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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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6 Dec, 2016

The Secret Life of Retail Exclusives

Target's 'The Secret Life of Pets' décor pack Blu-ray and Walmart's 'Jason Bourne' deluxe Blu-ray photo packaging
Target's 'The Secret Life of Pets' décor pack Blu-ray and Walmart's 'Jason Bourne' deluxe Blu-ray photo packaging

Retailers broke out the welcome mat for Universal's The Secret Life of Pets and Jason Bourne.

For the animated The Secret Life of Pets, Walmart offered the Blu-ray combo pack in a gift set with three character clip-ons. Target offered the Blu-ray with a "décor pack" consisting of a photo frame and four wall decals. Best Buy offered a free plush dog ($9.99 separately) with the purchase of the Ultra HD Blu-ray.

For the action sequel Jason Bourne, Target offered the Blu-ray combo pack with an exclusive bonus disc containing 30 additional minutes of bonus content. Walmart offered an exclusive deluxe edition of the Blu-ray with collectible packaging and a photo book. Best Buy offered an exclusive 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray boxed set of the five "Bourne" films.

Target's website touted an exclusive Steelbook blu-ray of The Secret Life of Pets, which was listed as out of stock online and at stores.

Target offered an exclusive DVD of the first season of the Netflix series "Master of None" at $14.99.


5 Dec, 2016

New on Disc: 'Time After Time' and more …


Time After Time (Blu-ray)

Available via Warner Archive
Warner, Sci-Fi, $21.99 Blu-ray, ‘PG.’
Stars Malcolm McDowell, David Warner, Mary Steenburgen.
1979.
Debuting director Nicholas Meyer, who also penned the screenplay, presents a surprisingly sweet time travel fantasy dealing with novelist H.G. Wells’s pursuit of Jack the Ripper into 1979 San Francisco.
Extras: A commentary is carried over from the old DVD.
Read the Full Review

Two Women (Blu-ray)

All-Region Import
Cult Films, Drama, $20 Blu-ray, NR.
Stars Sophia Loren, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Eleanor Brown, Raf Vallone.
1960.
Given its reputation for, among other things, having won Sophia Loren the Oscar while establishing her as an international superstar, Vittorio De Sica’s Two Women has been insulted by wretched prints over the years, so while the visual result of this Blu-ray import is on the high side of passable with some room for improvement, the overall release is borderline exceptional thanks to some surprising bonus extras.
Extras: The supplements are a treat. There’s a 54-minute interview with Loren, and the wonderful 2009 documentary Vittorio D., which in 93 minutes substantively covers De Sica’s career as actor, family man, gambling addict, occasional political activist and director. A fairly amazing lineup of interviewees includes Shirley MacLaine, Clint Eastwood, Woody Allen, Paul Mazursky, Leonard Maltin, De Sica children from two marriages, John Landis, Mike Leigh, Ken Loach, Ettore Scola and Lina Wertmuller.
Read the Full Review
 


29 Nov, 2016

'Pete's Dragon,' 'BFG' Unleashed at Retail After Busy Shopping Weekend


Retailers didn't give much attention to the new releases Nov. 29 in light of lingering traces of the busy post-Thanksgiving shopping weekend.

Just about the only promotion among the new titles came at Target, which offered $5 off the purchase of both Disney's Pete's Dragon and The BFG on disc.

Target, like most of the big retailers, had many displays tailored to deep-discounted catalog titles.

Best Buy offered buy-one-get-one-free deals from a selection of Sony Pictures titles. Best Buy also touted 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray deals, with $10 off the purchase of two, and $20 off the purchase of three.

Preorders with Blu-ray Steelbooks at Best Buy include Warner's Suicide Squad and Sony Pictures' The Magnificent Seven.

Walmart had the exclusive DVD of National Geographic's No Man Left Behind at $9.96.


