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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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1 Sep, 2015

Taking a 'Fury Road' to Exclusive-Town

Best Buy's 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Blu-ray steelbook
Best Buy's 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Blu-ray steelbook

Warner's Mad Max: Fury Road drew the most retail attention Sept. 1, which isn't surprising since it was the biggest theatrical to hit disc in a week filled with new TV on disc releases.

Best Buy offered the Blu-ray combo pack of Fury Road with an exclusive steelbook case.

Target had the Fury Road Blu-ray packed with an exclusive 64-page comic book.

Target also offered exclusive deals with new TV on disc content. For Paramount's Scorpion: Season One DVD, Target offered 47 minutes of exclusive behind-the-scenes material. Target also offered an exclusive bonus disc with Paramount's Madame Secretary: Season 1, featuring 40 minutes of extras including a set tour.

Walmart, as it usually does for high-profile new releases, offered a bare-bones DVD edition of Fury Road with different box art and no extras. Given that Walmart stores didn't even offer the regular version, and that the stripped-down version was priced similarly to the full version at other stores, Walmart's decision to offer just the vanilla version seems strange (Walmart didn't even mark the version it was selling as an exclusive). About the only thing Walmart's exclusive will accomplish is preventing its customers from realizing they could have a version of the movie with several bonus featurettes for about the same price.

Continuing the topic of Walmart head-scratchers, several stores around Southern California have been putting embargoed "Star Wars" merchandise on shelves weeks before the Sept. 4 "Force Friday" unveiling of new merchandise surrounding Star Wars: The Force Awakens (in many cases, the clerks don't seem to even know the items shouldn't be on display yet). This includes new toys and branded clothing, but the fact that they are on public display was seen to cause some confusion as eager fans kept trying to buy the items, only to have them ring up as "Sale Not Allowed," leading to befuddled cashiers and managers wondering what was going on as the checkout line continued to grow.


25 Aug, 2015

Living for 'Dead' Exclusives

Best Buy's 'Walking Dead' Season 5 Cover
Best Buy's 'Walking Dead' Season 5 Cover

Another season of "The Walking Dead" on disc means more retailer exclusives for the hit show.

Best Buy offered special lenticular covers on the Blu-ray editions of all five seasons.

Target offered the Blu-ray of the fifth season in a steelbook case with exclusive bonus content, a "Walkers in the Water" featurette.

Walmart offered the season five Blu-ray and DVD with a pack-in Funko toy of Daryl.

For other titles, Target offered a $5 savings with the purchase of both the Lego Batman 3 video game with Warner's Lego DC Super Heroes: Justice League — Attack of the Legion of Doom movie.


24 Aug, 2015

New on Disc: 'Day for Night' and more …


Day for Night

Criterion, Drama, $29.95 DVD, $39.95 Blu-ray, ‘PG.’
Stars Jacqueline Bisset, Francois Truffaut, Valentina Cortese, Jean-Pierre Aumont.
1973.
Francois Truffaut’s more joyous than ever love song to filmmaking (but most of all to film crews) made an Oscar splash by winning 1973’s award for foreign film.
Extras: The fact that the film sparked a permanent rupture between onetime friends and colleagues Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard turns out to be a kind of subtheme of the bonus section of an irresistible Criterion release. Also included are interviews from Warner’s earlier DVD release.
Read the Full Review

Dick Cavett’s Vietnam

PBS, Documentary, $24.99 DVD, NR.
2015.
A companion piece to the previously released Dick Cavett’s Watergate, this tantalizingly compelling if frustratingly limited look-back should ideally be viewed first, given all we have to come to learn about the Vietnam-Watergate direct linkage.
Read the Full Review
 


18 Aug, 2015

Deals for 'Blacklist,' 'NCIS'

'The Blacklist: Season 2 — The Red Edition' at Target
'The Blacklist: Season 2 — The Red Edition' at Target

The hot new TV shows of the past season are starting to make their way to disc, so it's no surprise that retailer exclusives for Aug. 18 tended to focus on them.

Target offered a special "Red Edition" of both the DVD and Blu-ray versions of Sony Pictures' The Blacklist: The Complete Second Season, which came with special lenticular box art and an exclusive villains dossier.

Best Buy offered an exclusive Blu-ray edition of Paramounts' NCIS: The 12th Season, which came with two exclusive featurettes. Best Buy has the Blu-ray early, with the HD edition going wide at retail Sept. 15.

For "The Blacklist," Best Buy offered a $10 gift card with the purchase of both seasons of the show on disc.

