a
seedy motel in Reno after serving five years in a prison for the criminally insane; he gets involved with bad cops, wicked women, and a crippled prospector with a gold mine; from Monarch Home Video. (Posted March 26)
On the Indie Front:
"Color Me Kubrick" (2006) , which just opened theatrically last weekend, stars John Malkovich in the true story of a man who posed as director Stanley Kubrick while the director was in production on his last film, "Eyes Wide Shut," despite
knowing very little about his work and looking nothing like him; from Magnolia Home Entertainment ... "Candy" (2007) stars Heath Ledger, Geoffrey Rush and Abbie Cornish in a tale about a charming but reckless young poet who falls in love
with a beautiful young student who is attracted to his bohemian lifestyle and drug addiction; their passionate relationship alternates between bursts of ecstatic oblivion and bouts of despair and self-destruction; from ThinkFilm ... "Albert Fish"
(2007) is a docudrama that details the horrific true story of Albert Fish, the cannibal and serial killer who lured children to their deaths in Depression-era New York City, from Facets Multi-Media. (Posted March 26)
"Princesas" (2005 -- Spain) is a sobering tale of two young prostitutes in Madrid who like to pretend they are princesses to offer
themselves a glimpse of hope, even though they work in an industry where they are objectified and abused by men; stars Candela Pena and Micaela Nevarez; from IFC Films/Genius Products. (Posted March 26)
For the Family:
"The Pebble and the Penguin Family Fun Edition" (1995) brings back the Don Bluth animated feature, with the voices of Martin Short, Tim Curry, Jim Belushi and Hamilton Camp, in a two-disc set for 14.99, from MGM ... "Noisy
Nora ... and More Stories About
Mischief" (2006) features the title story plus "T Is for Terrible," "Cannonball" and "Goggles" in careful
adaptations of children's classics; $14.95 from Scholastic Video Collection ... for older kids theirs "Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes -- Volume 1," a single disc with four episodes from Cartoon Net series, $14.98 from Fox.
(Posted March 26)
Due this week: "Imax Deep Sea" (2006), a stunning documentary that embarks on an unparalleled underwater adventure, featuring narration by Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet; $27.95 from Warner ... "Celtic Tides" A Musical
Odyssey" (2006) celebrates the best of Celtic music with performances and interviews featuring The Chieftains, Loreena McKennitt, Clannad, Mary Black, Altan, Ashley
MacIsacc, Natalie MacMaster, The Rankin Family, Capercaillie, Dougie MacLean, Solas, Mary Jane Lamond and Old Blind Dogs; $19.98 from MPI Home Video ... "Redd Foxx and Groucho Marx" is a double bill of old school style stand-up
comedy, performed live in front
of a studio audience; $14.98 from MPI Home Video ... "Ultimate Iceman Chuck Liddell" includes three fights featuring the UFC light heavyweight champion, from First Look Home Entertainment ... "N Is a Number: A Portrait of Paul
Erdos" (1993) is the story of a wandering mathematician obsessed with unsolved problems. A man with no home and no job, Erdos was the most prolific mathematician who ever lived and universally revered among his peers. He became a wandering genius
who eschewed the traditional trappings of success to dedicate his life to inventing new problems and searching for their solutions; from Facets Video ... "Tokko Volume 1"
(2005) features the first five episodes of the anime series about a world of relentless mayhem populated by flesh-eating zombies and the determined cops eager to bring them to justice; $24.98 from Anchor Bay. (Posted March 26)
"There are eight million stories in the Naked City" as the narrator immortally
states at the close of this breathtakingly vivid film -- and this is one of
them. Master noir craftsman Jules Dassin and newspaperman-cum-producer Mark
Hellinger's dazzling police procedural was shot entirely on location in New York
City, as influenced by Italian neorealism as by American crime fiction. A double
Academy Award-winner, "The Naked City" remains a benchmark for
naturalism in noir, living and breathing in the promises and perils of the Big
Apple, from its lowest depths to its highest skyscrapers. The 1948 film stars
Barry Fitzgerald, Howard Duff, Dorothy Hart, Don Taylor and Frank Conroy, and
features a new, restored high-definition digital transfer. Extras include
commentary by screenwriter Malvin Wald, footage from director Jules Dassin's
2003 appearance at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, analysis of the film's
New York locations by "Celluloid Skyline" author James Sanders, a new video
interview with NYU film professor Dana Polan and a stills gallery. From The
Criterion Collection. (Posted March 19)
For more 1940s detective work though in a lighter vein, there's the
"Michael Shayne, Private Detective Collection," a two-disc set
with four mysteries featuring Lloyd Nolan as the hard-boiled,
square-jawed detective. The noirish tales incorporate the classic conventions of
the urban detective story with offbeat comedy and deductive methodology; based
on the novels by Brett Halliday. The $29.98 set includes "Michael Shayne:
Private Detective" (1940), "Sleepers West" (1941), "The Man Who Wouldn't Die"
(1942) and "Blue, White and Perfect" (1942); from Fox ... For straight ahead
(and cynical) comedy Universal has "The W.C. Fields Comedy Collection
Volume 2," a $59.98 five-disc set with "You're Telling
Me!" (1934), "The Man on the Flying Trapeze"
(1935), "The Old Fashioned Way" (1934),
"Poppy" (1936) and "Never Give a Sucker an Even Break"
(1941). (Posted March 19)
Speaking of fun, Anchor Bay will release this week "Re-Animator Limited
Edition" (1985), director Stuart Gordon's cult classic starring Jeffrey
Combs, Bruce Abbott, Barbara Crampton, David
Gale and Robert Sampson. The disc features a new remastered transfer, approved
by Gordon; remastered Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 sound. The two-disc set, housed
in a package with newly created artwork and containing a collectible
"Re-Animator" syringe-shaped highlighter, includes commentary by Gordon;
commentary by producer Brian Yuzna and actors Bruce Abbott, Jeffrey Combs,
Barbara Crampton and Robert Sampson; new featurette: "Re-Animator
Resurrectus"; music discussion with composer Richard Band; deleted and extended
scenes; TV spots; production stills from brian yuzna's private collection;
behind-the-scenes, posters & advertising, storyboard and fun-on-the-set
galleries; Stuart Gordon bio; screenplay (DVD-ROM); "Herbert West, Reanimator"
by H.P. Lovecraft (DVD-ROM) ... And for a serious look at horror films there's
"Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film," a
2006 documentary that explores the history, influences and gory special effects
that define the slasher genre of filmmaking. Features interviews with horror
masters John Carpenter, Wes Craven and Rob Zombie, and includes a horrifying
journey through such films as "Halloween," "Psycho," "Friday the 13th," "Prom
Night," "A Nightmare on Elm Street," "Scream" and "When a Stranger Calls";
$24.98 from ThinkFilm. (Posted March 19)
From TV to Video:
Due this week: "Christy: The Complete Series"
(1994-95), a four-disc set with all 19 episodes, $39.98 from Fox ...
"Comedy Central Roast of William Shatner -- Uncensored!"
(2006) on a single disc, $19.99 from Paramount ... "Garfield & Friends: An Ode to Odie"
features 13 episodes from the "Garfield & Friends" TV series hand-picked by Garfield creator Jim Davis, $14.98 from Fox ...
"JAG: The Complete Third Season" (1997-98) is a six-disc set
with 24 episodes, $64.99 from Paramount ... "Masters of Horror: John
Carpenter's Pro-Life" (2007) stars Ron Perlman and Mark Feuerstein in
Carpenter's contribution to the Showtime anthology, from Anchor Bay ...
"Maude: The Complete First Season" is a three-disc set with 22
episodes, $29.95 from Sony ... "Miami Vice: Season Three"
is a five-disc set with 24 episodes, $59.98 from Universal ... "Miami
Vice: Season Four" is a five-disc set with 22 episodes, $59.98 from
Universal ... "NewsRadio: The Complete Fifth Season"
(1998-99) is a three-disc set with 22 episodes, $29.95 from Sony ...
"Run's House: The Complete Seasons 1 & 2" (2005) is a
three-disc set of the MTV reality show, $39.99 from Paramount ...
"Sleeper Cell: The Complete Second Season" (2006) is a
three-disc set with eight episodes, $29.99 from Paramount ...
"Sleepers" (2005) is a two-disc set with all four episodes from
the Masterpiece Theatre BBC spy thriller miniseries, $49.99 from Acorn Media ...
"The Wild Wild West: The Complete Second Season" (1966-67) is a
seven-disc set with 28 episodes, $54.99 from Paramount. (Posted March 19)
Due this week: "Mana: Beyond Belief" is a 2004 documentary on
the world of "power objects": religious, artistic, economic, patriotic or
ridiculous. It's a trip around the world from the Navajo medicine man's Hogan to
outer space, from the concrete world of objects to the projected world of
values, keying in on the powers our minds give us to shape our experiences;
$24.95 from Genius Products ... "Global Warming: What's Up with the
Weather?" (2007) is a two-hour NOVA/Frontline documentary; $19.95 from
WGBH Boston Video ... "Kaboom! The Sizzling Story of
Explosions" is a two-disc set with two NOVA productions that explore
the history of pyrotechnics: "Kaboom!" and "Fireworks"; $29.95 from WGBH Boston
Video. (Posted March 19)
New Line has set a May 15 release date for Guillermo del Toro's fantasy thriller, set in Fascist Spain, "Pan's Labyrinth"; the film, starring Ivana Baquero, Doug Jones, Sergi Lopez, Ariadna Gil and Maribel Verdu, will be available in a single-disc
and a two-disc Platinum Series edition ... On May 22 Fox will release the corny "Epic Movie," starring Kal Penn, Adam Campbel, Crispin Glover, Kevin MacDonald, David Carradine, Darrell Hammond, Carmen Electra, Jennifer Coolidge and
Fred Willard in spoofs of Hollywood's biggest blockbuster films. (Posted
Universal has set a March 27 (yes, in two weeks) release for Alfonso Cuaron's futuristic dystopian tale "Children of Men," starring Clive Owen, Julianne Moore, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Charlie Hunnam, Michael Caine and Clare-Hope Ashitey. The film envisages a world one
generation from now that has fallen into anarchy on the heels of an infertility defect in the population. The world's youngest citizen has just died at 18, and humankind is facing the likelihood of its own extinction. Set against a backdrop of London torn apart by violence
and warring nationalistic sects, "Children of Men" follows disillusioned bureaucrat Theo (Owen) as he becomes an unlikely champion of Earth's survival by attempting to smuggle out of England the world's only pregnant woman. Two more announcements from
Universal: Set for a May 1 release are "Alpha Dog," directed by Nick Cassavetes and starring Ben Foster, Shawn Hatosy, Emile Hirsch, Christopher Marquette, Sharon Stone, Justin Timberlake, Anton Yelchin and Bruce Willis, is based on the
infamous murderous exploits of Jesse James Hollywood and a group of L.A. slackers ... and chilling remake "The Hitcher," starring Sean Bean, Sophia Bush, Zachary Knighton, Kyle Davis and Neal McDonough. (Posted
Two outstanding features are due this week from The Criterion Collection:
"The Burmese Harp"
(1956 -- Japan), directed by Kon Ichikawa and starring Rentaro Mikuni, Shoji Yasui and Jun Hamamura, in which an Imperial Japanese Army regiment surrenders to British forces in Burma at the close of World War II and finds harmony through song. A corporal,
thought to be dead, disguises himself as a Buddhist monk and stumbles upon spiritual enlightenment. Magnificently shot in
hushed black and white, Ichikawa's film is an eloquent meditation on beauty coexisting with death and remains one of Japanese cinema's most overwhelming antiwar statements, both tender and brutal in its grappling with Japan's wartime legacy. In a new, restored
high-definition digital transfer ...
