Category Archives: DVDs

An intense story, a disturbing payoff make for a super DC Universe Original Movie, “Batman: The Killing Joke”.

We never tell jokes unless they involve farmers’ daughters and Republicans. It’s no joke when we suggest you delve into the demented history of the Dark Knight’s arch nemesis–The Joker–as he sets out to prove insanity is only a horrifying moment away for anyone in the latest DC Universe Original Movie, Batman: The Killing Joke.
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Based on one of the best-selling graphic novels of all time, this R-rated, feature-length animated film brings together some of the key creative team behind Batman: The Animated Series with executive producer Bruce Timm  at the helm and Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill returning to their seminal roles as Batman and The Joker, respectively. You can see what the fuss is about: Batman: The Killing Joke has arrived (from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment) on Blu-ray Deluxe Edition, Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and Digital HD. Super, man.

Let us share a moment featuring Batman searching the fun house as the Joker chides him with a monologue that ends with his famed “One Bad Day” line.

Based on the acclaimed graphic novel of the same name, Batman: The Killing Joke takes a journey into the dark psyche of the Clown Prince of Crime–from his humble beginnings as a struggling comedian to his fateful encounter with Batman that changes both of their lives forever. Years later, and now escaped from Arkham Asylum, The Joker devises a plan to prove that one bad day can make anyone as insane as he is–setting his sights on Commissioner Gordon. It’s up to the Dark Knight to put a stop to The Joker’s latest scheme and save one of Gotham City’s finest. Following a gripping prologue introducing Barbara Gordon’s heroic adventures alongside Batman as Batgirl, Batman: The Killing Joke stays true to the authentic tale that has held fans’ imaginations for nearly three decades–spotlighting the birth of a Super-Villain, the fortitude of a Super Hero and the punchline that will leave you speechless.

We ain’t saying anymore, but we Mary Ellen Thomas, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Vice President, Family & Animation Marketing, the final words. She promises the film has an “intense, often disturbing storyline, but we are extremely pleased with how true to the graphic novel we have been in this original film.”

 

John F. Kennedy’s life and legacy detailed in “I Am JFK Jr.”

He was crowned with so many titles:  “Sexiest Man Alive,” “American Royalty,” “Heir to Camelot,”  “America’s Son,”  “Editor in Chief”. How do you remember John F. Kennedy, who scorned being called John John? The son of Jackie O? The little boy who saluted his father’s funeral procession? The hunky man whose plan plunged crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, killing himself, his wife Carolyn Bessette and her sister Lauren?
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Carolyn Bessette Kennedy & John Kennedy Jr. running errands in NYC with their dog Friday

Now John Kennedy Jr. comes back to life in the original documentary film, I Am JFK Jr., an intimate, revealing and poignant look at his life in and out of the spotlight. Network Entertainment and Spike TV delve into the compelling life of John F. Kennedy Jr. through the distinctive lens of many of the people who knew him best, from A-list celebrities to close friends and staffers who worked closely with him at George magazine. I Am JFK Jr. (Virgil Films) comes to Digital HD on August 2, followed by a DVD release release on August 12.

9_12_88_300x400The White House was the first home John knew. The son of President John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy grew up in the public spotlight. When the world witnessed the moment the adorable 3-year-old JFK Jr. saluted his fallen father, the image was seared into the nation’s collective memory.
John F. Kennedy Jr. was considered by many to be “America’s Prince”. Despite living under the media microscope for his entire life, JFK Jr. forged his own successful career – from serving as the Assistant District Attorney of New York to launching the glossy political magazine, George.  Featuring exclusive interviews from a wide array of friends and former colleagues, I Am JFK Jr. is an engrossing look at the person behind the tabloid fodder featuring untold stories that for the first time, will give viewers a true sense of the real JFK Jr.

