Category Archives: DVDs

“Operation Finale” follows the astonishing true story of an Israeli intelligence agent

Follow the astonishing true story of an Israeli intelligence agent who brought Hitler’s deadliest lieutenant to justice in the intense and gripping film, Operation Finale, arrives on Digital on November 20, and on Blu-ray combo pack, DVD and On Demand on December 4 from Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

Brimming with incredible performances from Golden Globe winner Oscar Isaac and Academy Award winner Ben Kingsley, Operation Finale is also backed by an amazing supporting cast including Mélanie Laurent, Lior Roz, Nick Kroll, Haley Lu Richardson, Joe Alwyn, Pepe Rapazote and Greta Scacchi .

The film follows the gripping true story of the 1960 covert mission of legendary Israeli intelligence agent Peter Malkin (portrayed by Isaac) as his secret mission leads him to infiltrate Argentina and capture Adolf Eichmann (Kingsley), the Nazi officer who masterminded the plans that sent millions of innocent Jews to their deaths in concentration camps during World War II, and bring him to justice. Oscar Isaac is also a producer, alongside Brian Kavanaugh-Jones and Fred Berger under their Automatik company and Jason Spire’s Inspire Entertainment.

Operation Finale on Blu-ray and DVD also come with a special bonus featurette that takes viewers deep into the remarkable covert operation that rewrote history.

“Frontline: Left Behind in America” takes an in-depth look at Dayton, Ohio

In the decade since the Great Recession, many American cities and towns have bounced back. But for some small and mid-size cities that were once hubs for innovation and manufacturing, economic recovery has remained elusive. Frontline: Left Behind in America asks why and is an in-depth look at one such city, Dayton, Ohio, as its citizens continue to fight for economic revitalization ten years after the financial crisis.

The DVD will be available on DVD on November 20. The program is currently available for download from iTunes and Amazon.

Gripping and powerful, this documentary chronicles the lives and struggles of Dayton’s working poor as they chase the American dream in the new American economy. As director Shimon Dotan  and correspondent Alec MacGillis of ProPublica explore in the film, Dayton was once the epitome of industry and ingenuity in the American heartland—“the Silicon Valley of its age,” author Mark Bernstein tells the documentary team, a birthplace of aviation and a center of the automotive industry.

Although Dayton’s job market has recently seen a resurgence, the jobs coming back to the city aren’t the high-wage jobs that used to be there–and the poverty rate in Dayton has reached 34.5 percent, or nearly three times the poverty rate nationwide.

In addition to the economic downturn, the city has also been hit hard by the opioid epidemic. By early 2017, county coroner Dr. Kent Harshbarger was seeing so many overdose deaths that he was worried Montgomery County, which includes Dayton, would end up leading the nation in fatal opioid overdoses per capita.

 But despite the obstacles, many Dayton citizens are taking matters into their own hands—and focusing not just on surviving, but thriving.

The program is the intimate story of one Rust Belt city’s struggle to recover in the post-recession economy—and an up-close look at how that struggle presents a challenge to us all.

” The Obama Years: The Power of Words” is a must-see documentary

Over eight years, President Obama delivered more than 3,500 speeches and statements–officially ending his era with a farewell address in Chicago. His speeches ranged from redefining patriotism, candidly addressing race relations, inspiring hope and healing, and turning divisive moments into an opportunity for national unification.

But which are the moments that history will remember?  The Obama Years: The Power of Words (Public Media Distribution), narrated by actor and producer Jesse Williams, tells the story of Barack Obama, “writer in chief,” and takes viewers inside the defining moments of his political career through the prism of his most memorable speeches.

The program examines how President Obama used “the bully pulpit” by looking at six benchmark speeches–as a brash young state senator and as a president grappling with turbulent times in the face of chaotic events.  Some were the result of careful planning and intensive writing; others were written under extraordinary pressure, often with Obama doing much of the writing, in the wake of unexpected events. When tragedy strikes, the President has a tremendous responsibility to comfort the nation.

For each highlighted speech, the program gives viewers behind-the-scenes stories of the President and his process, how he and his core group worked to develop the messages, expert commentary comparing the speeches to those of other presidents, and analysis of the power–and limits–of the bully pulpit to shape events. The program features insights from eminent historians Doris Kearns Goodwin and Douglas Brinkley and key members of Obama’s inner circle, including senior advisor Valerie Jarrett, Chief Strategist David Axelrod, and speechwriters Jon Favreau and Cody Keenan. Smithsonian curator Harry Rubenstein of the National Museum of American History, Rep. John Lewis, and Clark Judge, speechwriter for President Ronald Reagan, are also among the featured interviews.

