Category Archives: DVDs

“Person of Interest” comes to an end . . . and what an ending says Michael Emerson

All things come to an end. Even great things. Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has released Person of Interest: The Complete Fifth and Final Season on Blu-ray and DVD.  This is the end of one of television’s most compelling, action-packed, crime dramas. 

For years, the Person of Interest team, consisting of tech genius Harold Finch (Michael Emerson), ex-agent John Reese (Jim Caviezel), NYPD Detective Lionel Fusco (Kevin Chapman), cyber-hacker Root (Amy Acker) and missing-in-action operative Sameen Shaw (Sarah Shahi), have been protected by The Machine. As worlds collided, however, and a rival AI known as Samaritan finally cornered The Machine inside the nation’s power grid, it was the POI team’s turn to protect Finch’s creation.

 In season five, the cold war is over. The world might appear to look the same, but something has drastically changed. Samaritan’s lethal “correction” has initiated its control. Finch’s Machine is essentially dead. Shaw is still missing. And the team is once again hiding in plain sight. But with Samaritan’s invisible grip tightening everywhere, will Finch be able to rebuild and resurrect The Machine? And if he does, will it be the same Machine when it comes back online?

We wonder what Michael Emerson (best-known for his theater work, including a great run as Oscar Wilde in Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde and a greater Willie Oban in The Iceman Cometh), feels about Person of Interest ending.

“I feel good. I think we were surprised when we first heard that it was coming to an end,” he says. “You always think that as long as your ratings are high, you’re good to go. But it doesn’t necessarily always play out that way. There were other kinds of concerns and such.  Once we got used to the idea, and when they said, ‘We’re just going to shoot 13,’ somewhere in my heart there was a leap of joy because I thought, ‘Praise God. I think I can get through 13.’ I wasn’t sure I could do another 22.”

As for the way the series ended? “Oh, that’s alright. That’s a human ending, not some contrivance or irony or device. I’m really pleased with it and at peace with it and so happy that I’m not still out there shooting,” he adds.

Stephen King, James Franco and a dead Kennedy make for riveting TV

It’s a question most people can readily answer: Where were you when JFK was shot? And almost everyone remembers Walter Cronkite wiping away tears while reporting the tragic news.

Imagine having the power to change history. Willing? Then journey back to 11.22.63.  The Hulu original series stars James Franco as Jake Epping, a high-school teacher at a loss with his life, who wants to make a difference and do something meaningful. Encouraged by his ailing friend (the wonderful, but aging Chris Cooper), Jake journeys back in time to prevent the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The story transports audiences into the world of ’60s Texas as Jake explores the multiple mysteries surrounding the alleged assassin Lee Harvey Oswald (Daniel Webber).

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Lee Harvey Oswald, recreated by the brilliant Daniel Webber

But Jake’s mission faces threats not only from Oswald, but from Sadie (Sarah Gadon), a beautiful librarian he falls in love with, and from the past itself . . . which doesn’t want to be changed. And if the Past doesn’t want to be changed, it will push back­ often violently. With something for everyone, this edge-of-your seat mystery offers an epic and emotional thrill ride as viewers hurtle deep into the unpredictable darkness of the American dream.

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment’s release of 11.22.63 is on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD.  Executive Produced by Emmy winner J.J. Abrams, Stephen King, Bridget Carpenter and Kevin Macdonald, the event series includes all 8 episodes as well as a brand new featurette. The series is based upon the New York Times best-selling 2011 novel written by King.

Billy Zane, Chad Michael Collins and Dennis Haysbert hit the “Sniper: Ghost Shooter” target

We are die-hard members of the Billy Zane Fan Club. We love the hunky actor, even if he makes films that are pretty bad. One film that is not bad: Sniper: Ghost Shooter, the latest in the popular Sniper franchise. This latest action-packed direct-to-video chapter has arrived on DVD and Digital from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, and we’re watching it (again) as soon as we finish typing.

Sniper savors know that Chad Michael Collins and Dennis Haysbert also return for this explosively entertaining installment in which Corporal Brandon Beckett (Collins) and his Marine sniper unit must face off against an infamous extremist sniper who has seemingly perfect accuracy. Directed by returning series’ director Don Michael Paul and co-starring Nick Gomez, Stephanie Vogt and Enoch Frost, Sniper: Ghost Shooter is loaded with the non-stop military action series’ fans (and BZ fans) and newcomers won’t want to miss.

