You’re invited to an insane wedding, a decadent frat party and a filthy, funny, 700-mile road trip. Since we love road trips, truly, we tagged along. That’s why we love Frat Pack, the wildly hilarious and raunchy flick, arriving on DVD, Digital, and On Demand June 19 from Lionsgate.
When Moira (portrayed by Beverly D’Angelo) decides to marry into a larger-than-life American family, her son, Elliot (Richard Alan Reid), is dragged on a road trip across the country with his soon-to-be stepbrothers for an epic alumni-weekend fraternity rager. The out-of-control comedy also stars Danny Trejo, Lochlyn Munro and Hana Mae Lee. On the road, the gang meets drug dealers, tattoo artists, snooty clerks, and party gals who don’t act like ladies. All the while, Elliot’s dying to make a pass at sweet, sensible neighbor Skylar—but will he pass out instead?
When a 17-year-old girl goes missing, family man and distinguished college professor Evan Birch’s (portrayed by Guy Pearce) life is turned upside down as circumstantial evidence convinces gruff Detective Malloy (Pierce Brosnan) that Birch is a prime suspect. As Malloy begins to peel back the layers of Birch’s past indiscretions with female students, and Birch’s wife (Minnie Driver) begins to question his alibi, Birch’s life starts to unravel, and suddenly the questions that he faces aren’t merely academic—they’re a matter of life and death.
Welcome to Spinning Man. The riveting thriller, based on the book of the same name by George Harrar and written for the screen by Matthew Aldrich, arrives on Blu-ray (plus Digital), DVD, and Digital June 12 from Lionsgate. This film is currently available On Demand.
We all have debts. now it’s time to meet The Debt Collector. Scott Adkins teams up with Louis Mandylor for this darkly hilarious and action-packed tale of a classically-trained martial artist (Adkins) who goes to work as a debt collector for the mob . . . a job that seems easy enough until one “client” pulls him into a situation more dangerous and deadly than he ever expected. This case of small-time enforcers find themselves in big-time trouble hits shelves on DVD and Digital June 5 from Archstone Distribution via Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
A power film. An unforgettable war. The acclaimed Smithsonian Channel three-part miniseries Civil War 360 (Public Media Distribution)explores one of the most divisive eras in American history from multiple perspectives. Celebrity hosts Ashley Judd, Trace Adkins and Dennis Haysbert each helm an hour-long program that takes viewers back to a time when their ancestors and those of many viewers were involved in the conflict. Through exploration of iconic and often poignant Smithsonian artifacts, the hosts gain insight into their own family’s experiences and uncover new dimensions of our nation’s history.
Here’s some insights into each episode:
Fight for Freedom In some ways, the story that Haysbert tells is perhaps the least known of all, but it is an agonizing and heroic account of a great struggle for freedom. Haysbert experiences painful reminders of this struggle firsthand as he encounters Smithsonian treasures: a ship’s manifest listing a cargo of slaves, the inkwell Lincoln used to write the Emancipation Proclamation, and a hymnal owned by Harriet Tubman. As Haysbert traces his ancestry back to enslaved people in America’s deep South, we are transported back to the brutal and complicated time when those with the most to gain also had the most to lose. For Haysbert the lesser known stories, especially of individual courage, are the most inspiring, “So many people stood up and fought together to make this country a free country. It just gave me a different perspective on what our country is about and what we can be.”
The Confederacy Hosted by dkins, this program begins back in 1861, when the South made the radical decision to leave the Union and form a new nation. While honoring the experiences of everyday soldiers like his great-great grandfather, a Confederate infantryman from Louisiana, Adkins explores music, art, and firearm collections at the Smithsonian Institution. Says Adkins: “I’ve had a real personal connection with the Civil War ever since I was a kid. This is our last best chance to raise awareness. The battlefields, the guns, the pikes, the uniforms and flags–all these things are all that we have left from that pivotal period in this nation’s history. They should be treated as treasures, and we should try to preserve them and save them for future generations. Because it’s impossible to know who you are if you don’t know your history, or where you’ve come from, or what you’ve done.”
It’s common knowledge who won the Civil War. But 150 years ago, a Union victory was anything but guaranteed. Judd seeks to understand the experiences of two of her great-great-great grandfathers, both Union soldiers from Kentucky. In the program Judd remarks: “I hope it inspires people to take a look at their own family history, and learn the interesting stories that can help enlighten them as well as move their hearts.” Judd is visibly moved when she examines field surgical instruments, a Union private’s letter home about life in Kentucky, and battered dishes from Libby Prison- all providing glimpses of daily life during the grinding war.
They’ve thrilled us, horrified us, and devastated us. They’ve raised questions about our past and given us hope for a brighter future. They are some of Hollywood’s biggest hits, all works of fiction, but all inspired by real events more dramatic than anything a screenwriter could dream up. Smithsonian Channel goes behind the scenes of Hollywood blockbusters to uncover the actual characters and true stories that inspired some of the world’s most famous films. On June 5, Public Media Distribution released a trio of three DVDs that tell the real stories.
