Category Archives: DVDs

Morphine remains addictive. Join them for a “Journey of Dreams”

Morphine can be addictive. It’s a drug of choice. When it comes to “low rock,” the Boston-born band Morphine blazed like a comet across the international music scene in the ’90s, rising from local small clubs to indie and major label record deals, high and wide critical acclaim, and packed shows until their untimely demise.

The trio’s unique and mesmeric sound continues to resonate with its fans and music lovers as the group ascends to legendary if not iconic status. The documentary Morphine: Journey of Dreams  (MVD Entertainment Group) is the definitive, in-depth tale of this unique musical act’s compelling career and life together and their resonant musical creativity.

Journey of Dreams  doesn’t just get behind the music, but inside the band as its story is primarily told by the trio’s surviving members, saxophonist Dana Colley and drummers Billy Conway and Jerome Dupree, plus the close-knit familial coterie that worked with them as well as Sandman’s girlfriend Sabine Hrechdakian.

It’s punctuated by incisive commentary and observations from such friends and admirers of the group as Henry Rollins, Joe Strummer and Steve Berlin of Los Lobos. A wealth of live performance footage gathered from across Morphine’s career recalls and amplifies the band’s innovative yet at the same time classic, timeless and “beautifully bottom-heavy” sound, as Rolling Stone (the mag, not the Mick) praised it.

Viewers ride and fly along with the hard- touring band’s road experiences, vibrantly brought to life as Colley reads from his tour diaries at key points in the film as well as through his accompanying Polaroid pictures and Super 8 films.

Journey of Dreams is not just a tale of music business struggle, triumph and tragedy, but also a love story (among its members and team as well as Sandman and Hrechdakian) as well as an adventure, drama, travelogue, and something of a roller coaster ride. When all is told, an evocative and loving tribute to a rock band that was like no other.

Addictive.

Tyler Perry, matriarch Madea and other family faves return for laughs (and a few boos)

Lionsgate is celebrating the New Year with a most unusual treat . . . some 10 months in advance. Of sorts.

On January 31, Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween–the outrageous return of Madea after a three-year theatrical hiatus–lands on on Blu-ray (plus Digital HD), DVD, Digital HD and On Demand. Perry returns as Madea along with fan favorites Aunt Bam and Hattie to prevent her teenage niece from attending the crazy frat party next door.

The film tells the story of Madea being summoned to keep a watchful eye on Brian’s teenage daughter and keep her out of trouble. Little does Madea know, the trouble is coming for her. Fortunately, or not, she has her posse of Bam, Hattie and Joe to shield off ghosts and killer clowns.

More Madea? Also on January 31, following a nine-month nationwide tour, Tyler Perry’s Madea on the Run (The Play) will be available on Blu-ray (plus Digital HD), DVD, Digital HD and On Demand. On the run from the law, Madea hides out at Bam’s house, thinking she will lie low. Unfortunately, Bam’s house is packed with rambunctious family and friends, and Madea finds herself needing to lay down her own law and drop the hammer.

Return to the Black Hills Forest for a bewitching primal scream (or two) in “Witch Project”

A group of college students venture into the Black Hills Forest in Maryland to uncover the mysteries surrounding the disappearance of their friend’s sister, who many believe is connected to the legend of the Blair Witch.

At first the group is hopeful, especially when a pair of locals offer to act as guides through the dark and winding woods, but as the endless night wears on, the group is visited by a menacing presence. Slowly, they begin to realize the legend is all too real and more sinister than they could have imagined.

Nearly two decades after documentary filmmakers vanished in the groundbreaking film The Blair Witch Project, an investigative team searches for them and the truth behind their disappearance in Blair Witch. The flick has landed on Blu-ray Combo Pack (plus DVD and Digital HD), DVD, Digital HD and On Demand from Lionsgate. From acclaimed filmmakers Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett, Blair Witch stars James Allen McCune, Callie Hernandez, Brandon Scott, Valorie Curry, Corbin Reid and Wes Robinson. An official selection of the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival, this much-buzzed-about film will haunt viewers far beyond the closing credits.

Also get buzzed with more than three hours of bonus features on the Blair Witch Blu-ray and Digital HD, including an audio commentary with director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett; the House of Horrors: Exploring the Set featurette; and a six-part making-of documentary, “Never Ending Night: The Making of Blair Witch”. The DVD release includes the audio commentary and the “House of Horrors: Exploring the Set” featurette. The Blu-ray Disc of Blair Witch will feature a Dolby Atmos soundtrack remixed specifically for the home theater environment to place and move audio anywhere in the room.

