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More News: July-December 2007

Buzzin' the 'B's:
"American Pie Presents: Beta House" (2007) another direct-to-video edition of the "American Pie" series, this time taking place in college, from Universal ... In "The Brothers Solomon" (2007), starring Will Arnett, Will Forte, Chi McBride, Kristen Wiig, Malin Akerman and Lee Majors, two well-meaning but socially-inept brothers go on a mission to make good on their dad's dying wish for a grandchild; from Sony ... "Robin-B-Hood" (2006) is a Jackie Chan Kung-fu action comedy in which Chan plays a compulsive gambler who turns to robbery to pay off his debts; the real trouble starts when his buddies try to score a big payout by kidnapping a baby and he's thrust into a world filled with diapers, milk bottles and droning lullabies; from Dragon Dynasty/Weinstein Company/Genius Products ... "Maximum Cage Fighting" (2007)is a mixed mixed martial arts actioner with a typical plot: A retired, once-prominent Tae Kwon Do champion is forced to face off against an old nemesis when his daughter is kidnapped; from Echo Bridge Home Entertainment ... In "Jackass 2.5" (2007), Johnny Knoxville and crew return for another foray into stupidity with outrageous stunts, from Paramount. (Posted December 25)

On the Indie Front:
When a middle-aged Hollywood actor and a small-town boy with big dreams are cast together in a local independent film in rural Texas, these seemingly different characters learn they have worlds in common in "Paradise, Texas" (2005), starring Timothy Bottoms, Ben Estus, Meredith Baxter, Sheryl Lee and Polly Bergen; from Monarch Home Video. (Posted December 25)

A Taste of January:
Coming January 1 are "Resident Evil: Extinction," the third and final installment of the $100 million Resident Evil trilogy; Jet Li and Jason Statham thriller "War," and "Indie Sex," which aired as a miniseries event on IFCtv in August 2007 and garnered the highest ratings in the channel's history. The two-disc set explores how independent films have provided a forum to discover society's deepest and darkest sexual fantasies played out on the big screen; $29.95 from Genius Products. (Posted December 25)

Coming Soon:
Due February 26 is the creepy vampire flick "30 Days of Night," set in Barrow, Alaska, where the sun sets and doesn't rise for more than 30 consecutive days and nights, giving bloodsuckers plenty of time to thrive; from Sony on DVD and Blu-ray Disc ... "Lust, Caution," Ang Lee's erotic and suspenseful tale of intrigue in Shanghai during WWII, arrives February 19 from Universal. (Posted December 18)

From the Big Screen:
Due this week: The long-awaited <"Blade Runner: The Final Cut<," musical "Once," The Simpsons Movie," "Stardust" and "Underdog." Due December 23 are "Eastern Promises," "The Kingdom" and "Rush Hour 3." For more releases this week, see our "Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases." (Posted December 18)

DVD Collectibles:
photo Ridley Scott's "Blade Runner" is one of the most important science fiction films -- no, one of the most important films -- of the 20th century. Riffing on Phillip K. Dick's "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" Scott put together a film that has had immeasurable influence on society for its futuristic depiction of a dystopian world -- and has been the fertile foundation for hundreds of sci-fi films to come. The film has appeared on more "Top Five" sci-fi lists than any other film. The story of the film's postproduction -- the trimming of important scenes, the added voice-over narration, the different versions -- and then the film's poor critical and audience response on its initial release -- has been well documented elsewhere. Suffice to say that, on its 25th anniversary, Scott went back into postproduction to create the long-awaited definitive new version. "Blade Runner: The Final Cut," spectacularly restored and remastered from original elements and scanned at 4K resolution, contains never-before-seen added/extended scenes, added lines, new and improved special effects, director and filmmaker commentary, an all-new 5.1 Dolby Digital audio track and more. Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Edward James Olmos, Joanna Cassidy, Sean Young, and Daryl Hannah are among some 80 stars, filmmakers and others who participate in the extensive bonus features. Three DVD editions will be available this week: a Two-Disc Special Edition ($20.97), a Four-Disc Collector's Edition ($34.99) and a Five-Disc Ultimate Collector's Edition ($78.92) in collectible "Deckard Briefcase" packaging. Simultaneous HD DVD and Blu-ray versions of the five-disc set, in both digi-pak and "Deckard Briefcase" (in numbered, limited quantities) will also be released. Only the four-disc and five-disc sets have all the versions of the film (The new version plus three previous versions: 1982 theatrical version that contains Deckard/Harrison Ford's character narration and has Deckard and Rachel's (Sean Young) "happy ending" escape scene; the 1982 international version, which was used on U.S. home video, laserdisc and cable releases up to 1992, is not rated, and contains some extended action scenes in contrast to the theatrical version; and the 1992 director's cut, which omits Deckard's voiceover narration and removes the "happy ending" finale. It adds the famously controversial "unicorn" sequence, a vision that Deckard has which suggests that he, too, may be a replicant).For in-depth information on each release, turn to our "Blade Runner" calendar listing. From Warner. (Posted December 18)

photo Over the years, Anchor Bay Entertainment has released numerous special editions of "The Evil Dead," each one more dynamic and diabolical than the one that preceded it, in an effort to continually satiate and satisfy the ravenous hunger of the film's worldwide legion of fans. This three-disc set, "The Evil Dead Ultimate Edition," commemorates the film's 25th anniversary and includes: Disc One: Widescreen version, "One by One We Will Take You: The Untold Saga of The Evil Dead" featurette, commentary by director Sam Raimi and producer Robert Tapert ; Disc Two: Full-frame version, "The Evil Dead: Treasures From the Cutting Room Floor" featurette, commentary by actor Bruce Campbell; Disc Three Special Features: "Life After Death: The Ladies of the Evil Dead": At home, on the road and behind-the-scenes with Ellen Sandweiss, Betsy Baker and Theresa Tilly, "The Ladies of the Evil Dead Meet Bruce Campbell: Ellen, Betsy & Theresa join Bruce for an informal yakfest, "Unconventional":Cast and crew reunite to discuss horror conventions and beyond, "At the Drive-In": No-holds-barred Q&A with a drive-in audience of hardcore fans, "Reunion Panel": The once-in-a-lifetime panel at Chicago's Flashback Weekend Horror Convention, "Discovering the Evil Dead": A look at the British home video release of "The Evil Dead" and it's place in the "Video Nasties" debate, make-up test, trailer, TV spots, still gallery. $34.97. From Anchor Bay Entertainment. (Posted December 18)

From TV to Video:
Due this week: "The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: Volume 2" (1992-93, 1996) a nine-disc set, $117.99 from Paramount ... "Crooked E: The Unshredded Truth About Enron" (2003) a telefilm about the Enron scandal, starring Shannon Elizabeth, Brian Dennehy, Christian Kane, from Echo Bridge Home Entertainment ... "The Mod Squad: Season 1, Volume 1" (1968-69) is a four-disc set with 13 episodes, $42.99 from Paramount ... "One Tree Hill: The Complete Fourth Season" is a six-disc set with 21 episodes, $59.98 from Warner ... "Rawhide: Season 2, Volume 2" (1960) is a four-disc set with 16 episodes, $42.99 from Paramount. (Posted December 18)

Buzzin' the 'B's:
"Hatchet" (2007) is a backwoods slasher film about a deformed boy, accidentally killed, who returns from the grave to wreak revenge. In rated and unrated versions. Stars Joel Moore, Tamara Feldman, Deon Richmond, Mercedes McNab and Kane Hodder; from Anchor Bay ... "Bring It On: In It to Win It" (2007) is the third direct-to-video sequel in the popular teen franchise; this one stars Ashley Benson, Michael Copon, Cassie Scerbo, Jennifer Tisdale and Kierstin Koppel; from Universal. (Posted December 18)

For the Family:
"Cinderella II: Dreams Come True" (2002) is a direct-to-video sequel with three tales and a game, $29.99 from Disney. (Posted December 18)

Special Interest:
"Deep Water" is a 2005 documentary narrated by Tilda Swinton that details the true story of Donald Crowhurst, an amateur sailor who enters the most brutal nautical challenge ever -- the very first solo, non-stop, round-the-world sailboat race. After risking his finances and finding an investor, Crowhurst choose his boat, enlists nine extremely skilled sailors and begins preparing for his voyage, a process that was riddled with obstacles and omens. Setting sail on the last eligible day, Crowhurst began a treacherous journey that would leave six of the nine men dead, and his own life, sanity, and victory hanging in the balance. Documentary filmmakers Louise Osmond and Jerry Rothwell use Crowhurst's recently re-discovered original 16mm films and tape recordings -- as well as numerous interviews with his wife Clare, son Simon and his competitor Robin Knox-Johnson -- to reconstruct the extraordinary journey. From Genius Products ... "Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Second Gig: Individual 11" is a single disc of the anime classic series, $29.97 from Manga Video ... Carmen Electra brings her version of total body fitness routines home in "Carmen Electra's Aerobic Striptease: In the Bedroom" and "Carmen Electra's Aerobic Striptease: Vegas Strip," $19.99 each from Paramount ... "2007 FIA Formula One World Championship Review" (2007) features all the action from every race in the 2007 Formula One season, featuring exclusive behind-the-scenes footage and amazing on-board camera shots; $29.99 from SRO Sports ... "A to Z of MotoGP (2007) is a definitive guide to the world's fastest and most prestigious motorcycle racing championship; $24.99 from SRO Sports ... "MLS Cup 2007: The Championship Match" (2007) features full-game broadcasts of the soccer championship match between the Houston Dynamo and the Houston Dynasty; $19.95 from A&E Home Video. (Posted December 18)

From the Big Screen:
Due this week: "The Bourne Ultimatum" (2007), the third entry in the Jason Bourne trilogy, available on standard DVD and HD DVD from Universal ... and "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" (2007), from Warner. For more releases this week, see our "Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases." (Posted December 11)

DVD Collectibles:
photo One of the more off-beat films of the 1970s, coming on the heels of "Easy Rider," was Monte Hellman's 1971 "Two-Lane Blacktop." Drag racing east from L.A. in a souped-up '55 Chevy are the wayward Driver and Mechanic (singer-songwriter James Taylor and the Beach Boys' Dennis Wilson, in their only acting roles), accompanied by a tagalong Girl (Laurie Bird). Along the way, they meet Warren Oates' Pontiac GTO-driving wanderer and challenge him to a cross-country race -- the prize: their cars' pink slips. Yet no summary can do justice to the existential punch of “Two-Lane Blacktop.” Maverick director Monte Hellman's stripped-down narrative, gorgeous widescreen compositions, and sophisticated look at American male obsession make this one of the artistic high points of 1970s cinema. This director-approved special edition double-disc set features a new, restored high-definition digital transfer as well as a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. Extras include commentaries, appreciations, a look at the restoration of a '55 Chevy from the movie, and a reprint of the 1970 Rolling Stone article "On Route 66, Filming Two-Lane Blacktop." From The Criterion Collection. (Posted December 11)

"Walt Disney Treasures Wave VII" consists of three new two-disc volumes from the Disney archives. Each volume, with material all new to DVD, is hosted by film historian Leonard Maltin; each is individually numbered, with an authenticity certificate, and each includes an exclusive lithograph, in collectible packaging. "The Adventures of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit," 1926-28 shorts; "Chronological Donald, Volume 3," 31 solo shorts from 1947 through 1950; and "Disneyland: Secrets, Stories and Magic." From Disney. (Posted December 11)

From TV to Video:
Due this week: "Beverly Hills 90210: The Third Season" (1992-93), an eight-disc set with 30 episodes, $61.99 from Paramount ... "Big Love: The Complete Second Season," a four-disc set with 12 episodes, $59.99 from HBO Video ... "Dirt: The Complete First Season," a four-disc set with 13 episodes, $59.99 from Disney ... "Flight 29 Down: Volume Three," with four episodes of the TV series about a group of high school students who find themselves marooned on a deserted island; $14.98 from Genius Products/Discovery Kids ... "Frasier: The Tenth Season" (2002-03), a four-disc set with 24 episodes, $42.99 from Paramount ... "Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C.: The Third Season" (1966-67), a five-disc set with 29 episodes, $42.99 from Paramount ... "Lost: The Complete Third Season: The Unexplored Experience," a seven-disc set with 23 episodes, $59.99 from Disney. (Posted December 11)

Buzzin' the 'B's:
In "A Perfect Day" (2006), starring Rob Lowe, Paget Brewster and Christopher Lloyd, a family man and suddenly-successful author encounters a mystical stranger who warns him he has only 40 more days to live; from Sony ... "Masters of Horror: The V Word" (2007) is director Ernest Dickerson's contribution to Showtime's "Master of Horror" series: Two geeky best friends, who've only experienced carnage via their video games, break into a local mortuary and unleash a ferocious ghoul (Michael Ironsides) who's hungry to share a few depraved urges of his own; from Anchor Bay ... A maniacal chef goes on a killing spree, attacking seven gorgeous bikini-clad high school girls at a slumber party in "Bikini Bloodbath" (2006), starring Debbie Rochon, Thomas Edward Seymour, Russ Russo, Leah Ford and Rob Cosgrove, from MVD Exclusive ... In "Hack!" (2005), starring Sean Kanan, Juliet Landau, Danica McKellar, William Forsythe, Kane Hodder and Burt Young, a pair of filmmakers travel to an isolated island to make a slasher film and encounter a group of college kids whose ranks mysteriously begin to thin out; from Allumination FilmWorks ... In ”Undead or Alive” (2007), a satrical horror film starring Chris Kattan, James Denton and Navi Rawat, a soldier on the run from the Union Army and a cowboy with a broken heart rob the corrupt sheriff of an old West town, only to find themselves chased by the sheriff's army of zombies; only Geronimo's smart and beautiful niece Sue can save them; from Image Entertainment. (Posted December 11)

On the Indie Front:
"The Rocket" (2005) is the extraordinary story of Maurice "The Rocket" Richard, Quebec's most famous hockey player, who transfixed fans during the 1950s pre-helmet days of the game; stars Roy Dupuis; from Palm Pictures ... In "December Boys" (2007), starring Harry Potter's Daniel Radcliffe, four Australian orphans travel to a beach resort, where they compete for adopted parents and love; from Warner ... In "48 Angels" (2006), starring Shane Brolly, John Travers and Ciaran Flynn, a 9-year-old boy diagnosed with a serious illness goes in search of a miracle, to find God before God comes for him. Inspired by Saint Columcille, he sets out in a small boat without oars or sail, and embarks on a journey that results in the healing of hearts and minds; from MTI Home Video ... After falling out with his editor, a fading political journalist (Steve Buscemi) is forced to interview America's most popular soap actress (Sienna Miller) in Steve Buscemi's black comedy "Interview" (2005), based on a film by Theo Van Gogh; from Sony. (Posted December 11)

Special Interest:
Due this week: "Everything's Cool" (2007) is a "toxic comedy" documentary on global warming; from City Lights Entertainment ... "Dave Attell: Captain Miserable" (2007) is the comedian's one-man show taped live at the historic Lincoln Theatre in Washington, D.C.; from HBO Video ... "The Boston Red Sox World Series Collector's Edition" is an eight-disc set with every uncut game broadcast from the World Series and ALCS Games 5-7; $79.95 from A&E Home Video ... In 1998 Mario Rocha, a young Latino from East L.A., was convicted of murder on the basis of questionable identification and evidence. Though only 16, he was given an adult's sentence: life imprisonment. Awaiting trial, he joined the Inside Out Writing Program and today his writings are read in prisons throughout the country. "Mario's Story" (2007) is an inspiring film that documents this extraordinary young man's victory against despair, though defeated by a flawed justice system; from Westlake Entertainment ... "18 in '08" is a nonpartisan documentary film and movement targeting today's 17 to 24-year-olds, many of whom will be voting in their first presidential election in 2008. Made by 18-year-old director David D. Burstein, "18 in '08: The Film" features interviews with many of the most influential politicians of today, as well as figures from popular culture, political activists, media commentators, student leaders and young people. The documentary highlights what is at stake for youth in the 2008 election, how decisions made in Washington today will affect young people for years to come, the issues and ideas that engage their generation, what turns them off, the role of new media in engaging young voters, and candidates who have inspired youth. The 34-minute DVD sells for $15.00 and can be ordered at www.18in08.com. (Posted December 11)

DVD Collectibles:
The week belongs to "Ford at Fox," a collection of 24 John Ford films from his 32 years at the studio (1920-1952). Included in the set are "Just Pals" (1920), "The Iron Horse" (1924), "3 Bad Men" (1926), "Four Sons" (1928), "Hangman's House" (1928), "Born Reckless" (1930), "Up the River" (1930), "Seas Beneath" (1931), "Doctor Bull" (1933), "Pilgrimage" (1933), "Judge Priest" (1934), "The World Moves On" (1934), "Steamboat Round the Bend" (1935), "The Prisoner of Shark Island" (1936), "Wee Willie Winkie" (1937), "Four Men and a Prayer" (1938), "Drums Along the Mohawk" (1939), "Young Mr. Lincoln" (1939), "The Grapes of Wrath" (1940), "Tobacco Road" (1941), "How Green Was My Valley" (1941), "My Darling Clementine" (1946), "When Willie Comes Marching Home" (1950), "What Price Glory" (1952), and the new documentary "Becoming John Ford" by Academy Award nominated documentary maker and Ford historian Nick Redman. The beautifully packaged collection also includes an exclusive hard-cover book which features rare, unpublished photographs from Ford's career, lobby card reproductions, production stills and an in-depth look at this maverick's work. The premiere "Ford at Fox" collection will be available for a suggested retail price of $299.98. Three mini-collections will also be available including "The Essential John Ford," "John Ford's American Comedies" and "John Ford's Silent Epics," all for a suggested retail price of $49.98. Single discs of selected films from the collection will be available for $19.98. From Fox. (Posted December 4)

Also due this week is the seven-disc "The Bob Hope Collection," with "Alias Jessie James," "Boy Did I Get A Wrong Number!" and "The Facts of Life," available for the first time on DVD, plus "They Got Me Covered," "I'll Take Sweden," "The Princess and the Pirate" and "The Road to Hong Kong"; 39.98 from MGM ... "New York, New York 30th Anniversary Edition" (1977), directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Liza Minnelli, Robert De Niro, Lionel Stander, Barry Primus and Mary Kay Place, in a two-disc set with a new Dolby Surround 5.1 soundtrack. Extras include an introduction by Scorsese, commentary by Scorsese and film critic Carrie Rickey, alternate takes/deleted scenes; more, from MGM ... "The Last Man on Earth" (1964), starring Vincent Price, is timed to the theatrical release of the latest version of Richard Matheson's classic novel, "I Am Legend," starring Will Smith as the lone survivor of a plague that has turned hunankind into vampire-line humanoids, from MGM ... "Ingmar Bergman: Four Masterworks" is a boxed set with four of the director's masterpieces: "Smiles of a Summer Night," "The Seventh Seal," "Wild Strawberries" and "The Virgin Spring": $99.95 from The Criterion Collection ... and, lastly, there's "Saturday Night Live: The Complete Second Season," an eight-disc set with all 23 episodes from SNL's second season (1976-77); $69.98 from Universal. (Posted December 4)

From TV to Video:
Due this week: "Battlestar Galactica: Razor Unrated Extended Edition" (2007), an extended version of the two-hour Nov. 24 Sci Fi Channel broadcast; $26.98 from Universal ... "The Best of Crank Yankers: Uncensored" features some 50 crank calls by top stars and performers, $19.99 from Comedy Central/Paramount ... "Dante's Cove Guilty Pleasure Collection" is a five-disc set with the first two seasons and the never-before-seen pilot, $49.92 from Genius Products/Liberation Entertainment/Here! ... "Diagnosis Murder: The Third Season" (1995-96) is a five-disc set with 18 episodes, $54.99 Paramount ... "Grafters: The Complete Second Season" is a two-disc set of the Brisitsh drama series about two brothers in the building trade, $29.98 from Koch Vision ..."Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: The Fourth Year" is a five-disc set with 25 episodes, $59.98 form Universal ... "Loves Unending Legacy" (2007) is the fifth installment of Janette Oke's best-selling books that use the Western frontier as the backdrop for uplifting and wholesome dramas that chronicle the LaHaye family's search for love and discovery; the Hallmark Channel telefilm arrives via Fox ... "New Street Law: The Complete First Season" is a three-disc set with eight episodes of the British barristers series starring John Hannah, $39.98 from Koch Vision "7th Heaven: The Fifth Season" (2000-01) is a six-disc set with 22 episodes, $54.99 from Paramount ... "Touched By an Angel: The Fourth Season, Volume 2" (1998) is a four-disc set with 13 episodes, $42.99 from Paramount ... "24 Season Six" is a seven-disc set with 24 episodes, $59.98 from Fox ... "The Wire: The Complete Fourth Season" is a four-disc set with 13 episodes, $59.99 from HBO Video. (Posted December 4)

Buzzin' the 'B's:
"Jack Ketchum's The Girl Next Door" follows the torture and abuses committed on a teenage girl in the care of her aunt ... and the boys who witness and fail to report the crime, from Anchor Bay ... "Grayson Arms" (2005) stars Judd Nelson, Jennifer Carpenter, Stacey Dash and Michael Learned in a thriller about the tenants of an apartment building who end up having mysterious deaths when the building is bought by a new owner, from MTI Home Video ... "Exiled" (2006 - Hong Kong) stars Anthony Wong, Francis Ng, Simon Yam, Nick Cheung, Richie Ren, Roy Cheung and Josie Ho in a Hong Kong gangster movie about four hit men who meet up while awaiting the arrival of a gang member about to turn over a new leaf just before Macau is turned over to the Chinese in 1998: two men are there to kill him, two men to save his life. Extras: "The Making of Exiled," behind-the-scenes featurette, from Magnolia Home Entertainment ... In "Killer Snakes" (1975 -- Hong Kong), a young man who has been beaten, abused, humiliated and laughed at all his life finds that he has an unusual empathy with snakes, which he uses to get even with the world around him, from Image Entertainment. (Posted December 4)

On the Indie Front:
"The Hottest State" (2006) stars Mark Webber, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Laura Linney, Michelle Williams, Sonia Braga and Ethan Hawke in a tale about a young actor from Texas who tries to make it in New York while struggling in his relationship with a beautiful singer-songwriter; from ThinkFilm. (Posted December 4)

Foreign:
Due this week is "Live-in Maid" (2004 -- Argentina), starring Norma Aleandro and Norma Argentina. Writer-director Jorge Gaggero's debut feature film is a poignant look at how economics and class conflict affect the lives of two women; one a pampered upper-middle-class Buenos Aires divorcee and the other her housekeeper and servant.; from Koch Lorber ... "Antonia" (2007 -- Brazil) is a Hip-hop drama that takes a look at the gritty realties of everyday urban life in Brazil, along with a celebration of the culture's pulsating energy and spirit, from Echo Bridge Home Entertainment ... Two interlaced stories unfold over the course of the same long, hot day in the once lush and now decadent resort town of Acapulco in "Drama/Mex" (2006 -- Mexico) The first involves the beautiful and cool Fernanda, who is forced to deal with the sudden emergence of her ex-lover, Chino. Her boyfriend, Gonzalo, must now compete with the intense sexual tension Fernanda and Chino share. The second story concerns Jamie, an office worker with hidden indiscretions, attempting suicide in a beachfront hotel -- until a precocious and equally dishonest teenage girl disrupts his plan. From Genius Products. (Posted December 4)

For the Family:
"Arctic Tale" (2007) is a documentary that follows a walrus and polar bear on their journey from birth to adolescence to maturity and parenthood in the frozen Arctic wilderness, which was once a perpetual winter wonderland of snow and ice but is now melting underneath the animals; from Paramount ... "Tom and Jerry Tales Volume 3" includes 15 cartoons from Season One of the Kids' WB series, $14.97 from Warner. (Posted December 4)

Two big DVD release announcements this week so far: photo The Weinstein Co. and Genius Products will release on January 29 for the first time to DVD "El Cid" (1961), the medieval epic directed by Anthony Mann and starring Charlton Heston, Sophia Loren, Raf Vallone and Genevieve Page. The two-disc set is the first release under The Weinstein Co.'s The Miriam Collection label, named after the Weinstein's mother that will highlight the company's classic film releases. Available in a Deluxe Edition ($24.95) and a Limited Collector's Edition ($39.92). Extras include a written Introduction by Martin Scorsese; commentary by Bill Bronston (son of producer Sam Bronston) and historian-author Neal M. Rosendorf; 1961 promotional radio interviews with Heston and Loren; introduction interview with Heston ; "Samuel Bronston: The Epic Journey of a Dreamer"; "Behind the Camera: Anthony Mann and El Cid"; "Hollywood Conquers Spain: The Making of an Epic"; "Maestro of the Movies: Miklos Rozsa and El Cid"; "The Importance of Film Preservation and Restoration: A Conversation With Gerry Byrne"; trailer gallery; filmographies; still gallery. Included in the Collector's Edition only is a reproduction of the original 1961 souvenir program, a reproduction of the original 1961 El Cid comic book and six color production stills. (Posted November 27)

photo On January 1 Genius Products will release "Indie Sex," a two-disc set of the three-part series that aired on IFCtv in August 2007 and garnered the highest ratings in the channel's history. The show explores how independent films have provided a forum to discover society's deepest and darkest sexual fantasies played out on the big screen. The series is divided into three parts: "Censored," a look at the history of censorship from the silent era to the rise of the production code in the 1930s to today's more permissive outlook; "Teens," which depicts the evolution of the teen genre from Frankie and Annette beach romps in the 1960s to "Risky Business" and "Porky's" to today's more provocative fare like "Thirteen"; and "Extremes," a walk on the wild side of fetishism from Bettie Page bondage photos in the 1950s to today's boundary-pushing films like "Short Bus." Features Dita Von Teese, John Waters, Tatum O'Neal, Rosanna Arquette, Piper Perabo, Ally Sheedy and Peter Sarsgaard. $29.95. (Posted November 27)

Flash: (November 27)

DVD Collectibles:
Highlight of the week is "Drunken Angel" (1948) in a new, restored high-definition digital transfer. In this powerful early noir from the great Akira Kurosawa, Toshiro Mifune bursts onto the screen as a volatile, tuberculosis-infected criminal who strikes up an unlikely, unhealthy relationship with Takashi Shimura's jaded physician. Set in and around the muddy swamps and back alleys of postwar Tokyo, "Drunken Angel" is an evocative, moody snapshot of a volatile time and place, featuring one of the director's most memorably violent climaxes. Extras include commentary featuring Japanese-film scholar Donald Richie, a 30-minute documentary on the making of "Drunken Angel," a new video piece that looks at the challenges Kurosawa faced in making "Drunken Angel," plus a booklet featuring essays by cultural historian Ian Buruma and a reprint from Kurosawa's "Something Like an Autobiography." From The Criterion Collection ... Sony has a nifty gift set due this week: "Ray Harryhausen In Color Gift Set," a six-disc set with two-disc special editions of "It Came From Beneath the Sea," "Earth vs.the Flying Saucers" (each making their two-disc DVD debuts) and "20 Million Miles to Earth: 50th Anniversary Edition"; $59.95. (Posted November 27)

From TV to Video:
Due this week: "All or Nothing at All" (1993), a two-disc set of the U.K. miniseries about a conman who ends up gambling too much, getting seduced by his secretary and threatened by his corrupt boss, starring Hugh Laurie; $29.98 from BFS Entertainment ... "The Clinic" (2005) is an award-winning series about the professionals of a Dublin health clinic, in a two-disc set, $39.98 from BFS Entertainment ... "Happy Days: The Third Season" (1975-76) is a four-disc set with 24 episodes, $42.99 from Paramount ... "Laverne & Shirley: The Third Season" (1977-78) is a four-disc set with 24 episodes, $42.99 from Paramount ... "The Man From U.N.C.L.E: The Complete Series" is a 41-disc set with all 105 original unedited episodes (1964-68), packaged in a silver "attache case"; $249.99 from Time Life ... "Mork & Mindy: The Third Season" (1980-81) is a four-disc set with 22 episodes, $42.99 from Paramount. (Posted November 27)

Buzzin' the 'B's:
"First Snow" (2006) stars Guy Pearce, Piper Perabo, William Fichtner and J.K. Simmons in a thriller about a slick salesman whose car breaks down in a desolate town. To kill some time, he visits a fortune teller, but the psychic's ominous reading sends his life into a tailspin: she tells him that his life will soon end, but he is safe until the first snow of the season. Day by day, as the weather turns rapidly colder, he slowly becomes unwound. From Sony ... "Paprika" (2007) is an anime based on a 1991 story by legendary Japanese writer Yasutaka Tsutsui about a beautiful young psychotherapist whose alter-ego enters people's dreams in order to understand their subconscious thoughts. When the device is stolen by a "dream terrorist," it is up to Atsuko Chiba, a scientist under the code name Paprika, to track down the apparatus and save the world from madness. Available on standard DVD and Blu-ray Disc from Sony ... "Futurama: Bender's Big Score" (2007) is a full-length "Futurama" feature in which the "Futurama" crew must fight to save Earth in an epic battle against nudist alien Internet scammers; from Fox ... An NSA agent decides to expose a high-tech government spying apparatus in order to save the life of an innocent woman in "The Listening" (2006), starring Michael Parks, Maya Sansa, Andrea Tidona and James Parks; from Monarch Home Video ... "Guy X" (2005) stars Jason Biggs, Natascha McElhone, Jeremy Northam and Michael Ironside in a black comedy set in 1979 about a soldier mistakenly posted to an Arctic military base; there he discovers The Wing -- a hospice for American casualties from a reckless mission in the Vietnam War -- a unit maintained in secret until the last man has died; from First Look Pictures ... In "Pigs" (2005), a ladies man takes on a bet by his college chums to "complete" the entire alphabet by dating 26 girls corresponding to the 26 letters of the alphabet; the rules are simple: the rarer the first letter of the girl's last name, the higher the odds. Stars Jefferson Brown, Darryn Lucio, Melanie Marden and Christopher Elliott; from ThinkFilm. (Posted November 27)

