I remember spending Christmas one year with Dolly Parton, just in time for yet another Redbook cover story about the holidays. I wondered how someone who grew up so dirt-poor could be happy if the Jolly Fat Man never showed to Pigeon Forge? Dolly’s favorite present . . . the “corn cob dolls Mama made.”
This year, the 40DD-17-36 star “stars” in yet another Christmas special, one that went straight to DVD by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. The Big Names include Jennifer Nettles, Ricky Schroder and Gerald McRaney. Dolly introduces Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors – Circle of Love film and serves as narrator. The DVD, and also contains deleted scenes and three brand new featurettes including behind-the-scenes interviews. Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors – Circle of Love will premiere this holiday season on NBC.
The spotlight shines on the trio of iconic stars of Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders. Adam West steps behind the microphone to bring Batman to fully animated fruition. Burt Ward joins the fun as Batman’s sidekick, Robin, giving The Boy Wonder his voice in animated form. And Julie Newmar once again dons her feline ears to bring Catwoman to life. They may own top billing, but Steven Weber and Thomas Lennon also lead the way as trustworthy butler Alfred Pennyworth and Chief O’Hara, respectively. The full-length animated feature film also boasts a supporting cast of notable voices from across all entertainment mediums and some of the best-loved animated properties.
We take wing and make the intros.
Jeff Bergman as the Joker and the revered Announcer. Bergman is well-known as a voice of Bugs Bunny for more than a quarter of a century on series like Wabbit: A Looney Tunes Production, The Looney Tunes Show and Tiny Toon Adventures, and has provided a wide variety of impressions of live and animated celebrities (from Fred Flintstone and Homer Simpson to John Goodman and Paul Sorvino) for Family Guy.
William Salyers as The Penguin. Salyers is the actor behind the beloved Rigby in the longtime animated hit The Regular Show, and has voiced characters in wildly popular video games like Mass Effect 2 & 3 and Fallout 4.
Wally Wingert as The Riddler. Wingert, an avid Batman ’66 fan, has been featured as Cubot for Sonic Boom, a regular in popular anime series like Bleach and Naruto: Shippuden, and has voiced a plethora of characters (from Austin Powers to The Grinch) for the Family Guy animated series. He maintains a strong connection to the Dark Knight as the voice of Edward Nigma/The Riddler for the Batman: Arkham series of video games.
Lynne Marie Stewart as Aunt Harriett. Stewart burst on the entertainment scene in the ’70s with roles in American Graffiti, M*A*S*H and Laverne & Shirley. Most recently seen in hit films (Bridesmaids) and TV series (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia), Stewart holds a particular affection in the hearts of Pee-wee Herman fans for her recurring role in the Paul Reubens character’s films and TV series as Miss Yvonne.
Jim Ward as Commissioner Gordon. Ward has provided voices for hundreds of animated films, TV series and video games, including multiple roles for Ben 10, and as Captain Qwark for Ratchet & Clank. He is well known for voicing Chet Ubetcha on The Fairly Oddparents, and Professor Charles Xavier in Wolverine and the X-Men.
Sirena Irwin as TV show host Miranda Moore. Irwin is a regular contributor on the ever-popular SpongeBob SquarePants animated series, and has made a pair of notable voice “appearances” in the DC Universe Original Movies Justice League: Throne of Atlantis and Superman: Unbound.
So what’s the fuss? It’s back to the ’60s as Batman and Robin spring into action when Gotham City is threatened by a quartet of Batman’s most fiendish foes–Penguin, The Joker, Riddler and Catwoman. The four Super-Villains have combined their wicked talents to hatch a plot so nefarious that the Dynamic Duo will need to go to outer space (and back) to foil their arch enemies and restore order in Gotham City. It’s a truly fantastic adventure that will pit good against evil, good against good, evil against evil … and feature two words that exponentially raise the stakes for both sides: Replicator Ray. Holy Multiplication Tables!
Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders is available to own on Digital HD; it arrives November 1 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD.
It’s been called “an intimate, star-studded comedy that functions like an indie blockbuster, but it feels too big to be considered a regular indie, with a massive cast and its appetite for humor more equivalent to a studio project than any Sundance film.”
