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More News: January-June 2008
Director Anthony Mann's varied career encompassed musical dramas ("The Glenn Miller Story"), actioners ("Strategic Air Command"), war films ("Men in War"), melodramas ("God's Little Acre"), costume dramas ("El Cid") and Westerns. His best Westerns always pitted man against nature, man against other men, and man against himself; his "Winchester '73" (1950) is definitely a classic of the genre. Shortly after that film, he made "The Furies"
(1950), starring Barbara Stanwyck, Walter Huston, Judith Anderson, Wendell Corey and Gilbert Roland. Stanwyck and Huston are at their fierce finest in this crackling Western melodrama. In 1870s New Mexico Territory, megalomaniacal widowed ranch-owner T. C. Jeffords (Huston, in his final role) butts heads with his daughter, Vance (Stanwyck), a firebrand with serious daddy issues, over her dowry, choice of marriage, and, finally, ownership of the land itself. Both sophisticated in its view of frontier settlement and ablaze with searing domestic drama, "The Furies" is a hidden treasure of American filmmaking, boasting Oscar-nominated cinematography and vivid supporting turns from Judith Anderson, Wendell Corey, and Gilbert Roland. The folks at The Criterion Collection have brought the film to DVD in a new, restored high-definition digital transfer. Extras include commentary featuring film historian Jim Kitses; a rare, 1931 on-camera interview with Walter Huston, made for the movie theater series "Intimate Interviews"; a new video interview with Nina Mann, daughter of director Mann; a stills gallery of rare behind-the-scenes photos; a booklet featuring a new essay by critic Robin Wood, a 1957 Cahiers du cinema interview with Mann, and a new printing of Niven Busch's original novel. (Posted June 24)
From TV to Video:
Due this week::
"The Big Easy: The Complete First Season," a four-disc set with 22 episodes, $39.98 from MPI Home Video ... "Early Edition: The First Season," a six-disc set with 23 episodes, $46.99 from Paramount ... "Futurama: The Beast With a Billion Backs"
(2008) a feature with the latest extraterrestrial exploits of Bender, Fry, Leela and crew, in which they encounter a repulsive, planet-sized creature with billions of probing tentacles ... and soon find themselves involved in a disturbing -- yet sensuous -- interplanetary love story; $29.98 from Fox ... "My Boys: The Complete First Season," a three-disc set with 22 episodes, $39.98 from Sony ... "The Ruth Rendell Mysteries, Set 3," a three-disc set with five episodes of mysteries based on the fiction of best-selling crime-writer Ruth Rendell, $49.99. from Acorn Media ... "The Vice: Season Two," a three-disc set with eight episodes of the hard-hitting British TV series set in the vice unit of London's Metropolitan Police; aired on BBC America, $49.98 from MPI Home Video. (Posted June 24)
Buzzin' the 'B's:
The lives and friendships of three best friends are tried and tested as they take a cross-country road trip in
"Bonneville" (2008), starring Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, Joan Allen, Tom Skerritt and Christine Baranski. After losing her husband, a widow persuades two friends to tag along as she sets off to California in a vintage '66 Bonneville convertible to deliver her late-husband's ashes to her resentful stepdaughter; from Fox ...
A tattooist unwittingly unleashes a deadly spirit through an ancient Samoan tattoo tool that marks him for death in "The Tattooist" (2007), starring Jason Behr, Mia Blake and David Fane; from Sony ... "The Hammer" (2008) stars Adam Carolla in a comedy about a middle-aged boxing instructor and carpenter who loses his job and gets another chance at his dream -- he's invited to try out for the U.S. Olympic Boxing team; from The Weinstein Co./Genius Products ... "Telling Lies" (2006) is a psychological thriller about a seemingly innocent co-ed under suspicion for murder who tries to convince the authorities and her father that she's not guilty, starring Melanie Brown, Jason Flemyng and Kelly Stables; from Echo Bridge Entertainment ... Upon returning home as a hero from the Iraq War, Special Forces Agent Matt Taylor is thrown into another battle in his once quiet hometown where, as in Iraq, you don't know who are friends and who are enemies, in "Dark Heart" (2006), starring Greg Joelson, Darcy Halsey, Brian Howe, William Dennis Hurley and Huntley Ritter; from MTI Home Video ... In "The Wig" (2005 -- South Korea), a wig given to a cancer patient who lost her hair during chemotherapy turns out to harbor evil spirits; from Genius Products ... A young couple's weekend getaway at a secluded mountain ranch becomes an unfathomable nightmare when they discover the truth about the caretaker in "The Lodge" (2008), starring Elizabeth Kell, Mandi Kreisher, Kevin McClatchy and Owen Szabo; from Monarch Home Video ... In "Simon: King of the Witches"
(1971), a professional warlock summons evil forces to thwart his enemies; from Dark Sky Films/MPI Home Video. (Posted June 24)
On the Indie Front:
"Finishing the Game" (2007)stars James Franco, Dustin Nguyen, Roger Fan, Sung Kang and McCaleb Burnett in a mockumentary-style comedy that looks askew at fame, fortune and Hollywood. The unexpected death of Bruce Lee came at the zenith of his popularity. Having already shot scenes for his upcoming movie "Game of Death," studio heads decided to complete the film by launching a search for his replacement, attracting hopefuls from around the world. This film re-imagines that audition process and pokes fun at Hollywood, martial arts and Asian stereotypes in the process; from Genius Products ... "Wide Sargasso Sea"
(2006) is a new U.K. production of Jean Rhys' novel, dubbed a prequel to "Jane Eyre," which imagines how Mr. Rochester met and married his first wife and how she wound up as the madwoman in the attic; stars Rafe Spall and Rebecca Hall; $24.99 from Acorn Media. (Posted June 24)
"The Free Will" (2006 -- Germany) is a disturbing drama about a convicted sexual predator who has just been released from psychiatric detention. His fear of women stirs a profound, unfulfilled longing within him, making his reintegration into society an unbearable ordeal. Can hope exist in his budding relationship with Nettie, herself a victim of abuse, as they embark on a journey to the limits of free will? Silver Bear Winner at the 2006 Berlin Film Festival; from Benten Films: www.bentenfilms.com ... Two classics from the legendary DEFA Collection of films made during the years when East Germany was under Communist control arrive this week from First Run Features: "Solo Sunny" (1979),r about an aspiring singer who falls in love, breaks hearts, has her own broken, gets kicked out of her band and then hits the East Berlin underground scene; a mesmerizing look at the yearnings of East Germany's youth; and "Berlin-Schonhauser Corner" (1957), a teen cult film about disaffected, rebellious teenagers who meet daily on a street in East Berlin to dance to rock 'n' roll, swap Western goods and escape the control of their parents and the State; $24.95 each. (Posted June 24)
For the Family:
"The Mouse and the Motorcycle" (2008): Beverly Cleary's award-winning tale of Ralph S. Mouse and his adventures with a toy motorcycle gets the acclaimed Scholastic animated treatment; also includes an adaptation of Munro Leaf's "Wee Gillis"; $14.95 from Scholastic Storybook Treasures ... In "Elmo's World: Summer Vacation" (2008), Elmo takes toddlers to the beach to lean about sunblock, sand and cameras; three episodes, $12.93 from Sesame Workshop/Genius Products ... The Lampies" are the beings who reside in lamp posts the world over and prevent the world from going dark; their arch enemies are the evil Roons, who want to turn everything dark; the animated characters come to life in two new DVDs: "The Lampies: Dustywuppy" ($14.98) and "The Lampies: Bikey" ($9.98) from PorchLight Entertainment. (Posted June 24)
"Journey to 10,000 B.C." (2008) is a History Channel documentary using computer animation to explore the world where giant ground sloths and saber-toothed cats roamed; timed for the DVD release of the theatrical "10,000 B.C."; $19.95 from A&E Home Video ... "Birth of a Civilization" is a National Geographic Channel epic account of the first 8,000 years of our civilization, from humankind's emergence on the planet through the continued quest to dominate the world; $19.98 from Warner ... "Homemade Hillbilly Jam" (2007) is an enjoyable documentary that captures the rich and wonderful sounds of Ozark "hillbilly" music by following three families of modern-day hillbillies back to the roots of their music-making heritage, $24.95 from First Run Features ... "Where Is Jimmy Hoffa?" is a documentary that explores the life and disappearance of the Teamsters Union's Hoffa; $14.98 from MPI Home Video ... "Don't Call Me Bugsy" is a documentary about the gangster who founded Las Vegas; $14.98 from MPI Home Video. (Posted June 24)
Due this week from the folks at The Criterion Collection is French director Claude Sautet's 1960 noir thriller"Classe Tous Risques" starring Lino Ventura and Jean-Paul Belmondo, with music by Georges Delerue; in a new, restored high-definition digital transfer. Though sentenced to death in absentia in France, former gangland chief Abel Davos (Lino Ventura) sneaks back to Paris with his children after hiding out in Milan for nearly a decade. Accompanied by appointed guardian Eric Stark (Jean-Paul Belmondo, in his first release after "Breathless") and beset by backstabbing former friends, Abel begins a journey through the postwar Parisian underworld that's both throat grabbing and soul searching. A character study of a career criminal at the end of his rope, this rugged noir is a thrilling highlight of sixties French cinema. The copious extras include a documentary on the director, archival interview footage featuring actor Lino Ventura discussing his career, original French and U.S. release trailers, new essays by director Bertrand Tavernier and critic N. T. Binh, a reprinted interview with Sautet, and a tribute by Jean-Pierre Melville. (Posted June 17)
For lighter fare there's Fox's "Carmen Miranda Collection,"
a five-disc set with five films starring the "Brazilian Bombshell"; $49.98 or $14.98 each: "The Gang's All Here," "Doll Face," "Greenwich Village,"
"If I'm Lucky" and "Something For the Boys" ... "Popeye the Sailor 1938-1940 Volume Two" is a two-disc set with 31 remastered, uncut "Popeye" shorts, $34.98 from Warner. (Posted June 17)
From TV to Video:
Due this week: "Blood +: Volume Two," five episodes of the Adult Swim animated series, $24.96 from Sony ... "Burn Notice: Season One," a four-disc set with 11 episodes, released just in time for the start of Season Two, $69.98 from Fox ..."Californication," a two-disc set with 12 episodes, $42.99 from Paramount ... "Dynasty: Season Three, Volume One," a three-disc set, $36.99 from Paramount ... "ER: The Complete Ninth Season," a six-disc set with 22 episodes, $49.98 from Warner ... "Jericho: The Second Season," a two-disc set with the final seven episodes, $29.99 from Paramount ... "The Real McCoys: Complete Season 3," a five-disc set with 39 episodes, $39.98 from Infinity Entertainment Group ... "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch: The Fourth Season," a three-disc set with 22 episodes, $42.99 from Paramount. (Posted June 17)
Buzzin' the 'B's:
"Chaos Theory" (2008), starring Ryan Reynolds, Emily Mortimer, Stuart Townsend, is the story of Frank Allen (Ryan Reynolds), celebrated author of the bestseller "The Five Minute Efficiency Trainer," who has perfected the art of living via a foolproof system of timetables and index cards. Frank's wife finds his obsession charming in small doses, but as a steady diet, frustrating and, one morning, she attempts to loosen his scheduling stranglehold by adding 10 minutes to his day, inadvertently unleashing a series of mishaps that turn his meticulously ordered life upside down; from Warner ... "The Sitter (aka While the Children Sleep)" (2007) stars Gail O'Grady, William R. Moses and Mariana Klaveno in a thriller about the perfect live-in nanny who begins to arouse suspicion among friends and neighbors when, one by one, they start dying; from Genius Products ...
A young federal agent is assigned to a new case: spy on his mother and her new lover, both suspects in an art theft ring, in "My Mom's New Boyfriend" (2008), starring Antonio Banderas, Meg Ryan, Colin Hanks and Selma Blair, from Sony ... Director Alison Eastwood's harrowing "Rails & Ties" (2005), starring Kevin Bacon and Marcia Gay Harden, begins on a beautiful stretch of California coastline, where a suicidal mother parks her car on a railroad crossing and awaits the arrival of a speeding train, the sleek and unstoppable Coastal Starlight; the film explores two families in physical, emotional and psychological collision -- of the victim's relatives and of the train engineer who couldn't possibly have stopped in time; from Warner ... Abruptly ejected from her ritzy lifestyle by her billionaire father, a spoiled heiress resorts to desperate measures to survive: she joins with her loser boyfriend to embark on a modern-day Bonnie & Clyde heist, only to botch the robbery attempt, in "Cut Off" (2005), starring Amanda Brooks, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Malcolm McDowell, Faye Dunaway and Anne Archer, from Union Station Media/Anchor Bay Entertainment ... "Quarter Life Crisis"
(2006), stars Russell Peters, Maulik Pancholy and Lisa Ray in a romantic comedy that follows a group of twentysomethings as they take on the New York singles scene, from Echo Bridge Entertainment ... "Just Add Water" (2007), starring Dylan Walsh, Jonah Hill, Justin Long, Danny DeVito, Tracy Middendorf and Anika Noni Rose, is an offbeat comedy about a mild-mannered parking-lot attendant and his motley crew of friends who beat the odds, taking back control of their dead-end desert town from local thugs, from Sony ... "It's a Boy Girl Thing" (2006), starring Samaire Armstrong, Kevin Zegers, Sherry Miller, Sharon Osbourne and Maury Chaykin, is a romantic comedy about two high school enemies -- a boy and a girl -- who switch bodies so that she's on the football team and he's wearing mini skirts and make-up, from Anchor Bay ... "The Restless"
(2006 -- South Korea) is an Asian fantasy actioner about good vs. evil in a medieval world were dead souls rest before being reincarnated. from Genius Products. (Posted June 17)
For the Family:
Due this week: "The Jungle Book 2: Special Edition" (2003), with the voices of John Goodman, Haley Joel Osment, John Rhys-Davies and Phil Collins; $29.99 from Disney ... "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody: Lip Synchin' in the Rain" features four episodes from the Disney Channel show; $19.99 from Disney ... "Transformers Animated: Transform & Roll Out" is a Cartoon Network adventure, $16.99 from Paramount ... "The Sword in the Stone: 45th Anniversary Edition" (1963) fetaures the voices of Norman Alden and Sebastian Cabot; $29.99 from Disney ... "Inspector Gadget: Big Little Problems"
features two episodes from the popular 1980s animated television series: "Gadget In Minimadness" and "The Incredible Shrinking Gadget"; $14.98 from Fox. (Posted June 17)
"Joy Division" is a retrospective documentary on the influential 1970s English rock band directed by music video veteran Grant Gee that chronicles the band's progression as well as social and external conditions that influenced them; the feature blends archival footage with interviews with band member interviews; from The Weinstein Co./Genius Products ... Animal Planet/Genius Products has two "wild" releases this week: "Meerkat Manor: Season Three," a two-disc set with 13 episodes, $24.95; and "Meerkat Manor: The Story Begins." (Posted June 17)
Due this week: "Icons of Adventure," a two-disc set with four classic action-adventure films from the legendary Hammer Studios: "The Stranglers of Bombay" (1960) and three films featuring legendary horror icon Christopher Lee, "The Devil-Ship Pirates" (1964), "The Terror of the Tongs" (1961) and "The Pirates of Blood River" (1962). Extras include commentary on each film, the 1935 short subject "Hot Paprika," the 1936 color cartoon "The Merry Mutineers" and the first chapter of the action-packed serial "The Great Adventures of Captain Kidd"; from Sony. (Posted June 10)
From TV to Video:
"American Gangster: The Complete Second Season," a three-disc set with 10 episodes, $36.99 from Paramount ... "Army Wives: The Complete First Season," a three-disc set with 13 episodes, $39.99 from Disney ... "The Boondocks: The Complete Second Season -- Uncut and Uncensored," a three-disc set with 13 episodes, $49.95 from Sony ... "City of Vice" (2008), a two-disc set of the British true crime series that pits magistrate Henry Fielding (Ian McDiarmid) and his brother John (Iain Glen) against the teeming criminal underworld of 18th century London; $29.98 from Koch Vision ... "Da Vinci's Inquest, Season 3,"
a four-disc set with 13 episodes of the Canadian series following the crusading and charismatic coroner of the city of Vancouver; $59.99 from Acorn Media ... "The Dukes of Hazzard: TV Double Feature," a two-disc set with "Dukes of Hazzard: Reunion!" and "Dukes of Hazzard: Hazzard in Hollywood," $24.98 from Warner ... "Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes -- The Complete First Season" is a four-disc set with 26 episodes, $39.98 from Fox ... "The Fugitive: Season Two, Volume One"
(1964), a four-disc set with 15 episodes, $42.99 from Paramount ... "Hawaii Five-O: Season Four" (1971-72), a six-disc set with 24 epiodes, $54.99 from Paramount ... "Home Improvement: The Complete Eighth Season," a three-disc set with 27 episodes, from Disney ... "Intervention Season One: Then and Now," featuring four episodes from A&E's unscripted series about interventions, with "Where Are They Now?" follow-ups, $29.95 from A&E Home Video ... "John Adams" (2008), a three-disc set of the seven-part miniseries that aired on HBO this March, starring Paul Giamatti, Laura Linney, Stephen Dillane, Tom Wilkinson and David Morse; from HBO Video ... "The Odd Couple: The Fourth Season" (1973-74),a four-disc set with 22 episodes, $42.99 from Paramount ... "7th heaven: The Sixth Season"
(2001-02), a six-disc set with 22 episodes, $49.99 from Paramount ... "Soap: The Complete Series," a 12-disc set with 90 episodes, $59.95 from Sony ... "What's Happening!!: The Complete Series," a nine-disc set with 65 episodes, $59.95 from Sony. (Posted June 10)
Buzzin' the 'B's:
"Otis" (2008) stars Daniel Stern, Illeana Douglas, Kevin Pollack, Jere Burns, Tarah Paige, Lawrence Hilton-Jacob, Jamie McBride, K.T. Thangavelu, Gary Kraus and Angelo Custino in a black comedy that chronicles an all-American family's collision with the dark world of a serial killer, vigilantism and revenge. Scored throughout with classic rock tunes from Blue Oyster Cult, Talking Heads, B-52's, Quiet Riot, Flock of Seaguls, Devo, Paul Revere and the Raiders and The Shocking Blue. The fourth feature under Warners' "Raw Feed" production banner for edgy horror, sci fi and psychological thrillers ... When a young guy is publicly humiliated on national television by popular talk show host "Dr. Dwayne," he falls into a serious funk until his friends force him to join them on a cross-country road trip in a home-made wiener-mobile to smack down the Dr. in "Wieners" (2008), starring Kenan Thompson, Zachary Levi, Fran Kranz and Darrell Hammond, from Sony ...