On the Indie Front:
In "Doing Time for Patsy Cline" (1997), starring Richard Roxburgh, Miranda Otto and Matt Day, a musician who has spent his entire life in the Australian outback heads out to Nashville to pursue his dream of becoming a country singer, only to encounter a couple on the lam from the police; from BFS Entertainment ... "In the Winter Dark" (1998) stars Brenda Blethyn, Ray Barrett, Richard Roxburgh and Miranda Otto in a psychological thriller set in an isolated valley about four neighbors who fear the existence of a dark creature lurking in the eerie shadows of the farmland, also from BFS Entertainment. (Posted November 27)

For the Family:
"The Land Before Time: The Wisdom of Friends" (2007) is the latest feature-length addition to the long-running kids animated dinosaur franchise, here with the voices of Cuba Gooding Jr. and Sandra Oh; from Universal ... "The Land Before Time: Good Times & Good Friends" features four episodes from the TV series; also from Universal ... "Peter Pan in Return to Never Land Pixie Powered Edition" (2002) is an animated sequel, $29.99 from Disney ... "Power Rangers: Operation Overdrive Volume 3" features seven episodes of the live-action series, $19.99 from Disney ... "Wish Gone Amiss" (2007) highlights three themed half-hour episodes as the stars of "Hannah Montana," "Cory in the House" and "The Suite Life of Zack & Cody" get a shot at their hearts' desires when they spot the same shooting star -- originally broadcast as "Wish Gone Amiss Weekend" on the Disney Channel, from Disney. (Posted November 27)

Special Interest:
Due this week: "Royal Rumble: The Complete Anthology Volume 1 and Volume 2" (2007), two five-disc sets chronicling the annual wrestling PPV event; Volume 1 covers 1988-92; Volume 2 covers 1993-97; $59.95 each; from WWE/Genius Products. (Posted November 27)

DVD Collectibles:
Two early films from two greats of the cinema arrive today from The Criterion Collection: Alfred Hitchcock's photo "The Lady Vanishes" and Ingmar Bergman's "Sawdust & Tinsel." In Hitchcock's most quick-witted and devilish comic thriller, the beautiful Margaret Lockwood, traveling across Europe by train, meets Dame May Whitty's charming old spinster, who seemingly disappears into thin air. Soon enough, the young woman turns investigator and finds herself drawn into a complex web of mystery and high adventure.Co-stars Michael Redgrave and Paul Lukas. "The Lady Vanishes" (1938), now in an all-new digital transfer, remains one of the master filmmaker's purest delights. The extras on the two-disc set include excerpts from Francois Truffaut's legendary 1962 audio interview with Hitchcock; "Mystery Train," a new video essay about Hitchcock and "The Lady Vanishes" by scholar Leonard Leff ("Hitchcock and Selznick: The Rich and Strange Collaboration of Alfred Hitchcock and David O. Selznick in Hollywood"); stills gallery of behind-the-scenes photos and promotional art; plus new essays by critic Geoffrey O'Brien and Hitchcock scholar Charles Barr, more. Ingmar Bergman presents the battle of the sexes as a ramshackle, grotesque carnival in "Sawdust & Tinsel" (1953), one of the late master's most vivid early works. The story of the twisted relationship between a turn-of-the-century traveling circus owner (Ake Grsnberg) and his performer girlfriend (Harriet Andersson),the film features dreamlike detours and twisted psychosexual power plays that presage the director's "Smiles of a Summer Night" and "The Seventh Seal," works that would soon change the landscape of art cinema forever. (Posted November 20)

"Hearts of Darkness: A Fillmaker's Apocalypse" (1991) is the here-to-fore unavailable documentary that chronicles how Francis Ford Coppola's "Apocalypse Now" was plagued by extraordinary script, shooting, budget, and casting problems. Extras include commentary by Francis and Eleanor Coppola and "CODA: Thirty years Later," a documentary by Eleanor on Coppola's first film in 10 years, "Youth Without Youth"; from Paramount ... photo "Star Trek: The Original Series"is a 10-disc HD DVD/DVD combo set with the complete first season, remastered from the original camera negatives with new digital visual effects and a new 5.1 soundtrack, $217.99. Extras on Standard DVD include several featurettes: "Spacelift: Transporting Trek Into the 21st Century," "The Birth of a Timeless Legacy," "Reflections on Spock," "Life Beyond Trek: William Shatner," "To Boldly Go ... Season One," "Sci-Fi Visionaries," rare home movies, more. HD DVD extras add in "Starfleet Access: Picture-in-Picture commentaries, trivia, more; interactive Enterprise tour, game preview. From Paramount ... "Titanic 10th Anniversary" (1997) is a two-disc set of the blockbuster starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Bill Paxton, Kathy Bates, Suzy Amis, Gloria Stuart, Billy Zane and Frances Fisher; extras include commentaries by cast and crew, historical commentary, alternate ending, branching to behind-the-scene featurettes, more; from Paramount. (Posted November 20)

From TV to Video:
"Chappelle's Show: The Complete Series Collection" (2003-06), is a six-disc set, $49.99 from Paramount ... "CSI: The Seventh Season," is a six-disc set with 22 episodes, $99.99 from Paramount ... "Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist: The Complete Series" (1995-99), is a 13-disc set, $126.99 from Paramount ... "Gene Simmons Family Jewels: The Complete Season Two," is a three-disc set with 20 episodes, $34.95 from A&E Home Video ... "Ice Road Truckers: The Complete Season One," is a three-disc set with 10 episodes, $34.95 from A&E Home Video ... "Love, American Style: Season One, Volume One," is a three-disc set with 12 episodes, $36.99 from Paramount ... "Mission: Impossible: The Third Season" (1968-69) is a seven-disc set with 25 episodes, $54.99 from Paramount ... "TV Guide Presents Charles In Charge: Season 2" is a three-disc set with 26 episodes, $39.95 from Arts Alliance America ... "The Wild Wild West: The Third Season" (1996-97) is a six-disc set with 24 episodes, $54.99 from Paramount. (Posted November 20)

Buzzin' the 'B's:
In "Zombie Town" (2006), starring Adam Hose, Brynn Luca, Dennis Lemoine and Philip Burke, three people gird for battle when mysterious parasites transform the citizens of a quaint town into zombies, from MTI Home Video ... "The Insurgents" (2006) follows four Americans who join forces to build a truck bomb, which they plan to detonate somewhere in New York City, starring Mary Stuart Masterson, Henry Simmons, Juliette Marquis and John Shea, from Allumination FilmWorks. (Posted November 20)

On the Indie Front:
"Beat the Drum " (2003) starring Nolatandu Maleke, Clive Scott, Owen Sejake and Junior Singo, is an inspirational story of an orphan's determination to survive amid the devastating effects of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa, from Genius Products ... "Ghosts of Cite Soleil" (2006) stars Winson "2Pac" Jean and Wyclef Jean in a Caribbean story of family, love and violence that follows the lives of the notorious gang leaders who dominate the Haitian slum of Cite Soleil, from ThinkFilm. (Posted November 20)

For the Family:
Superheroes: "The Batman: The Complete Fourth Season" is a two-disc set with 13 episodes of the Kids WB! series, and "Teen Titans: The Complete Fourth Season" is a two-disc set with 13 episodes of the Cartoon Network series, both from Warner ... "Garfield Gets Real" (2007) is a new animated feature-length Garfield adventure, from Fox ... "Winter Wonderland" (2007) is a collection of six winter-themed adventures featuring preschool favorites Barney, Bob the Builder, Thomas the Tank Engine, Kipper, Fireman Sam and Pingu the Penguin, $14.98 from HIT Entertainment/Fox ... "Antarctic Antics ... And More Hilarious Animal Stories" features the title story and six other tales based on award-winning children's books, $14.95 from Scholastic Storybook Treasures. (Posted November 20)

Special Interest:
Politics: "Feed" (1972) is a documentary look at the 1992 New Hampshire primaries. The film combines footage shot during the primary season along with intercepted satellite feeds of unsuspecting candidates to present a wild, sometimes wacky, yet always incisive look into the world of American politics. Watch Hilary Clinton schmooze with voters, Jerry Brown snort nose inhalers, Ross Perot talk dirty, Pat Buchanan get mad and Bill Clinton sidestep Gennifer Flowers; $24.95 from First Run Features ... "RFK Must Die: The Assassination of Bobby Kennedy" (2007) is a documentary by filmmaker Shane O'Sulllivan that explores the events surrounding Bobby Kennedy's assassination in 1968 and concludes that Sirhan Sirhan may not have acted alone; $19.98 from Dokument Films. (Posted November 20)

Music Music Music: "Rolling Stones Under Review: 1967-1969" and "Queen Under Review: The Freddie Mercury Story" are feature-length music documentaries, $19.95 each from MVD Entertainment ... "The Song Remains the Same" (1976) is a new edition of Led Zeppelin's 1973 Madison Square Garden show, for the first time with all 14 songs from the original concert. The DVD features a newly remixed and remastered 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround sound and is loaded with extras, from Warner. (Posted November 20)

And more: "The Ritchie Boys" (2005) is the never-before-told tale of a handful of German nationals who used their language and cultural knowledge to successfully wage war against the Nazis and to liberate Europe. After escaping from war-torn Germany, a small contingent of German Jewish intellectuals exacted the perfect revenge -- they returned to Europe as U.S. soldiers to battle the Third Reich. With revenge as a powerful motivational tool, armed with high-level training in psychological warfare and a first-hand knowledge of the enemy, this group of courageous soldiers would put their mark on history and, in the process, become victors, not victims; the $26.95 documentary is from Docurama ... "The Universe" (2007) is a five-disc set with 14 episodes that explore the universe, $44.95 from A&E Home Video ... In "Inside The Actors Studio: Johnny Depp," host James Lipton interviews the talented actor; $14.98 from Shout! Factory. (Posted November 20)

DVD Collectibles:
photo Sony will commemorate the 30th anniversary of Steven Spielberg's "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" with a three-disc set containing all three versions of the film, including the first-ever home video release of the 1977 Original Theatrical edition, as well as the re-edited 1980 theatrical Special Edition and Spielberg's definitive Director's Cut (released in 1998 as the Collector's Edition). The Original Theatrical version of "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" was released on screens in 1977 and was never available on home video. Spielberg released a re-edited Special Edition theatrically and on VHS in 1980 wherein he deleted several smaller scenes and added other sequences including scenes of star Richard Dreyfuss inside the alien mother ship at the end of the film. In 1998, the Collector's Edition was released on home video with a limited theatrical run and featured Spielberg's definitive director's cut with changes, some small and subtle, as well as a change eliminating the interior mother ship scenes from the end of the Special Edition, thus restoring the original ending. Available on DVD and Blu-ray Disc. (Posted November 13)

For more pure fun there's "The Princess Bride 20th Anniversary Edition" The delightful grown-up fairy tale was directed by Rob Reiner and starred Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin, Chris Sarandon, Christopher Guest, Wallace Shawn, Andre the Giant, Robin Wright Penn, Fred Savage, Peter Falk, Peter Cook, Mel Smith, Carol Kane, Billy Crystal, Anne Dyson and Margery Mason. Extras include "True Love and High Adventure: The Official Princess Bride DVD Video Game," "Princess Bride: The Untold Tales" featurette, "The Art of Fencing" featurette, "Fairytales and Folklore" featurette, from MGM ... "That's Entertainment: The Complete Collection" is a three-disc set with "That's Entertainment!," "That's Entertainment, Part 2" and "That's Entertainment! III." Each title is remastered in full HD 1080p and Dolby True HD audio. $79.98 from Warner. (Posted November 13)

From TV to Video:
Due this week: "The Addams Family Complete Series Giftset," a nine-disc set with all 64 episodes, $69.98 from MGM ... "Da Vinci's Inquest: Season 2" is a four-disc set with all 13 episodes of the CBC's longest-running, highest-rated crime drama series that follows the work a controversial, charismatic coroner for the city of Vancouver; $59.99 from Acorn Media ... "Day One" (1989) stars David Strathairn, Brian Dennehy, Michael Tucker, David Ogden Stiers, Hume Cronyn, Hal Holbrook and Tony Shalhoub in a CBS Hallmark Hall of Fame drama about the development of the atomic bomb and the fateful decision to use it in World War II; $24.99 from Acorn Media ... "Melrose Place: The Third Season" (1994-95) is an eight-disc set with 31 episodes, $61.99 from Paramount ... "Perry Mason: Season 2, Volume 2" (1958-59) is a four-disc set with 15 episodes, $42.99 from Paramount. (Posted November 13)

Buzzin' the 'B's:
"Urban Justice" (2007) is a direct-to-video Steven Seagal actioner about a hard-fighting father who strikes out in order to exact revenge on the criminals responsible for his son's untimely death; from Sony ... "Dead Lenny" (2006), starring Armand Assante, Nicole Eggert, Steven Bauer, John Heard and Joe Piscopo, is a comedy about the L.A.-based associate of the mob who goes missing with $5 million; the man sent to track Lenny down gets involved with Lenny's baby-desperate wife, his ditsy mistress, his muscle-headed brother, his quirky neuro-surgeon, and a crew of other nut jobs; from MTI Home Video ... "Driftwood" (2006) is a thriller that takes place in the frightening and supernatural world of an "Attitude Adjustment Camp for Troubled Youths"; from Image Entertainment ... In "Masters of Horror: Dream Cruise" (2007), renowned Japanese horror director Norio Tsuruta ("Ringu O," "Premonition") charts man's primal fear of the ocean and drowning with his Showtime "Masters of Horror" episode; from Anchor Bay ... In 15th century France, the warlock Alaric de Marnac is beheaded for crimes against humanity and his equally guilty mistress is also viciously killed, but not before the pair put a curse upon the descendents of their executioners, in the Euro-horror thriller "Horror Rises From the Tomb" (1973 -- Spain), starring Paul Naschy, Emma Cohen and Victor Barrera; from BCI Eclipse ... "The Last Sentinel" (2007) stars Katee Sackhoff, Don Wilson, Keith David and Bokeem Woodbine in a post-apocalyptic thriller about perfect soldiers created to protect civilization until the drone police become the perfect enemy for mankind. Sound familiar? From Echo Bridge Home Entertainment ... In "Avenging Angel" (2005) a preacher (Kevin Sorbo) defends a local town from greedy land-barons but his church is destroyed and his life is turned upside down. Now known simply as "The Preacher," he picks up his long-forgotten gun, leaves town, and heads out into the desert to begin a new life as a bounty hunter; from Genius Products ... In "Welcome to the Jungle" (2007) two young couples head into the New Guinea wilderness in an effort to find Michael Rockefeller, the heir to the Rockefeller fortune who disappeared in 1961. To their horror, they find themselves the prey of human headhunters; from Dimension Extreme/Weinstein Co./Genius Products ... In "Cougar Club" (2007), starring Jason Jurman, Warren Kole, Joe Mantegna, Izabella Scorupco, Faye Dunaway and Carrie Fisher, two recent college grads, stuck in unhappy jobs and lives, fall into a great scheme: they develop a club of young men devoted to the older woman; from Vivendi Visual Entertainment... After 1400 years of battle, two monks are left to defend their home, Kikyo Temple, from the evil spirits located in the mountains, in "Legend of Seven Monks" (2007), starring Yasuaki Kurata and J.J. Sonny Chiba; from Westlake Entertainment. (Posted November 13)

Foreign:
"Flanders" (2006 -- French)stars Adelaide Leroux and Samuel Boidin in a tale about a young man's secret love for a woman he has known since childhood that turns tragic: On his last night before going off to war, a young man finds his unrequited love with another man -- a man he later will fight side-by-side with during combat; from Koch Lorber Films ... In "Blame It On Fidel" (2006 -- French), starring Nina Kervel-Bey, Julie Depardieu and Stefano Accorsi, a 9-year-old girl weathers big changes in her household as her parents become radical political activists in 1970-71 Paris; from Koch Lorber Films. (Posted November 13)

For the Family:
"SpongeBob Atlantis SquarePantis" (2007) SpongeBob and friends travel to Atlantis in search of "The Oldest Living Bubble" in this feature-length telefilm, from Paramount ... "Captain N & The New Super Mario World" is a two-disc set with the final adventures of the two animated series, $29.99 from Shout! Factory ... "Disney Ducktales: Volume 3" is a three-disc set with 24 favorite episodes from the animated series, $34.99 from Disney. (Posted November 13)

> Special Interest:
"Tony Bennett: The Music Never Ends" (2007) is an inspiring documentary executive produced by Clint Eastwood for PBS' American Masters series that chronicles the extraordinary career of one of music's best, Tony Bennett, who is considered one of the greatest living singers in American popular music. Features an in-depth on-camera interview of the performer, conducted by Eastwood himself. The two-disc set features Bennett's full concert performance at the Monterey Jazz Festival in 2005; from Warner ... "3000 Miles" (2007)is a documentary about the eighth Gumball Rally: Rally founder Maximillion Cooper filmed the 2006 event, which began in London and ended at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles eight days, three continents, 250 drivers, 120 cars and 3000 miles later; from Revolver Entertainment ... "Midnight Movies: From the Margin to the Mainstream" (2005) is a Starz Originals documentary that explores the anything-goes era of 1970s cult films and their continuing influence on pop culture and modern society, $19.97 from Starz Home Entertainment ... "Bon Jovi Lost Highway: The Complete Concert" (2007) is an expanded version of "A&E Rocks: Bon Jovi" concert recording in Chicago on July 30, 2007, as part of the band's tour behind the "Lost Highway" album; $24.95 from A&E Home Video. (Posted November 13)

DVD Collectibles:
photo Heading up the collectibles this week is Warner's "Leading Ladies Collection Volume 2," a five-disc set with "A Big Hand for the Little Lady" (1966)starring Joanne Woodward, Henry Fonda, Jason Robards, Burgess Meredith, Paul Ford, Charles Bickford, Kevin McCarthy; "I'll Cry Tomorrow" (1955) starring Susan Hayward , Jo Van Flee, Richard Conte, Eddie Albert; "Rich and Famous" (1981) directed by George Cukor starring Jacqueline Bisset, Candice Bergen and Meg Ryan; "Shoot the Moon" (1982), directed by Alan Parker and starring Diane Keaton, Albert Finney, Karen Allen and Peter Weller; "Up The Down Staircase" (1967), directed by Robert Mulligan and starring Sandy Dennis, Eileen Heckart and Jean Stapleton ; $49.92 for the set or $19.97 each individual title ... Paramount is giving special treatment to yet another release of "It's a Wonderful Life," Frank Capra's 1946 classic starring James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Thomas Mitchell, Henry Travers, Beulah Bondi, Frank Faylen, Ward Bond and Gloria Grahame. This two-disc set features a restored black & white version and a colorized version, as well as "The Making of It's a Wonderful Life" featurette and "A Personal Remembrance": A special tribute to Frank Capra narrated by Frank Capra Jr. (Posted November 6)

photo More recent releases getting special treatment his week include the Beatles' "Help!" (1965), directed by Richard Lester and starring the Fab Four (John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr), Leo McKern, Eleanor Bron and Victor Spinetti. The two-disc set will be available in two editions: a standard digipack and a deluxe boxed set that will contain a reproduction of Richard Lester's original annotated script, eight lobby cards and a poster, plus a 60-page book with rarely seen photographs and production notes from the movie. Both the deluxe book and the standard booklet feature an introduction by Richard Lester and an appreciation by Martin Scorsese. Extras include "The Beatles in Help!" 30 minute documentary about the making of the film with Richard Lester, the cast and crew, with exclusive behind the-scenes footage of The Beatles on the set; missing scene featuring Wendy Richard; "The Restoration of Help!" featurette on the film's restoration process; "Memories of Help!" with the cast and crew. From Capitol/EMI Music ... Paramount has given the special treatment to one of the greatest films of all time, "Chinatown" (1974), directed by Roman Polanski and starring Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, John Huston , Perry Lopez, John Hillerman, Darrell Zwerling, Diane Ladd, Roy Jenson and Roman Polanski. The Special Collector's Edition includes three featurettes: "Chinatown: The Beginning and the End," "Chinatown: Filming" and "Chinatown: The Legacy" ... the studio will also release the less-successful "sequel," "The Two Jakes" (1990), directed by Jack Nicholson and starring Nicholson, Harvey Keitel, Meg Tilly, Madeleine Stowe, Eli Wallach, Ruben Blades, Frederic Forrest, David Keith and Richard Farnsworth. (Posted November 6)

Craving really big sets? Due this week is the "The X-Files -- The Complete Collector's Edition," a 61-disc set loaded with extras, $329.98 from Fox; the "James Bond Ultimate Collector's Set," a 42-disc set with all 21 James Bond films (each title has two discs: one for the film, one for bonus material such as documentaries, music videos, Interviews, more); $239.98 from MGM. Also this week comes (big in stature) "The Coen Brothers Gift Set," a five-disc set with "Blood Simple," "Raising Arizona," "Millers Crossing," "Barton Fink" and "Fargo," $49.98 from MGM. (Posted November 6)

From TV to Video:
Due this week: "The Crown Prince" (2006 -- TV), starring Max on Thum, Vittoria Puccini, Omar Sharif, and Klaus Maria Brandaur in the true saga of Austian Archduke Rudolf, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne in the late 19th century, whose rebel ways didn't suit the political establishment and whose tragic end came when he sought love outside his marriage; from Koch Vision ... "Full House: The Complete Eighth Season" is a four-disc set with 24 episodes, $29.98 from Warner ... "Full House: The Complete Series Collection" is a 32-disc set with 192 episodes, $169.72 from Warner ... "The King of Queens: The Complete Series" is a 27-disc set of all nine seasons, $232.95 from Sony ... "Princes in the Tower" (2005) is a British Channel 4 drama that explores the 500-year-old mystery of the man who challenged Henry VII's right to the British throne, from Koch Vision ... "Project Runway Season 3" is a four-disc set with 15 extended episodes, $27.95 from The Weinstein Co./Genius Products ... "Seinfeld Season 9" is a four-disc set with 22 episodes, $49.95 from Sony ... "Seinfeld: The Complete Series Collector's Edition" includes 32 discs with 180 episodes, $283.95 from Sony ... "Wings: The Fifth Season" (1993-94) is a four-disc set with 24 episodes, $42.99 from Universal. (Posted November 6)

Buzzin' the 'B's:
"Blood Monkey" (2007) stars F. Murray Abraham, Matt Reeves and Laura Aikman in an actioner about travelers who fight for survival against man-eating chimpanzees during an African safari gone horribly wrong, from Genius Products ... "In the Spider's Web" (2007), starring Lance Henrisksen, Cian Barry and Emma Catherwood, is a horror film about an American scientist experimenting with spiders in India, from Genius Products ... "Future Force" and "Future Zone" are two 1990 sci-fi thrillers starring David Carradine, about a band of bounty hunters formed to restore order in a city overrun with crime, from Echo Bridge Home Entertainment ... "She Wolves of the Wasteland" is a 1987 sexploitation romp, from Echo Bridge Home Entertainment. (Posted November 6)

On the Indie Front:
"Stalking Santa" (2006) is an off-beat comedy about a self-proclaimed "Santologist" (The Science of Santa) who will stop at nothing to take on government conspiracy, corporate suppression, and phony mall Santas to prove the existence of Santa Claus. Stars Chris Clark, Lisa Clark, Travis Eberhard and Bern Kubiak. From Excel Entertainment. (Posted November 6)

For the Family:
"Peter Pan" (2000) stars Cathy Rigby in a live-action version of the famous tale. Includes behind-the-scenes with Rigby and the cast; sing-a-long showstoppers "I'm Flying", "I Won't Grow Up" and "I Gotta Crow"; from Arts Alliance America ... "A Dennis the Menace Christmas" (2007) stars Robert Wagner, Louise Fletcher and Maxwell Perry Cotton in the latest incarnation of Dennis as he ruins his school's Thanksgiving pageant, takes on the neighborhood bully, and, as always, makes life miserable for poor Mr. Wilson, from Warner ... "Sesame Street: Old School Volume Two" is a three-disc set featuring Sesame Street episodes and bonus bits from 1974-1979, $39.93. Includes the first (pilot) Sesame Street episode, which has never been broadcast; the set is packaged with a 12-page booklet with behind-the-scenes information and photos, and a special collectible reproduction cel from the popular Sesame Street animated film "Pinball Number Count"; from Genius Products ... "Pooh's Super Sleuth Christmas Movie" (2007) is an all-new Pooh feature that has Pooh and the gang find one of Santa's reindeers lost in the woods; afraid Christmas will be ruined, they set off to deliver him back to the North Pole, $26.99 from Disney ... It's holiday time and while New York bustles with yuletide celebrations, the Pink Panther suffers one misadventure after another ... all in hopes of finding a warm heart and a warm meal in the animated "The Pink Panther: A Pink Christmas" (1978 -- TV), from MGM ... "Pixar Short Films Collection Vol. 1" showcases 13 Pixar Animation Studios short films on DVD and Blu-ray Disc for the first time; includes "Luxo Jr.," "Tin Toy," "For the Birds," "One Man Band"; also included is "Pixar Shorts: A Short History." From Disney. (Posted November 6)

Special Interest:
"Movies 101" is a four-disc set with all 16 interviews from Season 1 and 2 of American Movie Classics' "Movie 101" series, hosted by New York University's Professor Richard Brown. Each interview is expanded with 20 minutes of additional footage. Interviewees: Martin Scorsese, Whoopi Goldberg, Cuba Gooding Jr., Susan Sarandon, Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Connelly, Julianne Moore, Sigourney Weaver, George Cooney, Josh Lucas, Daniel Day-Lewis, Dennis Quaid, Jon Voight, Jeff Bridges, Willem Dafoe and Kevin Kline; $39.95 from City Lights Home Entertainment ... "Amazing Journey Project" (2007) is a two disc set that gives an incredibly in-depth look at The Who: "Amazing Journey: The Story of the Who" is a two-hour documentary featuring interviews with the band's Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey; and "Amazing Journey: Six Quick Ones" is a six-part feature with intimate portraits of each band member -- Townshend, Daltrey, Keith Moon and John Entwistle -- as well as a section called "Who Are You" takes viewers into the Mod world of 1960s England and a sixth section, "Who's Back," filmed during the 2003 recording of "Then and Now." $29.98 from Universal ... "Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon" (2005) is an Imax 3-D documentary that gives viewers an approximation of a moon walk, with voiceover accounts from astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong and input from other such celebrities as Matt Damon, Matthew McConaughey, Paul Newman, John Travolta, and more. It also includes an interactive bonus feature called "Lunar Exploration Command Center" that focuses on the Apollo missions -- including NASA photos, a video diary, trivia game, moon maps and more. Narrated by Tom Hanks. $19.98 from HBO Video ... "Run Granny Run" (2007) At the ripe age of 94, renowned activist Doris "Granny D" Haddock surprised the voters of New Hampshire when she became the Democratic nominee to U.S. Senate and went head to head against two-time incumbent Republican Judd Gregg just four months before Election Day. Doris had never run for office before, but she crafted a remarkable grassroots campaign that defied all expectations. "Audience Award" winner for Best Documentary at the 2007 South By Southwest Film Festival. $24.98 from Arts Alliance America ... In "Hope in Motion" (2007), Christopher Reeve's son, Matthew, has created a poignant and sincere portrait about the man known to the world as Superman, as he relentlessly fought to overcome paralysis after a horse-back riding accident in 1995. Filmed over a two year period, "Hope in Motion" comprises two documentaries: "Hope in Motion" and "Choosing Hope," which take viewers into Christopher and Dana Reeve's personal family life as Christopher fights to regain mobility and becomes the voice for others with spinal cord injuries. Portion of the DVDs' revenue will be donated to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. $26.98 from Arts Alliance America ... "The Forgotten Coast" (2007) is a documentary that follows seven of the world's top surfers as they journey to the remote islands of Indonesia to conquer that region's towering waves, from Echo Bridge Home Entertainment ... "Barry Manilow: The First Television Specials" offers five of the performer's television specials collected for the first time in a five-disc boxed set spotlighting programs that aired between 1977 and 1988; $39.99 from Rhino. (Posted November 6)

This Just In
photo Never fear, Harry's here. Though a lot of sales sites still don't list info on the latest Potter epic, Warners has confirmed a December 11 release date for "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix." And the company will be offering it in a host of configurations, including as a two-disc special edition DVD with lots of extras and on Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD. "Phoenix" will also be part of the "Harry Potter Limited Edition Giftset," a 12-disc giftset with two-disc editions of all five Harry Potter films as well as two bonus discs, trading cards, metal bookmarks, and more, $119.97 for standard edition DVDs and $149.99 for the Blu-ray or HD DVD giftsets. (Posted October 30)