"Fires on the Plain"(1959 -- Japan) is an agonizing portrait of desperate Japanese soldiers stranded in a strange land during World War II and the lengths they go to survive. Kon Ichikawa's film is a compelling descent into psychological and
physical oblivion. Denied hospital treatment for
tuberculosis and cast off into the unknown, Private Tamura treks across an
unfamiliar Filipino landscape, encountering an increasingly debased
cross-section of Imperial Army soldiers. Grisly yet poetic, "Fires on the Plain"
is one of the most powerful works from one of Japanese cinema's most versatile filmmakers. Stars Eiji Funakoshi, Osamu Takizawa and Mickey Curtis. In a new, restored high-definition digital transfer. (Posted
"Ghost: Special Collector's Edition" is basically a repackaging by Paramount of the 2001 DVD release, keeping the original's commentary by director Jerry Zucker and writer Bruce Joel Rubin, and adding several new featurettes, including "Ghost
Stories," "Inside the Paranormal," "Alchemy of a Love Scene" and "Paramount's Most Romantic Moments." The film was the second highest-grosser of 1990, and stars Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, Whoopi Goldberg and Tony Goldwyn. (Posted
From TV to Video:
"Bosom Buddies: The Complete First Season" (1980-81) is a three-disc set with 19 episodes, $49.99 from Paramount ... "Hard Times" (1977) is a two-disc set of the PBS Great Performances miniseries adaptation of the
Dickins novel; directed by John Irvin; $39.99 from Acorn Media ... "The I Love Lucy Hour Shows: The Final
Seasons" (1957-60) is a four-disc set with 13 hour-long episodes from the seventh, eighth and ninth seasons; Originally titled "The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour"; $42.99 from Paramount ... "The Pretender 2001/Pretender: Island of the
Haunted" (2001) is a double-feature of made-for-TV telefilms picking up where the series left off, from Fox ... "Robin of Sherwood, Set 1" (1984-85 British TV) is a five-disc box set with all 13 episodes in Series 1 & 2; the fifth disc
is devoted to more than eight hours of special features; the series is a retelling of the Robin Hood legend with gritty period realism and a mix of history and myth; from Acorn Media ... "Without a Trace: The Complete Second Season" is a six-disc
set with 24 episodes, $59.98 from Warner. (Posted March 12)
Buzzin' the 'B's:
"UnCivil Liberties" is a 2006 thriller about the abuse of government surveillance of its own people and the extremists who take up arms in
resistance, starring Tony Grocki and Yvonne Perry; from Ariztical Entertainment ... "The Sixth Sense" and "Blue Velvet" meet gay cinema in "A Siren in the Dark" (2006), a thriller about a psychic police officer who
investigates a sordid case involving rape, drugs and sexual obsessions, starring Orion Cross, James Townsend and David Beutler; from Ariztical Entertainment ...
"A Little Trip to Heaven" (2005) stars Forest Whitaker, Julia Stiles, Jeremy Renner and Peter Coyote in a mystery about an insurance investigator tangling up with a husband and wife over a million
dollar insurance settlement; from First Look Home Entertainment ... "Sublime" (2007) is the second film in Warner Home Video's "Raw Feed" direct-to-DVD series: Admited to a hospital for a minimally invasive procedure, a man must uncover
the truth behind the growing number of misdeeds happening within the institution's East Ward in order to survive his medical stay; stars Tom Cavanagh, Kathleen "Bird" York, Lawrence-Hilton Jacobs and Katherine Cunningham-Eves ... Ten legendary Western stars are
reunited in this action-packed tale of brothers-at-odds -- one a decorated soldier and reluctant hero, the other a gambler -- who fall for the same woman, in Echo Bridge Home Entertainment's "Hell to Pay" (2005), starring Lee Majors, Peter
Brown, James Drury, Denny Miller, Stella Stevens and Bo Svenson ...
"Harsh Times" (2005) is a gritty drama about a soldier who returns to his South Central L.A. neighborhood and, unable to get a job with the LAPD, drifts into a life of crime; stars Christian Bale, Eva Longoria and Freddy Rodriguez; from The
Weinstein Co./Genius Products ... A young woman is stranded on a romantic Caribbean beach with her pop star idol in "Love Wrecked" (2005), directed by Randal Kleiser and starring Amanda Bynes, Chris Carmack, Jonathan Bennett,
Jamie-Lynn DiScala, Susan Duerden and Fred Willard; from The Weinstein Co./Genius Products. (Posted March 12)
On the Indie Front:
BFS Entertainment & Multimedia Limited has two quirky indie outings this week:
"American Cousins" (2003), starring Gerald Lepkowski, Shirley Henderson, Danny Nucci, Vincent Pastore, Eva Coutts and Dan Hedaya in a comedy about two wisecracking mobsters who take refuge in Scotland with their law-abiding cousin, who
runs a fish & chip shop ... and "The Man Who Sued God" (2005), starring Billy Connolly, Judy Davis, Colin Friels and Wendy Hughes: When a fisherman's boat is destroyed by lighting and his insurance company calls it an "act of God," the
man prepares a case against God for damages and challenges the churches and the insurance companies. (Posted
In "Shogun Assassin 2: Lightning Swords of Death," a 1972
Japanese actioner, the notorious father and son team of assassins continue to walk towards the crossroads of hell with their weapon-packed baby-cart in tow; stars Go Kato, Yuko Hama and Tomisaburo Wakayama; this is the first official DVD release In the U.S., created
by digitally reconstructing every frame of the original 1972 film; $19.98 from AnimEigo. (Posted
The documentary "Hubert Selby Jr. -- It/ll Be Better Tomorrow"
is a harrowing and engaging exploration into the life and art of the
renowned beat author Hubert Selby Jr, who, against all odds, overcame
tuberculosis, drug addiction and financial ruin to reach international acclaim
with his controversial novels. Features Lou Reed, Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto,
Darren Aronofsky, Uli Edel, Henry Rollins, Jerry Stahl, Richard Price, Nick
Tosches, and narrated by Robert Downey Jr.; $19.95 from MVD Visual ... "Favela Rising" (2005) chronicles the rise of the nonviolent AfroReggae cultural movement and the man behind it, and showcases how music became a catalyst for
grass-roots social change in Rio de Janeiro's most feared slum; $24.95 from Genius Products ... "Appetite for Deconstruction: A Punk Rockumentary" captures Europe's best and biggest independent Punkrock Festival-Tour; $14.95 from MVD
Visual ... "Mary Wells: Greatest Hits" was secorded live at the Rock 'n Roll Palace in Orlando, Florida; $12.95 from MVD Visual ... " Oscar Peterson Trio -- Berlin Concert" (1989) features the master of the keyboard
backed by the equally legendary bassist Niels-Henning Oersted Pedersen and drummer
Martin Drew; $19.95 from MVD Visual. (Posted March 12)
Warner Home Video and Paramount Home Entertainment will hit the happy trails with an unprecedented initiative to honor the great John Wayne on May 22 -- the week that would have been 'The Duke's' 100th birthday. The studios will pool
their DVD sales and marketing resources, digging into their libraries for Wayne popular classics. The lead titles in the promotion are "Rio Bravo," in a two-disc Special Edition and Ultimate Collectors Edition from Warner, "The
Cowboys" as a Deluxe Edition from Warner and "True Grit" as a Special Collector's Edition from Par. Warner also will debut the "John Wayne Film Collection," a six-disc set (also available individually)
featuring six films never before on DVD: "Allegheny Uprising," "Reunion in France," "Tycoon," "Without Reservations," "Trouble Along the Way" and "Big Jim McLain." In addition, both studios will repackage and/or reprice another 38 Wayne titles. (Posted
Paramount has just announced a May 1 release date for "Dreamgirls," the hit musical directed by Bill Condon and starring Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson, Jamie Foxx, Eddie Murphy and Beyonce Knowles; available as a single-disc and a two-disc
"Showstopper Edition" on DVD, Blu-ray and HD DVD that will include such extras as extended musical numbers, a feature-length documentary, cast screen tests and auditions, and much more. (Posted March 8)
Due this week: For their "Peter Pan Platinum Edition"
two-disc set, the folks at Disney gave the aging film an extensive digital restoration and a new 5.1 Disney Enhanced Home Theater Mix. Extras on the $29.99 set include "Camp Never Land Games," an alternate opening, a deleted song, "You Can Fly: The Making of
Peter Pan," and more. ... Warner Home Video has put together the "Literary Classics Collection," a five-disc set with 1962's "Billy Budd," Raoul Walsh's 1950 Gregory Peck-Virginia Mayo starrer "Captain Horatio Hornblower," "Madame
Bovary" (1949), the 1948 "The Three Musketeers" starring Lana Turner, Gene Kelly, June Allyson, Van Heflin, Angela Lansbury, Frank Morgan and Vincent Price; and "The Prisoner of Zenda" (a double feature with both the 1937 and 1952 versions; $59.92; each disc
includes a cartoon and a vintage short ... Fox has a package deal with the five-disc "The Ernest Hemingway Film Collection," which includes "Adventures of a Young Man" (1962) starring Richard Beymer and Diane Baker, "A Farewell to Arms"
(1957) starring Rock Hudson and Jennifer Jones, "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" (1952) starring Gregory Peck, "The Sun Also Rises" (1957) starring Tyrone Power and Ava Gardner, and "Under My Skin" (1950) starring John Garfield; $69.98 ... Fox also will release
no-frills versions of three contemporary love stories: the wonderful "Cinderella Liberty" (1973), directed by Mark Rydell with break-out performances by James Caan and Marsha Mason, "John and Mary" (1969) starring an
odd couple of Dustin Hoffman and Mia Farrow, and the tear-jerker "The Other Side of Midnight" (1977) starring Marie-France Pisier, Susan Sarandon, Raf Vallone and Clu Gulager. (Posted March 6)
From TV to Video:
"Decoys: The Second Seduction" is a 2007 sci fi telefilm about aliens disguised as gorgeous coeds who are seducing their classmates in an effort to save their species from extinction, from Sony ... WGBH Boston
Video will release the 2006 Masterpiece Theatre adaptation of "Dracula," starring David Suchet,$19.95 ... "Fosters Home For Imaginary Friends" is a two-disc set with all 13 first season episodes of the Cartoon Net
series,$19.98 from Warner ... "Hawaii Five-O: The First Season" is a seven-disc set with 24 episodes of the iconic series, $54.99 from Paramount ... "For Love Alone: The Ivana Trump Story" is a 1998 tele-bio starring
Stephen Collins, Sanna Vraa and Ivana Trump, from Echo Bridge Home Entertainment ... "Jane Eyre" is a 2006 Masterpiece Theatre adaptation, $29.95 from WGBH Boston Video ... "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch: The Complete First
Season" (1996-97) is a four-disc set with 24 episodes, $42.99 from Paramount ... "Stargate: Atlantis Season 2" is a five-disc set with 20 episodes, $49.98 from MGM ... "South Park: The Complete Ninth
Season" (2005) is a three-disc set with 14 episodes, $49.99 from Paramount ... and "Walkout" is a 2006 tele-history about the 1968 Chicano student uprising in East Los Angeles, directed by Edward James Olmos and starring Alexa
Vega, Michael Pena, Yancey Arias, Laura Harring and Efren Ramirez, from HBO Video. (Posted March 6)
Buzzin' the 'B's:
"Death Row" is a creepy 2006 Sci Fi channel thriller about a documentary film crew that gets trapped in an abandoned, haunted prison,
starring Stacy Keach, Jake Busey, Danny Trejo and Kyle Schmid, from Starz Home Entertainment ... In "Machine" (2007), an ex-mercenary turned hardened criminal and his partner survive in L.A.'s underground, spending each day immersed in
a cesspool of ruthless crime lords, dirty cops and desperate drug dealers; stars Michael Madsen, Neal McDonough, James Russo, Lisa Arturo and Michael Lazar; from MTI Home Video. (Posted March 6)
"Requiem" (2006 -- German) is a haunting IFC film based on the true story that inspired "The Exorcism of Emily Rose," starring
Sandra Huller, Burghart Klaussner and Imogen Kogge, from Genius Products ... "Woman Is the Future of Man" (2004 -- S. Korea) is a simple tale of two childhood friends -- one just returned from studying film in
the States, the other a university art professor -- who get together for an
evening of catching up on their lives and their dreams and, in particular, the
memory of a girl -- Sunhwa -- who the two man track down and get to reenter
their lives in a surprising way, from New Yorker Video. (Posted March 6)
For the Family:
Two releases for the kids this week from Master Communications: "Going to School in India" is a collection of short films that explore the importance of education in that country, highlighting the various locales in which kids go to school: on a