A young man finds that his family inheritance has been bequeathed to a secret society, a treacherous blood covenant that guards a vast fortune and a dark prophecy in "The List" (2007), starring Malcolm McDowell, Chuck Carrington, Hilarie Burton and Will Patton, from Fox ... In "The Planet" (2006), a group of mercenaries are forced to evacuate their dying spacecraft and find themselves stranded on a desolate, barren world, where they begin to fall prey to a malevolent force -- a force that turns the souls of their fallen comrades against them, from MTI Home Video ... "Finish Line: Unrated" (2008)is a telefilm about an ambitious man with race car dreams who's drawn into the shady underworld of illegal arms trading, starring
Scott Baio, Samuel Page, Taylor Cole and Dan Lauria, from Genius Products ... "Shark Swarm" (2008) stars Daryl Hannah, Armand Assante, John Schneider, Heather McComb and F. Murray Abraham in a telefilm about 40 mutant sharks attacking the people of Full Moon Bay, from Genius Products ... Three cops team up to bring down a criminal gang in the Hong Kong actioner "Invisible Target" (2008), starring Jacky Wu Jing, Shawn Yue, Nicholas Tse, Jaycee Chan, Andy On and Lin Feng-Jiao, from the Dragon Dynasty label of The Weinstein Co./Genius Products ... "Razor Eaters"
(2003) is a revenge flick following a week-long anarchistic rampage of violence, death, and destruction by a group called the Razor Eater who take suburbia prisoner, gaining a cult following by taping their attacks on all who deserve punishment: corrupt politicians, arrogant sports stars, filthy drug dealers and more; from Echo Bridge Home Entertainment. (Posted June 10)
On the Indie Front:
Set in the world of professional poker, "The Grand"
(2007), starring Woody Harrelson, David Cross, Dennis Farina, Cheryl Hines, Richard Kind, Chris Parnell, Jason Alexander, Ray Romano, Michael McKean, Shannon Elizabeth, Hank Azaria, Werner Herzog and Gabe Kaplan, follows a group of players as they struggle to get to the final table at the Grand Championship of Poker held at The Rabbit's Foot Casino; from Anchor Bay. (Posted June 10)
"King" (2008) is a feature-length History Channel special with Tom Brokaw that chronicles the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, featuring interviews with King's son, Bill Clinton, Harry Belafonte, Forest Whitaker, others; $24.95 from A&E Home Video ... "The Rock: The Most Electrifying Man in Sports Entertainment" (2008) is a three-disc set packed with hours of The Rock's greatest matches, $34.95 from World Wrestling Entertainment/Genius Products ... "When the Moors Ruled in Europe" is a fascinating two-part documentary covering the 700-year history of Islamic rule on the Iberian Peninsula, $24.99 from Acorn Media. (Posted June 10)
Due this week as part of Warner Bros.' 85th anniversary celebration is the "Dirty Harry Special Edition" and the "Dirty Harry Ultimate Collector's Edition." The two-disc set of "Dirty Harry" (1971), directed by Don Siegel and starring Clint Eastwood, Harry Guardino, John Mitchum, Reni Santoni, John Vernon, Andrew Robinson and Josef Sommer, features such extras as commentary by film historian Richard Schickel; a new featurette "The Long Shadow of Dirty Harry," an examination of the influence and legacy of Dirty Harry; a "Dirty Harry: The Original" featurette; "Dirty Harry's Way" promotional short on the movie; an interview gallery; more. The Ultimate set contains all five "Dirty Harry" films, new commentaries and featurettes, a 40-page hard cover "Dirty Harry" retrospective book, a replica Harry Callahan wallet with Inspector's badge and ID card, a "Scorpio: Portrait of a Killer" poster, six "Dirty Harry" cards, production letters, more. Both sets are also available on Blu-ray Disc. (Posted June 3)
Lionsgate has just launched its Meridian Collection, a compilation of acclaimed, groundbreaking and influential films from around the world, all digitally remastered. The first two releases: "Diva" (1981), director Jean-Jacques Beineix's stylish French thriller about a young Parisian mail courier, content with his bohemian lifestyle, his circle of friends and listening to opera, who makes an illegal tape of an American diva and gets involved with criminals and crooked cops when the tape is confused with one implicating a police chief with the mob; and "The Red Violin"
(1998), starring Samuel L. Jackson, Carlo Cecchi, Irene Grazioli, Jean-Luc Bideau, Greta Scacchi, Jason Flemyng, Colm Feore and Don McKellar, in a multifaceted tale in which an appraiser traces the vast, storied history of a priceless violin across numerous countries and generations. (Posted June 3)
From TV to Video:
Due this week: "American Gangster: The Complete Second Season," a two-disc set of the documentary BET series that looks at some of the 20th century's most notorious African-American crime figures, $36.99 from Paramount ... "The Andromeda Strain," a two-disc set of the recent A&E miniseries starring Benjamin Bratt, $29.98 from Universal ... "Doctor Who: Beneath the Surface," a four-disc set featuring "Doctor Who and the Silurians" (seven episodes), "The Sea Devils" (six episodes) and "Warriors of the Deep" (four episodes); $59.98 from Warner ... "Flavor of Love: Season 3," a four-disc set with all five uncensored episodes, $34.97 from Anchor Bay ... "Get Smart: The Complete Series" in which Don Adams and Barbara Feldon reprise their roles as Maxwell Smart and Agent 99 in the short-lived 1995 update of the classic "Get Smart," on a single-disc with all seven episodes, $19.95 from Sony ... "I Love New York: Season 2," a three-disc set with 11 episodes of the sleazy realty series, $34.97 from Anchor Bay ... "The Incredible Hulk: The Complete Third Season," a five-disc set with 23 episodes, $39.98. from Universal ... "Mannix: The First Season"(1967), a six-disc set with 24 episodes, $49.99 from Paramount ... "The Incredible Hulk: The Complete Fourth Season," a four-disc set with 18 episodes, $39.98 from Universal ... "Rescue Me: The Complete Fourth Season,"
a four-disc set with 13 episodes, $49.95 from Sony. (Posted June 3)
Buzzin' the 'B's:
In "Mama's Boy" (2007), starring Jeff Daniels, Anna Faris, Jon Heder, Diane Keaton, Chris Kerner, Rue McClanahan and Dorian Missick, a 29-year-old slacker who lives with his mom realizes his sweet set-up is threatened when she hears wedding bells with her self-help guru beau, from Warner ... "Flawless" (2008) stars Demi Moore and Michael Caine in a crime-drama set in 1960s London, where a soon-to-retire janitor (Caine) convinces a glass-ceiling constrained American executive (Moore) to help him steal a handful of diamonds from their employer, the London Diamond Corporation, who he feels has done them wrong, from Magnolia Home Entertainment ... A deranged group of strangers -- including a transsexual prostitute, a runaway virgin, a gorgeous gun-wielding ex-con and a porn king -- cross paths at a bachelor party in "American Crude"
(2007), starring Rob Schneider, Ron Livingston, Jennifer Esposito, Michael Clarke Duncan and John C. McGinley, from Sony ... "Boarding Gate" (2008) is the new film from acclaimed and adventurous French filmmaker Olivier Assayas. In the erotic noir-thriller, Asia Argento plays sexy ex-prostitute Sandra who is forced to leave London after a steamy S&M encounter with a debt ridden ex-financial big gun (Michael Madsen) ends in violence. Fleeing to Hong Kong in search of a fresh start, she becomes involved with an attractive young couple, Lester (Carl Ng) and Sue (Kelly Lin), who promise to help her obtain papers and money. But it turns out that Lester is actually a hit man hired to kill the financial big gun; from Magnolia Home Entertainment ... When whiskey-soaked ex-lawmen Preston Biggs (Kevin Sorbo) is hired to escort a group of women suffering from "prairie fever" back to civilization, he's met by a murderous gang intent on stopping their passage in "Prairie Fever" (2008), co-starring Lance Henrickson, Jamie Ann Allman and Dominque Swain, from Genius Entertainment ... "Remember the Daze" (2005) is a coming-of-age tale that revolves around the chaos of the celebration of the last day of school in a small town, starring Leighton Meester, Amber Heard, Alexa Vega, Melonie Diaz and Lyndsy Fonseca, from First Look Studios. (Posted June 3)
For baseball fans this week there's two nifty releases from A&E Home Video: "Boston Red Sox: Essential Games of Fenway Collector's Edition," a six-game, six-disc collection commemorating Boston's Fenway Park, spanning five decades of promise, heartache and jubilation etched in Red Sox history; and "New York Mets: Essential Games of Shea Stadium," a six-disc set with six complete, unedited games that best define the history of the New York Mets and showcase the splendor of Shea Stadium (2008 will commemorate the last year that Shea Stadium will see action on its field); $59.95 each ... In a comedy vein there's "Vince Vaughn's Wild West Comedy Show" (2008), a documentary that follows Vaughn and four stand-up comedians as they travel the country -- subtitled "30 days and 30 nights - Hollywood to the Heartland," from New Line; and "The Onion Movie" (2008), based on the wildly popular satirical newspaper, offering uncensored, uninhibited, unrated news and views from around the world, from Fox ... Finally, there's "The Animation Show: Volume 3" (2007), 16 short films compiled by Mike Judge and Don Hertzfeldt highlighting the best work from The Animation Show's 2007 theatrical program; with an introduction by Beavis and Butt-head; $19.99 from Paramount. (Posted June 3)
Due this week, from the sublime to the absurd: "The Thief of Bagdad" (1940), co-directed by Michael Powell and Ludwig Berger and starring Conrad Veidt, Sabu, John Justin, June Duprez and Rex Ingram, in a restored digital transfer loaded with extras, from The Criterion Collection ... "The Dario Argento Box Set," a five-disc set with "Tenebre," "Phenomena," "Trauma," "The Card Player" and "Do You Like Hitchcock?" remastered from original vault elements and presented uncut and uncensored; $19.97 from Anchor Bay ... "The Three Stooges Collection Volume Two: 1937-1939," a two-disc set with 24 digitally remastered shorts, chronologically organized by the original release dates; $24.96 from Sony. (Posted May 26)
From TV to Video:
"Absolutely Fabulous: Absolutely Everything," a nine-disc set with the complete series, plus four hours of extras, housed in a silver-quilted photo journal, $129.98 from BBC Video/Warner ... "The Color Honeymooners Collection #3," a three-disc set with 12 episodes of the Jackie Gleason show that aired from Miami Beach in 1966-70, $39.98 from MPI Home Video ... "Cory in the House: Newt and Improved Edition," four episodes, from Disney ... "Cranford" (2005), the PBS Masterpiece Theatre series adapted from Mary Gaskell's classic novels of small town gossip, secrets and romance, starring Judi Dench, Imelda Staunton, Michael Gambon, Eileen Atkins, from BBC Video/Warner ... "The Grand: Complete Collection," a five-disc set with all 18 episodes of the British series that takes place at an opulent hotel in Manchester, England during the Roaring '20s; $59.99 from Acorn Media ... "Gunsmoke: The Second Season, Volume Two" (1957), a three-disc set with 19 episodes, $39.99 from Paramount ... "Holocaust," a three-disc set of the 1978 miniseries starring Joseph Bottoms, Tovah Feldshuh, Rosemary Harris, Ian Holm, Michael Moriarty, Meryl Streep, David Warner, James Woods and Fritz Weaver; $29.99 from Paramount ... "The Invaders: The First Season," a five-disc set with 17 episodes of the classic alien invader series starring Roy Thinnes, $39.99 from Paramount ... "Lipstick Jungle: Season One," a two-disc set with seven episodes, $29.98 from Universal ... "Rawhide: Season Three, Volume One" (1960-61), a four-disc set with 15 episodes, $42.99 from Paramount ... "Time for Murder," a two-disc set of the classic mid-1980s series featuring tales of mystery and suspense by six of Britain's finest writers, $39.99 from Acorn Media. (Posted May 26)
Buzzin' the 'B's:
Due this week: Two Dragon Dynasty Hong Kong releases from The Weinstein Company and Genius Products: "Come Drink With Me" (1966), in which a female agent, Golden Swallow, infiltrates an evil gang of bandits with the help of kung fu master Drunken Cat in order to rescue her brother, starring Cheng Pei-pei, Yueh Wah and Jackie Chan; and "Heroes of the East"
(1979), about a Chinese kung fu master who mistakenly insults the family of his new Japanese bride and must go to extremes to salvage his honor, starring Gordon Liu ... "The Take" (2007), starring John Leguizamo, Tyrese Gibson, Rosie Perez, Bobby Cannavale and Roger Guenveur Smith in a thriller about an armored car driver struggling to make ends meet for his wife and two kids in East L.A.'s Boyle Heights neighborhood whose life is thrown into chaos after he miraculously survives a hijacking and becomes obsessed with tracking down his attackers, from Sony ... "Cleaner" (2007), about an ex-cop who makes his living decontaminating and cleaning up crime scenes, directed by Renny Harlin and starring Samuel L. Jackson, Ed Harris, Eva Mendes, Luis Guzman and Robert Forster, from Sony ... "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" (2008) stars Dougray Scott, Krista Bridges and Tom Skerritt in an updated remake of Robert Louis Stevenson's classic in which Jekyll is transformed into Hyde by toxic chemicals, from Genius Entertainment ... In "Valentina's Tango" (2007) a beautiful tango dancer slowly slips into insanity while her loved ones do everything in their power to salvage the damaged woman's mental health as they too become caught up by the madness that consumes her, from MTI Home Video ... Eight rebellious young adults are sent to do community service at Grizzly Park where they're hunted by an escaped serial killer as well as by the animals of the forest in "Grizzly Park" (2008), starring Glenn Morshower, Randy Wayne, Zulay Henao, Emily Foxler and Brody the Bear, from Allumination FilmWorks. (Posted May 26)
On the Indie Front:
Set in Washington, D.C., Paul Schrader's 2007 chamber drama of sorts "The Walker" (2007) follows Carter Page (Woody Harrelson), a popular socialite who serves as confidant, companion and card player to the wives of the most powerful men in America. When his dearest friend (Kristin Scott Thomas ) finds herself on the brink of scandal, he covers for her, only to find himself the chief suspect in a criminal investigation -- and ostracized by the ladies' club. Wonderful performance by Harrelson and the ladies -- including Lauren Bacall, Mary Beth Hurt and Lily Tomlin -- but the film gets bogged down by a weak script. From ThinkFilm. (Posted May 26)
For the Family:
For the wee one's this week there's "Diary of a Spider ... And More Cute Critter Stories," Scholastic's latest volume of animated adaptations of award-winning children's books. The title story, from the best-selling picture book by Doreen Cronin, is a sequel to "Diary of a Worm", but this time, the spider is the star. Includes four more critter stories: "Roberto the Insect Architect," "Norman the Doorman," "The Mysterious Tadpole" and "The Story of the Dancing Frog." $14.95 from Scholastic Storybook Treasures ... "ZakLand: The Shiny Surprise" (2005) is a live-action/animated world filled with music and fun featuring Zak Morgan and his friends Marty the Bullfrog, Uncle Hank and the Can-Can Twins, for kids 3 to 8, $14.98 from Porchlight Entertainment ... for older kids there's "He-Man and the
Masters of the Universe: Volume Two," a three-disc set with episodes 14-26 from the popular 2002 revival, $26.98 from BCI Entertainment. (Posted May 26)
"Darfur Now" (2007) is a startling documentary that examines the atrocities committed in war-ravaged Darfur, as six individuals traverse the globe with actor Don Cheadle in order to make a difference and lobby for support for this critical cause. Enclosed in environmentally friendly DVD packaging. $4.99 from Warner ... "The Four-Winged Dinosaur: Mircoraptors and the Bird Origin Debate" is a NOVA documentary that investigates fossils of bizarre feathered dinosaurs, which have rekindled a fierce, decades-long debate over the origin of bird flight; $19.95 WGBH Boston Video ... "Full Throttle Adrenaline: Volumes 1 & 2" takes a turbo-charged spin with NASCAR's greatest drivers as they offer insight into the skills and focus needed to stay off the wall and in the victory lane; $24.95 from A&E Home Video ... From Arnold Palmer's opening tee shot to Trevor Immelman's final putt, "Highlights of the 2008 Masters Tournament" is the official DVD of the Masters, with footage not seen on TV, $14.95 from Monarch Home Video ... World Wrestling Entertainment superstars face the fallout from Wrestlemania 24 in "Backlash," a series of bouts featuring WWE staples John Cena, Undertaker, Jeff Hardy, Randy Orton, Kane, CM Punk, and others, $24.95 from Genius Entertainment. (Posted May 26)
Due this week from opposite ends of the cinematic spectrum:
"Eclipse Series #9: The Delirious Fictions of William Klein"
A three-disc set with Klein's explosive, challenging cinema. "Who Are You, Polly Maggoo?" (1966): After a nearly decade as Vogue's most subversive fashion photographer, William Klein made this wild, pseudo-verite peek into the world of Parisian haute couture -- and was summarily released from his contract at the magazine. "Mr. Freedom" (1969): Klein moved into more blatantly political territory with this hilarious, angry Vietnam-era spoof of American foreign policy. Mr. Freedom (John Abbey), a bellowing good ol' boy superhero, decked out in copious football padding, jets off to France to curtail a Commie invasion from Switzerland. "The Model Couple" (1977): In 1977 France, the Ministry of the Future chooses two average, white, middle-class citizens for a national experiment. They will be monitored and displayed for six months in a model apartment outfitted with state-of-the-art products and nonstop surveillance -- the template for "a new city for the new man." $44.95 from The Criterion Collection. (Posted May 19)
"Night of the Living Dead 40th Anniversary Edition"
(1968), directed by George A. Romero and starring Duane Jones and Judith O'Dea. More gore with such extras as commentary by writer-director George A. Romero, producer-actor Karl Hardman, actress Marilyn Eastman and writer John A. Russo; commentary by producer Russel W. Streiner, production manager Vince Survinski, Judith O'Dea, actor Bill Hinzman, actress Kyra Schon and actor Keith Wayne; "One for the Fire: The Legacy of Night of the Living Dead": "Ben Speaks: The Last Interview With Duane Jones"; "Speak of the Dead: A Conversation With Duane Jones"; original theatrical trailer; still gallery; original script DVD-ROM. From the Weinstein Co./Genius Products. (Posted May 19)
From TV to Video:
"Amongst Women" is a two-disc set of the 1998 Irish miniseries set in 1950s rural Ireland about a brutal, domineering ex-IRA soldier who tries to keep his family together after the death of his wife -- but only succeeds in pushing his daughters and sons away; $34.98 from BFS Entertainment ... "The Bill Engvall Show: The Complete First Season" is a single disc with eight episodes, $19.98 from Warner .. "Dangerous Assignment: The Complete Television Collection"
(1952-53) is af four-disc set with all 39 episodes of the action-packed (and violent for its time) television series that follows the adventures of U.S. Government agent Steve Mitchell (Brian Donlevy, who originated the role on radio) as he traveled the globe investigating cases of espionage, sabotage and other threats to national security. As was the norm for that time, all the action was on sound stages and the villains were stereotyped, making the show a quaint return to a bygone (and less complex) era; $39.98 from Infinity Entertainment ... "Exes & Ohs: The Complete First Season" features all six episodes from TV's first-ever scripted dramedy about lesbians, $19.99 from Paramount ... "Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C: The Fourth Season" (1967-68) is a fve-disc set with 30 episodes, $42,99 from Paramount ... "JAG: The Sixth Season" (2000-01) is a six-disc set with 24 episodes, $64.99 from Paramount ... "The Jeff Corwin Experience: Season Two" is a three-disc set with 13 episodes, $24.95 from Animal Planet/Genius Products ... In "The New Maverick"
(1978), James Garner and Jack Kelly reprise their roles as brothers Bret and Bart Maverick from the popular TV show "Maverick.," from Warner ... "Penn and Teller Bullshit: Season Five" (2007) is a two-disc set with 10 episodes, $29.99 from Paramount ... "Robot Chicken: Star Wars" (2007) is an Adult Swim "Robot Chicken" special with the voices of George Lucas, Joey Fatone, Malcolm McDowell, Breckin Meyer, Conan O'Brien, $14.97 from Warner ... "24 Season One Special Edition" is a seven-disc set with all 24 episodes, $59.98 from Fox. (Posted May 19)
Buzzin' the 'B's:
While training his young female replacement, a hyper-vigilant employee of the Dept. of Public Safety trails a missing girl who he is convinced is connected to a paroled sex offender in "The Flock" (2007), starring Richard Gere, Claire Danes, KaDee Strickland, Russell Sams and Avril Lavigne, from the Weinstein Co./Genius Products ... In "Killing Zelda Sparks"
(2007), starring Colm Feore, Vincent Kartheiser, Sarah Carter and Geoffrey Arend, two old high school buddies decide to pull a vicious prank on meddling Zelda Sparks when she comes home to the small town of New Essex, but are appalled to learn that the prank may have taken a deadly turn, from Warner... After being betrayed by a close friend, a rising gangster finds himself in a deadly fight to stay alive in "A Dirty Carnival"
(2006),a blood-drenched, martial-arts packed crime thriller from South Korea, from Genius Products ... "Lost Colony"
(2007) is a thriller based on one of the most shocking unsolved mysteries in American history: In 1587, over 100 men and women set sail to establish the first English colony in the new Americas. They landed on Roanoke Island off the coast of Virginia, built a settlement, planted crops, began their new lives in a new world, and then, one day, they disappeared ... without a trace; from Allumination FilmWorks. (Posted May 19)
On the Indie Front:
From producer Morgan Spurlock comes "What Would Jesus Buy?" (2007), a documentary that explores the depths of American consumerism during Christmas, as well as throughout the entire year. Join Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping Gospel Choir as they go on a cross-country mission to save Christmas from the Shopocalypse: the end of mankind from consumerism, over-consumption and the fires of eternal debt. In environmentally friendly packaging that uses materials such as recycled paper and fiberboard; from Arts Alliance America. (Posted May 19)
"Vanaja" (2006 -- India) explores the chasm that divides classes in Southern India as a young girl struggles to come of age. Vanaja, a poor fisherman's 14-year-old daughter, goes to work in the house of the local Landlady in hope of learning the Kuchipudi dance, but matters turn ugly when the Landlady's son returns, pitching her into a battle of caste, class, animus and rape; from Emerging Pictures. (Posted May 19)
For the Family:
"Richie Rich/Scooby-Doo Hour: Volume One" is a two-disc set with seven episodes, $26.99 from Warner ... "The Muppet Show: The Complete Third Season" is a four-disc set with 24 episodes, $39.99 from Disney ... "Oban Star-Racers 2: The Oban Cycle" is a two-disc set with all 13 Uncut Episodes of the 2-D and 3-D animated futuristic sci fi series, $19.99 from Shout! Factory. (Posted May 19)
"Ape Genius: What Separates Apes from Humans" is a NOVA documentary that explores the secret mental lives of apes and the crucial gap between ape intellects and our own; $19.95 from WGBH Boston Video ... "The Hunt for John Wilkes Booth" is a History Channel documentary that looks at the 12 suspense-fueled days in April 1865 when John Wilkes Booth shocked America by eluding more than 10,000 Federal troops in one of the greatest manhunts in U.S. history; $19.95 from A&E Home Video ...
"Healing Cancer: From the Inside Out" (2008) takes a look at the cancer industry with a critical eye to its failure to do what it claims to do -- find a cure, $19.95 from Cinema Libre Studio Earth Now ... Four interesting releases from First Run Features arrive this week: "The Reich Underground" (2004 -- Germany), about the long forgotten, sprawling underground labyrinths built by the Nazis to house armament factories are reopened for the first time in decades by a team of experts; "Beyond Hatred" (2007 -- France), a deeply moving, award-winning documentary in which a French family reflects on the vicious murder of their 29-year-old gay son by neofascist skinheads; "Meeting Resistance" (2007), an eye-opening film that raises the veil of anonymity surrounding the Iraqi insurgency by meeting face to face with individuals who are passionately engaged in the struggle against coalition forces; and "Our House" (2002), a groundbreaking documentary that explores what it's like to grow up with gay or lesbian parents; $24.95 each. (Posted May 19)
This is the week for our favorite men, from Frank Sinatra to Indiana Jones to John McClane to John Wayne and Jean Luc-Godard.
It's also a big week for fans of Frank Sinatra, with a profundity of releases -- including DVDs and CD compilations -- to honor the 10th anniversary of the singer-actor's death on May 14, 1998.
Warner Home Video will commemorate "The Chairman of the Board" by releasing a total of 22 of his films in five new collections, with 11 titles brand new to DVD. Capitol/EMI will celebrate Ol' Blue Eyes' musical contributions to many of Hollywood's most memorable films with the release of "Sinatra at the Movies," a new 20-track CD; Rhino Entertainment will release "Nothing but the Best," a single-disc collection from Sinatra's Reprise Years that features 22 classic cuts remixed and remastered from the original master tapes, plus a previously unreleased recording of "Body and Soul" featuring a new arrangement. Turner Classic Movies will run a month-long television film festival of Sinatra films. And the United States Postal Service will release a 42-cent Frank Sinatra commemorative stamp. The initiative is the first from the newly established Frank Sinatra Enterprises. For more on Sinatra, check out
The DVDs, all from Warner: "Frank Sinatra Collection: The Early Years" Five-disc set with "Double Dynamite," "It Happened in Brooklyn," "Step Lively," "Higher and Higher" and "The Kissing Bandit." $39.92 the collection; $12.97 individual titles.
"Frank Sinatra Collection: The Golden Years" Five-disc set with "None but the Brave," "The Man With the Golden Arm," "Some Came Running," "The Tender Trap" and "Marriage on the Rocks." $39.92 the collection; $12.97 individual titles. "Frank Sinatra & Gene Kelly Collection" Three-disc set with "Take Me Out to the Ball Game," "On the Town" and "Anchors Aweigh." $24.98 the collection; $12.97 individual titles. "Frank Sinatra Collection: The Rat Pack Ultimate Collector's Edition" Four-disc set with "Ocean's Eleven," "4 For Texas," "Robin and the 7 Hoods" and
"Sergeant's 3"; $59.92 for the collection; $12.97 individual titles (except &"Sergeant's 3," which is only available as part of the collection). (Warner). "Sinatra" (1992) a two-disc set of the CBS-TV mini-series starring Philip Casnoff , Olympia Dukakis, Joe Santos, Gina Gershon, Nina Siemaszko, Marcia Gay Harden, Bob Gunton and David Raynr. $19.98. (Posted May 12)
More heroes: Leading up to the May 22 release of "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," Paramount will re-release the previous Indy adventures, all loaded with extras: "Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark Special Edition," "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom Special Edition" and "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade Special Edition." ... "Die Hard Ultimate Collection" arrives today in an eight-disc set with all four two-disc Die Hard special editions featuring Bruce Willis as the inimitable John McClane: "Die Hard," "Die Hard 2: Die Harder," "Die Hard With a Vengeance" and "Live Free or Die Hard," from Fox. (Posted May 12)
Fox celebrates the Wild West with its "Fox Western Classic Collection," a three-disc set with "Garden of Evil" (1954), with Gary Cooper, Richard Widmark, Cameron Mitchell and Susan Hayward; "Rawhide" (1951) with Tyrone Power, Susan Hayward, Edgar Buchanan, Hugh Marlowe and Dean Jagger; and "The Gunfighter" (1950) starring Gregory Peck; $25.98 ...
Also from Fox comes a Fox Grandeur Special Edition 70mm widescreen restoration of Raoul Walsh's classic "The Big Trail "
(1930), starring John Wayne, Marguerite Churchill, El Brendel, Tully Marshall. The two-disc set includes a standard full screen version as well as a host of bonus features. (Posted May 12)
French heroes: Koch Lorber Films releases two by Jean-Luc Godard: "La Chinoise" (1968), starring Anne Wiazemsky, Jean-Pierre Leaud, Juliet Berto and Michel Semeniako, restored and re-mastered; and "Le Gai Savoir (The Joy of Knowledge)"
(1968), starring Juliet Berto and Jean-Pierre Leaud ... The Criterion Collection will release two films by Louis Malle: "The Fire Within"
(1963) starring Maurice Ronet and Jeanne Moreau in a new, restored high-definition digital transfer, and "The Lovers"
(1958), starring Jeanne Moreau, Jean-Marc Bory, Alain Cuny and Jose
Luis de Villalonga, in a new, restored high-definition digital transfer of the complete, uncensored version. (Posted May 12)
"Saturday Night Live: The Complete Third Season" offers more of Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, Dan Aykroyd, Jane Curtin, John Belushi, Steve Martin, Al Franken and others, in a seven-disc set with 20 episodes, $69.98, from Universal ... "All You Need Is Love" is a five-disc set with all 17 episodes of Tony Palmer's "Story of Popular Music," a critically acclaimed TV series, originally broadcast worldwide between 1976-80, encompassing ragtime, blues, jazz, vaudeville, the musical, folk, swing, country and western, rock n' roll and beyond. Included are interviews with John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix, Jerry Lee Lewis, Stephen Sondheim, Benny Goodman, Bing Crosby, Mike Oldfield, The Beach Boys, Tina Turner, Sam Phillips, Dave Brubeck, Dizzy Gillespie, Richard Rodgersm Roy Rogers, Bo Diddley, Muddy Waters, Phil Spector, Bill Monroe, Bill Graham, Bill Wyman, Frank Zappa, Eric Clapton and many, many more. $99.95 from MVD Visual. (Posted May 12)
From TV to Video:
Here's a nifty set for collector's: "Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers -- The Collection: Volume 1" is a re-mastered four-disc set with the 1980's animated series' first 32 episodes (available for the first time ever in their proper chronological order). The series combined elements of classic Westerns and space operas with plausible science and logic, pushing the boundaries of children's television programming with thought-provoking story lines and well-developed characters. Featured the voices of Jerry Orbach, Bob Bottone, Maia Anziger, Laura Dean and Earl Hammond. $39.98 from Koch Vision ... "The Adams Chronicles" (1976) is a four-disc set with all 13 episodes of the miniseries that traces 150 years of history through the eyes of John Adams and his heirs, $59.99 from Acorn Media ... "American Idol: Season 6 Finale Performance Show -- The Top 2" is a two-disc set of the May 22, 2007 showdown between Jordin Sparks and Blake Lewis; $19.99 from Koch Vision ... "The Chase" is a two-disc set with eight episodes from the first season of the top-rated British series centered around the goings-on inside a struggling Yorkshire veterinary hospital, $29.98 from Koch Vision ... "DNA" is a two-disc set with five episodes of the British forensics series starring Tom Conti, $39.99 from Acorn Media ... "Drawn Together: Season Three -- Uncensored!" is a two-disc set with all 14 episodes from the third and final season, $26.99 from Paramount ... "The Magnificent Seven Complete Series Giftset" is a five-disc set with 17 episodes from the series' two seasons, plus four never-aired episodes, $49.98 from MGM ... "Mission Impossible: The Fourth TV Season" (1969-70) is a seven-disc set with 26 episodes, $54.99 from Paramount ... "The Rat Patrol Complete Series Giftset" is a seven-disc set with all 58 episodes, $49.98 from MGM ... "Stargate Infinity: The Complete Series" is a four-disc set with all 26 animated episodes, $34.99 from Shout! Factory ... "Twelfth Night"
(1969) stars Tommy Steele, Ralph Richardson, Alec Guinness and Joan Plowright in this "ITV Saturday Night Theatre" version of the Bard's confection, $24.98 from Koch Vision ... "Two and a Half Men: The Complete Third Season" is a four-disc set with 22 episodes, $44.98 from Warner. (Posted May 12)
Buzzin' the 'B's:
During a heist in Russia, a professional thief (Stephen Dorff) finds himself dealing with twin serial killers, insane hostages, double-crossing psycho Russian hardmen and the real possibility of a horrible death in "Botched" (2007), starring Alan Smyth and Stephen Dorff, from Warner ... In "Cover" (2008), starring Vivica A. Fox, Aunjanue Ellis, Razaaq Adoti, Paula Jay Parker, Louis Gossett Jr., Leon, Patti LaBelle and Mya, a passionate murder leaves a devoted wife and mother as the primary suspect, from Fox ... Forced into hiding after their kidnapping plan goes awry, two rival siblings find themselves fighting for their sanity while they hole up in a secluded country cottage and come face-to-face with their psychotic axe-wielding neighbor -- a demented farmer with a dark, nasty secret, in "The Cottage" (2008) starring Andy Serkis, Jennifer Ellison and Reece Shearsmith, from Sony ... In "Graduation"
(2006), starring Shannon Lucio, Riley Smith, Chris Marquette, Chris Lowell, Adam Arkin and Aimee Garcia, four high school friends -- just short of graduation -- plan a bank robbery to help one of their friends in need of financial assistance, from Magnolia Home Entertainment ... In "Blind Eye"
(2006), starring Nick Mancuso, Levi Oliver and Roddy Piper, an ex-cop is called by his estranged wife to help find their missing daughter, only to discover that there's more to the disappearance than his "friends" are letting on, from MTI Home Video ... "The Shadow Riders"
(1982) stars Tom Selleck, Sam Elliott, Ben Johnson, Geoffrey Lewis and Katharine Ross in a CBS Western telefilm based on the best-selling novel by Louis L'Amour, from Sony ... "Aces N' Eights"
(2008) is a Westerner about ranchers who refuse to sell to the railroad, starring Ernest Borgnine, Casper Van Dien, Deirdre Quinn and Bruce Boxleitner, from Genius Products ... An undercover FBI agent who agrees to infiltrate the ruthless underground world of "choppers" is quickly thrown into a world of fast cars and high stakes in "Crash and Burn: Unrated" (2008), starring Erik Palladino and Michael Madsen, from Genius Products ... In "Bet Your Life" (2004), starring Sean Carrigan, Corinne Van Ryck de Groot and Billy Zane, a gambling addict bets his life against a sadistic millionaire's money, from Warner. (Posted May 12)
On the Indie Front:
"Bon Cop, Bad Cop" (2006) stars Colm Feore and Patrick Huard in a comedy thriller about an unlikely pair of cops -- one from Montreal who only speaks French and one from Toronto who only speaks English -- who team up to investigate a serial murderer who drapes a dead body over the border sign dividing Ontario and Quebec, from BFS Entertainment ... In "Numb" (2007), starring Matthew Perry, Kevin Pollak and Mary Steenburgen, a chronically depressed screenwriter desperately tries to cure his condition when he meets the girl of his dreams, from Image Entertainment ...