DVD Collectibles:
photo Warner will release this week "Barbara Stanwyck: The Signature Collection," a five-disc set with "Annie Oakley" (1935), "East Side, West Side" (1949), "Executive Suite" (1954), "My Reputation" (1946) and a double feature of "To Please a Lady" (1950) and "Jeopardy" (1953); timed to celebrate Stanwyck's 100th birthday; $49.92; individual titles $19.97. Extras include vintage short subjects, classic cartoons and radio show adaptations. Born Ruby Stevens in Brooklyn, N.Y. on July 16, 1907, Stanwyck was orphaned as a toddler and raised by her older sister. Even at an early age she was determined to be successful and landed her first acting role on Broadway while still in her teens. By 20 she made her mark in several early Frank Capra-directed features, after which she moved to Warner Bros., where she cemented her place as one of Hollywood's foremost leading ladies (including "Baby Face," the infamous film that helped usher in the production code). After her Warner contract ended, Stanwyck preferred to "freelance," developing a reputation for shrewd business acumen and ending up, at the time, as one of the industry's highest paid talents. During her 37-year career, Stanwyck earned four Oscar nominations and several Emmy awards, including two for her hit series "The Big Valley." Her final Emmy was for "The Thorn Birds" in 1983. Her incomparable contribution to motion pictures was finally honored with an Honorary Oscar in 1982, and in 1987, the American Film Institute honored her with its Life Achievement Award. (Posted October 29)

photo Paramount is finally honoring David Lynch's groundbreaking TV series with the release of "Twin Peaks: The Definitive Gold Box Edition," a 10-disc set with all 29 episodes from both seasons plus the U.S. and European versions of the pilot, with remastered picture from the original negative with 5.1 Sound, personally approved by Lynch. The set also includes deleted scenes, a feature-length documentary "Secrets from Another Place," "A Slice of Lynch" (featuring David Lynch, Kyle MacLachlan and Madchen Amick), "Return to Twin Peaks," an interactive map of Twin Peaks, the complete Log Lady introductions, "Saturday Night Live": Kyle MacLachlan's monologue and the Twin Peaks comedy sketch, Julee Cruise music video "Falling," on-air promos, TV spots, production documents and rare photos; $99.99 ... "Spike Jones: The Legend" is a four-disc set surveying the career of comedic bandleader Spike Jones and his wacky band the City Slickers. Includes four early NBC TV shows, two Colgate Comedy Hour shows from 1951, two All Star Revue programs from 1952, a bonus audio CD of two 1945 NBC pilot radio shows; $49.98 from Infinity Entertainment ... "Looney Tunes Golden Collection Volume Five" is a four-disc set aimed at adult collectors of animation. Disc One is dedicated to Bugs Bunny and his frenzied pal Daffy Duck, with 15 shorts; Disc Two is a collection of 15 twisted parodies of legendary children's fairy tales, including "Bewitched Bunny" and "Tweety and the Beanstalk"; Disc Three is dedicated to Bob Clampett; Disc Four celebrates Looney Tunes' early years and features several rarely seen shorts; $64.92 from Warner ... "Looney Tunes Spotlight Collection Volume Five" is geared towards viewers of all ages, featuring some of the brightest and funniest shorts taken directly from "Looney Tunes Golden Collection Volume Five"; the two-disc set contains 30 cartoon; $26.99 from Warner. (Posted October 29)

From TV to Video:
"The Amazing Mrs. Pritchard" (2006) is a two-disc set with six episodes from the BBC political satire series about a middle-class wife and mother who gets swept up in politics and is elected Prime Minister; stars Jane Horrocks, Janet McTeer; from Acorn Media ... "Angel Collector's Set" is a 30-disc set with all 110 episodes, a signed letter to fans from creator Joss Whedon and a collectible companion booklet; $139.98 from Fox ... "CSI: Miami: The Fifth Season" is a six-disc set with 24 episodes, $72.99 from Paramount ... "Family Guy Freakin' Party Pack" is an 18-disc set with more than 90 episodes from the "Family Guy" Volume 1-5 collections with hours of bonus materials, $149.98 from Fox ... "Miami Ink Season One" is a five-disc set with 21 episodes of the tattoo series, $34.95 from Genius Products ... "Monarchy With David Starkey, Set 2" (2004) is a two-disc set with five episodes of the epic documentary on English royal rule, covering nearly 250 years from 1660 to the dawn of the 20th century; $39.99 from Acorn Media ... "My So-Called Life: The Complete Series" is a six-disc set with all 19 episodes, housed in a collector's box with an embossed, case-bound cover; includes a 40-page color book, more; $62.99 from Shout! Factory ... "October Road: The Complete First Season" is a two-disc set with six episodes, $29.99 from Disney ... "The Real McCoys: Complete Season 2" is a five-disc set with 39 episodes, $39.98 from Infinity Entertainment/Falcon Pictures ... "Scrubs: The Complete Sixth Season" is a three-disc set with 22 episodes, $39.99 from Disney ... "Shaggy and Scooby-Doo Get a Clue! Volume 1" contains four 22-minute episodes of the CW animated series, $14.97 from Warner ... "Suspense: The Lost Episodes, Collection #2" is a four-disc set with 30 programs, $39.98 from Infinity Entertainment/Falcon Pictures. (Posted October 29)

Buzzin' the 'B's:
"Day Watch" (2007) is the Russian blockbuster sequel to the cult hit "Night Watch," a fantasy thriller set in a world where an age-old truce between the conflicted dark ones and light ones hangs in the balance among the unsuspecting humans, from Fox ... "The Initiation of Sarah" (2006) stars Mika Boorem, Summer Glau, Joanna Garcia, Tessa Thompson, Morgan Fairchild and Jennifer Tilly in a thriller about twin sisters with supernatural powers who go off to college and enter sorority life, finding themselves pulled into the middle of a centuries old battle between good and evil, from Fox ... "Jackie Chan's The Myth" (2005), directed by Stanley Tong, stars Jackie Chan, Hee-seon Kim, Tony Leung Ka Fai, Mallika Sherawat and Ken Lo in a thriller about a courageous archaeologist (Chan) who unearths the hidden treasure of the Qin Dynasty, from Sony ... "Redrum" (2007) is a comedy about a dissatisfied young married couple who spice up their life with murder, from First Look Home Entertainment ... When a retired Army Captain turned high school teacher reaches his breaking point, the unimaginable happens as he transforms from a mild-mannered teacher into a highly trained psycho killer in "Study Hell" (2005), starring Steve McDougall, Lindsay Dell, Brian Austin Jr., Shaylyn Doyle, Michael Henry and Ryan Fisher, from MTI Home Video ... Bumbling, twentysomething slackers use their self-proclaimed "genius" to save a small town from the evil clutches of Lord Billiards, a land-grabbing pool celebrity in "Think Tank" (2006), starring Brian Petersen, Tin Majorino, Aaron Ruell and Michael Miranda, from Monarch Home Video ... "Safe Harbour" (2007) is a direct-to-video romantic drama from the novel by Danielle Steel, starring Melissa Gilbert, from New Line. (Posted October 29)

On the Indie Front:
"The Wendell Baker Story" (2007) stars Luke Wilson, Owen Wilson, Eva Mendes, Eddie Griffin, Will Ferrell, Kris Kristofferson, Harry Dean Stanton and Seymour Cassel in a comedy about a dreamer and a schemer whose latest scam has landed him in jail, alienating him from his longtime girlfriend; upon release, he gets a job at a retirement hotel, where he befriends the elderly residents and helps them battle the hotel's evil head nurse while trying to win back his girl. Directed by Luke Wilson and Andrew Wilson, from ThinkFilm ... "Pierrepoint -- The Last Hangman" (2005) stars Timothy Spall, Juliet Stevenson and Eddie Marsan in a story about the life and times of Albert Pierrepoint -- Britain's most prolific hangman, from Genius Products ... "The History of Mr. Polly" (2007) is H.G. Wells tale about a mild-mannered man who uses an inheritance to trade his humdrum existence for excitement, starring Lee Evans and Anne-Marie Duff, from BFS Entertainment. (Posted October 29)

Special Interest:
"The Princess Diana Collection" is a three-disc set with three documentaries: "Diana: Portrait of a Princess," "Diana's Rock: Paul Burrell" and "Diana: Life Through a Lens"; $39.99 for the set; each documentary available separately for $14.99, from Kultur International Films ... "Little Rock Central High: 50 Years Later" (2007) is an eye-opening look at racial equality, education, and class at the landmark high school today, where educational equality continues to remain elusive; $24.98 from HBO Video ... Music-Music-Music: MVD Entertainment will release this week three feature-length music documentaries for $19.95 each: "Guns N' Roses: Two Classic Albums Under Review: Use Your Illusion I and II," "Neil Young Under Review" and "Patti Smith Under Review" ... "Impact: Songs That Changed the World" is a series of DVDs that look at songs that have transformed the pop cultural landscape and defined their era. These trendsetting songs have created an influence that can be seen all across the spectrum, in music, fashion and dance -- songs that have the power to push the limits of society. The first four releases: "Beatles: I Want to Hold Your Hand," "Elvis Presley: Heartbreak Hotel," "Bob Marley: I Shot the Sheriff" and "The Bee Gees: Staying Alive"; $9.99 each, from SRO Entertainment. (Posted October 29)

DVD Collectibles:
It's an exciting week for film lovers. First off there's three grand releases from The Criterion Collection: "Breathless," "Days of Heaven" and "Under the Volcano."

photo There was before-"Breathless," and there was after-"Breathless." With its lack of polish, surplus of attitude, crackling personalities of rising stars Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg, and anything-goes crime narrative, Jean-Luc Godard's debut fashioned a simultaneous homage to and critique of the American film genres that influenced and rocked him as a film writer for Cahiers du cinema. Jazzy, free-form, and sexy, "Breathless (A bout de souffle)" helped launch the French new wave and ensured cinema would never be the same. Criterion's two-disc set of the 1960 masterpiece boasts a new, restored high-definition digital transfer, approved by director of photography Raoul Coutard. There's archival interviews with Godard and Belmondo, Jean Seberg, and Jean-Pierre Melville; new video interviews with Coutard, assistant director Pierre Rissient, and filmmaker D. A. Pennebaker; "Chambre 12, Hotel de suede," an 80-minute French documentary about the making of "Breathless," with members of the cast and crew; "Charlotte et son Jules," a 1959 short film by Godard, starring Belmondo; a booklet featuring writings from Godard, film historian Dudley Andrew, Francois Truffaut's original film treatment, and Godard's scenario; and more. (Posted October 23)

photo One-of-a-kind filmmaker-philosopher Terrence Malick has created some of the most visually arresting movies of the 20th century, and his 1978 glorious period tragedy "Days of Heaven," featuring Oscar-winning cinematography by Nestor Almendros, stands out among them. In 1910, a Chicago steel worker (Richard Gere) accidentally kills his supervisor and flees to the Texas panhandle with his girlfriend (Brooke Adams) and little sister (Linda Manz) to work harvesting wheat in the fields of a stoic farmer (Sam Shepard). A love triangle, a swarm of locusts, a hellish fire -- Malick captures it all with dreamlike authenticity, creating at once a timeless American idyll and a gritty evocation of turn-of-the-century labor. With music by Ennio Morricone. Extras include commentary, video interviews and a booklet. (Posted October 23)

"Under the Volcano" (1984) follows the final day in the life of self-destructive British consul Geoffrey Firmin (Albert Finney, in an Oscar-nominated tour de force) on the eve of World War II. Withering from alcoholism, Firmin stumbles through a small Mexican village amidst the Day of the Dead fiesta, attempting to reconnect with his estranged wife (Jacqueline Bisset) but only further alienating himself. John Huston's ambitious tackling of Malcolm Lowry's towering "unadaptable" novel gave the incomparable Finney one of his grandest roles and was the legendary director's triumphant return to filmmaking in Mexico. With music by Alex North. The double-disc set includes commentary featuring executive producer Michael Fitzgerald and producers Wieland Schulz-Keil and Moritz Borman; a new video interview with Jacqueline Bisset; "Notes from Under the Volcano" (1984), a 59-minute documentary by Gary Conklin shot on the set during the film's production, featuring interviews with Huston, cast, and crew; "Volcano: An Inquiry into the Life and Death of Malcolm Lowry" (1976), filmmaker Donald Brittain's 99-minute, Academy Award-nominated documentary, narrated by Richard Burton, examining the connections between "Under the Volcano" author Malcolm Lowry's life and that of his novel's main character; new essay by film critic Christian Viviani, more. (Posted October 23)

The "Stanley Kubrick Collection" is yet another set of Kubrick films, this time a 10-disc set with new versions of: "2001: A Space Odyssey: Special Edition" (two-disc set), "A Clockwork Orange: Special Edition" (two-disc set), "Eyes Wide Shut: Special Edition" (two-disc set), "Full Metal Jacket: Deluxe Edition," "The Shining: Special Edition" (two-disc set), "Stanley Kubrick: A Life In Pictures." All titles have been restored and remastered and all (aside from "2001") debut in their original widescreen theatrical aspect ratios (apparently Kubrick didn't authorize widescreen releases of all his films to video while alive); $79.98; each title is also offered individually. Also available separately are new releases of "Barry Lyndon" and "Lolita." From Warner. (Posted October 23)

photo Warner also releases this week the much anticipated "O Lucky Man!" (1973), Lindsay Anderson's opus on the evils of capitalism, starring Malcolm McDowell, Ralph Richardson, Rachel Roberts, Arthur Lowe and Helen Mirren, in a two-disc special edition ... as well as "Burt Lancaster: The Signature Collection," a five-disc set with "Executive Action," "The Flame and Arrow," "His Majesty O'Keefe," "South Sea Woman" and "Jim Thorpe -- All American"; $49.92; single titles for $19.97 ... Infinity Entertainment will release the very cool "Route 66: Season One" (1960), offering you the opportunity to get your kicks with this four-disc set with 15 episodes of the original road trip TV series starring Martin Milner and George Maharis ... and Paramount will offer "I Love Lucy: The Complete Series," a boxed set of 34 discs with 179 regular half-hour episodes, 13 "Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour" episodes, the pilot, the 1956 Christmas show, more; $199.99. (Posted October 23)

From TV to Video:
Paramount has put together a massive package for its "The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: Volume 1" release. This 12-disc set includes seven feature-length episodes as well as 38 in-depth companion documentaries, an historical overview, an interactive game and an interactive timeline. The bonus materials allow viewers to dig deeper into the real-life events behind young Indy's globe-trotting coming-of-age TV adventures; $117.99. Click here for complete information on the contents of the 12 discs ... "American Gangster: The Complete First Season" is a two-disc set with six episodes, $26.99 from Paramount ... "Clive Cussler's The Sea Hunters, Set 1" (2004) is a three-disc set with eight episodes of the underwater shipwreck documentary exploration series, $49.99 from Acorn Media ... "The Company" (2005) is a two-disc set of the three-part miniseries starring Chris O'Donnell, Alfred Molina and Michael Keaton, from Sony ... "The L-Word: The Fourth Season" is a four-disc set with 12 episodes, $69.99 from Paramount ... "MacGyver: The Complete Series" is a 39-disc set with 139 episodes, $195.99 from Paramount ... "Mind of Mencia: Season 3" is a two-disc set with 14 episodes, $26.99 from Paramount ... "NCIS: The Fourth Season" is a six-disc set with 24 episodes, $64.99 from Paramount ... "The Ruth Rendell Mysteries, Set 2" is a three-disc set with six crime dramas based on Ruth Rendell's best-selling fiction: "Bribery & Corruption," "Front Seat," "A Case of Coincidence," "A Dark Blue Perfume," "May & June" and "The Orchard Walls"; $49.99 from Acorn Media ... "The Sopranos: Season 6, Part II" is a four-disc set with the last nine episodes, $99.98 from HBO Video ... "Tales From the Crypt: The Complete Seventh Season" is a three-disc set with 13 episodes, $39.98 from Warner ... "Veronica Mars: The Complete Third Season" is a six-disc set with 20 episodes, $59.98 from Warner ... "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea: Season Three, Volume 2 " is a three-disc set with 13 episodes, $39.98 from MGM. (Posted October 23)

Buzzin' the 'B's:
In "Buried Alive" (2005), starring Leah Rachel, Erin Lokitz, Steve Sandvoss and Tobin Bell, a group of college students are hunted by the evil spirit of a woman who was buried alive years ago near their secluded vacation house, from The Weinstein Co./Genius Products ... When a humanitarian mission in Iraq is derailed by an explosive ambush, a small band of American soldiers find themselves fighting for their lives in "Home of the Brave" (2007), directed by Irwin Winkler and starring Samuel L. Jackson, Jessica Biel, Brian Presley, Christina Ricci and 50 Cent, from MGM ... A community is viciously attacked by thousands of intelligent, blood-thirsty ravens in "Kaw" (2007), starring Sean Patrick Flanery, Rod Taylor, Stephen McHattie and Kristin Booth, from Sony ... "Dog Bite Dog" (2006) is a Hong Kong crime thriller about a volatile officer who hunts down a ruthless hit-man through the bleak streets of Hong Kong, from Dragon Dynasty/The Weinstein Company/Genius Products ... "The Tripper" (2006) stars Thomas Jane, Jaime King, Lukas Haas, Jason Mewes, Paul Reubens and Richmond Arquette in a horror satire about a homicidal maniac with an obsession for Ronald Reagan who wreaks havoc on a group of bohemians, from Fox ... "The Christmas Card" (2006) is a Hallmark Channel drama about a Christmas card that unites a soldier in Afghanistan with a woman in the States, starring Edward Asner, John Newton and Alice Evans, from Genius Products ... Anchor Bay has a slew of horrormeister Mario Bava releases this week: "The Mario Bava Collection -- Volume 2," an eight-disc set with "Baron Blood," "Kidnapped," "Lisa and the Devil" (and the alternate version "House of Exorcism"), "Roy Colt and Winchester Jack," "Four Times That Night," "Bay of Blood" and "5 Dolls for an August Moon," all presented in their original international versions, $49.97; and single discs of "Erik the Conqueror (Gli Invasori)" (1961), fully restored from the original European vault materials and presented uncut and uncensored for the first time in America, "The Mask of Satan (aka Black Sunday)" (1960), Bava's directorial debut, and the director's trilogy of terror "The Three Faces of Fear (aka Black Sabbath)" (1963). (Posted October 23)

On the Indie Front:
"Nearing Grace" (2006) stars Gregory Smith, Jordana Brewster, Ashley Johnson, David Moscow, David Morse, Brian Doyle-Murray and Shannon Doyle in a coming of age film about Henry Nearing and his family and how badly they cope with the recent death of their mother: High schooler Henry (Smith) is addled by hormones and marijuana and falls hard for the school vixen (Brewster) but fails to notice the attractions of the girl next door (Johnson); his father has been on a bender; his brother is an acid casualty; from First Independent Pictures. (Posted October 23)

For the Family:
For pre-schoolers: "The Care Bears: Oopsy Does It" (2007) is a new feature from the popular cuddly characters, marking their 25th anniversary; release coincides with the launch of a new toy line and a CBS TV premiere; $19.98 from Fox ... Genius Products has a new line of DVDs for pre-schoolers: "Play With Me Sesame" is said to help kids use their imaginations in interactive play via Sesame Street vignettes. The first two outings are "Play With Me Sesame: Good Night Sesame," which helps kids settle down with gentle fun to learn the importance of naps and resting; and "Play With Me Sesame: Playtime With Grover," which has Grover teaching kids about opposites and size relationships; $16.95, packed in a kid-friendly two-disc handle case ... Bookbox is a new DVD series that uses Same Language Subtitling -- synchronizing the text, audio and visual components of a story shown on screen ("reading Karaoke style") -- to help kids' reading abilities. The first two titles: "Bookbox: Enchanting Christmas Stories" and "Bookbox: Stories From Around the World" each featuring five stories, $14.95 from Master Communications. (Posted October 23)

For older kids there's "The Adventures of Aquaman," a two-disc set with 36 cartoon shorts, $26.99, from Warner ... "The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardian" is a two-disc set with the last eight episodes of the 12-year run of the "Super Friends" series, $26.99 from Warner ... And for family togetherness viewing there's "The Masterpiece Theatre Family Collection," a four-disc set with films based on classic children's books: "Carrie's War," "Goodbye, Mr. Chips," "Pollyanna" and "The Railway Children"; $49.95 from WGBH Boston Video ... and "The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey" (2007), directed by Bill Clark and starring Tom Berenger, Joely Richardson and Luke Ward-Wilkinson in a tale about the transformation of the world of a Scrooge-like recluse when a boy and his widowed mother move to town. From Genius Products. (Posted October 23)

Special Interest:
"Commune" (2005) is a documentary on the controversial commune set up in 1970 at the Black Bear Ranch in Siskiyou County, California for young rebels, hippies and political idealists. Premised on the idea of "Free Land for Free People," and financed by the largesse of Hollywood rock stars, the founders of Black Bear bought a rural, abandoned gold mine and raised a rough-hewn homestead. Soon the fragile bonds of human connection became frayed, especially when the group discovered that each person had a totally different idea of what utopia might look like ... and that "free love" wasn't free after all. Includes archival footage. $29.95 from First Run Features ... "A Musical Quartet" is a four-disc boxed set with "From Mao to Mozart: Isaac Stern in China," "Small Wonders," "High Fidelity: The Adventures of the Guarneri String Quartet" and "The Turandot Project," $69.95 from First Run Features ... "Alive Day Memories: Home From Iraq" (2007) is a feature-length HBO documentary that looks at the new generation of military veterans of the war in Iraq that has left behind 25,000 wounded; James Gandolfini conducts interviews with 10 wounded soldiers and marines who reveal their feelings on their futures, their disabilities and their devotion to America; $24.98 from HBO Video ... From WWE/Genius Entertainment comes "Rey Mysterio," a three-disc set featuring the spectacular matches of one of World Wrestling Entertainment's most popular superstars, $34.95; and "Unforgiven" (2007), in which the superstars of Raw, SmackDown and ECW seek revenge and retribution in matches from all three World Wrestling Entertainment brands, $24.95. (Posted October 23)

Date Change:
The DVD of The Beatles' second feature film, "Help!" has been rescheduled to November 6 (from October 30). Directed by Richard Lester, who also directed the group's debut feature "A Hard Days Night," "Help!" made its theatrical debut in 1965. The film, with plenty of extras, will be released by EMI Music. (Posted October 16)

DVD Collectibles:
From The Criterion Collection comes the budget-priced "Carlos Saura's Flamenco Trilogy (Eclipse Series #6)," a three-disc set with "Blood Wedding," "Carmen" and "El amor brujo." One of Spanish cinema's great auteurs, Carlos Saura brought international audiences closer to the art of his country's dance than any other filmmaker, before or since. In his "Flamenco Trilogy," Saura merged his passion for music with his ongoing exploration of Spanish national identity. All starring and choreographed by legendary dancer Antonio Gades, the films feature thrilling physicality and electrifying cinematography and editing-colorful paeans to bodies in motion as well as to the cinema that so eloquently, and artfully, captured them. Criterion's Eclipse line presents a selection of lost, forgotten or overshadowed classics in simple, affordable editions. (Posted October 16)

Warners has taken great care with the restoration of "The Jazz Singer 80th Anniversary Collector's Edition," immaculately restoring and remastering the 1927 film from the earliest surviving nitrate film elements and original Vitaphone sound-on-disc recordings. There's a host of extras on the three-disc set, including commentary by film historians, a collection of rare cartoons and Vitaphone shorts, a 93-minute documentary "The Dawn of Sound: How Movies Learned to Talk," two rarely-seen Technicolor excerpts from "Gold Diggers of Broadway" (1929 WB film, most of which is considered lost), studio shorts celebrating the early sound era, and 3 1/2 hours of rare, historic Vitaphone comedy and music shorts. The set also includes rarely seen behind-the-scenes photo cards, original release lobby card reproductions, original release souvenir program book reproduction, a booklet with vintage document reproductions, and a reproduction of a post-premiere telegram from star Al Jolson to Jack L. Warner. $39.92. (Posted October 16)

Sam Katzman, the amazingly prolific and successful, if sometimes derided, producer who churned out over 200 B-movies and serials over a four-decade-plus career, finally gets his due with "Icons of Horror Collection: Sam Katzman," a two-disc set with four features, all making their DVD debut (and two making their home video debut). The highlight may be "The Giant Claw," the infamous 1957 sci-fi thriller about a giant bird from outer space that chows down on people and planes; it stars genre veterans Jeff Morrow, Mara Corday and Morris Ankrum. Another fan favorite is the self-explanatory "Zombies of Mora Tau" (1957), starring Allison Hayes of "Attack of the 50 Foot Woman" fame, and written by blacklisted screenwriter Bernard Gordon. The new-to-video titles include "Creature With the Atom Brain" (1955), written by legendary horror/sci-fi writer Curt Siodmak and starring Richard Denning in a fast-paced gangsters-meet-reanimated-corpses tale. "The Werewolf" (1956) is an Atomic Age chiller about a man (Steven Ritch) who becomes the victim of a worthy scientific experiment gone horribly wrong. The Sony set sells for $24.95. (Posted October 16)

From TV to Video:
"Ironside: Season Two" is a seven-disc set with 26 episodes, $49.98 from Shout! Factory ... "Medium: The Third Season" is a six-disc set with 22 episodes, $61.99 from Paramount ... "Squidbillies: Volume One" is a two-disc set with 20 episodes of the Adult Swim series, $29.98 from Warner ... "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" is a six-disc set with 22 episodes, $59.98 from Warner ... "That '70s Show Seventh Season" is afour-disc set with 25 episodes, $49.98 from Fox. (Posted October 16)

Buzzin' the 'B's:
"Return to House on Haunted Hill" is a 2007 sequel starring newcomers Amanda Righetti, Erik Palladino, Cerina Vincent, Tom Riley, Andrew Lee Potts, Steven Pacey, and Jeffrey Combs, in rated and unrated versions, from Warner ... "Tobe Hooper's The Damned Thing" (2007) is the director's contribution to the Showtime series, adapted from the classic short story by Ambrose Bierce; stars Sean Patrick Flannery, Marisa Coughlan, Brendan Fletcher and Ted Raimi, from Anchor Bay ... In "Murder Party" (2007), a Halloween night invitation to a costume party turns out to be a lethal trap set by a gang of deranged hipster artists who want to lure someone to their remote warehouse base and ritually murder him or her, from Magnolia Home Entertainment ... A humanoid alien teams up with a British soldier to find a top secret file that holds information on advanced energy production and captured space crafts in "Displaced" (2006), starring Mark Strange, Malcolm Hankey, Cathy Miller and the voice of Ian McKellen, from MTI Home Video ... In "Believers" (2007), two emergency paramedics receive a call from a young girl whose mother has lost consciousness in a deserted area, but they soon discover that the life they have to save may be their own, from Warner Raw Feed ... "Normal Adolescent Behavior: Havoc 2" (2007) stars Amber Tamblyn, Ashton Holmes, Kelli Garner and Stephen Coletti in an unrated dark look at the sexual politics that govern a group of privileged teens as they avoid the typical social norms by sharing in an intense sexual relationship with each other, from New Line ... "Casshern" (2004) is a live-action film based on the renowned anime series, set in a dystopian future in which the planet has been ravaged by a catastrophic Third World War. The story follows a young man imbued with superhuman strength who emerges as humanity's last hope in an epic battle against powerful mutant neo-humans and their army of robots; from Paramount ... A series of unprecedented and deadly tidal waves on the East Coast turn out to be man-made weapons of destruction in "Killer Wave" (2007), starring Angus MacFadyen, Karine Vanasse, Stephen McHattie and Tom Skerritt, from Genius Products ... "Shattered City" (2003) stars Vincent Walsh, Clare Stone, Graham Greene and Pete Postlethwaite in a dramatization of the massive explosion -- and its aftermath -- that occurred in Halifax, Nova Scotia when a French-owned freighter loaded to the gunnels with thousands of tons of TNT collided with a Belgian relief ship and exploded in the Halifax Harbor, killing 2,000 people and injuring more than 9,000 others; from Genius Products. (Posted October 16)

On the Indie Front:
"Trapped" is a trilogy of three British comedies in which obsessive characters -- desperate to break free from their self-imposed prisons -- face their moments of truth. In "Von Trapped!" Maria Moogan is obsessed with "The Sound of Music," making it a part of her everyday life until she travels to Salzburg to try to end her compulsion, making a discovery that changes her life forever. In "Beauty," a hideous aristocrat hides his face from the world in his slightly decaying family mansion until a pretty plumber comes to fix the pipes. In "King of Fridges" an anxious assistant manager gets stuck with an obnoxious elderly trainee on the rooftop of the store when things go awry on a busy bank holiday. The Three-disc set sells for $29.98 from BFS Entertainment ... "Girl 27" (2005) is the shocking story of the rape of a young actress at a 1937 MGM sales convention that made headlines when the victim, Patricia Douglas, decided to bring charges against the studio. Author David Stenn spent more than 10 years researching the story, which the studio had successfully buried for more than six decades -- and in doing so, eventually found himself face to face with Patricia Douglas. The reclusive Douglas came out of hiding to discuss the scandal, in which the powerful film studio tricked her and over 100 other underage girls into attending a stag party, where the rape took place. The documentary is from Red Envelope Entertainment and Westlake Entertainment. (Posted October 16)

Foreign:
"The Other Conquest" (1998 -- Mexico) takes a look at the Spanish conquest of Mexico. On November 8, 1519 the Spanish Conqueror Hernando Cortes and his small army rode into the Aztec capital of the vast Mexican Empire, where they were welcomed by the Emperor Moctezuma. Within two years, the Aztec civilization was all but destroyed, the survivors having lost their families, homes, language, temples ... and Gods. From Union Station Home Entertainment. (Posted October 16)

For the Family:
"A House Without a Christmas Tree" is a 1972 telefilm starring Jason Robards, Mildred Natwick, Lisa Lucas, Kathryn Walker about a young girl in 1940s Nebraska who wants a Christmas tree for the holiday season but her father, embittered after the loss of his wife during childbirth, forbids a traditional celebration, from Paramount ... "Christmas Do-Over" (2006) is a new take on "A Christmas Carol," about a man who deliberately scorns the Christmas spirit and is forced to re-live Christmas day over and over again, starring Jay Mohr, Daphne Zuniga, and Adrienne Barbeau, from Sony ... "Outlaw Trail" (2006) is a family Western adventure set in 1951 about a descendent of Butch Cassidy (of Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid fame) who sets out to discover the truth about his great uncle, starring Ryan Kelley, Arielle Kebbel, Dan Byrd, Brent Weber and Bruce McGill, from Allumination FilmWorks ... Getting ready for the holiday gift-giving season, HIT Entertainment and Fox have put together four nifty box sets for the little ones: "Angelina Ballerina: A Star Collection," "Barney: The Imagination Collection," "Bob the Builder: Ultimate Adventure Collection" and "Thonas & Friends: Steam Engine Stories." Each $29.98 set contains three popular titles. (Posted October 16)