28 Nov, 2016

New on Disc: 'One-Eyed Jacks' and more …


One-Eyed Jacks

Criterion, Western, $29.95 DVD, $39.95 Blu-ray, NR.
Stars Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Pina Pellicer, Katy Jurado, Ben Johnson, Slim Pickens.
1961.
Marlon Brando’s sole outing as director is the link between the traditional Western with lush old-school Hollywood production values and the grittier and meaner riffs that Clint and Sergio began playing later in the 1960s as agents of permanent change.
Extras: A great supplement on this Criterion must-own is film historian Toby Roan’s concise and digestible explanation of the picture’s byzantine production history. This rewarding package also includes a visual essay by David Cairns, whose concentration on aesthetics complements Roan’s counterpart about the film’s production history; Brando audio tapes that illuminate how a film that began in one direction quickly went in another; and an essay by critic Howard Hampton.
Read the Full Review

It’s Always Fair Weather

Available via Warner Archive       
Warner, Musical, $17.99 DVD, $21.99 Blu-ray, NR.
Stars Gene Kelly, Dan Dailey, Cyd Charisse, Michael Kidd, Dolores Gray.
1955.
The decline of the movie musical in the 1950s is the main reason It’s Always Fair Weather got hit with stormy box office — and not the fact that it’s widely acknowledged as being cynical and downbeat, notwithstanding its good reviews at the time or the size of its subsequent cult. The Betty Comden-Adolph Green satire is almost as on point about encroaching television as it was about the talkie transition in Singin’ in the Rain.
Extras: Blu-ray bonus materials carried over from the old DVD include a deleted “Love Is Nothing But a Racket” number; a making-of featurette; a deleted Michael Kidd number; some raw footage from “The Binge” scene; two promotional segments from ABC-TV’s short-lived “The MGM Parade”; and two early Scope cartoons, one of them with Droopy.
Read the Full Review
 


22 Nov, 2016

Bringing Home the 'Dogs'

Target's 'War Dogs' Blu-ray Steelbook
Target's 'War Dogs' Blu-ray Steelbook

In the lead-up to Black Friday, retailers went light on exclusives despite a healthy slate of new discs Nov. 22.

Target offered a Steelbook edition of Warner's War Dogs Blu-ray.

Best Buy touted special promotions tied to pre-orders of two Universal titles, such as a free Max plush with The Secret Life of Pets 4K Blu-ray, and a Steelbook edition of the Jason Bourne 4K Blu-ray.

Target offered a free Finding Dory collecible figure with the purchase of the movie, which was released Nov. 15.

Best Buy promoted "Harry Potter" titles with $8 movie coupons for Fantastic Beasts theatrical tickets.


15 Nov, 2016

Finding 'Dory' Among the 'Thrones'

Best Buy's 'Game of Thrones: Season 6' and Target's 'Finding Dory' Steelbooks
Best Buy's 'Game of Thrones: Season 6' and Target's 'Finding Dory' Steelbooks

Retailers showed some big support for Disney's Finding Dory and HBO's Game of Thrones: The Complete Sixth Season upon their disc releases Nov. 15.

Target offered Finding Dory as a deluxe Blu-ray Steelbook combo pack with four collectible lithograph cards. Best Buy offered the Blu-ray combo pack as a deluxe activity book.

Best Buy also offered an exclusive steelbooks for the fifth and sixth seasons of "Game oF Thrones," with sigil magnets in the style of the Steelbook releases of the first four seasons. Target offered the sixth season of the show with exclusive bonus behind-the-scenes content with the Blu-ray. Walmart's season six Blu-ray had an exclusive bonus disc with a visual effects featurette.

Walmart offered a special $22.99 Blu-ray edition of Warner's Batman: Assault on Arkham with a download code for the newly released Digital HD of Suicide Squad redeemable through the Vudu streaming service.


14 Nov, 2016

New on Disc: 'Hush … Hush, Sweet Charlotte' and more …


Hush … Hush, Sweet Charlotte (Blu-ray)

Available via ScreenArchives.com
Twilight Time, Drama, $29.95 Blu-ray, NR.
Stars Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland, Joseph Cotten, Agnes Moorehead.
1964.
Taken as a kind of spiritual sequel to What Ever Happened to Baby Jane, director Robert Aldrich’s pandemonium-packed melodrama (both on and behind the camera) holds up better than I expected. Even without the wall-to-wall bonus extras here, this disc would be worth it for fans because visually, it improves on the DVD beyond compare.
Extras: The infamous offscreen tension between Bette Davis Joan Crawford, which may have led to Crawford’s being replaced on the film by Olivia de Havilland, is one reason why there’s enough material to support two voice-over commentaries, as well as a making-of featurette titled “Hush … Hush, Sweet Joan.” Film historians David Del Valle and Steven Peros offer a lively new commentary that complements a carried-over 2007 one from “DVD Savant” Glenn Erickson.
Read the Full Review