When the life of a mega film star (Randy Travis) is destroyed right before the most important day of his life, his faith is put to the ultimate test in "The Wager" (2007), starring Randy Travis, Nancy Stafford, Jude Ciccolella and Candace Cameron Bure, from Genius Products ... Set in Georgia, "Crystal River" (2008) is a romantic drama about a married woman who, grieving her inability to have children, finds comfort and healing in her friendship with another man, starring Emily Carpenter and Sean Patrick Flannery, from Lifesize Entertainment ... "A Good Man Is Hard to Find" (2008) stars Deborah Cox, Golden Brooks and Hill Harper in an adaptation of the gospel stage play about the roles of black women in the 21st century, from Fox. (Posted May 12)
For the Family:
In "Sesame Street: Dinosaurs" Elmo and Telly Monster invite pint-sized paleontologists in-training to use their imaginations to learn more about the Earth's ancient inhabitants; $14.93 from Genius Products ... "Garfield and Friends: A Cat and His Hero" is a single-disc with15 episodes of the "Garfield & Friends" series, picked by creator Jim Davis, $14.98 from Fox ... "The Care Bears: Ups & Downs" features two episodes from the CBS Saturday morning cartoons, $14.98 from Fox ... "The Care Bears: Share N' Summertime" includes four episodes from the CBS Saturday morning cartoons, $14.98 from Fox ... "Summertime Fun!" is a collection of five Summertime-themed episodes from "Barney," "Bob the Builder," "Thomas & Friends," "Angelina Ballerina" and "Fireman Sam," $14.98 from HIT Entertainment/Fox ... In "Bob the Builder: The Three Musketruck" Bob the Builder and his Can-Do Crew welcome friends Meg MacDonald, a Scottish dairy farmer, her assistant Piper and their dairy truck Dodger to Sunflower Valley in five new adventures for preschoolers, $14.98 from HIT/Fox. (Posted May 12)
"Hiya, Kids!! A '50s Saturday Morning." is a four-disc set with the best kids' TV programs from the infancy of the genre, with 21 episodes culled from some of America's iconic television classics, including "Kukla, Fran and Ollie," "Howdy Doody," "Lassie," "Annie Oakley," "Flash Gordon," "Time for Beany," "The Paul Winchell Show," "The Roy Rogers Show," "Captain Z-RO," "The Rootie Kazootie Club," "Winky Dink and You," "Super Circus," "Andy's Gang," "The Cisco Kid," "Sky King," "The Magic Clown," Kids and Company," "Juvenile Jury," "The Pinky Lee Show" and "Sheena, Queen of the Jungle." Each DVD in the set is designed like a Saturday morning programming block from the era, with shows for the very young first on the menu. As the older siblings "wake up," the programs become more and more "sophisticated; $34.99 from Shout! Factory ... "The 2007 Academy Award Nominated Short Films" (2008) highlights the short works honored at the 80th Annual Academy Awards ceremony as well as the nominees. Includes Oscar winners "Mozart Des Pickpockets" (live-action) and "Peter & the Wolf" (animated) as well as Live Action Short Film nominees "At Night," "Il Supplente ( The Substitute)," "Tanghi Argentini" and "The Tonto Woman"; and Animated Short Film nominees "Madame Tutli-Putli" and "Meme Les Pigeons Vont Au Paradis (Even Pigeons Go Heaven)." From Magnolia Home Entertainment. (Posted May 5)
From TV to Video:
Due this week: "Bewitched: The Complete Sixth Season," a four-disc set with 30 episodes, $39.95 from Sony ... "The 4400: The Final Season," a four-disc set with 13 episodes, $42.99 from Paramount ... "Square Pegs: The Complete Series," a three-disc set with 19 episodes of the 1982 series that starred Sarah Jessica Parker, Jamie Gertz, Amy Linker, Tracy Nelson, from Sony. (Posted May 5)
Buzzin' the 'B's:
Highlight of the week is "Teeth!" (2007), a fascinating black comedy/horror tale about an innocent teenager who discovers quite by accident that she's developed choppers in the most unexpected place; stars Jess Weixler and John Hensley, from Weinstein Co./Genius products ... "Moola" (2007) stars William Mapother, Daniel Baldwin, Efren Ramirez, Charlotte Ross, Curtis Armstrong and Annabelle Gurwitch in a comedy about two best friends/business partners whose business and marriages are on the rocks -- until a huge deal unexpectedly materializes and promises to change their lives forever, from Allumination FilmWorks ... "Azumi 2"
(2008) stars Aya Ueto, Shun Oguri and Chiaki Kuriyama in a sequel to the popular Japanese actioner featuring a female samurai assassin who tries to prevent a civil war in feudal Japan, from Urban Vision Entertainment ... In "Senior Skip Day" (2008), high school seniors plan the party of the year with gorgeous models, stripteases, a gigantic gravity bong, a funeral and some crepes; stars Larry Miller, Gary Lundy, Tara Reid, Lea Thompson, Norm MacDonald and Clint Howard, from First Look Studios ... In "Grizzly Rage" (2007),a group of high school grads accidentally hit a bear cub with their car and must fend off a massive mother grizzly hell-bent on revenge, from Magnolia Home Entertainment. (Posted May 5)
On the Indie Front:
"Delirious" (2007), directed by Tom DiCillo and starring Steve Buscemi, Michael Pitt, Gina Gershon and Alison Lohman, is an offbeat drama about a homeless youth, a pop music siren and a member of the paparazzi, from Genius Products ... "I Really Hate My Job"
(2007), starring Neve Campbell and Shirley Henderson, focuses on one steamy night in the lives of five feisty women stuck in a second-rate London restaurant: three waitresses, one cook and a dishwasher who see themselves as an artist, an actor, a lover, an author and a revolutionary, from Magnolia Home Entertainment ... "Steel City" (2006), starring John Heard, Thomas Guiry, America Ferrera, Clayne Crawford and Laurie Metcalf, is the emotional story of two working-class brothers who must cope with their recently incarcerated father, from Peace Arch Home Entertainment ... "Tre" is a steamy outing that explores marriage, love, work and family by following the amorous adventures of two couples thrown together by fate, from Cinema Libre Studio ... "Neo Ned"
(2005), starring Jeremy Renner, Gabrielle Union, Cary Elwes, Eddie Kay Thomas, Sally Kirkland and Ethan Suplee, is a unique take on the concept of race, love and fate as a young misguided racist (Jeremy Renner) meets and then falls in love with a young black woman (Gabrielle Union) while both are in a mental institution, from Code Black Entertainment ... "Military Intelligence and You" (2008) stars Patrick Muldoon, Elizabeth Bennett and John Rixey Moore in a spoof of a "long-lost" World War II training film, from Echo Bridge Home Entertainment ... "Love's Unfolding Dream" (2007) is the latest addition to the "Love Comes Softly" franchise, about a woman who struggles to choose between her career aspirations as a doctor and her feelings for a New York lawyer who wants a traditional wife, starring Erin Cottrell, Scout Taylor Compton and Drew Simpson, from Fox Faith.
For the Family:
"Madeline: Next Stop America" (2005) includes three animated adventures of Ludwig Bemelmans' little French girl: "Madeline in Hollywood," "Madeline in New York" and "Madeline and the Wild West," $14.98 from Fox ...
"Barney: Hi! I'm Riff!" is the latest "Barney" to hit video: Barney's new friend Riff is the first new dino to join "Barney & Friends" in 13 years, $14.98 from Fox. (Posted May 5)
In "The Passion of Greg the Bunny: The Best of the Film Parodies Volume 2," Greg the Bunny and his (tor)mentor, Warren "The Ape" Demontague, are back as they parody some favorite films: "Wacky Wednesday," "Blue Velveteen" and "Plush: Behind The Seems," $19.99 from Shout! Factory ... "David Beckham: Life of an Icon" (2008) is an unauthorized, uncompromised look at the soccer legend, including the scuffles, scandals and scurrilous headlines, $19.97 from Liberation Entertainment/Anchor Bay ... "The Business of Being Born" (2008) is a documentary on home birthing inspired by producer Ricki Lake and director Abby Epstein's unique child birth stories, from New Line ... "African American Lives 2" is a sequel to the popular PBS series, here exploring the family histories of Chris Rock, Morgan Freeman, Maya Angelou, Tina Turner, Tom Joyner, others, $24.99 from Paramount ... "Red Sox Memories: The Greatest Moments in Boston Red Sox History" is a documentary that covers the greatest moments in the 107-year history of the Boston franchise, $19.99 from Shout! Factory. (Posted May 5)
Two great films getting the delicate Warner Home Video touch: On August 26 the studio will release "How the West Was Won," restored and remastered from the original three-panel Cinerama release. With three directors, five interlocked stories, some of movie history's most legendary action scenes and a
constellation of acting talent: that's how How the West Was Won. Henry Fonda, Gregory Peck, Debbie Reynolds, James Stewart and John Wayne are among the big names in this big saga following a family's move West through generations -- marked by the spectacles of a raging river ride, a thunderous buffalo stampede and a bracing runaway train shootout. Via technological advances, this panoramic winner of three Academy Awards can now be seen with a new clarity eliminating its original "three- panel join lines" and in Dolby 5.1 audio. Westward ho! The title will be available as a two-disc special edition, Ultimate Collector's Edition and on Blu-ray Disc. ...
On July 29 Warner will release "Dark City Director's Cut." The critically-acclaimed triumph from visionary director Alex Proyas is back with a brand new director's cut featuring enhanced picture and sound, never-before-seen footage and three commentary tracks that take you deeper than ever before into the world of one of sci-fi's most exciting and off-beat tales. When John Murdoch (Rufus Sewell) wakes with no memory at the scene of a grisly murder, he soon finds himself hunted by the police, a woman claiming to be his wife and a mysterious group of pale men who seem to control everything and everyone in the city. Stars Rufus Sewell, Jennifer Connelly, William Hurt and Kiefer Sutherland. (Posted April 30)
Three children's classics from Janus Films make their debut this week, headed up by Albert Lamorisse's "The Red Balloon"
(1956 -- France), a deceptively simple, nearly wordless tale, in which a young boy discovers a stray balloon that seems to have a mind of its own on the streets of Paris. The two become inseparable, yet the world's harsh realities finally interfere. With its glorious palette and allegorical purity, the Academy Award-winning film has enchanted movie lovers, young and old, for generations. Newly restored and available for the first time on DVD, $14.95. Lamorisse's "White Mane" (1953 -- France), long unavailable in the U.S., is an extraordinarily shot wonder about the strong friendship between a boy and a horse in the south of France as the two go looking for the freedom that the world of men won't allow them; $14.95. "Paddle to the Sea" (1966) is based on Holling C. Holling's beloved Caldecott-awarded children's book. William Mason's stunning short film follows the adventures of a tiny, wood-carved canoe as it forges its own path from Lake Superior through the Great Lakes and down to the Atlantic Ocean; $14.95. (Posted April 28)
Director Anthony Mann's varied career encompassed Westerns, musicals, actioners, war films, melodramas, and toward the end of his career, costume dramas "El Cid" and "The Fall of the Roman Empire." Following upon their restoration of "El Cid," the Weinstein Co. is giving the special Miriam Collection treatment to 1964's "Roman Empire," which starred Alec Guinness, Sophia Loren, Omar Sharif, Stephen Boyd, James Mason and Christopher Plummer, by releasing it in a three-disc Limited Collector's Edition ($39.92) and a two disc Deluxe Edition ($24.95). Extras include a reproduction of the original souvenir program (Collector's Edition Only); six color production stills (Collector's Edition Only); commentary by the producer's son Bill Bronston and film expert Mel Martin; and several featurettes: "Rome in Madrid," "Fall of the 'Real' Roman Empire," "Making of Fall of the Roman Empire," "Hollywood vs. History," "Dimitri Tiomkin: Scoring the Roman Empire" and much, much more ...
Embark on thrilling adventures to South America and Mexico with Goofy, Donald Duck and Walt Disney in "The Classic Caballeros Collection," a two short feature set with "Saludos Amigos" (1942) and "Three Caballeros" (1944); $19.99; from Disney. (Posted April 28)
From TV to Video:
Due this week: "The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: Volume 3" (1993-95), a 10-disc set; $117.99 from Paramount ... "Ain't Misbehavin'" (1997), a two-disc set of the three-part U.K. miniseries wartime comedy about two very different musicians and their misadventures with gangsters, from BFS Entertainment ... "Bernard and Doris"
(2008), directed by Bob Balaban and starring Susan Sarandon and Ralph Fiennes, is an HBO telefilm Inspired by the true story of tobacco billionairess Doris Duke and her devoted Irish butler Bernard Lafferty ... "Beverly Hills 90212: The Fourth Season" is an eight-disc set with 31 episodes, $61.99 from Paramount ... "The Big Gay Sketch Show: The Complete Unrated Second Season" is a two-disc set with eight episodes of the LOGO series, $26.99 from Paramount ... "Cheers -- The Complete Ninth Season" is a five-disc set with 25 episodes, $39.98 from Paramount ... "Dark Shadows: The Beginning #4" features Episodes 106-143, which originally aired November 21, 1966-January 11, 1967, from MPI Home Video ... "Disraeli" (1978) stars Ian McShane as Benjamin Disraeli in this BBC biodrama about one of the most colorful and flamboyant political figures of the 19th century, in a two-disc set, $29.95 from A&E Home Video ... "Intelligence, Season One" is a four-disc set with 14 episodes of the Canadian crime drama series that tackles organized crime and the cops who keep tabs on it, $59.99 from Acorn Media ... "Keyshia Cole: The Way It Is -- The Complete Second Season" contains 10 episodes of the reality show, $19.99 from BET/Paramount ... "Night of the Fox" (1990), starring David Birney, Michael York, Deborah Raffin and George Peppard, is a two-disc set of the miniseries based on the World War II-set novel by best-selling author Jack Higgins, $29.95 from A&E Home Video ... "Paranormal State: The Complete Season One" is a three-disc set with 17 episodes, $34.95 from A&E Home Video ... "See No Evil: The Story of the Moors Murders" (2006) is a telefilm based on the chilling true story of child killers Ian Brady (Sean Harris) and Myra Hindley (Maxine Peak), from MPI Home Video ... In "A Touch of Frost Season 13: Endangered Species" (2006), award winning actor David Jason is back as maverick detective Jack Frost in this brand new adventure; $24.98 from MPI Home Video ... "The Waltons: The Complete Seventh Season" is a five-disc set with 23 episodes, $39.98 from Warner. (Posted April 28)
Buzzin' the 'B's:
"Diamond Dogs" (2007) stars Dolph Lundgren in an action-adventure about a band of modern-day fortune seekers bent on unearthing a priceless Buddhist artifact, from Sony ... In "Hero Wanted"
(2008), starring Cuba Gooding Jr. and Ray Liotta, a small town trash collector stages a robbery in order to impress a girl by being the hero, until his "perfect" plan takes an awful turn, from Sony ... "The Weekend"
(2007) is a teen comedy about the comings and goings at a weekend high school party, from Warner ... "Studio" (2005) is an urban crime thriller about three FBI agents who are sent to Los Angeles to investigate the murder of a Hip-Hop star, from Warner ... In "How She Move"
(2008), a high school student is forced to leave her private school to return to her old, crime-filled neighborhood where she re-kindles an unlikely passion for the competitive world of step dancing; stars Tre Armstrong, Rutina Wesley, Raya Green and Keyshia Cole, from Paramount ... "Prism"
(2007) is a supernatural thriller about a psychologist who takes on the challenge of helping a young autistic boy after he witnesses the brutal murder of his parents, from Monarch Homes Video. (Posted April 28)
On the Indie Front:
"Back in Business" (2007) is a light-hearted comedy about a group of con-men who try to pull the wool over the British government with a space exploration buggy that might solve the planet's energy problems, from BFS Entertainment ... In "Middletown" (2006), a priest returns to his home town and ends up battling against his brother for the heart of the locals, who are involved in all manner of sin, also from BFS Entertainment. (Posted April 28)
For the Family:
In "Moondance Alexander" (2007), a young girl who doesn't quite fit in with the rest of her classmates finds a runaway Pinto pony that will alter her life and those closest to her; stars Kay Panabaker, Don Johnson and Lori Loughlin, from Fox ... "Treasure Island Kids 2: The Monster of Treasure Island" (2004) is an Australian kids adventure that pits the girls against the boys at a summer camp until a giant sea monster threatens them all; sequel to "Treasure Island Kids: The Pirates of Treasure Island"; from PorchLight Home Entertainment ... "Sabrina: The Teenage Witch: The Complete Animated Series" (1971) is a three-disc set with all 31 episodes, $29.95 from Classic Media/Genius Products ... Trevor Romain is an international children's advocate and entertainer who promotes developmental wellness, advising kids and parents on social and emotional fitness, dealing with things like homework, cliques, bullies, divorce, grief, fear, nutrition and exercise; many of the topics are covered in his series of humorous, animated DVDs. "Trevor Romain: If You Don't Take Care of Your Body, Where Else Are You Going to Live?" (2008), is a 30-day fitness challenge to encourage physical fitness and healthy eating. $14.98 from Porchlight Home Entertainment. (Posted April 28)
"A Generation Apart" (2005) is a powerful and emotional first-person documentary by filmmaker Jack Fisher, whose parents survived the Nazi death camps. Fisher explores the effects the Holocaust had on his family, as well as the families of neighbors and friends from New York to Israel to Australia. Released in time for the May 2 National Holocaust Remebrance Day. $19.95 from City Lights Home Entertainment ... "The True Story of Charlie Wilson" (2007) is the real story made popular by the Tom Hanks film (which was released last week); $19.95 from A&E Home Video ... "The British Empire in Color" (2002) is a major three-part series that examines the history and experience of the British Empire, $24.99 from Acorn Media ... "Nanking" (2007), an Academy Award nominee for Best Documentary Feature, tells the story of the Japanese invasion of Nanking, China in the early days of World War II and focuses on the efforts of a small group of unarmed Westerners who established a Safety Zone where over 200,000 Chinese found refuge, from ThinkFilm ... "Mahatma Gandhi: The Life and Times of a Modern Legend" is a documentary about the man whose belief in civil disobedience and passive resistance served as an inspiration for future struggles in the cause of civil rights and freedom, from Kultur International Films ... "Celebration of Gospel: Spirit in Song" is an evening of joyful music by gospel and R&B artists including Kirk Franklin, Patti LaBelle, John Legend, Pastor Shirley Caesar and more, $19.99 from BET/Paramount ... "Che Guevara: Hasta La Victoria Siempre" (2005) is a documentary that chronicles revolutionary Che Guevara's remarkable story, $19.99 from Kultur International Films ... "Great Writers: William Faulkner" is a documentary that examines the social and political events that influenced one of the greatest American novelists of all time, $19.99 from Kultur International Films ... "James Joyce: So This Is Dyoublong?" is an informative and entertaining documentary that takes an in-depth look into the life and works of the renowned Irish writer, $19.99 from Kultur International Films ... "Twist of Fate: The Matt and Jeff Hardy Story" is a two-disc set that profiles the brothers and their emergence as a dominant tag team in the world of professional wrestling, $29.95 from WWE/Genius Entertainment. (Posted April 28)
Mad about "Mannix": Par will release "Mannix: The First Season" on June 3.
Complete with action-packed fistfights, high-speed car chases and determined justice, the first season of "Mannix," television's long-running detective drama about a tough and cynical private investigator, debuts on DVD June 3 from CBS Home Entertainment and Paramount Home Entertainment, just in time for the show's 40th anniversary. Mike Connors starred as the cool-headed, classic American detective Joe Mannix. An old school detective with rugged good looks and a snazzy convertible car, Mannix was known for being able to take a barrage of physical punishment, play out hunches and make decisions based on gut feeling. Fans have clamored for the release of this classic series -- and their wishes have been granted. The six-disc set with 24 episodes (including the pilot) will sell for $49.99. (Posted April 23)
"Death of a Cyclist"
(1955 -- Spain) is a tale of guilt, infidelity, and blackmail revolving around a wealthy married couple who hit a cyclist and run. The film was notorious for revealing the wide gap between the rich and the poor in Spain and for surveying the corrupt ethics of a society seduced by decadence. In a new, restored high-definition digital transfer from The Criterion Collection ... Also from Criterion comes "Silent Ozu: Three Family Comedies (Eclipse Series #10)," a no-frills box set of three comedies by the great director Yasujiro Ozu: "Tokyo Chorus" (1931), "I Was Born But . . ." (1932) and "Passing Fancy" (1933); $44.95 ... and for Shirley Temple fans there's "The Shirley Temple Collection Volume 6," a three-disc set with "Young People" (1940), "Stowaway" (1936) and the John Ford classic "Wee Willie Winkie" (1937), co-starring Victor McLaglen (in black-and-white and colorized versions); $29.98 the set or $14.98 each, from Fox. (Posted April 21)
From TV to Video:
Due this week: "The Best of Backyard Habitat, Volume 1," a collection of 12 episodes of the do-it-yourself backyard makeover series, $14.95 from Genius Products ... "Casanova's Love Letters"
(2005) stars Patrick Bergin, Tom Frederic, David Acton and Sophie Lovell Anderson in the docudrama miniseries that follows the exploits of the "World's Greatest Lover," in a three-disc set from BFS Entertainment ... "Friday Night Lights: The Second Season" (2007-08) is a four-disc set with 15 episodes, $29.98 from Universal ... "Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! Season 1" features 10 episodes of the Adult Swim series, from Warner. (Posted April 21)
Buzzin' the 'B's:
"Last Request" (2006) is a comedy about a dying man's last request is for his sons to continue the family name. When his brother dies trying, Jeff leaves the seminary and encounters crazy women and oddball characters in an effort to honor his dad's request; stars T.R. Knight, Danny Aiello, Mario Cantone, Frank Vincent, Sabrina Lloyd, Joe Piscopo, Vincent Pastore, Tony Lo Bianco, Barbara Feldon, Mary Birdsong, Gilbert Gottfried; from MTI Home Video ... "Black House" (2007 -- South Korea) is a gory horror thriller about an insurance claims agent who faces off with a client whom he suspects of committing murders with the intention of collecting insurance premiums ... but he digs a bit too deep for his own good, from Genius Products .. In "Flashpoint" (2007 -- Hong Kong) , a police detective (Donnie Yen ) battles three brothers of a powerful Vietnamese gang; a two-disc ultimate edition from Dragon Dynasty/Weinstein Co./Genius Products ... In "Sick Nurses" (2007 -- Thailand) a group of sexy nurses who harvest organs are haunted by the vengeful spirit of one of their dead patients; from Magnolia Home Entertainment. (Posted April 21)
For the Family:
"Call of the Wild" (2000) is an Animal Planet live-action adventure based on Jack London's novel, $14.98 from Allumination FilmWorks ...
In the feature "Gumby the Movie" (1995), based on the 1950s "claymation" cartoon series, the crazy Blockheads threaten to ruin Gumby's benefit concert for farmers by replacing the band with clones; from Classic Media ... In "Mist: The Tale of a Sheepdog Puppy"
(2006), a sheepdog pup tries to impress her boss with her skills while coping with gruff and grumpy rams; $14.98 from Allumination FilmWorks ... "Oban Star-Racers Volume One: The Alwas Cycle" (2006) is a two-disc set with all 13 Uncut Episodes of the 2-D and 3-D animated futuristic sci fi series, $19.99 from Shout! Factory. (Posted April 21)
"We Are the Music!"
