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Insights from home entertainment industry experts. Home Media blogs give you the inside scoop on entertainment news, DVD and Blu-ray Disc releases, and the happenings at key studios and entertainment retailers. “TK's Take” analyzes and comments on home entertainment news and trends, “Agent DVD Insider” talks fanboy entertainment, “IndieFile” delivers independent film news, “Steph Sums It Up” offers pithy opinions on the state of the industry, and “Mike’s Picks” offers bite-sized recommendations of the latest DVD and Blu-ray releases.


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21 Apr, 2015

'Taken' Leads Slow Week


Fox’s Taken 3 may as well have been the only notable new release as far as the retailers were concerned April 21, which might be why the weekly ad circulars were more focused on selling catalog titles and promoting preorders for future hits.

While Taken 3 didn’t come with any retail exclusives, Best Buy did push its Blu-ray preorder for Warner’s American Sniper by offering exclusive bonus content when the title arrives May 19.

Target is offering a $5 gift card with preorders for Cinderella, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water and Paddington at Target.com/preorder.


20 Apr, 2015

New on Disc: 'Imitation of Life' and more …


Imitation of Life: 2-Movie Collection (Blu-ray)

Universal, Drama, $26.98 Blu-ray, NR.
Stars Claudette Colbert, Warren William, Louise Beavers, Lana Turner, Juanita Moore, Susan Kohner.

1934/1959. The lush 1959 remake of the Fannie Hurst perennial is so revered by Douglas Sirk worshippers that the not insignificant power of the ’34 John Stahl original tends to be obscured.
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Singles (Blu-ray)

Warner, Comedy, $19.98 Blu-ray, ‘PG-13’ for language, sex related dialogue and scenes of sensuality.
Stars Bridget Fonda, Campbell Scott, Kyra Sedgwick, Matt Dillon.
1992.
Even some people who love 1989’s Say Anything and 1996’s Jerry Maguire may be unfamiliar with the easygoing charmer that writer-director Cameron Crowe sandwiched between them.
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14 Apr, 2015

New 'Batman' Brings Deals


As is typical for DC Universe animated movie releases, Batman vs. Robin arrived April 14 with several retail exclusives.

However, the pattern usually associated with exclusives surrounding the DC titles changed slightly. First, Warner offered a wide-release version of a Blu-ray gift pack with a character figurine, usually reserved for a Best Buy exclusive. As a result, Best Buy spruced up its version of the gift pack, offering a Digital HD copy of Batman: Under the Red Hood and a digital comic book of Batman #1.

Target offered the Blu-ray combo pack in a steelbook case, while Walmart, which usually offers a DVD special edition of such titles, had no exclusive.

Target also touted preorders for American Sniper at Target.com/preorder, offering a Blu-ray steelbook case and a guarantee for guests to pay a lower price if the cost drops before the title is released.


13 Apr, 2015

New on Disc: 'The Thin Blue Line' and more …


The Thin Blue Line

Criterion, Documentary, $29.95 DVD, $39.95 Blu-ray, NR.
1988.
The prodigious list of amazing things about Errol Morris’ landmark miscarried-justice buster includes the fact that it got made in the first place, looking into the case of an Ohio drifter apparently railroaded for the murder of a Dallas cop that a teenaged walking rap sheet had almost certainly committed. About a year after Blue Line’s release, the state of Texas dropped charges against Randall Dale Adams and released him. The print here is one of renewed luster, and this is its own reward because it’s been said that the documentary had fallen into sad shape.
Extras: As we see and hear Morris himself quote his wife as having noted during the essential 40-minute interview featurette that Criterion has included with its Blue Line package, entire cable stations are now devoted to the kind of projects that he worked so exhaustingly to bankroll a quarter-century ago. Included in the extras is a “Today” show joint satellite interview with Morris in one studio and Adams plus lawyer in another. Blue Line was a true groundbreaker, something attested to with vigor on another bonus extra by filmmaker Josh Oppenheimer, whose The Act of Killing received its own huzzahs a couple years ago.
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The Strange Affair of Uncle Harry