bus, in the desert, on a lake, in a monastery; $29.95; and "Families of Australia," the latest edition in the Families of the World series that introduces kids to children around the world; $29.95. (Posted March 6)
"A Perfect Fake" is a 2007 documentary that looks at the world of men who have chosen to reject the reality of human sexual companionship in order to pursue emotional and physical bonds with a variety of erotic surrogates, including the
disturbing world of men who share their lives with life-size female love dolls; $19.95 from Central Park Media's new Below the Radar label ... The World Wrestling Entertainment and Genius Products have two new titles this week: "WrestleMania
III," highlighting the 20th anniversary of the even with the classic bout between Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant, and "Hardcore Edition: Mike Foley," which traces the career of the slam-bang wrestler, with matches handpicked by
Foley himself; $29.95 each. (Posted March 6)
Due April 17 is the inspirational high school tale "Freedom Writers," starring Hilary Swank, Patrick Dempsey, Scott Glenn and Imelda Staunton, from Paramount ... Miramax will release on April
24 "The Queen," starring Academy Award-winner Helen Mirren, Michael Sheen, James Cromwell, Sylvia Syms and Alex Jennings ... On May 15 The Weinstein Company/Genius Products will release the live-action 3-D CG-animated family film
"Arthur and the Invisibles," directed by Luc Besson and starring Freddie Highmore, Mia Farrow, Penny Balfour, Doug Rand and the voices of Madonna, David Bowie, Snoop Dogg, Robert De Niro, Jimmy Fallon, Harvey Keitel and Emilio
Estevez. (Posted March 2)
Finally, fans of Patrick McGoohan and the U.K.'s "Danger Man" series can jump for joy: A&E Home Video will release this week "Secret Agent (AKA: Danger Man) -- The Complete Collection," a massive 18-disc set with all 86 episodes in their
original broadcast order, from the original season that aired only in the U.K. to the two color episodes that provided the finale; $149.95. McGoohan originally turned down James Bond and The Saint, but couldn't say no to one of espionage fiction's greatest characters:
the principled, dashing John Drake. Undercover as a travel agent, Drake pursued his globe-spanning missions for England's super-secret M9 department. The show adhered to a radical set of rules for the genre: no guns, no gimmicks, no love scenes. Combined with
McGoohan's charisma and talent, the result was television magic, the most realistic and intensely dramatic spy show of the sixties. Beloved by fans and critics, the series ended when McGoohan sought to expand his creative role and produced "The Prisoner." While the
world gained a new television favorite and continued to enjoy McGoohan's dashing presence on the small screen, the loss of Secret Agent Man left a void in the TV landscape that was never adequately filled. This collection fills that void. (Posted February
Also due this week is "Bob Dylan: Don't Look Back -- '65 Tour Deluxe
Edition" (1967), the ultimate look at Bob Dylan's concert tour of England in the spring of 1965 -- one of the most intimate profiles of an artist ever put to film. This definitive set includes the remastered classic film by D.A. Pennebaker, a brand-new,
hour-long look at Dylan, and the original 168-page companion book to the film. More than just a concert film, "Don't Look Back" is a window into the spirit of the sixties, and one of the poet-musicians whose words and songs defined it. A two-disc set with
commentaries by director D.A. Pennebaker and former tour manager Bob Neuwirth, never-before-seen footage, more; $49.95 from Docurama. (Posted February 27)
"Another Sky" (1954) is the only film directed by screenwriter and film critic Gavin Lambert ("I Never Promised You a Rose Garden," "The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone"). Victoria Grayson, Catherine Lacey, Lee Montague, Ahmed Ben
Mahomed, Tayeb and Alan Forbes star in a tale about a demure and prim governess who arrives in Marrakesh to begin a new job as a paid companion to a wealthy English expatriate and is seduced by the men, music, and mystery of Morocco. Restored by Facets
Video. (Posted February 27)
From TV to Video:
Due this week: "Above and Beyond" is a 2006 miniseries starring Liane Balaban, Jonathan Scarfe, Allan Hawco, Peter MacNeill, Joss
Ackland, Jason Priestley and Richard E. Grant in a romance set in 1940s
London during World War II's Atlantic Ferry Operation, from MTI Home Video ... "Da Vinci's Inquest, Season 1" is a four-disc set with 13 episodes of Canada's smash hit police procedural; $59.99 from Acorn Media ... "Digging for
the Truth -- The Complete Season 2" is a four-disc set with 26 episodes of the History Channel archaeological series,
$49.95 from A&E Home Video ... "Doctor Finlay Set 4" is a three-disc set of the Masterpiece Theatre series, $39.98 from BFS Entertainment & Multimedia Limited ... "Dog the Bounty Hunter: The Best of Season 3"
includes eight episodes selected by Dog as his favorites, $19.95 from A&E Home Video ... "The Doris Day Show Season 4" is a four-disc set, $39.98 from MPI Home Video ... "Girl Friends: The First Season" is a
four-disc set with 22 episodes, $39.99 from Paramount ... "Lost Worlds" is a four-disc set of the History Channel series on ancient civilizations; $49.95 from A&E Home Video ... "The Rector's Wife" (1994) is a two-disc
set of the U.K. miniseries, from Acorn Media ... "Reno 911!: Reno's Most Wanted Uncensored" is a compilation of seven uncensored episodes, from Paramount. (Posted February 27)
Buzzin' the 'B's:
"Journey to the End of the Night" (2006), starring Brendan Fraser, Mos Def, Scott Glenn and Catalina Sandino Moreno, is a thriller about father and son Americans in exile in Brazil who try to break out of their life running an illicit nightclub
brothel, from First Look Home Entertainment ... In "Meltdown: Days of Destruction" (2006), an asteroid near-miss knocks the Earth out of its orbit and a team of scientists fight against time to save the planet from solar devastation; stars Casper
Van Dien, Vincent Gale, Stefanie von Pfetten,Venus Terzo, Amanda Crew, Ryan McDonell, Greg Anderson and Bill Dow, from MTI Home Video. (Posted February 27)
On the Indie Front:
"Conversations With God" (2006) stars Henry Czerny in the true story of self-actualization and personal empowerment that raised a homeless man to the heights of international celebrity, from Fox ... "You Are Alone"
(2005) stars Jessica Bohl, Richard Brundage and Keith Herron in a dark exploration of how far a man and a woman will go to escape loneliness, if only for an hour, from What Were We Thinking Films (www.whatwerewethinkingfilms.com). (Posted February
For the Kids:
Just in time for spring break are three new titles in the Travel With Kids series: "Travel With Kids Hawaii: The Big Island," "Travel With Kids Hawaii: The Island of Kauai" and "Travel With Kids Mexico: The
Yucatan." Each DVD takes viewers on a real family vacation, exploring each country's landscapes and local cultures, with geographical, geological and governmental histories and facts and tips popping up on the screen in easy-to-read graphics; $14.95 each
from Equator Creative Media ... "The Land Before Time: The Great Day of the
Flyers" (2007) is the latest installment in the evergreen animated franchise for kids, $19.98 from Universal ... "Little Einsteins: The Legend of the Golden Pyramid" is a triple-length adventure that features the animated kids in three
episodes of the educational TV series; $19.99 from Disney. (Posted February 27)
"McLuhan's Wake" (2005) is a documentary on the great philosopher and teacher. "The global village" and "the medium is the message" are among the most indelible phrases of our time, but few know their origins. One of the most influential
thinkers of the 20th century, Marshall McLuhan devised these theories and countless others, and his culturally significant ideas have only become more relevant as technology has evolved. Now, more than 20 years after his death, in the midst of an era of Internet, virtual
technologies, "McLuhan's Wake" explores the enduring truth of his messages and teachings; $24.98 from The Disinformation Company ... "Myopic Visions" (2005) is a collection of six short films by award-winning filmmaker and stand-up
comedian Chris Mancini; his off-kilter outings have been shown on the Sci Fi Channel and at Slamdance and the Museum of Television and Radio; $19.99 from Microcinema International (more info: www.myopicproductions.com) ... "Secrets of
(2006) is a History Channel documentary on the mystical Jewish studies; $24.95 from A&E Home Video ... "God, the Universe and Everything Else" brings together three science powerhouses known for their ability to make complex scientific
ideas intelligible to the general public. Stephen Hawking, Carl Sagan and Arthur C. Clarke join forces in a three-way discussion that delves into some of the most controversial issues of our time, including Big Bang theory, black holes, extraterrestrial life and the
existence of God; $19.99 from Kultur ... "Paul Robeson: Speak of Me As I Am"
(2005) is a documentary about the actor and singer who was a forerunner of the
modern civil rights movement, $19.99 from Kultur Video. (Posted February 27)
Music and comedy: Due this week are "Sidney Bechet: Treat It Gentle" (2005), an in-depth look at the forgotten father of jazz, Sidney Bechet, who made soprano saxophone an integral part of jazz. Bechet's career spanned five decades (peaking in
the 1920s and 1930s) and included collaborations with other influential musicians such as Duke Ellington, Jelly Roll Morton and Louis Armstrong; $19.99 from Kultur ... "Carlos Santana and Wayne Shorter Band: Live at the 1988 Montreux Jazz
was recorded live in Lake Geneva, Switzerland; $19.99 from Image Entertainment ... "Chet Atkins: A Life In Music" is a 2000 TV documentary, $19.98 from MPI Home Video ... "Dolly Parton & Friends" is a TV special
on two discs, $29.98 from MPI Home Video ... "Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry Season Four" is a two-disc set featuring appearances by Miguel Algarin, Common, Ruby Dee, Ani di Franco, Mike Epps, Kim Fields, Doug E. Fresh,
KRS-One, MC Lyte, Tracy Morgan, Kanye West, others; from HBO Video ... "George Carlin: Life Is Worth Losing" (2005) is the comedian's 13th HBO standup special, $19.98 from MPI Home Video. (Posted February
Sony will release on April 3 "Volver,"
directed by Pedro Almodovar and starring Penelope Cruz, Yohana Cobo, Carmen Maura, Lola Duenas and Blanca Portillo. Extras include commentary by Almodovar and Cruz, an AFI Tribute to Cruz, director and cast interviews, "Making-of Volver," and a photo
gallery. Also available on Blu-ray. (Posted February 22)
"Night at the Museum," the top-grossing holiday release and Ben Stiller's second most successful movie ever, will be released on DVD April 24 in two editions, a single disc with commentaries by director Shawn Levy and writers Robert Ben
Garant and Thomas Lennon; and a two-disc special edition with the commentaries as well as an alternate opening, deleted and extended scenes, a blooper reel, a DVD-ROM trivia game and featurettes on the making of the film, from Fox. (Posted February
On the Old Hollywood front: Fox will release this week "The Alice Faye Collection," a four-disc set with "The Gangs All Here," "Lillian Russell," "On the Avenue" and "That Night in Rio"; $49.98 or $19.98 each ... "The Three
Stooges: Hapless Half-Wits" features four short subjects from the wacky trio: "Beer Barrel Polecats" (1945) and "I'll Never Heil Again" (1940) featuring Larry, Moe & Curly; and "Brideless Grooms" (1947) and "Dopey Dicks" (1949) featuring Larry, Moe
& Shemp; $24.95. from Sony ... On the Great Man front there's "A Man for All Seasons" (1966), directed by Fred Zinnemann and starring Paul Scofield, Wendy Hiller, Leo McKern, Robert Shaw, Orson Welles, Susannah York, Nigel
Davenport, John Hurt and Corin Redgrave, from Sony; and "Gandhi: 25th Anniversary Collector's Edition" (1982), directed by Richard Attenborough and starring Ben Kingsley, Candice Bergen, Edward Fox, John Gielgud, Trevor Howard, John
Mills, Martin Sheen, Ian Charleson and Athol Fugard, also from Sony. (Posted February 20)
From The Criterion Collection comes "49th Parallel"
(1941 -- U.K.). At once a compelling piece of anti-isolationist propaganda and a quick-witted wartime thriller, "49th Parallel" is a classic early work from the inimitable British filmmaking team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. When a Nazi U-boat crew,
headed by the ruthless Eric Portman, is stranded in Canada during the thick of World War II, the men evade capture by hiding out in a series of rural communities, before trying to cross the border into the United States. Both soul-stirring and delightfully entertaining,
