Category Archives: TV

“The Nazi Games: Berlin 1936” offers a riveting look at the Nazis and the International Olympic Committee

How did the Nazis and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) turn a small sports event into the modern Olympics? The answers can be found in the riveting PBS Distribution DVD The Nazi Games: Berlin 1936. (The program will also be available for digital download.) The grand themes and controversial issues from the 1936 Berlin Games have continued to this day: Monumentality, budget overruns, collusion with authoritarian regimes, corruption and sometimes even bribery.

Through archival footage and new research, The Nazi Games: Berlin 1936 reveals how the Olympics, as we have come to know them, were shaped by the collaboration of interests between Hitler and ambitious Olympic planners. After initial distrust, both the IOC and the Nazis found common ground in turning the 1936 Games into the biggest Olympic show the world had ever seen.

A good trip: The Blu-ray and DVD release of the first season of “Into the Badlands”

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Daniel Wu, Stephen Fung and Aramis Knight promoting “Into the Badlands”

Going Into the Badlands is a good thing. AMC’s goal for the series was simple: They wanted to produce a compelling character drama, and introduce the highest caliber of martial arts filmmaking to a weekly series. Success was struck, thanks to the creative minds of creators Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, whose six-part series stars Daniel Wu as ruthless, prodigiously skilled warrior Sunny. He mentors teen boy M.K. during a spiritual journey across a feudal civilization known as the Badlands.

Violence? Of course. With the help of trained assassins like Sunny, the area is ruled by rival barons, and for decades Quinn has consistently outflanked and outmaneuvered his fellow barons to keep the upper hand. His invincibility, however, begins to fade in light of brazen attacks by the newest baron, The Widow, who believes M.K. is the key to her success. As the battle for control of the Badlands heats up, the destinies of the stoic assassin and the impetuous teenager become intertwined.

Those who missed any of the compelling action or want a revisit should save the date of November 8, when Anchor Bay Entertainment releases Into the Badlands: The Complete First Season on Blu-ray and Digital HD and DVD. For those who wonder: The second season of Into the Badlands returns to AMC in 2017.

Set in a world centuries from now, Into the Badlands: The Complete First Season focused on the spiritual journey of Sunny (Wu) and M.K. (Aramis Knight), a teenage boy who harbors a unique ability, and their growing relationship as teacher and student. Both discover their true purpose and decide to explore what lies beyond the borders of the Badlands, but as their Baron Quinn continues to battle against his own family as well as his rival Baron the Widow, Sunny and M.K.’s journey to a more peaceful existence seems further out of reach.

Those who now wonder about bonus features on the Blu-ray and DVD release of season one:

 

  • Inside Into the Badlands
  • Anatomy of a Fight
  • Building the World of Into the Badlands
  • The Characters of Into the Badlands: The Barons
  • The Characters of Into the Badlands: The Clippers
  • The Master: Into the Badlands Fight Camp Episode 1
  • Creating Real Kung Fu: Into the Badlands Fight Camp Episode 2
  • Bringing It All Together: Into the Badlands Fight Camp Episode 3
  • Into the Badlands Digital Comic

PBS offers a gorgeous look at Colorado, the state Streisand once despised

John Denver had a Rocky Mountain High. Barbara Streisand had, back in early ’90s, a distaste for Colorado. Back in 1992, the Supreme Court considered arguments for and against the Defense of Marriage Act; a hearing that recalled the court’s part in tossing out 1992’s Amendment 2, which prevented bodies in Colorado from recognizing gays and lesbians as a protected class. The passage of Amendment 2 led to Colorado being branded the “hate state.”

A boycott against visiting the state was subsequently called for by numerous high-profile stars: Babs got the boycott ball rolling after suggesting in a post-election speech that Hollywood types steer clear of Colorado “if we’re asked to.” But days later, the Associated Press quoted her as saying, “There are many citizens in Colorado who did not vote for the amendment. I support the organizations and people who are challenging its validity.”

That was then. Things changed . . . but not the beauty and wonder of Colorado. Proof for those who never stepped foot there: PBS Distribution is releasing Heart of the World: Colorado’s National Parks on DVD. Narrated by Grammy-winning Kathy Mattea, Heart of the World delves into the true wonder and beauty of nature, taking us through the seasons and centuries of some of the most spectacular sights on earth—Colorado’s National Parks. Combining stunning photography of the parks filmed throughout the seasons—along with breathtaking helicopter aerials and outstanding wildlife shots that include bears, bighorn sheep, moose and elk.

