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.

The 13-part miniseries “Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands” heads to Blu-ray and DVD

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.

Wanna read the poem?

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.

“Power Rangers Dino Charge: Rise” is a spook-tacular Halloween treat

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. powerrangersdinocharge_v4riseIn 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!

Disney’s royal lion lair continues with “The Lion Guard: Unlease the Power”

They are lions, hear them roar. Join Kion and his friends as they unite to protect the Pride Lands and maintain the Circle of Life with the new Disney DVD The Lion Guard: Unleash the Power! Save the date: September 20. Packed with action, music and more than two hours of fun, the story proves that when heroes join forces, they are truly a force to be reckoned with.lionguard

The Lion Guard continues the high as it continues the epic storytelling of Disney’s The Lion King. The high works because of Lowe . . . Rob Lowe ‘s vocal talents work magic as Simba. The story follows the adventures of Kion, the second-born cub of Simba and Nala, and his diverse group of friends-Bunga, a fearless honey badger; Fuli, a confident cheetah; Beshte, a friendly and good-spirited hippo; and Ono, an intellectual egret. Together, Kion and his friends make up the Pride Lands’ fiercest, bravest, fastest, strongest and keenest of sight.

Think you will recognize the other voices? Watch and wonder! We’ll give you one clue: Modern Family icon Sarah Hyland plays . . .

 

Tom Hiddleston is swift as he swears that “The Night Manager” was “one of the most challenging and fulfilling experiences I’ve had as an actor”

Watching a film in its uncensored form is usually an important event. Witness Tom Hiddleston and Hugh Laurie in The Night Manager.  Fans can bring home the original uncensored version now that the series has come to Blu-ray and DVD from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. The intense spy thriller originally aired on the BBC, and has received four Emmy nominations–Limited Series, Best Actor (Hiddleston), Best Supporting Actor (Laurie) and Best Supporting Actress (Olivia Colman).20150610_amc_nightmanager_2709_press-kit-800x600

The Night Manager, directed by Oscar-winner Susanne Bier (Best Foreign Language Film, In A Better World; 2011) is the first television adaptation of a le Carré novel in more than 20 years and brings together love, loss and revenge in a complex story of modern criminality. The stunning six part series follows former British soldier Jonathan Pine (Hiddleston) who is recruited by intelligence operative Angela Burr (Colman) to infiltrate the inner circle of international businessman Richard Onslow Roper (Laurie). To get to the heart of Roper’s vast empire, Pine must withstand the suspicious interrogations of his venal chief of staff Major Corkoran (Tom Hollander) and the allure of his beautiful girlfriend Jed (Elizabeth Debicki). In his quest to do the right thing, he must first become a criminal himself.

We wondered how Hiddleston heard the news of his Emmy nomination. ” I didn’t have any expectations, and suddenly my phone started blowing up a couple hours ago,” he recalls. “This is the most wonderful surprise, and honestly the most thrilling thing about it is that it feels like an extraordinary and heartwarming affirmation for the whole team who made The Night Manager. Making The Night Manager was the most fulfilling team effort, and I’m so proud of everybody.”

Pause. “It’s very special because I so enjoyed playing Jonathan Pine,” he adds. “The Night Manager was one of the most challenging and fulfilling experiences I’ve had as an actor. He’s such a complex character—a highly skilled, impeccably courteous, morally courageous, romantic character with a kind of broken heart. I loved playing him. The playing of him was complex in lots of ways in that over the course of the six episodes of the miniseries, the character is called by four different names with four different passports.”

Notice we didn’t ask about Taylor Swift.

 

 

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!”

 

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