The Real Story: True Grit True Grit has the foundation of a typical Western–revenge, retribution and redemption. The story centers on the unlikely partnership between a 14 year-old girl and a one-eyed Deputy Marshal, who join forces to avenge her father’s death. The story may be fiction, but it’s closer to truth than many imagine. This program shows how the character of Rooster was inspired by a gun-toting Deputy Marshal; introduces “Hanging Judge” Parker, who delighted in sending legions of men to the gallows; and leaves the viewer with no illusions about what really happened in the Wild West.
The Real Story: Braveheart Mel Gibson’s Oscar-winning box office smash tells the story of real-life Scottish rebel and freedom fighter William Wallace. The savage battle scenes and cast of thousands created a film of epic proportion, but ever since it was first shown historians have challenged the accuracy of the movie. Did William Wallace really live the life that “Braveheart” depicts? This program draws on medieval accounts and uses forensic evidence and weapons testing to build a picture of the real man and his times.
The Real Story: Live Free or Die Hard In the fourth film in the Die Hard franchise, New York cop John McClane takes on a sophisticated cyber-criminal mastermind who shuts down the USA remotely via the Internet. It’s a story that is chillingly topical. This program shows how a similar cyber-attack could be a real possibility. Featuring interviews with real-life cyber-criminals, FBI investigators and computer specialists, the program uncovers the shadowy world of hacking on a scale that could shutdown entire countries. Meet the government officials and former hackers who are tasked with ensuring it never does.
Grease is the word. Still, 40 years after bubbly musical was released. It’s got a groove, it’s got a meaning and it’s still a cultural phenomenon 40 years after its original release. The iconic celebration of high school life in the ’50s, Grease is the way you’ll be feeling with a new 40th Anniversary Edition on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital April 24 from Paramount Home Media Distribution.
Featuring an explosion of song and dance, as well as star-making performances from John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, Grease made an indelible impact on popular culture. 40 years later, the film remains an enduring favorite as legions of new fans discover the memorable moments, sensational soundtrack and classic love story. Boasting unforgettable songs including “Greased Lightnin,” “Look At Me, I’m Sandra Dee,” “Summer Nights,” “Hopelessly Devoted To You,” “Beauty School Drop Out” and, of course, “Grease,” the film is a timeless feel-good celebration.
Paramount worked with director Randal Kleiser to restore the film to its original vibrancy with the highest quality sound, picture resolution and color. The original negative was scanned and received extensive clean up and color correction using previously unavailable digital restoration tools such as high dynamic range technology. In addition, the audio was enhanced from a six-track mix created for an original 70mm release, giving the music more clarity. The resulting picture and sound create an exceptional home viewing experience.
The Grease 40th Anniversary Edition 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray Combo Packs include the fully restored version of the film plus an all-new, in-depth exploration of the little-known origins of what would become a Broadway play and then a feature film and worldwide phenomenon. “Grease: A Chicago Story” features new interviews with writer Jim Jacobs and original cast members of the Chicago show. In addition, the discs include the original song the title sequence was animated to and an alternate ending salvaged from the original black & white 16mm work print discovered by director Randal Kleiser.
Both the 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray Combo Packs also feature more than an hour of previously released bonus material, including a sing-along, vintage interviews with the cast, deleted scenes and more. Plus, the Blu-ray Combo comes in collectible packaging with 16 pages of images laid out like a high school yearbook. In addition, a Grease Collection will be available in a Steelbook Locker, which includes the 40th Anniversary Blu-ray of Grease, as well as Grease 2 and Grease: Live! on Blu-ray for the first time.
It remains one of the most brutal crimes of our times.
On March 30, 1985, Derek and Nancy Haysom are discovered brutally murdered at their home in Lynchburg, Virginia. The arrest and conviction of the couple’s daughter Elizabeth, a scholarship student at the University of Virginia, and her boyfriend Jens Söring, the brilliant son of a German diplomat, set off a media frenzy, becoming the first trial of its kind to be nationally televised. But what if the justice system got it all wrong?
The gripping true crime tale Kliiling for Love untangles the web of romantic obsession and betrayal that may have led an innocent man to make the ultimate sacrifice for love: take the fall for a murder he didn’t commit. The IFC Films theatrical release, called “engrossing and unnerving” by the Daily Telegraph, features the voices of Daniel Brühl and Imogen Poots.
People worldwide have seen the Disney animated classic Bambi and have been deeply moved by it, but few can tell you the name of the artist behind the film. Even fewer are aware of this pioneering artist’s impact on American art and popular culture. Until his death at the age of 106, Tyrus Wong was America’s oldest living Chinese American artist and one of the last remaining artists from the golden age of Disney animation. The quiet beauty of his Eastern-influenced paintings caught the eye of Walt Disney, who made Wong the inspirational sketch artist for Bambi. Filmmaker Pamela Tom corrects a historical wrong by spotlighting this seminal, but heretofore under-credited, figure.
Learn the truth, witness his genius, in American Masters: Tyrus (PBS Distribution).