An early holiday gift comes from MPI Home Media: “Pat Boone and Family: Christmas & Thanksgiving Specials”

We love Pat Boone! he looks great (he’s 84) and an early holiday gift comes from MPI: Pat Boone and Family: Christmas & Thanksgiving Specials. Boone, one of the top 10 recording artists of all time, brings us into his home to be entertained by him, wife Shirley and his four singing daughters—Debby, Cherry, Lindy and Laurie– in these music and comedy specials that first aired on ABC in 1978 and 1979.

The Christmas show includes classic holiday songs and comedic moments with the hyper-charged Hudson Brothers plus stars from ABC’s Three’s Company, Happy Days and The Love Boat, as well as appearances by songbirds Dinah Shore and Rosemary Clooney. And Yogi Bear!

The Thanksgiving special features Bob Hope and the Hudson Brothers, who join the Boone girls for a disco dance floor showcase. Among the heart-warming songs performed by Pat, Debby and the sisters are “Can’t Smile Without You,” “You Needed Me” and “Bless This House.” The DVD is packed with bonus material, including The Pat Boone Family: Christmas in Bethlehem, Christmas carols and a Boone family photo album.

We lights up our life!

The fascinating history behind Shakespeare’s greatest plays concludes with “Shakespeare Uncovered: Series 3”

To be or not to be . . . the owner of Shakespeare Uncovered: Series 3 (PBS Distribution). The answer is obvious: Be!

The fascinating history behind Shakespeare’s greatest plays concludes with celebrated new hosts Helen Hunt, F. Murray Abraham, Romola Garai, Brian Cox, Simon Russell Beale and Sir Antony Sher who seamlessly weave their personal passions with history, biography, iconic performances and new analysis to tell the stories behind Shakespeare’s most famous works. The final season investigates Much Ado About Nothing, The Merchant of Venice, Measure for Measure, Julius Caesar, The Winter’s Tale and Richard III.

The program reveals not just the elements in the play, but the history of the play itself. What sparked the creation of each of these works? Where did Shakespeare find his plots and what new forms of theater did he forge? What cultural, political and religious factors influenced his writing? How have the plays been staged and interpreted from Shakespeare’s time to now? Why at different times has each play been popular — or ignored? Why has this body of work endured so thoroughly? What, in the end, makes Shakespeare unique.

PBS Distribution releases “Masterpiece: Poldark 4”

Masterpiece: Poldark, the rip-roaring TV drama called “swoon-worthy” by the Los Angeles Times returns for a fourth season of action-packed episodes, starring Aidan Turner as the roguish Ross Poldark and Eleanor Tomlinson as his fiery partner, Demelza. In Season 4, it’s 1796, and to defend Cornwall and those he loves from an empowered George, Ross must play the political game on a journey that takes him to the nation’s capital and into new perils.

“American Experience: The Circus” celebrates the daze of popular entertainment

Send in the clowns! And elephants and trapeze artists and jugglers and, of course, the ring master.

American Experience: The Circus (PBS Distribution) is a four-hour, two-part documentary exploring the colorful history of this popular, influential and distinctly American form of entertainment.  A transformative place for reinvention, where young women could become lion tamers and young men traveled the world as roustabouts, the circus allowed people to be liberated from the roles assigned by society and find an accepting community that had eluded them elsewhere.

Drawing upon a vast and richly visual archive, and featuring a host of performers, historians and aficionados, The Circus brings to life an era when Circus Day would shut down a town, its stars were among the most famous people in the country, and multitudes gathered to see the improbable and the impossible, the exotic and the spectacular.

The program begins with the history (Part One) of the first one-ring show at the end of the 18th century in Philadelphia when the circus met the disapproval of the religious. In a society that valued sobriety and hard work, a wide-eyed day peering at half-naked aerialists amid shifty circus workers was frowned upon. Soon, circuses began to add elaborate menageries of exotic animals including lions, hippos and elephants, and “human oddities” from across the globe—rebranding themselves as “educational” experiences to concerned communities. Once the infamous showman and huckster P. T. Barnum transformed the trade in 1871, he and his partners created the largest touring show in existence.

The program continues (Part Two) as James Bailey takes his circus to Europe on a five-year tour. When the show paraded through British streets for the first time, throngs of people turned up to watch—and the scene was repeated in towns across Europe. Upon returning the circus tour to the U.S. the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey merged, creating a moving town of more than 1100 people, 735 horses, nearly 1000 other animals and 28 tents.

Featured were some of the most storied circus performers in history, including the famed aerialist Lillian Leitzel; May Worth, who stunned audiences by somersaulting on horseback; and big cat trainer Mabel Stark. In an era when women were still fighting for the right to vote, women circus performers stepped to the forefront of the suffrage movement.