Special Interest:
"Class Act" is a 2005 documentary about Jay W. Jensen, a Miami Beach Senior High School teacher for over 30 years who had taught an incredible list of students throughout his career including renowned filmmaker Brett Ratner, actor Andy Garcia, songwriter Desmond Child, sportscaster Roy Firestone, Broadway producer Adam Epstein and so many more. Jensen was not only a drama teacher, but also an advocate of the arts and bringing creativity into every student's life. When the filmmakers decided to go "back to school" to tell the extraordinary story of Jensen, they knew they would be telling the 50 year story of a man who dedicated his life to education, saved every penny, and became known as the "Teacher to the Stars." What they didn't know is the real story they would uncover. The drama program Jensen created and ran for over 30 years, 7 days a week, day and night, no longer existed. "Class Act" weaves Jensen's personal story with the fate of arts education in America today, giving us a report card on what lies ahead for America's children. But the story doesn't end in the classroom. With a starting salary of just $2,000 in 1959, Jensen secretly amassed millions. To the astonishment of everyone, he then did the most extraordinary thing: he gave it away in the name of education and the arts becoming the most unlikely philanthropist. $24.98 from Arts Alliance America ... "The First Kings of Comedy Collection" is a tribute to the era of silent slapstick comedy, with clips of Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Will Rogers, Carole Lombard, Jean Harlow, Charley Chase, Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, Charlie Chaplin, Harry Langdon and Buster Keaton; $16.95 from Genius Entertainment ... "Jim Norton: Monster Rain" (2005) is an hour-long HBO stand-up special, filmed before a packed house at the historic Lincoln Theater in Washington, D.C., $19.97 from HBO Video ... "No Boundaries" is a four-disc set with two Warren Miller winter action sports films, "Off the Grid" (2006), "Impact" (2004) and "Higher Ground" (2005) as well as a bonus disc that offers all-access to "Behind the Scenes of Warren Miller's Higher Ground"; $49.99 from Shout! Factory ... "Iraq: Battle Plan Under Fire" is a three-disc NOVA documentary set about the current situation in Iraq and the challenges the military is facing there: "Life and Death in the War Zone," "Battle Plan Under Fire" and "Spies that Fly"; $39.95 from WGBH Boston Video. (Posted October 16)

Coming Soon:
Sony has set December 4 for the release of the raunchy high school-to-college coming of age comedy "Superbad," starring Jonah Hill, Michael Cera, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Bill Hader, Seth Rogen, Martha MacIsaac and Emma Stone. The film will be available in single-disc rated and unrated versions and a two-disc special edition, the latter containing such goodies as commentaries, deleted and extended scenes, gag reel, Line-O-Rama running tally of obscenities, "Cop Car Confessions" ride along with Clark County's finest, "Making-of Superbad," press junket meltdown; music of "Superbad," "TV Safe": watch Jonah Hill try to record alternate "safe" lines appropriate for television, and more. Also available on Blu-ray Disc. (Posted October 9)

DVD Collectibles:
Due this week from The Criterion Collection is Gus Van Sant's debut feature "Mala Noche" (1985), in a new, restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised and approved by Van Sant. With its low budget and lush black-and-white imagery, "Mala Noche" heralded an idiosyncratic, provocative new voice in American independent film. Set in Van Sant's hometown of Portland, Oregon, the film evokes a world of transient workers, dead-end day-shifters, and bars and seedy apartments bathed in a profound nighttime, as it follows a romantic deadbeat with a wayward crush on a handsome Mexican immigrant. "Mala Noche" was an important prelude to the New Queer Cinema of the nineties and is a fascinating time capsule from a time and place that continues to haunt its director's work. (Posted October 9)

"Brando" is the critically-acclaimed 2007 documentary -- originally airing on TCM -- that pieces together decades of Brando's performances with rare, never-before-seen footage and a series of original, in-depth interviews with family members, childhood friends and a host of his Hollywood peers and co-stars; $19.97 from Warner ... "Roots: The Complete Collection" is a 10-disc set with "Roots," "Roots: The Next Generations" and the Christmas movie "Roots: The Gift," housed in a collectible gift box that includes a 44-page four-color commemorative booklet, $119.82 from Warner. (Posted October 9)

From TV to Video:
"Agatha Christie's Marple, Series 3" (2005-6) is a four-disc set with four feature-length mysteries starring Geraldine McEwan as Agatha Christie's famous sleuth, from Acorn Media ... "Ben 10: Season 2" is a two-disc set with 13 episodes of the Cartoon Network's alien-fighting 10-year-old, $19.98 from Warner ... "CSI: NY: The Third Season," a six-disc set with 24 episodes, $72.99 from Paramount ... "Creature Comforts America," a two-disc set with all seven episodes of the Aardman Animations ("Wallace and Gromit") clay-animated series that features interviews with everyday Americans from across the county placed in the mouths of odd and interesting animals; $29.95 from Sony ... "Everybody Hates Chris: The Second Season," a four-disc set with 22 episodes, $42.99 from Paramount ... "Family Ties: The Second Season" (1983-84), a four-disc set with 23 episodes, $42.99 from Paramount ... "Girlfriends: The Second Season," a three-disc set with 22 episodes, $39.99 from Paramount ... "Hitler: The Rise of Evil" is a 2003 CBS telefilm starring Peter O'Toole, Robert Carlyle, Liev Schrieber, Stockard Channing, Julianna Margulies, Jena Malone, Matthew Modine and Peter Stormare. Two-disc set, $29.98 from Koch Vision ... "Jericho of Scotland Yard -- The Complete Set" is a four-disc collector's edition with all four of the popular Jericho crime mysteries: "A Pair of Ragged Claws," "The Killing of Johnny Swan," "To Murder and Create" and "The Hollow Men." Amidst the social upheaval of post-war 1950s London, Inspector Michael Jericho (Robert Lindsa) unravels headline-grabbing mysteries at Scotland Yard; $49.95 from WGBH Boston Video ... "The Lair: The Complete First Season" is a two-disc set with six episodes from the Gay vampire series, $29.95 from Genius Products, Liberation Entertainment, here! ... "Little Women" is a 1978 two-part NBC miniseries starring Meredith Baxter, Susan Dey, Eve Plumb, Greer Garson and William Shatner, $29.98 from Koch Vision ... "Meerkat Manor" is a two-disc set with 13 episodes of the docu series that used state-of-the-art camera technology above and below ground to track the lives of a group of South African meerkats, $24.95 from Genius Products ... "Robin of Sherwood, Set 2" is a five-disc set with the final 13 episodes of the 1980s British series starring Jason Connery and Ray Winstone, $59.99 from Acorn Media ... "Stargate SG-1: The Complete Series Collector's Edition" is a 54-disc set with all 214 episodes; the last four discs are jammed with bonus material; $329.98 from MGM ... "War and Peace" (1972) is the BBC's 20-episode adaptation of the Tolstoy classic, starring Anthony Hopkins; four-disc set, $49.98 from Koch Vision. (Posted October 9)

Buzzin' the 'B's:
Due this week: In "Black Sheep" (2006), an experiment in genetic engineering turns harmless sheep into blood-thirsty killers that terrorize a sprawling New Zealand farm, from Dimension Extreme ... "Protecting the King" (2007) stars Matt Barr, Peter Dobson and Tom Sizemore in an autobiographical look back at the turbulent last years of Elvis Presley's life as seen through the eyes of his stepbrother and bodyguard, David Stanley, who wrote and directed the film, from Echo Bridge Home Entertainment ... "Wrong Turn 2: Dead End" (2007) stars Erica Leerhsen, Texas Battle, Daniella Alonso, Crystal Lowe, Aleksa Palladino and Henry Rollins in this unrated direct-to-video sequel, from Fox ... In "Rise: Blood Hunter" (2007), starring Lucy Liu, Michael Chiklis, Carla Gugino, James D'Arc and Robert Forster, an investigative reporter partners with a detective to seek revenge on a vampire cult that is taking over Los Angeles, from Sony ... "Hallowed Ground" (2005) is a horror thriller about a young woman stranded in the small town of Hope who discovers that she's part of a 100-year-old rebirth prophecy by the town's founder, who built Hope on hallowed ground and sacrificed sinners to stave off Satan's evil, starring Jaimie Alexander, Brian McNamara and Hudson Leick, from Genius Products ... The "Arabian Nights" tale and "The Thief of Bagdad" are retold and relocated to ancient China in the actioner "Son of the Dragon" (2005), starring David Carradine, Rupert Graves, John Reardon and Desiree Siahaan, from Genius Products. (Posted October 9)

On the Indie Front:
"Man Push Cart" (2007) is a poignant story about a former Pakistani rock star who ekes out a living in Midtown Manhattan selling coffee and donuts from a push cart, from Koch Lorber ... In "Tara Road" (2005), two women whose lives are in shambles -- one from Dublin, Ireland, the other in Connecticut -- decide to swap houses for two months; stars Andie MacDowell, Olivia Williams, Stephen Rea, Iain Glen, Jean-Marc Barr and Brenda Fricker, from First Look Home Entertainment ... "Welcome to Paradise" (2007) is a family film about a preacher (Crystal Bernard) sent from the big city to help bring a new vision to a small Western town; also stars Brian Dennehy and Brad Stine, from First Look Home Entertainment ... In "Dead Letter Office" (1998), Alice's girlhood fantasies of finding her father are twisted into a bundle of letters, returned unopened from the postal service's Dead Letter Office. Hoping to learn anything that will locate her dad, Alice takes a job at the Dead Letter Office, supervised by Frank, a gloomy man from Chile hiding from his past. Their paths have crossed for a reason; stars Miranda Otto and George DelHoyo, from BFS Entertainment. (Posted October 9)

For the Family:
Hold on to your horses: Disney is releasing this week "Hannah Montana: Life's What You Make of It," a compilation of episodes from the Disney Channel series. In case you didn't know, Miley Cyrus (as the singer Hannah Montana on the TV series) is the hottest thing to hit the tween and pre-tween market since Britney and friends; sold-out concerts around the country are making parents nervous wrecks. Here's a chance to get Miley/Hannah on the sly ... "Johnny Kapahala: Back on Board" is a 2007 sequel to Disney's "Johnny Tsunami," from Buena Vista ... "The Reef (aka Shark Bait)" (2006) features the voices of Freddie Prinze Jr., Rob Schneider, Evan Rachel Wood, Donal Logue, Andy Dick, Fran Drescher, John Rhys-Davies and R. Lee Ermey in the animated tale of a young guppy, forced with his family to move to a glossy Reef under the sea, who must rid the Reef of a bullying shark; from The Weinstein Co./Genius Product ... and, lastly, for pre-schoolers there's "The Wiggles: Getting Strong," the first of new Wiggle and Learn! series of educational made-for-video releases, featuring all-new songs that children can dance, sing and learn to; $19.98 from Warner. (Posted October 9)

Special Interest:
There's music in the air this week: Retroactive Entertainment will release "The Captain & Tennille Specials," three rare television specials featuring performances by Ella Fitzgerald, B.B. King, Fats Domino, Glen Campbell, Kenny Rogers and many more: "Captain & Tennille in New Orleans" (originally broadcast on April 3, 1978), "Captain & Tennille in Hawaii" (originally broadcast on May 5, 1978) and "Captain & Tennille Songbook" (originally broadcast on March 26, 1979); $49.99 the set or $19.99 each ... From MVD Entertainment comes "Bruce Springsteen Under Review: 1978-1982: Tales of the Working Man" and "Nick Drake Under Review," both feature-length music documentaries, $19.95 each. (Posted October 9)

DVD Collectibles:
Highlight of the week is PBS' "The War," photoa six-disc set with all seven episodes of the amazing PBS series on World War II; $129.99. The seven-part film, directed and produced by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, explores the history and horror of the Second World War from an American perspective, through the personal accounts of men and women from four quintessentially American towns: Waterbury, Conn., Mobile, Ala., Sacramento, Calif., and Luverne, Minn. These geographically distributed locations stand in for - and could represent - any town in the states that went through the war's four devastating years. The 15-hours explore the most intimate human dimensions of the carnage and paints a vivid picture of how the war touched the lives of every family on every street in every town in America. Extras include a "Making The War" featurette, commentary, deleted scenes, additional interviews, biographies, photo gallery, educational resources; from Paramount. (Posted October 2)

Also due this week is Disney's Platinum edition of "The Jungle Book" (1967), with the voices of Phil Harris, Sebastian Cabot, Louis Prima, George Sanders, Sterling Holloway and J. Pat O'Malley. For the film's 40th anniversary edition, Disney has put together a two-disc set, giving the film an all-new restoration with enhanced picture and sound ... "Bram Stoker's Dracula" (1992) was Francis Ford Coppola's take on the vampire legend; the slightly anemic film stars Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Anthony Hopkins, Keanu Reeves, Richard E. Grant, Cary Elwes, Bill Campbell, Sadie Frost, Tom Waits and Monica Bellucci. The two-disc set -- also available on Blu-ray Disc -- from Sony comes loaded with extras .... MGM will release a collector's edition of "Misery" (1990), directed by Rob Reiner and starring James Caan, Kathy Bates, Lauren Bacall, Richard Farnsworth and Frances Sternhagen ... and Paramount has a 50th anniversary edition of "Funny Face" (1957), directed by Stanley Donen and starring Audrey Hepburn, Fred Astaire, Kay Thompsom, Michel Auclair, Robert Flemyng and Suzy Parker. (Posted October 2)

For the cat's meow there's "Felix the Cat Golden Anniversary Edition," a two-disc set with 31 episodes from the 1958-59 season, restored and remastered, $39.93 from Classic Media/Genius Entertainment ... and for well-heeled space explorer there's "Star Trek: The Next Generation Complete Series," a 49-disc collector's box set that includes all 176 episodes, all-new special features, an exclusive poster and special collector's packaging; $440.00 from Paramount. (Posted October 2)

From TV to Video:
"Criminal Minds: The Second Season" is a six-disc set with 23 episodes, $64.99 from Paramount ... "Entourage: Season Three, Part 2" is a two-disc set with eight episodes, $39.98 from HBO Video ... "Everybody Hates Chris: The Second Season" is a six-disc set with 22 episodes, $72.99 from Paramount ... "How I Met Your Mother Season Two" is a three-disc set with 22 episodes, $39.98 from Fox ... "The Inspector Lynley Mysteries 5" includes four episodes featuring the popular British detective; $39.95 from WGBH Boston Video ... "Jericho: The First Season" is a six-disc set with 22 episodes, $54.99 from Paramount ... "Metalocalypse: Season One" is a two-disc set with 20 episodes of the Adult Swim series about demented, devil-worshiping rock stars without a clue, from Warner ... "The Sarah Silverman Program: Season One" is a single disc with six episodes of the Comedy Central series, from Paramount ... "The Secret World of Alex Mack: The Complete First Season" is a two-disc set with 12 episodes of the Nick series that features Jessica Alba in her TV acting debut, $22.95 from Genius Entertainment ... "Shark Season One" is a six-disc set with 22 episodes, $59.98 from Fox. (Posted October 2)

Buzzin' the 'B's:
"Pumpkinhead 4: Blood Feud" (2007) is the fourth installment in the backwoods horror franchise, starring Lance Henriksen, Amy Manso and Bradley Taylor, from Sony ... The war on terror strikes close to home in "Civic Duty" (2006), a psychological thriller about an average U.S. citizen who takes matters into his own hands when he becomes convinced that his Middle Eastern grad student neighbor is at the center of a terrorist conspiracy, starring Peter Krause, Kari Matchett, Richard Schiff and Khaled Abol Naga, from Fox ... "Species IV: The Awakening" (2007) is the latest installment in the "Species" franchise, starring Helena Mattsson and Ben Cross, from MGM ... In "After" (2006), urban explorers (gamers who investigate non-public areas of cities) get more than they bargained for beneath the streets of Moscow, from First Look Home Entertainment ... "The Other Side" (2006) is a supernatural thriller about a college student murdered during school break who is banished to Hell, a dank underworld known as "the Pit." Determined to figure out who killed him and why, he makes a daring escape back to the world of the living, one step ahead of Hell's own bounty hunters, known as "The Reapers"; from Allumination FilmWorks ... "Plasterhead" (2006) is a throwback to the more visceral, serious horror films of the late 70's and early 80's: A farmhouse is haunted by the visage of a young man brutally beaten and left for dead 15 years ago; from Arts Alliance America. (Posted October 2)

For the Family:
It's only October and already the studios are mounting their Christmas campaigns for kids. Due this week: "A Flintstones Christmas Carol" (2007), a Stone-age version of the magical holiday classic; $14.98 from Warner ... "Tom and Jerry: A Nutcracker Tale" (2007), a Christmas animated feature that has Jerry the mouse entering a magical world in an opera house only to have his fun stolen by Tom and his cat friends; $19.98 from Warner ... "Christmas Television Favorites" is a collection of telefilms presented in collectible packaging reminiscent of a classic book with foil accents; the four-disc set showcases eight lanimated holiday specials: "How the Grinch Stole Christmas! Deluxe Edition," Horton Hears a Who!" "The Year Without a Santa Claus Deluxe Edition," "Rudolph's Shiny New Year," "Nestor the Long-eared Christmas Donkey," "Frosty's Winter Wonderland," "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" and "Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July"; from Warner ... "The Year Without a Santa Claus Deluxe Edition" is a 1974 telefilm with the voices of Shirley Booth, Mickey Rooney and Dick Shawn, from Warner. (Posted October 2)

Special Interest:
"The Magnificent Voyage of Christopher Columbus" is a documentary that examines the explorer's groundbreaking discovery and the struggles he faced along the way, $19.95 from WGBH Boston Video ... "Red Without Blue" (2007) is a documentary that follows a pair of identical twins as one transitions from male to female, from Cinema Libre Studio ... "Street Thief" (2006) follows two documentary filmmakers who embarked on a journey to peer into the daily lives of ordinary career criminals; What they didn't expect was to end up spending a year in the life of Kaspar Carr, a reclusive man, whose skills have made him one of Chicago's most prolific and elusive burglars; $24.95 from A&E Indie Films ... "The Ramones: It's Alive 1974-1996" is a two-disc set that captures the essence of the Ramones' legendary racket with more than four hours of rare and unreleased performances; $19.99 from Rhino ... "Sun Dogs" (2006) is a wacky documentary about the 12 stray dogs trained to be the stars of Jamaica's first dog sled racing team, from Palm Pictures. (Posted October 2)

Just Announced
photoDue November 13 is "Shrek the Third," the animated blockbuster that chronicles the continued adventures of Shrek, Fiona, Donkey and Puss in Boots, with new characters including a magical, misguided Merlin, an awkward Arthur, a powerful posse of Princesses and a bundle of unexpected arrivals. The film will be available in standard definition DVD and on HD DVD; bonus features include behind-the-scenes featurettes, deleted scenes, games and kids activities, DVD-ROM and HD DVD extras. Voice talent include Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, Antonio Banderas, Rupert Everett, Justin Timberlake, Julie Andrews, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Cheri Oteri, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Amy Sedaris, John Krasinski and Ian McShane. From DreamWorks/Paramount. (Posted September 27)

Just Announced
Due November 6 is Michael Moore's expose of the American health care system, "Sicko," from The Weinstein Co./Genius Products ... "Ocean's 13," with an all-star cast that includes George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Elliott Gould, Bernie Mac, Al Pacino, Don Cheadle, Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, Carl Reiner, Eddie Izzard, Ellen Barkin and Andy Garcia, will have its lucky day on November 13, from Warner (also available on HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc) ... December 18 will see the arrival of "The Simpsons Movie," packed with commentaries and extras, from Fox (also available on Blu-ray Disc) ... and on the day after Christmas New Line will release "Rush Hour 3," starring Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker in the second sequel in the franchise. (Posted September 25)

DVD Collectibles:
photoDue this week: "The Mickey Rooney & Judy Garland Collection: Ultimate Collector's Edition," with four "backyard musical' extravaganzas and a fifth disc of bonus features, $49.92 from Warner. Included in the set are "Babes in Arms" (1939), "Strike Up the Band" (1940), and "Babes on Broadway" (1941), all directed by Busby Berkeley; and "Girl Crazy" (1943), directed by Norman Taurog and Berkeley; each disc includes cartoons and shorts. "The Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland Collection Bonus Disc" includes the "Private Screenings With Mickey Rooney" 1996 TCM special hosted by Robert Osborne; "The Judy Garland Songbook," a collection of 21 complete, magical Judy Garland musical numbers spanning 1936-1954; and a Mickey and Judy Trailer Gallery. (Posted September 25)

Also due this week are "The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid" (1972), an at-times inaccurate and gory but nevertheless enthralling tale about the gangs of Jesse James and Cole Younger and their bungled robbery of the bank in Northfield, Minn., directed by Philip Kaufman and starring Cliff Robertson, Robert Duvall, Luke Askew, R.G. Armstrong, Dana Elcar and Donald Moffat, from Universal ... and two wild and wooly exploitation films from the Roger Corman factory: "The Roger Corman Collection: The Intruder Special Edition" (1962), starring William Shatner, Frank Maxwell and Beverly Lunsford, about a man who travels to the South to incite a riot to stop desegregation; and "The Roger Corman Collection: Eat My Dust Supercharged Edition" (1976), starring Ron Howard, Christopher Norris, Brad David, Kathy O'Dare and Clint Howard in an actioner about a high school kid who steals a professional race car to impress a girl; both from Buena Vista. (Posted September 25)

"Twisted Terror Collection" is a six-disc set of horror titles: "Someone's Watching Me" (1978): TV movie, directed by John Carpenter, tells the story of Leigh Michaels (Lauren Hutton) who is slowly stalked to the brink of madness by a man watching her from the opposite tower block. Her attempt to get the police to take her seriously leaves her with no option but to track him down herself. "The Hand" (1981): Oliver Stone directs this tale about a comic book artist who loses his right hand in a car accident. The hand is not found at the scene of the accident, but soon it returns to follow Jon (Michael Caine) around, and murder those who anger him. "Deadly Friend" (1986): Wes Craven directs this tale of Paul, a new kid in town with a robot named "BB" whose only real friend is a neighborhood girl named, Samantha (Kristy Swanson). When Samantha's abusive father throws her down some stairs and kills her, Paul implants BB's computer brain into Samantha's human brain. "From Beyond the Grave (1973): The anthology film adapted from four short stories by R. Chetwynd-Hayes strung together about an antique dealer (Peter Cushing) who owns a shop called Temptations Ltd. and the fate that befalls his customers who try to cheat him. "Eyes of a Stranger" (1981): An enterprising local news anchor discovers that one of her neighbors is actually the serial killer/rapist who has been terrorizing the city. She must prove her suspicions before the killer gets to her and her deaf and blind sister (Jennifer Jason Leigh). "Dr. Giggles" (1992): The psychopathic son of a mass-murdering doctor escapes from his mental institution to seek revenge on the town where his father was caught. $49.92 the set or $14.97 each from Warner. (Posted September 25)

From TV to Video:
Due this week: "As You Like It," Kenneth Branagh's imaginative adaptation of Shakespeare's classic, which aired August 14 on HBO, starring Bryce Dallas Howard, Kevin Kline, Brian Blessed, Adrian Lester, Janet McTeer and Alfred Molina, from HBO Video ... "The Best of the Cosby Show," a compilation of 10 of the best episodes, $9.98 from First Look Home Entertainment ... "Bliss: The Complete Unedited Third Season" (2004), with eight episodes from the Oxygen late-night anthology series, $24.95 from MTI Home Video ... "The Catherine Tate Show -- Series One" (2004), currently the top-rated program on the BBC; airs nationally on BBC America; $29.99 from SRO Entertainment ... "College Hill: Virginia State University" is a two-disc set with 13 episodes, $26.99 from Paramount ... The return of the brilliant but flawed British forensic psychologist Dr. Edward Fitzgerald has "Fitz" coming home to England to help investigate home-grown terrorism in "Cracker: A New Terror" (2006), starring Robbie Coltrane, from Acorn Media ... "Dog the Bounty Hunter: The Arrest" (2007) is a 50-minute program chronicling Dog's misadventures when he ran afoul of the Mexican legal system three years ago, from A&E Home Video ... "Drawn Together: Season 2 Uncensored" is a two-disc set with 15 episodes of the Comedy Central series about eight cartoons from all walks of life who have to deal with each other's quirks, differences and insane fantasies, $26.99 from Paramount ... "The Gravy Train" (1990) is a four-disc set of the British Channel 4 comedy series about European politics, starring Ian Richardson, Christoph Waltz and Francesca Annis, $49.95 from BFS Entertainment ... "The King of Queens: 9th Season" (2006-07) is a two-disc set with 13 episodes, $29.95 from Sony ... "Midsomer Murders: Set Nine" is a four-disc set with four feature-length mysteries about a hardworking family man/astute detective who solves mysteries in a quaint English village; $49.99. from Acorn Media ... "My Name Is Earl" Season Two" is a four-disc set with 23 episodes, $49.98 from Fox ... "Numb3rs: The Third Season" is a six-disc set with 24 episodes, $61.99 from Paramount ... "The Unit: Season Two" is a six-disc set with 22 episodes, $59.98 from Fox ... "What About Brian: The Complete Series" is a five-disc with 26 episodes, $59.99 from Disney. (Posted September 25)

Buzzin' the 'B's:
Anchor Bay Entertainment has re-released two Euro-horror classics -- with new transfers - of films directed by Lamberto Bava, son of legendary Italian filmmaker Mario Bava: "Demons" (1985 - Italy), in which theatergoers watching a grisly horror film turn into bloodthirsty demons themselves, and "Demons 2" (1986 -- Italy) , in which a demon resurrection occurs in an apartment complex while tenants watch a documentary about demons on TV ... "Walking Tall: Lone Justice" (2007) stars Kevin Sorbo in a direct-to-video sequel that follows Nick, a retired county sheriff, who relocates to Dallas and finds himself in the middle of a drug war, from Fox ... When a woman is taken captive by a sadistic madman, she survives a series of gruesome tortures only to become his twisted slave in "Broken" (2006), starring Nadja Brand and Eric Colvin, in unrated and rated versions, from Dimension Extreme/The Weinstein Co./Genius Products ... "Elvira's Movie Macabre" consists of three two-disc sets featuring Elvira's favorite horror flicks from her legendary television program, "Elvira's Movie Macabre," which launched her to national fame in the early 1980s. The six campy horror films featuring Elvira's original wrap-around segments are: "Blue Sunshine"/"Monstroid," "Gamera,Super Monster"/"They Came From Beyond Space" and "Maneater of Hydra"/"The House That Screamed"; $14.99 each from Shout! Factory. (Posted September 25)

"Tekkonkinkreet" (2006) is an action-packed anime film based on a popular Japanese manga written by Taiyo Matsumoto in which two street urchins watch over their city, doing battle with an array of old-world Yakuza and alien assassins vying to rule the decaying metropolis, from Sony ... "The Ferryman" (2007) stars John Rhys-Davies, Kerry Fox and Amber Sainsbury in a horror thriller about a group of twentysomethings on a cruise to Fiji who stumble on an evil force that demands vengeance at any cost, from First Look Home Entertainment ... "Macbeth" (2006) stars Sam Worthington, Gary Sweet and Victoria Hill in a contemporary retelling of Shakespeare's "Macbeth," set in the ganglands of Melbourne, Australia, from Union Station Media ... A weekend team-building exercise for four executives goes wrong when their boat capsizes and they're marooned on an uninhabited island in "Neville's Island" (1998) , starring Timothy Spall and Martin Clunes, from BFS Entertainment ... "That Beautiful Somewhere" (2006) is a spiritual thriller about love, redemption and forensic archeology as a police detective teams with an archaeologist to unravel the death of a bog body in the swamps of northern Ontario, starring Roy Dupuis, Jane McGregor and Gordon Tootoosis, from Monarch Home Video ... "Thursday the 12th" (2000) stars Elizabeth McGovern, Ciarian Hinds and Maria Doyle Kennedy in a mystery thriller about four suspects -- all in the same family -- implicated in a murder case, from BFS Entertainment ... Vampires run amok in a small town in Sweden in "Frostbitten" (2006 -- Sweden), starring Petra Nielsen, Grete Havneskold and Emma Aberg, from Genius Products ... Five students trapped at an eerie travel oasis in the desert must unravel the mystery behind their visions of dying people while they are preyed upon by a decaying creature in "Reeker" (2005), starring Devon Gummersall, Derek Richardson, Tina Illman and Scott Whyte, from Paramount. (Posted September 25)

On the Indie Front:
"The TV Set" (2007) is a comedy that chronicles the perilous journey of an idealistic television writer as he tries to steer his pilot to a coveted spot on the primetime television schedule, starring David Duchovny, Sigourney Weaver, Ioan Gruffudd and Judy Greer, from Fox ... "Ten Canoes" (2007) is a parable of forbidden love from Australia's mythical past that offers a ground-breaking glimpse into aboriginal life centuries before European settlement, starring Crusoe Kurddal, Jamie Gulpilil, Richard Birrinbirrin and Peter Djigirr, from Palm Pictures ... "Full of It" (2007) is a teen comedy starring Ryan Pinkston, Kate Mara, Teri Polo and Craig Kilborn. Tired of being the resident school nerd, Sam (Ryan Pinkston) comes up with a series of outrageous lies to ingratiate himself with the in-crowd. Astoundingly, when his fabrications start coming true, he begins living his dream high school existence. From New Line. (Posted September 25)