(1964 -- Cuba) is a documentary on the genesis of the music from the Buena Vista Social Club, $29.95 from First Run Features ... "Wetlands Preserved: The Story of an Activist Rock Club" (2008) is a documentary that tracks the history of the first-ever activist nightclub, set up in the 1990s in an ex-Chinese restaurant in New York City. Features interviews and concert footage with Dave Matthews, Warren Haynes (of the Allman Brothers Band), Bob Weir, Phish, Blues Traveler, more. $24.95 from First Run Features. (Posted April 21)
Director Allen Baron's New York City noir "Blast of Silence" (1961) is a sensational surprise. This low-budget, carefully crafted portrait of a hit man on assignment in Manhattan during Christmastime follows its stripped-down narrative with mechanical precision, yet also with an eye and ear for the oddball idiosyncrasies of urban living. In a new, restored digital transfer from The Criterion Collection. (Posted April 14)
From TV to Video:
"Alien Nation: Ultimate Movie Collection" is a three-disc set with all five post-series TV movies: "Alien Nation: Dark Horizon" (1994), "Alien Nation: Body and Soul" (1995), "Alien Nation: Millennium" (1996), "Alien Nation: The Enemy Within" (1996) and "Alien Nation: The Udara Legacy" (1997); $49.98 from Fox ... "The Ambassador: Series Two"
(1998) is a three-disc set with seven episodes of the U.K. series about the female ambassador to Ireland who diplomatically solves problems ranging from territorial disputes and kidnapping to cults, sabotage and murder, from BFS Entertainment ... "American Dad Volume Three," a three-disc set with 18 episodes from Season Two and Three, $39.98 from Fox ... "Clive Cussler's The Sea Hunters, Set 2" includes six episodes of the underwater documentary series, including "The Search for Andrea Gail" (the boat immortalized in "The Perfect Storm"), "Catherine the Great's Treasure Ship," "The Search for the SS Alabama" (a Confederate vessel sunk during the Civil War); more. $39.99 from Acorn Media ... "College Hill: Interns"
(2007), a two-disc set of the BET realty-TV show, $19.99 from Paramount ... "Melrose Place: The Fourth Season" (1995-96), a nine-disc set with 32 episodes, $61.99 from Paramount ... The 2007 U.K. version of "A Room With a View," starring Elaine Cassidy, Laurence Fox and Rafe Spall, from WGBH Boston Video ... "A Shot at Love With Tila Tequila," a three-disc set with 11 uncensored episodes, $39.99 from Paramount. (Posted April 14)
Buzzin' the 'B's:
Based on the popular "Dungeon Siege" video game series "In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale" (2008) follows a hardworking family man who becomes a reluctant warrior after an evil sorcerer sends an army of murderous beasts to ransack his peaceful village and capture his wife. Stars Jason Statham, Leelee Sobieski, John Rhys-Davies, Ray Liotta, Matthew Lillard, Burt Reynolds, Will Sanderson, Ron Perlman, Claire Forlani, Brian J. White, Kristanna Loken and Gabrielle Rose, from Fox ... In the thriller "Border Lost" (2008), starring Chris Cleveland, Kelly Noonan, Emilio Roso, David Schultz and Marian Zapico, three U.S. border agents decide to take the law into their own hands, from Allumination FilmWorks ... "Inside" (2007) is an ultra-violent, horrifying French thriller about a pregnant woman terrorized by a raging psychopath, from The Weinstein Company/Genius Products ... In "Loch Ness Terror" (2007), the residents of Lake Superior are falling prey to a Loch Ness monster, from Sony ... In "Impulse" (2008), starring Angus Macfadyen and Willa Ford, a beautiful ad executive believes she has finally managed to unleash her husband's wild side in bed -- only to discover that her erotic game of role-playing leads to a dangerous game of seduction, from Sony. (Posted April 14)
On the Indie Front:
"The Pied Piper of Hutzovina"
(2008) In the summer of 2004, on a car journey in Eastern Europe, Pavla Fleischer met and fell in love with Eugene Hutz, lead singer of the New York-based Gypsy Punk band Gogol Bordello; this film is her documentary that follows Eugene and Pavla on their subsequent road trip through Eugene's' home country, Ukraine; $19.95 from Arts Alliance America ... "The Final Season" (2005), starring Sean Astin, Powers Boothe, Rachael Leigh Cook, Tom Arnold and Michael Angarano, follows a small-town high school team from Norway, Iowa (population 586) that lives and breathes American's favorite pastime -- baseball -- and has won 19 State Championships ... until a series of unexpected blows threaten to rob them of their 20th championship win. Based on a true story; from Fox ... A frustrated and underappreciated actor who still lives with his mother overeats to deal with his problems in "I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With" (2006), starring Jeff Garlin, Sarah Silverman, Amy Sedaris, Gina Gershon, Bonnie Hunt, Dan Castellaneta and Richard Kind, from Genius Products. (Posted April 14)
For the Family:
"Classical Baby: (I'm Grown Up Now): The Poetry Show"
features the hallmark animation of HBO Family's Peabody and Emmy Award-winning "Classical Baby" franchise. This edition presents the diaper-clad "conductor" now as a young boy reading lines from timeless treasures from the world of poetry, including classics by William Shakespeare, Robert Louis Stevenson, Robert Frost, Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Langston Hughes; $9.97 from HBO Video ... "SpongeBob SquarePants: Pest of The West" includes seven SpongeBob episodes, $16.99 from (Nickelodeon/Paramount). (Posted April 14)
"A Global Warning?" is a History Channel documentary that surveys the frontline of scientific research and climatic impact to look at global warming; $24.95 from A&E Home Video ... "How the Earth Was Made" is a History Channel documentary that reveals the entire 4.5 billion-year journey of our planet, $24.95 from A&E Home Video ... "The Canine Conspiracy/The Cat Connection" is a pair of Discovery Channel documentaries on the origin of domestic dogs and cats; $9.98 from Warner ... "Diana: Queen of Hearts" (1998) is a documentary that celebrates Princess Diana's life and legacy while avoiding scandal and gossip; $9.95 from Genius Products ... In "War/Dance"
(2007), three children living in a displacement camp in northern Uganda compete in their country's national music and dance festival; the film was an Academy Award nominee for Best Documentary Feature; from ThinkFilm. (Posted April 14)
A second studio has weighed in with a tribute to Bette Davis, honoring the 100th birthday of Hollywood's first lady of film with "The Bette Davis Collection," a six-disc set with five films from Davis' Fox years. The collection sells for $49.98; each title is available individually for $19.98.
- "All About Eve"
(1950) Dir.: Joseph L. Mankiewicz; Bette Davis, Ann Baxter, George Sanders, Gary Merrill, Hugh Marlowe, Celeste Holm, Thelma Ritter, Marilyn Monroe. Two-disc set. Extras: Commentary by writer-director Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Celeste Holm, biographer Ken Geist and Christopher Mankiewicz; commentary by author Sam Staggs; isolated track score; "Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz" featurette; "Joseph L. Mankiewicz: A Personal Journey" featurette; "The Real Eve" featurette; "The Secret of Sarah Siddons" featurette; "AMC Backstory: All About Eve" featurette; Bette Davis promotion; Ann Baxter promotion; "MovieTone News: 1951 Academy Awards Honor Best Film Achievements, 1951 Hollywood Attends Gala Premiere of 'All About Eve';" restoration comparison; theatrical trailer; theatrical pressbook gallery; advertising gallery; still gallery.
- "Phone Call From a Stranger"
(1952) Dir.: Jean Negulesco; Bette Davis, Gary Merrill, Michael Rennie, Keenan Wynn, Shelly Winters, Beatrice Straight. Extras: Restoration comparison, theatrical teaser. theatrical trailer, interactive pressbook gallery, poster gallery, lobby card gallery, still gallery.
- "The Virgin Queen"
(1955) Bette Davis, Richard Todd, Joan Collins, Herbert Marshall, Dan O'Herlihy. Extras: "Virgin Territory : The Making of the Virgin Queen" featurette, restoration comparison, theatrical trailer, TV spots, interactive pressbook gallery, poster gallery, lobby card gallery, still gallery.
- "Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte"
(1964) Dir.: Robert Aldrich; Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland, Joseph Cotton, Agnes Moorehead, Cecil Kellaway, Victor Buono, Mary Astor, William Campbell, Bruce Dern. Extras: "Hush . . . Hush, Sweet Joan: The Making of Charlotte" featurette, "Bruce Dern Remembers" featurette, "Wizard Work" vintage featurette narrated by Joseph Cotton, theatrical trailer, interactive pressbook gallery, poster gallery, lobby card gallery, still gallery.
- "The Nanny"
(1965) Bette Davis, Wendy Craig, Jill Bennett, William Dix. Extras: Interactive Pressbook Gallery, Poster Gallery, Lobby Card Gallery, Still Gallery. (Posted April 7)
Also due this week: "Classic Musicals From the Dream Factory Volume 3," a nine-disc set with "Hit the Deck" (1955), "Deep In My Heart" (1954), "Kismet" (1955), a Jane Powell two-disc set "Nancy Goes to Rio" (1950) and "Two Weeks With Love" (1950), "Broadway Melody of 1936/Broadway Melody of 1938" two-disc set, and an Eleanor Powell two-disc set "Born to Dance" (1936) and "Lady Be Good" (1941); $69.92. The three single-discs are available separately at $19.97; the three two-disc sets sell for $24.98 each; from Warner ... and a 20th anniversary edition of "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen" (1988), directed by Terry Gilliam and starring John Neville, Sarah Polley, Eric Idle, Oliver Reed, Uma Thurma and Charles McKeown. Extras include commentary by Gilliam and co-writer/actor Charles McKeown; "The Madness and Misadventures of Munchausen," an all-new three-part documentary on the making of the film; storyboard sequences; deleted scenes. The film is also available on Blu-ray Disc; from Sony. (Posted April 7)
From TV to Video:
Due this week: "Fortysomething," a two-disc set with six episodes of the hit British comedy starring Hugh Laurie as a middle-aged doctor confronting mid-life crises, a philandering wife and three oversexed sons who mock him; $39.99 from Acorn Media ... "Hell's Kitchen Season 1," a three-disc set with 11 episodes of the cooking series in which 12 aspiring chefs endure a grueling culinary boot camp, $26.99 from Visual Entertainment Inc. ... "The Last Detective, Series 4," a two-disc set with five episodes of the British mystery series about everyman detective Dangerous Davies, $39.99 from Acorn Media ... "Matlock: Season One." a seven-disc set with 25 episodes, $30.00 from Paramount ... "Perry Mason 50th Anniversary Edition," a four-disc set with 12 exceptional episodes of the classic TV series starring Raymond Burr, Barbara Hale, William Hopper; the fourth disc contains bonus features; $39.99 from Paramount ... "Sense and Sensibility" (2007), a two-disc set of the BBC version of the Jane Austen classic, starring David Morressey, Janet McTeer, Dominic Cooper and Dan Stevens, from Warner ... "Random Passage" (2002), a two-disc set of the award-winning Canadian miniseries about a courageous woman's journey from servitude in England to the harsh life of Outport Newfoundland in the 1800s, starring Colm Meaney and Aoife McMahon, from BFS Entertainment ... "Rock of Love -- The Complete First Season," a three-disc set with 13 episodes of the sleazy no-holds-barred competition to find a female companion for Poison's Bret Michaels, $34.97 from Anchor Bay ... "Three Sheets: Season Two," a two-disc set with 10 episodes of MOJO HD channel's top-rated cult drinking hit in which comedian Zane Lamprey spans the globe seeking out the world's best watering holes, most unique international cocktails and craziest locals, $24.98 from Infinity Entertainment. (Posted April 7)
Buzzin' the 'B's:
A young woman is held hostage and terrorized by a psychopath on the P2 parking level of her office building on Christmas eve in "P2"
(2007), starring Grace Lynn Kung, Rachel Nichols, Simon Reynolds and Wes Bentley, from Summit Entertainment ... "Cruel World" (2005) stars Edward Furlong and Jamie Pressly in a horror-thriller about a jilted suitor out to get revenge after being humiliated on reality TV by the show's beautiful star, from Echo Bridge Home Entertainment ... In "Reservation Road" (2007), starring Joaquin Phoenix, Mark Ruffalo, Jennifer Connelly, Mira Sorvino and Elle Fanning, two families become intertwined -- and face revenge -- when the father from one kills the son of the other in a hit-and-run, from Universal ... When a beautiful lawyer from Chicago travels alone to Tijuana in search of her missing sister, she ends up on a mind-bending journey as she attempts to unravel the truth, in "Between"
(2005), starring Poppy Montgomery, Adam Kaufman, Jose Yenque and Danny Pino, from Porchlight Home Entertainment ... A broken-down healer discovers that a wizard has broken the Code and is using his power for evil in "Magus" (2008), starring Ron Fitzgerald, Bill Steele, Lizzy Strain, Eva Derrek and Julie Strain, from MTI Home Video. (Posted April 7)
On the Indie Front:
In "Partition" (2007), amidst the chaos and bloodshed unleashed when India and Pakistan are split into separate states in 1947, Sikh and former soldier Gian risks everything to save Naseem, a young Muslim woman, from a violent mob. When they fall in love, religious zealots try to tear them apart. Stars Jimi Mistry, Kristin Kreuk, Neve Campbell, John Light and Madhur Jaffrey, from Allumination FilmWorks ... "Thank Heaven"
(2001) stars Jenny McCarthy, Matt Keeslar and Kadeem Harrison in a comedy about a couple deeply in love who make each other miserable until the man finds God on the golf course, from Echo Bridge Home Entertainment ... In "Silver Man" (2000), a street performer fights a pathological man for his girlfriend's love, starring Eugene Levy, Joe Pantoliano and Daniel Baldwin, from Echo Bridge Home Entertainment. (Posted April 7)
In Spanish director Luis Mandoki's "Innocent Voices"
(2004), starring Carlos Padilla, Leonor Varela and Xuna Primus, a young boy, in an effort to have a normal childhood in 1980's El Salvador, is caught up in a dramatic fight for his life as he desperately tries to avoid the war raging all around him, from Warner. (Posted April 7)
For the Family:
"Travel With Kids: New York" is the latest in the series that takes families on vacation trips to exciting locales; a resource for preparing for a family vacation by introducing children to local customs, food, and breath-taking scenery prior to departure or researching a school report. This outing explores New York City, featuring money-saving tips, topical pop-up facts, advice for traveling with children and fun segments filled with all things great about the city that never sleeps; $14.98 from Porchlight Home Entertainment ... "Meerkat Manor" is a two-disc set with all 13 episodes of the Animal Planet series that uses state-of-the-art camera technology above and below the ground to track a group of meerkats 24 hours a day; $24.95 from Genius Products ... "Ben 10: Race Against Time" (2005) is a feature-length Cartoon Network film based on the live-action series starring 10-year old Ben Tennyson and his arsenal of aliens; $14.97 from Warner. (Posted April 7)
"East LA Marine: The Guy Gabaldon Story"
(2006)is the untold true story of Guy Gabaldon, the Hispanic Marine who accomplished the impossible by single-handedly capturing 1,500 Japanese prisoners in the Pacific Theater during World War II. The 1960 film "Hell To Eternity" told Gabaldon's story, but he was portrayed by blue-eyed all-American Jeffrey Hunter. This documentary sets the story straight; $19.95 from Arts Alliance America ... "The 11th Hour" (2007) is the Leonardo DiCaprio produced and narrated documentary that takes a look at the state of the global environment, including visionary and practical solutions for restoring the planet's ecosystems. The environmentally friendly DVD packaging is produced with 100% certified renewable resources, and a portion of the profits will be donated to Global Green. $5.00 from Warner ... "Tilt: The Battle to Save Pinball" (2006) is a fascinating documentary about the death of pinball machines, in particular the story of the designers at Williams Electronic Games in 1998, who have to come up with something new or see the world's largest pinball manufacturer shut down forever. A two-disc set with a host of bonus features; $29.95 from C3 Images ... "Fog City Mavericks: The Filmmakers of San Francisco" (2007) is a Starz documentary that looks at the San Francisco Bay Area's unique artistic film community, featuring interviews with George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola, Steven Spielberg, Clint Eastwood, Robin Williams, Saul Zaentz, John Lasseter, Matthew Robbins, Chris Columbus, Milos Forman, Anthony Minghella, Michael Douglas, Sofia Coppola, Steve Jobs and many, many more; $19.97 Anchor Bay ... "The Private Life of a Masterpiece" (2003) is a seven-disc set of the award-winning series that reveals the fascinating stories behind some of the most famous works of art, including "The Last Supper," "David," "Whistler's Mother," more; $99.98 from BBC Video/Warner ... "Sharkwater" (2006) is a documentary that debunks the stereotype that sharks are bloodthirsty, man-eating monsters, revealing the reality that sharks -- pillars in the evolution of the seas -- are being dangerously over fished and brutally slaughtered; $19.98 from Warner ... "Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry 6" (2007) is a two-disc set with six episodes of original material performed by contemporary poets and well-known music/comedy artists. Taped as always before a live audience at The Supper Club in NYC; from HBO Video. (Posted April 7)
Coming up on the centenary of Bette Davis (April 5, 1908), Warner Home Video will release "The Bette Davis Collection Volume 3,"
A six-disc set with:
(Posted April 1)
- "In This Our Life"
(1942) Dir.: John Huston; Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland, Walter Huston. Extras: Commentary by film historian Jeannine Basinger; "Warner Night at the Movies 1942" short subjects gallery: vintage newsreel, patriotic short "March On, America!" musical short "Spanish Fiesta"; classic cartoon "Who's Who in the Zoo."
- "The Old Maid"
(1939) Bette Davis, Miriam Hopkins. Extras: Warner Night at the Movies 1939 short subjects gallery: Vintage newsreel, historical short "Lincoln in the White House," Howard Hill sports short "Sword Fishing"; classic cartoons "The Film Fan" and "Kristopher Kolumbus."
- "All This, and Heaven Too"
(1940) Bette Davis, Charles Boyer, Barbara O'Neil. Extras:
Commentary by "The Women of Warner Bros." author Daniel Bubbeo; Warner Night at the Movies 1940 short subjects gallery: vintage newsreel, patriotic short "Meet the Fleet," classic cartoons "Hollywood Daffy" and "Porky's Last Stand"; audio-only bonus: radio show adaptation with the film's stars.
- "The Great Lie"
(1941) Mary Astor, Bette Davis, George Brent. Extras: Warner Night at the Movies 1941 Short Subjects Gallery: vintage newsreel, "Broadway Brevities" short "At the Stroke of Twelve," Sports Parade short "Kings of the Turf,"
Hollywood Novelty short "Polo With the Stars," classic cartoon "Porky's Pooch."
(1946) Bette Davis, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains. Extras: Commentary by film historian Foster Hirsch; Warner Night at the Movies 1946 short subjects gallery: vintage newsreel, Sports Parade short "Facing Your Danger," Specials Short "Movieland Magic," classic cartoon "Mouse Menace."
- "Watch on the Rhine"
(1943) Paul Lukas, Bette Davis, George Colouris. Extras: Career profile "Bette Davis: A Basically Benevolent Volcano"; commentary by film historian Bernard F. Dick; Warner Night at the Movies 1943 short subjects gallery: patriotic short "March On, America!; musical short Ozzie Nelson and His Orchestra, classic cartoon "The Wise Quacking Duck."
Also this week Fox Lorber will release "Three films by the Taviani brothers":
(Posted April 1)
- "The Night of the Shooting Stars"
(1982 -- Italy) Dir.: Vittorio and Paolo Taviani. Acclaimed drama about a woman who tells her child about "The Night of Shooting Stars" (when dreams come true) in 1944 when the residents of her small town defied their Nazi occupiers.
(1984 -- Italy) Dir.: Vittorio and Paolo Taviani. Five tales adapted from the short stories by the great Italian playwright Luigi Pirandello.
(1993 -- Italy) Dir.: Vittorio and Paolo Taviani. On a long drive to visit their grandfather, two children are told the story of a family curse that has lasted 200 years. $26.98 each.
From TV to Video:
Due this week: "Becker: The First Season," a three-disc set with 22 episodes, $39.99 from Paramount ... "Country Matters"
(2005), a four-disc set with eight episodes of the lavish British series starring Ian McKellan, Peter Firth, Joss Ackland and Pauline Collins, set in the English countryside just after WWI; $34.98 from Koch Vision ... "The Cutting Edge: Chasing the Dream" (2008), the second sequel to 1992's ice skating romance, starring Matt Lanter, Francia Raisa, Ben Hollingsworth, Alycia Purrott and Christy Carlson Romano, from MGM ... "Doctor Who: The Time Warrior" (2005), with digitally remastered Dr. Who classics "The Time Warrior," "Timelash" and "Planet of Evil," $24.98 from Warner ... "Gene Simmons Family Jewels: The Best of Seasons 1 & 2"
Eight episodes, $12.95 from A&E Home Video ... "John From Cincinnati: The Complete First Season," a three-disc set with 10 episodes, $59.99 from HBO Video ... "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: The Sixth Year," a five-disc set with 23 episodes, $59.98 from Universal ... "Martin: The Complete Fourth Season," a four-disc set with 27 episodes, $29.98 from HBO Video ... "Murder She Wrote: The Complete Eighth Season," a five-disc set with 22 episodes, $49.98 from Universal ... "That '70s Show Season Eight," a four-disc set of the last season's 22 episodes, $49.98 from Fox ... "The Tomorrow Show With Tom Snyder: John, Paul, Tom, Ringo," a two-disc set of Tomorrow Show interviews by Tom Snyder: John Lennon Tribute aired 12/9/80 (one day after his murder); Paul McCartney interview, original air date 12/20/79 (with Linda McCartney and other Wings members); Ringo Starr interview, original air date 11/25/81 (with additional guests actress (and Ringo's wife) Barbra Bach, Angie Dickinson. $24.99 from Shout! Factory. (Posted April 1)
Buzzin' the 'B's:
In "The Cook" (2008), a handful of girls stay behind at the Lambda Epsilon Zeta sorority house during a long holiday weekend for three days of partying, sex games and strangely delicious meals prepared by the weird new chef; but as the sisters begin to disappear one-by-one, the remaining coeds begin to suspect that they're scheduled to be next on the menu; from Anchor Bay ... In "Fear House" (2008), friends of a missing best-selling author discover she's living like a frightened animal in an old dilapidated house as she struggles to finish her next novel -- but when they attempt to get her out, they learn that anyone who tries to leave the house is killed by their innermost fear; from LifeSize Entertainment ... look for two sequels this week: "Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II" (1987), starring Michael Ironside, Wendy Lyon, Justin Louis and Lisa Schrage, timed to the theatrical release of the remake of "Prom Night" in early April, from MGM; and "The Return of the Swamp Thing" (1989), starring Louis Jourdan, Heather Locklear, Sarah Douglas and Dick Durock, from Warner. (Posted April 1)
On the Indie Front:
The "Music Within" (2007) , starring Ron Livingston, Melissa George and Michael Sheen, is the true story of Richard Pimentel, a man on a quest to find the "music within" after losing his hearing to a bomb blast during combat in Vietnam; from MGM ... The New York-set comedy "The Good Night" (2007) features Martin Freeman as a washed-up pop star who writes ad jingles and suffers a midlife crisis. Penelope Cruz plays the object of his romantic interests and Danny DeVito plays a dream doctor who tries to get the troubled man back on track. Also stars Gwyneth Paltrow, Simon Pegg, and Michael Gambon; from Sony. (Posted April 1)
For the Family:
"Animal Planet: Growing up Wildcats" (2005) follows newborn cubs as they find their way through the joys, adventures, discoveries and challenges of their first days with the help of some professional caregivers in four themed episodes form the Animal Planet series: "Growing Up Lion," "Growing Up Tiger," "Growing Up Cheetah" and "Growing Up Black Leopard"; $14.95 from Genius Products ... Paramount has two Chipmunk adventures this week: "Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipmunk Adventure Special Edition" (1987), the Chipmunk's first full-length motion picture; and
"Alvin and the Chipmunks Go to the Movies: Funny, We Shrunk the Adults" (1990), in which the Chipmunks spoof three of Hollywood's biggest comedies: "Back to Our Future," "Bigger" and "Funny, We Shrunk the Adults." (Posted April 1)
The Weinstein Co. and Genius Products will release on May 6 "I'm Not There," director Todd Haynes' biographical film about legendary singer-songwriter Bob Dylan. The film follows six distinct characters, depicting different stages of Dylan's life, embodying a different aspect of his life story and music: Cate Blanchett, Christian Bale, Richard Gere, the late Heath Ledger as well as Ben Whishaw and Marcus Carl Franklin. The two-disc set. includes commentary by Haynes, nine deleted scenes, a "Making of I'm Not There," "Subterranean Homesick Blues" music video, Ben Whishaw and Marcus Carl Franklin audition tapes, a gag reel, a conversation with Haynes, a "Making of the Soundtrack" featurette, a Dylan filmography and discography, more. (Posted March 27)
Gangland DVD Killings:
Warner Home Video wants to rob your wallet this week with the release of two new editions of "Bonnie and Clyde" as well as "Warner Bros. Pictures Gangsters Collection Volume 3," a six-disc set with "Picture Snatcher," "Lady Killer," "Smart Money," "Black Legion," "Mayor of Hell" and "Brother Orchid."
"Bonnie and Clyde" (1967), directed by Arthur Penn and starring Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, Michael J. Pollard, Gene Hackman, Estelle Parsons, Denver Pyle, Dub Taylor, Evans Evans and Gene Wilder. Released after the Hollywood Production Code ended, "Bonnie and Clyde" became one of the '60s most talked about and controversial films -- combining romance and comedy with a level of graphic violence previously unseen. The finale's balletic bloodbath, highly criticized for its shocking depiction, lived on to become a much imitated filmic conceit. And while obviously living the life of outlaws on the lam, the criminal couple was still portrayed as glamorous, with shiny roadsters and vintage fashions that fueled a popular style trend. The film premiered at the Montreal Film Festival in 1967 to a wildly enthusiastic audience of industry insiders and cinephiles. Despite this initial success, the film initially was not a boxoffice blockbuster and received a mixed reception from movie reviewers. Old-guard stalwarts weren't ready to grasp the film's message, and decried the violence. At the other end of the spectrum were another group of film critics who strongly supported it, most notably The New Yorker's Pauline Kael. It was Kael who went out on a limb to champion the film as not only a masterpiece, but one which would redefine American Cinema. But with a post-release brilliant marketing campaign, spearheaded by Beatty (who also developed and produced the film), "Bonnie and Clyde" eventually went on to garner 10 Oscar nominations, including Best Picture and Director (it won two: for Estelle Parsons' supporting role and cinematographer Burnett Guffey) and proceeded to make back 20 times its estimated $2.5 million cost in its U.S. theatrical release alone. The editions offered will be a Two-Disc Special Edition and, available for a limited time, an Ultimate Collector's Edition. Both have been completely remastered from the original elements, and both boast more than two hours of bonus content, highlighted by "Revolution! The Making of Bonnie and Clyde," an all new in-depth commemorative documentary. Also included is the History Channel's "Love & Death: The Story of Bonnie and Clyde" (a look at the lives of the real Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow) as well as Warren Beatty wardrobe tests and additional scenes, both newly discovered. "The Bonnie and Clyde Ultimate Collector's Edition" also will contain collectible memorabilia, with a 36-page hardcover book of rare, behind-the-scenes photos, a 24-page reproduction of the original 1967 press book and a special mail-in poster offer. (Posted March 24)
"Warner Bros. Pictures Gangsters Collection Volume 3."