Best Buy also continued its offer of a free $10 gift card with $50 in TV on disc purchases, or $25 with $100 in spending on the category.

Target has early availability of Warner's Peanuts Emmy Honored Collection ($19.99), which won't be widely available until Sept. 15.

Looking at the latest preorder offers, Best Buy has Jurassic World with a T-shirt and Avengers: Age of Ultron with ah steelbook case. The preorders are $19.99 each and also come with 100 My Best Buy points.


17 Aug, 2015

New on Disc: 'The Best of Everything' and more …


The Best of Everything (Blu-ray)

Available via SreenArchives.com
Twilight Time, Drama, $29.95 Blu-ray, NR.
Stars Hope Lange, Stephen Boyd, Suzy Parker, Joan Crawford.
1959.
The Best of Everything is a novel that’s still talked about today, due to its time-capsule portrayal of fresh-faced young women (Radcliffe grads and below) trying to cut it in New York at a publishing house that looks a little less elegant once they’re stuck in the typing pool. Thus, it’s impossible to watch director Jean Negulesco’s hit screen version of it without thinking of “Mad Men.”
Read the Full Review

Big House, U.S.A. (Blu-ray)

Kino Lorber, Drama, $29.95 Blu-ray, NR.
Stars Broderick Crawford, Ralph Meeker, Reed Hadley, William Talman.
1955.
Structurally, this unusually brutal-for-its-day toughie is something of an odd bird because (given the title), it isn’t even a prison story until maybe a third of the way in.
Read the Full Review
 


11 Aug, 2015

Preorders and Gift Cards Win Week

Best Buy's 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Blu-ray steelbook
Best Buy's 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Blu-ray steelbook

If the new releases don’t offer much excitement in terms of retailer exclusives, there’s always future titles to look forward to.

Best Buy has preorder specials for a number of titles, including Warner’s Mad Max: Fury Road, which is now available via Digital HD. The disc doesn’t come out until Sept. 1, but Best Buy is offering a Blu-ray steelbook on preorder for $19.99 with digital availability now.

Best Buy also has preorders for Warner’s San Andreas ($24.99, with lenticular Blu-ray art), Universal’s Furious 7 ($19.99, with steelbook Blu-ray) and Disney’s Cinderella ($26.99, with lenticular Blu-ray cover).

Target touted preorders forUniversal’s Furious 7 and Pitch Perfect 2, and Disney’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, with a $5 gift card.

Target also had a  buy-one-get-one 50% off deal on select movie and TV titles.

Best Buy offered a free $10 gift card with the purchase of $50 worth of TV shows on disc, or a $25 gift card with a $100 TV on disc purchase.


10 Aug, 2015

New on Disc: 'The Fabulous Baker Boys' and more …


The Fabulous Baker Boys (Blu-ray)

Available via ScreenArchives.com
Twilight Time, Drama, $29.95 Blu-ray, ‘R.’
Stars Jeff Bridges, Michelle Pfeiffer, Beau Bridges, Jennifer Tilly.
1989.
Writer-director Steve Kloves’ close-to-unique sibling-rivalry story about a pair of second-tier lounge act piano players (Jeff and Beau Bridges) who hire a female vocalist (Michelle Pfeiffer) hasn’t lost a beat.
Extras: Kloves headlines a most rewarding commentary with Twilight Times’ Nick Redman ad Julie Kirgo.
Read the Full Review

Run of the Arrow

Available via Warner Archive
Warner, Western, $21.99 DVD, NR.
Stars Rod Steiger, Sarita Montiel, Ralph Meeker, Brian Keith, Charles Bronson.
1957.
Run of the Arrow has enough of a cult following for some to use it as a head-basher against the Oscar-winning Dances With Wolves, with which it shares some similarities. The movie has what one would still probably have to put on the list of defining Rod Steiger roles, which is probably larger than many think. He’s an Irish-descended Confederate soldier who so can’t get over the South’s defeat (talk about current topicality) that he can’t even abide the reuniting of the country.
Read the Full Review
 


6 Aug, 2015

New Steelbooks for 'Star Wars,' 'Bond'


A couple of cinema’s biggest franchises are receiving a major home video marketing push before their latest installments hit theaters this fall. In particular, the six live-action “Star Wars” chapters and nine James Bond films will be re-released on Blu-ray in special steelbook packaging.

You’ve seen the steelbook around — that special metal packaging with special box art designed to stir up interest from collectors. Using steelbooks to re-package catalog titles is as commong as using them as retail exclusives for new releases.

The common thread here is that 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment is behind the distribution of both collections, working with Disney on “Star Wars” and MGM on Bond.