the film features a
colorful cavalcade of characters played by larger-than-life actors Laurence
Olivier, Raymond Massey, Anton Walbrook and Leslie Howard. The two-disc edition features a new, restored high-definition digital transfer and plenty of extras ... "When a Woman Ascends the Stairs" (1960 -- Japan) might be Japanese filmmaker
Mikio Naruse's finest hour -- a delicate, devastating study of Keiko (the heartbreaking Takamine Hideko), a bar hostess in Tokyo's very modern postwar Ginza district, who entertains businessmen after work. Sly, resourceful, but trapped, Keiko comes to embody the
conflicts and struggles of a woman trying to establish her independence in a male-dominated society. "When a Woman Ascends the Stairs" shows the largely unsung yet widely beloved master Naruse at his most socially exacting and profoundly emotional. The new,
high-definition digital transfer with a new and improved
subtitle translation includes a host of extras. (Posted February 20)
"Johnny Carson: The Johnny Carson Show" is a two-disc set of the heretofore unreleased 1955-56 CBS primetime sketch program, "The Johnny Carson Show," a short-lived potpourri of comedy, music, dance, skits and monologues. While
working as a staff writer on "The Red Skelton Show," Carson filled in as host when Skelton was injured during a show rehearsal. As a result of that performance, CBS created the primetime sketch program to spotlight the young comedian. The series served as a
precursor of what would come later for Carson, planting the seeds for sketches he would perfect on "The Tonight Show" with his Mighty Carson Art Players. Ten digitally restored episodes, culled from the original kinescopes by Carson's second wife, Joanne; $24.98
from Shout! Factory. (Posted February 20)
From TV to Video:
Due this week: "Family Ties: The First Season," a four-disc set with 22 episodes, $42.99 from Paramount ... "Penn and Teller: Bullshit! The Complete Fourth Season" is a three-disc set with 10 episodes, $29.99 from
Paramount ... "The Ruth Rendell Mysteries, Series 1" is a three-disc set of the popular British TV mystery series, $49.99 from Acorn Media ... "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea: Season Two, Volume Two" is a three-disc
set with 13 episodes, $29.98 from Fox ... "What's New Scooby-Doo? The Complete First Season" is a two-disc set with 13 episodes, $19.98 from Warner. (Posted February 20)
Buzzin' the 'B's:
"Flight of Fury" (2007) is the latest direct-to-video outing for Steven Seagal, with the action hero starring as a special agent working for an underground division of the U.S. Air Force who must bring back a stolen top-secret Stealth Bomber, from
Sony ... "Walking Tall: The Payback" (2007) stars Kevin Sorbo and Yvette Nipar in a direct-to-video sequel, from Sony ... In "Wilderness" (2006), someone or something is savagely murdering the inmates of a wilderness
camp in Scotland; stars Sam Pertwee, Alex Reid, Toby Kebbell and Stephen Wight, from First Look Home Entertainment ... "Night of the Living Dorks (Die Nacht der Lebenden Loser)" (2004) is a German spoof of wacky U.S. teenage
angst/toilet trash and zombie movies: Philip and his best friends Konrad and "Weener" are the three biggest losers at Frederich Nietzsche High School. During a drive, their bong malfunctions, spewing smoke into their Scooby van and causing them to crash. After
inhaling some ashes bought on eBay that supposedly can raise the dead, the three friends become indestructible zombies with an insatiable appetite for human flesh, wild parties and gym class revenge; from Anchor Bay ... In "White Air" (2007), a
once-promising extreme snowboarder loses his edge and must decide whether to give the sport one more shot or get a steady job and aim for financial stability; stars Riley Smith, Dominique Swain, Paul Logan, Brent Le Macks, Tom Sizemore and
Elizabeth Daily; from Monarch Home Video ... In "Dead Mary"
(2007), a weekend getaway turns deadly when a group of girls decide to play the ghoulish game "Dead Mary," unleashing a vengeful spirit that possesses them one by one; stars Dominique Swain, Maree-Josee Colburn, Maggie Castle and Reagan Pasternak.
(Posted February 20)
On the Indie Front:
"Apartment Zero" (1988) is a twisted tale of deceit, perversion and murder set in Buenos Aires. Adrian LeDuc (Colin Firth) is a lonely sociopath with a fixation on old movies and movie stars who is forced to rent his insane mother's room due to
poor ticket sales at his revival movie theater. Jack Carney (Hart Bochner), the new roommate, appears normal enough at first but it soon becomes apparent that he is hiding something. As their friendship develops, Adrian suppresses his suspicions that Jack may be the
government mercenary turned serial killer who has been terrorizing the city. The two develop a kind of doppelganger relationship but when his mother dies, Adrian is pushed to the breaking point; likewise, Jack's escape from Buenos Aires is thwarted and he, too, is
pushed to extremes. The film builds slowly and purposely to a shocking climax, making it a kind of "The Tenant" meets "Psycho" via "Repulsion." The remastered and uncut film, directed by Martin Donovan, is considered an important entry in the world of
independent filmmaking; from Union Station Media ... "Fifty Pills" (2006) stars Lou Taylor Pucci, Kristen Bell, John Hensley and Nora Zehetner in a comedy about the trials and tribulations of a small-town boy trying to make it in New York
City; from Echo Bridge Home Entertainment ... "Going Shopping" (2006) is a Henry Jaglom comedy about a clothing designer with her own boutique confronted with deceit, elation, desperation, kleptomania, rebellion, addiction and passion
during the course of a tumultuous Mother's Day weekend; stars Victoria Foyt, Lee Grant, Bruce Davison, Mae Whitman, Jennifer Grant, Juliet Landau and Cynthia Sikes; from MTI Home Video ... In "Persons Unknown" (1996), a security expert
is seduced by a pair of sisters to get the code to the office of a client; directed by George Hickenlooper and starring Joe Mantegna, Kelly Lynch, Naomi Watts, J.T. Walsh, Xander Berkeley and Jon Favreau; from Vanguard Cinema ... "River's
End" (2004) is the story of a rebellious youth put back on the right path by a wise elder and a wilderness quest; directed by William Katt and starring Sam Huntington, Charles Robinson, Barry Corbin, Charles Durning, Caroline Goodall, Clint Howard and
William Katt; from Pumpjack Entertainment. (Posted February 20)
"American Hardcore" (2006) is an intense, aggressive documentary of the rise and fall of the 1980s punk-rock scene; told by the pioneers themselves, including members of Circle Jerks, Misfits, Bad Religion, Black Flag, Bad Brains, Red Hot Chili
Peppers, Adolescents, Guns N' Roses, Descendents, Corrosion of Conformity, Dead Kennedys, Suicidal Tendencies, Youth Brigade and many more, from Sony ... " His Life and Times/5 Avenue Marceau 75116 Paris" (2002) comprises two
documentaries on Yves Saint Laurent, from Empire Pictures/First Run Features ... "The Second City: First Family of Comedy" is a retrospective documentary on the legendary comedy troupe that incubated such stars as John Belushi, John Candy,
Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, Dan Aykroyd, Martin Short, Dave Thomas and Tina Fey; $24.99 from First Look Home Entertainment ... "UFC Bitter Rivals" is an Ultimate Fighting Championship release featuring two 2006 bouts: Ortiz vs.
Shamrock and Sylvia vs. Arolvski; $19.98 from First Look Home Entertainment ... "The Journalist and the Jihadi: The Murder of Daniel Pearl" is a 2006 TV documentary narrated by journalist Christiane Amanpour, from HBO Video ...
"La Sierra" (2005) is an award-winning Human Rights Watch documentary on three young people who live in Medellin, Colombia, an area ruled by a gang with ties to the nation's paramilitary armies; $29.95 from First Run Features.
(Posted February 20)
Due March 20: Sword and dragon fantasy "Eragon," starring Edward Speleers, Jeremy Irons, Sienna Guillory, Robert Carlyle, John Malkovich, Christopher Egan, Gary Lewis, Djimon Hounsou and Rachel Weisz, (also Available on Blu-ray), from
Fox; and sequel "Rocky Balboa," starring Sylvester Stallone, Burt Young and Milo Ventimiglia, (also Available on Blu-ray), from Sony ... Due March 27 is the lavish "Curse of the Golden Flower," directed by Zhang
Yimou and starring Yun-Fat Chow and Li Gong, from Sony; and CIA thriller "The Good Shepherd," directed by
Robert De Niro and starring Matt Damon, Angelina Jolie, Robert De Niro, John Turturro, William Hurt, Alec Baldwin, Billy Crudup, Michael Gambon, Gabriel Macht, Tammy Blanchard, Vladimir Mashkov and Joe Pesci, from Universal ... On April 17 Fox will
release three films: "The History Boys," based on the Tony Award-winning play, "The Last King of Scotland," starring Academy Award nominee Forest Whitaker and James McAvoy, Kerry Washington and Gillian
Anderson; and "Notes on a Scandal," starring Academy Award nominees Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett and Bill Nighy and Andrew Simpson ... And, on April 24, Buena Vista will release the sci fi thriller "Deja Vu,"
directed by Tony Scott and starring Denzel Washington, Paula Patton, Val Kilmer and James Caviezel. (Posted February 15)
There's a profundity of great films coming to DVD this week. From The Criterion Collection comes Vittorio De Sica's neorealist "Bicycle Thieves" (1948 -- Italy), starring Lamberto Maggiorani, Enzo Staiola,
Lianella Carell, Gino Saltamerenda, Vittorio Antonucci and Giulio Chiari, in a new, restored high-definition digital transfer with a new and improved English subtitle translation. Hailed around the world as one of the greatest movies ever made, De Sica's Academy
Award-winning film defined an era in cinema. In
postwar, poverty-stricken Rome, a man, hoping to support his desperate family
with a new job, loses his bicycle and main means of transportation for work.
With his wide-eyed young son in tow, he sets off to track down the thief. Simple
in construction and dazzlingly rich in human insight, Bicycle Thieves embodied
all the greatest strengths of the neorealist film movement in Italy: emotional
clarity, social righteousness, and brutal honesty. "Green for Danger" (1946 -- U.K.), directed by Sidney Gilliat and starring Trevor Howard, Sally Gray and Alastair Sim, is a delightful and wholly
unexpected murder mystery. In the midst of the Nazi blitz, a postman dies on the operating table at a rural English hospital. But was the death accidental? British writer-director Sidney Gilliat's film features Howard and Gray as suspected doctors and Sim in a marvelous
turn as Scotland Yard's insouciant Inspector Cockrill. A screenwriter who had worked with Hitchcock on such classics as "The Lady Vanishes" and "Jamaica Inn," Gilliat slyly upends whodunit conventions with wit and style. Rounding out the Criterion releases is
"Paul Robeson: Portraits of an Artist," a landmark four-disc box set that features eight films of the all-American athlete, scholar, renowned baritone, stage actor, and social activist. Robeson (1898-1976) was a towering figure and a trailblazer many
times over. He made perhaps his biggest impact, however, in the medium of film. The son of an escaped slave, Robeson managed to become a top-billed movie star around the world during the time of Jim Crow America, always striving to use film to educate viewers
about equality, democracy, and the rights of workers. Though he eventually left movies behind, using his international celebrity to speak on behalf of those denied their civil liberties and ultimately becoming a victim of ideological persecution himself, Robeson left a film
legacy that continues to speak eloquently of the long and difficult journey of a courageous and outspoken African American. As always, all these Criterion releases are packed with informative extras. (Posted February 13)
Leading off the releases this month for the Warner Directors' Showcase line is the fantastic mind- and gender-bending ultimate 1970s film "Performance" (1970), directed by Nicolas Roeg and Donald Cammell and starring James Fox, Mick Jagge
and Anita Pallenberg. The DVD of the original uncut version also includes a new featurette "Influence and Controversy" and a vintage featurette "Memo Song From Turner." Also on the Warner label this week is Neil Jordan's "The Butcher Boy"
(1998) starring Eamonn Owens, Stephen Rea, Fiona Shaw and Sinead O'Connor; Federico Fellini's "Ginger and Fred"
(1985), starring Giulietta Masina and Marcello Mastroianni; and "The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner" (1962), directed by Tony Richardson and starring Tom Courtenay, Michael Redgrave and Avis Bunnage ...