Quite bewitching, eh?

 

Time Life celebrates Johnny Carson, his late-night gem and his friends in a new DVD series

Before the Seinfeld sitcom success, it started with Johnny’s couch.
Revisit that time with The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson: Johnny and Friends featuring Jerry Seinfeld. This DVD includes three classic ’80s episodes, complete with commercials! Jerry Seinfeld is on Carson chum; other shows include Arnold Schwarzenegger, an 18-year-old named Andre Agassi and Oprah’s first Tonight Show appearance. Save the date: The recollections begin on January 10.
Featuring the best episodes from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, the Johnny and Friends series will include some of the best loved guests from The Tonight Show. Each DVD features full episodes-including original commercials-that showcase an amazing talent and true American icon who, across 30 years and 4,000 shows, paved the way for a late night TV revolution in memorable fashion.
The inaugural release stars Jerry Seinfeld before his eponymous sitcom rewrote TV history.  After his first appearance (May 6, 1981), Carson was impressed and Seinfeld became a frequent guest on The Tonight Show. In 1989, Seinfeld debuted on NBC, and by its fourth season, it had become the most popular and successful sitcom on American television.  This Johnny and Friends release features  pre-Seinfeld episodes, allowing home audiences to watch the evolution of the iconic comedian.
Episodes include: 
  • Show 1 (June 27, 1985) A true classic is now released from The Tonight Show Vaults!  Not only does this show feature an appearance by Jerry Seinfeld early in his career, but it also includes one of Johnny’s most famous sketches by The Mighty Carson Art Players: Mr. Rambo’s Neighborhood.
  • Show 2 (February 21, 1986) In this historic show from 1986, Seinfeld is joined by drag racer Shirley Muldowney, and that’s not all, watch as the future “Queen of all Media” meets the “King of Late Night” during the first appearance of Oprah Winfrey on The Tonight Show.
  • Show 3 (June 9, 1988) A star studded evening closes this DVD as Johnny’s guests include Seinfeld, Schwarzenegger and Agassi. 

“Roseanne for President!” takes a spin on the funny lady’s 2012 run for The White House

Nearly 30 years after Roseanne Barr’s groundbreaking sitcom Roseanne became the No. 1 show on television, Roseanne for President! (IFC) brings you the story of the Emmy-winning actress and trailblazing comedian’s 2012 gonzo campaign for President of the United States.

Money was one of Barr’s signature talking points when she ran for president, first as a Green Party candidate and ultimately as the Peace and Freedom Party’s nominee.
And now, the movie. The flick was  directed by Michael Moore collaborator Eric Weinrib. Barr and Moore are also friends. He’s the person who encouraged her to film her campaign endeavor.
Having created a sitcom that changed the cultural landscape by revolutionizing what Americans think of family, class, race, gender and gay rights, Roseanne is uniquely qualified to fix well, everything.
Through the warped lens of the Barr Campaign, this surreal dark comedy examines the impact Roseanne’s work has had on society and who she is as a person. Her motivations for seeking office? They were the same motivations she’s had since her boundary-breaking eponymous sitcom: Never stop fighting for the less-privileged class.

Film Movement releases the sci-fi cult classic “The Quiet Earth”

Film Movement, the New York-based distributor of arthouse and independent films, has released Geoffrey Murphy’s sci-fi cult classic The Quiet Earth. It’s news that shouldn’t remain quiet: The 1985 flick is now available for the first time on DVD and  Blu-ray.

Bruno Lawrence stars as scientist Zac Hobson, a mid-level scientist working on a global energy project who wakes up to a nightmare. After his project malfunctions, he discovers that he may be the last man on Earth. As he searches empty cities for other survivors, Zac’s mental state begins to deteriorate, culminating in the film’s iconic and hotly debated ending.

Called “the best science fiction film of the ’80s” by the Los Angeles Daily NewsThe Quiet Earth is loosely based on Craig Harrison’s novel of the same name. With this film Geoff Murphy ushered in a renaissance of classic New Zealand films in the ’80s. The film, which was originally screenwriter and producer Sam Pillsbury’s project, was sold to 80 countries, gained a cult following and won Murphy attention in the United States.

The DVD and Blu-ray editions feature a unique bonus: Commentary by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, the Director of the Hayden Planetarium of the Natural History Museum in New York, together with rogerebert.com film critic Odie Henderson. FYI: The Quiet Man is one of deGrasse Tyson’s favorite science fiction films.

Don’t think twice, it’s all right: “50 Years with Peter Paul and Mary” is essential

The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind.

