Tuesday, August 20, 2013

New Releases On Blu Ray & DVD: 8/20/13

I didn’t see Chris Wedge’s animated fantasy flick EPIC when it was released theatrically less than three months ago, but since it's one of the top 10 biggest box office flops of 2013 so far, I bet you didn’t either. Well, here it is out today on home video in three editions: a Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack (3 discs, includes DVD, Digital Copy & Digital HD), a 2-disc Blu ray (includes DVD + Digital Copy), and a single disc DVD. Special Features: Several featurettes (adding up to 15 minutes), a seven-part making-of mini documentary entitled “Mysteries of Moonhaven Revealed” (HD, 24:39), and the theatrical trailer.

Next up, Michael Haneke’s excellent 2012 French drama AMOUR, winner of the Best Foreign Language Film of the Year Oscars earlier this year, comes out today in single disc Blu ray and DVD sets. Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva (nominated for Best Actress Academy Award) star as an aging couple dealing with dementia in this film which sounds depressing but is absolutely essential viewing. Read my review: Michael Haneke’s AMOUR Earns Its Accolades (2/8/13). Special Features: A “Making of AMOUR” featurette, and a Q & A with Director Haneke.

Other New Release titles today: Mark Steven Johnson’s Robert De Niro/John Travolta action thriller KILLING SEASON, James Marsh’s SHADOW DANCER, Ryûhei Kitamura’s NO ONE LIVES, and Malcolm D. Lee’s atrocious looking SCARY MOVIE 5.

Ramona S. Diaz’s DON’T STOP BELIEVIN’: EVERYMAN’S JOURNEY, a documentary about how the San Francisco Journey found their current lead vocalist on YouTube, is also available today, but on DVD only. A Special Edition of the film is a WalMart, which sure says a lot, doesn’t it? My review of the film, which I saw a screener of last March, is here.

A much better documentary, Shola Lynch’s FREE ANGELA & ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS, also drops on DVD (+Digital and UltraViolet) today. The film, which I saw at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival last April, tells the story of radical activist Angela Davis, whose trial on charges of murder, kidnapping, and conspiracy riveted the nation in the early ‘70s. No Special Features are listed for it, but a film as packed with archival footage, interviews, and powerful Nixon-era imagery doesn’t really need any.

The Criterion Collection adds a couple of Satyajit Ray titles from a half a century ago, THE BIG CITY (1963), and CHARULATA (1964), to their roster on Blu ray today. Both have tons of supplements, as they call ‘em, including fancy booklets. Also on the older titles new to Blu ray front, there’s Peter R. Hunt’s 1981 action adventure DEATH HUNT, starring Charles Bronson and Lee Marvin; Melvin Frank and Norman Panama’s 1954 comedy KNOCK ON WOOD, starring Danny Kaye and Mai Zetterling; another Danny Kaye comedy, Melville Shavelson's ON THE DOUBLE (1961); Norman C. McLeod's 1951 Bob Hope comedy MY FAVORITE SPY, and Alan Rudolph’s largely unseen 1980 rock comedy ROADIE, starring Meatloaf and Art Carney.

TV series sets releasing today include Boardwalk Empire: The Complete Third Season, The Good Wife: The Fourth Season, Star Trek: Enterprise: Season 2, NCIS: The Complete Tenth Season, Revenge: The Complete Second Season, and Parenthood: Season Four, among many others I'm sure.

More later...

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