Timed to coincide with the release this week of Martin Scorsese's "The Departed" is Dragon Dynasty/The Weinstein Co./Genius Products' "Infernal Affairs Special Collector's Edition Boxed Set" with all three films from the "Infernal Affairs
Trilogy" ("Departed" is based on "Infernal Affairs," which was released to DVD in 2004); $39.99. The company is also releasing "Infernal Affairs 2" and "Infernal Affairs 3"
separately at $19.95 each. And rounding out the company's Hong Kong actioners is "Police Story 2 Special Collector's Edition" (1988), directed by Jackie Chan and starring Chan, Maggie Cheung, Kwok-Hung Lam and Bill Tung. (Posted
From the past comes "Mr. Moto Collection Volume 2,"
a four-disc set with four Mr. Moto films starring Peter Lorre: "Mr. Moto in Danger Island" (1939), "Mr. Moto's Gamble" (1938), "Mr. Moto's Last Warning" (1939) and "Think Fast, Mr. Moto" (1937); $59.98 from Fox ... and "It's a Small World of Fun:
Volume 3," and "It's a Small World of Fun: Volume 4," each with six classic cartoon shorts with an international flavor, $14.99 from Disney. (Posted February 13)
From TV to Video:
Due this week: "All in the Family: The Complete Sixth
Season" (1975-76), a three-disc set with 24 episodes, $29.95 from Sony ... "Beauty and the Beast: The First Season," a
six-disc set with 22 episodes, $49.99 from Paramount ... "Gentlemen's Relish" (2001), starring Billy Connolly, Sarah Lancashire, Douglas Henshall in a British telefilm about a rejected artist who receives a camera as a gift and forges a new career
in photography, becoming notorious for his lavish portraits of nudes, from BFS Entertainment & Multimedia Ltd. ... "The Golden Girls: The Complete Seventh Season" is a three-disc set with 26 episodes, $39.99 from Buena Vista ...
"Grosse Pointe: The Complete
Series " is a two-disc set with all 17 episodes, $29.95 from Sony ... "The Hills: The Complete First Season" is a three-disc set with 10 episodes of the MTV series, $39.99 from Paramount ... "I Dream of Jeannie: The
Complete Third Season" (1967-68), a four-disc set with 24 episodes, $39.95 from Sony ... "The Last of the Mohicans" (1971), an eight-part Masterpiece Theatre miniseries adaptation of James Fenimore Cooper's timeless literary epic,
in a two-disc set, $29.98 from Koch Vision ... "Pelts" (2006) is the first release from the second season of the acclaimed Showtime Masters of Horror anthology;
directed by Dario Argento and staring Meat Loaf and Melissa Gonzalez, the horror-thriller centers on a struggling fur trader who creates a luxurious fur coat from a family of raccoons, a coat that possesses animal desires and the power to exact revenge, $14.98 from
Anchor Bay ... "World War II: When Lions Roared" (1994) is a telefilm about the 1943 Tehran Conference between FDR, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin, starring Michael Caine, Bob Hoskins, John Lithgow and Ed Begley Jr., in a
two-disc set, $29.98 from (Koch Vision ... "Zoey 101: Season One" is a two-disc set with 13 episodes, $26.99 from Nickelodeon Home Entertainment/Paramount. (Posted February 13)
Buzzin' the 'B's:
In "The Devil's Den" (2006), two friends on their
way back from Mexico stumble upon lap dance heaven -- an
out-of-the-way gentlemen's club with no cover charge and plenty of sexy,
friendly ladies -- that's actually a recruiting station for an army of the flesh eating undead, starring Steven Schub, Ken Foree, Devon Sawa, Kelly Hu and Karen Maxwell, from Starz Home Entertainment ... In "17000 Block"
(2005), directed by Curtis Franklin and starring Al Nuke, Theo Williamson and Johnny Livernois, a young man gets caught up in a violent street family rivalry, from First Look Home Entertainment ... "Man About Town"
(2006) is a comedy about a top Hollywood talent agent who finds his cushy existence threatened when he discovers that his wife is cheating on him and his journal has been stolen by a reporter out to bring him down, starring Ben Affleck, Rebecca Romijn, John Cleese,
Erica Cerra, Gina Gershon, Howard Hesseman, Ling Bai, Jerry O'Connell, Kal Penn, Amber Valletta and Damien Wayans, from Lionsgate ... "Android Apocalypse" is a 2006 Sci Fi thriller about a soft-spoken android soldier who, against his
creator's plans, develops feelings for humans, from Magnolia Home Entertainment ... "Samoan Wedding" (2006) is a comedy about a group of 30-something men, first generation Polynesian New Zealanders who haven't yet outgrown the
irresponsible behavior of their wild teenage years, starring Oscar Kightley and Shimpal Lelisi, from Magnolia Home Entertainment. (Posted February 13)
On the Indie Front:
"Mutual Appreciation" (2005) is an indie snapshot
of post-college angst as a young musician's quest for success in music and love
is hampered only by himself, starring Justin Rice, Rachel Clift, Andrew Bujalski and Seung-Min Lee, from Image Entetainment. (Posted February 13)
For the Kids:
Due this week is "My Bedbugs Volume 1"
(2007), featuring three episodes culled from the multi-award-winning "My Bedbugs" TV show, which is broadcast on PBS stations in more than 50 cities throughout the U.S., featuring a family of loveable characters -- siblings Woozy, Toofy and Gooby -- who sing,
dance, laugh, play and lead viewers on magical adventures, all without ever leaving their bedroom. Each episode of the live-action show uses music and stories to teach positive behaviors, good habits and everyday life lessons; as a bonus, the stories are geared to help
send restless kids off to dreamland; $12.99 from Koch Entertainment. (Posted February 13)
"F**K" (2005), a documentary on the origin of the four letter expletive, explores how this one syllable word has completely permeated the English language, yet is still widely held to be obscene. Uses film and television clips, original animation,
and the insight of scholars, linguists, comedians, actors, and writers; from ThinkFilm ... The 2004 presidential election between George W. Bush and John Kerry provides the stage for "So Goes the Nation" (2006), a documentary that shows how
the voting public was
manipulated by both parties' leaders and their political marketing machines.
Features Hollywood stars Matt Dillon, Steve Buscemi, Hilary Swank, Chad
Lowe, Brendan Fraser, Joe Pantoliano and Fisher Stevens in grass roots campaign efforts. The film also includes exclusive interviews with both Republican and Democratic counterparts; $24.95 from Genius Products ...
"The U.S. vs. John Lennon" (2006) is a documentary on Lennon that focuses on his antiwar activities, from Lionsgate ...
"Bobobo-Bo Bo-Bobo Volume 1: Bo-Nafide Protector"
(2005) features four episodes, as well as the original Japanese
soundtrack, from the anime series that aired on Cartoon Network's Toonami Block; $19.98 from Illumitoon Entertainment/Westlake Entertainment. (Posted February 13)
Due March 13 is the unrated erotic drama "Shortbus,"
directed by John Cameron Mitchell (2001's "Hedwig and the Angry Inch") with an ensemble cast of unknowns playing New Yorkers who all converge at a weekly underground salon called "Shortbus," a mad world of art, music, politics, and polysexual carnality, from
ThinkFilm ... On March 20 Warner will release "Blood Diamond," an intense thriller about the role of diamonds in the civil wars raging throughout Africa, directed by Edward Zwick and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Connelly, Djimon
Hounsou, Michael Sheen and Stephen Collins ... "Charlotte's Web," starring Dakota Fanning and the voices of Julia Roberts, Steve Buscemi, John Cleese, Oprah Winfrey, Cedric the Entertainer, Kathy Bates, Reba McEntire, Robert Redford,
Thomas Haden Church and Sam Shepard, spins its way home loaded with family friendly extras, via Paramount on April 3 ... Also on that day Lionsgate will release the pseudo-documentary that caused a stir when it was released last year, "Death of a
President" ... And, on April 24, New Line will release "Code Name: The Cleaner," starring Cedric the Entertainer, Lucy Liu, Elizabeth Hurley, DeRay Davis and Nicollette Sheridan. (Posted February 9)
Due March 20: Romantic comedy The Holiday, starring Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Jude Law, Jack Black, Rufus Sewell, Eli Wallach and Edward Burns, from Sony ... Due March 27: "The Pursuit of Happyness," starring
Will Smith, on DVD and Blu-ray, from Sony; animated "Happy Feet<" on DVD, Blu-ray and HD DVD, from Warner; grisly thriller "Turistas" from Fox; and "Van Wilder 2: The Rise of Taj,"
starring Kal Penn, from Fox ... Due April 24: Suburban drama "Little Children," directed by Todd Field and starring Kate Winslet, Jennifer Connelly, Patrick Wilson, Noah Emmerich and Jackie Earle Haley, from New Line. (Posted
It's a great week for classics. From Universal Cinema Classics comes "All Quiet on the Western Front" (1930), directed by Lewis Milestone and starring Louis Wolheim, Lew Ayres and John Wray; "Arabian Nights" (1942),
starring Jon Hall, Maria Montez, Sabu and Leif Erickson; "Going My Way" (1944), directed by Leo McCarey and starring Bing Crosby, Barry Fitzgerald, Frank McHugh and Gene Lockhart; and one of the greatest dramas of all time, William
Wyler's "The Heiress" (1949), with tour-de-force performances by Olivia de Havilland, Montgomery Clift, Ralph Richardson and Miriam Hopkins ... Warner has five romantic-themed releases this week, just in time for Valentine's Day:
"Blume in Love" (1973), directed by Paul Mazursky and starring George Segal, Susan Anspach, Kris Kristofferson, Marsha Mason and Shelley Winters; "The Clock" (1945), directed by Vincente Minnelli and starring Judy
Garland and Robert Walker; "Crossing Delancey"
(1988), directed by Joan Micklin Silver and starring Amy Irving, Peter Riegert, Jeroen Krabbe and Sylvia Miles; "Miracle in the Rain"
(1956), starring Jane Wyman and Van Johnson; and "A Summer Place" (1959). directed by Delmer Daves and starring Richard Egan, Dorothy McGuire, Sandra Dee, Arthur Kennedy, Troy Donahue and Constanace Ford ... And last but not least
Sony will release "Here Comes Mr. Jordan" (1941), starring Robert Montgomery, Evelyn Keyes, Claude Rains, Rita Johnson, Edward Everett Horton and James Gleason ... Fox is in a romantic mood with the release of "Romeo+Juliet
Music Edition," a new edition of Baz Luhrmann's 1996 interpretation of Shakespeare's tragedy, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Claire Danes, John Leguizamo, Harold Perrineau, Pete Postlethwaite, Paul Sorvino, Brian Dennehy, Paul Rudd, Vondie
Curtis-Hall, Miriam Margolyes, Jesse Bradford and M. Emmet Walsh. The movie is accompanied by an EMI CD with bonus tracks that include the film version of Princes' "When Doves Cry" and a new 2007 version of Luhrmann's break out hit "Everybody's Free
(Sunscreen Mix)." The DVD features a host of music-themed extras. (Posted February 6)
From TV to Video:
Due this week: "Anything But Love Volume One," a three-disc set with 28 episodes from the first two seasons, $39.98 from Fox ... "Baywatch Season 3," a five-disc set with 22 episodes, $29.98 from First Look Home
Entertainment ... "Ben 10," a two-disc set with all 13 first season episodes of the Cartoon Net series, as
well as a collector's edition poster of Ben and the alien heroes; $19.98 from Warner ... "Hellboy: Sword of Storms"
(2006) is an animated feature with the voices of Ron Perlman, Selma Blair and Doug Jones; $19.98 from Starz Home Entertainment ... "Mad About You: The Complete Third Season" (1994-95), a three-disc set with 24 episodes, $39.95 from Sony
... "Rosemary & Thyme, Series 3," a three-disc set with eight episodes of the British mystery series that combines
glorious gardens with classic whodunits; $49.99 from Acorn Media. (Posted February 6)
Buzzin' the 'B's:
In "Bloody Mary" (2006), a group of psychiatric
hospital nurses invoke the spirit of Bloody Mary -- a supposed urban myth -- and
the slaughter begins; stars Amber Borycki, Jaason Simmons and Matt Borlenghi; from Echo Bridge Home Entertainment ... Two men seek revenge for their friend's death in a deadly underground fight in Best of the Best 2
(1993), starring Eric Roberts, Philip Rhee, Wayne Newton, Chris Penn and Meg Foster; from Fox ... In "The Warrior Class"
(2004), starring Anson Mount, Erica Leerhsen, Robert Vaughn, Jake Weber and Jamey Sheridan, a rookie lawyer exposes a ruthless mafia boss in a billion-dollar scam but falls for the gangster's wife -- who's also his key witness; from Echo Bridge Home Entertainment
... In "Coastlines" (2002), an ex-con returns to his Florida hometown after three years and becomes involved with the wife of his best friend, the local sheriff, starring Timothy Olyphant, Sarah Wynter, Josh Brolin, Scott Wilson, Josh Lucas and
William Forsythe, from Genius Products. (Posted February 6)
On the Indie Front:
"Soup of the Day" (2006) is a full-length feature film version of the hugely popular episodic Internet series about a regular guy who loves split pea soup and happens to be in "monogamous relationships" with three women, starring Brandon Craig,
Catherine Reitman, Patty Wortham and Tina Molina, in a two-disc set from Echo Bridge Home Entertainment ... "Heading South" (2005) stars Charlotte Rampling, Karen Young and Louise Portal in a well-crafted film set in 1978, about three
middle-aged women on holiday who converge at a Haitian resort to soak up the sun and sample the handsome young islanders' sexual talents; from Genius Products. (Posted February 6)
For the Kids:
Due this week: "Cinderella III: A Twist In Time," a direct-to-video sequel to the classic fairy tale in which the Fairy Godmother's magic wand falls into the wrong hands, the stepmother turns back time, and evil stepsister Anastasia is slated to
marry Prince Charming; $29.99 from Disney ...