Olive, Drama, $24.95 DVD, $29.95 Blu-ray, NR.
Stars George Sanders, Ella Raines, Geraldine Fitzgerald.
1945.
Given the censorship strictures of the time, Harry’s compelling narrative does paint itself into such a corner that it’s no surprise that five different endings got market-tested before Universal settled on the notorious end result. Which is: probably the worst wrap-up ever for a movie that is still basically a winner up until the final three or four minutes.
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6 Apr, 2015

New on Disc: 'Ride the Pink Horse' and more …


Ride the Pink Horse

Criterion, Mystery, $29.95 DVD, $39.95 Blu-ray, NR.
Stars Robert Montgomery, Wanda Hendrix, Thomas Gomez, Fred Clark.
1947.
An oddly beguiling genre scrambler that goes against a slew of grains, this cultist cause seems to have been worthily undertaken by Criterion (even more than most of their selections) to make it more widely known to the general public.
Extras: Criterion extras include an essay, commentary by ubiquitous noir pros Alain Silver and James Ursini; an interview with Imogen Sara Smith (author of In Lonely Places: Film Noir Beyond the City); and a Lux Radio Theatre spinoff.
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Our Mother’s House

Available via Warner Archive
Warner, Drama, $21.99 DVD, NR.
Stars Dirk Bogarde, Pamela Franklin.
1967.
The boozy Brit womanizer top-billed Dirk Bogarde plays here is a textbook definition of a fun-to-watch wastrel, but by the time he shows up almost 40 minutes in to add some welcome buzz to the drama, we’ve already been treated to a compelling-enough setup involving seven siblings forced to take their lives into their own hands.
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31 Mar, 2015

Retailers Blast Off With 'Interstellar' Exclusives

Walmart's 'Interstellar' gift set
Walmart's 'Interstellar' gift set

The only March 31 release with any notable exclusive promotion at the major retail chains was Paramount’s Interstellar.

Walmart offered a special gift set of the Christopher Nolan-directed sci-fi film, containing special packaging and a 48-page booklet.
Target offered exclusive steelbook packaging, while Best Buy offered exclusive bonus content — a half-hour panel discussion with Nolan and the cast.

New Blu-ray copies of the film at all locations included a special collectible Imax film cel containing a scene from the film.


30 Mar, 2015

New on Disc: 'The Band Wagon' and more …


The Band Wagon (Blu-ray)

Warner, Musical, $19.98 Blu-ray, NR.
Stars Fred Astaire, Cyd Charisse, Jack Buchanan, Oscar Levant, Nanette Fabray.
1953.
In a kind of daring move roughly around the two-thirds mark, story considerations get scrapped almost altogether, and Wagon turns into a dazzling rat-tat-tat revue with one socko Howard Dietz-Arthur Schwartz musical number after another.
Extras: Liza Minnelli and Michael Feinstein join forces in a bonus commentary carried over from the 2005 DVD.
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Alice’s Restaurant

Olive, Comedy, $24.95 DVD, $29.95 Blu-ray, ‘R.’
Stars Arlo Guthrie, Pat Quinn, James Broderick, Pete Seeger.
1969.
Here’s the only Arthur Penn achievement beyond Bonnie and Clyde and The Miracle Worker to be honored with a Best Diretor Oscar nomination, a wistful hippie concoction that was and is superior to the same year’s Easy Rider. Sprung from lead Arlo Guthrie’s same-titled 18½-minute folky monologue tune that became one of the counter-culture staples of the era, Alice’s Restaurant the movie is more factually embellished than the recording, though a lot of its still ticklishly broad comedy would disqualify it as realism under any circumstances.
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17 Mar, 2015

Targeting Disney's 'Dalmatians'

'101 Dalmatians II' Blu-ray exclusive to Target
'101 Dalmatians II' Blu-ray exclusive to Target

Target March 17 had exclusive availability of the Blu-ray version of Disney's animated sequel 101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure. The 2003 film was a direct-to-video follow-up to the 1961 animated classic, and the new Blu-ray is timed as a companion to the "Diamond Edition" release of the original film earlier this year. The London Adventure Blu-ray was advertised in Target's weekly ad circular for $17.99 and upon its release was available only in stores and not listed on Target's website.