For the Family:
"Wayside the Movie" (2007) is an animated feature based on the best-selling "Sideways Stories From Wayside School" books by Louis Sachar, the author of "Holes," about a wacky school that was supposed to be built with 30 classrooms in one-story but was mistakenly built with one classroom 30 stories high, from Paramount ... "Maggie & The Ferocious Beast: Somewhere in Nowhere Land" and "Maggie & The Ferocious Beast: Trick or Treat" each offer 12 episodes from the Noggin animated series featuring inquisitive red-haired girl Maggie and her enormous polka-dotted friend Ferocious Beast; $14.99 from Shout! Factory ... "Ralph S. Mouse ... And More Exciting Animal Adventure Stories" (2005) offers up the title story -- about a mouse who persuades a human to take him to school -- plus two other tales: "Uncle Elephant " and "Stanley and the Dinosaurs," for kids 3 to 9; $14.95 from Scholastic Video Collection. (Posted September 25)

Special Interest:
"Inside The Actors Studio: Leading Men" is a three-disc set that focuses on four of the greatest actors of our time: Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Sean Penn and Russell Crowe. The set includes their entire interviews, including "Great Moments That Didn't Make The Cut" and new intros by host James Lipton; $34.98 from Shout! Factory ... "The Haunted Histories Collection" is a five-disc set with definitive programs from the most cob-web laden corner of The History Channel, featuring informative, comprehensive and entertaining documentaries that detail the truth and persistent mysteries behind such horrors as the haunting in Amityville, N.Y., the Salem witches, and blood-sucking vampires; $24.95 from A&E Home Video ... In March of 2007, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and Ray Price turned Radio City into the Grand Ole' Opry with the rousing finale of their "Last of the Breed" (2007). Recorded in 5.1 Digital Surround Sound. From A&E Home Video ... "D.L. Hughley: Unapologetic" (2007) is the comedian's first solo HBO special, a 60-minute live performance at The Lincoln Theater in Washington D.C.; $19.97 from HBO Video ... "Robert Klein: The HBO Specials 1975-2005" is a four-disc set with all eight of Robert Klein's HBO comedy specials, $39.99 from SRO Entertainment. (Posted September 25)

DVD Collectibles:
There's an interesting mix of collectible releases this week. From The Criterion Collection comes photo "Robinson Crusoe on Mars" (1964), starring Paul Mantee, Victor Lundin and Adam West, in a new, restored high-definition digital transfer. Special-effects wunderkind and genre master Byron Haskin ("The War of the Worlds," "The Outer Limits") won a place in the hearts of fantasy-film lovers everywhere with this gorgeously designed journey into the unknown. When his spaceship crash-lands on the barren wastelands of Mars, U.S. astronaut Commander "Kit" Draper (Paul Mantee) must fight for survival, with a pet monkey seemingly his only companion. But is he alone? Shot in vast Techniscope and blazing Technicolor, "Robinson Crusoe on Mars" is an imaginative, fun and beloved techni-marvel of classic science fiction. Extras include commentary; "Destination: Mars," a new video featurette by filmmaker and space historian Michael Lennick detailing the science behind the film; a booklet featuring a new essay by Lennick, a "Brief Yargorian Dictionary" of the film's original alien dialect, and a list of facts about Mars included with the original screenplay. Also from Criterion comes G. W. Pabst's 1931 "The Threepenny Opera," starring Rudolf Forster, Carola Neher, Reinhold Schunzel, Fritz Rasp, Valeska Gert and Lotte Lenya, in a new, restored high-definition digital transfer (taken from a new film restoration element from the Bundesarchiv in Germany). Extras include a new exclusive documentary on "Threepenny's" controversial journey from stage to screen to lawsuits, commentary, production photos, more. (Posted September 18)

From overseas: "Cinema 16: European Short Films" is a two-disc set celebrating the short film by showcasing the best classic, cult and award-winning shorts on DVD. The label launched in Europe in 2003 with the release of "British Short Films," a collection that included films by Peter Greenaway, Mike Leigh and Stephen Daldry among others. That was followed up by the "European Short Films" release in 2004 and "American Short Films," which included work by Gus Van Sant, Andy Warhol, Tim Burton and others, in 2005. "Cinema16: European Short Films" includes rare and never-before-seen films by noted directors such as Christopher Nolan ("Memento"), Lars Von Trier ("Dogville"), photo Lynne Ramsay ("Ratcatcher"), Ridley Scott ("Blade Runner"), Roy Andersson ("Songs From the Second Floor"), Mathieu Kassovitz ("La Haine") and Nanni Morettti ("Dear Diary"), as well as award-winning and celebrated shorts including Anders Thomas Jensen's Oscar winner "Election Night", Juan Solanas' Cannes Jury Prize winner "The Man Without a Head" and Toby MacDonald's BAFTA nominated "Je T'aime John Wayne." $29.99 from Cinema 16 ... "The Up Series Box Set" is a six-disc set with U.K. films "Seven UP," "7 Plus Seven," "21 UP," "28 UP," "35 UP," "42 UP" and "49 UP." "Give me the child until he is seven and I will give you the man." Starting in 1964 with "Seven Up," the UP Series has explored this Jesuit maxim. The original concept was to interview 14 children from diverse backgrounds from all over England, asking them about their lives and their dreams for the future. Every seven years, renowned director Michael Apted, a researcher for "Seven Up," has been back to talk to them, examining the progression of their lives. From cab driver Tony to schoolmates Jackie, Lynn and Susan and the heart-breaking Neil, as they turn 49 more life-changing decisions and surprising developments are revealed. An astonishing, unforgettable look at the structure of life in the 20th century. $99.95 from First Run Features. (Posted September 18)

Dance time from Paramount: Tony Manero (John Travolta) tears up the screen with the working-class-boy-looking-for-more-in-the-world dance moves that celebrated and exemplified the disco era of the mid-1970s in photo "Saturday Night Fever Special Collector's Edition," (1977), directed by John Badham and also starring Karen Lynn Gorney, Barry Miller, Joseph Cali, Paul Pape, Donna Pescow, Bruce Ornstein, Julie Bovasso, Martin Shakar and Sam Coppola. Extras include commentary by Badham, a five-part documentary "Catching the Fever" with new cast interviews as well as interviews with Barry and Robin Gibb, a "Back to Bay Ridge" featurette, "Dance Like Travolta With John Cassese," and a "'70s Discopedia" ... "Flashdance Special Collector's Edition" (1983), directed by Adrian Lyne and starring Jennifer Beals, Michael Nouri, and Lilia Skala, celebrated the moves of another era. Extras include five featurettes on the film as well as a bonus CD with six songs from the film: "Flashdance .... What a feeling," "Manhunt," "He's a Dream," "Lady Lady Lady," "Romeo" and "Maniac." (Paramount). (Posted September 18)

On a grittier note there's "Deliverance 35th Anniversary Deluxe Edition" (1972), directed by John Boorman and starring Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds, Ned Beatty and Ronny Cox; extras include commentary by Boorman, four featurettes and "The Dangerous World of Deliverance" original behind-the-scenes documentary, from Warner ... "Cruising" (1980), the once-controversial murder-thriller set against the gay S&M subculture of the late 1970s, directed by William Friedkin and starring Al Pacino, Paul Sorvino, Karen Allen, Richard Cox and Don Scardino, featuring remastered sound and image and such extras as commentary by Friedkin, "The History of Cruising" and "Exorcising Cruising" featurettes, from Warner ... and "Wall Street 20th Anniversary Edition" (1987), directed by Oliver Stone and starring Michael Douglas, Charlie Sheen, Hal Holbrook and Martin Sheen, with such extras as an introduction by Stone, interviews with Douglas and Charlie Sheen, deleted scenes, a "Money Never Sleeps: The Making of Wall Street" featurette and "Greed Is Good" featurette, from Fox. (Posted September 18)

On a musical note there's photo "The Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett Story (Deluxe Edition)" (2005), a personal and candid profile of the once effervescent musician and now cult figure Syd Barrett. The original songwriter for Pink Floyd was only with the band three years when he left in 1968, yet when the band released their greatest hits album in 2001 Barrett had written over a fifth of the tracks. This new definitive edition includes two discs loaded with extras, including lengthy unedited interviews from all members of the Pink Floyd. It's a limited edition run of 5,000 in Oyster Box packaging with 10 items of reproduction memorabilia in a special printed envelope. After the limited edition has sold out, the double disc version will be then packaged in a standard plastic double DVD box. "The Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett Story" retells the fascinating story of the start of one of the largest and most influential bands in rock and the drug-induced breakdown of their original songwriter and lead man. Roger Waters, Dave Gilmour, Nick Mason and Rick Wright retell how Barrett's slip from reality haunted the band for many years. This fascinating documentary traces the creative and personal tumult of Barrett's days with Pink Floyd, and the fallout from his psychedelics induced breakdown. The set is loaded with extras; $29.95 from MVD Visual.

And, on a cult note, there's "The Roger Corman Collection," a four-disc set with eight Corman films: "Bloody Mama," "A Bucket of Blood," "Gas-s-s," "The Trip," "The Premature Burial," "X: The Man with X-Ray Eyes," "The Young Racers" and "The Wild Angels," $39.98 from MGM. (Posted September 18)

From TV to Video:
Due this week: "Blade: House of Chthon" (2007), the feature-length, extended, unrated season premiere of the television series, from New Line ... "Boston Legal Season Three," a three-disc set with 24 episodes, $59.98 from Fox ... "Brothers and Sisters: The Complete First Season," a six-disc set with 23 episodes, $59.99 from Buena Vista ... "Everybody Loves Raymond: The Complete Ninth Season," a four-disc set with 16 episodes, $44.98 from HBO Video ... "Ghost Whisperer: The Second Season," a six-disc set with 22 episodes, $57.95 from Paramount ... photo "Josie and the Pussycats: The Complete Series," a two-disc set with 16 episodes, $26.99 from Warner ... "Married ... With Children: The Complete Seventh Season" (1992-93), a three-disc set with 26 episodes, $39.95 from Sony ... "Smallville: The Complete Sixth Season," a six-disc set with 22 episodes, $59.98 from Warner ... "Stargate: Atlantis Season 3," a five-disc set with 20 episodes, $49.98 from MGM ... "Upright Citizens Brigade: The Complete First Season" and "Upright Citizens Brigade: The Complete Second Season," each two-disc sets of the Comedy Central sketch comedy show revolving around an underground organization "with no government ties and unlimited resources" dedicated to creating and monitoring chaos around the world; includes real-life pranks; $26.99 each from Paramount. (Posted September 18)

Buzzin' the 'B's:
"Closure (aka Straightheads)" (2007) stars Gillian Anderson and Danny Dyer in a dark thriller about a couple who seek revenge after surviving a violent attack by a group of hunters, from Sony ... "Masters of Horror: Brad Anderson's "Sounds Like" (2007) is an episode from Season 2 of the Showtime horror series in which Chris Bauer stars as a call center supervisor whose hearing has slowly intensified to where it borders on the superhuman, forcing him to contend with simple noises magnified into a cacophony of torment, from Starz Home Entertainment ... In "Masters of Horror: Peter Medak's "The Washingtonians" " (2007), another episode from Season 2 of the Showtime horror series, Johnathon Schaech and Saul Rubinek star in a tale that sheds new (bloody) light on American history: When a grisly secret that has been kept for more than two centuries is in danger of exposure, a group of homicidal historians will stop at nothing to keep loose tongues from wagging; from Starz Home Entertainment ... In "BloodRayne 2: Deliverance" (2007), starring Natassia Malthe, Zack Ward and Chris Coppola, a blood-thirsty battle in Transylvania heads to the West, from Vivendi Visual Entertainment ... In "Severence" (2007), starring Danny Dyer, Laura Harris and Tim McInnerny, a corporate weekend retreat for the executives of an international weapons manufacturer is sabotaged by a deadly enemy, from Magnolia Home Entertainment ... photo Written by three-time Emmy-winner Terence Winter ("The Sopranos"), "Brooklyn Rules" (2007), which stars Alec Baldwin, Freddie Prinze Jr., Mena Suvari, Scott Caan and Jerry Ferrara, is a crime drama set in Brooklyn circa 1985 against the backdrop of John Gotti's rise to power, revolving around three lifelong friends whose different ambitions threaten to shake their enduring bond: Michael (Prinze, Jr.), a lovable charmer with the soul of a con man who successfully scams his way into the pre-law program at Columbia University to leave Brooklyn, Carmine (Caan), a handsome lady-killer enamored of the Mafia lifestyle who wants nothing more than to stay there, and Bobby (Ferrara), an endearing cheapskate who longs for a simple life of working at the Post Office and settling down with his fiancee; from City Lights Home Entertainment ... In "Final Draft" (2007), starring James Van Der Beek, a screenwriter suffering from writer's block locks himself in his apartment for 18 days, where he soon finds himself living in a world where what's real and what's fiction begin to cross lines with chilling and fatal consequences, from Genius Products ... In "The Insatiable" (2006), starring Charlotte Ayanna, Sean Patrick Flanery, Michael Biehn and Boyd Kestner, a shy salesman falls in love with and captures a beautiful female vampire and imprisons her in a cage in his cellar. Not wanting to kill her, and not able to release her, he's faced with a complicated decision: does he follow his heart or protect mankind from a bloodthirsty vampire; from ThinkFilm. (Posted September 18)

On the Indie Front:
photo "Pittsburgh" (2007) is a "mockumentary" that melds real-life with fiction. Actor Jeff Goldblum agrees to do a two-week regional theater production of "The Music Man" in Pittsbugh in order to secure a green card for his young Canadian fiance. But what's fiction and what's fact? Only Goldblum knows and he isn't saying. Also stars Ed Begley Jr., Illeana Douglas, Moby, Conan O'Brien, Alanis Morissette and Craig Kilborn, from Starz Home Entertainment ... In a "A Dog's Breakfast" (2007), staring Kate Hewlett, Paul McGillion, Christopher Judge and Rachell Luttrell, an obsessive young man tries to break up his sister's impending wedding by any means available when he learns that his brother-in-law-to-be plans on killing her; from MGM ... "Two Weeks" (2006) stars Sally Field, Ben Chaplin, Thomas Cavanaugh, Julianne Nicholson, Glenn Howerton and Clea DuVall in a melodrama that looks at the physical reality of a parent's death and its impact on the family, from MGM ... An exhausted Catholic priest and an idealistic young teacher find themselves caught in the 1994 Rwanda genocide in "Beyond the Gates" (2005), starring John Hurt and Hugh Dancy; based on actual events during The Rwandan Genocide, from Fox ... In the romantic comedy "Crazylove" (2005), starring Reiko Aylesworth, Bruno Campos, JoBeth Williams, Meat Loaf and Marla Sokoloff, a woman suffering from a nervous breakdown meets a schizophrenic in the hospital and the two fall in love; from MTI Home Video. (Posted September 18)

Foreign:
In "The Boss of It All" (2006 -- Denmark), directed by Lars von Trier; an IT company hires an actor to serve as the company's president in order to help the business get sold to a cranky Icelander, but the buyer insists on dealing only with "the boss," creating new problems for all concerned; from Genius Products ... "L'Iceberg" (2005 -- Belgium) is a wacky comedy about Fiona, the manager of a fast-food restaurant, who gets accidentally locked into a walk-in freezer, after which she develops an obsession for everything cold and icy. One day she drops everything and leaves home -- for a real iceberg; from First Run Features. (Posted September 18)

For the Family:
"Tweety's High-Flying Adventure" is a 2000 animated feature with the delightful flying mischief-maker, $14.98 from Warner ... "Superman Doomsday" (2007) is an original animated movie, with the voices of Adam Baldwin, Anne Heche and James Marsters, from Warner ... "Power Rangers: Operation Overdrive Volume 1" and "Power Rangers: Operation Overdrive Volume 2" are the first two volumes of a five-volume set featuring the live-action heroes in a new adventure in which they search for magical jewels to save the world; $19.99 each from Disney ... For pre-schoolers there's two volumes of the CGI-animated show "Bigfoot Presents Meteor and the Mighty Monster Trucks" that follows Meteor, a moon buggy monster truck and his monster truck friends as they romp and stomp their way through growing up in Crushington Park: "Start Your Engines! (Volume 1)" and "Let's Go, Go, Go! (Volume 2)," $14.95 each from Genius Products ... and two volumes of the Discovery Kids Channel animated series "ToddWorld," which encourages toddlers to embrace their individuality and express their feelings in a positive way: "ToddWorld: Being an Individual (Volume 1)" and "ToddWorld: Appreciating Differences (Volume 2," $14.95 each from Genius Products. (Posted September 18)

Special Interest:
There's a nice selection of musically themed DVDs from MVD this week: "All My Loving," Tony Palmer's groundbreaking documentary on music and its effect on pop culture in the late '60s, with previously unseen footage from The Beatles, Cream, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Pink Floyd and many more; produced and initially broadcast on the BBC in 1968; $19.95 ... "Byrds Under Review" and "Keith Richards Under Review" are feature-length music documentaries, $24.95 each. (Posted September 18)

"Dare to Dream: The Story of the U.S. Women's Soccer Team" (2007) is an HBO Video documentary that chronicles the relentless perseverance and hope of the female athletes who shaped America's vision of the sport, from the team's first appearance in 1991 through their second Olympic gold medal in 2004, $19.97 ... "The Real Jesse James Collection" comprises two documentaries: "Gunfighters: The James Gang" and "Legends of the American West: Jesse James," timed to coincide with the theatrical release of "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" starring Brad Pitt; $12.95 from Genius Products ... "Nazi Secrets Revealed" is a three-disc collection of five NOVA documentaries: "Hitler's Lost Sub," "Hitler's Sunken Secret," "The Great escape," "Nazi Prison Escape" and "Decoding Nazi Secrets," $39.95 from WGBH Boston Video ... "Zoo" (2007) is a shocking documentary about a secret community of zoophiles, an expressionistic rendering of how apparently upstanding citizens banded together and videotaped their journey into the most taboo realms of behavior; $27.98 from ThinkFilm. (Posted September 18)

Just announced:
photoDue November 20: From New Line comes the boppin' hoppin' hit "Hairspray," starring John Travolta, Nikki Blonsky, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Walken, Amanda Bynes, James Marsden, Queen Latifah, Brittany Snow, Zac Efron, Allison Janney, Paul Dooley and Jerry Stiller. The musical will be available as a single-disc edition and a two-disc "Shake and Shimmy" edition, loaded with extras. Also available will be a gift set with a metal school locker and a "Hairspray" tote bag. The locker will be available in two colors: Penny Pink and Link.Lime. "Hairspray" will also be available on Blu-ray and HD DVD.

Due November 27 is "Waitress," a favorite of critics and audiences alike. "Waitress," director by and starring Adrienne Shelly and also starring Keri Russell, Nathan Fillion, Cheryl Hines, Jeremy Sisto and Andy Griffith, is an irresistible film filled with delicious spunk about a simple diner waitress stuck in a lousy marriage whose only solace is baking scrumptious pies. The romantic comedy hails from Sony. (Posted September 12)

Flash: (September 11)

DVD Collectibles:
Regarded by film historians and movie critics as one of the key, groundbreaking films of the 1960's, photo "The Graduate" (1967) helped rewrite the rules of Hollywood filmmaking and helped usher in a new crop of younger directors. MGM revisits one of the most illicit affairs in film history when "The Graduate: 40th Anniversary Edition" arrivesthis week. Starring Dustin Hoffman Anne Bancroft and Katharine Ross, Mike Nichol's film follows Benjamin Braddock (Hoffman), a young college graduate who finds himself alienated and adrift in the shifting, social and sexual mores of the 1960s and questioning the values of society. As he floats through the summer, he's seduced by Mrs. Robinson (Bancroft) and then falls in love with her daughter Elaine (Katharine Ross). The two-disc anniversary edition DVD features all new commentary tracks from Hoffman, Ross, Nichols and director Steven Soderbergh, a new retrospective documentary about the influence of the film, behind-the-scenes featurettes and more. The second disc is a CD of Simon & Garfunkel's groundbreaking soundtrack. (Posted September 11)

Halloween may be eight weeks away, but the home entertainment biz is rolling out its creepy guns to taunt your thrills and chills. Here's a partial list of movies coming out this week to celebrate All Hallow's Eve: "Fox Midnite Movie Double Features" comprises six two-disc sets with new-to-DVD releases: "Blueprint for Murder"/"Man in the Attic," "Chosen Survivors"/"Earth Dies Screaming," "Devils of Darkness"/"Witchcraft," "Gorilla at Large"/"Mystery at Monster Island," "House on Skull Mountain"/"Mephisto Waltz" and "Tales From the Crypt"/"Vault of Horror"; $14.98 each ... "The Fly Collection" features three Vincent Price classic horror flicks: "The Fly" (1958), "The Return of the Fly" (1959) and new-to-DVD "The Curse of the Fly" (1965), $39.98 from Fox ... More Vincent: "MGM Scream Legends Collection: Vincent Price Collection" is a five-disc set with "The Abominable Dr. Phibes," "Dr. Phibes Rises Again," "Theater of Blood," "Madhouse," "Tales of Terror," "Twice Told Tales" and the long-awaited DVD debut of "Witchfinder General" as well as bonus features ("Vincent Price: Renaissance Man" documentary, "The Art of Fear" featurette, "Working With Vincent Price" featurette), $39.98 from Fox ... "From Beyond (Unrated)" is Stuart Gordon's 1986 take on H.P. Lovecraft's classic tale of suspense, starring Jeffrey Combs, Barbara Crampton, Ken Foree and Ted Sorel, from MGM ... "MGM Midnite Movie Double Features" offers up five two-disc sets with new-to-DVD releases: "The Beast Within"/"Bat People," "The Phantom From 10,000 Leagues"/"The Beast With a Million Eyes," "Pharoh's Curse/Cure of the Faceless Man," "Return of Dracula"/"The Vampire" and "Yongary, Monster From the Deep"/"Konga"; $14.98 each from MGM ... "The Return of the Living Dead Collector's Edition" (1985) is a creepy zombie flick starring Clu Gulager and James Karen featuring cast, crew and undead commentary; from MGM ... and, lastly, there's "Food of the Gods" (1976), starring Marjoe Gortner, Pamela Franklin, Ralph Meeker, Jon Cypher and Ida Lupino in H.G. Wells' classic story, from MGM. (Posted September 11)

From TV to Video:
Due this week: "The Addams Family Volume 3," a three-disc set with the series' final 20 episodes, $29.98 from MGM ... "Bones: Season Two" is a six-disc set with 21 episodes, $59.98 from Fox ... "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee" is HBO's much-touted 2007 telefilm, starring Aidan Quinn, Adam Beach, August Schellenberg, J.K. Simmons, Wes Studi, Colm Feore, Gordon Tootoosis, Fred Dalton Thompson and Anna Paquin, from HBO Video ... "Charmed: The Final Season" (2005-6) is a six-disc set with 22 episodes, $54.99 from Paramount ... "Grey's Anatomy: The Complete Third Season, Seriously Extended" is a seven-disc set with 25 episodes, $59.99 from Disney ... In "Jericho -- Series Two," Inspector Jericho of Scotland Yard investigates two murders amidst the social upheaval of post-war 1950s London; $29.95 from WGBH Boston Video ... "Las Vegas: Season Four," a four-disc set with 17 episodes, $59.98 from Universal ... "Lilies" (2007) is a three-disc set with eight episodes of the coming-of-age series about three young women finding their way through life in working-class Liverpool just after World War I; $49.99 from Acorn Media ... "McHale's Navy: Season Two" is a five-disc set with 36 episodes, $37.98 from Shout! Factory ... "Prime Suspect 7: The Final Act" (2006) is the conclusion of the gritty (yet classy) British detective series starring Helen Mirren, from Acorn Media ... "Supernatural: The Complete Second Season" is a six-disc set which 22 episodes, $59.98 from Warner ... "Two and a Half Men: The Complete First Season" is a four-disc set with 24 episodes, $44.98 from Warner. (Posted September 11)

Buzzin' the 'B's:
Nine individual lives unravel as their fates become increasingly entwined by a vicious cycle of addiction and gambling in "Even Money" (2007), starring Kim Basinger, Danny DeVito, Kelsey Grammer, Nick Cannon, Ray Liotta, Forest Whitaker, Carla Gugino and Jay Mohr, from Fox ... "Griffin & Phoenix" (2006) is a touching film that follows the lives of two people who face seemingly insurmountable obstacles that unexpectedly lead them to a last chance at life; the pair team up to experience life at its fullest: sneaking into movies, hopping freight trains, and falling deeply in love, stars Amanda Peet, Dermot Mulroney, Sarah Paulson and Blair Brown, from MGM ... "DOA: Dead or Alive" (2006) is an extreme combat film about a secret invitational-only martial arts tournament where the world's best fighters participate in a contest to win the ultimate fighting championship; features four female combatants; based on the best selling "Dead or Alive" videogame. Directed by Corey Yuen and starring Jaime Pressly, Devon Aoki, Holly Valance, Sarah Carter, Natassia Malthe, Kane Kosugi, Matthew Marsden and Eric Roberts, from The Weinstein Co./Genius Products ... In "Dragon Heat" (2005 -- Hong Kong), starring Michael Biehn, Sammo Hung and Maggie Q, five Interpol agents are drafted into Hong Kong to give testimony at the trial of a crime lord when a gang of masked gunmen ambushes a convoy, snatching the mobster. A menacing and furious war ensues as two evenly matched Special Forces teams are pitted against each other in an intense and fiery battle, from Dragon Dynasty/The Weinstein Co./Genius Products ... "Snow Cake" (2007) stars Sigourney Weaver, Carrie-Anne Moss and Alan Rickman in a drama focused on the friendship between a high-functioning autistic woman and a man traumatized after a fatal car accident that takes the life of the woman's daughter, from Genius Products ... "The Boys & Girls Guide to Getting Down" (2006) is a comedy that follows a group of Hollywood partygoers on their rounds, from First Look Home Entertainment ... "The House of Usher" (2006) is a modern-day update of Edgar Allen Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher," from ThinkFilm ... "A Few Days In September" (2006) stars Juliette Binoche, John Turturro and Nick Nolte in a thriller set in Paris and Venice in the few days leading up to the events of September 11, focusing on a small group of people who know that something cataclysmic is about to happen and who seek to profit from it, from Koch Lorber ... "Do or Die" (2001) is a two-part Australian miniseries set in London and Sydney about a woman who must track down the criminal father of her son, who needs a perfect blood match to cure his leukemia, from BFS Entertainment. (Posted September 11)

For the Family:
"Casper Meets Wendy: Family Fun Edition" is a 1998 live-action telefilm starring Hilary Duff, Cathy Moriarty, George Hamilton, Shelley Duval and Teri Garr, from Fox ... "Tom and Jerry Spotlight Collection Vol. 3" is a two-disc set with 35 classic cartoons, 15 of which have been re-mastered in their original cinemascope widescreen format; $26.99 from Warner ... "Fraggle Rock Complete Third Season" is a five-disc set with 24 episodes, $49.98 from Fox. (Posted September 11)

Just Announced:
photo Apple Corps has announced the release of The Beatles' long out-of-print second feature film Help!" on October 30. Directed by Richard Lester, who also directed the band's debut feature "A Hard Days Night," "Help!" made its theatrical debut in 1965. The story follows The Beatles as they become passive recipients of an outside plot that revolves around Ringo's possession of a sacrificial ring, which he can't remove from his finger. As a result, he and bandmates John, Paul and George are chased from London to the Austrian Alps and the Bahamas by religious cult members, a mad scientist and the London police. In addition to a witty script and a great cast of British character actors, the film featured seven classic Beatles tracks, including: "Help!" "You're Going to Lose That Girl," "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away," "Ticket to Ride," "I Need You," "The Night Before" and "Another Girl." "Help!" will be released as a two-disc set in two editions: a standard digipack and a deluxe boxed set that will contain a reproduction of Richard Lester's original annotated script, eight lobby cards and a poster, plus a 60-page book with rarely seen photographs and production notes from the movie. Both the deluxe book and the standard booklet feature an introduction by Richard Lester and an appreciation by Martin Scorsese. Disc One features the original film digitally restored with a newly created 5.1 soundtrack; Disc Two will contain an hour of extra features. "Help!" will be marketed and distributed by EMI Music. (Posted September 6)

Just Announced:
photoParamount will release on October 16 the $308 million boxoffice hit "Transformers," directed by Michael Bay and starring Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, Rachael Taylor, Anthony Anderson, Jon Voight and John Turturro. The film will be available in single-disc DVD and two-disc DVD and HD DVD editions. The two-disc sets come loaded with extras: Commentary by director Michael Bay, two multi-part in-depth documentaries exploring the human elements of the film as well as the phenomenal robot stars: "Our World," which contains "The Story Sparks" in which Steven Spielberg discusses his love for the franchise and early concept art for the film; "Human Allies" look at how the actors were selected and their experiences on the set; "I Fight Giant Robots" exploration of the military training that Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson underwent for their roles and the various stunts that the actors were asked to perform; "Battleground" piece on the senior officials from the Department of Defense and Air Force who consulted on the film to give it authenticity and the key locations that the U.S. government provided access to. Their War," which contains "Rise of the Robots,: which explores the interaction between Hasbro designers and Michael Bay to bring the toy line roaring to life; "AUTOBOTS Roll Out" in which Bay discusses working with Chevrolet and its designers and the modifications that were made to the cars seen in the film; "DECEPTICONS Strike" in which the film's military advisors discuss the "toys" they allowed the production to borrow: F-22 Raptors, Ospreys and A-10 Warthogs; "Inside the AllSpark" in which ILM's digital artists discuss the challenges of bringing the Transformers to life. Also included is "From Script to Sand: The SKORPONOK Desert Attack" in-depth look at the making of the challenging scene from initial storyboarding through production and visual effects, as well as early sketch concepts of the robots. (Posted September 5)

