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.
DreamWorks Animation's Home arrived on disc July 28 with several retailer exclusives from which consumers could choose.
Target offered an exclusive bonus disc with more than 30 minutes of extra content, including material with Slushious the Flying Car. Target also gave away free popcorn and a medium soda at the Taret Café with the purchase of Home, which is distributed by Fox.
Best Buy offered the Home Blu-ray with special lenticular packaging, plus a $5 discount with the purchase of Home in conjunction with DreamWorks Animation's Madagascar, Shrek or How to Train Your Dragon on Blu-ray.
Best Buy also offered a deluxe Blu-ray set of Warner's Justice League: Gods and Monsters with a digital copy of the animated Wonder Woman movie.
Target offered the Gods and Monsters Blu-ray with a steelbook case. Both stores offered the deluxe version with a pack-on Wonder Woman figurine.
The World of Henry Orient (Blu-ray)
Available via ScreenArchives.com
Twilight Time, Comedy, $29.95 Blu-ray, NR.
Stars Peter Sellers, Tippy Walker, Merrie Spaeth, Angela Lansbury.
1964. Veteran screenwriter Nunnally Johnson’s adaptation of daughter Nora’s same-name 1956 novel was probably the best movie specifically centered on teenaged girls until 2001’s Ghost World. As a second-rate concert pianist who has still managed to attain a small but dwindling following, Peter Sellers becomes an object of fascination for two early adolescents (Merrie Spaeth and Tippy Walker), students at an upscale Manhattan school who’ve just met and become instant friends.
Extras: Twilight Time regulars Nick Redman and Julie Kirgo (with film music expert Jeff Bond) offer a breezy commentary, though it’s amusing to note the friendly tension between Orient-adorer Kirgo (whose age and upbringing make her a dead-on soul sister with the key characters) and Redman (who has little use for Sellers in the movies not directed by Stanley Kubrick and doesn’t mind telling you so).
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Prime Cut (Blu-ray Review)
Kino Lorber, Drama, $29.95 Blu-ray, ‘R’
Stars Lee Marvin, Gene Hackman, Sissy Spacek, Angel Tompkins.
1972. Prime Cut’s brisk 86-minute pacing enables an apt cast to keep at least pulp fanciers sticking with a notably preposterous piece of work.
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By: Mike Clark
Target offered an exclusive bonus disc and free popcorn with the DVD and Blu-ray of Warner's Scooby-Doo! and KISS: Rock and Roll Mystery July 21.
Target also offered a buy-one, get-one 50% off promotion on all movies and TV series on disc.
Best Buy touted pre-orders for the Divergent sequel, Insurgent, for $19.99, with instant access to the movie via CinemaNow and a steelbook case with the eventual 3D Blu-ray combo pack.
Best Buy also touted $7.50 movie theater coupons to see the new film Pixels with select Sony Pictures Blu-rays.
Walmart's 'Paul Blart' double feature Blu-ray pack
Sony Pictures' Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 led the way July 14 with a number of retail exclusives.
The most notable was Walmart's two-pack pairing the Blu-ray of Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 with the Blu-ray of the original movie, which was selected by fans from among several Kevin James films in a Facebook vote to be paired with the new film in the exclusive set.
Best Buy offered a $5 gift card with the purchase of the Blart 2 Blu-ray.
Target offered free Groovy Gold Minion goggles with the purchase of any "Despicable Me" movie on disc.
The only retail exclusives attached to the July 7 new releases involved Universal's Monster High: Scaris, City of Fright.
Walmart offered free stickers with the DVD of Monster High: Scaris, City of Fright. Target offered $5 instant savings with the purchase of the movie and a select "Monster High" doll.
Best Buy offered $10 off the purchase of the third season of "House of Cards" on disc with the purchase of one of the show's previous seasons.
Best Buy was selling a $29.99 "All Access Pass" to Minions, inlcuding a $10 Fandango movie ticket, 250 My Best Buy points, plus copies of the film on Blu-ray and Digital HD when available.
Retailers June 30 again shied away from tagging exclusive promotions to the new releases of the week. Instead, Target touted a selection of catalog DVDs and Blu-rays containing $7.50 coupons that can be applied to tickets for new movies in theaters, including Universal's animated Minions.
Best Buy touted the $7.99 promotional price for the Blu-ray of Magic Mike as part of Warner's marketing efforts for the upcoming theatrical sequel.
Best Buy also listed $8 Fandango movie coupons with select Paramount Blu-rays.
More interesting was what was missing from the weekly promotions. Target didn't list a price for the Blu-ray of Warner's Get Hard in its weekly ad, while Walmart didn't stock the Blu-ray of Lionsgate's While We're Young, which was listed as "sold out" online.
With the calendar officially turning to summer, the June 23 release slate consisted prmarily of a handful of direct-to-video family fare and a few cult-hit cable shows.
Universal released the latest "An American Girl" movie, Grace Stirs Up Success, which came with a cooking activity book at Target.
Target also had the exclusive DVD of Thomas & Friends: Wild Water Rescue.
During the slow week, Best Buy and Target focused on promoting preorders for bigger titles coming down the pipeline, in particular Fox's Home (just released on Digital HD) and Disney/Pixar's Inside Out. Target offered a $5 gift card with disc preorders for either title.
Best Buy touted $7.50 movie coupons for Ted 2 in theaters with the purchase of select titles.
Stores also made room for the pending Friday, June 26, release of Disney's Teen Beach Movie 2. Target and Best Buy both offered it at $14.99.