I have such cherished memories of spending time with Mary Travers throughout the years. Then, on September 16, 2009, one day before my birthday, something happened to Mary: She died.

Now Peter and Paul, apostles of folk music, continue the legacy.

50 Years with Peter Paul and Mary  (MVD Entertainment Group) is a new documentary by four-time Emmy-winning producer/director Jim Brown that focuses on portions of the trio’s career not included in previously aired PBS specials. This program features rare and previously unseen television footage including a BBC program from the early ’60s that embodies many of the trio’s best performances and most popular songs.
This is Peter Paul and Mary at the peak of their artistry, a time when this popular and influential trio dominated the Billboard music charts.  From the group’s emergence in Greenwich Village, to the Civil Rights and Antiwar era of the 1960s, through the decades of their later advocacy and music, to Mary’s moving memorial, and finally to the present, where their legacy continues to inform and inspire successive generations, this far deeper and more intimate exploration of the trio reveals the impact of their artistry and activism on their generation and the world. Celebrate the trio whose anthems provided America’s soundtrack for generations. And still do.

Three broads (Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer and Hillary Clinton) and their “Broad City” (mis)adventures

Think of them a 2 broke girls.

Broad City is an odd couple comedy about two best friends navigating their twenties in Madhattan. Their (mis)adventures always lead down unexpected and outlandish paths. They’re broke, flawed and don’t shy away from the sticky situations NYC throws at them . . . they dive right into the shi…, er, muck. But no matter how bad it gets, these young broads are always down with whatever hits them.

Think of it as comedy central.

Upright Citizens Brigade alums Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer came up with the idea for the show; the gals also star and their dynamic relationship, combined with their impeccable comedic timing and chemistry, has been described as “passionate, funny and sometimes raunchy” by The New York Times.

Broad City: Season 3 hits stores on January 10. The two-disc set brings back TV’s baddest BFFs for a whole new set of adventures. Join Abbi, Ilana and a lineup of special guests as they find true love (or one-night stands), get high on life (among other things) and show New York City how it’s done. Just ask one of the season three’s guest stars, Hillary Clinton. 

Vestron Video Collector’s Series is a horror. That’s a bloody good compliment!

We must have been spending too much time cat-walking through catacombs since we just learned that  Lionsgate is exhuming classic horror films for the limited-edition Vestron Video Collector’s Series. Hours of materials have been assembled for the Vestron Video Collector’s Series Blu-ray releases, starting with six horror cult classics. Lionsgate vows fan will “taste the fear and the flesh, in shocking high definition for the first time, as teenagers meet their untimely demise at the hands of cannibals, killer robots, horror icons, sewer-dwelling monsters and an army of the undead!” Just the way we like it.

Starting with Chopping Mall and Blood Diner, and continuing with Waxwork and Waxwork II: Lost in Time Double Feature, Return of the Living Dead 3, and C.H.U.D. II: Bud the CHUD, these rereleases are for the collector and horror fan alike and will be available for a limited amount of time.

Other releases of grave matters . . .

Return of the Living Dead 3
Watch all of the terror in high definition when Curt transforms his girlfriend into a flesh-eating monster after her accidental death, in order to fulfill their pact to love each other forever. 

The Lair of the White Worm (available  on January 31). We can’t wait to hear the audio commentary by director Ken Russell.

Parents (January 31)
In this black-comedy horror classic, a young boy in ’50s suburbia suspects his parents are cannibalistic murderers.

The Gate (February 28)
When two suburban kids accidentally open a portal filled with pint-sized demons hell-bent on taking over the planet, it’s up to them to seal the gateway and save mankind!

“American Violence.” Even the flick’s title should scare you.

Think of this as a no-holds-barred thriller that demands to be seen. American Violence follows one man’s path to execution and the strong-minded doctor brought in to take a deeper look at the violent circumstances that have doomed him.

Jackson Shea (portrayed by Kaiwi Lyman-Mersereau) has lived a life of deceit, brutality and corruption. But when a series of chilling, violent events lands him on Death Row, psychologist Amanda Tyler (Denise Richards) must find whether his violent behavior is inherent in his soul, or if he will be rehabilitated.

As the interview commences, and Jack’s fate hangs in the balance, Amanda must decide whether a stay of execution will be granted.

“The goal was to create a film that was gripping and emotional, and that would leave an impact on the viewers while inviting them in for a closer look at the American justice system and the death penalty,” says Timothy Woodward Jr., the film’s director. “I wanted our audience to not only ask questions, but feel for the characters and the life altering circumstances they find themselves in.”

Save the date: American Violence premieres in theaters, and on Video on Demand and Digital HD on February 3.