Major Hollywood studios in the '30s and '40s were each known for their distinctive styles (MGM for its musicals; Universal for its horror films, etc.). Warner Bros. was best known for firmly establishing the genre of gangster films, which also contained socially conscious themes and a simple visual look (low key lighting and sparse sets). This latest group of crime genre classics, starring some of Hollywood's top tough guys -- James Cagney, Edward G. Robinson and Humphrey Bogart -- features six new to DVD gangster flicks, three of which make their first home video appearance: "Picture Snatcher" (1933), starring Jimmy Cagney and Ralph Bellamy; "Lady Killer" (1933), starring Jimmy Cagney and Mae Clark; "Smart Money" (1931), starring Jimmy Cagney and Edward G. Robinson; "Black Legion" (1937), starring Humphrey Bogart and Ann Sheridan; "Mayor of Hell" (1933), starring Jimmy Cagney; "Brother Orchid" (1940), starring Edward G. Robinson and Humphrey Bogart. The films have been given brand new transfers from newly restored film elements, and also include bonus features such as rarely-seen Warner Bros. shorts, vintage newsreels and classic cartoons, plus original theatrical trailers. $59.92 the set or available separately at $19.97 each. (Posted March 24)
From the erratic genius mind of David Lynch comes "Lost Highway" (1997), starring Bill Pullman, Patricia Arquette, Balthazar Getty, Robert Blake, Natasha Gregson Wagner and Jack Nance in a bizarre psychological thriller: After a strange encounter at a party, a jazz saxophonist is framed for the murder of his wife and sent to prison, where he inexplicably morphs into a young mechanic and begins leading a new life, from Universal. (Posted March 24)
For Yul Brynner and sword and sandal epics lovers, MGM this week will release "Kings of the Sun " (1963), starring Brynner, George Chakiris, Shirley Anne Field and Richard Basehart; "Solomon and Sheba" (1959), directed by King Vidor and starring Brynner, Gina Lollobrigida and George Sanders; and "Taras Bulba" (1962), starring Brynner, Tony Curtis and Sam Wanamaker. (Posted March 24)
From TV to Video:
Due this week: "The Catherine Tate Show: Series Two," in which the comedienne extraordinaire returns with another season of her BBC America parody show, featuring new exuberant skits, including the eccentric teenager "Lauren Cooper" and the darling, foul-mouthed grandmother "Nan Taylor"; from SRO Entertainment ... "Frisky Dingo Season 1" (2007), a single disc with all 13 episodes of the Adult Swim series, $19.97 from Warner ... "The Invisible Man: Season One," a five-disc set with 23 episodes, including the pilot episode, $59.98 from Universal ... "Midsomer Murders: Set 10" is a four-disc set with four feature-length mysteries from the hit British mystery franchise, $49.99 from Acorn Media ... "Midsomer Murders: The Early Cases Collection" is a 19-disc set with the first 18 stand-alone mysteries from the hit British mystery franchise, $159.99 from Acorn Media ... "The Mike Douglas Show:
Moments and Memories" (2008) is a nostalgic look back at the legendary show, featuring interview and rare performance segments with John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Bill Cosby, Bob Newhart, Carol Burnett, Sally Field, Bob Hope, Groucho Marx, The Rolling Stones, Mother Theresa, Muhammad Ali, Alfred Hitchcock, Tiger Woods, Mel Brooks, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Gene Simmons of KISS and many others; $19.99 from Kultur ... "Painkiller Jane," a six-disc set with 22 episodes, $49.97 from Anchor Bay ... "Party of Five: Complete Third Season" is a five-disc set with 25 episodes, $39.95 from Sony ... "Sliders: The Fourth Season" is a five-disc set with 22 episodes, $59.98 from Universal ... "Suburban Shootout" offers eight episodes of the British suburban living satire described as "Desperate Housewives" meets "The Sopranos," which aired on the Oxygen Channel in 2006; $24.99 from Acorn Media ... "Tripping the Rift: The Movie" is a movie version of the hip animated TV series about a bunch of derelict mutant misfits who live, work and play on the starship Jupiter 42, from Anchor Bay "Wings: The Sixth Season," is a four-disc set with 26 episodes, $42.99 from Paramount. (Posted March 24)
Buzzin' the 'B's:
In "Pu-239" (2006) a young man is exposed to a deadly dose of radiation while trying to avert a disaster at a nuclear power plant in Russia; instead of rewarding him for his efforts, the plants treats him as a scapegoat, offering no compensation to him or his family. Desperate to provide security for his wife and son, the man steals a small amount of Pu-239 -- weapons-grade Plutonium -- and heads to Moscow to sell it on the black market; stars Paddy Considine and Radha Mitchell; from HBO Video ... When a rich Southern girl invites her drama club to her isolated house for a "killer" weekend, nobody would have expected it to be taken so literally in "April Fool's Day" (2008), starring Taylor Cole, Scout Taylor-Compton and Josh Henderson, from Sony) ... "PTU: Police Tactical Unit " (2003), directed by Johnny To and starring Simon Yam, Lam Suet and Maggie Siu, is a Hong Kong thriller that follows a band of night patrol cops on one of their worst nights, from Dragon Dynasty/Weinstein/Genius ... Rural America becomes the bucolic setting for a mysterious terrorist plot gone awry, a romance undone by betrayal, and a government assignment that signals a dangerous conspiracy in "Sharpshooter " (2008), starring James Remar, Mario Van Peebles and Bruce Boxleitner, from Genius Products. (Posted March 24)
On the Indie Front:
Two hapless losers live in a junkyard in the meatpacking town of Butcher's Mill, Illinois, where they cook up a plan to kidnap their local U.S. Congressman (Chevy Chase) for ransom money; they think it's their ticket to a better life, but their prime score turns into a raw deal in "Bad Meat" (2003), starring Chevy Chase, Lance Barber, Billie Worley, Judah Friedlander, Ben Bailey and Frank Caeti, from Arts Alliance America ... In "Extraordinary Rendition" (2007), a man is abducted from the streets of London and transported via secret flights to an unknown country, held in solitary confinement and cut off from the outside world, interrogated and tortured. Returned without explanation to the U.K., he is left to pick up the pieces of a shattered life in a world he no longer recognizes. Stars Omar Berdouni and Andy Serkis. From BFS Entertainment ... In 19th century Australia, an exotic beauty born of an Aboriginal mother and an Afghan father falls in love with a Christian and goes up against a male-dominated society that defines self-worth by religion in "Serenades" (2001), starring Alice Haines and Aden Young, from BFS Entertainment. (Posted March 24)
Two East German gems arrive this week from First Run Features: "The Rabbit Is Me" (1965): A young woman, tainted after her brother's arrest for subversive political activities, has an affair with an older man -- who turns out to be the judge who put her brother in jail. Long banned for exposing the harsh realities of East German society, the film finally surfaced after reunification ... "The Second Track" (1962): From the vaults of the legendary East German DEFA Film Studios comes this rare noir classic about a train station inspector who witnesses a robbery and recognizes one of the thieves -- but hides that fact from the authorities. The thief comes after the inspector's daughter, setting in motion an explosive unearthing of dark secrets from the Nazi era. East Germany's answer to Fritz Lang, Alfred Hitchcock and Carol Reed. Each title sells for $24.95. (Posted March 24)
For the Family:
Due this week: "Arthur: Season 10," featuring 10 episodes of the Emmy Award-winning series that chronicles the adventures of the world's most famous aardvark; and "Big Brother Binky," a special episode in which Binky's family adopts a baby girl from China; both from WGBH Boston Video ... "Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors: Volume One" is a four-disc set that features Season 1 (33 episodes) of this 1980s animated series based on the popular line of Mattel toys, from Shout! Factory ...
Sony has two new releases from the PBS KIDS series "It's a Big, Big World": "Be Healthy and Happy" teaches valuable lessons about how animals of all kinds take care of themselves, and "Everybody's Different" encourages exploring diversity in nature. Each volume contains five episodes and sells for $12.99. (Posted March 24)
For politicos: "War Made easy" (2008) is a scathing documentary indictment of five decades of U.S. media coverage of American-led military interventions, and the pro-war spoon-feeding of the American public; the film exposes 50 years of government spin and media collusion that has dragged our country into one war after another -- from Vietnam to Iraq; narrated by actor and activist Sean Penn; $19.95 from The Disinformation Company ... "Jimmy Carter Man From Plains" (2007) is a documentary that follows the 39th President of the United States as he embarks on a media tour for his controversial best-seller, "Palestine Peace Not Apartheid"; directed by Jonathan Demme; from Sony. (Posted March 24)
For sports fans: "Daytona 500: The 50th Anniversary"
(2008) is a two-disc set of the Feb. 17 50th Daytona race. Features ground-breaking "My Race" Interactive DVD format that allows fans to watch the action from six different driver perspectives and a variety of audio feeds; the second disc includes a history of Daytona; $24.95 from A&E Home Video ... "The Los Angeles Dodgers 1988 World Series Collector's Edition" (2008) is a seven-disc set to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Dodgers' 1988 win; $69.95 from A&E Home Video. (Posted March 24)
Also this week: "Robyn Hitchcock: Sex, Food, Death .... and Insects" (2008), a documentary on the legendary cult singer-songwriter as he prepares his "Ole Tarantula" album and goes on the road for the "Ole Tarantula" tour; $24.94 from A&E Home Video ... "The Mystery of Eva Peron" (1987 -- Spanish), a documentary on Argentina's Evita, who rose to power in that country after WWII with her husband, Juan Peron, from First Run Features ... "The Unknown Soldier" (2007) is a controversial documentary that profiles Germany's controversial Wehrmacht Exhibition that showed -- through letters, photographs and film footage -- that "ordinary" German soldiers were as complicit as Nazi leaders in the crimes against humanity during World War II, debunking the long-held belief otherwise. $24.95 from First Run Features ... "Who Is Henry Jaglom?"
(1997) is a documentary about the director of such films as "Hollywood Dreams," "Festival in Cannes" and "Eating," who has alternately been hailed as a cinematic genius, a feminist voice and a true maverick and dismissed by others as a voyeuristic, egomaniacal fraud, from First Run Features ... Kultur International's critically acclaimed "Othello," starring Eamonn Walker abd Zoe Tapper, was taped live in London on May 4, 2007, at the historic Globe Theatre; the two-disc set sells for $24.99 ... From World Wrestling Entertainment comes three mat compilations: "No Way Out," a series of pay-per-view events that are the final stop on the road to Wrestlemania, here featuring the latest matches featuring Batista, Undertaker, Triple H, Randy Orton, Ric Flair, CM Punk and more; "Triple H: The King of Kings," highlighting 14 matches in the career of the 11-time World Champion; and "Royal Rumble," the 21st edition in which the superstars of raw, Smackdown and ECW compete for a shot at immortality ... "Pauly Shore's "Natural Born Komics" Sketch Comedy Movie Miami" (2008) is a Showtime follow up to "Pauly Shore Is Dead" in which Shore embarks on a slew of hidden camera pranks, parodies, man-on-the-street interviews and must-see videos, from First Look Studios. (Posted March 24)
From The Criterion Collection comes "The Ice Storm" (1997), one of the finest films of the 1990s. Suburban Connecticut, 1973. While the Watergate hearings blast from the TV, the wayward Hood and Carver families try to navigate a Thanksgiving break simmering with unspoken resentments, sexual experimentation, and cultural confusion. With crystalline clarity, characteristic subtlety, and even a dose of wicked humor, Academy Awardwinning director Ang Lee adapts Rick Moody's acclaimed novel of American malaise into a trenchant, tragic portrait of lost souls. Features a tremendous cast of established actors (Kevin Kline, Joan Allen, Sigourney Weaver) and up-and-coming stars (Tobey Maguire, Christina Ricci, Elijah Wood, Katie Holmes). Features a new, restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised and approved by Lee and director of photography Frederick Elmes. Extras include commentary featuring Lee and producer-screenwriter James Schamus; a new documentary featuring interviews with Allen, Kline, Ricci and Wood; a new video interview with novelist Rick Moody; deleted scenes; a new essay by film critic Bill Krohn; more. (Posted March 17)
As we edge into another season of America's national pastime, MGM has released three baseball dramas: "Bull Durham: Collector's Edition" (1988), starring Kevin Costner, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins and Robert Wuhl, with commentary by director Ron Shelton, commentary by Kevin Costner and Tim Robbins, "The Greatest Show on Dirt" retrospective featurette, "Diamonds in the Rough" featurette on minor league baseball, "Between the Lines: The Making of Bull Durham" featurette, more ... "Eight Men Out: Collector's Edition" (1988), starring John Cusack, Clifton James, Michael Lerner, Christopher Lloyd, John Mahoney, Charlie Sheen, David Strathairn, D.B. Sweeney and Michael Rooker, with commentary by director John Sayles, a two-part retrospective featurette, "The Story Behind the Movie" featurette in-depth look at the Black Sox Scandal, "DB, the Bat & the 2005 World Series" featurette look at the 2005 White Sox World Series Championship ... "Pride of the Yankees Collector's Edition" (1942), starring Gary Cooper, Teresa Wright, Babe Ruth, Walter Brennan and Dan Duryea, with "The Making of Pride of the Yankees" featurette, "The Man Behind the Iron Horse" on Lou Gehrig, "What He Left Behind" featurette look at the Lou Gehrig memorabilia currently housed at the Baseball Hall of Fame, "Always" music featurette, "Lou Gehrig's Disease: The Search for a Cure" featurette, "Curt Schilling: A Legend on a Legend." (Posted March 17)
From TV to Video:
Due this week: "Autopsy: Postmortem With Dr. Michael Baden" (2007), the 12th installment of the HBO Documentary Films' Autopsy series; includes some of renowned forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden's most high-profile cases such as John F. Kennedy, OJ Simpson, Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen as well as first responders to the 9/11 terrorist attacks; $19.97 from HBO Video ... "Battlestar Galactica Season Three," a
six-disc set with 20 episodes, $59.98 from Universal, just in time for the start of last season of the acclaimed Sci Fi Channel series ... "Greek: Season One, Chapter One," a three-disc set with 10 episodes, $29.99 from Disney ... "Married ... With Children: The Complete Eighth Season " (1993-94), a three-disc set with 26 episodes, $39.95 from Sony ... "The Untouchables: Season Two, Volume 1," a four-disc set with 16 episodes, $42.99 from Paramount ... "The Wild Wild West: The Fourth Season," a six-disc set with 24 episodes, $54.99 from Paramount. (Posted March 17)
Buzzin' the 'B's:
"Revolver" (2007), directed by Guy Ritchie and starring Jason Statham, Ray Liotta, Vincent Pastore and Andre Benjamin is a thriller about a hotshot gambler who goes up against a crime boss and local casino owner, from Sony ... While excavating the site of a 17th century plague hospital, an archaeologist accidentally unleashes the malevolent spirit of a plague doctor responsible for a series of gruesome murders 350 years earlier in "The Sickhouse" (2007), starring Gina Philips, Andrew Knott and Jack Bailey, from New Line ... Val Kilmer, Gary Cole and Jennifer Esposito star in "Conspiracy" (2008), an actioner about a retired Special Ops U.S. Marine who must take matters into his own hands while investigating the disappearance of a friend in a violent border town, from Sony ... In "Them (Ils)" (2006 -- France/Romania), starring Olivia Bonamy and Michael Cohen, a young couple in a remote house is terrorized by some very weird people with lights, from Dark Sky Films ... "Jack Ketchum's The Lost " (2005) is a psychological thriller about the suburbs, the ennui of small town life ... and a serial killer, starring Marc Senter, Shay Astar, from Anchor Bay "13: Game of Death" (2006 -- Thailand) is a thriller about a young man who enters an underground game -- where he has to complete 13 deadly tasks -- to pay off his debts, from Weinstein Company/Genius Products ... During their final summer together before leaving their hometown for college, five boyhood friends put their friendship to the test as they try to right a heinous wrong and redeem the reputation of one of their own -- even at the cost of their individual futures in "Full Count" (2005), starring Josh Stewart, Austin Nichols, Jason Ritter, Chris Klein, Paul Wesley, Jennifer Hall, William Baldwin, Michael Beach and Michael Rooker, from Allumination FilmWorks ... "Rockaway" (2007) stars Nicholas Gonzalez, Ricardo Chavira, Mario Cimarro and Oleg Taktarov is a typical revenge thriller about a war hero who returns home and vows to take down the network of lowlifes and mobsters responsible for the murder of his family, from First Look. (Posted March 17)
On the Indie Front:
In "Alpha Male" (2005), a family falls into grief, jealousy and dysfunction when the alpha male father dies, starring Arthur Duncan, Ewan Stewart, Trudie Styler, Danny Huston and Jennifer Ehle, from ThinkFilm ...
... "Dead Cool" (2004) stars Rosanna Arquette, Joseph Ashworth, Daon Broni, Anthony Calf and James Callis in a story of a modern dysfunctional family as seen through the eyes of a 15-year-old boy, from MTI Home Video. (Posted March 17)
For the Family:
For the little ones this week Warner will release "The Pebbles and Bam-Bam Show," a two-disc set with 16 episodes of the animated "Flintstones" spin-off, $26.99, and "A Pup Named Scooby-Doo: Complete First Season," a two-disc set with 13 episodes, $19.98 ... Also for pre-schoolers there's "Johnny and the Sprites: Meet the Sprites," the first compilation of the Playhouse Disney musical series about a young man (John Tartaglia) who moves to the woods where he becomes friends with four wood sprites, five episodes for $19.99 from Disney ... For kids six to 11 there's the new animated series from Down Under, "FARMkids," about a group of pampered city animals who live a star-studded life in a popular petting zoo and are suddenly relocated to a rustic country dude ranch. The first two releases are "FARMkids: Chaos in the Country," with seven episodes from the first season, and "FARMkids: Hair, Wool, Feathers and Fur," with six more episodes, $14.98 each from PorchLight Home Entertainment ... "Pucca," an animated series (currently airing on Toon Disney) based on the Pucca merchandise brand and Internet short, following the adventures of Pucca, the daughter of a Chinese restaurant owner and her single-minded pursuit of her true-love, Garu, who wants to become a ninja, comes to home video for the first time with "Pucca: Kung Fu Kisses" and "Pucca: Ninjas Love Noodle," with 13 episodes each, $14.99 ... "Dennis the Menace: Trouble, Trouble Everywhere" (2007) includes seven episodes of the animated TV series, $14.98 from Fox ... A boy's life is turned upside down when he learns that he is the last of a group of immortal warriors who have dedicated their lives to fighting the forces of darkness in "The Seeker" (2005), starring Alexander Ludwig, Ian McShane, Frances Conroy, Gregory Smith and Christopher Eccleston, from Fox. (Posted March 17)
"Life After People" is the 2007 History Channel documentary that asks the question: What would happen to planet Earth if the human race were to suddenly disappear forever? Would ecosystems thrive? What remnants of our industrialized world would survive? What would crumble fastest? From the ruins of ancient civilizations to present day cities devastated by natural disasters, history gives us clues to these questions and many more in the visually stunning and thought-provoking documentary; $24.95 from A&E Home Video ... "Steep" (2007) is a documentary that takes a breathtaking look into the dangerous and death-defying world of big mountain skiing, from Sony. (Posted March 17)
Highlight of the week is three film noir outings from Fox: "Black Widow"
(1954), starring Ginger Rogers, Van Heflin, Gene Tierney and George Raft, with commentary by film noir historian Alan K. Rode, a "Ginger Rogers at Twentieth Century Fox" featurette, a "Gene Tierney: Final Curtain for a Noir Icon" featurette, more ... "Dangerous Passage" (1953), starring Jeanne Crain and Michael Rennie, with commentary by film historian Aubrey Solomon, a "Peril at Sea: Charting a Dangerous Crossing" featurette, more ... "Daisy Kenyon" (1947), directed by Otto Preminger and starring Joan Crawford, Henry Fonda and Dana Andrews, with commentary by film noir historian Foster Hirsch, "From Journeyman to Artist: Otto Preminger at Twentieth Century Fox" featurette, "Life in the Shadows: The Making of Daisy Kenyon" featurette, more. (Posted March 10)
From TV to Video:
Due this week: "Day Break" (2007), a four-disc set with all 13 episodes of the ABC series about a detective (Taye Diggs) condemned to repeat the worst day of his life over and over, while trying to discover why he is being framed for a murder he knows he didn't commit, from BCI Entertainment ...
"Five Days" (2007) is a five-part HBO miniseries about a mother and her children who go missing, in a two-disc set for $29.98 from HBO Video ...
"Lil' Bush: Resident of the United States -- Season One" (2007), a single disc of the Comedy Central series spoofing the president, from Paramount ... "Love American Style: Season 1, Volume 2," a three-disc set, $36.99 from Paramount ... "The Mod Squad: The First Season, Volume 2," a four-disc set, $42.99 from Paramount ... "The Most Extreme: Season 1," a three-disc set with 13 episodes of the Animal Planet "most extreme" animal top 10 countdowns, $24.95 from Animal Planet/Genius Products ... "Sam & Max: Freelance Police!!!" a three-disc set with 24 episodes of the edgy and often irreverent Fox Kids animated series based on a pair of Steve Purcell's enormously popular underground comics; $34.99 from Shout! Factory ... "South Park: Imaginationland" (2007), a single disc with the director's cut of the feature-length triple episode, from Paramount ... "Tin Man" (2007), the Sci Fi Channel miniseries re-imagining of "The Wizard of Oz" starring Zooey Deschanel, Alan Cumming, Neal McDonough, Kathleen Robertson, Raoul Trujillo., in a two-disc set from Rhi Entertainment. (Posted March 10)
Buzzin' the 'B's:
"Bachelor Party 2: The Last Temptation" (2008) stars Josh Cooke, Sara Foster, Greg Pitts, Warren Christie, Danny Jacobs, Harland Williams and Emmanuelle Vaugier in a direct-to-video sequel, from Fox ... "Stompin'" (2007) stars Sinbad and Vanessa Bell Calloway in a coming-of-age story about two brothers who strugle to mend their estranged relationship as their college campus gears up for a major Stepshow competition, from Warner ... "Stargate: The Ark of Truth"
(2008) stars Amanda Tapping, Beau Bridges, Michael Shanks, Ben Browder, Christopher Judge and Claudia Black in a direct-to-video feature-length film that picks up where "Stargate SG-1" left off, from MGM ... In war-torn Eastern Europe, a world-weary group of mercenaries discover a long-hidden, abandoned WWII bunker, were they encounter unspeakable monsters created decades before by Nazi experiments on soldiers in "Outpost" (2005), starring Ray Stevenson, Richard Brake and Julian Wadham, from Sony ... In "Bats: Human Harvest" (2007) a special ops detail sent to the forest of Chechnya after a mad doctor discovers he has created a horrific weapon: A flock of large carnivorous bats, with humans as test subjects in his nightmarish experiments, from Sony ... Adventuers seeking the lost set of Cecil B. DeMille's 1923 "The Ten Commandments" in the California desert uncover the spirit of a vengeful Egyptian god in "Sands of Oblivion" (2007), starring Adam Baldwin, Morena Baccarin, George Kennedy and Dan Castellaneta, from Anchor Bay ... "You Move, You Die" (2007), which stars Ketzal Sterling, Julian Harrison, Patrick Clarke, Jonathan Allen and Bruce Hopkins, is a New Zealand black comedy that unfolds in real time over 92 minutes and follows the barrage of bullets unleashed when a young man is mugged on the way to propose to his girlfriend, from MTI Home Video ... "Outlaw" (2007) stars Sean Bean, Danny Dyer, Rupert Friend, Sean Harris, Lennie James and Bob Hoskins in an actioner about a British paratrooper who returns from Iraq to find his country overrun by the lawless; he forms a modern-day outlaw posse in order to right what he sees as the wrongs of society, from Magnolia Home Entertainment. (Posted March 10)
Lou Ye's controversial "Summer Palace" (2006 -- China) is the story of young lovers whose relationship plays out against the movement for political reform, its violent suppression and the years of disillusionment that follow. After his film world premiered in the Cannes Film Festival's Competition, Lou Ye was banned from filmmaking for five years by Chinese authorities. Beautiful country girl Yu Hong (Hao Lei) leaves her village, family and lover to study at Peking University in the late 1980s. The country's social turmoil is witnessed through its disaffected youth, whose newfound sexuality and activism culminate in violent suppression. Spanning nearly 20 years of Chinese history, the film projects the country's struggle for definition through the eyes and heart of a young woman ill-equipped to handle it. From Palm Pictures. (Posted March 10)
For the Family:
For the wee ones this week Disney's Baby Einstein will release "Baby's First Sounds: Discoveries for Little ears," a $19.99 video that introduces babies to new sounds as well as classic nursery rhymes ... Sesame Street's "Play With Me Sesame" series debutes two hour-long interactive playdates for kids, "Lets Play Games" and "Imagine With Me," $14.93 each from Genius Products ... In "Pop Go the Wiggles" (2005) the Wiggles perform some of their favorite nursery rhymes to delight a new generation of pre-schoolers; $19.96 from Warner ... Public television's "The Zulu Patrol" science and astronomy series aimed at kids four to eight years old debuts on DVD with "The Zulu Patrol: Explore Space!" and "The Zulu Patrol: Explore Weather!" with four episodes each, $12.95 from Liberation Home Entertainment ... for older kids there's "Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes -- Volume Three" with four episodes from Cartoon Network's Saturday night series, $14.98 from Fox. (Posted March 10)
"Appleseed Saga: Ex Machina" (2007) is the next installment in the Appleseed franchise, produced by John Woo and directed by Shinji Aramaki; based on the manga from renowned creator Shirow Masamune. Two members of ESWAT, the elite forces serving Olympus, battle cyborg terrorism, deadly nanotech zealots, and rioting citizens from Warner ... "The Secret Things of God" (2008) is based on the book by best-selling author, psychologist and radio personality, Dr. Henry Cloud, who offers a different view of the universe by discussing biblical passages that give direction for creating a successful and fulfilling life; $26.98 from Fox ... In "Def Comedy Jam: D.L. Hughley " (2007), Russell Simmons is back for another season of the popular stand-up show with a new host, D.L. Hughley. Filmed in Los Angeles at the Orpheum Theatre, this season features a rotating line-up of fresh and familiar faces; $19.97 from HBO Video. (Posted March 10)
Highlight of the week is "TCM Archives: Forbidden Hollywood Volume 2," a three-disc set with five restored and remastered pre-code classics plus a feature-length documentary. It wasn't the "Roaring 20s" but the four years between 1929 and 1934 was the first real era of wide-open sexuality in films. Before Hollywood began enforcing a self-imposed Production Code (in response to numerous sex and crime scandals afflicting Tinseltown), many films allowed for extraordinary frankness, including nudity, adultery, premarital sex and prostitution. The five films here are representative of that time: "The Divorcee" (1930) with Norma Shearer, "A Free Soul" (1931) with Lionel Barrymore and Clark Gable, "Three on a Match" (1932) with Bette Davis, Joan Blondell and Ann Dvorak, "Female" (1933) with Ruth Chatterton as a no-nonsense CEO, and "Night Nurse" (1931) with Barbara Stanwyck. Also included in the set is the documentary "Thou Shalt Not: Sex, Sin and Censorship in Pre-Code Hollywood"; $49.92 from Warner. (Posted March 3)
Also due this week: "The Billy Wilder Film Collection," a four-disc set with "The Apartment," "Some Like It Hot," "The Fortune Cookie" and "Kiss Me Stupid!" $39.98 from MGM ... "12 Angry Men"
(1957), directed by Sidney Lumet and starring Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, Jack Warden, Martin Balsam, Ed Begley and Jack Klugman, with a pair of behind-the-scenes featurettes, from MGM ... A two-disc enhanced "101 Dalmatians: Platinum Edition" (1961), featuring super picture and sound, $29.99 from Disney ... and "Mrs. Doubtfire Behind-the-Seams Special Edition" (1993), directed by Chris Columbus and starring Robin Williams, Sally Field, Pierce Brosnan, Harvey Fierstein, Polly Holliday, Lisa Jakub, Matthew Lawrence, Mara Wilson and Robert Prosky, with deleted and extended scenes, makeup tests, fetaurettes, more, from Fox. (Posted March 3)
From TV to Video:
Due this week: "Blood +: Volume One"
(2008), a single-disc with the first five episodes of the Adult Swim anime series, $24.98 from Sony ... "Blood +: Part One"
(2008), a six-disc set with all 25 episodes from the first half of the Adult Swim anime series (includes a T-Shirt and Manga sampler), $119.95 from Sony ...