 

A perfect example of when crime pays: Netflix’s superb crime drama “Longmire”

Crime pays. Sometimes. Witness the sharp, superb writing and fine acting in the hit crime drama Longmire, based on the “Walt Longmire” mystery novels written by bestselling author Craig Johnson. After finding out who had a hand in his wife’s murder, Sheriff Walt Longmire is back for the fourth season of the hit crime drama; in this gripping three-disc, 10-episode set, characters test their courage and face challenges that will ultimately define them. The thrilling third season of this contemporary Western captivated fans across the country, demanding for Netflix to bring it back for a fourth season. Watch the cast below and learn why we all love it!

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Taylor as Longmire

Due to overwhelming fan demand, Longmire: The Complete Fourth Season also arrives September 13 on Blu-ray courtesy of Warner Archive, and will be available at Amazon.com and all online retailers.

The new season finds unflappable Sheriff Walt Longmire (the underrated Aussie actor Robert Taylor) and his deputies trying to put the troubling events of the past behind them. The mysterious White Warrior who tormented Branch Connally (Bailey Chase) is dead, Walt’s best friend Henry Standing Bear (Lou Diamond Phillips) is a free man, Longmire’s right-hand deputy Victoria “Vic” Moretti (Katee Sackhoff) is newly divorced, and the mystery of Walt’s wife’s murder is seemingly resolved.  However, just as it looks like a second chance is truly possible for everyone; the opening of the new casino on the Reservation brings dark new problems to Walt’s corner of Wyoming.  And his fresh start is further threatened as it becomes clear that some people cannot truly move on until they have either forgiven past injustices or avenged them.

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McRaney and Taylor.

We wondered who Taylor who like to be a guest star on the show.  he laughs. “Can we get Raquel Welch from 1973? We had Gerald McRaney. There may be a better actor out there but I’m not sure who they are. Sam Shepard was in Santa Fe and I see him around and know Adam [Bartley, who plays the bumbling Deputy Ferguson] has become buddies with him. He’s trying to get him to come on the show. And everybody talks about Sam Elliott. That’d be fun. He’d win the best mustache competition. That’d be fun.”

VAI releases Ann Southern’s TV take on “Lady in the Dark.” In one word: Brilliant!

First of all, kudos. applause, standing ovations and general huzzahs to VAI, otherwise known as Video Artists International. While other video companies are bragging about their release of a “lost” film such as Dracula and Frankenstein meet Ma and Pa Kettle and Have Ugly Children, VAI is releasing the wonderful Max Liebman television musical spectaculars from the ’50s.

Witness Lady in the Dark: a lost classic that maybe should remain lost, except for the VAI TV release. Some years ago, a college in Boston produced an uncut version of the Broadway show, partially paid for by the author’s widow, Kitty Carlisle Hart. It ran three hours and heavy change.  Forty minutes of music which, given Kurt Weill’s score, gave the audience more than two hours of Moss Hart dramatizing psychoanalyses.

Just as eyes were beginning to glaze over, the show’s sequences illustrating psychoanalysis in dream form had the stage become electric with the Weill score . . . only to saunter back into  Fun with Freud.  Finally, a fourth dream, The Childhood Dream, wraps everything up nicely with the beautiful song, “My Ship.”  Even if Gertrude Lawrence, the original lead, were alive, it would take a Herculean effort to make this work today.

Then there was the 1944 Mitchell Liesen film with Ginger Rogers, which today plays like a particularly vivid acid trip in an ’80s gay bar.
Then, at last, Max Liebman did a TV version in 1954, which VAI has released on DVD.  It stars Ann Southern, a very underestimated comedienne with a fine singing voice.  Having neither the somewhat chilly affectedness of Gertrude Lawrence nor the brassy colorfulness of Ginger Rogers, here is a leading lady we can believe. The whole thing come in at 90 minutes, with the Weill score more or less intact.download
Both Weill and Lawrence were geniuses, although Lawrence ages poorly.  Moss Hart had a tendency to write frequently in an autobiographical vein; think of The Man who Came to Dinner and Light Up the Sky. He also used his own extensive couch time to create Lady in the Dark, clocking in some 400 performances during its original Broadway run. However, the show is cloyingly long if performed uncut today.
But the Liebman take is transcendent, not only because of Southern, but also James Daly, Carleton Carpenter and, of course, Bambi Lynn and Rod Alexander, who seem to dance in all of Liebman’s TV shows.
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Ann Sothern as Liza Elliott finds herself torn between James Daly as Advertising Manager Charley Johnson and Robert Fortier as film star Randy Curtis
“My Ship”, “The Saga of Jenny” , “One Life to Live” there all here.  This is a difficult thing to say, but Lady in the Dark may well be the best of all the VAI releases.