Coming Soon:
Due October 2 is "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer," from Fox ... On November 6, "Ratatouille" will be the main course, courtesy of Disney on DVD and Blu-ray ... "Live Free or Die Hard" will fight its way to home video on DVD and Blu-ray on November 20, from Fox ... and the most-watched cable telecast of all-time, "High School Musical 2" -- in an extended edition ... will sing and dance its way to DVD and Blu-ray Disc on December 11. (Posted September 4)

DVD Collectibles:
More great stuff from The Criterion Collection this week: Two films by Jim Jarmusch. photo"Stranger Than Paradise" (1984) was Jarmusch's second film; a black and white road tale about rootless Hungarian emigre Willie (John Lurie), his pal Eddie (Richard Edson), and visiting 16-year-old cousin Eva (Eszter Balint), who always manage to make the least of any situation, whether aimlessly traversing the drab interiors and environs of New York City, Cleveland, or an anonymous Florida suburb. With its delicate humor and dramatic nonchalance, Jim Jarmusch's one-of-a-kind minimalist masterpiece forever transformed the landscape of American independent cinema. In a new, restored high-definition digital transfer supervised and approved by Jarmusch. Also included in this special-edition release is Jarmusch's legendary debut feature, "Permanent Vacation," a time capsule of late-seventies Manhattan, on DVD for the first time in the United States. "Night on Earth" (1991) is an anthology featuring five cities, five taxicabs and a multitude of strangers in the night. Jarmusch assembled an extraordinary international cast of actors (including Gena Rowlands, Winona Ryder, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Beatrice Dalle and Roberto Benigni) for this hilarious quintet of tales of urban displacement and existential angst, spanning time zones, continents, and languages. Jarmusch's lovingly askew view of humanity from the passenger seats of cabs makes for one his most charming films. In a new, restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised and approved by Jarmusch. (Posted September 4)

Also due this week are "Resident Evil Double Feature Resurrected Edition," a two-disc set with "Resident Evil" and "Resident Evil: Apocalypse," just in time for the September 21 release of "Resident Evil: Extinction"; $19.94 from Sony ... "Up in Smoke High-Larious Edition" (1978), the film that introduced Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong to the world, with such extras as interviews with Cheech and Chong, commentary by Marin and director Lou Adler, "Roach Clips" (deleted scenes), "Lighting Up -- A Look Back at Up in Smoke," "Earache My Eye," more, from Paramount ... and "Gumby Essentials," a compilation of popular episodes from the 1950s, 60s and 80s of the classic TV show, remastered, in honor of Gumby's 50th anniversary; $16.93. Extras include creator Art Clokey's original 1953 theatrical short "Gumbasia," remastered pilot episode "Gumby on the Moon," remastered 1960s Gumby theme song and introduction, rare Gumby bumpers, characters bios, from Classic Media/Genius Products. (Posted September 4)

From TV to Video:
Due this week: "The Black Donnellys: The Complete Series," $49.98 from Universal ... "Bosom Buddies: The Second Season" (1971-72), a three-disc set with 23 episodes, $31.99 from Paramount ... "Desperate Housewives: The Complete Third Season, The Dirty Laundry Edition," a six-disc set with 23 episodes, $59.99, from Disney ... "Hetty Wainthropp Investigates: The Complete Collection," a 13-disc set with all 27 epiosdes of the hit BBC series starring Patricia Routledge as the sixtysomething housewife-turned detective; $149.99 Acorn Media ... "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia Season One & Two," a three-disc set with 17 episodes, $39.98 from Fox ... "I Dream of Jeannie: The Complete Fourth Season," a four-disc set with 26 episodes, $39.95 from Sony ... "Nip/Tuck: The Complete Fourth Season," a five-disc set with 15 episodes, $59.98 from Warner ... "The Office Season Three," a four-disc set with 24 episodes, $49.98 from Universal ... "Robot Chicken Season 2," a two-disc set with 20 uncensored episodes of the popular Adult Swim show that uses stop-motion animation to bring pop culture parodies to life; $29.98 from Warner ... "Rules of Engagement: The Complete First Season," a single-disc with seven episodes, $29.95 from Sony ... "Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Irregulars" (2007), starring Jonathan Pryce as Sherlock Holmes in this BBC family drama, $24.99 from Acorn Media) ... "SpongeBob SquarePants: Season 5 -- Volume 1," a two-disc set, $36.99 from Paramount ... "30 Rock Season One," with 21 episodes, $49.98 from Universal. (Posted September 4)

Buzzin' the 'B's:
In "Bobby Z" (2007), an ex-con (Paul Walker) agrees to impersonate a recently deceased drug dealer in order to gain his freedom; when things go terribly wrong, he finds himself on the run from a ruthless DEA agent (Laurence Fishburne) as well as several angry drug lords, from Sony ... "Unholy" (2007) stars Adrienne Barbeau, Nicholas Brendon and Joseph McKenna in a thriller about a distraught mother who gets involved in a U.S. government cover-up of a Nazi conspiracy of bizarre crimes, occult carnage and a necromancer who may control a new arsenal of demonic warfare including paranormal powers, time travel and satanic rituals, from Anchor Bay Entertainment ... In "Wind Chill" (2007), two college students sharing a ride home for the holidays face unspeakable fear as their car breaks down on a deserted road and they're haunted by the ghosts of people who have died there; stars Emily Blunt, Ashton Holmes, Martin Donovan and Ned Bellamy, from Sony ... "Animal 2" (2007) is an unrated direct-to-video sequel to 2005's direct-to-video "Animal"; Animal, still behind bars, uncovers a conspiracy to spark an all out race war between the gangs in the penitentiary; stars Ving Rhames, Vicellous Reon Shannon and Conrad Dunn, from Genius Products ... In the strong actioner "The City of Violence Ultimate Edition" (2006 -- South Korea), a pair of high school friends reunite to investigate the murder of one of their own, hurtling toward an epic two-against-the world showdown where they will try to take vengeance at any cost, from Dragon Dynasty/The Weinstein Co./Genius Products ... "Closing Escrow" (2007) is a comedy about three quirky families each seeking to buy their next home with the assistance of three over-the top agents, from Magnolia Home Entertainment ... In "Secret of the Cave" (2006), starring Kevin Novotny, Patrick Bergin, Joseph Kelly and Niall O'Brien, a young American on summer vacation in a small Irish village turns detective to uncover the truth behind a series of ghostly events, from First Look Home Entertainment ... In "Stephanie Daley" (2006), a forensic psychologist is called upon to unravel the truth when a 16-year-old girl faces murder charges in connection with the death of her newborn baby, stars Amber Tamblyn and Tilda Swinton, from Liberation Entertainment/Regent Releasing/Genius Products. (Posted September 4)

For the Family:
Due this week: "Chill Out, Scooby-Doo" (2007) is a new animated movie in which Scooby-Doo and his pals embark on a bone chilling journey to the top of Mount Everest in search of the legendary Abominable Snowmonster, from Warner ... "Garfield: Dreams and Schemes" features 15 episodes from the TV series, $14.98 from Fox ... "Disney Princess Enchanted Tales: Follow Your Dreams" (2007) is a feature-length adventure starring Jasmine (from "Aladdin") and Aurora (from "Sleeping Beauty"); $26.99 from Disney. (Posted September 4)

DVD Collectibles:
"Masters of Horror Season One Box Set" is a 13-disc set with all 13 episodes from the Showtime series, plus a 14th bonus disc; $79.97. Extras include commentaries from the filmmakers, behind-the-scenes featurettes, career retrospectives, festival interviews conducted by series creator Mick Garris, still and storyboard galleries, trailers, screenplays (DVD-ROM), more. From Anchor Bay ... Sony will release the classic Western "3:10 to Yuma" (1957), directed by Delmer Daves and starring Glenn Ford, Van Heflin and Felicia Farr; the release is timed for the September 7 big screen release of the remake starring Christian Bale and Russell Crowe. (Posted August 28)

From TV to Video:
Due this week: "A Dance to the Music of Time" (1997), a four-disc set of the British miniseries that chronicles a half-century of British upper-class life from the 1920s to the 1960s; based on Anthony Powell's 12-novel literary saga; $59.99. Stars John Gielgud, Miranda Richardson, Edward Fox, Zoe Wanamaker and Eileen Atkins; from Acorn Media ... "Dangermouse: The Complete Series" is a nine-disc set with all 89 episodes of the pop-culture savvy U.K. series; $89.95 from A&E Home Entertainment ... "Finney: The Complete Series" (1994) is a three-disc set of the British miniseries about a man who turns his back on his family crime business -- but gets sucked back in; $39.98 from BFS Entertainment ... "Friday Night Lights: The First Season" is a five-disc set with 22 episodes, $29.98 from Universal ... "Gideon's Trumpet" (1980) is a CBS Hallmark Hall of Fame drama starring Henry Fonda as Clarence Gideon, a destitute prisoner whose handwritten plea for justice changed the course of American legal history when his "right to counsel" case came before the Supreme Court in 1963, from Acorn Media ... "Heroes Season 1" is a seven-disc set with 23 episodes, $59.98 from Universal ... "The Odd Couple: The Second Season" is a four-disc set with 23 episodes, $38.99 from Paramount ... "Prison Break Season Two" is a six-disc set with 22 episodes, $59.98 from Fox ... "Rick & Steve: The Complete First Season" is a single disc with six episodes from the animated LOGO series subtitled "The Happiest Gay Couple in All the World," $19.99 from Paramount ... "Two's Company: The Complete Collection" is a four-disc set of all 29 episodes of the British sitcom that aired on PBS in the 1970s, $59.99 from Acorn Media. (Posted August 28)

Buzzin' the 'B's:
In "Confess" (2005), starring Ali Larter, Eugene Byrd, William Sadler, Paul Butler and David Harbour, a disillusioned ex-hacker who uses strategically placed spy-cams to capture compromising footage of those who slighted him in the past -- CEOs, politicians, and members of the power elite -- starts a movement that spins out of control, from MTI Home Video ... In "Antibodies" (2005 -- Germany), a tormented small town cop obsessed with trying to solve the mystery of the murder of his son's girlfriend travels to Berlin in search of answers after a notorious serial killer named Gabriel Engel is captured. What he finds surprises him; from Dark Sky Films/MPI Home Video. (Posted August 28)

On the Indie Front:
"Guarding Eddie" (2004) is an inspirational true story about a developmentally handicapped young man who comes to L.A. to pursue his dream of playing professional basketball for the Clippers, from Monarch Home Video ... In "The Dog Problem" (2006), starring Giovanni Ribisi, Scott Caan, Mena Suvari, Lynn Collins, Kevin Corrigan and Don Cheadle, a down-on-his-luck writer buys a dog to cheer himself up but the four-legged friend is a bigger handful than he ever imagined and the pair embark on a series of misadventures, from ThinkFilm ... "A New Wave" (2007) is a slapstick heist comedy about a bank teller and his friends who plan a flashy, movie-inspired bank robbery that involves underground gun deals, ski masks, bowling bags, and expensive suits; starring Andrew Keegan, Lacey Chabert, John Krasinski, Dean Edwards and William Sadler, from ThinkFilm. (Posted August 28)

For the Family:
"Growing Up Creepie" features six 11-minute episodes of the Discovery Kids animated series, about a little girl raised by bugs, $14.95 from Genius Products ... "Tutenstein" includes four 22-minute episodes of the Discovery Channel animated series about a 10-year-old boy mummy who comes back to life in the 21st century; $14.95 from Genius Products ... "The Ugly Duckling and Me: School Days" features three episodes of the animated series about a weird looking little duckling named Ugly who is adopted by a city rat named Ratso; $14.98 from Allumination FilmWorks ... "Legion of Super Heroes: Volume 1" includes four episodes from the Kids' WB series, $14.97 from Warner ... Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Mickey's Treat" is an all-new Halloween DVD with three episodes from Playhouse Disney; includes a party planning guide and special Halloween recipes; $19.99 from Disney ... "Jakers! Spooky Storytellers" contains four "spooky" episodes of the 3-D CGI animated series featuring 8-year-old pig Piggley Winks and his farm friends; $14.99 from Paramount ... For older kids there's "Return to Halloweentown: Ultimate Secret Edition" (2006), a Disney Channel sequel; "The Last Day of Summer" (2007), a fantasy adventure starring Jansen Panettiere, Brendan Miller, Denyse Tontz, Jon Kent Ethridge and Eli Vargas: On the last day of summer before the start of middle school, a boy wishes that the day will never end ... and it doesn't; he lives it over and over again; from Sony; in "Shredderman Rules!" (2007) a shy high-school student creates an alter ego, Shredderman, and uses his computer and hidden camera footage to expose the school bully and a greedy tycoon who is planning to trick the town and destroy the local pond; from Sony; "Flight 29 Down: Volume Two" (2006) recuts episodes from the Discovery Kids Channel series into a feature length "movie" that follows the adventures of seven students who find themselves stranded on a tropical island while en route to attend the Micronesia EcoAdventure Tour during spring break; from Genius Products. (Posted August 28)

Special Interest:
For comedic effect this week there's "Bob Saget: That Ain't Right," (2007) an HBO solo stand-up comedy special, $19.97 from HBO Video and "Rowan Atkinson Live!" a stand-up act filmed before a live audience in Boston in 1991, $19.95 from A&E Home Entertainment ... for music lovers there's "Incredible String Band: Live at the Lowry" (2005), filmed and recorded at The Lowry in Salford Quay (U.K.) on September 27, 2003, with material that spans the group's first five albums, including a fiddle and pipe medley, and an exclusive interview with the band, $19.95 from MVD Visual; "Tangerine Dream 35th Anniversary at Shepherds Bush," filmed June 11, 2005, celebrating the anniversary of the band's landmark album "Phaedra," $19.95 from MVD Visual; and "Air Guitar Nation" (2007), a documentary on air guitar playing and the birth of the U.S. Air Guitar Championships; timed for the 2007 U.S. Air Guitar Championships; the soundtrack includes cuts by David Bowie, Smashing Pumpkins, Cheap Trick, Queen, The Who, Kiss, Motorhead, Judas Priest and more, $26.95 from Docurama/New Video ... documentaries this week include "Nazi Secrets Revealed," a three-disc set with five documentaries: "Hitler's Lost Sub," "Hitler's Sunken Secret," "The Great Escape," "Nazi Prison Escape" and "Decoding Nazi Secrets," $39.95 from WGBH Boston Video; "World War II: The Epic Battles," a three-disc set with "Finest Hour: The Battle of Britain," "Iwo Jima: Red Blood, Black Sand" and "Battle of the Bulge," $39.95 from WGBH Boston Video; "Jesse James: American Outlaw," a History Channel documentary that uses archival photographs and noted historians to detail the life and crimes of one of America's favorite rebels; $24.95 from A&E Home Entertainment; and "Satan: Prince of Darkness," a Biography Channel portrait of the face of evil; $9.95 from A&E Home Entertainment ... and, lastly, for fight fans there's "UFC Shootout 69," the first UFC event held in Texas, featuring a World Welterweight Championship fight between Georges St-Pierre and Matt Serra, as well as eight other bouts, $19.98 from First Look Home Entertainment. (Posted August 28)

Coming Soon:
photo Due October 9 from Universal is the smash hit "Evan Almighty," starring Steve Carell, Morgan Freeman, Lauren Graham, Johnny Simmons, Graham Phillips, Jimmy Bennett, John Goodman, Wanda Sykes, John Michael Higgins, Jonah Hill, Molly Shannon and Harve Presnell. The sequel to 2003's "Bruce Almighty" brings Steve Carell's character Evan to the fore as the next appointed messenger of God: Evan must build an ark to prepare his friends and family for a mighty flood. Extras include deleted scenes, outtakes, "Animals on Set Two by Two," "Animal Roundup" game, "Steve Carell Unscripted," "The Ark-itects of Noah's Ark" featurette, more. The title will also be available on HD DVD. (Posted August 21)

DVD Collectibles:
Highlight of the week is a pair of classics from the folks at The Criterion Collection: Luis Bunuel's "The Milky Way" and David Mamet's "House of Games." photo The first of what Bunuel later proclaimed a trilogy (along with "The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie" and "The Phantom of Liberty") about "the search for truth," "The Milky Way" (La voie lactee) (1969) daringly deconstructs contemporary and traditional views on Catholicism with ribald, rambunctious surreality. Two French beggars, present-day pilgrims en route to Spain's holy city of Santiago de Compostela, serve as Bunuel's narrators for an anticlerical history of heresy, told with absurdity and filled with images that rank among Bunuel's most memorable (stigmatic children, crucified nuns) and hilarious (Jesus considering a good shave). A diabolically entertaining look at the mysteries of fanaticism, "The Milky Way" remains a hotly debated work from cinema's greatest skeptic. The film stars Bernard Verley, Michel Piccoli and Pierre Clementi and is presented in a New, restored high-definition digital transfer. Extras include a video introduction by screenwriter Jean-Claude Carriere; a new video interview with film scholar Ian Christie; a booklet featuring new essays by Carlos Fuentes and Mark Polizzotti, and a reprinted interview with Luis Bunuel. photo Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and screenwriter David Mamet first sat in the director's chair for "House of Games" (1987), a sly, merciless thriller and one of the most original and acclaimed films of the 80s. Mamet's witty tale of a therapist and best-selling author (Lindsay Crouse) who must confront her own obsessions when she meets an attractive cardsharp (Joe Mantegna) is as psychologically acute as it is full of twists and turns, a rich character study told with the cold calculation of a career criminal. The director-approved special edition features a new, restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised by director of photography Juan Ruiz Anchia. Extras include commentary by Mamet and consultant and actor Ricky Jay; video interviews with actors Lindsay Crouse and Joe Mantegna; Mamet on "House of Games," a short documentary shot on location during the film's preparation and production; storyboard detail from the deleted scene "The Tap"; a booklet featuring an essay by critic Kent Jones and excerpts from Mamet's introduction to the published screenplay. (Posted August 21)

Also this week: "Reel Talent: First Films by Legendary Directors" is a single disc with 12 short films showcasing the early creative work of Hollywood's most innovative minds: "1:42:08 A Man and His Car" by George Lucas, "Broken Record" by Shawn Lev, "Electronic Labyrinth THX 1138 4EB" by George Lucas, "Field of Honor" by Robert Zemeckis , "Freiheit" by George Lucas, "The Goodbye Place" by Richard Kelly, "The Lift" by Robert Zemeckis, "The Oval Portrait" by Richard L. Bare, "Perfect Alibi" by Stephen Sommers, "Proof" by Kevin Reynolds, "Whatever It Takes" by Jon Turtletaub and "Silent Night" by James Foley. The directors here all have one thing in common: they trace their roots to the USC Film School. All proceeds from the $19.98 disc will benefit the USC School of Cinematic Arts; from Fox ... Fox will celebrate the 20th anniversary of "RoboCop" (1987) with a 20th Anniversary Collector's Edition two-disc set; the film, directed by Paul Verhoeven, stars Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Dan O'Herlihy, Ronny Cox, Kurtwood Smith, Miguel Ferrer and Felton Perry ... "Serenity Collector's Edition" gives the special treatment to the 2005 sci-fi cult film directed by Joss Whedon and starring Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk, Morena Baccarin, Adam Baldwin, Jewel Staite, Sean Maher, Summer Glau and Ron Glass; the two-disc set includes such extras as commentary by director Josh Whedon, extended scenes, "A Filmmaker's Journey" behind-the-scenes featurette, "The Green Clan" cinematography featurette, "Sci Fi Inside: Serenity" featurette, more, from Universal. (Posted August 21)

From TV to Video:
Due this week: "Dexter: The Complete First Season" (2006), a four-disc set with 12 episodes, $39.98 from Paramount ... "House Season Three," a five-disc set with 24 episodes, $59.98 from Universal ... "South park: The Complete Tenth Season," a three-disc set with 14 episodes, $49.99 from Paramount ... "Snowy River Volume 3" (2005), with three episodes from Season 4 of the Down Under series starring Guy Pearce as a windowed father raising his three children in 19th century Australia; $14.98 from Allumination FilmWorks ... "'Til Death: The Complete First Season," a three-disc set with 12 episodes, $39.95 from Sony ... "Ugly Betty: The Complete First Season -- The Bettyfied Edition," a six-disc set with 23 episodes, $59.99 from Disney. (Posted August 21)

Buzzin' the 'B's:
"Black Supaman" (2007) is a comedy about a 30-year-old who lives with his father and who tries to clean up his neighborhood and rid it of crime; when he gets stoned, he dons a superman outfit and thinks he's invincible, from First Look Home Entertainment ... "The Dark Backward: Special Edition" (1991) stars Judd Nelson, Bill Paxton, Wayne Newton, Lara Flynn Boyle, James Caan, Rob Lowe and Claudia Christian about a garbage man who tries his hand at standup comedy, failing miserably until a third arm mysteriously grows from his back, from Sony ... "Exorcism (Exorcismo)" (1975 -- Spanish) is the Euro-horror cult classic about gruesome crimes being committed by a satanic cult in a quaint English village, from BCI Eclipse ... In "The Far Side of Jericho" (2006), three widows of three recently executed outlaws flee their homes in the wild west, running for their lives from a corrupt posse of vigilantes chasing them in the hopes of finding the key to the whereabouts of missing bank loot; stars Patrick Bergin, Lawrence Pressman, James Gammon and C. Thomas Howell, from First Look Home Entertainment ... In "Night of the Sorcerers (La Noche De Los Brujos)" (1973 -- Spanish), zombie natives and vampire women prowl the moonlit African jungle in search of fresh blood, from BCI Eclipse ... "Tracks" (2005) stars Chris Gunn, John heard and Ice-T in the true story of the first juvenile in New Jersey history to be sentenced as an adult to a maximum security adult prison, where he befriends a correction officer and gets put back on the right track, from First Look Home Entertainment. (Posted August 21)

On the Indie Front:
"Working Girls" is director Lizzie Borden's 1986 drama that takes an unflinching look at The World's Oldest Profession; Borden spent six months interviewing real prostitutes for the acclaimed film; $24.95 from First Run Features. (Posted August 21)

For the Family:
"Casper's Scare School" (2006) is an animated telefilm for kids featuring the beloved pop culture icon Casper the Friendly Ghost; with the voices of Jim Belushi, Phyllis Diller, Bob Saget, Captain & Tennille; $16.95 from Genius Products ... "Re-Animated: The Movie" (2006) is Cartoon Network's first live-action feature, about a boy who, after an awful amusement park accident, gets a brain transplant, which allows him to see cartoon characters in real life, from Warner ... "The Berenstain Bears: Get Organized!" is the 11th volume of episodes from the PBS Kids series, based on the best-selling book series; $14.94 from Sony ... "Handy Manny: Tooling Around" is Playhouse Disney's newest pre-school series, about Manny and his posse of talking tools who work to fix problems around their neighborhood, $19.99 from Disney ... "Little Einsteins: Rocket's Firebird Rescue" is an animated musical adventure inspired by Igor Stravinsky's "Firebird" ballet, $26.99 from Disney ... "It's a Big Big World: You Can Do It!" and "It's a Big Big World: The Big Big Sleep" each include five episodes form the Emmy nominated PBS KIDS series; the first looks at the different talents and abilities of animals, the second shows how and why animals get their rest; $14.94 each from Sony. (Posted August 21)

Special Interest:
"Sacco and Vanzetti" (2005) brings to life the story of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, two Italian immigrant anarchists who were accused of murder in 1920 and executed in 1927 after a notoriously prejudiced trial. The documentary by Peter Miller features the voices of Tony Shalhoub and John Turturro, and interviews with historian Joward Zinn, Arlo Guthrie and Studs Terkel; $24.95 from First Run Features ... "Pocahontas Revealed" is a NOVA documentary that uncovers the truth behind the story of Pocahontas and the English colonists; released to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the Jamestown Settlement; $19.95 from WGBH Boston Video ... "Six Days In June: The War That Redefined the Middle East" (2007) is a 40th anniversary documentary that provides a fresh perspective on the 1967 Six Days War pitting Israelis against Arabs; $19.95 from WGBH Boston Video ... "Dane Cook: The Lost Pilots" (2005) features two unaired TV pilots; $14.94 from Sony ... For the fourth consecutive year, World Wrestling Entertainment celebrates summer with "The Great American Bash," featuring three hours of bone-crushing action with the stars of WWE "Smackdown," "Raw" and "ECW," $24.95. (Posted August 21)

DVD Collectibles:
photo Martin Scorsese's classic of modern cinema, "Taxi Driver" (1976), arrives Tuesday from Sony as a two-disc Limited Collector's Edition. This powerful, angst-ridden urban drama was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and features Robert De Niro and Jodie Foster in career-defining performances. De Niro plays the legendary Travis Bickle, a traumatized Vietnam War veteran who takes a job as a night-time taxi driver in New York City. When he encounters a 12-year-old prostitute named Iris, played by then-13-year-old Foster, Travis sets forth to rescue her from an exploitive pimp (Harvey Keitel) in an unforgettably brutal bloodbath. The "Taxi Driver Limited Collector's Edition" is packed with bonus features including a video introduction by Scorsese, an "Influence and Appreciation" documentary including interviews with a mix of film-makers, actors and critics on the cinematic importance of the film, a making-of documentary and a "Taxi Driver Locations" feature comparing Travis Bickle's New York with the city today. The film also stars Cybill Shepherd as Bickle's unrequited love interest, Peter Boyle as a fellow cab driver, Leonard Harris and Albert Brooks. And don't forget the incredible cinematography by Michael Chapman and the memorably striking and lyrical music by Bernard Herrmann. A must own. (Posted August 14)

There's three interesting collections due this week: "The First Films of Samuel Fuller (Eclipse Series 5)," a three-disc set with "I Shot Jesse James" (1949), "The Baron of Arizona" (1950) and "The Steel Helmet" (1952); $49.95 from The Criterion Collection ... "The Shakespeare Collection," a five-disc set with Kenneth Branagh's "Hamlet 2-Disc Special Edition" (1966), Max Reinhardt's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (1935), Laurence Olivier's "Othello" (1965) and George Cukor 's "Romeo and Juliet" (1936); $59.92; "Hamlet" sells separately for $26.99 and the other titles sell for $19.97 each, from Warner ... and "The Charlie Chan Collection: Volume Three," a four-disc set with "Charlie Chan's Secret" (1936), "Charlie Chan on Broadway" (1937), "Charlie Chan at Monte Carlo" (1937), "The Black Camel" (1931) and the 1929 "Behind the Curtain," which marked Charlie Chan's first appearance in a sound film; $49.98 from Fox. (Posted August 14)

From TV to Video:
Highlight of the week: Paramount Home Video will release the first half of the first season of photo "The Fugitive," the ultimate existential TV drama of the 1960s. The story line: Dr. Richard Kimble (David Janssen), wrongly accused of murdering his wife, escapes custody on the way to Death Row when the train he's traveling on crashes. For four years he has to elude the police -- in particular Lt. Philip Gerard (Barry Morse), who is obsessed with his capture -- while trying to track down the real murderer, a one-armed man (Bill Raisch) he saw leave the scene of the crime. Kimble constantly moves from city to city, town to town, job to job, name to name, getting involved with local people and their lives before coming to the attention of the police and being forced to move on again. The show premiered on ABC on Tuesday, September 17, 1963, and ran for 118 episodes before a final two-part episode that brought the series to a close by wrapping up all the loose ends. The finale was the most-watched episode of all-time until the November 21, 1980 "Who Shot J.R." episode of Dallas.

The episodes of "The Fugitive" provided some of best dramatic TV fiction of the era, with tightly written and acted one-hour shows that explored the modern human condition, touching on all the foibles (greed, lust, pride, envy, fear, hatred) of humankind as well as exploring topical issues of the time: racisim, migrant workers, suburbanization, human rights, justice vs. the law, etc). In each episode Kimble generally takes the side of the downtrodden and poor, righting wrongs and solving personal problems among the people he meets -- many times saving the innocent and helping punish the guilty. There's always a woman; a bully; a greedy businessman; a corrupt official. But there's always a sympathetic mother, a loving father, honest, hard-working citizens, even lawyers and lawmen who come to his aid. Kimble's a modern-day Knight or Samurai minus the sword. "The Fugitive -- Season One, Vol. 1" four-disc set, with 15 episodes, sells for $38.99. There are no frills or extras, just the pure adrenalin of the chase. For more information on "The Fugtive," go to our sister site, Dreamsville.net.