"Elmo's World: What Makes You Happy?" (2007) explores the different things that make people happy; $12.98 from Sony Wonder ... "Strawberry Shortcake: The Sweet Dreams Movie" (2006) is a new CGI-animated
feature that has Strawberry and her pals trying to stop the
Peculiar Pie Man's evil plan to steal all the Sandman's dreams; $19.98 from Fox ... "My Little Pony: A Very Pony Place" (2005) contains three new musical adventures featuring the Hasbro toy horse, $16.99 from Paramount ... In
"Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo" (2007), the Teen Titans battle a mysterious and menacing Japanese criminal known as Brushogun who has sent a high-tech ninja to attack the young heroes; $19.98. from Warner ... "Voy
Baby" is a new series of learning videos geared to the ever-growing demographic of Latino families in the U.S. Created by Latinos for Latinos, the series concentrates on teaching both English and Spanish fundamentals for babies up to age three, using eye-
popping toys, Latino iconography, puppets and Latin music. The first in the series is "Voy Baby Discovering Colors," available for $12.99. A companion Web site is available at www.voybaby.com. (Posted February 6)
"After Innocence" (2005) is a powerful documentary that examines the lives of men attempting to return to their normal lives after DNA testing has freed them from wrongful imprisonment; focuses on the stories of seven men sent to prison for
crimes they didn't commit; from New Yorker Video ... "She Likes Girls, Vol. 1" (2006) is the first volume in Wolfe Video's new line of collections of lesbian short films; includes six romantic and award-winning short films; $24.95 from Wolfe
Video ... "Eddie Murphy Delirious" highlights the comedian at his peak, taped live at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C., in August 1983, from Entertainment Studios Home Entertainment/Starz Home Entertainment ... Two Joseph Campbell
DVDs are due this week from Acacia: Joseph Campbell: The Hero's Journey," the life story of the man behind the PBS blockbuster "The Power of Myth," and Joseph Campbell: Sukhavati," a unique distillation of
Campbell's work about the power of myth, created through the interweaving of archival excerpts from his lectures with images and otherworldly music; each $19.99 ... UFC Ultimate 2 Pack" features two amazing bouts: "The Huntington Beach
Bad Boy" Tito Ortiz vs. Brazilian star Vitor "The Phenom" Belfort at the Mandalay Bay Resort on February 5, 2005 and Randy Couture vs. Chuck Liddell in a mixed martial arts event on April 16, 2005; $19.98 from First Look Home Entertainment. (Posted
Class is in on February 13 for "School for Scoundrels," starring Billy Bob Thornton, Jon Heder, Jacinda Barrett, Michael Clarke Duncan and Sarah Silverman in a comedy about an assertiveness training instructor who steals his student's girl, from
Dimension/Genius Products ... On February 20 ThinkFilm will release the Rowan Atkinson comedy "Keeping Mum," about an absent-minded vicar of a rural parish who ignores his wife and family and is "saved" by a wacky house mum,
co-starring Kristin Scott Thomas, Maggie Smith, Patrick Swayze, Tamsin Egerton and Toby Parkes ... On March 20 Sony will release the very light romantic comedy "The Holiday," starring Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jack Black, Jude Law,
Edward Burns, Rufus Sewell, Shannyn Sossamon, John Krasinski and Eli Wallach ... also on that day, be prepared for Claude Chabrol's latest mystery-thriller, "The Bridesmaid," starring Benoit Magimel, Laura Smet, Aurore Clement, Bernard Le
Coq, Solene Bouton and Anna Mihalcea, from First Run Features ... On April 3 MGM will release period drama "Copying Beethoven," about a young woman hired by the great composer Beethoven to transcribe his Ninth Symphony, starring Ed
Harris, Diane Kruger and Matthew Goode. (Posted January 30)
A hodge-podge of classics and enjoyable modern releases are due this week:
From Warner Home Video comes "The Arrangement "
(1969), directed by Elia Kazan and starring Kirk Douglas, Faye Dunaway, Deborah Kerr, Richard Boone and Hume Cronyn in a tale of marital infidelity; Raoul Walsh's Civil War yarn "Band of Angels"
(1957), starring Clark Gable, Yvonne De Carlo, Sidney Poitier, Efrem
Zimbalist Jr. and Rex Reason; Michael Crichton's technology-gone-astray thriller "Looker" (1981), starring Albert Finney, James Coburn, Susan Dey, Leigh Taylor-Young, Dorian Harewood, Tim Rossovich and Darryl Hickman; biodrama
"Madame Curie " (1943), directed by Mervyn LeRoy and starring Greer Garson, Walter Pidgeon, Reginald Owen, Henry
Travers, Van Johnson and Margaret O'Brien ... MGM has on offer the rather incredible "The Silence of the Lambs Collector's Edition" (1991), directed by Jonathan Demme and starring Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Scott Glenn, Anthony
Heald and Ted Levine, in a two-disc set loaded with extras; and "The Fabulous Baker Boys" (1989), directed by Steven Kloves and starring Jeff Bridges, Michelle Pfeiffer and Beau Bridges in a moody film about a brother lounge musician duo
who hire a sultry singer to spice up their act ... Three Doris Day films arrive from Fox: "Caprice"
(1967), starring Day, Richard Harris, Ray Walston and Jack
Kruschen; "Do Not Disturb" (1965) starring Day and Rod Taylor; and "Move Over, Darling" (1963), starring Day, James Garner, Polly Bergen, Thelma Ritter, Fred Clark and Don Knotts ... and, finally, Sony will send
out "The Pedro Almodovar Collection," an eight-disc set with "All About My Mother" (1999), "Bad Education" (2004), "Talk
to Her" (2002), "The Flower of My Secret" (1995), "Women on the Verge of a
Nervous Breakdown" (1988), "Live Flesh" (1997), "Law of Desire (1999) and
"Matador" (1986); $117.95. (Posted January 30)
From TV to Video:
"Benny Hill Complete & Unadulterated Set 6" (1986-89) a three-disc set with eight episodes never before seen in their entirety in the States, $49.95 from A&E Home Video ... "The Big Valley: Season Two, Volume One," a
three-disc set with the first 15 episodes from the second season, $39.98 from Fox ... "The Chatterley Affair" (2006), a BBC drama inspired by D.H. Lawrence's banned novel, from Acorn Media ... "Cousin Bette" (1971), a
BBC miniseries based on Honore de Balzac's novel, starring Margaret Tyzack as a furious spinster and a young Helen Mirren as a siren who lures men to their doom, in a two-disc set for $39.99 from Acorn Media ... "Dallas: The Complete Sixth
Season," a five-disc set with 28 episodes, $39.98 from Warner ... "Desperate Crossing: The Untold Story of the Mayflower" (2006), starring Paul Drinan, Erin Raftery and Sam Redford, from A&E Home Video ... "ER:
The Complete Sixth Season," a six-disc set with 22 episodes, $49.98 from Warner ...