Born in Canton (now Guangzhou), China, right before the fall of the Chinese Empire, Wong and his father immigrated to America in 1919, never to see their family again. The film shows how he overcame a life of poverty and racism to become a celebrated painter who once exhibited with Picasso and Matisse, a Hollywood sketch artist and Disney Legend.
Previously unseen art and interviews with Wong, movie clips and archival footage illustrate how his unique style–melding Chinese calligraphic and landscape influences with contemporary Western art–is found in everything from Disney animation (Bambi) and live-action Hollywood studio films (Rebel Without a Cause, The Wild Bunch, Sands of Iwo Jima, April in Paris) to Hallmark Christmas cards, kites and hand-painted California dinnerware to fine art and Depression-era WPA paintings. The film also features new interviews with his daughters and fellow artists/designers, including his Disney co-worker and friend Milton Quon and curators and historians of Wong’s work.
Fire up the home entertainment system and call your buds because the ultimate stoner comedy is celebrating its 40th anniversary. The high-larious cannabis cultural epic breakthrough Up in Smoke will “grab you by the poo poo” all over again when it arrives on Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD April 10 from Paramount Home Media Distribution. A special Deluxe Collector’s Edition, pairing the Blu-ray with the original soundtrack on CD and Vinyl LP in deluxe packaging, will arrive the following week from Rhino, featuring a newly recorded 2018 version of the title song “Up In Smoke.”
In 1978, Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong made their feature film debut in Up in Smoke,the outrageously funny classic inspired by their now legendary comedy routines of the early ’70s. Following massive success with more than 10 million comedy albums sold, four Grammy nominations and a win for Best Comedy Recording for Los Cochinos, Cheech and Chong took Hollywood by storm when Up in Smoke became a smash hit, establishing the pair as the reigning comedy duo of a new generation. Today, the film still has viewers rolling in the aisles and maintains surprising cultural relevance four decades after its original release.
“The greatest thrill is making your first movie and this one has been seen and been influential all over the world for over forty years,” says Richard “Cheech” Marin. “Up in Smoke started stoner movies and is still going strong so smoke it up one more time.”
Adds Thomas Chong: “Where did the time go? Fortyyears ago we made low budget movies that grossed over 100 million and are still being watched all over the world. And it also helped legalize an important medicine. I am so proud that a movie bearing a title of a simple song I wrote would be so influential for so many years.”
Cheech and Chong play wannabe musicians and stoners who unwittingly smuggle a van made of marijuana from Mexico to L.A. Their drug-laced humor keeps their spirits high as they unknowingly elude the police and meander their way to an outrageous finale at the Roxy Theatre in Hollywood where Cheech performs in a pink tutu and Chong plays drums in a red body suit with a Quaalude logo.
The Blu-ray Combo Pack features a brand new short-form documentary entitled “How Pedro Met the Man: Up In Smoke at 40,”which chronicles the duo’s comedy history, as well as the origins and impact of the film itself. Capturing a complex and fascinating pop culture odyssey, the documentary incorporates new interviews with Cheech Marin, Tommy Chong and producer/director Lou Adler along with archival footage. The Combo Pack is also loaded with previously released bonus material including deleted scenes, commentary, a music video and more.
The Deluxe Collector’s Edition is presented in a 12 x 12 package, limited to 5,000 copies.
The set pairs the Blu-ray with the original soundtrack on CD and Vinyl, as well as a 7-inch picture disc, oversized “Up In Smoke” rolling papers, a film poster and booklet with new essays by both Cheech and Chong, along with rare and unseen photos. In addition to the new version of “Up In Smoke,” the CD also features another previously unreleased version of the song from 1978 with an additional Spanish verse by Cheech.
We could say that PBS Distribution programs being out the beast in us.
Go where no human cameraman can go to witness a new perspective of the animal kingdom. NATURE: Animals With Cameras journeys into animals’ worlds using custom, state-of-the-art cameras worn by the animals themselves. Capturing never-before-seen behavior, these animal cinematographers help expand human understanding of their habitats and solve mysteries that have eluded scientists until now. The DVD will be available April 24. The program will be also available for digital download.
Wildlife cameraman Gordon Buchanan (Nature:Snowbound: Animals of Winter) and a team of pioneering animal behaviorists join forces to explore stories of animal lives “told” by the animals themselves. The cameras are custom-built by camera design expert Chris Watts to fit on the animals unobtrusively and to be easily removed at a later point. From this unique vantage point, experience the secret lives of nine different animal species. Sprint across the savanna with a cheetah, plunge into the ocean with a seal and swing through the trees with a chimpanzee.
The one-of-a-kind sequences captured by the animals include several on-camera firsts. The cameras allowed for newborn meerkats to be shown in their burrow for the first time ever, as meerkat pups don’t emerge from the burrow until they reach three weeks of age. In the Atlantic Ocean, an unborn devil ray is shown kicking inside its mother’s stomach—a phenomenon never before captured on film.
The program visits eight countries and features three different species per episode.
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