Did someone say “humor?” Indeed. Joshy, the set-up for writer/director Jeff Baena’s follow-up to Life After Beth may sound familiar: This is a film about a life-changing reunion at a rented house. But not right away: The space for the Ojai, California bachelor party for Joshy (a marvelous Thomas Middleditch) was rented long before he suffered heartbreak from a cancelled engagement, and now it’s become a guy’s weekend.
After his suddenly ends, Joshy and a few of his friends decide to take advantage of what was supposed to be his bachelor party in . In their attempt to help Joshy deal with the recent turn of events, the guys turn the getaway info a raucous weekend filled with drugs, booze debauchery and hot tubs. As the film unravels, so do the laughs . . . and the sadness.
After earning lots of laughs at its Sundance Film Festival premiere, Joshy has arrived on Blu-ray (plus Digital HD), DVD (plus Digital) and Digital HD from Lionsgate. Rounding out the hilarious cast is Adam Pally, Nick Kroll and Jenny Slate.
We refuse to say anything more, except Joshy is a must-see.
It may be a little house on the prairie, but the love inside is bigger than what’s found in those huge, cold mega-mansions. Lionsgate is celebrating the hit series that stole America’s heart now that Little House on the Prairie: Legacy Movie Collection hasarrived on DVD (plus Digital) and Digital HD.
We offer you to say hello to the family fave as you prepare to say farewell to this legendary western drama with three movie adventures: Look Back to Yesterday, Bless All the Dear Children and The Last Farewell. These restored and remastered movies will be available individually on Digital HD.
The story of the Ingalls family concludes with this trio of heartwarming movies—newly restored and remastered for optimal sound and picture quality. Rediscover the timeless adventure of Little House on the Prairie as Albert displays courage in the face of a serious illness; Laura and Almanzo race to find their missing baby daughter; and the community of Walnut Grove unites to defend its town in these inspiring and exciting moments that fans will treasure.
Forget the candy, bags o’ pretzels and popcorn and those awful waxed lips. When we trick or treat this year, we want Power Rangers Dino Charge: Rise, the new Lionsgate DVD on which Saban’s Powers Rangers embark on all-new adventures. In this spooktacular Halloween edition, the Power Rangers rise and take action-adventure to the next level as Tyler and Ivan put their differences aside to defuse a bomb; Chase races to free his friends from an underground tomb; Prince Phillip learns that he can’t buy his way into the Power Rangers; and Riley and Koda restore the team’s broken bonds of friendship. Now if we can only get them to melt all those waxed lips . . .
Getting candy (wrapped preferred) on Halloween by the clown who answers the door is a treat . . . or so we hope.
When it comes to Candy Factory Films, they offer treats that are full of tricks. And terror. Make that terror tripled. On October 18, three thrillers, all from first-time filmmakers, escape on Digital HD and On Demand on All Leading Platforms Including iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and Vudu.
Let us prepare you:
Honeybee From first-time filmmaker Nicki Harris comes this genre festival favorite, an award-winner at the 2016 International Horror Hotel Film Festival. Sixteen-year-old Hilary (portrayed by Connie Saltzman) has her head down, working hard to get good grades and just hoping to escape the small town life her family has lived for generations. Just weeks before school is done for the year, her quiet town is jump-started by the arrival of an enigmatic family. Hilary’s father is instantly charmed by Louisa, the statuesque mother, while she finds a strong connection to the middle son, Kadin (Garrett Richmond), ignoring her instincts.
And as the town’s inhabitants fall under the hypnotic spell of the two brothers, no one but Hilary sees the peculiar loyalty that holds them together and the lengths they will go to give their mother what she needs until it’s far too late. Dig the co-stars: Go-Go(er) Jane Wiedlin and Lorin Partalis.
Lights Aliens and a decades-old secret government conspiracy may be at the center of the disappearance of Kurt (Keith Roenke) and his five friends who mysteriously vanished in the California desert one year ago. Lisa (Sara Radle), Kurt’s girlfriend and the mother of his child, has been driven to obsession to learn the truth.