The documentary features interviews with John F. Kennedy Jr.’s friends ranging from the famous, like Robert De Niro and Cindy Crawford, to the controversial, like Mike Tyson and Larry Flynt; from media stars like Christiane Amanpour, Chris Cuomo, Paul Begala and Ann Coulter, to close friends like Grateful Dead songwriter John Perry Barlow, Sasha Chermayeff, Richard Wiese, Chris Oberbeck, Brian Steel, John Hare, New York restaurateur Richie Notar, John’s Chief of Staff RoseMarie Terenzio, and colleagues at John’s pioneering George magazine, Gary Ginsberg and Matt Berman.
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Michael Reagan and author Doug Wead talk about the difficulties and strange destinies of presidential children, actor Kristoffer Polaha talks about the man he would one day play on screen, while authors Christopher Andersen and Laurence Leamer offer background on the life of America’s most famous family.
In addition to personal photos from John’s closest friends, the film features vintage footage of young JFK Jr. in the White House, with his family, and rare views of him in the years after his father’s assassination. I Am JFK Jr. tells the story of a young man pegged for greatness yet determined to be good,  a story that ended way too soon.

The terror and tragedy of Guernica from the cinematic mind of Koldo Serra

Film director Koldo Serra was surprised that, nearly 80 years after a bombardment by Hitler’s Condor Legion turned the small Basque town of Guernica into an enduring symbol of civilian suffering in war, no one had made a film about the tragedy.

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The shooting of the film. (Photo by David Herranz)
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The damage to Bilbao by the madman

“It was a big surprise for me when I found that out,” he says. “I thought there would be at least two or three others.”

Spanish Civil War films abound, but until now, Serra says, they have almost exclusively concentrated on the conflict as it happened in the south, and not the doomed Basque republican “northern front”. A TV miniseries, Bombs over Gernika, was released in 2012 and a film about the world-famous Pablo Picasso painting inspired by the bombardment, 33 Days, is reported to be in the offing, but no full-length feature about that April day has been made before.

“Being from Bilbao myself, making this film makes me feel like I have an immense responsibility to tell this story well and in a coherent fashion,” adds Serra, who filmed on location.

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“Guernica,” perhaps the most famous painting by Pablo Picasso, being hung in the Municipal Museum in Amsterdam for an exhibition.

Much of the film is based on testimonies of the events of April 26, 1937 that were collected by Serra since  2012. “One woman who saw the attack said the planes were flying so low as they machine-gunned fleeing citizens that she could see the pilots’ eyes. For me, accounts like that discredit the stories this bombardment in some way wasn’t deliberate, or that the planes had missed their original targets,” Serra recalls.

Making the film (originally to be titled Gernika, using the Basque spelling) “struck chords. Not everybody is in favor of seeing streets blocked and shops closed for a shoot, but when you mention Guernica, people tell you their cousins or relatives were in the bombardment. It’s still a very important, emotional, subject here.”

On August 2, this riveting war drama, starring James D’Arcy, María Valverde and Jack Davenport, comes to DVD with exclusive deleted and extended scenes. In fact, we share with you an exclusive look at one of the deleted scenes, below.

 

 

Shuffling along to spread news of a welcome war: “Card Wars”

When we stumbled upon Adventure Time, we knew Cartoon Network wasn’t the only people having magical (mis)adventures. Then, in the fourteenth episode of the series’ fourth season, we aced it when we stumbled up Card Wars.

Shades of Huck Finn . . . of sorts. The series follows the adventures of human boy Finn (voiced by Jeremy Shada), and his best friend and adoptive brother Jake (voiced by John DiMaggio), who happens to be a dog with magical powers. Yep, he can change shape, growing and shrinking at will. Oh, they live in the Land of Ooo.
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Jake begs Finn to play his favorite trading card game (thus Card Wars),  but things take a turn for the worse when Jake becomes overly competitive, insisting on playing for a “cool guy cup” and the “dweeb cup”. Trust us: This is some funny stuff.

Adventure Time: Card Wars (Cartoon Network) is a nifty DVD that will have you shuffling through 16 episodes, including the original Card Wars. The DVD also comes packaged with an exclusive Card Wars playing card, making this DVD a must have for fans, collectors and the huge following that Card Wars has accrued since the episode, app and physical game debuted.

Old maid anyone?

Zika? Deadly and scary . . . but not as deadly and scary as “Viral”

Zika? Spread the word that another epidemic is coming.

Teenage sisters Emma and Stacey live a normal life . . . until their small suburban neighborhood is stricken with a mysterious parasitic virus. As the disease rapidly spreads throughout the town, the two band together to barricade themselves from infection. But it may already be too late–when the virus enters their home, the sisters are faced with an impossible choice: protect each other or survive the virus.