One Day Since Yesterday: Peter Bogdanovich and the Lost American Film

Available via Warner Archive       
Warner, Documentary, $21.99 DVD, NR.
2015.
An inside-baseball examination of the fallout from an almost unspeakable personal tragedy, One Day Since Yesterday’s primary focus is on how director Peter Bogdanovich and his friends and family were affected by the experience of making 1981’s still relatively unseen They All Laughed, the movie he had just filmed when the featured player who was also the love of his life (Playmate of the Year Dorothy Stratten) was brutally murdered.
Read the Full Review
 


8 Nov, 2016

Retailers Hold a 'Sausage Party'

Target's 'Sausage Party' Steelbook Blu-ray
Target's 'Sausage Party' Steelbook Blu-ray

Sony Pictures' Sausage Party presented a few options for retail exclusives Nov. 8.

Target offered the Blu-ray version of the 'R'-rated animated comedy in a Steelbook edition.Best Buy offered a free T-shirt with the Blu-ray or 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray; the shirt was available separately for $9.99.

Target also had exclusive packaging with Paramount's release of Showtime's Billions: Season One DVD.

Target also offered 10% off a title from the week before, Paramount's Star Trek Beyond, via the chain's Cartwheel app.


7 Nov, 2016

New on Disc: 'Under the Cherry Moon' and more …


Under the Cherry Moon (Blu-ray)

Warner, Romantic Comedy, $14.97 Blu-ray, ‘PG-13.’
Stars Prince, Kristin Scott Thomas, Morris Day, Steven Berkoff.
1986.
In his flop follow-up second feature to Purple Rain, Prince plays a piano-playing gigolo whose relationship with a rambunctious rich-girl (played by Kristin Scott Thomas in her feature debut) runs afoul of her father. Prince, in a truly terrible performance, goes full-throttle lounge lizard here in a story with a French Riviera setting in next-to-unheard-of ’80s black-and-white. It helps — along with the visual cosmetics, some of the supporting casting and overall affability — that not a whole lot of time passes until there’s another musical number.
Read the Full Review

Strategic Air Command

Olive, Drama, $24.95 DVD, $29.95 Blu-ray, NR.
Stars James Stewart, June Allyson, Frank Lovejoy, Barry Sullivan.
1955. The equally gorgeous and lumbering Strategic Air Command must be the only Air Force movie whose opening scenes are set against the St. Louis Cardinals’ spring training, with Jimmy Stewart as a baseball player called back into military service.
Read the Full Review
 


1 Nov, 2016

Retailers Go Beyond 'Star Trek' Exclusives

'Star Trek Beyond' exclusive box art at Target and Best Buy
'Star Trek Beyond' exclusive box art at Target and Best Buy

Retailers were awash in exclusive content for the Nov. 1 home videos, especially Target, which had special promotions for most of the new releases.

The biggest title of the week was Paramount's Star Trek Beyond, which had exclusive editions at each of the three major brick-and-mortar national retail chains. Best Buy offered the Blu-ray combo pack in Steelbook packaging. Target offered character cards with the Blu-ray combo pack and an exclusive Blu-ray bonus disc with 45 minutes of additional featurettes, including a look behind-the-scenes at the visual effects, costumes and props. Walmart had the BD combo pack as part of a gift set containing three toy models of spaceships from the film. And Amazon.com had a deluxe gift set containing the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, a 3D Blu-ray disc and a model of the U.S.S. Franklin.

For Warner's Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders, Target offered the Blu-ray combo pack with a Steelbook case. Best Buy offered the Blu-ray with a pack-in graphic novel movie tie-in.

For Universal's Bad Moms, Target offered the Blu-ray with a $5 Target e-gift card.

Target's Blu-ray of Sony Pictures' Outlander: Season Two came with a coloring set. Best Buy offered discs of the show with $10 in My Best Buy rewards points. Amazon offered a deluxe edition with a booklet.

Walmart had free pack-in toys with the Nickelodeon DVDs of Blaze and the Monster Machines: Fired Up and Shimmer and Shine: Welcome to Zahramay Falls.