Hoping for an incredible box set celebrating Bob and buddies? Time Life offers “Thanks for the Memories: The Bob Hope Specials”

Bob Hope fans rejoice: Been hoping for a spectacular star-studded DVD box set crammed with rarities and thankful memories? You can thank Time Life.   On September 20, they will release Thanks for the Memories: The Bob Hope Specials, a six-disc box set filled with 13 unforgettable comedy-variety specials spanning five decades. The guest stars as a Who’s Who of Great Talent and Major Superstars . . . think Jack Benny, Bing Crosby, Desi Arnaz, Lucille Ball, James Cagney, Tony Bennett, Barbra Streisand, Dean Martin, George Burns, Sammy Davis Jr., Groucho Marx, Don Rickles, John Wayne, Johnny Carson, Presidents Truman, Kennedy and Clinton and many, many more!
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Bob Hope is considered the greatest entertainer of the 20th century. He moved from Broadway to radio to movies to television as easily as a pro golfer sinking a two-foot putt. There was no better showcase for his prodigious talents then his NBC comedy-variety TV specials, which began in 1950 and spanned 50 years and 10 presidential administrations from Harry Truman to Bill Clinton.  Hope’s hilarious TV specials, many of which are still among the most watched shows of all time, became a vehicle for the stars of the day and defined the variety show for generations of loyal fans. Whether he was ringing in the festive Christmas season with the biggest celebrities in Hollywood, along with major figures from the worlds of sports, music and politics, or bringing a taste of home to servicemen and women scattered thousands of miles from their families with his legendary USO shows, Hope’s warmth and goodwill knew no boundaries.  He knew, whether home or abroad, laughter was truly the best medicine.   And, for more than 50 years, Hope served it up like no other entertainer in history.
 
We offer what’s inside the Hope chest:
Thanks for the Memories: The Bob Hope Specials features 13 digitally restored and unedited specials from Bob’s career, including (in chronological order):
  • The Bob Hope Chevy Show – Original Air Date: October 21, 1956
  • A Bob Hope Comedy Special – Original Air Date: September 27, 1963
  • A Bob Hope Comedy Special – Original Air Date: December 15, 1965
  • Chrysler Presents A Bob Hope Comedy Special – Original Air Date: October 19, 1966
  • Chrysler Presents A Bob Hope Comedy Special – Original Air Date: February 15, 1967
  • The Bob Hope Christmas Special – Original Air Date: January 18, 1968
  • Highlights of a Quarter Century of Bob Hope on Television – Original Air Date: October 24, 1975
  • Joys (A Comedy Whodunit) – Original Air Date: March 5, 1976
  • Bob Hope’s World of Comedy – Original Air Date: October 29, 1976
  • Texaco Presents The Bob Hope All-Star Christmas Comedy Special – Original Air Date: December 19, 1977
  • The Hilarious Unrehearsed Antics of the Stars – Original Air Date: September 28, 1984
  • Bob Hope: The First 90 Years – Original Air Date: May 14, 1993
  • Bob Hope . . . Laughing with the Presidents – Original Air Date: November 23, 1996 
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Highlights from those programs include: 
  • Bob’s first studio comedy special “in living color” with guests Jack Benny, Bing Crosby and Janet Leigh
  • The Bob Hope Chevy Show with the entire cast of “I Love Lucy”; Desi Arnaz, Lucille Ball, Vivian Vance and William Frawley, plus James Cagney and Diana Dors
  • A hilarious spoof of Star Wars and other sketches with Tony Bennett, Perry Como, James Garner, Mark Hamill, Dean Martin, Olivia Newton-John, Barbra Streisand, Tuesday Weld, The Muppets and others
  • The murder-mystery parody Joys (A Comedy Whodunit) with nearly fifty guest stars including Charo, Milton Berle, Dean Martin, Don Rickles, George Gobel, Alan King, Don Knotts, Groucho Marx, Vincent Price and Freddie Prinze
  • The best of the bloopers from 30 years of Bob’s shows with George Burns, Sammy Davis Jr., Angie Dickinson, Phyllis Diller, Burt Reynolds, Don Rickles, Brooke Shields, Elizabeth Taylor, Mr. T, John Wayne and many more
  • Bob’s 1967 USO tour to 22 bases around Vietnam, Thailand and the South Pacific in 15 days with special guest Raquel Welch
  • Highlights from over 25 years of specials in Bob Hope’s World of Comedy and the celebration Highlights of a Quarter Century of Bob Hope on Television
  • A look at Bob’s personal relationships with American presidents including Franklin D. Roosevelt, Bill Clinton, John F. Kennedy, and Harry S. Truman
  • Bob Hope’s 90th birthday celebration featuring tributes by Johnny Carson, George Burns and many more
BONUS FEATURE 
  • Shanks for the Memory  The world of golf according to Bob Hope, which includes historic clips of Bob with Bing Crosby, presidents and pros on courses around the world, and special appearances by President Gerald Ford, pro golfers Arnold Palmer, Ben Hogan and Jack Nicklaus.

Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs may well be the Lucy and Ethel of the naughts

 

It’s broken, and we pray no one fixes it. The hysterical series 2 Broke Girls is not only longer funny, but it’s been nominated for nine Emmys. Not bad for a series about to begin its sixth season.

Can’t wait for new shows? Go back and laugh. Again. Start banking those laughs as Warner Bros. Home Entertainment brings 2 Broke Girls: The Complete Fifth Season to DVD on September 20.  The set will include all 22 half-hour episodes from the fifth season and unaired deleted scenes.  Warning! You may want to stock some adult diapers from the gag reel. Rosemary Markson, WBHE Senior Vice President, TV Marketing, agrees: “2 Broke Girls delivers one-liners that are worth a million bucks.”img-allshows-2brokegirls-s3-2

In season five, street-wise Max (a funny Kat Dennings) and Caroline  (a funnier Beth Behrs) continue to wait tables at the diner while trying to build their new business—a dessert bar! Caroline goes to Hollywood to meet with studio executives to discuss the idea of making her riches-to-rags life story into a movie. Max tags along and meets Randy (guest star Ed Quinn) — who becomes her new beau . . . but will it last outside Hollywood? Sophie and Oleg are expecting, and pregnancy can’t slow these two lovebirds down. Han finds himself in trouble when he can’t repay his debt from gambling on women’s tennis, but the diner gang rallies together to help him. Earl gets his feelings crushed when he discovers his old jazz band is having a reunion and he is not invited to play—it’s up to Max and the diner gang to make it happen.

Adds Markson: “With the combination of the brilliant writing that is legitimately hilarious and edgy, and TV’s favorite leading ladies, this series is sure to have you laughing over and over again!”

 

Start your gift list now: PBS Distribution offers DVD box sets of complete “Mr. Selfridge” and “Inspector lewis”

We know, dear readers, that you are all waiting for our Annual Gift Guide . . . this years marks the 26th Annual Gift Guide.  There are still several away from publications, but we tease you with hot DVD box sets news from PBS Distribution. Coming date October 18: Masterpiece: Mr. Selfridge: The Complete Series. Re-live all of the dramatic moments of “Mile a Minute Harry,” the character that Jeremy Piven states was one of his favorites to play, in this beautiful 12-disc box set.

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Jeremy Piven gets ready to bid farewell to Mr. Selfridge

Created by Emmy Award-winning writer Andrew Davies, Mr. Selfridge brings to life the story of American entrepreneur Harry Gordon Selfridge, the colorful and visionary founder of Selfridges, London’s lavish department store. Pioneering, reckless, and with an abundance of charm, Harry Selfridge created a theater of retail for early 1900s Londoners, where the latest topics or trends were showcased and traditions were challenged.

Throughout the years the series has received critical acclaim. “A treasure box of tales about love, loss, ambition, and the spirit of a new age,” enthused The Wall Street Journal during Season 1; “lush and lovely,” murmured the Los Angeles Times about Season 2; “visually glorious,” gushed the New York Daily News for Season 3.

Starring three-time Emmy-winning actor Jeremy Piven as the great Harry Selfridge, the brilliant ensemble cast features Amanda Abbington, Tom Goodman-Hill, Katherine Kelly and Frances O’Connor.

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Laurence Fox & Kevin Whately clowning around after read-through of Lewis script for series 9.

Also from PBS Distribution on October 18: All eight seasons of the long-running and critically acclaimed mystery series Inspector Lewis with  “Masterpiece: Inspector Lewis: The Complete Series.