The heart-pounding thriller Viral escapes onto DVD on August 2 from Anchor Bay Entertainment, Radius-TWC and Dimension Films. The shocker stars Sofia Black-D’Elia, Analeigh Tipton, Travis Tope and Michael Kelly.

 

Wanna watch more?

You’ve been warned.

Celebrate the 30th anniversary of “Highlander” with a special edition Blu-ray and DVD

Remember the sci-fi epic that launched a TV franchise and captivated millions of fans worldwide? Remember the hunky cast? (Think Christopher Lambert  and  Sean Connery.)

Remember the exciting plot? An immortal Scottish swordsman must confront the last of his immortal opponents, a murderously brutal barbarian who lusts for the fabled “Prize.”
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You remember!

Experience Highlander like you’ve never seen it before with the 30th anniversary edition arriving on Blu-ray and DVD September 27 from Lionsgate. This edition features never-before-seen interviews with director Russell Mulcahy and Lambert (as well as an archival interview with R.M.) , a brand-new “making of” documentary, deleted scenes and audio commentary with director Mulcahy.

Corn pone humor, farmers’ daughters and all the great country crooners: “Hee Haw” returns on a 14-disc box set

Whoever knew? Hee Haw was inspired by Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In the major difference being that the countrified series was far less political and topical, focusing on country music and rural culture. And it was just as funny . . . as well as also being  known for its voluptuous, scantily-clad women in stereotypical farmer’s daughter outfits and revealing minidresses.

Pickin’ and grinnin’, singin’ and spinnin’ tall tales and corny jokes, the citizens of Kornfield Kounty landed on television in 1969 with the arrival of Hee Haw as a summer replacement series for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.  With a cast of down-to-earth characters including Minnie Pearl, Grandpa Jones and Archie Campbell, knee-slapping comedic zingers and jaw-dropping musical performances, the comedy-variety show, co-hosted by Buck Owens and Roy Clark, captivated the country.  In 1971, after two successful years, CBS dropped the show in an effort to “de-countrify” the network’s programming; however, it was quickly picked up and aired for the next 21 years, making Hee Haw the longest-running weekly syndicated original series in television history.

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In a new-to-retail set, Time Life is releasing Hee Haw: The Collector’s Edition offers 14 Hee-larious discs featuring some of the best sketches and brightest stars from the series’ impressive 23-year history, rarely seen since their original broadcasts.  Across 21 vintage hours, viewers can sit back and be entertained by korny klassics such as “PFFT! You Were Gone,” “Gordie’s General Store,” “Board Fence,” “Cornfield” and “Moonshiners”–as well as the all-time favorites “Rindercella” and “Trigonometry.”  And because Hee Haw was a favorite stop for country music’s biggest stars and legends, this must-have box set also features hundreds of classic performances from Hall of Famers at the peaks of their careers including Tammy Wynette, George Jones, Dolly Parton, Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings,  Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Tanya Tucker and Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty and too many others to name.
Though the last “new” episode aired in 1992, this 14-disc collector’s edition perfectly captures the reasons why Hee Haw was one of the longest-running and best loved television variety shows of all time!
 
BONUS FEATURES
  • New interviews with show regulars including Roy Clark, Lulu Roman, George Lindsey, Charlie McCoy and Jim and John Hager
  • Additional bonus programming includes all-time favorite comedy from the early years in “Hee Haw Laffs,” featuring “Board Fence,” “Doctor Spot,” “Old Philosopher,” “Haystack,” “Schoolhouse” and other knee-slappers

A tiny Yorkie makes for huge fun in the animated adventure “Pup Star”

We’ve always known that August brings the dog days of summer, but we never knew they could be so, well, fetching.

On August 30, Air Bud Entertainment, the creators of Air Bud and Disney Air Buddies franchises, will release Pup Star, a canine-crammed spin on America’s hit TV singing competitions Loaded with music, including 13 original songs and the biggest cast of talking (and singing) pooches ever assembled, the all-new family film is the inspirational adventure of an adorable Yorkie pup, Tiny (voiced by Kaitlyn Maher), who finds herself on an action-packed cross-country journey to compete in the ultimate singing competition for dogs.