Among the other new releases, DreamWorks Animation’s Penguins of Madagascar received the most attention. All the retailers sold the special packaging configurations with wind-up penguin toys, though only Walmart varied the price.

Best Buy offered a $7.99 Penguins lunchbox, though lowered the price to $4.99 when purchased at the same time as a Penguins disc.

Target offered the Blu-ray combo pack with the exclusive featurette “Are You Smarter Than a Penguin?”

For Fox’s Exodus: Gods and Kings, Best Buy offered the 3D Blu-ray combo pack with 30 minutes of additional footage.

Sony Pictures’ Blu-ray of the Annie remake at Target came with a bonus disc of exclusive extras, plus a $5 savings when the Annie movie was bought at the same time as the soundtrack CD. Target’s version of the soundtrack contained two exclusive songs.

Best Buy touted a Facebook coupon with a $5 savings off the Annie Blu-ray.

Walmart offered the Annie Blu-ray with a plush toy of the dog Sandy.


10 Mar, 2015

'Mockingjay' Catches Fire at Retail

Target's 'Mockingjay — Part 1' Blu-ray exclusive edition
Target's 'Mockingjay — Part 1' Blu-ray exclusive edition

The huge Friday, March 6, rollout of Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 carried over to overwhelm some of the March 10 new releases.

Target offered the Blu-ray combo pack with an exclusive bonus DVD containing four behind-the-scenes featurettes running about 45 minutes total, plus special box art and a booklet.

Best Buy offered the film in a steelbook case, while Walmart offered a slimmed-down Blu-ray edition with special box art, no DVD version and minimal extras.

For the March 10 titles, a couple new kidvid titles drew the most promotional interest. Walmart offered a DVD gift set of Fox’s “Air Bud” spinoff Russell Madness with a doggie plush, while Target offered a $5 discount when Warner’s The Flintstones and WWE: Stone Age Smackdown! was purchased with a 6-inch WWE action figure (priced at $9.99).

Best Buy has an exclusive window on the Blu-ray edition of Image Entertainment’s Wolfcop, which will be available elsewhere May 12.

Walmart had an exclusive version of the two-disc Blu-ray of The Sound of Music: 50th Anniversary Edition with a booklet, as well as a Peppa Pig: Muddy Puddles gift set with a plush toy.

Among Best Buy preorders, Universal’s Unbroken includes steelbook packaging and Paramount’s Interstellar includes exclusive bonus content, as does Warner’s American Sniper.


3 Mar, 2015

Barbie, 'NeverBeast' a Snack for 'Mockingjay'

Walmart's 'NeverBeast' gift set
Walmart's 'NeverBeast' gift set

Two direct-to-video animated movies dominated the spotlight Tuesday, March 3, as retailers prepared for the latest "Hunger Games" disc on Friday, March 6.

Walmart offered a special gift pack of Disney's Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast Blu-ray with a Make Music With Bleu DVD, which instructs kids on how to make musical instruments from everyday objects.

For Universal's Barbie in Princess Power, Target offered a free mini pal with purchase of the movie or the Super Sparkle doll (priced at $18). Walmart offered the movie with a downloadable party pack.

Universal also offered a packaging variant for Princess Power, including a superhero mask inside specially marked copies of the DVD and Blu-ray.

However, the biggest title touted by the weekly ad circulars was the Friday release of Lionsgate's The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1. Best Buy offered the film in a steelbook case, while Target offered 45 minutes of exclusive bonus content and a booklet.

Other Target promotions included a $10 instant savings with the purchase of Outlander: Season 1 Vol. 1 on disc and the book upon which the show is based, and a free Minion stamp set with the purchase of any "Despicable Me" movie.