Inspector Robert Lewis (Kevin Whately) steps out of the shadow of his mentor–the inimitable Inspector Morse–in this highly-acclaimed series of intricate mysteries. Together with his brooding, inscrutable partner, Detective Sergeant James Hathaway (Laurence Fox), they take on the elite criminal underworld of Oxford, England, relying on Lewis’ instinct and Hathaway’s intellect to see past appearances and into the hearts of their upper-crust foes. Catch all 33 beguiling mysteries from the pilot to the series finale in this 18-disc set.

 

 

Turner Classic Movies offers a free online course in slapstick movies, seriously

Groucho, Harpo, Chico, sometimes Zeppo. Buster, Charlie, Harold, W.C., Bud and Lou. Film fans, especially those who savor slapstick know the names and their films.

Turner Classic Movies is inviting movie lovers, comedy fans and online learners from around the world to a free, flexible online course, TCM Presents Painfully Funny: Exploring Slapstick in the Movies. Enjoy multimedia course materials, daily emails with movie clips and conversation starters and ongoing interactions with fellow film fans on the TCM message boards or at #SlapstickFall.

In this Ball State University course, you will explore the greatest slapstick gags in movie history by showcasing 56 classic films released between 1914 and 2004. Spanning almost a century of filmmaking, we will watch, discuss, and analyze the best comedy gags ever filmed involving physical comedy, broad humor and outrageous situations.unnamed

The course will run concurrently with Turner Classic Movies’ Ouch! A Salute to Slapstick programming event, airing every Tuesday and Wednesday in September 2016.

Both the course and the associated films will enrich your understanding of comedy, Hollywood filmmaking, and popular culture. You will be able to share your thoughts online and test your movie knowledge with a worldwide community of students, fans, and film lovers.

Meet your professor, Dr. Richard L. Edwards , and sign up for free at canvas.net/browse/bsu/tcm2/courses/slapstick/

 

Amazon’s new kiddie show, “The Stinky & Dirty Show”, teaches wee ones to never give up

Kids love things dirty and stinky and yucky and mucky. Think of mudpies, puddle jumping, food fights. (Now that I think of it, many adults like such messy moments.) We are sure that the new Amazon Original Kids Series, The Stinky & Dirty Show, premiering on September 2, is going to be a five-star winner, even if mudpies, puddle jumping and food fights are reserved for the older folks.
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Based on the popular  I Stink! books by Kate & Jim McMullan, garbage truck Stinky (voiced by Jaden Betts) and backhoe loader Dirty (voiced by Jacob Guenther) are a dynamic and hilarious duo who use critical thinking, creativity and resourcefulness to help their other best friends and the town of Go City. There’s no problem too big for the best friends; when things don’t go as expected, they know asking “what if” can lead to success.  Stinky & Dirty teach our kids values that they should be learning at an early age. They will learn to never give up, and this is reinforced by negotiation and social problem solving.

The series features original music from Dan Bern and celebrity voice talent, including Whoopi Goldberg, Jane Lynch, Andy Richter, Joan Cusack and Wallace Shawn.

The pilot episode, rated 4.8 stars by customers with 86% 5-star reviews, is available to stream and download now, with nine additional episodes to debut next month, exclusively for Prime members via the Amazon Video app for TVs, connected devices including Fire TV, mobile devices and online—Prime members can also download the series to mobile devices for offline viewing.

“The popular books have laid the groundwork for a beautifully inspiring television series for preschoolers that instills one of the most important life skills—resourcefulness,”  coos Tara Sorensen, Head of Kids Programming at Amazon Studios. “We are thrilled to bring to our customers, who embraced the pilot, a full season of The Stinky & Dirty Show and are proud be collaborating with Kate, Jim, Guy and Jessica as well as Dan Bern and a very recognizable celebrity voice cast on this upbeat and empowering show.”

The first season of The Stinky & Dirty Show will be available for Prime members to stream and enjoy using the Amazon Video app for TVs, connected devices including Amazon Fire TV, and mobile devices, or online at Amazon.com/originals, at no additional cost to their membership. Customers who are not already a Prime member can sign up for a free trial at www.amazon.com/prime. For a list of all Amazon Video compatible devices, visit www.amazon.com/howtostream. The Stinky & Dirty Show will also be available as part of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, the all-you-can-eat subscription service designed from the ground up for kids. FreeTime Unlimited is available exclusively on Amazon devices including Amazon Fire TV and Fire tablets, and a year-long subscription is included with every Fire Kids Edition.