"Lives of the Saints" (2004), a Hallmark Channel miniseries about betrayal, suicide and forgiveness, spanning 30 years in the life of a
young Italian man, starring Sophia Loren, Fab Filippo, Jessica Pare, Sabrina Ferilli, Kris Kristofferson and Nick Mancuso, from MTI Home Video ... "Lucky Louie: The Complete First Season," a two-disc set with 12 episodes, $29.98 from HBO
Video ... "Suzanne's Diary For Nicholas" (2005), a tear-jerker about a New York book editor who falls for a man who breaks off their relationship and sends her a copy of a diary written by his wife to their son, starring Christina Applegate,
Johnathon Schaech, Kathleen Rose Perkins and Jenna Friedenberg, from Anchor Bay. (Posted January 30)
Buzzin' the 'B's:
Three thrillers from The Weinstein Co./Genius Products:
"The Gathering" (2002) is a thriller about a backpacking American girl hit by a car in the English countryside who recovers
in a small village that holds a horrific secret, starring Christina Ricci, Ioan Gruffudd and Stephen Dillane ... An American family on holiday in Africa becomes lost in a game reserve and stalked by lions in "Prey" (2006), starring Conner Dowds,
Bridget Moynahan, Carly Schroeder and Peter Weller ... In "Unknown" (2006), five men wake up in a locked-down warehouse with no memory of who they are; they're forced to figure out who is good and who is bad to stay alive; stars Jim
Caviezel, Greg Kinnear, Bridget Moynahan, Joe Pantoliano, Barry Pepper, Jeremy Sisto and Peter Stormare. (Posted January 30)
On the Indie Front:
"Glow Ropes: The Rise and Fall of a Bar Mitzvah
Emcee" (2005) is a mocumentary about the cutthroat world of ambitious event planners and performers, from Echo Bridge Home Entertainment ... In "Facing the Giants" (2006) a losing coach with an underdog football team faces their
giants of fear and failure on and off the field to surprising results, starring James Blackwell, Bailey Cave, Shannen Fields, Tracy Goode, Alex Kendrick and Jim McBride, from Sony ... "Motel"
(2005) is an indie film about the trials and tribulations of a 13-year-old boy who works at his parents' sleazy motel, stars Sung Kang, Samantha Futerman, Jeffrey Chyau and Jade Wu, from Palm Pictures. (Posted January 30)
For the Kids:
"Diary of a Worm ... And More Great Animal Tales" includes the title story and three more animal tales in the series of titles that offer careful adaptations of children's books; $14.95 from Scholastic Video Collection ... Two volumes in the PBS
preschool "It's a Big Big World" series have been released by Sony: "It's a Big Big World: Investigate Your World" encourages curiosity and teaches scientific ideas, and "It's a Big Big World: The Sky Above" answers such
questions about the universe as "what is the moon made of" and "where do rainbows come from"; each volume contains five episodes; $14.94 each. (Posted January 30)
There's a potpourri of releases due this week: For laughs there's "Phyllis Diller: Not Just Another Pretty
Face," spotlighting Diller's brand of humor from the 1960s; includes guest appearances by Frankie Avalon, Joe Besser, Annette Funicello, Phil Harris, The King Family, Kirk Kirkham, Dean Martin, Don Rickles, and Terry-Thomas; and "Tim
Conway: Timeless Comedy," a collection of TV clips from the 1960s; both $14.98 from MPI Home Video ... "The Sensational 70s DVD Collection" is a video scrapbook of the events and people that shaped our views and culture
during the "Me" decade, in a four-disc set for $39.98 from MPI Home Video ... "The Doctor, the Tornado & the Kentucky
Kid" (2006) is a documentary about the biggest motorcycle race in American history, the 2005 Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix at Laguna Seca, California; $29.95 from Docurama ... "The Festival" (2005) is a six-part mocumentary series
about a filmmaker who hitchhikes his way to the impossibly pretentious Mountain United Film Festival (M.U.F.F), clutching the only copy of his first feature, "The Unreasonable Truth of Butterflies"; $24.95 from Docurama ... "Roots of Resistance: The
Story Behind the Underground Railroad" (1990) is an American Experience special that tells the history of a clandestine network of black and whites willing to risk their lives to assist those slaves whose desperation drove them to escape, told through the
narratives of escaped slaves and recollections of those descended from the Railroad's courageous "passengers"; from WGBH Boston Video ... and, finally, for music lovers there's "Smokey Robinson: The Greatest Hits
Live," in which Smokey performs his greatest hits Including, "Tears of a Clown," "Shop Around," "I Second That Emotion," "Ooo Baby Baby" and more, before a live audience in Las Vegas in 1998; $14.99 from SRO Entertainment; "The Very
Best of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons:
Live In Concert," a 30th anniversary concert taped in 1992 in Atlantic City, $14.99 from SRO Entertainment; and "Michael Bolton: My Secret Passion," in which the pop singer-songwriter sings songs from his secret passion, recorded
live from the beautiful stage of the Teatro Massimo Bellini in Catania, Italy, May 5, 1998; $24.99 from Kultur International. (Posted January 30)
"The mole is an animal that digs tunnels underground searching for the sun. Sometimes his journey leads him to the surface. When he looks at the sun, he is blinded." So begins Alejandro Jodorowsky's classic "El Topo," a surrealistic journey
mixing religion, 1960s "Theatre of Cruelty," Western film motifs and downright craziness into a film that took the underground by storm and, when it began screening at New York's Elgin Theater in 1970, sparked the Midnight Movie phenomena. Long unavailable in
any form in the United States, ABKCO Films and Anchor Bay will finally release "El Topo" and two other mind-bending Jodorowsky classics, "The Holy Mountain" and "Fando Y Lis," on DVD on May 1. These
astonishing films, which have been fully restored and remastered, will be available as a special limited edition collector's box set featuring exclusive rare bonus materials, for $49.98, with "El Topo" and "The Holy Mountain" also available separately at $24.98 each.
Classic Americana and avant-garde European sensibilities collide with Zen Buddhism and the Bible as master gunfighter and mystic El Topo (played by writer-director Jodorowsky) tries to defeat four sharp-shooting rivals on a bizarre path to allegorical self-awareness and
resurrection. Jodorowsky's high budget follow up effort, "The Holy Mountain" (1973), takes his psychedelic allegorical mastery to another level. Grotesque, mystical and sacrilegious, it is an excursion into the meaning of earthly wealth and immortality. Rounding out
the set is Jodorowsky's first full-length feature film, "Fando Y Lis." Based on Jodorowsky's memories of a play by surrealist Fernando Arrabal, it caused an uproar in the avant-garde community when it premiered in 1967 in Acapulco. (Posted January
It's a great week for Golden Oldies on DVD. First up, Warner will release "Robert Mitchum: The Signature Collection," a six-disc set with "Angel Face," "Macao," "Home From the Hill," "The Sundowners,"
"The Good Guys and the Bad Guys" and "The Yazuka"; $59.92 or $19.97 each ... Add to that The Criterion Collection's "Monsters and Madmen," a four-disc box set with two "drive-in" double-bills that take us from a grave past to a space-age
future, spinning classic tales of hair-raising homicidal mania and intrepid, death-defying exploration: "The Haunted Strangler" (1958) starring Boris Karloff, "Corridors of Blood" (1958) starring Boris Karloff and Christopher Lee, "First Man Into Space" (1959) starring
Marshall Thompson, and "The Atomic Submarine" (1959) starring Arthur Franz and Dick Foran; in all new, restored high-definition digital transfers; $79.95 ... Also from Criterion comes "Yojimbo/Sanjuro: Two Films by Akira Kurosawa," the
classic films starring Toshiro Mifune and Tatsuya Nakadai, available as a two-disc set ($69.95) and individually ($39.95 each); lavishly packaged with informative extras ... Sony has two killer double features from rock's past: "Don't Knock the Rock/Rock
Around the Clock Double Feature," both from 1956, with "Don't Knock the Rock" starring Alan Dale, Patricia Hardy, Alan Freed,
Fay Baker, Little Richard and Bill Haley & His Comets; and "Rock Around the Clock" starring Alan Freed, Bill Haley & His Comets, The Platters, Johnny
Johnston, Tony Martinez and Frankie Bell and the Bellboys; $19.94; and "Twist Around the Clock/Don't Knock the Twist Double
Feature," with "Twist Around the Clock" (1961) starring Chubby Checker, Dion DiMucci, Vicki Spencer and "Don't Knock the Twist" (1962) starring Chubby Checker, Gene Chandler,Vic Dana, Linda Scott; $19.94 .. Lastly, MGM will release a two-disc
set of "Fiddler on the Roof," starring
Topol, Norma Crane, Leonard Frey, Molly Picon, Paul Mann, Rosalind Harris, Michele Marsh, Neva Small and Paul Michael Glaser, with commentary by director Norman Jewison and Topol, featurettes, an Easter egg, photo galleries, and more. (Posted
From TV to Video:
Due this week: "Hopeless Pictures -- Season One"
(2005), a two-disc set of the animated satire from IFC; $26.95 from Genius Products and IFC Television ... "Walker, Texas Ranger: The Complete Second Season" (1994-95), is a seven-disc set with 23 episodes, $54.99 from Paramount ...
"The Waltons: The Complete Fourth Season" is a five-disc set with 25 episodes, $39.98, from Warner. (Posted January 23)
Buzzin' the 'B's:
In "Night Skies" (2006), six strangers have a harrowing experience with an unidentified flying object in Phoenix; stars Jason Connery, A.J. Cook and George Stults, from Sony ... In "Relative Strangers" (2006), starring
Danny DeVito, Kathy Bates, Ron Livingston and Neve Campbell, a tightly wound professional on a mission to
locate his biological parents finds that the couple who conceived him aren't exactly upper-class, from First Look Home Entertainment ... In "Troubled Waters"(2006) Jennifer Beals stars as an FBI agent whose investigation of a kidnapping uncovers
a terrible murder plot; co-stars Shauna Black, Stewart Arnott and Olivia Ballantyne, from Genius Products. (Posted January 23)
On the Indie Front:
"Cowboy Del Amor" (2006) is a comic documentary that follows self-proclaimed "Cowboy Cupid" Ivan Thompson as he finds Mexican brides for disillusioned American men searching for the perfect wife, from Genius Products ...
"The Puffy Chair" (2005) is an indie comedy about a
cross-country mission by a young man who wants to deliver to his father a
perfect birthday gift -- a giant purple LazyBoy; stars Mark Duplass, Kathryn Aselton and Rhett Wilkins, from Genius Products. (Posted January 23)
For the Kids:
"The Invincible Iron Man" (2006) is the third movie in the Marvel animated feature series, $19.98 from Lionsgate ... "Alvin and the Chipmunks: A Chipmunk Valentine" (1983) gathers together four Valentine-themed
episodes from the "Alvin and the Chipmunks" TV
series; $14.99 from Paramount ... "The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss: The Cat's Family and Friends" features three episodes from the Nickelodeon TV series, $9.95 from Sony. (Posted January 23)
"The 2006 FIFA World Cup Film: The Grand Finale" (2006) is the official FIFA sanctioned documentary overview of all the
tournament's action and drama; $24.96 from Sony ... For diehard Chicago Bulls fans Warner will release "NBA Chicago Bulls 1991 Champions: Learning to Fly," a six-disc set packed with 10 hours of material covering the five-game Bulls' win
over the Los Angeles Lakers, $49.95 ... "Cocaine Cowboys" (2005) is a documentary on the cultural explosion sparked by the drug trade in 1980s Miami that still echoes as Hollywood myth today, $26.98 from Magnolia Home Entertainment ...
"Tactics: Volume 3" features Chapters 11 through 15 of the incredible anime series, $24.98 from Manga Entertainment ... "Avatar: The Last Airbender -- Book 2: Earth -- Volume 1 features five episodes from the
Nickelodeon Home Entertainment series, $16.99 from Paramount. (Posted January 23)
Just announced: The best Bond film in recent memory, "Casino Royale," starring Daniel Craig, Eva Green, Mads Mikkelsen, Judi Dench, Jeffrey Wright and Giancarlo Giannini, will arrive March 13 from MGM ... On February 20, Warner will
release Christopher Guest's satire of Hollywood, "For Your Consideration," with a giant ensemble cast including Bob Balaban, Ed Begley, Jr., Jennifer Coolidge, Paul Dooley, Ricky Gervais, Christopher Guest, Rachael Harris, Eugene Levy,
Michael McKean, Larry Miller, Christopher Moynihan, Catherine O'Hara, Parker Posey, Harry Shearer, Deborah Theaker, Fred Willard and Scott Williamson ... On March 6, Fox will release Richard Linklater's filmization of "Fast Food
starring Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke, Greg Kinnear, Bobby Cannavale, Luis Guzman, Kris Kristofferson, Wilmer Valderrama, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Esai Morales and Avril Lavigne ... "The Nativity Story," directed by Catherine
Hardwicke and starring Keisha Castle-Hughes, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Oscar Isaac, Ciaran Hinds and Shaun Toub, will wend its way home March 20, from New Line. (Posted January 18)
Due February 20 is Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's "Babel," a suspense-filled drama that explores with shattering realism the nature of the barriers that seem to separate humankind; the film evokes the ancient concept of Babel and questions its
modern day implications: the mistaken identities, misunderstandings and missed chances for communication that drive our contemporary lives. Stars Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Gael Garcia
Bernal, Koji Yakusho and Elle Fanning, from Paramount. (Posted January 16)
Two interesting releases this week from The Criterion Collection:
Allison Anders' 1987 "Border Radio," starring Chris D., Luanna Anders, John Doe, Chris Shearer and Dave Alvin. Before carving out a niche as one the most distinct voices in nineties American cinema, Allison Anders made her debut, alongside
co-directors and fellow UCLA film-school students Kurt Voss and Dean Lent, with this low-key, semi-improvised post-punk diary that took four years to complete. The film features legendary rocker Chris D., of the Flesh Eaters, as a singer/songwriter who has stolen
loot from a club and gone missing, leaving his wife (Luanna Anders), a no-nonsense rock journalist, to track
him down with the help of his friends (John Doe of the band X; Chris Shearer).