"Human Giant: The Complete First Season" is a two-disc set of the MTV sketch comedy series, $26.99 from Paramount ... "Kill Point" (2007) is a two-disc set of the Spike TV series starring John Leguizamo and Donnie Wahlberg, from Lionsgate ... "Marking Time" (2003) is an Australian miniseries about a young man who falls in love with an Afghani refugee in a small Australian town and faces racism and fear after Sept. 11, from BFS Entertainment) ... "The Love Boat: Season One, Volume One" is a three-disc set with the first 12 episodes, $39.99 from Universal ... "Magnum P.I.: Season 8" is a three-disc set with 13 episodes, $49.98 from Universal ... "The Other Boleyn Girl" (2003) stars Natascha McElhone. Jodhi May and Jared Harris in the BBC tale of sex, passion and royal intrigue about Mary Boleyn, mistress to King Henry VIII before he married her older sister, Anne, from Warner just in time for the theatrical release of "The Other Boleyn Girl" ... "Sorrell and Son" (1984) stars Miranda Richardson, Stephanie Beacham and Richard Pasco in a BBC Masterpiece Theatre miniseries faithfully adapted from Warwick Deeping's best-selling novel set in the early '20s about one man's sacrifice in order to provide his son with the gentleman's life he feels he deserves, from Koch Vision. (Posted March 3)
Buzzin' the 'B's:
In "Automaton Transfusion" (2006) three teens find themselves in a town overrun by zombies created by a U.S. Army experiment run amok, from The Weinstein Co./Genius Products ... "The Shepherd: Border Patrol" (2008) stars Jean-Claude Van Damme and Stephen Lord in a direct-to-video actioner about a rogue American Special Forces unit that schemes to smuggle $35 million worth of heroin into the United States; all that stands in its way is border patrol agent Jack Robideaux, an ex-homicide cop with a hidden agenda, from Sony ... "Experiment"
(2005) is a psychological thriller about a man and woman trapped in a foreign city, both subjects of a terrifying and shocking experiment, with no escape from their nightmares, from MTI Home Video ... In "Pistol Whipped"
(2008), starring Steven Seagal and Lance Henriksen, an elite ex-cop (Seagal) buries himself deeper and deeper into financial trouble with his uncontrollable gambling and drinking problems ... until a mysterious man offers to relieve him of his money troubles in exchange for the assassination of the city's most notorious gangsters, from Sony ... "Terry Pratchett's Hogfather"
(2006) stars David Jason, Marc Warren, Michelle Dockery, David Warner and Joss Ackland in a live-action adaptation of one of the international best-selling "Discworld" novels by Terry Pratchett. The tale takes place in a parallel universe drifting through space perched on top of four elephants standing on the shell of a giant turtle, a universe where the Auditors want the human race destroyed, from Genius Products. (Posted March 3)
For the Family:
Lots of DVDs aimed at the little ones this week. "Pat the Bunny Playdates," based on the toddler book that has sold millions of copies since its introduction in 1940, gives children ages 6 months to 36 months video "playdates" to "touch" the world (good for housebound families only), $14.93 from Genius Products ... "My Friends Tigger & Pooh: Friendly Tails" is a triple-length adventure in which the gang hunts for pirate treasure in the Hundred Acre Wood, $19.99 from Disney ... :Bob the Builder: Building Bobland Bay" features six episodes of Bob the Builder and his Can-Do Crew building a new seaside development for Sunflower Valley, $14.98 from Fox/HIT Entertainment ... "Strawberry Shortcake: Big Country Fun" features Strawberry and friends at a summer dude ranch, $14.98 from Fox ... "Barney Animal ABCs" is the latest title featuring the purple dinosaur in which barney and friends match animals to letters of the alphabet; $14.98 from Fox/HIT Entertainment ... "Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who!" (1970) is a remastered deluxe edition with three additional animated Dr. Seuss stories: Dr. Seuss' "Butter Battle Book," "Daisy-Head Mayzie" and "Horton Hathces the Egg!" $19.97 from Warner ... "Thomas & Friends: Engines and Escapades" is a new DVD featuring six episodes of the little engine and his Narrow Gauge friends, $14.98 from Fox/HIT Entertainment. (Posted March 3)
For older kids there's "Dr. Dolittle: Tail to the Chief"
(2008), starring Kyla Pratt andP eter Coyote in the latest adventure in the talking animals franchise, from Fox ... "Archie's Funhouse: The Complete Series" is a three-disc set with all 16 episodes of the classic animated hit starring Archie, Betty, Veronica, Jughead and Reggie; $29.95 from Classic Media/Genius Products ... "Flight 29 Down: Season Two" is a three-disc set with 13 episodes, $24.95 from Discovery Kids/Genius Products ... "Flight 29 Down: Hotel Tango" is a four-part movie and season finale, $14.95 from Discovery Kids/Genius Products ... "Ben 10: The Complete Season 3" is a two-disc set with 13 episodes, $19.98 from Warner ... "The Pink Panther & Friends Classic Cartoon Collection Volume Six: The Inspector" is a single disc with 17 episodes (cartoons) from 1965-67, $14.98 from MGM. (Posted March 3)
In the thought-provoking documentary "My Kid Could Paint That" (2007), director Amir-Bar-Lev tracks the overnight celebrity of little Marla Olmstead, a toddler who creates gallery-worthy paintings on the dining room table of her family home. A media sensation by the age of four, critics compared her work with Jackson Pollock's. Sales of her paintings reached $300,000. But, sadly, the bubble burst. When a 2005 profile by "60 Minutes" suggested that Marla had help making her paintings, the finger is pointed at her father, an amateur artist and night manager at Frito Lay. Almost overnight, her family is ensnared in a web of accusation and denial -- with the burden of proof placed squarely in their lap: Is Marla a child prodigy or an innocent victim of a hoax? From Sony ... Echo Bridge Home Entertainment will buff up with "World Combat League: Season One," hosted by Chuck Norris ($19.99), and "WCL: Season One: Greatest Knockouts and Knockdowns" ($9.99) ... "The UCLA Dynasty" chronicles the Bruins' incredible achievement in capturing an astounding 10 national titles during a 12-year period, from 1964-1975; just in time for March madness, $19.98 from HBO Video. (Posted March 3)
Flash: (February 27)
This Just In:
Paramount has scheduled an April 8 release date for the incredible "There Will Be Blood," a sprawling epic about family, greed, corruption, and the pursuit of the American dream. Set in the booming West Coast oil fields at the turn of the 20th century, "There Will Be Blood" follows the rise of rugged prospector Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis), who transforms himself from a down-and-out silver miner raising a son on his own into a self-made oil tycoon. But even as oil raises all of their fortunes, it coats their lives with tragedy, and nothing will remain the same as conflicts escalate and every human value -- love, hope, community, belief, ambition and even the bond between father and son -- is imperiled by corruption, deception and the flow of crude. Written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, the film is inspired by Upton Sinclair's novel "Oil!" A masterpiece for the 21st century. The oil derreck fire and its consequences alone are worth the price of admission. And, of course, the film won two Academy Awards: Daniel Day-Lewis in a mesmerizing performance, for best actor, and Robert Elswit for best cinematography. (Posted February 27)
Flash: (February 25)
Universal has set a March 18 release for "Atonement,"
starrng Keira Knightley, James McAvoy, Romola Garai, Saoirse Ronan, Brenda Blethyn, Vanessa Redgrave and Juno Temple. The critically acclaimed story of love, betrayal, and all its consequences is an adaptation of Ian McEwan's best-selling 2002 novel. Shot on location in the U.K., the film's story spans several decades, beginning in 1935 when a young girl catches her sister in a passionate embrace with a childhood friend, and her jealousy drives her to tell a lie that will irrevocably change the course of all their lives forever. From Joe Wright, the award-winning director of "Pride and Prejudice." "Atonement" nabbed a best original score Oscar on Sunday night. (Posted February 25)
Due this week from The Criterion Collection is Bernardo Bertolucci's "The Last Emperor" (1987), starring John Lone, Joan Chen and Peter O'Toole, in a four-disc set with an all-new restored, high-definition digital transfer, supervised and approved by cinematographer Vittorio Storaro as well as an all-new restored, high-definition digital transfer of the extended television version. "The Last Emperor" won nine Academy Awards, unexpectedly sweeping every category in which it was nominated -- quite a feat for a challenging, multilayered epic directed by an Italian and starring an international cast. Yet the power and scope of the film was, and remains, undeniable -- the life of emperor Pu Yi, who took the throne at age three, in 1908, before witnessing decades of cultural and political upheaval, within and outside of the walls of the Forbidden City. Recreating Qing-dynasty China with astonishing detail and unparalleled craftsmanship by cinematographer Vittorio Storaro and production designer Ferdinando Scarfiotti, "The Last Emperor" is also an intimate character study of one man reconciling personal responsibility and political legacy. As with all Criterion releases, this one dazzles with bonus materials, including commentary by Bertolucci, a host of documentaries, interviews, and a booklet featuring essays by David Thomson and an extract from script supervisor Fabien Gerard's journals from the production. (Posted February 25)
From TV to Video:
"Color Honeymooners Collection 2"
From Miami Beach, the sun and fun capitol of the world, it's "The Jackie Gleason Show!" Those are the words that announced the airing of Gleason's Saturday night show that aired from 1966-70; this DVD is a collection of color Honeymoooners segments; from MPI Home Video ... "Comanche Moon -- The Second Chapter in the Lonesome Dove Saga" (2008) stars Val Kilmer, Steve Zahn, Rachel Griffiths, Karl Urban, Linda Cardellini and Wes Studi in a prequel to the hugely popular and award-winning series; the two-disc set, extended cut is from Sony ... "Dark Shadows: The Beginning #3" features 35 episodes from the vampire soap opera (#71-105); from MPI Home Video ... "Extras: The Extra Special Series Finale" is the finale of the Emmy Award-winning comedy series, $19.97 from HBO Video ... "Family Affair Season 5" is a five-disc set with 24 episodes, $39.98 from MPI Home Video ... "The Fugitive: The First Season, Volume Two" (1963-64) is a four-disc set with the second part of the series' first season, $42.99 from Paramount ... "The Invisible Man Collection" (1958) features 26 remastered episodes of the British TV series; $39.98 from Dark Sky Films ... "Lonesome Dove: The Ultimate Collection" is a 10-disc set with all 43 episodes of "Lonesome Dove: The Series" and "Lonesome Dove: The Outlaw Years," $39.99 from Echo Bridge Home Entertainment ... "Newhart: The Complete First Season" is a three-disc set with 22 episodes, $39,98 from Fox ... "Rough Diamond" (2005) is a light-hearted British crime caper series about an aging criminal mastermind (the original title was "Diamond Geezer"); the two-disc set has four episodes, $39.99 from Acorn Media ... "State of Play" (2003) is a BBC America miniseries, set in London, in which a politician's life becomes increasingly complex as his research assistant is found dead on the London Underground and, in a seemingly unrelated incident, a teenage drug dealer is shot dead, from Warner ... "TV Guide Presents: B.L. Stryker: The Complete First Season" (1989) is a three-disc set with five episodes of the Burt Reynolds private detective series; $29.95 from Arts Alliance America. (Posted February 25)
Buzzin' the 'B's:
Due this week: "Holigans" (2004), starring Shaun Elebert. A slightly demented English gangster decides that he wants a bigger piece of the underworld pie and devises a scheme involving the takeover of a family tavern in a sleepy seaside community in Ireland. Problems occur when the rightful owners of the pub put up more of a fight than he bargained for. From Warner ... "Inside" (2006), starring Nicholas D'Agosto, and Leighton Meester. Friends Alex and Josie have a disturbing hobby -- they like to follow strangers. Intrigued by other people's lives, Alex breaks into their homes, listens to their conversations and watches their every move. But his obsession backfires when he's caught in the home of a tormented couple who become fascinated by his resemblance to their dead son, and now Alex finds himself trapped in a horrifying existence of shifting identities and realities. From Echo Bridge Home Entertainment ... "Legend of the Black Scorpion"
(2006 -- Hong Kong), starring Ziyi Zhang, Daniel Wu, Xun Zhou and You Ge. Set in 10th century China, scheming royals and other officials seek to conquer empires and consolidate power to form a single omnipotent dynasty. Against this backdrop enters a legendary empress with unparalleled fighting skills. The score combines Western classical with Chinese classical music. Two-disc ultimate edition. From Dragon Dynasty. (Posted February 25)
On the Indie Front:
"Pinochet's Last Stand"
(2006), starring Derek Jacobi, Phyllida Law and Peter Capaldi. In 1973, General Augusto Pinochet took over Chile in a violent military coup. During his 17-year rule, he ruthlessly repressed all opposition to his regime, leading to the deaths of 3,000 civilians and the torture of another 30,000. This biodrama tells the fascinating true story of the former dictator's surprise 1998 arrest for crimes against humanity while undergoing back surgery during a vacation in London. From HBO ... "To Kill a King" (2003), starring Tim Roth, Dougray Scott, Olivia Williams, Rupert Everett and Steven Webb. The story of the relationship between General Fairfax and Oliver Cromwell, as they try to cope with the consequences of deposing King Charles I of England. Also available on Blu-ray Disc. From Union Station Media ... "Day Zero" (2007), starring Elijah Wood, Jon Bernthal, Chris Klein and Ginnifer Goodwin. Three best friends are drafted and given 30 days to report for duty; in that time they're forced to confront everything they believe about courage, duty, love, friendship and honor. From First Look Studios ... "Jake's Booty Call" (2008) is an animated feature version of the popular Internet game for college students. From National Lampoon and Arts Alliance America. (Posted February 25)
For the Family:
Viewers of all ages will learn about Paris' history, culture and beauty in "Travel With Kids: Paris" (2008), an innovative, engaging program that also features money-saving tips, topical pop-up facts, advice for traveling with children and fun segments filled with all things great about the City of Lights; $14.98 from PorchLight Home Entertainment ... For preschoolers there's "The Smurfs: Season 1, Volume 1," a two-disc set with 19 remastered cartoons from the 1981 premiere season; $26.99 from Warner and "Caillou's Family Favorites" (2008), in which kids join animated Caillou as he explores everyday life, where ordinary daily events spark the imagination; $14.99 from Paramount ... For older kids there's "Justice League: The New Frontier Special Edition"
(2007), a new animated feature in single-disc ($19.98) and two-disc ($24.98) versions. Based on the graphic novel by Darwyn Cooke, the film tells the tale of the founding of the Justice League, comprised of DC Comics legends Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter and The Flash. Also available on Blu-ray Disc. From Warner. (Posted February 25)
"America at War Megaset" is a 14-disc set with 35 documentaries that presents more than 200 years of combat history, from the Revolutionary War to the War on Terror; $124.95 from A&E Home Video ... "Darkon" (2006) is a documentary on live-action role-playing gamers who suit up their armor in Baltimore to create a make-believe medieval world named Darkon, $26.98 from Porchlight Home Entertainment ... "A Global Warning?" (2007) is a documentary that investigates the most dramatic climatic events in Earth's past and considers the future trends that will decide the fate of our species; $24.95 from A&E Home Video ... "1968 With Tom Brokaw" (2007) is a feature-length, multidisciplinary documentary that examines the year that changed America. Features animated timelines and telling archival footage that illuminate the events and their influences; $24.95 from A&E Home Video ... "Life After Tomorrow" (2005) is a highly acclaimed documentary exploring the life-changing repercussions of child performers in the long-running Broadway musical "Annie," revealing the highs and lows of their experiences as child actresses in a cultural phenomenon; $19.95 from Arts Alliance America ... "The 2008 Rose Bowl Game" (2008) features the complete ABC broadcast of the Pac-10/Big Ten match-up in which sixth-ranked USC tied a Rose Bowl record with 49 points and set the total offensive record with 633 yards in their 49-17 rout of #13 Illinois; $19.95 from ESPN/Genius Products ... "The Art & Practice of Gardening" is a two-disc set that contains 13 Home & Garden TV programs featuring every major garden style and practice from private and public gardens in England, Ireland and the United States; $24.99 from Kultur International. (Posted February 25)
This Just In:
Fox on April 22 will release "The Savages," an irreverent story about family, love and mortality. Nominated for two Academy Awards including best actress for Laura Linney and best original screenplay for writer-director Tamara Jenkins, the film centers on two siblings who are reluctantly forced to look back at their difficult family history. Cocooned in their own complicated lives -- Wendy (Linney) a struggling playwright; Jon (Philip Seymour Hoffman) a neurotic college professor, are forced to live together under one roof for the first time since childhood when their father (Philip Bosco) begins to be consumed by dementia. Faced with complete upheaval and battling over how to handle their father's final days, they are confronted with what adulthood, family and most surprisingly, each other are really about. Extras include "About the Savage" featurette, director's snapshots, "The Sun City West Rhythm Tappers" extended scene, "Two of a Kind " extended scene. (Posted February 21)
Flash: (February 20)Back to top
This Just In:
Paramount has just announced that Tim Burton's tour de force re-imagining of Stephen Sondheim's Tony Award-winning Broadway hit musical "Sweeney Todd" will make its home video debut on DVD and HD DVD April 1. Johhny Depp stars as the infamous demon barber aided in his quest for revenge by his trusty razors and Helena Bonham Carter as Sweeney's amorous accomplice, Mrs. Lovett, who creates diabolical meat pies. "Attend the tale of Sweeney Todd./His skin was pale and his eye was odd./He shaved the faces of gentlemen/Who never thereafter were heard of again." The film also stars Alan Rickman, Timothy Spall and Sacha Baron Cohen. The film will be available in single-disc and two-disc standard and HD DVD editions; the two-disc editions include such extras as "The Making of Sweeney Todd the Demon Barber of Fleet Street," "Moviefone Unscripted with Tim Burton and Johnny Depp," a photo gallery and more. (Posted February 20)
Flash: (February 19)
This Just In:
Fox has announced an April 15 release date for "Juno," the witty and smart comedy that was embraced by audiences and hailed by critics across the country. The sleeper hit, directed by Jason Reitman, has been nominated for four Academy Awards: best picture, best director, best original screenplay and best actress for up-and-coming star Ellen Page. "Juno" will be released as a single disc; a two-disc set with commentary by Jason Reitman and writer Diablo Cody, deleted scenes, gag reels, featurettes, and a Digital Copy that allows viewers to transfer a digital version of the film to a Mac or Windows-based PC computer and then to portable video devices such as iPods; and on Blu-ray Disc. And as part of Fox's marketing campaign, "Juno" will be sold at Starbucks company-operated locations in the U.S., a first for the company. (Posted February 19)
Flash: (February 18)
The Criterion Collection this week will release another of Jean-Luc Godard's masterpieces, "Pierrot Le Fou" (1965), starring Jean-Paul Belmondo and Anna Karina, in a two-disc set with a new, restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised and approved by cinematographer Raoul Coutard. Dissatisfied in marriage and life, Ferdinand (Belmondo) takes to the road with the babysitter, his ex-lover Marianne Renoir (Karina), and leaves the bourgeoisie behind. Yet this is no normal road trip: Genius auteur Godard's 10th feature in six years, released between "Alphaville" and Masculin, feminine," is a stylish mash-up of consumerist satire, politics, and comic-book aesthetics, as well as a violent, zigzag tale of, as Godard called them, "the last romantic couple." With blissful color imagery by cinematographer Raoul Coutard and Belmondo and Karina at their most animated, "Pierrot le fou" is one of the high points of the French new wave, and one last frolic before Godard moved ever further into radical cinema. Extras include a new video interview with Karina; "Pierrot Primer," a new video program with audio commentary by filmmaker Jean-Pierre Gorin; "Godard, l'amour, la poesie," a 50-minute French documentary about Godard and his collaborative life and films with Karina; archival interview excerpts with Godard, Belmondo and Karina; plus a booklet featuring a new essay by critic Richard Brody, an review by Andrew Sarris, and an interview with Godard. (Posted February 18)