After being contacted by a retired sheriff haunted by similar cases, she heads to the desert with her brother Karl (Caleb Neet), guided by video footage recovered from Kurt’s tent. And together, they hack through the lies, evasions and threats to unlock the dark mystery of “Majestic 12” in this sci-fi thriller, director Nils Taylor’s feature-length debut.
Burst Theory After a colleague unexpectedly contracts a bird flu vaccine under suspicious circumstances, a biologist (Joseph Scott Anthony) at a remote research facility seeks answers. Soon, however, he discovers his worst nightmares are about to become a reality with his life, and perhaps the lives of millions, hanging in the balance.
Hunting desperately for the truth, he spirals into a from conspiracy and is forced to question everything he once took for granted. Including his own sanity.
Zac pageWritten and directed by Zac Page, who won the Gold Reel Award for First Time Directors at the 2015 Nevada Film Festival, this official selection at the Canada International Film Festival, Virginia Independent Horror Film Festival and The Big House Los Angeles Film Festival also captured the Screenwriting Award at the 2016 Amsterdam Film Festival.
James Stewart always thought it was a wonderful life. So did Donna Reed. And movie mavens worldwide. But the classic Yuletide film It’s a Wonderful Life almost didn’t make it onto the big screen and into our hearts.
The film is based on The Greatest Gift, a 1939 short story written by Philip Van Doren Stern. He spent years trying to sell his story to publishers. No success, so in 1943, Stern self-published his work and sent it to 200 friends as a 21-page Christmas card. RKO Pictures wound up getting a hold of the “card” and bought the rights to the story. They had Cary Grant in mind to play suicidal do-gooder George Bailey.
Time passed, and in 1945 Frank Capra was came on board and cast James Stewart as the star. Actresses such as Jean Arthur, Ann Dvorak , Olivia de Havilland and Ginger Rogers (who called the character “too bland” ) refused the co-starring role as George’s wife Mary. Donna Reed nabbed the role, and from here to eternity, is noted for her terrific performance.
When It’s a Wonderful Life opened in theaters in December 1946, the film received generally mixed reviews; it did, however, earn five Oscar nominations but won none. Gulp! it was somewhat of a box-office flop, failing to recoup its $3.7 million cost (it made $3.3 million during its initial run).
No wonder George was suicidal! In the years following its release, It’s a Wonderful Life fell into obscurity only to re-emerge during the ’70s and ’80s when it began appearing on television during the holiday season. In 1990, the nearly 45-year-old film was deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the Library of Congress.
And who ever thought the baileys might think of a red Christ,as? In It’s a Wonderful Life received an official mark of disapproval from the FBI, which pegged the poignant film as Communist propaganda thanks to its populist themes and, more specifically, unflattering portrayal of big-city bankers.
Reads a section of a 1947 FBI memo titled “Communist Infiltration of the Motion Picture Industry”:
With regard to the picture “It’s a Wonderful Life”, [redacted] stated in substance that the film represented rather obvious attempts to discredit bankers by casting Lionel Barrymore as a “scrooge-type” so that he would be the most hated man in the picture. This, according to these sources, is a common trick used by Communists. In addition, [redacted] stated that, in his opinion, this picture deliberately maligned the upper class, attempting to show the people who had money were mean and despicable characters. [redacted] related that if he made this picture portraying the banker, he would have shown this individual to have been following the rules as laid down by the State Bank Examiner in connection with making loans. Further, [redacted] stated that the scene wouldn’t have “suffered at all” in portraying the banker as a man who was protecting funds put in his care by private individuals and adhering to the rules governing the loan of that money rather than portraying the part as it was shown. In summary, [redacted] stated that it was not necessary to make the banker such a mean character and “I would never have done it that way.”
Why do we present such background? On October 11, Paramount Home Entertainment is releasing the 70th anniversary of one of the most beloved films of all time on Blu-ray and DVD. This 70th Anniversary Platinum Edition includes a beautifully colorized version of the film and the original black-and-white movie, as well as The Making of It’s A Wonderful Life, a documentary featurette hosted by Tom Bosley and the original trailer. Plus, both the Blu-ray and DVD set include collectible, limited-edition art cards featuring images of original ads and lobby cards.