Also due this week: "Dickens of London" (1976), a five-disc set with all 10 episodes of the British miniseries that follows the fascinating life of Charles Dickens, foremost novelist of the Victorian era who produced some of the most memorable writings in the English language, $59.98 from Koch Vision ... "Dynasty: The Second Season" (1981-82), a six-disc set with 22 episodes, $38.99 from Paramount... "Father Brown, Set 2," a two-disc set with the concluding six episodes of the PBS "Mystery!" series, $39.99 from Acorn Media ... "Flash Gordon: The Premiere Episode" (2007), a limited-time release of the premiere episode of the Sci Fi Channel series that debuted August 10, $19.95 from Genius Products ... "The House of Eliott Complete Collection," a 12-disc set with all 34 episodes of the award-winning BBC series about two beautiful and talented sisters who fight their way out of destitution and succeed in the cutthroat world of fashion in stylish 1920s London, $119.99 from Acorn Media ... "McLeod's Daughters: The Complete Third Season," an eight-disc set with 29 episodes, $79.98 from Koch Vision ... "Marco Polo" (2007), an extended version of the Hallmark Channel series, starring Ian Somerhalder, BD Wong and Brian Dennehy, from Genius Products ... "The Postcard Bandit" (2003), the story of notorious Australian bank robber Brendan Abbott who sent postcards to authorities hot on his trail while on the run across the country, from BFS Entertainment ... "Rome: The Complete Second Season," a five-disc set with 10 episodes, $99.98 from HBO Video ... "The Russian Bride" (2001), a U.K. drama about a woman who thinks she has found a new life through an Internet marriage agency only to get involved in an abusive household that leads to deceit and murder, from BFS Entertainment. (Posted August 14)

Buzzin' the 'B's:
"The Black Widow (aka Before It Had a Name)" (2005) stars Willem Dafoe, Giada Colagrande and Seymour Cassel in a melodrama about a young Italian woman who inherits from her deceased lover an enigmatic modern house in the New York countryside; when she goes to see it for the first time, she meets the caretaker, who helps her discover her inner self, from First Look Home Entertainment ... "The Method" (2005 -- Spanish) is a thriller about human resources gone wrong: Seven of the corporate world's elite gathered in pursuit of the top job at Dexia Corp. encounter a psychologically brutal recruiting system in which only one can remain, from Palm Pictures ... In "Movin' Too Fast" (2005), two beautiful law students travel across the country and end up on a horrific, high-speed, all-or-nothing race for their lives when they're chased by a police car with no driver, from MTI Home Video ... In "Murderous Intent (Like Minds)" (2006), a forensic psychologist tries to solve a series of murders at a boys prep school, starring Toni Collette, Richard Roxburgh and Eddie Redmayne, from Weinstein Co./Genius Products ... "Pandemic" (2007) stars Tiffani Thiessen, Faye Dunaway, French Stewart and Eric Roberts in a Hallmark Channel thriller about a virus that's spreading throughout Los Angeles, from Genius Products ... In the post-apocalyptic world of "Puzzlehead" (2005), where technology is outlawed, a reclusive scientist secretly creates a self-aware android, "Puzzlehead," in his likeness. Trouble brews when Puzzlehead wins the affection of Julia, a beautiful shop-girl in town that the scientist has long been watching and longing to talk to, sparking a jealous love triangle; from Lifesize Entertainment. (Posted August 14)

For the Family:
"A Pup Named Scooby-Doo Volume 7" features five episodes from the kids TV show, $14.97 from Warner ... "Loonatics Unleashed Season Two" is a two-disc set with 13 adventures of the Kids' WB! show, $19.98 from Warner ... "Baby Looney Tunes Volume 4: Tooth Fairy Tales" has four preschool episodes, $14.97 from Warner ... "VeggieTales God Made You Special" is a new collection featuring the all-new story "Bob's Vacation," three classic VeggieTales stories and two Silly Songs, $14.99, from Big Idea. (Posted August 14)

Special Interest:
"God Grew Tired of Us" (2007) is an award-winning, critically acclaimed film, narrated by Nicole Kidman, that explores the indomitable spirit of three "Lost Boys" from the Sudan who are forced to leave their homeland due to a tumultuous civil war and who triumph over seemingly insurmountable adversities and a relocation to America, where they build active and fulfilling new lives; from Sony ... After being forced from their homes by a brutal, decade-long civil war, six Sierra Leonean musicians found an unlikely form of healing to deal with losing everything -- they formed a band. "Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars" looks at the band, whose sound -- a mixture of home-grown West African beats, roots-reggae and Western-influenced R&B combined with heartfelt lyrics that condemn war and encourage social change -- gave hope to their countrymen and has been praised around the world, leading to the band's first U.S. tour this summer; $26.95 from Docurama/New Video ... Now 92-years young, the legendary Les Paul, father of the solid-body electric guitar, inventor of overdubbing and multi-track recording, king of the '50s pop charts and rock 'n' roll pioneer, tells his own rags-to-riches story in "Les Paul: Chasing Sound" (2007), a performance-filled American Masters documentary; $24.99 from Koch Vision ... "Diana: Queen of Hearts" (2005) is a tribute to the Princess of Wales -- almost 10 years after her untimely death -- narrated by Richard Attenborough, $12.95 from Genius Products ... "Byzantium: The Lost Empire" (2005) is a two-disc documentary on the secrets of this lost civilization, $29.98 from Koch Vision ... "Home Run Derby: Volume 2": "Home Run Derby" was a 1959 TV show held at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles, pitting the top sluggers of the Major Leagues against each other in a nine-inning home run contest. The nine episodes in Vol. 2 pitted Duke Snider vs. Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson vs. Dick Stuart, more; $14.98. Vol. 1 came out July 3 and Vol. 3 will arrive September 25; from MGM. (Posted August 14)

DVD Collectibles:
photo Highlight of the week is the "TCM Spotlight: Myrna Loy/William Powell Collection," featuring five MGM classics starring the sophisticated duo. William Powell re-teamed with Myrna Loy after the first "Thin Man" movie for "Evelyn Prentice" (1934), an expert thriller in which Powell plays a womanizing lawyer whose adulterous affair leads to blackmail, deceit, and murder. Una Merkel, Harvey Stephens, and Rosalind Russell, in her debut, also star. "Manhattan Melodrama" (1934) is a compelling crime drama starring Powell and Clark Gable as boyhood friends from the New York streets who grow up to follow different paths, one as a gangster, the other as a crusading D.A. Loy and Mickey Rooney co-star. "Double Wedding" (1937) is a frantic screwball story with Powell as a Bohemian painter and Loy as a workaholic dress shop owner who spar over Loy's younger sister's life choices. Edgar Kennedy co-stars. Stodgy businessman Powell is headed for divorce from wife Loy when a konk on the head reverts him back to his real persona of a slick con artist in "I Love You Again" (1940). And, in "Love Crazy" (1941), Powell and Loy are a married couple whose fourth wedding anniversary is not a happy affair, thanks to a series of events that occur after Loy's gossipy mother visits. Bonus features include comedy shorts, cartoons, more. $49.92 from Warner. (Posted August 7)

A new film from the great French director Alain Resnais is always a treat: This week Genius Products will release his latest, "Private Fears in Public Places" (2007), starring Sabine Azema, Isabelle Carre, Laura Morante, Lambert Wilson, Andre Dussollier and Pierre Arditi in a warm-hearted story about six characters longing for love in wintry Paris. Based on a play by celebrated writer Alan Ayckbourn, Resnais' film interweaves multiple stories into a beautifully realized and deeply affecting whole. (Posted August 7)

Home video celebrates the 30th anniversary of Elvis Presley's death (August 16, 1977) with a host of releases: "Jailhouse Rock Deluxe Edition" (1957) and "Viva Las Vegas Deluxe Edition" (1964) are restored and digitally remastered editions, enhanced for widescreen televisions, with a soundtrack remastered in Dolby Digital 5.1 from original production elements, from Warner at $19.98 each ... "Elvis: The Hollywood Collection" is a six-disc set with 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 from Warner ... "Lights! Camera! Elvis! Collection" is an eight-disc set with "King Creole," "G.I. Blues," "Blue Hawaii," "Roustabout," "Girls! Girls! Girls!" "Fun In Acapulco," "Paradise, Hawaiian Style" and "Easy Come, Easy Go," housed in a blue suede case, $76.99 the set or $12.00 each from Paramount ... "This is Elvis 2-Disc Special Edition" (1981) is an intimate, behind-the-scenes portrait crafted by Andrew Solt; this is the first-ever home video release of the original, uncensored 1981 Theatrical version in a new digital transfer with soundtrack remastered in Dolby Surround 2.0, from Warner at $20.98 ... "Elvis: That's the Way It Is 2-Disc Special Edition" (1970) is a concert documentary that allows unrestricted access to Elvis Presley's 1970 milestone four weeks of appearances at the International Hotel in Las Vegas, in a 16x9 digital transfer with 5.1 Dolby Digital audio, $20.98 from Warner. (Posted August 7)

photo Here's a cult film with a story line about Elvis Presley that was so outrageous that we didn't believe it until we had the opportunity to catch it one night on TCM: "Bubba Ho-Tep" (2002) is a wild over-the-top horror spoof by director-writer Don ("Phantasm") Coscarelli. Elvis (played by Bruce Campbell), now an elderly resident in an East Texas rest home, switched identities with an Elvis impersonator years before his "death", then missed his chance to switch back. He teams up with Jack (Ossie Davis), a fellow nursing home resident who thinks that he is actually president John F. Kennedy, and the two valiant old codgers sally forth to battle an evil Egyptian entity who has chosen their long-term care facility as his happy hunting grounds. This "Hail to the King Edition" includes commentary by Coscarelli and Campbell, separate commentary by "The King" himself, Joe R. Lansdale reading from his own short story that was the basis for the film, deleted scenes, animated photo gallery and production featurettes; $22.98 from MGM. (Posted August 7)

Just in time for the theatrical release of "Invasion" comes the first remake of the original, Philip Kaufman's "Invasion of the Body Snatchers Collector's Edition" (1978), starring Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Jeff Goldblum, Veronica Cartwright, Leonard Nimoy and Art Hindle, in a two-disc set with commentary by Kaufman, a "Re-Visitors From Outer Space or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Pod" featurette, "Practical Magic: The Special Effect Pod" featurette, "The Man Behind the Scream: The Sound Effects Pod" featurette, and "The Invasion Will Be Televised: The Cinematography Pod" featurette, from MGM. (Posted August 7)

"Crime Story Special Edition" (1993 -- Hong Kong) is one of Jackie Chan's more serious outings; here he plays a cop assigned to protect a wealthy businessman; when the businessman is kidnapped, Chan must track down the culprits, who just may be in the police force. The Dragon Dynasty edition features commentary and bonus features ... And, boomers, here's to the memories: Infinity Entertainment/Falcon Pictures/USTO will release "Hopalong Cassidy: The Complete Television Collection," a 12-disc set with all 52 episodes of the 1952-54 series, and 10 feature films; $79.98. (Posted August 7)

From TV to Video:
"The Adventures of Jim Bowie," a 10-disc set with all 76 episodes of the 1956-58 series; $69.98 from Infinity Entertainment and Falcon Picture Group ... "Darkwing Duck: Volume Two," a three-disc set with 27 episodes, $34.99 from Disney ... "8 Simple Rules: The Complete First Season," a three-disc set with 28 episodes, $23.99 from Disney ... "Full House: The Complete Seventh Season," a four-disc set with 24 episodes, $29.98 from Warner ... "The Hills: The Complete Second Season," a three-disc set with 12 episodes, $38.99 from Paramount ... "Home Improvement: The Complete Seventh Season," a three-disc set with 25 episodes, $23.99 from Disney ... "Man Stroke Woman: The First Season" (2005), featuring six episodes of the British sketch series that's a quirky and original excursion into what makes relationships, friendships -- even ships in the night - tick, starring Nick Frost of "Shaun of the Dead" and "Hot Fuzz" fame; $24.98 from BCI ... "The Muppet Show: The Complete Second Season," a four-disc set with 24 episodes, $39.99 from Disney ... "Rome: The Complete Second Season," a five-disc set with 10 episodes, $99.98 from HBO Video ... "The Simpsons: The Complete Tenth Season," a four-disc set with 23 episodes, $49.98 from Fox ... "Soul Food the Series: The Second Season," a five-disc set with 20 episodes, $50.99 from Paramount ... "That Girl: Season Three," a four-disc set with 26 episodes, $39.99 from Shout! Factory ... "The Tick Vs. Season 2," a two-disc set with 12 episodes of the cartoon crime-stopper in blue tights; $34.99 from Disney. (Posted August 7)

Buzzin' the 'B's:
"Flash Gordon: Saviour of the Universe Edition" is a campy 1980 filmization of the 1930s comic strip, directed by Mike Hodges and starring Sam J. Jones, Melody Anderson, Timothy Dalton, Max von Sydow and Topol, from Universal ... In thriller "Beneath" (2007), a young woman returns to her hometown years after a car accident that disfigured her older sister; haunted by the accident in which she was the driver, she learns that her worst nightmares have either come true ... or about to, from Paramount ... Big Daddy Kane, E-40 and Bone Crusher star in "Dead Heist" (2007, about a "perfect" bank heist that goes awry when four petty thieves are put upon by a horde of vampire-zombies, from First Look Home Entertainment ... The writers and star of "Mystery Science Theater 3000" bring their brand of film commentary to a new line of B-movie send-ups in "The Film Crew: Hollywood After Dark"; second in the new series is "Killers From Space" (1954), starring Peter Graves as nuclear scientist abducted by aliens to help in their invasion of Earth, $19.99 from Shout! Factory ... A government agent assigns a scientist to help one of his spies track down a Russian defector who is a cyborg in "Firehead" (1991), starring Christopher Plummer, Chris Lemmon and Martin Landau, from Echo Bridge Home Entertainment ... In "Mustang Sally's Horror House" (2006), six college friends go to a whorehouse where the girls are really to die for, starring E.G. Daily, Mark Parrish and Lindsey Labrum, from MTI Home Video ... "Underground" (2007) features stunt fighters from major Hollywood films in a story about an underground tournament in the U.K. that is set to challenge 12 fighters from different disciplines (kickboxing, Gung Fu, Tae Kwon Do, freestyle, Ninjitsu, mixed martial arts, Karate, Wushu, boxing, wrestling, Shaolin, Ngor Chor and Capoeira) for a $1 million purse, from City Lights Home Entertainment. (Posted August 7)

On the Indie Front:
"The Dog Problem" (2007) stars Scott Caan, Don Cheadle, Lynn Collins, Kevin Corrigan, Giovanni Ribisi, Mena Suvari and Jimmy the Dog in a comedy about a down-on-his-luck writer who buys a dog to cheer himself up, which of course gets him into all sort of adventures, from ThinkFilm. (Posted August 7)

For the Family:
"Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show" is a two-disc set with 16 10-minute episodes from the ABC Saturday morning kids series featuring Batman, Robin, Superman, Wonder Woman and other "Super Friends," $26.99 from Warner ... "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Fast Forward The Day of Awakening -- Season One, Part Two" contains the final 13 episodes from season one, $14.98 from 4Kids Entertainment Home Video ... "Saddle Club Volume One: Horse of a Different Color" and "Saddle Club Volume Two: Storm at Pine Hollow" are full-length films compiled from episodes of the Australian TV series, from Allumination Filmworks ... "The Suite Life of Zack & Cody: Sweet Suite Victory" includes three episodes from the Disney Channel series, from Disney ... and for preschoolers there's "Caillou's Playschool Adventures" with 12 new adventures, $14.99 from Paramount; "Jay Jay the Jet Plane: Jay Jay's Wing Wigglin Mystery" with six episodes with lessons about cooperation, teamwork, responsibility, science and nature, $12.99 from Paramount; "Teletubbies: Time to Dance" with three episodes of the preschool franchise, $14.99 from Paramount; and "Thomas & Friends: Carnival Capers" with five episodes from the popular PBS television series, $14.98 from Fox. (Posted August 7)

Special Interest:
"White Light/Black Rain: The Destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki" is a 2007 documentary on the nuclear destruction of two Japanese cities, with first-hand accounts from 14 survivors and four Americans who carried out the bombing; $24.98 from HBO Video ... "Small Town Gay Bar" is a 2006 documentary about rural gay America, $24.95 from Genius Products and Red Envelope Entertainment ... "Happy Tree Friends Volume 3" is a perversely twisted cartoon series about a group of animals who die -- with a lot of blood -- in every episode; the series started out as a quick clip Internet craze; nine episodes for $14.98 from BCI. (Posted August 7)

Flash:
Spider-Man busts through on Blu-ray on October 30
photo Sony is spinning quite a web around its release of the latest "Spidey" film. In addition to a single-disc DVD version (with bonus features) and a two-disc Special Edition DVD (with more bonus features), the company is releasing "Spider-Man 3" in a two-disc Blu-ray set and, for your HD pleasure, packaging all three Spidey outings in a "Spider-Man High Definition Trilogy Set." In addition, a three-disc set of all three Spidey films will be available on regular DVD.

photo The two-disc "Spider-Man 3 Blu-ray High-Def" and two-disc "Special Edition DVD" offer fans more than six hours of all-new bonus materials, including a trio of featurettes spotlighting the cinematic creation of the web crawler's greatest nemeses. "Grains of Sand: Building Sandman" details the challenges Sony Pictures Imageworks faced in creating the iconic villain; "Re-Imagining the Goblin" explores the changes in the New Goblin character from page to screen; and "Covered in Black: Creating Venom" follows the cinematic creation of Spider-Man's archrival. Other extras include features on the creation of the spectacular stunts in the movie; bloopers; a Snow Patrol music video, and two commentary tracks by the cast and filmmakers. For a complete list of bonus features, click on the poster.

Pricing: DVD single disc: $28.97; two-disc DVD Special Edition: $36.95; DVD Trilogy: $38.96; Blu-ray two-disc set: $49.95; Blu-ray Trilogy: $98.95. (Posted August 3)

DVD Collectibles:
photo"The Film Noir Classic Collection Vol. 4" is a surprise package from Warner Home Video: a boxed five-disc set featuring 10 examples (two films per disc) of classic film noir, some of which have been pretty hard to come by prior to this. The complete set sells for $59.92; each two-film set will be sold separately for $20.97. The offerings include Nicholas Ray's creepy and violent story of doomed love "They Live By Night" (1948), starring Farley Granger, Cathy O'Donnell and Howard da Silva, teamed with Anthony Mann's equally gritty 1950 New York City set crime drama "Side Street, about a postman who steals the wrong letter, also starring Farley Granger and Cathy O'Donnell; post-World War II revenge thriller "Act of Violence" (1948), directed by Fred Zinnemann and starring Van Heflin, Janet Leigh and Robert Ryan, paired with John Sturges' procedural thriller "Mystery Street" (1950), about a Boston cop trying to solve a mystery around a skeleton found on Cape Cod, starring Ricardo Montalban and Bruce Bennett; "Illegal" (1955) stars Edward G. Robinson, Nina Foch and Hugh Marlowe in a thriller about a D.A.whose career unexpectedly collapses and who turns to defending criminal lowlifes, teamed with "The Big Steal" (1949), directed by Don Siegel, which has Robert Mitchum and Jane Greer speeding along Mexican roadways in pursuit of a grifter who has a suitcase that may be stuffed with cash; legendary director Andre de Toth was at the helm of "Crime Wave " (1954), an outstanding but little-known L.A. noir about three escaped convicts from San Quentin who rob a gas station and kill a motorcycle cop, starring Sterling Hayden, paired with forgotten film "Decoy" (1946), in which a drop-dead gorgeous dame Margo Shelby, played by British newcomer, Jean Gille, revives her gangster boyfriend after he dies in the gas chamber, not because she's so fond of him, but because he knows where the loot is buried; and "Where Danger Lives " (1950), starring Robert Mitchum, Faith Domergue and Claude Rains in a tale about a doctor smitten with desire for a beautiful patient who's brought in after an attempted suicide, who journeys with her to Mexico, leaving behind her husband's corpse, with "Tension" (1950), starring Richard Basehart, Audrey Totter, Cyd Charisse, Barry Sullivan and William Conrad in a thriller abaout a woman who leaves her mousy but devoted spouse for another man, with dire consequences. All the discs have plenty of extras: commentaries, trailers and featurettes. (Posted July 31)

photo "20 Million Miles to Earth: 50th Anniversary Edition" (1957) stars William Hopper, Joan Taylor, Frank Puglia John Zaremba in a fun sci fi outing about a creature from Venus who terrorizes Rome. The Two-disc edition of one of the earliest films by stop-motion animation genius Ray Harryhausen. Extras include commentary by Harryhausen, visual effects artists Dennis Muren and Phil Tippett, and producer Arnold Kunert; "Remembering 20 Million Miles to Earth"; "Tim Burton Sits Down With Ray Harryhausen"; more, from Sony ... "I yam what I yam, and that's all I yam": Created by the legendary Max Fleischer, Popeye the Sailor was introduced to American audiences in 1933 and became one of the most endearing and successful characters in animation history, mainly because of his unique vernacular and hilarious catch phrases. His adventures were strange, humorous and often supernatural as he traveled all over the world to resolve conflicts with enemies. Much like the other animation icons of the 1930s, the Popeye plots invoked traditional values, possessed uncompromising moral standards and resorted to force only when threatened. photo A softie for his lady love Olive Oyl, Popeye usually embarked on conflicts with villains like Bluto and Sea Hag when they made a move on his "sweet patootie." Popeye was usually clobbered at first, until he ate his spinach and gained superhuman strength to defeat his opponent. With his enormous muscular forearms and corncob pipe in mouth, Popeye was always victorious. "Popeye The Sailor 1933-1938 Volume 1" is a four-disc set that includes more than nine hours of cartoons: 58 (7- to10-minute) theatrical black-and-white-shorts and two two-reeler 20-minute color cartoons, all remastered; $64.92 with tons of extras, from Warner. (Posted July 31)

From TV to Video:
Due this week: "The Archie Show: The Complete Series," A two-disc set with all 17 episodes from the original 1968 animated series, $26.95 from Genius Products ... "Babylon 5: The Lost Tales" (2007), a made-for-video movie featuring the original cast, from Warner ... "Dallas: The Complete Seventh Season," a five-disc set with 30 episodes, $39.98 from Warner ... "Hawaii Five-O: The Second Season" (1968) is a seven-disc set with 25 episodes, $54.99 from Paramount ... "The Kids of Degrassi Street," featuring all 26 episodes of the forerunner to the acclaimed "Degrassi Junior High" and "Degrassi High School" series, $39.95 from WGBH Boston Video ... "Rebus Set 2," a four-disc set with four mysteries of the British television series based on the Edgar-winning Ian Rankin bestselling books, featuring hard-drinking detective John Rebus, $49.99 from Acorn Media ... "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch: The Second Season" (1997-98) is a four-disc set with 26 episodes, $42.99 from Paramount. (Posted July 31)

Buzzin' the 'B's:
"Lonely Hearts"(2007) stars John Travolta, James Gandolfini, Salma Hayek, Laura Dern and Jared Leto in a thriller based on a true story: Two homicide detectives track down Martha Beck and Raymond Martinez Fernandez, a murderous pair known as the "Lonely Hearts Killers" who have a passion for hot-blooded sex and cold-blooded murder, from Sony ... "Yellow" (2006) stars Roselyn Sanchez and D.B. Sweeney in a romantic drama about a young dancer who travels from her native Puerto Rico to New York City to follow her dream of becoming a professional dancer, from Sony ... In "The Situation" (2006), starring Connie Nielsen, Damian Lewis and Mido Hamada, an American journalist gets involved with a CIA operative and an Iraqi photographer while covering the war there, from New Video ... In this paranormal thriller "Afghan Knights" (2007), an ex Navy SEAL puts together a special task force for one last mission to save a man left behind during a prior mission in Afghanistan, but the team become victims to fallen Genghis Khan warriors from an ancient time, starring Michael Madsen, from MTI Home Video ... "Novel Romance" (2006) is a romantic comedy about a powerful editor who yearns to be a mother and decides to "skip the husband and go straight to the baby," starring Traci Lords, Paul Johansson, Sherilyn Fenn and Mariette Hartley, from Monrach Home Video ... Set in the seedy underbelly of modern-day London, two addicts search for the ultimate rush that only comes from their drug of choice: human blood! in "Night Junkies" (2007), from Allumination FilmWorks ... "Played" (2006) stars Val Kilmer, Gabriel Byrne, Vinnie Jones, Anthony LaPaglia, Bruno Kirby and Mick Rossi in a gritty look at London's criminal underground in which a thief-for-hire rejoins the game in an effort to take down his enemies after taking the fall for a heist gone wrong, from Lionsgate. (Posted July 31)

On the Indie Front:
Set in 1985 (and with a 1980s soundtrack), romantic drama "Starter for 10" (2007) follows a working-class student through his first year at Bristol University, starring James McAvoy, Rebecca Hall, Alice Eve, Lindsay Duncan, Dominic Cooper, Charles Dance and Simon Woods, from HBO Video ... In "Everything's Gone Green" (2006), a recently fired slacker falls into a money laundering scam; written by "Generation X" author Douglas Coupland and starring Paulo Costanzo and Steph Song, from Vivendi Visual Entertainment/First Independent Pictures. (Posted July 31)

For the Family:
"Firehouse Dog" (2007) is a family film about Hollywood's top canine star who gets lost and is adopted into a shabby firehouse, where he teams up with a young kid to get the station back on its feet, starring Josh Hutcherson, Bruce Greenwood, Bill Nunn, Scotch Ellis Loring, Mayte Garcia and Teddy Sears, from Fox ... "Emily's First 100 Days of School ... And More Great School Time Stories" is an animated adaptation of Rosemary Wells' best-selling book about the trials and tribulations of school; the disc includes two other animated tales about the challenges of school: "Read to Your Bunny" and "If You Made a Million"; $14.95 from Scholastic Video Collection. (Posted July 31)

Special Interest:
"Do You Believe in Magic: The Music of John Sebastian & The Lovin' Spoonful" (2007) is a Public Television program hosted by John Sebastian presenting an in-depth profile of the band, its members and their music. The program features 10 full-length classic TV performances of their chart-topping hits and bonus features including interviews, tributes and commentary by Sebastian, $19.99 from SRO Entertainment) .. "Blue Water, White Death" (1971) is a history making film that chronicles the real-life expedition of four deep-sea divers on a quest to capture the first-ever 35mm underwater film footage of the majestic-but-deadly Great White Shark, from MGM ... "Roving Mars" (2006) is an Imax documentary account of the 2003 Mars Rover mission, $29.99 from Disney ... "The Harvest of Sorrow" (2007) is a Tony Palmer documentary that pays tribute to Sergei Rachmaninoff, featuring appearances by soloist Mikhail Pletnev, the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, conductor Claudio Abbado and the Russian National Orchestra, $19.95 from Kultur ... "Pulp Fiction Art: Cheap Thrills and Painted Nightmares" (2005) is a documentary look at pulp fiction magazine art that became a widespread pop culture phenomenon from the 1920s to the 1950s; hundreds of paintings are showcased, many recently restored and in their original splendor; $19.99 from Kultur International. (Posted July 31)

Just Announced:
photo Disney has just announced a December 4 release for "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End." The film will be available in single-disc, two-disc Special Edition and double disc Blu-ray Disc editions. Extras will include bloopers; a documentary on the history of piracy and the pirate code; a look at the relationship between Keith Richards and Johnny Depp; documentaries on the film's design teams; featurettes profiling the special effects used to create multiple Captain Jacks, composer Hans Zimmer, Chow Yun Fat, and the legendary Pirate Lords and their costume designs, origins and personalities. The Blu-ray edition also will contain an interactive exploration of the "Maelstrom" battle sequence between the Black Pearl and the Flying Dutchman, with its groundbreaking blend of live-action footage and computer-aided special effects. The BD-Java feature lets viewers explore the Palmdale, Calif., hangar that housed the ships and sets, with in-feature pop-ups and icons that reveal multimedia content about how the storm was created, from set construction to special effects. Viewers can either explore the set on their own or take an hour-long "tour" hosted by film producer Jerry Bruckheimer. (Posted July 26)

photo More big news: Warner has finalized its release date for the much anticipated "Blade Runner: The Final Cut." In celebration of its 25th anniversary, director Ridley Scott went back into post production to create the long-awaited definitive new version of the film. According to Scott: "'The Final Cut' is the product of a process that began in early 2000 and continued off and on through seven years of intense research and meticulous restoration, technical challenges, amazing discoveries and new possibilities. I can now wholeheartedly say that 'Blade Runner: The Final Cut' is my definitive director's cut of the film." After a theatrical run October 5, the company will release the title on December 18. Director Ridley Scott's new version of the 1982 film, restored and remastered from original elements, contains never-before-seen and extended scenes. Three DVD editions will be available: a Two-Disc Special Edition ($20.97), a Four-Disc Collector's Edition ($34.99) and a Five-Disc Ultimate Collector's Edition ($78.92) in collectible "Deckard Briefcase" packaging. Simultaneous HD DVD and Blu-ray versions of the five-disc set, in both digi-pak and "Deckard Briefcase" (in numbered, limited quantities) will also be released. Click the poster for a complete list of the disc contents. (Posted July 26)

The Weinstein Co., as anticipated, has splt the cult-film outing "Grindhouse" in half for release to DVD. Robert Rodriguez's half, "Planet Terror," will arrive on October 16. The other half, "Death Proof," directed by Quentin Tarantino, will be released to DVD at a later date. (Posted July 26)

DVD Collectibles:
Lots of good stuff due this week. From classic Hollywood there's photo"Classic Musicals from the Dream Factory Volume 2," a seven-disc set with single discs of "The Pirate," "That's Dancing" and "Words and Music," double-discs of "That Midnight Kiss" and "Toast of New York," and "Royal Wedding" and "Belle of New York"; individually for $19.97, the two-disc sets for $24.98 each; the collection will sell for $59.92; from Warner. "The Pirate" (1948) was directed by Vincente Minnelli and stars Judy Garland and Gene Kelly in an acrobatic swashbuckler; "That's Dancing!" (1985) is an extravagant celebration of dance that features some of the greatest dancing screen work, as well as performances that range from Baryshnikov to break dancing, Fred and Ginger to Shirley Temple and Bojangles, and Busby Berkeley spectaculars to Michael Jackson music videos; "Words and Music" (1948) stars June Allyson, Perry Como, Judy Garland, Lena Horne, Gene Kelly, Mickey Rooney, Ann Sothern, Tom Drake, Cyd Charisse, Betty Garrett, Janet Leigh, Marshall Thompson, Mel Torme, Vera-Ellen and Jeanette Nolan in a fictionalized story of the songwriting partnership of Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart; "That Midnight Kiss" (1949) and "The Toast of New Orleans" (1950) are Mario Lanza-Kathryn Grayson opera vehicles; "Royal Wedding" (1951), directed by Stanley Donen and starring Fred Astaire and Jane Powell, is a shipboard dancer and romancer; and in "The Belle of New York" (1952) playboy Fred Astaire falls for mission house worker Vera-Ellen. All the DVDs come loaded with extras. (Posted July 23)