Also from Criterion this week is "Walker," a hallucinatory biopic that breaks all cinematic conventions, from British director Alex Cox ("Repo Man," "Sid & Nancy"). "Walker" tells the story of 19th-century American adventurer William Walker (Ed Harris), who abandoned a series of careers in law, politics, journalism and medicine to become a soldier of fortune, and for several years dictator of Nicaragua. Made with mad abandon and political acuity -- and the support of the Sandinista army and government during the Contra war -- the film uses this true tale as a satirical attack on American ultrapatriotism and a freewheeling condemnation of "manifest destiny." Featuring a powerful score by Joe Strummer and a performance of intense, repressed rage by Harris, Walker remains one of Cox's most daring works. Presented in a new, restored high-definition digital transfer, approved by Cox, with loads of extras. (Posted February 18)
From TV to Video:
"Coach: The Third Season," is a three-disc set with 22 episodes, $26.98 from Universal ... "Cops: 20th Season Anniversary" (2007) is a two-disc set that celebrates 20 seasons of the reality show. The set includes the "20th Season Special," the "Pilot" episode, the "Las Vegas Heat" episode, the "Lost Episode," "Cops in the Movies and on TV: Spoofs and Tributes" featurette, more; from Fox ... "Lillie" is a classic from the golden age of the British miniseries. The 1979 PBS Masterpiece Theatre drama follows the true-life, late-19th century story of Lillie Langtry from churchman's daughter to an independent -- and infamous -- actress and woman of the world, at once smart, stunning and scandalous; $59.99 from Acorn Media ... "Walker, Texas Ranger: The Fourth Season"
(1996-97) is a seven-disc set with 26 episodes, $54.99, from Paramount. (Posted February 18)
Buzzin' the 'B's:
Seeking to uncover the truth behind a series of apparent suicides, a young detective investigates a mysterious man who invades his victims' dreams, convincing them to kill themselves in real life in "Nightmare Detective" (2006 -- Japan), starring Ryuhei Matsuda, Shinya Tsukamoto and Hitomi, from Dimension Extreme/Weinstein Co./Genius Products ... In "Black Water" (2007), a leisurely boat tour by a group of friends down the rivers of Northern Australia turns horrific when the boat suddenly capsizes and the group is attacked by one of the most dangerous reptiles in the world: the Salt Water crocodile, from Sony ... In "Revamped" (2007), starring Jeff Rector, Christa Campbell, Martin Kove, Billy Drago, Fred Williamson and Tane McClure, a successful businessman is bitten by a beautiful vampire and is plunged into the dark world of the supernatural; he quickly realizes that being undead isn't all that it's cracked up to be and must fight for survival when a militaristic team of Vampire Hunters discover his existence; from MTI Home Video ... A mischievous high school sophomore faces a conflict of conscience vs. character when his best friend becomes linked to the death of a youth from another clique in suburban Middle America circa 1976 in "The Good Humor Man"
(2005), starring Nathan Stevens, Cameron Richardson, Jorge Garcia, Kelsey Grammer and Jason Segel; from Monarch Home Video ... In "The Final Inquiry" (2006), a Roman general in 32 AD travels to Jerusalem to discredit the rumors of a resurrection and put an end to the spreading cult of Jesus; stars F. Murray Abraham, Dolph Lundgren, Max von Sydow, Daniele Liotti and Monica Cru; from Fox. (Posted February 18)
For the Family:
"The Easter Bunny Is Coming to Town" (1977) is a restored and remastered version of the stop-motion TV feature, $14.98 from Warner ... "It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown" is a remastered version of the 1974 classic, from Warner ... "Little Einsteins: Race for Space" is a compilation of three adventures that include a flying journey from Machu Pichu to China and a sky race featuring all the greatest flying machines in the world; $19.99 from Disney ... "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe" (2002) is a three-disc set with the first 13 episodes of the revival of the animated "He-Man" saga; $26,98 from BCI Entertainment. (Posted February 18)
"Gorillas on the Brink" (2007) is an Animal Planet documentary that observes firsthand the urgent crisis of endangered gorillas in Rwanda, hosted by world-renowned animal expert Jack Hanna and actress Natalie Portman; from Animal Planet/Genius Products ... "Terror's Advocate" (2007) is a documentary by director Barbet Schroeder that takes audiences down history's darkest paths in an attempt to illuminate the mystery behind the enigmatic Jacques Verges, a successful lawyer who defended unpopular figures from all political fronts, including monsters like Nazi criminal Klaus Barbie and Holocaust denier Roger Garaudy; from Magnolia Home Entertainment ... "Sputnik Revealed" is a
NOVA documentary that delves into the true story behind the start of the Space Race in 1957; $24.95 from WGBH Boston Video ... "Excellent Cadavers" is a documentary that chronicles the recent history of the Mafia in Sicily and its integral relationship to postwar Italian politics; $24.95 from First Run Features ... "Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project"
(2007) is a two-disc set of the HBO documentary directed by John Landis profiling the career of comedian Don Rickles; $26.99 from Salient Media ... World Wrestling Entertainment and Genius Entertainment have four wrestling titles of interest to fans: "Armageddon," a battle royale featuring RAW, SmackDown and ECW stars, $24.95; "Royal Rumble: Volume III: 1998-2002" and "Royal Rumble: Volume IV: 2003-2007," each five disc sets featuring more than 15 hours of bone crushing action, $59.95 each; and a three-disc collector's edition of "The Legacy of Stone Cold Austin," $34.95. (Posted February 18)
This Just In:
They're back -- and with more attitude than last time. On April 15 Fox will release "Aliens vs. Predator -- Requiem," the second film in the franchise that pits two of the screen's scariest creatures against each other -- and humans. Picking up immediately after the events of the 2004 blockbuster "Alien vs. Predator," a Predator gives birth to the crossbreed "PredAlien" shortly before its ship crashes into a small Colorado town. Caught in between the invasion of the Aliens and a new ruthless and methodical Predator, a group of townspeople must join forces to stop the infestation before the military obliterates the town to contain the outbreak. Available in a single-disc, on two-disc DVD and in high-definition format on Blu-ray Disc, and loaded with features. (Posted February 12)
It's a week of collections, headed up by "Lubitsch Musicals: Eclipse Series #8," a four-disc set with "The Love Parade" (1929), "Monte Carlo" (1930), "The Smiling Lieutenant" (1931) and "One Hour With You" (1932). Not only the man who refined Hollywood comedy with such masterpieces as "Trouble in Paradise," "The Shop Around the Corner," and "To Be or Not to Be," Ernst Lubitsch also helped invent the modern movie musical. With the advent of sound and audiences clamoring for talkies, Lubitsch combined his love of European operettas and his mastery of film to produce this entirely new genre. These elegant, bawdy films, created before strict enforcement of the morality code, feature some of the greatest stars of early Hollywood (Maurice Chevalier, Jeanette MacDonald, Claudette Colbert, Miriam Hopkins), as well as that elusive style of comedy that would thereafter be known as the Lubitsch touch. $59.95 from The Criterion Collection. (Posted February 12)
"The Stanley Kramer Film Collection," a five-disc set with "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner," "Ship of Fools," "The Wild One," "The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T" and "The Member of the Wedding"; 59.95 from Sony ... "Joan Crawford Collection, Volume 2," a five-disc set with "Sadie McKee (1934), "Strange Cargo" (1941), "A Woman's Face" (1941), "Flamingo Road" (1949) and "Torch Song" (1953); $49.92 from Warner ... "The Charlie Chan Collection: Volume 4" with the first four Sidney Toler-starring Charlie Chan mysteries: "Charlie Chan In Honolulu" (1938), "Charlie Chan In Reno" (1939), "Charlie Chan at Treasure Island" (1939) and "Charlie Chan In the City of Darkness" (1939), $49.98 from Fox ... and "Academy Award Animation Collection 15 Winners -- 26 Nominees," a three-disc set with 26 Academy Award nominated cartoons and the 15 winners, restored and remastered. The winning shorts: "The Milky Way" (1940), "Yankee Doodle Mouse" (1943), "Mouse Trouble" (1944), "Quiet Please" (1945), "The Cat Concerto" (1947), "Tweetie Pie" (1947), "The Little Orphan" (1949), "For Scent-Imental Reasons" (1949), "So Much for So Little" (1949), "Two Mouseketeers" (1952), "Johann Mouse" (1953), "Speedy Gonzales" (1955), "Birds Anonymous" (1957), "Knighty-Knight Bugs" (1958) and "The Dot and The Line" (1965); $44.98 from Warner. (Posted February 12)
From TV to Video:
Due this week: "Blade: The Series," a four-disc set with all 13 episodes, with unrated and extended scenes, $39.98 from New Line ... "Dallas: The Complete Eighth Season," a five-disc set with 30 episodes, $39.98 from Warner ... "The Equalizer: Season One," a five-disc set with 22 episodes, $49.98 from Universal ... "Family Ties: The Third Season" (1984-85), a four-disc set with 23 episodes, $42.99 from Paramount ... "General Hospital: Night Shift Season 1," a three-disc set with 13 episodes, $29.99 from Disney ... "Girlfriends: The Third Season" (2002-03), a four-disc set with 24 episodes, $39.99 from Paramount ... "Hotel Babylon: Season 1," a three-disc set with eight episodes of the BBC/AMC series, $39.98 from Warner ... "Love or Money" (2001) is a U.K. telefilm about a reality show in which a couple is selected by the audience to be married on TV; if they stay together six months, they'll win a cool million; stars Steven Duffy and Emma Cunniffe; from BFS Entertainment ... "Perfect Strangers: The Complete First & Second Seasons," a four-disc set with 28 episodes, $29.98 from Warner ... "Tell Me You Love Me: The Complete First Season"
(2005). $69.98 from HBO Video. (Posted February 12)
Buzzin' the 'B's:
A big-city magazine writer comes face-to-face with the traditional Southern family he hasn't seen in more than 10 years in "Dirty Laundry"
(2006), starring Rockmond Dunbar, Loretta Devine and Jenifer Lewis, from Fox ... In "The Front Line" (2006), starring Eriq Ebouaney and James Frain, an African immigrant bank security guard turns the tables on Dublin's nastiest criminals when they force him to be the "inside man" on a bank robbery, from BFS Entertainment ... "Royal Tramp 1 & 2"
(1992) is a two-disc set of the Hong Kong action-comedies starring Stephen Chow as a fast-talking conman who manages to avoid death and score hot women, all while trying to save the Ming Dynasty from falling; from Dragon Dynasty/Weinstein Co./Genius Products ... "Furnace" is a thriller about a supernatural force in a maximum security prison hell-bent on revenge, starring Michael pare, Tom Sizemore, Danny Trejo and Ja Rule; from Genius Products. (Posted February 12)
On the Indie Front:
The shy son (Khan Chittenden) of an aging comedienne (Brenda Blethyn) tries to find a balance between his demanding home life, his new girlfriend, and his mother's second chance at fame in "Introducing the Dwights"
(2007), from Warner ... In "Blue State"
(2007), fervent liberal John Logue (Breckin Meyer) suddenly finds himself with no job, no girlfriend -- and no country -- when he vows to move to Canada if John Kerry loses the 2004 election. Making good on his "campaign promise," Logue finds a traveling companion--a sexy, mysterious woman named Chloe (Anna Paquin) -- and heads north. But Chloe is not all that she seems; from MGM ...
"ESL: English as a Second Language" (2005) is an interesting take on immigration as a young woman makes the treacherous journey over the border from Mexico to Los Angeles where she meets up with another woman whose parents made the same journey some 20 years before; stars Kuno Becker, Danielle Camastra, John Michael Higgins, Maria Conchita Alonso and Harold Gould; from Allumination FilmWorks ... "Dedication" is a romantic comedy that follows a misogynistic children's book author who is forced to work closely with a female illustrator instead of his long-time collaborator and only friend; stars Mandy Moore, Billy Crudup, Tom Wilkinson, Peter Bogdanovich and Dianne Wiest; from Genius Products. (Posted February 12)
For the Family:
"The Beatrix Potter Collection" is a three-disc set with nine animated adventures, $29.98 from Warner ... "Batman Double Feature" (2008) features two animated made-for-video Batman features: "Batman and Mr. Freeze: Sub Zero" and "Batman Mask of Phantasm"; $14.97 from Warner ... "Scooby-Doo and the Alien Invaders/Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island " is one disc with two full-length Scooby-Doo adventures, $14.97 from Warner ... "George of the Jungle: The Complete Original Series" (2005) is a two-disc set with all 17 episodes, $19.98 from Classic Media/Genius Products ... "Power Rangers: Operation Overdrive Volumes 4 & 5" are the last two chapters in the "Overdrive" series, $19.99 each; from Disney. (Posted February 12)
"Prehistoric Predators" is a 2007 National Geographic Channel documentary about the animal giants who ruled the world 10,000 years ago, from Warner ... "Africa Unite" (2008) is a politically driven music documentary that follows three generations of the Marley family on their historic journey to Ethiopia to take part in a 2005 concert in commemoration of Bob Marley's 60th birthday, from Palm Pictures ... "Love Is My Religion" is a full-length live concert by Reggae icon Ziggy Marley taped at Los Angeles' Avalon Theatre in December 2006, $14.97 from Tuff Gong Worldwide ... "Columbus: The Lost Voyage" (2007) is a History Channel documentary on Columbus' checkered history after the initial glory and fame from the discovery of the New World had faded; $24.95 from A&E Home Video ... "The Monastery: Mr. Vig and the Nun"
(2006 -- Denmark) is a documentary about an elderly Danish eccentric and a strong-willed Russian nun who join forces to transform a run-down castle into a Russian Orthodox monastery, from Koch Lorber ... "Lost Book of Nostradamus" (2007) is a History Channel documentary on the book "Prophecy of the Roman Popes", which lay hidden for over 400 years on the shelves of the Italian National Library; the book may well contain new, cryptic predictions from the master psychic himself -- including the crisis in the Middle East and the Apocalypse; $24.95 from A&E Home Video ... "Comedy Central Roast of Flavor Flav: Uncensored!" is a roast of Flavor Flav hosted by Katt Williams, from Paramount. (Posted February 12)
From the Big Screen:
Due this week: "Elizabeth: The Golden Age," "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford," "The Brave One," "Across the Universe," "Jane Austen Book Club," "2 Days In Paris" and "Feast of Love."
For more releases this week, see our "Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases." (Posted February 5)
Winner of five 1960 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, "The Apartment" is director Billy Wilder at his scathing, satirical best in this comedic take on the wiles of the executive suite in the 50s and 60s. C.C. "Bud" Baxter (Jack Lemmon) knows the way to success in business ... it's through the door of his apartment! By providing a perfect hideaway for philandering bosses, the ambitious young employee reaps a series of undeserved promotions. But when Bud lends the key to big boss J.D. Sheldrake (Fred MacMurray), he not only advances his career, but his own love life as well. For Sheldrake's mistress is the lovely Fran Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine), elevator girl and angel of Bud's dreams. Convinced that he is the only man for Fran, Bud must make the most important executive decision of his career: lose the girl ... or his job. MHM has released "The Apartment Collector's Edition" with commentary by film historian Bruce Block, an "Inside the Apartment" documentary and a "Tribute to Jack Lemmon" ... Sony has released "Midnight Express 30th Anniversary Edition"
(1978), directed by Alan Parker, with a screenplay by Oliver Stone and starring Brad Davis, Irene Miracle, Bo Hopkins, Paolo Bonacelli, Paul L. Smith, Randy Quaid, Norbert Weisser, Peter Jeffrey and John Hurt. Extras include several featurette and commentary by Parker ... Don't forget "Tootsie 25th Anniversary Edition"
(1982), directed by Sydney Pollack and starring Dustin Hoffman, Jessica Lange, Teri Garr, Dabney Coleman, Charles Durning, Bill Murray and Geena Davis; extras include "A Better Man: The Making of Tootsie" featurette and deleted scenes, from Sony ... And Universal has put together an "Imitation of Life Two Movie Special Edition," a two-disc set with the 1934 "Imitation of Life" directed by John M. Stahl and starring Claudette Colbert and the 1959 version directed by Douglas Sirk and starring Lana Turner and Sandra Dee. (Posted February 5)
From TV to Video:
"Beauty and the Beast: The Third Season" (1989-90) is a three-disc set with 12 episodes, $49.99 from Paramount ... "Dresden" (2006) is a German miniseries about a romance between a British pilot hiding in Germany and a German nurse, set against the background of the massive allied bombing of Dresden toward the end of World War II; two-disc set, $29.98 from Koch Vision ... "McLeod's Daughters: The Complete Fifth Season" is an eight-disc set with 32 episodes of the Australian series about two half-sisters separated as children and reunited when they inherit Drover's Run, a large Australian cattle ranch that had been passed down for generations; $79.98 from Koch Vision ... "Rosemary & Thyme: The Complete Collection" is a nine-disc set with 22 episodes of the British mystery series, $99.99 from Acorn Media ... "Route 66: Season One, Volume Two" (1960-61) is a four-disc set with 15 episodes, restored and digitally transferred from the original masters, $29.98 from Infinity Entertainment ... "Slings & Arrows: The Complete Collection"
is a seven-disc set with all 18 episodes of the series about a dysfunctional Canadian theater troupe; $59.99 from Acorn media ... "Soul Food the Series: The Third Season" (2002-03) is a five-disc set with 10 episodes, $49.99 from Paramount ... "A Stranger's Heart" (2007) stars Samantha Mathis, June Squibb, Peter Dobson and Thomas Kopache in a telefilm about a female N.Y. writer who meets a gentle hunk of a man while both are waiting for heart transplants; miraculously, they both receive donated hearts, and the two fall in love, from Genius Products ... "Strictly Confidential" is a two-disc set with six episodes from the sexually explosive British TV murder-mystery series about a bisexual ex-police officer-turned-sex therapist; $29.98 from Koch Vision ... "Third Watch: The Complete First Season" is a six-disc set with 22 episodes, $59.98 from Warner ... "Wire In the Blood: The Complete Fourth Season" is a four-disc set with all four episodes of the British TV series about a crime-solving psychologist; $59.98 from Koch Vision. (Posted February 5)
Buzzin' the 'B's:
A pair of slackers get in way over their heads when they try to dump the body of a dead girlfriend in the basement of a drive-in movie theater where a satanic cult performs ritual sacrifices in "Weirdsville" (2007), starring Wes Bentley, Raoul Bhaneja and Greg Bryk, from Magnolia Home Entertainment ... In "Storm Warning" (2007), a weekend boating excursion takes a bad turn when a severe storm strands a married couple on a remote island; they stumble upon what appears to be a vacant house only to learn that the sadistic inhabitants are home and have heinous plans for the unexpected houseguests, from Dimension Extreme/Weinstein Co./Genius Products ... In "Croc" (2007), starring Peter Tuinstra and Michael Madsen, a large man-eating crocodile terrorizes tourists and locals in Thailand, from Genius Products ... "Showstoppers" (2008) is a story about a group of young college girls whose friendships and dreams are challenged and celebrated as they compete in the vibrant discipline that is known as "stepping", from Warner ...
"Love & Basketball" (2005) stars Dennis Haysbert, Sanaa Lathan, Omar Epps, Boris Kodjoe and Chris Warren Jr.; the two-disc set includes the CD soundtrack, from New Line ... "All In"
(2006) stars Dominique Swain, Michael Madsen, Louis Gossett Jr., Colleen Porch and James Russo in a tale about six medical students with unique talents pool their resources to try to win the World Series of Poker, from MTI Home Video. (Posted February 5)
For the Family:
"The Prince and the Pauper" (2007) is a modern re-telling of the Mark Twain classic with teen throbs twins Cole and Dylan Sprouse; co-stars Kay Panabaker and Vincent Spano, from Sony ... In "Elmo's World: Opposites" (2007), preschoolers join with Sesame Street's Elmo to learn about the ins and outs of the amazing concept of "opposites"; features three episodes with Elmo and his friends -- Mr. Noodle, Super Grover and Dorothy the Goldfish; $12.93 from Seasame Workshop/Genius ... "Legion of Super Heroes V2"
features four episodes of the animated super hero series, $14.97, from Warner ... In "Bob the Builder On-Site: Roads & Bridges" (2007), young viewers get an exciting behind-the-scenes look at how the impressive construction machines do their big jobs; $19.98 from HIT/Fox ... "The Ten Commandments"
(2007) is a CGI-animated feature with the voices of Ben Kingsley, Christian Slater,
Alfred Molina and Elliott Gould, from Genius Products ... "Madeline: Meet Me In Paris"
(2008) features three animated episodes based on Ludwig Bemelmans' classic Madeline children's books; includes "Madeline at the Louvre" "Madeline at the Eiffel Tower" and "Madeline in Cannes"; $14.98 from Fox ... "The Aristocats Special Edition" is a digitally enhanced edition of the 1970 animated film with the voices of Phil Harris, Eva Gabor, Sterling Holloway, Scatman Crothers and Paul Winchell, from Disney ...