After she earns a place in the finale, Tiny is suddenly dog-napped! But with the help of her new friend, Charlie, a retired rock-and-roller, she escapes. Together they leave on an incredible journey through some of music’s most iconic cities. On the way to the competition they meet Big Ears—a soulful Basset Hound who teaches Tiny to belt out the 
blues; Murray—a spiritual shaggy dog who helps her find her inner rhythm; and Emily Rose—a country-singing shepherd who helps her learn to sing from her heart. Most important of all, they all encourage Tiny to believe in herself and never give up on her dreams!

Featuring an all-star celebrity judging panel including ‘Dog Gnarley’ (voiced by Ziggy Marley), “Blake Sheltie,” “Lady Paw Paw” and a loveable but always disagreeable “Simon Growl,” Pup Star showcases canine contestants including P-Diggy (voiced by Juicy J), “Bark” and the tall-hat wearing “Furrell.”

You can start barking the raves when the flick is released in select U.S. theaters and Digital HD exclusively on Fandango’s premium on-demand video service, FandangoNOW (FandangoNOW.com).  In Canada, the film will release September 17 (my bark-day) exclusively in Cineplex Cinemas as part of the complimentary “Family Favourites Premiere” programming with an additional special movie offer at the Cineplex Stores. The cat’s meow can be pre-ordered on FandangoNOW for $9.99 at fandangonow.com/pupstar.

We hear a sequel is already in the works!

“Charlie Brown’s All-Stars” returns for its golden anniversary celebration

It’s anything but peanuts. Charlie Brown’s All-Stars, the second primetime animated TV special based upon the popular Peanuts, originally aired on CBS on June 8, 1966.  The show, which earned two Primetime Emmy nominations, celebrates its golden anniversary this year. (It lost the Emmy for Outstanding Children’s Program to Hanna-Barbera’s Jack and the Beanstalk, starring Gene Kelly.) unnamedWarner Bros. Home Entertainment  honors the occasion by releasing this delightful story in a deluxe 50th anniversary edition, completely remastered in beautiful high definition. You have to wait until the release date of October 4, but remember one thing: Charlie Brown never gave up. And neither should you.

downloadCharlie Brown’s All Stars follows the bittersweet story of Charlie Brown, who won’t give up on trying to bring his baseball team to victory, in spite of facing great criticism from the team’s players. The DVD release is timed to the culmination of the World Series.

In Charlie Brown’s All Stars, it’s summer and baseball season gets underway. Charlie Brown is put in charge of managing the Peanuts’ baseball team again, which in the past, has only suffered crushing defeat from its opponents. The disillusioned players blame Charlie Brown for the team’s past poor performance. When a sponsor offers Charlie Brown real baseball uniforms and a chance to be part of an actual league, he is thrilled. He believes the new uniforms and acceptance into a real league will motivate his players.1463965330-1

His excitement however, soon turns into disappointment when he learns that if he accepts the offer, Snoopy, Lucy, Patty, Violet and Frieda will be kicked off the team because the league’s policy prevents girls and dogs from playing. Poor Charlie Brown, not only is he criticized by his teammates for being a bad manager, he’s now faced with a difficult moral dilemma. Should he accept the uniforms?

This one still scores big.

Cohen Media Group celebrates two newly-restored Philippe de Broca gems on

We have praised the work of Cohen Media Group since 2008 when it was founded by Charles S. Cohen, an executive producer of multiple Academy Award nominee Frozen River. The Group produces and distributes select films throughout North America; CMG’s Cohen Film Collection (formerly the Rohauer Collection) includes some 700 cinema landmarks, including films by D.W. Griffith, Buster Keaton, Douglas Fairbanks and Luis Bunuel and Federico Fellini.
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On August 9, the Group releases two newly-restored films by Philippe de Broca, known for That Man From Rio and King of Hearts. On Guard is a swashbuckling, action-packed adventure in which it takes cavalier Lagardère 16 years to avenge his friend the Duke of Nevers, who was assassinated by the Duke’s cousin and only known heir.  Whew! Sixteen years to assert the triumph of morality, protect the true heir, save honor . . .  and find love.

In Five Day Lover, Jean Seberg brings all of her considerable coquettish charm to the role of Claire, a young mother married to Georges, but also having an affair with bachelor Antoine, who is being kept by her good friend Madeleine, a wealthy fashion designer. But the meetings at Antoine’s apartment, five afternoons a week, come to a halt when their partners learn the truth.