MGM has two Franks, a queen and a king this week: There's the "Frank Sinatra Gift Set," a five-disc set with "Guys and Dolls," "Hole in the Head," "Kings Go Forth," "The Manchurian Candidate" and "The Pride and the Passion," $39.98 ... the "Frankie & Annette Collection," a four-disc set with "Beach Blanket Bingo," "How to Stuff a Wild Bikini," "Beach Party," "Bikini Beach," "Fireball 500," "Thunder Alley," "Muscle Beach Party" and "Ski Party," $39.98 ... and the "M-G-M Movie Legends Elvis Collection," a four-disc set with "Clambake" (1967), "Kid Galahad" (1962), "Follow That Dream" (1962) and "Frankie and Johnny" (1966), $39.99. (Posted July 23)

Heh-heh-heh-HEH-heh! That signature laughter can mean only one thing: One of the most beloved animated characters of all time is coming to DVD for the first time, when "The Woody Woodpecker and Friends Classic Cartoon Collection" arrives this week. The original uncut theatrical cartoons -- 75 timelessly zany adventures -- from the Walter Lantz Studio, starring the ultimate dizzy redhead, voiced by Mel Blanc, are available in a three-disc set for $39.98, from Universal. (Posted July 23)

There's two classics from the folks at The Criterion Collection: "Les enfants terribles" and "Ivan's Childhood." In "Les enfants terribles" (1950) writer Jean Cocteau and director Jean-Pierre Melville joined forces for an elegant adaptation of Cocteau's immensely popular, wicked novel about the wholly unholy relationship between a teenage brother and sister. Elisabeth (a remarkable Nicole Stephane) and Paul (Edouard Dermithe) close themselves off from the world by playing an increasingly intense series of mind games with the people who dare enter their clandestine world -- until romance and jealousy intrude. Melville's operatic camera movements and Cocteau's perverse, poetic approach to character merge to create one of French cinema's greatest, and most surprising, meetings of the minds. "Ivan's Childhood" (1962) was the debut feature from the great Andrei Tarkovsky, an evocative, poetic journey through the shadows and shards of one boy's war-torn youth. Moving back and forth between the traumatic realities of WWII and the serene moments of family life before the conflict began, Tarkovsky's film remains one of the most jarring and unforgettable depictions of the impact of violence on children in wartime. Both DVDs are, of course, loaded with extras. (Posted July 23)

photo The Weinstein Co.'s Dragon Dynasty label will release two early John Woo Hong Kong actioners. "Hard Boiled" (1992), starring Yun-Fat Chow, Tony Leung Chiu Wai and Teresa Mo, is Woo's classic acion film. A tough as nails cop teams with an undercover agent to shut down a sinister mobster and his crew. Woo elevated violence to an art form with masterful choreography and complex, multi-faceted anti-heroes. The most incredible shoot-out ending (30 minutes' worth) ever put on film -- and it takes place in a hospital. "Last Hurrah for Chivalry" (1979), starring Damian Lau and Pai Wei, is an action-packed tale of a son who recruits two master swordsmen to help avenge his father's murder. Both titles come with plenty of extras. (Posted July 23)

Closer to home there's "The Rainmaker Special Collector's Edition" (1997), a straght-ahead courtroom thriller directed by Francis Ford Coppola and starring Matt Damon, Danny DeVito, Jon Voight, Claire Danes, Mickey Rourke, Mary Kay Place and Andrew Shue, from Paramount; and "The Bourne Files: 3 Disc Collection," with "The Bourne Identity" and "The Bourne Supremacy" as well as a bonus disc loaded with features that illuminate Bourne's shadowy past and allows fans to delve deep into the mysteries surrounding Jason Bourne; timed for the August 3 theatrical release of "The Bourne Ultimatum"; from Universal. (Posted July 23)

From TV to Video:
Due this week: "Benson: The Complete First Season," a three-disc set with 24 episodes, $29.95 from Sony ... "Bozo, the World's Most Famous Clown: Collection #1," a four-disc set with 30 episodes, $39.98 from Infinity Entertainment/Falcon Pictures ... "Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law: Season Three," a two-disc set with 13 episodes of the Adult Swim series, $29.98 from Warner ... "Land of the Giants: The Complete Series," a nine-disc boxed set with all 51 episodes, $199.98 from Fox ... "P. Diddy Presents The Bad Boys of Comedy, Season 2," a roundup of edgy urban comedy talent recorded live at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York; $24.98 from HBO Video ... "The Real McCoys: Complete Season #1" (1957-58), a five-disc set with 39 episodes, $39.98 from Infinity Entertainment/Falcon Pictures ... "The Secrets of Isis -- The Complete Series," a three-disc set with 22 episodes of the Saturday morning TV series, $29.98 from BCI ... "Star Trek: Fan Collective -- Captain's Log," a five-disc set with 15 episodes chosen by fans and by the five captains of the Star Trek series, $42.99 from Paramount ... "Stargate: SG-1 Season 10," a five-disc set with 22 episodes, $49.98 from MGM ... "Suspense: The Lost Episodes, Collection #1," a four-disc set with 30 episodes from one of the most popular TV mystery shows of the early 50s, featuring the industry's biggest stars and writers, broadcast live. Remastered from the original Kinescope masters; $39.98 from Infinity Entertainment/Falcon Pictures ... "Taxicab Confessions: New York, New York" is the 11th edition of the "undercover" documentary series, $14.97 from HBO Video ... photo "Todd McFarlane's Spawn: The Animated Collection" is a four-disc set with 18 episodes; this 10th anniversary collection has been digitally remastered; $39.98 from HBO Video ... "TV Guide Presents The Crow: Stairway to Heaven -- The Complete Series," a four-disc set with 22 episodes; includes a fifth disc with bonus material; $39.95 from Arts Alliance America ... "The Ultimate Underdog DVD Collection" features the first three volumes of the animated caped canine series, which ran from 1964-1973; each volume includes six re-mastered episodes featuring the voice talent of Wally Cox as Underdog. The release is timed for the big screen debut of Disney's "Underdog," starring John Belushi and the voice of Jason Lee; $12.93 per volume from Classic Media. (Posted July 23)

Buzzin' the 'B's:
"The Contract" (2006), directed by Bruce Beresford and starring Morgan Freeman and John Cusack, is a thriller about a man (John Cusack) on a camping trip with his son who gets involved with a hired assassin (Morgan Freeman), from First Look Home Entertainment ... "Nomad: The Warrior" (2007) is a war epic set in 18th century Kazakhstan about a boy who is destined to one day unite the three warring tribes of a country who have survived and fought for centuries -- against invaders, against their formidable enemies and amongst themselves, starring Jason Scott Lee and Jay Hernandez, from The Weinstein Co./Genius Products ... "The Chambermaid" (2005) stars Fiona Horsey, Paul Conway, William Rowsey and Jessica Barnes in a horror-thriller of passion, betrayal and deceit, from MTI Home Video ... In "Shadow Puppets" (2007) a group of strangers awaken in a locked asylum ward with no idea of who they are or how they got there, starring James Marsters and Jolene Blalock, from Starz Home Entertainment ... In "The Decoy" (2006), a deputy must escort his best friend to the gallows when he's convicted of murdering the cop's in-laws; along the way, the deputy discovers a startling truth about the deaths that puts both men in danger; from Echo Bridge Home Entertainment ... When a beautiful college graduate inherits a mysterious house in the countryside, she and her friends discover the evil presence of a twisted preacher in "Wages of Sin" (2005), from Echo Bridge Home Entertainment ... "Renaissance" (2006) is a black and white noir sci fi thriller set in the labyrinthine underworld of Paris in 2054, with the voices of Daniel Craig and Catherine McCormack, from Disney ... In "Live Free or Die" (2006), starring Aaron Stanford, Paul Schneider, Michael Rapaport, Kevin Dunn, Zooey Deschanel and Judah Friedlander, a clueless criminal tries to force his way into a family run storage facility business with comedic results; from ThinkFilm. (Posted July 23)

On the Indie Front:
photo "Cashback" (2006) is a thoroughly delightful and whimsical tale about Ben, an art student who develops insomnia after breaking up with his girlfriend. Unable to sleep, he takes a job on the late crew at the local supermarket, where he meets an interesting set of characters who have developed unique ways of dealing with the boredom of an eight-hour shift. Ben learns how to speed up and slow down time, allowing him t odevelop his painterly skills as well as to appreciate the hidden beauty of the store's check-out girl. A witty and original story filmed with panache and some fine acting by a gallery of likeable actors. "Cashback" was originally an 18-minute 2004 short that was nominated for an Academy Award and won awards at the 2005 Tribeca Film Festival and the 2004 Chicago International Film Festival. Director Sean Ellis then developed it into a full-length feature -- without destroying the film's joyfulness or sense of surprise and awe. Stars Sean Biggerstaff, Emilia Fox, Shaun Evans, Michelle Ryan and Stuart Goodwin. From Magnolia Home Entertainment ... An adult swim class during late spring at a Connecticut rec center sets the stage for "The Big Bad Swim" (2006), a comedy-drama about love, loss and second chances, starring Paget Brewster, Jeff Branson, Jess Weixler and Ricky Ullman, from Echo Bridge Home Entertainment. (Posted July 23)

Foreign:
"Unconscious" (2004) is a Spanish farce that questions sexual taboos. When Alma goes in search of her missing husband, she travels from one adventure to the next, finally landing in front of the famous Dr. Sigmund Freud. When the Good Doctor explains how the world is dictated by people's unconscious desires, Alma questions the very nature of her love, her life and her future. From Regent Releasing/Liberation Entertainment/Genius Entertainment ... In "Exterminating Angels" (2005 -- French), a filmmaker holds a series of boundary-pushing auditions for his project about female pleasure; from Genius Products. (Posted July 23)

Special Interest:
"James Ellroy: American Dog" (2005) is a stylish documentary about the crime writer. "I am to the crime novel in specific what Tolstoy is to the Russian novel and what Beethoven is to music," boasts James Ellroy, an American crime fiction writer who was both cursed and blessed by his mother's brutal murder in 1958. Haunted by the slaying, it became the focal point of his work. In this documentary, narrated by Ellroy himself, the writer visits his "dark places," literally and figuratively, as he returns to his mother's murder scene and ruminates on the meaning of her death. As the author of "L.A. Confidential" and "Black Dahlia," Ellroy expanded the boundaries of hard-boiled fiction while also tapping into the moody atmosphere of film noir -- a legacy honored in "American Dog"; $29.95 from Facets Video. (Posted July 23)

DVD Collectibles:
photo"Ace in the Hole" is a stunning picture of post-World War II America by director Billy Wilder. The 1951 film, notable for its unbridled cynicism, stars Kirk Douglas and Jan Sterling. One of the most scathing indictments of American culture ever produced by a Hollywood filmmaker, Academy Award-winner Wilder's "Ace in the Hole" is legendary for both its cutting social critique and its status as a hard-to-find cult classic. Douglas gives the fiercest performance of his career as Chuck Tatum, an amoral newspaper reporter caught in dead-end Albuquerque who happens upon the story of a lifetime -- and will do anything to ensure he gets the scoop. When a man is trapped alive in a mine collapse, Tatum and the townspeople cynically create a "circus" around the tragedy and the efforts to save the miner. Wilder's follow-up to "Sunset Boulevard" is an even darker vision, a no-holds-barred expose that anticipated the rise of the American media circus. As usual the folks at The Criterion Collection have gone all out in the restoration of the film, providing a new, restored high-definition digital transfer. Extras in the two-disc set include commentary by film scholar Neil Sinyard; "Portrait of a '60% Perfect Man': Billy Wilder," a 1980 documentary featuring in-depth interviews with Wilder by film critic Michel Ciment; excerpts from a 1986 appearance by Wilder at the American Film Institute; excerpts from an audio interview with co-screenwriter Walter Newman; booklet featuring new essays by film critic Molly Haskell and filmmaker Guy Maddin. A must-buy. (Posted July 16)

photo New Yorker Video will release this week an important document of 20th century culture: "The Life and Times of Allen Ginsberg" (2005), a documentary on Allen Ginsberg, the beats and modern American literary culture. Ginsberg was the visionary poet who inspired the Beat Generation with the rage and compassion of "Howl" and the tenderness of "Kaddish." He was the pacifist who calmed the violence around him at the Democratic Convention in 1968. He was the gentle teacher who inspired his friends. He was the writer and activist who weathered five decades of controversy and fame, looked each of those decades straight in the eye, and survived. For 20 years, Academy Award nominee Jerry Aronson accumulated more than 100 hours of film documentation of Ginsberg's life. During that time he developed a warm friendship with Ginsberg, who enthusiastically gave Aronson access to materials never before made public. In addition, he shot many hours of exclusive interviews with Ginsberg and his friends and contemporaries. These voices and images lay bare the essence of the poet. The resulting film is a view of the last 50 years through Ginsberg's penetrating eye: the beginnings of the Beats in the post-war Forties and Fifties, the wild energy of the Sixties, the disillusionment of the Seventies, and the cynicism and confusion of the Eighties and the Nineties. Includes interviews with Joan Baez, Beck, Bono, Stan Brakhage, William Burroughs, Johnny Depp, Philip Glass, Abbie Hoffman, Jack Johnson, Ken Kesey, Timothy Leary, Paul McCartney, Jonas Mekas, Thurston Moore, Yoko Ono, Lee Ranaldo, Ed Sanders, Patti Smith, Hunter S. Thompson and Andy Warhol. Extras include "The Making of The Life and Times of Allen Ginsberg"; Bob Dylan and Allen Ginsberg at Jack Kerouac's grave; William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg at Naropa University; Neal Cassady and Allen Ginsberg at City Lights Bookstore; Ginsberg poetry reading; more. The two-disc set sells for $34.95. (Posted July 16)

Also due this week is "TCM Spotlight: Esther Williams," a five-disc set with "Bathing Beauty," "On an Island With You," "Easy to Wed," "Neptune's Daughter" and "Dangerous When Wet"; $49.92 from Warner and "Showgirls Fully Exposed Edition" (1995), directed by Paul Verhoeven and starring Elizabeth Berkeley, Kyle MacLachlan and Gina Gershon, from MGM. The former is a set of films highlighting the aquatic actress at her peak; the latter is a steamy melodrama with plenty of frontal nudity that we hoped would live up to its hype as an overlooked guilty pleasure but just lived up to its reputation as a sloppy mess with a corny plot line, weak acting and high school direction; the film effectively slowed down all the leads' and the director's careers for years. Ugh! (Posted July 16)

From TV to Video:
Due this week: "The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog," a four-disc set with 22 episodes of the cult animated classic about a heroic hedgehog named Sonic, $24.99 from Shout! Factory ... "Beaten" is a 2005 U.K. drama about a man on the run with his son, and the wife who is tracking them down, from BFS Entertainment ... "Birdman and The Galaxy Trio: The Complete Series" is a two-disc set with 20 episodes of the pre-Adult Swim series, $26.99 from Warner ... "The Business (Season One)" is a two-disc set with eight episodes from the IFC TV comedy, $29.95 from Genius Products ... "College Hill: Virgin Islands" is a two-disc set with 15 episodes, $26.99 from Paramount ... "The Crow Road" (1996) stars Dougray Scott, Joseph McFadden and Bill Paterson in a U.K. Miniseries about a young man whose search for his long-lost uncle leads him to a suspicious computer disk and dark family secrets, in a two-disc set from BFS Entertainment ... "Foyle's War Set Four" is a four-disc set with four police detective mysteries set in England during WWII combining suspense and real history, $59.99 from Acorn Media ... "The Grafters: The Complete Season One," is a three-disc set with eight episodes of the British series about two brothers -- both builders -- who are forced to work together for economic reasons, from Koch Vision ... "Gunsmoke: The First Season" is a six-disc set with 39 episodes of the longest-running TV series, $42.99 from Paramount ... "The Incredible Hulk: The Complete Second Season" is a five-disc set with 22 episodes, $39.98 from Universal ... "The Minor Accomplishments of Jackie Woodman (Season One)" is a two-disc set with eight episodes from the IFC TV comedy, $29.95 from Genius Products ... "Most Haunted: The Collection" is a six-disc set of the British paranormal reality series, $59.98 from Koch Vision ... "Rising Damp, Series Four" features the last six episodes of the 1970s British sitcom about the miserly, mean-spirited landlord of a run-down boarding house; $24.99 from Acorn Media ... "The Rookies: The Complete First Season" (1972-73) is a five-disc set with 23 episodes, $49.95 from Sony ... "Space Ghost and Dino Boy: The Complete Series" is a two-disc set with 24 episodes of the pre-Adult Swim series, $26.99 from Warner ... "Voyagers! The Complete Series" is a four-disc set with 20 episodes, $49.98 from Universal. (Posted July 16)

Buzzin' the 'B's:
In "Cherry Rush" (2007) starring Nikki Reed and Jonathan Tucker, a spoiled prep school teenager falls for a temptress from across the tracks and gets caught up in murder, from First Look Home Entertainment ... "Earthstorm" (2007) is a very poorly executed (with weak acting and special effects and an exceedingly lame trip to the moon via space ship) sci fier about an asteroid impact on the moon that causes storms and destruction on the Earth; the Sci Fi Channel original stars Stephen Baldwin, Dirk Benedict and Anna Silk, from First Look Home Entertainment ... In "Dynamite Warrior" (2006 -- Thailand) starring Dan Chupong, Leo Putt and Panna Ritthikrai, a young man fueled by grief goes on a mission of revenge after witnessing his parents' murder, from Magnolia Home Entertainment ... In "Yo-Yo Girl Cop" (2006 -- Japan), directed by the great Kenta Fukasaku, a young female cop -- armed with a deadly steel yo-yo and a new undercover identity -- must infiltrate an elite high school to identify and stop terrorists, from Magnolia Home Entertainment ... "The Black Cat" (2007) is Stuart Gordon's contribution to Showtime's "Masters of Horror" series; the episode explores just what motivated the great horror author Edgar Allan Poe to write such ghoulish stories and poems, from Anchor Bay ... In "Perfect Creature" (2006) the vampire myth is given a stylish 1960s treatment when a human cop partners with a vampire cop to stop another vampire bent on creating a war between the two "separate but equal" races, stars Dougray Scott, Saffron Burrows and Leo Gregory, from Fox. (Posted July 16)

Special Interest:
Due this week: "Ancient Discoveries," a two-disc set of episodes from the History Channel's series on how the ancient world foreshadowed our modern technologies, $29.98 from Koch Vision ... "Hedda " (1980) stars Diana Rigg, Alan Dobie, Kathleen Byron and Denis Lill in an award-winning adaptation of Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen's acclaimed play, from Koch Vision .. "60's Rock & Roll Jukebox" was recorded live at The Rock 'n Roll Palace in Orlando, Florida and features various legendary artists from the 60s, including Spencer Davis, Wolfman Jack (the master of ceremonies for the rock 'n' roll generation), Johnny Tillotson, Bryan Hyland, Del Shannon, Ray Peterson, Roger Mcguinn and John Sebastian; $12.95 from MVD Visual ... "The Mormons" (2007) is a PBS American Experience/Frontline documentary on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints; $24.99 from Paramount. (Posted July 16)

This Just In:
photo Quarantine. Eradication. Sterilization. Repopulation. The terror and devastation unleashed in Danny Boyle's horror masterpiece "28 Days Later" picks up six months after the Rage virus has decimated London in "28 Weeks Later," a heart-stopping zombie horror sequel due on DVD October 9 from Fox. As the story picks up from the original, months after the deadly outbreak annihilated the British Isles leaving only a handful of survivors, the army declares the war against the infection has been won and the reconstruction of the country slowly begins; but as the first wave of refugees returns, the deadly infection resurfaces without warning, and this time it's more dangerous than ever. Extras include commentary by director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo and co-writer Enrique Lopez Lavigne, "Code Red: Making Of 28 Weeks Later" featurette, "The Infected Make-Up Effects" featurette, "Getting Into the Action" featurette, "28 Days Later: The Aftermath Flash-Animated Graphic Novel," and deleted scenes. (Posted July 10)


DVD Collectibles:
photo Highlight of the week is The Criterion Collection's release of "Three Films by Hiroshi Teshigahara," a four-disc set with four films written and directed by the great Japanese director Hiroshi Teshigahara: "Pitfall" (1962), "Woman in the Dunes" (1964) and "The Face of Another" (1966), all in new, restored high-definition digital transfers. The existential ghost story "Pitfall," the shocking erotic fable "Woman in the Dunes" and the sci-fi tinged nightmare "The Face of Another" are three of cinema's most enduring enigmas and rare treats, from one of its greatest artists. A man of many faces, Teshigahara was not just a Japanese new wave trailblazer, a Kafka of the moving image, but also a painter, sculptor, flower arranger, designer of gardens and tearooms, and director of operas and Noh plays. And these three atmospheric portraits remain the quintessential expressions of his lifelong fascination with the perils of identity and the horrors of isolation. Extras in the simply gorgeous box set include video essays on all three films by critic and festival programmer James Quandt; four short films by Teshigahara: "Hokusai" (1953), "Ikebana" (1956), "Tokyo 1958" (1958) and "Ako/White Morning" (1963); a new documentary about the working relationship beween Teshigahara and author Kobo Abe, including interviews with Japanese-film scholars Donald Richie and Tadao Sato; and a booklet featuring essays by James Quandt, Howard Hampton, Audie Bock, and Peter Grilli and Max Tessier's 1964 interview with Teshigahara. (Posted July 9)

The MGM Film Noir label has released four classic noir thirllers: "A Bullet for Joey" (1955), starring Edward G. Robinson, George Raft and Audrey Totter; "Kansas City Confidential" (1952), starring John Payne, Coleen Gray, Preston Foster, Neville Brand, Lee Van Cleef and Jack Elam; "The Stranger" (1946), directed by Orson Welles and starring Orson Welles, Edward G. Robinson, Loretta Young and Richard Long; and "The Woman in the Window" (1944), directed by Fritz Lang and starring Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett, Raymond Massey and Dan Duryea. (Posted July 9)

From TV to Video:
Due this week: "Beauty and the Beast: The Second Season," a six-disc set with 22 episodes, $50.99 from Paramount ... "Bewitched: The Complete Fifth Season" (1967-68), a four-disc set with 30 episodes, $39.95 from Sony ... "Extras: The Complete Second Season" with six episodes, $29.98 from HBO Video ... "My Super Sweet 16: Season 1 & 2," a two-disc set with 13 episodes, $24.99 from MTV/Paramount. (Posted July 9)

Buzzin' the 'B's:
photo "The Contractor (aka The Shooter)" (2007) stars Wesley Snipes, Lena Headey and Charles Dance in an action-thriller about an ex-CIA agent who is asked to take out a terrorist, only to realize he's been set up by his former employer, from Sony ... In "The Last Time" (2007), starring Michael Keaton, Brendan Fraser, Amber Valletta, Neal McDonough, Michael Lerner, David Jensen and Daniel Stern, a top salesman (Keaton) rediscovers a lust for life after falling for the fiancee of a new salesman (Fraser) he has taken under his wing, a Midwest transplant finding his footing in New York, also from Sony ... In "The Film Crew: Hollywood After Dark," the writers and star of "Mystery Science Theater 3000" bring their brand of film commentary to a new line of B-movie sendups. First up is "Hollywood After Dark" (1968) starring Jack Vorno and Rue McClanahan about a down-on-his-luck loner who falls in with the wrong crowd in Tinseltown and finds salvation in the arms of a stripper; $19.99 from Shout! Factory ... "Super Sweet 16: The Movie" (2007) is an MTV movie based on the MTV series, from Paramount. (Posted July 9)

On the Indie Front:
BFS Entertainment & Multimedia Ltd. has released two interesting films this week: "Dancing in Twilight" (2005), in which a middle-aged man must cope with the death of his wife and the arrival of his son and his son's girlfriend, starring Erick Avari, Louise Fletcher, Mimi Rogers, Kal Penn and Sheetal Sheth; and "Ever Since the World Ended" (2001), a sci-fier that takes place 12 years after a devastating plague has emptied most of the world of people; two San Francisco filmmakers traverse the nearly deserted city with a camera and a microphone, exploring the harsh ralities people must face to rebuild civilization. (Posted July 9)

For the Family:
An 11-year-old boy's amazing ability to break wind leads him to fame as he fulfills his ambition of becoming an astronaut in "Thunderpants" (2002), starring Rupert Grint, Stephen Fry, Bruce Cook, Anna Popplewell, Ned Beatty, Paul Giamatti and Keira Knightley, from The Weinstein Co./Genius Products. (Posted July 9)

Special Interest:
"Home Run Derby: Volume 1": "Home Run Derby" was a 1959 TV show held at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles, pitting the top sluggers of the Major Leagues against each other in a nine-inning home run contest. The eight episodes in Vol. 1 pitted Mickey Mantle vs. Willie Mays, Harmon Killebrew vs. Mantle, Hank Aaron vs. Ken Boyer, others; $14.98. Vol. 2 will be out August 14 and Vol. 3 will arrive September 25. From MGM. (Posted July 9)

From TV to Video:
Due this week: photo "Batfink: The Complete Series," a four-disc set with all 100 5-minute episodes, celebrating the parody's 40th anniversary, $34.99 from Shout! Factory ... "Chancer, Season 1," a four-disc set with 13 episodes of the early 1990s series starring Clive Owen as a con artist, swindler and purported savior of a struggling British sports car company; $59.99 from Acorn Media ... "Eureka: Season One," a three-disc set with 12 episodes, $39.98 from Universal ... "Ghostbusters: Volume Two," a five-disc set with 33 animated episodes, $39.98 from BCI ... "Slings & Arrows Season 3," a two-disc set with six episodes from the third and likely final season of the Canadian series about the personal and professional crises of a dysfunctional Canadian theater troupe, starring Paul Gross, Don McKellar and Sarah Polley; $29.99 from Acorn Media ... "Whiteboyz in the Hood," featuring all 10 episodes from the first season of the Showtime stand-up comedy series, $19.98 from Lionsgate. (Posted July 3)

Buzzin' the 'B's:
The Deimos Entertainment label (of BCI Eclipse) will release this week a new line of double feature DVDs featuring two exploitation films complete with trailers and theater ads: "Welcome to the Grindhouse: Pick-up and The Teacher" features "Pick-Up" (1974), an off-beat story about two young women whose lives are forever changed when they hitch-hike a ride in a mobile home; photo and "The Teacher" (1974), an explosive story about a beautiful, provocative 28-year-old high school teacher whose seduction of a student proves fatal, starring Angel Tompkins and Jay North; "Welcome to the Grindhouse: Evil Eye and Black Candles" features "Evil Eye" (1974), in which a man who has nightmares about murdering someone is hospitalized ... soon people start turning up dead all around him; and "Black Candles" (1983), in which a young American visiting England is drawn into a satanic cult; $12.98 each ... "4 Life" (2007) stars Wood Harris, Elise Neal, Page Kennedy, JD Williams, Sundy Carte in a drama about life among street gangsters in Baltimore, from CodeBlack Entertainment ... In the sequel "Ghoulies IV" (1994), those effervescent Ghoulies escape through an open porthole, creating madness and mayhem on the streets of L.A., from Echo Bridge Home Entertainment ... "Our Very Own" (2005) stars Allison Janney, Keith Carradine, Cheryl Hines, Beth Grant and Jason Ritter in a coming-of-age story about five teens in the rural South in the late-1970s, from Disney. (Posted July 3)

On the Indie Front:
"Neverwas" (2005) stars Aaron Eckhart, Ian McKellen, William Hurt, Bill Bellamy, Michael Moriarty, Nick Nolte, Jessica lange and Brittany Murphy in a melodrama about a psychiatrist who leaves academia to work at the mental hospital where his father, a famous children's novelist, committed suicide; with the help of a schizophrenic patient he uncovers the mysteries of his early life as set forth in the pages of his father's masterpiece, "Neverwas," from Miramax ... "Driving Lessons" (2006) stars Julie Walters, Rupert Grint and Laura Linney in a coming of age story about a shy teenage boy -- trying to escape the influence of his domineering mother -- who's world changes when he begins to work for an eccentric retired actress, from Sony ... "How You Look to me" (2005) is a coming-of-age story about the son of a wealthy Southern family involved in horse racing who reluctantly heads back to graduate school to keep his family from cutting him off financially, starring Frank Langella, Laura Allen, Bruce Romans, Kevin Butle and David S. Jung, from MTI Home Video ... In "Jam" (2006), a traffic accident on a rural mountain road becomes a life-changing experience for 15 diverse travelers; stars Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Amanda Foreman, Amanda Detmer, Jonathan Silverman, William Forsythe, Gina Torres, Elizabeth Bogush, Julie Claire, Alex Rocco, Dan Byrd, David DeLuise and Tess Harper; from Starz Home Entertainment ... "Funny Ha Ha" (2005) follows the adventures of a hard-drinking young woman as she journeys from being a carefree college student to responsible adult, from Genius Products. (Posted July 3)

Special Interest:
"The Best of Bravestarr" is a two-disc set of the animated space Western: The 1988 feature film "Bravestarr: The Legend" that led to the popular syndicated action series and the top five stories from "Bravestarr the Series," as voted by fans of the action-filled 65-episode show, $24.98 from BCI ... "Baseball's Most Unbreakable Feats" (2007), hosted by Roger Clemens, is a detailed look at 10 seemingly untouchable baseball achievements, including Cy Young's 511 career wins, Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak, Cal Ripken Jr.'s stretch of 2,632 consecutive games played, Ted Williams' 406 single-season batting average, more; $19.99 from Major League Baseball/Shout! Factory ... "George Lopez: America's Mexican" is a 2007 HBO stand-up special; $19.97 from HBO Video. (Posted July 3)

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