"Maggie and the Ferocious Beast: Rain Showers & Spring Flowers" and
"Maggie and The Ferocious Beast: Recipes For Trouble" each feature five episodes from the Noggin kids series, $14.99 each from Shout! Factory ... "The Ugly Duckling and Me: Vol. 3 Love Is in the Air" (2005) is the third volume of the animated series based on the Hans Christian Andersen character; includes three episodes; $14.98 from Allumination FilmWorks ... "Snow Buddies"
(2008) stars James Belushi, Kris Kristofferson and Molly Shannon in a tale about five talking puppies who get stuck on a plane to Alaska and join in a daring dogsled race, from Disney. (Posted February 5)
"Romeo & Juliet: A Monkey's Tale" (2007) is an Animal Planet feature that takes place in the mountains of Thailand, where two young monkeys from rival factions fall in love. This is the story of their lives, as the two groups of the local simian population declare war to keep them apart. It's a familiar story with a wild twist, from Animal Planet/Genius Products ... "The Best of Comedy Central Presents: Uncensored"
features original stand-up specials from Lewis Black, Dane Cook, Jeff Dunham, Mitch Hedberg, Demetri Martin, Carlos Mencia and Brian Regan, $19.99 from Paramount ... "The Jewish Americans" is a two-disc set of the recent six-hour PBS documentary that focuses on individual personalities and stories to chronicle the 350-year saga of immigrants who gradually wove themselves into the fabric of American life; $34.99 from Paramount. (Posted February 5)
Flash: This Just In (January 31)
Warner Home Video has just announced a March 18 release for Will Smirh's "I Am Legend," the third iteration of the chilling novel by Richard Matheson (previous versons were 1964's "The Last Man on Earth" starring Vincent Price and "The Omega Man" in 1971 starring Charlton Heston). Smith plays Robert Neville, a brilliant scientist who survives the ravages of a terrible virus that is unstoppable, incurable, and man-made. Somehow immune, Neville is now the last human in what is left of New York City and maybe the world. For three years, he sends out daily radio messages, desperate to find any other survivors who might be out there. But he is not alone. Mutant victims of the plague -- The Infected -- lurk in the shadows ... watching Neville's every move ... waiting for him to make a fatal mistake. "I Am Legend" will be available as a single disc and in a two-disc special edition as well as on Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD. (Posted January 31)
Due this week is "El Cid" (1961), 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 their mother). Anthony Mann masterfully directs this classic tale of the 11th-century hero (Heston) who fought to unite Spain. Known as history's "compassionate warrior," the film follows El Cid's remarkable journey from peace-broker accused of treason to the King's fighting champion, and later from exiled hero to legendary martyr. The disc is 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; a 1961 promotional radio interviews with Heston and Loren; an 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"; a trailer gallery; filmographies; and 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. For more on "El Cid," including a review of the release and an interview with William Bronston, son of the film's producer, Samuel Bronston, jump on over to Glenn Abel's fabulous DVD Spin Doctor. (Posted January 29)
From TV to Video:
"Aqua Teen Hunger Force: Volume 5" is at two-disc set with all 10 episodes from the fifth season plus 4 previously unreleased episodes, $29.98 from Warner ... "Blue Murder, Set 2" (2003) is a two-disc set with four contemporary, deftly plotted British police procedurals; $39.99 from Acorn Media ... "Chancer, Series 2" is a two-disc set with the last seven episodes of the 1990s British TV series starring Clive Owen as a magnetic con man; $39.99 from Acorn Media ... "Cisco Kid Collection 1, 2 ,3 ,4" are four-disc sets with 20 episodes of the early TV Western series; $19.98 each from MPI Home Video ... "Curb Your Enthusiasm: The Complete Sixth Season" is a two-disc set with 10 episodes, $39.98 from HBO Video ... "Damages: The Complete First Season" is a three-disc set with 13 episodes, $49.95 from Sony ... "Jackie Gleason -- Genius at Work" is a collection of some of the Great One's funniest sketches; $19.98 from MPI Home Video ... "JAG: The Fifth Season" (1999-2000) is a seven-disc set with 25 episodes, $64.99 from Paramount. (Posted January 29)
Buzzin' the 'B's:
In "King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters" (2007), diehard video game fans compete to break World Records on classic arcade games, from New Line ... "Lake Placid 2" (2007) stars John Schneider, Cloris Leachman and Sam McMurray in a telefilm sequel to the comedy horror film about a giant crocodile inhabiting Lake Placid, from Fox ... In "Kiss and Tell" (1996) starring Rosie Rowell, Peter Howitt and Daniel Craig, a policewoman poses as a lonely heart to entice a confession from a man the police believe murdered his wife, from BFS Entertainment ... The unruly, losing players of a pub soccer league team hire a mysterious new coach to whip them back into shape in "Studs" (2006), starring Brendan Gleeson and David Wilmot, from BFS Entertainment ... "Ricco the Mean Machine" (1973) stars Christopher Mitchum, Arthur Kennedy, Malisa Longo and Barbara Bouchet in a mob thriller about the son of a Mafia Don who returns from prison to find his family business usurped by others, from Dark Sky/MPI Home Video ... In "Tragic Ceremony" (1972), starring Camille Keaton, four hippies take refuge in an abandoned villa only to get involved in a satanic sacrifice, from Dark Sky/MPI Home Video. (Posted January 29)
On the Indie Front:
"The Nines" (2007) stars Ryan Reynolds, Hope Davis, Melissa McCarthy and Elle Fanning in three short films (directed by John August), each a thriller featuring the same actors in different - and sometimes overlapping - roles. Together, the three stories form a single narrative that explores the relationships between author and character, actor and role, creator and creation: a journey through the mind of an actor, a writer and a video game designer who arguably controls them all. From Sony ... Three days before his bar exam, a ladder-climbing law intern desperate to score points with his boss commits to driving a beat up truck cross-country carrying his boss' seductive yet untouchable niece and her out-of-control pet pig in "Moving McAllister" (2007), starring Ben Gourley, Mila Kunis, Jon Heder and Rutger Hauer, from Magnolia Home Entertainment ... "Raising Flagg" (2006) stars Alan Arkin, Lauren Holly, Glenne Headley, Barbara Dana, Austin Pendleton, Richard Kind and Matthew Arkin in a comedy centered on a handyman (Arkin) and his lifelong competition with his neighbor (Pendleton), from Cinema Libre Studio ... "King of California"
(2007) stars Michael Douglas, Evan Rachel Wood and Willis Burks II in an offbeat comedy that just doesn't live up to its premise. After spending several years in a mental institute Charlie (Michael Douglas) is sent home, reuniting with his teenage daughter Miranda (Evan Rachel Wood). Soon, however, Charlie becomes obsessed with the notion that a long-lost Spanish treasure is buried beneath their local suburban California Costco. From First Look Home Entertainment ... "Quiet City + Dance, Party USA:
2 Films by Aaron Katz " (2007) is an interesting indie release. "Quiet City" is a deceptively simple drama about a twentysomething girl (Erin Fisher) who arrives in New York to visit a friend who never shows; on an empty subway platform, she crosses paths with a kindly stranger named Charlie (Cris Lankenau), and an unlikely connection is formed over the next 24 hours through city parks, abandoned apartments, and art galleries in the heart of industrial Brooklyn. In "Dance Party, USA," apathetic teens Jessica (Anna Kavan) and Gus (Cole Pennsinger) share a fleeting moment at a Fourth of July party in Portland, but their relationship grows closer and more complex after Gus confronts her with a troubling secret. Two-disc set. (Benten Films; www.bentenfilms.com). (Posted January 29)
For the Family:
The hot release this week: "Hannah Montana: One in a Million" with four episodes from the wildly popular Disney Channel series, from Disney ... "Fast Girl"
(2007) is a family film about a young woman who wants to follow in her father's footsteps and become a professional race car driver, from Allumination FilmWorks ... "Twitches Too" (2007) is a Disney Channel telefilm starring Tia and Tamera Mowry as a pair of magical princesses separated at birth to protect them from a mysterious evil force, from Disney ... for the wee ones there's "Celebrating Around the World" (2007), in which Barney and friends take a super-dee-duper adventure to Brazil, Kenya, India, Japan and Ireland where they learn about different cultures, including traditional music and dance, and explore the ways people celebrate around the world; $14.98 from HIT/Fox ... and "Pingu: On Thin Ice," with eight episodes of the animated series about a charming, cheeky young penguin who connects with kids of all ages and has a knack for mischief and a flair for flippered fun; $14.98 from HIT/Fox. (Posted January 29)
"Pioneers of Television" (2008) is the recent four-part PBS documentary with clips and interviews from the formative years of television, with appearances by nearly 100 stars; $24.99 from Paramount ... "Coma" (2007) is a documentary look at the mystery of traumatic brain injury; $24.98 from HBO Video ... "Kennedy: The Man, the President, the Tragedy" is a three-disc set with "Image of an Assassination: A New Look into the Zapruder Film," "The Murder of JFK: A Revisionist History" and "The Missiles of October" starring William Devane and Martin Sheen; $29.98 from MPI Home Video ... "Desert Bayou" (2007) is a feature length documentary that tells the story of 600 African-Americans who were airlifted out of New Orleans after the Katrina floods, shipped to Utah without their knowledge, subjected to identity checks and then housed at an isolated military base. Although the people flown to Utah were a small percentage of those displaced -- estimates are between 645,000 and 1 million -- their story is emblematic of some painful truths about race, religion and poverty in America; $19.95 from Cinema Libre ... "Bill Gottlieb: Riffs" (2005) is a photographic chronicle of the Golden Age of Jazz, 1938 to 1948. Bill Gottlieb's exquisitely detailed photographs captured the essence of jazz. His body of work represents the musicians who inspired him, and provides an intimate look at the musicmakers. Gottlieb's photographs have been used in countless books and articles and have graced nearly 250 record album covers; they have appeared in television documentaries and major motion pictures, and have been distributed on posters, postcards, calendars, and T-shirts. Featuring interviews with Gottlieb and other jazz authorities, this documentary explores the stories behind Bill's artful portraits. He discusses his famous photographs of jazz greats Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, Frank Sinatra, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker and many others. $19.99 from Kultur International Films ... "The Mamas & The Papas: Straight Shooter" (2008) is a definitive biography of the legendary musical group that had 10 hit singles from 1965-68. Features exclusive interviews with founding members John Phillips, Michelle Phillips and Denny Doherty to tell the story of The Mamas and The Papas, with home movies, personal photographs, interviews, rare performances. $19.99 from SRO Entertainment ... "Teresa Mason's Steppin' Out" is a new dance instruction series from acclaimed dance instructor Teresa Mason: "Nightclub Dancing," "Ballroom Dancing" and "Latin Dancing," $19.99 each from Kultur International Films. (Posted January 29)
Two fabulous releases this week from The Criterion Collection:
"This Sporting Life" (1963) is one of the finest British films ever made, a benchmark of "kitchen-sink realism" that follows the self-defeating professional and romantic pursuits of a miner turned rugby player eking out an existence in drab Yorkshire. With an astonishing, raging performance by a young Richard Harris, an equally blistering turn by fellow Oscar nominee Rachel Roberts as the widow with whom he lodges, and electrifying direction by Lindsay Anderson in his feature-film debut following years of documentary work, "This Sporting Life" remains a dramatic powerhouse some 45 years later. This special edition features a new, restored high-definition digital transfer and includes Commentary featuring Paul Ryan, editor of "Never Apologise: The Collected Writings of Lindsay Anderson," and David Storey, screenwriter and author of "This Sporting Life"; "Lindsay Anderson: Lucky Man?" (2004, 30 min.), a BBC Scotland documentary featuring interviews with many of the director's close friends and collaborators; "Is That All There Is?" (1992, 50 min.), Anderson's autobiographical, final film; a booklet featuring a new essay by film scholar Neil Sinyard and writings by Anderson, more ... Agnes Varda used the skills she honed early in her career as a photographer to create some of the most nuanced, thought-provoking films of the past 50 years. She is widely believed to have presaged the French new wave with her first film, "La Pointe Courte," long before creating one of the movement's benchmarks, Cleo from 5 to 7." Later, with "Le bonheur" and "Vagabond," Varda further shook up art house audiences, challenging bourgeois codes with her inscrutable characters and effortlessly beautiful compositions and editing. Now working largely as a documentarian, Varda remains one of the essential cinematic poets of our time and a true visionary. "4 X Agnes Varda" is a four-disc set with "La Pointe Courte," "Cleo from 5 to 7," "Le bonheur" and "Vagabond" in new restored digital transfers, supervised and approved by Varda, and features a host of extras. (Posted January 22)
Also ripe for your collection is "The John Frankenheimer Collection," a four-disc set with "The Young Savages," "The Train," "The Manchurian Candidate" and "Ronin," $39.98 from MGM. (Posted January 22)
From TV to Video:
"Barney Miller: The Complete Second Season"
is a three-disc set with 22 episodes, $29.95 from Sony ... "The Catherine Cookson Anthology" features eight of the popular author's most popular novels adapted and produced for British television from 1989-2000, in a eight-disc set, $99.98 from Koch Vision ... "ER: The Complete Eighth Season" (2001-02) is a six-disc set with 22 episodes, $49.98 from Warner ... "The Girls Next Door Season Three" is a three-disc set with 14 episodes, $29.98 from Fox ... "Hawaii Five-O: The Third Season" (1970-71) is a six-disc set with 24 episodes, $54.99 from Paramount ... "Hustle: The Complete Season 4" is a two-disc set with six episodes, $34.98 from Warner ... "The Odd Couple: The Third Season" (1972-73) is a four-disc set with 23 episodes, $42.99 from Paramount ... "The Simple Life: Goes To Camp" is a single disc with 10 episodes, $19.98 from Fox ... "Torchwood: The Complete First Season" is a seven-disc set with 13 episodes, $79.98 from Warner ... "TV Guide Presents: Banacek -- The Second Season" is a three-disc set with eight episodes, $29.95 from Arts Alliance America. (Posted January 22)
Buzzin' the 'B's:
A young aspiring singer moves from Mississippi to Los Angeles in pursuit of her long time dream of becoming an R&B singer in "R&B Chick" (2007), starring Clifton Powell and Christina Johnson, from Warner ... A naive young athlete joins an underground prizefighting circuit to earn a little extra cash and is turned into a brutal fighting machine in "Fatal Contact" (2006 - Hong Kong), starring Jacky Wu and Ronald Cheng, in a two-disc Dragon Dynasty set from the Weinstein Co./Genius Products ... "Missionary Man" (2008) is a modern-day Western about small town injustice by the hand of a greedy wrongdoer, and the mysterious, renegade stranger who single-handedly saves the day, starring Dolph Lundgren, from Sony ... "Blonde Ambition" (2008) stars Jessica Simpson, Luke Wilson, Rachel Leigh Cook, Penelope Ann Miller, Andy Dick and Willie Nelson in the story of a young professional woman (Jessica Simpson) who unwittingly becomes the pawn of two business executives in their bid to oust the head of a mega-conglomerate; from Sony. (Posted January 22)
On the Indie Front:
"Sex and Breakfast" (2007), starring Macaulay Culkin, Eliza Dushku, Kuno Becker and Alexis Dziena, intertwines the lives of two couples who experiment with group sex as a way to sort out the rudiments of a successful relationship -- sex, love, and communication; from First Look Home Entertainment. (Posted January 22)
"Moliere" (2007 -- French) is an "elaborate historical fiction" that traces several lost months in the life of one of France's greatest playwrights, the father and true master of comic satire, author of "The Misanthrope" and "Tartuffe," and a dramatist to rank alongside Shakespeare and Sophocles; from Sony. (Posted January 22)
For the Family:
"The Wheels on the Bus: Mango’s Big Dog Parade" is the newest episode of the award-winning series of children’s films based on the toddler anthem "The Wheels on the Bus," staring the voice talent of Roger Daltrey of The Who. Mango, Papaya, Coco and all their friends are back for a new musical adventure combining computer animation, live-action and a cast of kids and puppets as they help a little dog who missed his ride to the Big Dog Parade. As in all the "Wheels" DVD, this focuses on themes that teach children basic skills of cooperation, good behavior and manners. $14.98 from PorchLight Home Entertainment. (Posted January 22)
"Confessions of a Superhero" (2007) is a documentary that explores the fascination, obsession, and allure of fame through the eyes of some very unique people struggling to make it in Tinseltown: three mortal men and one woman who make their living working as superhero characters on the sidewalks of Hollywood Boulevard; $19.98 from Arts Alliance America ... "Just Like Me" (2008) examines the current generation of budding NHL stars; $19.98 from Warner ... "The Jeff Corwin Experience Season One" is a three-disc set with 15 episodes from the Animal Planet series, $24.95 from Genius Products ... "WWE: The Best of Raw 15th Anniversary" is a three-disc set that celebrates the 15th anniversary of the WWE's flagship program. Features highlights from the more than 700 broadcasts of "Monday Night Raw," with all the hits, slams and high flying acrobatics as well as crazy antics, hilarious skits, revealing interviews and more. $34.95 from Genius Entertainment. Other WWE videos now available include "Survivor Series," featuring the 21st annual wrestling event, held last November in Miami ($24.95), a compilation of great matches "The Triumph & Tragedy of World Class Championship Wrestling" ($29.95) and "Cyber Sunday" in which fans get the chance to decide the fate of some of wrestling's hottest stars ($24.95); all from WWE/Genius Entertainment. (Posted January 22)
"Martin Scorsese Presents Val Lewton: Man in the Shadows"
Director Martin Scorsese produced and narrates this fascinating study of Val Lewton, the legendary film producer who brought a new perspective to the horror genre at RKO during the 1940s, creating such gems as "Cat People," "Curse of the Cat People," "I Walked with a Zombie," "The Body Snatcher," "Isle of the Dead," "Bedlam" and "The Seventh Victim"; $19.97 from Warner ... Glamorous leading man turned idiosyncratic auteur Cornel Wilde created a handful of gritty, violent explorations of the nature of man in the sixties and seventies, none more memorable than 1966's "The Naked Prey". In the late 19th century, after an ivory-hunting safari offends an African tribe, the colonialists are captured and hideously tortured. Only Wilde's marksman is released, without clothes or weapons, to be hunted for sport, and he embarks on a harrowing journey through savanna and jungle and back to a primitive state. Distinguished by widescreen camerawork and unflinching savagery, "The Naked Prey" is both a propulsive, stripped-to-the-bone narrative and a meditation on the notion of civilization. In a new, restored high-definition digital transfer from The Criterion Collection ... Also from the folks at Criterion comes "Postwar Kurosawa: Eclipse Series #7," a no frills collection of five Akira Kurosawa films: "No Regrets for Our Youth" (1946), "One Wonderful Sunday" (1947), "Scandal" (1950), "The Idiot" (1951) and "I Live in Fear" (a.k.a. Record of a Living Being) (1955). (Posted January 15)
For lovers: Fox has re-released the classic "An Affair to Remember" (1957), starring Cary Grant, Deborah Kerr and Richard Denning in one of the most remarkable love stories of all time. The two-disc anniversary edition features a new digital transfer and includes commentary by singer Marni Nixon and film historian Joseph McBride; "Affairs to Remember: Deborah Kerr"; "Affairs to Remember: Cary Grant:"; a "Directed by Leo McCarey" featurette; "A Producer to Remember: Jerry Wald" featurette; more ... For more modern romance there's "When Harry Met Sally Collector's Edition" (1989), directed by Rob Reiner and starring Billy Crystal, Meg Ryan, Carrie Fisher and Bruno Kirby. Extras include xommentary by Reiner, writer Nora Ephron and Crystal; deleted scenes; "It All Started Like This" featurette in which Ephron and Reiner talk about the development of the film; "Stories of Love" featurette with the real stories of the "authentic couples" in the film, as well as the story of Reiner's true love found during the shoot of the movie; "When Rob Met Billy"; more; from MGM. (Posted January 15)
Classics of Another Kind: From MGM comes "In the Heat of the Night 40th Anniversary Edition" (1967), directed by Norman Jewison and starring Sidney Poitier, Rod Steiger, Warren Oates, Lee Grant, Larry Gates, James Patterson and William Schallert ... and from Sony comes two sci-fi classics, "Earth vs. the Flying Saucers" (1956), starring Joan Taylor, Hugh Marlowe, Donald Curtis and Morris Ankrum; and "It Came From Beneath the Sea" (1955), starring Kenneth Tobey, Faith Domergue, Donald Curtis and Ian Keith; both In black & white and colorized versions. (Posted January 15)
From TV to Video:
"Alex Haley's Queen" (1993) is a two-disc set with the entire three-night miniseries, $24.98 from Warner ... "Crime Traveller" (1997) is a three-disc set with all eight episodes of the BBC science fiction series about a detective and a scientist who have access to a time machine and use it to go back in time to gather evidence to solve crimes; $39.98 from BFS Entertainment ... "Criss Angel: The Complete Season Three" is a three-disc set with 20 episodes, $34.95 from A&E Home Video ... "Extras Gift Set " includes Seasons One and Two, $49.99 from HBO Video ... "Family Guy Presents: Blue Harvest" is the season premiere to the series sixth season, a Griffin Clan spoof of "Star Wars," from Fox ... "Kingdom: Series 2"
delves even deeper into the realm of the supernatural that takes place at the Kingdom Hospital in Copenhagen then in the first acclaimed chiller, $26.98. from Koch Lorber ... "Melissa" (1974) is a British mystery series about a writer who finds himself the prime suspect in his wife's murder; aired in 1982 on PBS "Mystery!" from Acorn Media ... "The New Adventures of Old Christine: The Complete First Season" is a two-disc set with 13 episodes, $29.98 from Warner ... "Rising Damp: The Movie"
(1980) is a feature film based on the British TV series about a lecherous landlord and his ridiculous bunch of social misfit tenants; stars Leonard Rossiter; $19.99 from Acorn Media ... "The Rockford Files: Season Five" is a five-disc set with 22 episodes, $39.98 from Universal ... "Sabrina the Teenage Witch: The Third Season" (1998-99) is a four-disc set with 25 episodes, $42.99 from Paramount. (Posted January 15)
For the Family:
"Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown" (1975) is a remastered. Version of the Peanuts TV special; includes two bonus TV specials: "You're in Love, Charlie Brown" and "It's Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown"; from Warner ... "Puppy Bowl III" is a 2008 Animal Planet "showdown" that features 14 cuddly puppies in a specially designed doggy stadium playing with a variety of chew-toys and bones scattered around the field; airs opposite the Super Bowl; $14.95 from Genius Products ... The direct-to-video "Dragonlance" (2008) is an animated sword and dragon feature with the voices of Kiefer Sutherland, Lucy Lawless, Michael Rosenbaum; from Paramount ... "Storm Hawks -- Hawks Rise Again" and "Storm Hawks -- Tales From the Atmos"
each feature four episodes of Cartoon Network's 3-D animated series, $16.97 from Sony ... "Medabots: The Complete First Season" is a four-disc set, $34.99 from Shout! Factory. (Posted January 15)
"Oswald's Ghost" (2008) is a Dan Rather PBS documentary on the assassination of John F. Kennedy; includes the Zapruder film, extended interviews, "Dealey Plaza Freaks"; from Paramount ... "Incredible Human Machine" is a 2007 documentary tour of the human body from the National Geographic Channel, $19.98 from Warner ... "The First Days of Christianity" is a History Channel Ultimate Collection four-disc set that takes a look at the events of Jesus' life and the lives of his Apostles, $17.95 from A&E Home Video ... "The Real West: Cowboys & Outlaws" is a History Channel Ultimate Collection four-disc set that brings to life the most legendary cowboys and notorious outlaws of America's western frontier, $17.95 from A&E Home Video ... "Thunderbirds 40th Anniversary Megaset" is a 12-disc set with all 32 digitally remastered episodes, $129.95 from A&E Home Video ... "The Vietnam War DVD Set" is a two-disc History Channel set chronicling key events, from the advisors' arrival in 1959 to the airlift from the roof of the American Embassy in 1975, $29.95 from A&E Home Video ... "Yes: Classic Artists"
(2007) is a fully authorized documentary that looks at the twists and turns of the band's career, now told for the first time in a series of exclusive interviews with Yes members past and present; in a two-disc set with a 20-page full-color booklet; from Image Entertainment. (Posted January 15)
Due March 11 is the comedy hit "Dan in Real Life,"
starring Steve Carell, Juliette Binoche, Dane Cook, Norbert Leo Butz, John Mahoney, Dianne Wiest, Alison Pill, Brittany Robertson, Marlene Lawston and Emily Blunt, from Disney ... On March 18 Sony will release Richard Kelly's ("Donnie Darko") weird futuristic tale "Southland Tales,"
starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Seann William Scott, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Cheri Oteri, Amy Poehler, Jill Ritchie, Miranda Richardson, John Larroquette, Jon Lovitz, Will Sasso, Wood Harris, Bai Ling, Joe Campana and Wallace Shawn ... And, on April 1, Warner Home Video will release "The Bette Davis Collection Volume 3," a six-disc set with "In This Our Life," "The Old Maid," "All This, and Heaven Too," "The Great Lie," "Deception" and "Watch on the Rhine"; $59.92. (Posted January 8)
From TV to Video:
Due this week: "Curb Your Enthusiam: The Complete Sixth Season," a two-disc set with eight episodes, $39.98 from HBO Video ... "Dresden" (2006), a German miniseries about a romance between a British pilot hiding in Germany and a German nurse set against the background of the massive allied bombing of Dresden toward the end of World War II; in a two-disc set for $29.98 from Koch Vision ... "Gunsmoke: The Second Season, Volume 1" (1956-57), a three-disc set, $39.99 from Paramount ... "Mansfield Park" (2007), starring Billie Piper, Blake Ritson and Jemma Redgrave in the Masterpiece Theatre adaptation of Jane Austen's classic novel, from WGBH Boston Video ... "The Naked Brothers Band: Season 1," a two-disc set with 13 episodes of the Nickelodeon live-action series, from Paramount ... "Northanger Abbey" (2007), starring Felicity Jones and JJ Field in the Masterpiece Theatre adaptation of Jane Austen's classic novel, from WGBH Boston Video ...
"The Riches Season One," a four-disc set with 13 episodes, $49.98 from Fox ... "Rob & Big: The Complete Seasons 1 & 2 - Uncensored" (2006), a four-disc set with 16 episodes of the reality buddy comedy series, $42.99 from Paramount ... "Two and a Half Men: The Complete Second Season," a four-disc set with 24 episodes, $44.98 from Warner ... "An Unsuitable Job for a Woman, One & Two," with all four mysteries from the British TV series about a young, aspiring private detective learning the ropes from her mentor, a disgraced ex-policeman whose sudden suicide leaves her the sole proprietor of his ramshackle agency; based on the acclaimed works of P.D. James; $49.95 from WGBH Boston Video ... "The Waltons: The Complete Sixth Season,"
a five-disc set with 22 episodes, $39.98 from Warner. (Posted January 8)
Buzzin' the 'B's:
"Boogeyman 2: Unrated Director's Cut"
(2005) stars Tobin Bell and Danielle Savre in a direct-to-video sequel of the theatrical horror flick, from Sony ... "Joshua"
(2007), which stars Sam Rockwell, Vera Farmiga, Celia Weston, Dallas Roberts, Michael McKean and Jacob Kogan, is a thriller about a young boy's resentment toward his baby sister that triggers a series of tragic events that fill his household with unspeakable horror, from Fox ... In "Beyond the Ring"
(2007), starring Andre Lima, Martin Kove and Gary Busey, a retired martial arts champion returns to the ring to earn money to pay for his ill daughter's health care, from MTI Home Video ... In "Mammoth"
(2006), starring Vincent Ventresca, Summer Glau, Tom Skerritt, Leila Arcieri and Marcus Lyle Brown. a meteor smashes into a small Louisiana town's natural history museum, reanimating a 40,000-year-old woolly mammoth and unleashing it on a deadly and destructive rampage. A Sci Fi Channel telefilm from Union Station Media ... "White Noise 2" (2007) is a direct-to-video sequel to the 2005 Michael Keaton thriller, starring Nathan Fillion and Katee Sackhoff, from Universal ... In "The Killing Floor"
(2007), a horror book agent moves into a lavish penthouse apartment only to encounter mysterious events; his suspicions that someone is watching his every move becomes his real life horror story; stars Marc Blucas, Shiri Appleby and Reiko Ayelsworth; from ThinkFilm ... A Bengal tiger that has escaped from a traveling carnival terrorizes the Appalachian community of Mount Raven in an isolated region of Georgia in "Maneater"
(2007), starring Gary Busey, Ty Wood and Ian D. Clark; from Genius Products. (Posted January 8)
On the Indie Front:
"Klimt" (2006) stars John Malkovich, Veronica Ferres and Saffron Burrows in a biodrama about Austrian painter Gustav Klimt (1862-1918), who was both acclaimed and condemned during his lifetime for pioneering the depiction of sexuality in art through his paintings, murals and sketches; from Koch Lorber ... A gifted, compassionate 15-year-old pitcher watches his troubled Irish-Catholic family implode around him as he clings to his dream of making the state baseball championships in "Black Irish"
(2005), starring Michael Angarano, Brendan Gleeson, Tom Guiry and Melissa Leo; from Echo Bridge Home Entertainment ... "Eagle vs. Shark" (2007) is an offbeat romantic comedy about two socially awkward misfits and the strange ways they try to find love: through burgers, video games and revenge on high-school bullies; stars Jemaine Clement, Loren Horsley, Joel Tobeck and Craig Hall; from Miramax ... In "Redemption of the Ghost" (2002), starring Diane Ladd, John Savage, Alexandra Paul and Rachel Hunter, an escaped convict redeems himself through the love of two young children; from Echo Bridge Home Entertainment ... In "Perception" (2005), starring Piper Perabo, a Los Angeles girl with a reckless personality and a laundry list of burned bridges returns to New York where she needs the help of friends she once abandoned; from First Run Features ... "Thank Heaven" (2001) is a comedy about a couple deeply in love who make each other miserable until the man finds God on the golf course; stars Jenny McCarthy and Matt Keeslar; from Echo Bridge Home Entertainment. (Posted January 8)
For the Family:
"What's New Scooby-Doo? The Complete Third Season" is a single-disc with 13 episodes, $19.98 from Warner ... "All-New Super Friends Hour Season 1, Volume 1"is a two-disc set with 32 episodes featuring Superman, Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman and Aquaman from the DC Comics animated series on ABC; $26.99 from Warner ... "Between the Lions: Season One" includes 30 episodes of the kids series highlighting a magical place where characters pop off the pages of books, vowels sing, and words take on a life of their own; $79.95 from WGBH Boston Video ... "Growing Up Arctic" is a collection of episodes from Animal Planet's top-rated series; includes "Growing Up Walrus," "Growing Up Polar Bear," "Growing Up Seal" and "Growing Up Penguin"; $14.95 from Genius Products. (Posted January 8)
"Citizen Tanouye" (2005) is a documentary about Southern California native Ted Tanouye who, faced with relocation to a Japanese internment camp during World War II, instead chose to serve in the United States Army. Decades after his death, America paid Tanouye its greatest tribute by awarding him the Medal of Honor. From WGBH Boston Video ... "Secrets of the Samurai Sword" is a NOVA documentary that takes audiences on a historical journey back 600 years to investigate the unique creation of the deadliest medieval fighting weapon - the Japanese Samurai Sword; $19.95 from WGBH Boston Video ... In "Terry Jones' Barbarians," Monty Python's Terry Jones takes viewers on an expedition through Roman history from the alternative perspective of the barbarians. The four-part TV documentay views the history of the Roman Empire as seen by the Britons, Gauls, Germans, Greeks, Persians and Africans; $29.98 from Koch Vision ... "Friday Night Heroes Vol. 1: High School Phenoms to Sunday Superstars" (2008) is a collection of high school football highlights of some of the biggest names in the NFL, hosted by All-Pro quarterback Donovan McNabb and narrated by the voice of NFL Films Earl Mann; from Genius Products. (Posted January 8)
From the Big Screen:
Due this week: "Resident Evil: Extinction," starring Milla Jovovich, Oded Fehr, Mike Epps and Ali Larter; "September Dawn," starring Jon Voight, Lolita Davidovich, Dean Cain and Terence Stamp; "Shoot 'Em Up" starring Clive Owen, Paul Giamatti and Monica Bellucci; and "War" starring Jet Li and Jason Statham. For more releases this week, see our "Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases." (Posted January 1)
Kick off your new year with "Indie Sex"
(2007), a two-disc set that 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. Aired as a miniseries event on IFCtv in August 2007 and garnered the highest ratings in the channel's history. $29.95 from Genius Products. (Posted January 1)
From TV to Video:
Due this week: "The Tudors: The Complete First Season"
(2007), a four-disc set with 10 episodes, $42.99 from Paramount ... "Weird Science: The Complete Seasons 1 & 2," a four-disc set with 26 episodes, $44.95 from A&E Home Video. (Posted January 1)
Buzzin' the 'B's:
In "Solstice" (2007), a young girl uncovers a disturbing secret about her twin sister, who committed suicide and who may well be trying to communicate with her as summer solstice draws near, the one time when our world and the next are closest; stars Elisabeth Harnois, Shawn Ashmore, Tyler Hoechlin, Amanda Seyfried, Matt O'Leary, Hilarie Burton, R. Lee Ermey and Jenna Hildebrand; from Weinstein Co./Genius products. (Posted January 1)
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July 15, 2008
OnVideo News (ISSN 1094-3676).