With its sprawling Southern Californian and Mexican landscape, captured in
evocative 16mm black-and-white, Border Radio is a singular, DIY memento of the
indie film explosion in America. In a new, restored high-definition digital
transfer supervised and approved by Lent and Voss and a new
essay by music journalist and critic Chris Morris ... Robert Bresson plumbs great reservoirs of feeling with "Mouchette" (1967), one of the
most searing portraits of human desperation ever put on film. Faced with a dying
mother, an absent, alcoholic father, and a baby brother in need of care, the
teenaged Mouchette seeks solace in nature and daily routine, a respite from her tormented home life. An essential work of French filmmaking, Bresson's hugely empathetic drama elevates its trapped protagonist into one of the cinema's great tragic figures. Stars Nadine
Nortier, Jean-Claude Guilbert, Maria Cardinal and Paul Hebert; in a new, restored high-definition digital transfer. (Posted January 16)
From TV to Video:
Due this week:
"Father Brown, Set 1 (1982), a two-disc set with seven episodes of the PBS Mystery! series based on the G.K. Chesterton clergyman-detective; $39.99 from Acorn Media ... "The King of Queens: The Complete Seventh
Season" (2004-05), a three-disc set with 22 episodes, $39.95 from Sony ... "Read It and Weep" (2006), a Disney Channel Original Movie about a teenager's private journal that is accidentally turned into a best-selling book, turning the
author from regular girl to media darling; $19.99
from Disney ... "Rising Damp: Series 3," with seven episodes from the 1974-78 British comedy series about a miserly, mean-spirited landlord of a run-down boarding house, starring Leonard Rossiter; $24.99 from Acorn Media ...
"The Street: The Complete First Season." a two-disc set with six episodes, $29.98 from Koch Vision ... "That's So Suite Life of Hannah
Montana" (2006) in which stars from Disney Channel series "That's So Raven," "The Suite Life of Zack & Cody" and "Hannah Montana" get together and guest star in each other's shows; $19.99 from Disney. (Posted January 16)
Buzzin' the 'B's:
In "Her Minor Thing" (2005), the life of a 25-year-old professional woman turns chaotic when her boyfriend accidentally reveals on TV that she's a virgin; directed by Charles Matthau and starring Estella Warren, Christian Kane, Michael
Weatherly, Rachel Dratch, Flex Alexander, Kathy Griffin and Ivana Milicevic, from First Look Home Entertainment ... "Shadow of the Sword" (2005) is an actioner that takes place at the end of the Middle Ages, on the threshold of the
inquisition, when two friends find themselves at the mercy of the powerful church and at each other's throats; stars Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Peter McDonald, Eddie Marsan, Julie Cox and Steven Berkoff, from MTI Home Video ... "In Her Line of
Fire" (2006) stars Mariel Hemingway, David Keith, David Millbern and Jill Bennett in an actioner about a tough but beautiful Secret Service agent (Hemingway) protecting a U.S. vice
president who has her hands full when their plane goes down in a storm near a
remote island used for training local rebels; she must fight hard to save the
lives of the vp as well as her love interest, rookie reporter Sharon Serrano
(Bennett); originally aired on here! in April 2006; from Genius Products ... "Seven Swords" (2005) is famed director Hark Tsui's martial arts epic, starring Donnie Yen, Leon Lai, Charlie Yeung, Liwu Dai and Chia-Liang Liu in a fantasy epic
about seven master swordsmen who denounce the brutality of the newly formed government and band together to prevent the slaughter of innocent villages by an evil warlord; in a two-disc set from The Weinstein Co./Genius Products ... In "Undisputed II:
Last Man Standing"
(2006), a martial arts expert must fight to save himself in a Russian prison; stars Michael Jai White, Scott Adkins, Eli Danker and Ben Cross; from New Line. (Posted January 16)
On the Indie Front:
"Hard Scrambled" (2006) is an indie outing about cutthroat players who dream and scheme for control of a diner after the owner has an "accident"; stars Kurtwood Smith, Richard Edson, Beth Grant, Alanna Ubach and Eyal Podell; from New
Visions Fellowship; go to www.hardscrambled.com for more info ... "The Couple (The Aryan Couple)"
(2004) is based on the true story of a Jewish Hungarian's desperate attempts to save his family from the Nazi death camps; directed by John Daly and starring Martin Landau, Judy Parfitt and Kenny Doughty; from First Look Home Entertainment ...
"Purgatory House" (2004) was written by and starred then 14-year old Celeste Davis; in the story, a lonely teen abandons her life of turmoil and drug addiction, only to find herself caught somewhere between heaven and hell; co-stars Jim Hanks,
Devin Witt, Johnny Pacar and Rhiannon Main; from Image Entertainment. (Posted January 16)
"May 6th" (2004) is the final film from acclaimed Dutch director Theo Van Gogh before his 2004 murder by a
radical Islamist. The movie is a fictional version of the events that led to the
assassination of the Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn on May 6, 2002; based on the
book "The Sixth of May" by Tomas Ross; from Koch Lorber Films. (Posted January 16)
"The Animation Show Box Set" (2007) features 32 of the world's best animated short films selected by renowned creator and animator Mike Judge ("Beavis and Butt-Head," "King of the Hill") and Academy Award nominated animator Don
Hertzfeldt; in a two-disc set, $26.99 from MTV/Paramount ... In "Here! Comedy Presents Kate Clinton" (2005) the lesbian comedienne performs stand-up from her one-woman show "Talking A Blue Streak"; from Genius Products ... For Manga
fans there's "Noein Volume 2," which continues the adventures from the No. 1-rated anime series on Japan's Bandai TV Channel; the disc contains five episodes featuring Haruka and her friends in an inter-dimensional quest to save the world;
$19.99 from Manga Entertainment ... "Puzzling Mind" is a boxed set of three NOVA documentaries: "Mind of a Serial Killer," "Secret of the Wild Child" and "Secrets of the Mind," $39.95 from WGBH Boston Video. (Posted January
Due February 27 is the wonderfully oddball comedy "Stranger Than Fiction,"
starring Will Ferrell, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman, Queen Latifah and Emma
Thompson, from Sony ... and look out: "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make
Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan" invades home video on March 6, from Fox. (Posted January 9)
From TV to Video:
Due this week: "Broken Bridges," a 2006 telefilm starring Toby Keith, Kelly Preston, Tess Harper, Willie Nelson, Lindsey Haun and Burt Reynolds, about a pair of high school sweethearts who return home after the deaths of their brothers,
forcing them to deal with ghosts from the past, from Paramount ... "Extras: The Complete First Season" is a two-disc set with six episodes, $29.98 from HBO Video. (Posted January 9)
Buzzin' the 'B's:
"Bandidas" (2006) stars Penelope Cruz, Salma Hayek, Steve Zahn, Dwight Yoakam and Sam Shepard in a comic
Western about two women who become outlaws to avenge the deaths of their fathers
at the hands of a robber baron, from Fox ... In "The Veteran" (2006), a vet returns to Vietnam to face his past and his demons; stars Ally Sheedy, Bobby Hosea and Michael Ironside, from Union Station Media ... "Shadow
Run" is a 1998 caper thriller about a master thief who assembles an expert team to
hijack an armored truck in broad daylight, starring Michael Caine and James Fox, from BFS Entertainment & Multimedia
Limited ... In "Final Move" (2006), a cop comes out of retirement to hunt down the "Chess Piece Murderer," starring Matt Schulze, Lochlyn Munro, Daniel Baldwin, David Carradine and Amanda
Detmer, from MTI Home Video ... From the mind of Stan Lee comes "Lightspeed,"
a 2006 Sci Fi channel telefilm about an agent who discovers that, as a result
of a near lethal mishap, he has developed the ability to run at the speed of
light; without warning, he acquires a dangerous nemesis in the form of "The
Python," a man transformed into part man, part snake after a botched
experiment; stars Jason Connery, Nicole Eggert, Daniel Goddard and Lee Majors, from Starz Home Entertainment ...
"Murder Set Pieces" is a 2004 thriller about a fashion photographer who exposes his demented childhood and zooms his evil lens on the
oldest profession under the moon, starring Sven Garrett, Tony Todd, Cerina Vincent and Gunnar Hansen, from Lionsgate. (Posted January 9)
"Van Gogh" (1991 -- French) traces the final months of Vincent Van Gogh's life, starring Jacques Dutronc, Alexandra London and Bernard Le Coq, from Sony ...
In Everybody Says I'm Fine" (2001 -- India), a telepathic hairdresser
hears his clients' inner turmoil and while he tries to help them with their
desperate lives he ironically can't help himself in his solitary, lonely life, starring Rehaan Engineer, Koel Purie and Rahul Bose, from BFS Entertainment & Multimedia
Limited. (Posted January 9)
For the Kids:
"A Pup Named Scooby-Doo Volume 5" (2006) features four episodes from the pre-school TV series, $14.97 from Warner ...
The "Jolly Bean Kids Mystery" is an animated adventure about five jelly beans who try to find out who's trying to sabotage Candy Land, from the creators of Nick's "Romeo," featuring the voice of Lil' Romeo; $14.99 from First Look Home
Entertainment. (Posted January 9)
Due January 9 is creepy mystery thriller "The Night Listener,"
starring Toni Collette, Robin Williams, Joe Morton, Bobby Cannavale, Rory Culkin and Sandra Oh, from Miramax ... On January 16 Lionsgate will release the comedy "Employee of the Month," starring Dane Cook, Jessica Simpson, Dax
Shepard, Efren Ramirez and Andy Dick ... "The Guardian," an actioner about Coast Guard rescue teams, starring Kevin Costner, Ashton Kutcher, Sela Ward and Melissa Sagemillerwill, swims home January 23 from Buena Vista ...
On January 30 Universal will release "Catch a Fire," a stirring drama about revolution and apartheid in South Africa, starring Tim Robbins, Derek Luke and Bonnie Mbuli ... Due February 6 from Sony is very dark comedy drama
"Running With Scissors," starring Annete Bening, Joseph Cross, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jill Clayburgh, Brian Cox, Joseph Fiennes, Evan Rachel Wood, Alec Baldwin, Gabrielle Union, Vanessa Redgrave, Kristin Chenoweth and Patrick Wilson ...
And, on February 13, Sony will release the critically acclaimed "Marie Antoinette," directed by Sofia Coppola and starring Kirsten Dunst, Jason Schwartzman, Rip Torn, Molly Shannon, Judy Davis, Steve Coogan, Asia Argento, Marianne
Faithful, Aurore Clement and Shirley Henderson. (Posted January 2)
Buzzin' the 'B's:
Due this week: "The Darkroom," a horrifying
journey into the mind of an escaped mental patient who, after taking some
experimental medication, finds himself discovering that certain things about his
past are better left in the dark, starring Reed Diamond, Greg Grunberg, Shawn Pyfrom and Lucy Lawless, from Anchor Bay ... "Shottas" is a 2002 cult Jamaican gangster thriller starring Wyclef Jean, Kymani Marley and Spragga Benz; in a
two-disc set from Sony. (Posted January 2)
On the Indie Front:
A young woman creates a home and family in the West in "Love's Abiding Joy," an adaptation of the fourth novel in the "Love Comes Softly" inspirational book series, from Fox Faith ... In "Luminarias," a separated,
Latina divorce attorney falls for her Jewish opposing counsel, causing her three single friends to choose sides in a lively, often uproarious debate about race and sex, starring Evelina Fernandez, Scott Bakula, Cheech Marin and Robert Beltran, from Echo Bridge Home
Entertainment. (Posted January 2)
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July 9, 2007
OnVideo News (ISSN 1094-3676).