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Elite snipers Brandon Beckett (Chad Michael Collins) and Richard Miller (Billy Zane) are fighting extremists in the Middle East when Colonel (Dennis Haysbert) gives them a new mission: to protect a gas pipeline stretching from the Republic of Georgia to Western Europe from terrorists eager to make a political statement. But when skirmishes with the enemy lead to U.S. snipers being killed by a ghost shooter who locks into their exact location, a security breach is suspected. Fingers are pointed and battle lines are drawn, all leading up to an explosive climax.

Warning! Andy Samberg will have you pissing in your pants in “Popstar”

There’s something funny about Justin Bieber. We’ll star with this bon mot: He has no talent. On the other hand, Andy Samberg is funny. In Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping , a mockumentary  about a former boy-band member trying desperately to salvage his failing solo career (think Bieber), he is fucking funny. If you miss the flick in your local theatre, the film comes to Digital HD on August 16, On Demand on August 30, and Blu-ray and DVD on September 13. You can thank Universal Pictures Home Entertainment for this side-splitting comedy.

We won’t give away too much, but Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping goes behind the scenes as music sensation Conner4Real (Samberg), the breakout star of a popular but disbanded hip-hop group, finds his popularity plummeting after a disastrous album release, leaving his fans, sycophants and rivals all wondering what to do when he’s no longer the dopest star of all . . just as he launches a highly publicized solo tour.

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It’s funny because SNL alums Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone (the comedy collective known as The Lonely Island) wrote the screenplay, a razor-sharp, music-filled send-up of pop celebrity chronicles the exploits of the lovably egotistical singer-rapper (and his 32-person entourage) as he attempts to win back the hearts of his once-adoring fans. The trio also produced the film, along with comedy mastermind Judd Apatow.

And oh! Popstar co-stars a who’s who of comedy superstars, including Sarah Silverman, Tim Meadows, Maya Rudolph, Joan Cusack, Imogen Poots, Chris Redd, Bill Hader, Kevin Nealon and Will Arnett. And there are laugh-out-loud cameos from such music-world VIPs as Justin Timberlake, Adam Levine, Pharrell Williams, Carrie Underwood, DJ Khaleed, Seal, P!nk, Nas, , Usher, Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, Ringo Starr, , Simon Cowell, Questlove, Mariah Carey, RZA, T.I., and “Weird Al” Yankovic.

Could this be the life story of Bieber? Never say never.

 

 

We have never had shame: “Shameless” is an outrageous, irreverent Showtime series

We have no shame promoting all the great DVDs and Blu-ray releases Warner Bros. Home Entertainment brings to fans. On August 30, one of the top-rated Showtime comedy series will get in your hands with the release of Shameless: The Complete Sixth Season.  Get set for the Gallagher clan, one of television’s most outrageous families as they entertain viewers with another highly addictive season featuring 12 irreverent episodes, plus bonus content, including two new featurettes and deleted scenes.

Shameless, based on the long-running, award-winning British series, was adapted for American television by John Wells and original UK series creator Paul Abbott. The show stars Oscar-nominated actor William H. Macy as Frank Gallagher, the outspoken, alcoholic, single father of six clever and resourceful kids from Chicago’s South Side. Scrappy, stubborn and strong, the Gallaghers are tested by changing times but season six finds them older, wiser and better at playing the system.

Accustomed to their natural state of chaos, the Gallaghers are as surprised as anyone at how life is turning out for them. But as they come into their own and find out who they really are, is it really possible that they might grow apart for good?

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During season six of Shameless, Frank continues to grieve the loss of Bianca, while his newfound appreciation for life is freaking everyone out.  Debbie (Emma Kenney) has decisions to make about her pregnancy while Fiona (Emmy Rossum) learns that she too, is expecting. Lip (Jeremy Allen White) is still in a dangerous relationship with one of his college professors. Ian (Cameron Monaghan) is adjusting to taking his meds and finding a new purpose in life. Carl (Ethan Cutkosky) is released early after serving time in juvenile detention. And just when they think it couldn’t get any worse, the Gallagher clan faces the possibility of losing their home when they are served with an eviction notice.

Stay tuned.

Go for the gold without attending the Rio rumpus with new Caillou DVD

Forget Rio. Forget the dirty water and nasty people and nastier crime. The young and young-at-heart can go for the gold with the new PBS Distribution DVD Caillou Goes for the Gold. In 11 exciting episodes, Caillou quickly learns that playing soccer, baseball and running aren’t as easy as they look, but it’s always fun to try something new.
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The DVD is filled with fun sports-themed adventures that empower preschoolers to try new activities with their friends and family.

The suggested retail price of $12.99 is a hell of a lot cheaper than a Rio rumpus.

 

 

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?