James Horner (1953-2015)
A good musical score can give a lot of life to a movie, but a great score can transcend the boundaries of its film to stand as a powerful work on its own.For film music fans, knowing a certain composer is attached to a project can generate tremendous interest that otherwise might not exist.
James Horner, who died in a plane crash June 22, was one of the best film composers of his or any generation.
In a career that spanned nearly four decades, Horner’s talent rested in his ability to distill the essence of a project into musical form. His music could range from epic to haunting, as adept at sweeping fanfares as quiet statements of intimate drama.
He was certainly one of my favorites when I was growing up, as his soundtracks shared a treasured space on my shelf (and still do) alongside the likes of John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith, Hans Zimmer and Alan Silvestri.
Horner was never afraid to try new sounds and styles, yet his work was always distinctly his.
As one of the most prolific composers of the 1980s and 1990s, Horner worked with many of the biggest directors in Hollywood, including James Cameron, Ron Howard, Mel Gibson, Edward Zwick and Wolfgang Peterson. For Cameron, he created the music for the two biggest box office earners of all time, Avatar and Titanic.
In 1986, Horner worked with George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola to provide a rousing score for Captain EO, the famed Disney theme park attraction starring Michael Jackson. Disney revived the show in 2010 as a tribute to Jackson, but I think it can serve now as an equally effective tribute to Horner’s legacy as well.
As we take the time to reflect on his career and the great joy it brought so many of us, I wanted to share my own list of my top 10 favorite James Horner scores.
Apollo 13 (1995)
Horner’s music is a perfect fit for Ron Howard’s film version of the story of the ill-fated Apollo 13 moon mission. The score drifts between flourishes of patriotism and high tension to culminate in massively inspirational movements that, when paired with the images on the screen, will leave many a viewer hard pressed not to walk away with a tear in the corner of their eye.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) & Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984)
I cheated a bit and linked these two together, since there is an obvious thematic link between them. Khan represents the pinnacle of Horner’s early years, highlighted by the exuberance of his youthful instincts contributing to a very nautical-sounding score that perfectly served the film’s outer space action, with dueling themes for Captain Kirk and his nemesis, Khan.
Horner rarely did sequels (he skipped The Amazing Spider-Man 2 but was set to take on the “Avatar” follow-ups), so it’s lucky he came on board to continue his contributions to the “Trek” canon. Here, Horner broke out a minor theme for Spock from Khan and made it a primary theme here, while adding new music for the Klingons.
For Mel Gibson’s re-creation of medieval Scotland, Horner used a lot of ethnically-appropriate instrumentation to craft a period-appropriate sound that emphasized the romance at the heart of the story.
Horner will forever be known as the composer of James Cameron’s depiction of the doomed ocean voyage, for several reasons. It’s one of the top-selling score albums ever, it won Horner his only two Oscars, and it gave Celine Dion her signature song, “My Heart Will Go On,” which Horner (and lyricist Will Jennings) wrote on an impulse and had to convince Cameron to use it in the movie. With its wide array of instrumentation and style, the score is the perfect embodiment of Horner’s career.
Horner partnered with director Ed Zwick for this drama about black soldiers fighting for the North in the Civil War.
Field of Dreams (1989)
One of Horner’s quieter scores provides a lot of the impact for the Kevin Costner baseball drama.
The Perfect Storm (2000)
Horner returned to the ocean with a conventional arrangement that nonetheless boasts a lovely main theme and an effective underscore.
Horner delves into the world of George Lucas with the Ron Howard-directed fantasy film.
Clear and Present Danger (1994)
Horner gave the adaptation of the Tom Clancy novel a very effective action score.
The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
Horner’s most notable contribution to the exploding superhero genre allowed him to establish an energetic main theme for the web-slinger to distinguish the reboot from the methodical tones written by Danny Elfman a decade earlier.
Magician: The Astonishing Work & Life of Orson Welles
Cohen, Documentary, B.O. $0.016 million, $24.98 DVD, $34.98 Blu-ray, NR.
2014. The accurate rap on Magician, including by the many to whom this brisk overview gave a good time, is its tendency toward surface skimming in dealing with a subject who directed in multiple mediums, acted, was an ubiquitous talk-show guest in his day and counted among his wives Rita Hayworth.
Extras: Includes a short interview with film historian Annette Insdorf.
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B2MP, Drama, $29.98 Blu-ray/DVD combo, ‘PG.’
Stars Jeremy Irons, Eugene Lipinski, Jirí Stanislav, Eugeniusz Haczkiewicz.
1982. Jerzy Skolimowsky’s political movie involves a Polish construction crew that probably thinks it’s being offered a good deal for a London assignment but is likely getting ripped off by the party official who has hired them during the days of Solidarity.
Extras: Jeremy Irons offers intermittent commentary on this release’s alternate audio track.
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By: Mike Clark
Target's 'Chappie' Steelbook
Retailers offered a few exclusives for the June 16 Blu-ray release of Sony Pictures' 'Chappie.'
Target offered the sci-fi film with a steelbook Blu-ray case.
Best Buy offered Chappie with an exclusive bonus disc containing a featuring deconstructing the action scenes with the visual effects team. Best Buy also offered a deal in which those who bought a PlayStation 4 could get the Chappie Blu-ray and a digital copy of The Order: 1886 for free.
Walmart had the exclusive DVD of the family film The Secret Handshake, starring Kevin Sorbo and Amy Grant.