Once in a while a film comes along that blows your head off. Witness Desert Cathedral. Ostensibly, the film concerns a dubiously successful realtor who, in searching for something better for his family, runs straight into the kind of midlife crisis that’s unimaginably painful. And it is less of his financial failure and more of his tragic imagination and sense of responsibility that sends him spinning off to the climax.
Imagine Dostoyevsky’s Notes for the Underground updated to the ’90s. Peter Collins is backed to a wall from which he sees no escape. He has a loving wife, Anna and a beautiful daughter, but has seemingly made a series of perfectly legal, but possibly financially ruinous, actions. Such is basically the action of the film, illustrated by Peter and Anna, and Duran Palouse, the private investigator she hires to find her husband who mysteriously disappears into the Southwest.
As the film progresses, the audience learn more and more about each character and our sympathy grows for them. The incredibly exciting aspect of this film is the narrative structure. Cheating only slightly here and there, the story is told through the found footage of the hero’s VHS camera, sort of a visual suicide note. However, this footage is interspersed with home movies Peter and his family have taken throughout the years, so the audience is able to see the sort of life, the failure of an American Dream. that the hero is leaving for the romanticism of the West.
The impact is pretty extraordinary. Understanding and sympathy develops for Peter and Anna, while the remaining information is obtained by the observation of Duran, a bit sleazy at first, yet who grows in the audience’s appreciation as the film progresses.
This is the first major release of Travis Gutiérrez Senger, an author, director and artist to watch. Handling original narrative in a film has got to be difficult, but Senger’s direction has a style and such a unique manner of handling the now near clichéd “found footage” technique is quite wonderful. The three major performers, Lee Tergesen, Chaske Spencer and Petra Wright are all spot on in their performances, and you can feel the power of the film from beginning to end. Based on true events, Desert Cathedralwon the Golden Bee, the festival’s top prize, at the Manchester International Film Festival; the festival awarded the film for its bold and unique storytelling. No surprise. Isn’t it great to have a film to which you have to bring your brain?
And you think Shakespeare was tough. Beowulf is an Old English epic poem consisting of 3182 alliterative lines. It may be the oldest surviving long poem in Old English and is commonly cited as one of the most important works of Old English literature. Scholars argue the date of the poem’s origin; the only certain dating pertains to the manuscript, which was produced between 975 and 1025. The author? An anonymous Angle-Saxon poet, referred to by scholars as the “Beowulf poet”.
Now Beowulf comes to life. Of sorts. Public Media Distribution, LLC is releasing (on October 11) Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands on DVD and Blu-ray.
Based on the complex protagonist of the classic English poem written between the eighth and tenth century, the series takes place in a mythological place, The Shieldlands, and challenges the notions of good and evil, heroes and villains, and the rule of law against one’s moral code. The drama, a 13-part epic miniseries that originally aired on the Esquire Network, stars Kieran Bew, in the lead role Beowulf; as well as William Hurt; Joanne Whalley; Ed Speleers and David Ajala.
Beowulf returns to his hometown after 20 years only to find the town attacked by a creature and himself accused of murder. This update to the centuries old tale introduces new characters and storylines to bring together an intriguing and epic fantasy action-adventure series.
We love when we can share treats instead of tricks as Halloween creeps in. Now we offer two. First, a riddle. What do you call an empty hot dog? (Pause, while you think about it.) A hollow-weenie! (pause, while you laugh heartily.)
Secondly: A spook-tacular DVD from Lionsgate. Saban’s Powers Rangers embark on all-new adventures in Power Rangers Dino Charge: Rise, arriving on DVD (plus Digital HD) on September 27. In this Halloween edition, the Power Rangers must overcome their differences and work together to defend the Earth from evil using their dino-charged powers. Top-rated in its time period with kids 2-11, Power Rangers Dino Charge: Rise will surely keep its devoted fan base on the edge of their seats.
The Power Rangers rise and take action-adventure to the next level as Tyler and Ivan put their differences aside to defuse a bomb; Chase races to free his friends from an underground tomb; Prince Phillip learns that he can’t buy his way into the Power Rangers; and Riley and Koda restore the team’s broken bonds of friendship in these dynamic, thrill-filled adventures.
All together now: Boo!
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