The 23 official Bond films are being re-released on Blu-ray and in special boxed sets Sept. 15, in advance of the Nov. 6 theatrical release of Spectre, the 24th film in the series.

Nine of the films will be available as limited-edition Blu-ray steelbooks with box art inspired by their opening title sequences. This assortment includes the most recent films starring Daniel Craig as Bond — Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace and Skyfall — as well as six films featuring the villainous SPECTRE organization — From Russia With Love, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Diamonds Are Forever and For Your Eyes Only.

In addition, all 23 films will be available as part of The Ultimate James Bond Collection boxed set, which includes a 24th slot for Spectre (expected on Blu-ray early next year), as well as digital copies of all the films, a bonus disc containing the previously unavailable on disc 90-minute Everything or Nothing documentary, and a pocket-sized James Bond 50 Years of Movie Posters book.

To promote the upcoming film, the boxed set will also include two new featurettes based on interviews with renowned Bond writers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade — “The Shadow of SPECTRE” concentrates on the history of SPECTRE, and “The Story So Far” recaps significant moments from the three Craig films.

This collection will be sold exclusively at Amazon.com.

Collections for each actor to play Bond also will be released on Blu-ray and DVD with new artwork showcasing the actor. (even George Lazenby and his one film, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, gets the collection treatment.)

The new Bond Blu-ray and DVD collections organized by actor and number of films:

Roger Moore (7): Live and Let Die, The Man With the Golden Gun, The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonraker, For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy, A View to a Kill
Sean Connery (6): Dr. No, From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, Diamonds Are Forever
Pierce Brosnan (4): Goldeneye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough, Die Another Day
Daniel Craig (3): Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, Skyfall
Timothy Dalton (2): The Living Daylights, Licence to Kill
George Lazenby (1): On Her Majesty's Secret Service

 

The “Star Wars” steelbook Blu-rays arrive Nov. 10, in the lead-up to the hugely anticipated Dec. 18 theatrical release of Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens.

The steelbooks for the first six episodes will include a different character for each film. Aside from Yoda on Episode II, they’re all bad guys, interestingly enough — Darth Maul for Episode I, General Grievous for Episode III, Darth Vader for Episode IV, an Imperial Stormtrooper for Episode V and the Emperor for Episode VI.

Preorders for the “Star Wars” steelbooks begin Aug. 7. These look to be re-releases of the previously available discs, which include commentaries from George Lucas and the cast and crew.

In addition, the nine-disc Star Wars: The Complete Saga Blu-ray collection will be re-released Oct. 13 with new Darth Vader box art. The bonus discs contain more than 40 hours of previously released bonus material, including deleted scenes.


4 Aug, 2015

'Insurgent' Spirit Takes Over Stores

(L-R): Best Buy and Target exclusive 'Insurgent' covers.
(L-R): Best Buy and Target exclusive 'Insurgent' covers.

Lionsgate's Insurgent, the sequel to last year's teen dystopia Divergent, offered no shortage of retail exclusives upon its disc debut Aug. 4.

Target offered a Blu-ray combo pack with a DVD version, exclusive box art and a bonus disc containing 45 minutes of additional behind-the-scenes material.

Best Buy offered steelbook packaging for the 3D Blu-ray combo pack and offered the steelbook Blu-ray combo pack of Divergent for $17.99.

Walmart offered DVD and Blu-ray gift backs of both Divergent and Insurgent packaged together.

Best Buy is taking $19.99 preorders for the Blu-rays of Furious 7 and Pitch Perfect 2, both from Universal. Furious 7 comes with a steelbook case, while Pitch Perfect 2 comes with a T-shirt.

 


3 Aug, 2015

New on Disc: 'He Ran All the Way' and more …


He Ran All the Way

Street 8/4/15
Kino Lorber, Drama, $19.95 DVD, $29.95 Blu-ray, NR.
Stars John Garfield, Shelley Winters, Wallace Ford.
1951.
Pioneer “rebel” actor John Garfield might not be quite the cult figure he is today without the handful of independent projects he made late in his career, including He Ran All the Way, which ended up being his final movie.
Read the Full Review

Man of Conquest

Olive, Drama, $24.95 DVD, $29.95 Blu-ray, NR.
Stars Richard Dix, Gail Patrick, Joan Fontaine, George (Gabby) Hayes.
1939.
This Sam Houston biopic is by no means short on entertainment value — on its own, or as a curiosity or as an edifying cross-reference to other screen portrayals of covered events.
Read the Full Review