For more than a century, the circus had brought daily life to a standstill. Shows took over rail yards. Parades clogged Main Street. Acres of billowing canvas appeared mirage-like on the outskirts of town. And then, when day broke, the miracle had vanished. Equestrians, sideshow performers, clowns, roustabouts, an enormous collection of curious beasts—all became just figments of a glorious dream.

Art21’s “Art in the Twenty-First Century” underscores what great art (and a great Peabody Award-winning series) is all about

The ninth season of Art21’s Art in the Twenty-First Century underscores what great art (and a great Peabody Award-winning series) is all about. Season 9 charts art making in three urban centers-–Berlin, Johannesburg and the San Francisco Bay Area-–featuring twelve artists and one non-profit art center who each respond to the forces shaping the places where they live and work, while pursuing their personal visions for a better future.

Viewers will travel the world with Art21 to be inspired by the creative processes of today’s most compelling artists in the ninth season of the series gives viewers unprecedented access to the leading creative minds of our time, drawing upon artists’ relationships with the places in which they work.

Wilkie Collins’ classic “The Woman in White” is delivered by PBS Distribution

We have loved the works of Wilkie Collins ever since we discovered him years ago. We were excited when we found out that PBS Distribution will release the DVD The Woman in White, based on his 19th century mystery novel , on November 6. This five-part screen adaptation brings to life the secrets, mistaken identities, surprise revelations, amnesia, locked rooms and asylums, that made this mystery thriller an instant success when it was published in 1868.

The program begins when Walter Hartright (played by Ben Hardy), a young drawing master, encounters a spectral woman dressed all in white on a moonlit road on Hampstead Heath. After offering his assistance to the strange woman, he is shocked to discover that she has just escaped from a nearby insane asylum. The encounter draws him into a web of mystery and deception that transforms his life forever.

Shortly afterwards, Walter takes up a teaching position in the Cumbrian village of Limmeridge. There, he meets his pupils-–the clever, bold Marian Halcombe (Jessie Buckley), and the beautiful, sweet-natured Laura Fairlie (Olivia Vinall). Walter notices that Laura bears an uncanny resemblance to the mysterious woman in white, who was known to the household as Anne Catherick (also Olivia Vinall): a mentally disabled child who grew up in the village. Over the next few months, Walter and Laura fall deeply in love. However, she is promised in marriage to Sir Percival Glyde (Dougray Scott), a charming local Baronet with a secret he will do anything to protect.

Soon after the wedding, Glyde’s true cruel nature begins to emerge. Conspiring with his companion, the compelling and Machiavellian Count Fosco, he enacts a terrible plan to access his new wife’s considerable fortune. Marian and Walter toil to rescue Laura and expose the unscrupulous, scheming masterminds and their twisted conspiracy.

FYI: For those who have npot heard of Collins, look him up. His books are public domain. The Woman in White  is widely considered to be among the first mystery novels; written in 1859, it was considered a commercial success and cultural sensation at the time.

Robbie Robertson narrates the riveting “Native America”

Save the date: On November 6,  PBS Distribution releases Native America, a new series from Providence Pictures, that weaves history and science with living indigenous traditions. The series brings to life a land of massive cities connected by social networks spanning two continents, with unique and sophisticated systems of science, art and writing. Made with the active participation of Native American communities and filmed in some of the most spectacular locations in the hemisphere, the program illuminates the splendor of a past whose story has for too long remained untold.

Narrated by Robbie Robertson (Mohawk and member of the famed rock group The Band), each part of Native America explores Great Nations and reveals cities, sacred stories and history long hidden in plain sight. In what is now America’s Southwest, indigenous people built stone skyscrapers with untold spiritual power and transformed deserts into fertile fields. In upstate New York, warriors renounced war and formed America’s first democracy 500 years before the Declaration of Independence, later inspiring Benjamin Franklin. Just outside of Mexico City, the ancient city of Teotihuacan is home to massive pyramids built to align with the sun and moon. On the banks of the Mississippi, rulers also raised a metropolis of pyramids and drew thousands to their new city to worship the sky. And in the American West, nomadic tribes transformed a weapon of conquest—the horse—into a new way of life, turning the tables on European invaders and building a mobile empire.

The producers of the program were given remarkable access to Native American communities, going behind the scenes at special events, including a pilgrimage to ancestral ruins at Chaco Canyon in New Mexico, a trek across lost territories in the American West and an investiture ceremony for a chief in the Pacific Northwest, surrounded by cedar totem poles and centuries of tradition. Numerous Native American musicians provided music for the series and tribal members and descendant communities, whose ancestors built this world, share their stories, revealing long-held oral traditions as the thread that runs through the past to these living cultures today.