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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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18 Sep, 2017

New on Disc: 'Love With the Proper Stranger' and more …


Love With the Proper Stranger

Street 9/19/17
Kino Lorber, Drama, $19.95 DVD, $29.95 Blu-ray, NR.
Stars Natalie Wood, Steve McQueen, Edie Adams, Herschel Bernardi, Tom Bosley
1963. This irresistible primer in megawatt star-power chemistry is one of the most pleasurable movies to operate from a ridiculous premise: that a guy would have sex with Natalie Wood and not particularly recall it.
Extras: Includes a commentary by Kat Ellinger and Samm Deighan from Diabolique magazine.
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Night Moves (Blu-ray)

Available via Warner Archive
Warner, Drama, $21.99 Blu-ray, ‘R.’
Stars Gene Hackman, Susan Clark Jennifer Warren, Edward Binns, Melanie Griffith.
1975. Full of dialogue that still crackles, Night Moves is buoyed by screenwriter Alan Sharp’s rejoinders and a Gene Hackman performance that now seems to be among his most definitive.
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12 Sep, 2017

Unwrapping Exclusives for 'The Mummy'

(L-R): Target and Walmart exclusive 'Mummy' box art
(L-R): Target and Walmart exclusive 'Mummy' box art

Universal's The Mummy arrived on disc Sept. 12 with exclusive offers from each of the big three major retailers.

Target offered the horror reboot in exclusive Blu-ray Steelbook packaging. Best Buy offered the Blu-ray as a collector's set with digibook packaging containing a prequel comic book.

Walmart offered a couple of exclusive editions of The Mummy. For the Blu-ray, Walmart had exclusive box art and 30 minutes of exclusive digital bonus content. For the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, Walmart offered a virtual reality viewer and the exclusive bonus content.

Target also offered a Steelbook Blu-ray for another Universal title, the 35th anniversary re-release of E.T. — The Extra-Terrestrial.

Best Buy offered Steelbook packaging for several classic horror films on Blu-ray, including Creature From the Black Lagoon, The Wolf Man, Dracula, Frankenstein, The Bride of Frankenstein, The Invisible Man and the original The Mummy.


11 Sep, 2017

New on Disc: 'Son of Paleface' and more …


Son of Paleface

Kino Lorber, Comedy, $14.95 DVD, $24.95 Blu-ray, NR.
Stars Bob Hope, Jane Russell, Roy Rogers, Bill Williams.
1952.
This sequel to The Paleface is much more imaginatively strung together if not necessarily funnier, put over by the commercially brilliant vesting coup of getting Roy Rogers himself to play Bob Hope’s foil.
Extras: Includes a commentary by animation expert Greg Ford.
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The Long, Hot Summer (Blu-ray)

Available via ScreenArchives.com
Twilight Time, Drama, $29.95 Blu-ray, NR.
Stars Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Anthony Franciosa, Orson Welles, Lee Remick, Angela Lansbury.
1958. The Long, Hot Summer stands out in the relatively small pool of decent William Faulkner screen adaptations as an example of what star-power chemistry used to be.
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5 Sep, 2017

Best Buy Offers 'Flash' Steelbook

Best Buy Blu-ray Steelbook for 'The Flash: Season 3'
Best Buy Blu-ray Steelbook for 'The Flash: Season 3'

The latest Best Buy exclusive Blu-ray Steelbook is Warner's The Flash: The Complete Third Season.

Best Buy is also taking preorders for its exclusive 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Steelbook of Warner's Wonder Woman.

Best Buy also continues to promote its offer of a free $10 gift card with the purchase of $50 or more of select TV seasons on disc.

Target offered Nickelodeon's Paw Patrol: The Great Pirate Rescue! with an exclusive print eye patch and digital copy.

Walmart had Sony Pictures' Kevin Can Wait: Season One in an exclusive $19.96 gift set with a triple-feature DVD of Kevin James movies.


4 Sep, 2017

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


Beggars of Life

Kino Lorber, Drama, $19.95 DVD, $29.95 Blu-ray, NR.
Stars Wallace Beery, Richard Arlen, Louise Brooks.
1928.
Director William A. Wellman’s story of a woman (Louise Brooks) taken in by the hobo lifestyle after killing a farmer who abused her is not a story of the Depression, but of a pre-Crash period when there were still a lot of hoboes to go around.
Extras: The Blu-ray includes an accompanying essay by Nick Pinkerton, plus two commentaries — one by William Wellman Jr. and another by Thomas Gladysz, founding director of the Louise Brooks Society.
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Kid Galahad (Blu-ray)

Available via ScreenArchives.com
Twilight Time, Drama, $29.95 Blu-ray, NR.
Stars Elvis Presley, Gig Young, Lola Albright, Joan Blackman, Charles Bronson.

1962. Elvis Presley’s turn as a boxer is quintessential drive-in fare for the era: a few songs (the score is definitely beyond decent), a few hoodlums, a few punches, and Gig Young looking (as ever) half-swacked.
Extras: Julie Kirgo’s liner notes do a good job of explaining why Kid is a pleasantly inoffensive time killer and why we’d all like to be able to cure our problems just by singing a song.
Read the Full Review


29 Aug, 2017

Retail Exclusives Focus on 'Baywatch,' 'Lion King'


New releases Baywatch and The Lion King: Signature Collection were the focus of most of the retailer exclusives Aug. 29.

Target offered Paramount's Baywatch Blu-ray with exclusive box art on metal packaging.

Best Buy offered the Baywatch Blu-ray with an exclusive bonus disc.

Walmart offered Blu-ray versions of Baywatch with a bonus digital copy of Pain & Gain accessible through the Vudu streaming service.

For Disney's Blu-ray re-release of The Lion King, Best Buy offered the animated movie in Steelbook packaging for a $5 premium over the regular Blu-ray edition.

Target offered the new Lion King Blu-ray combo pack with 32-page storybook packaging and limited-edition film frames.

On the other hand, the new Lion King discs had limited availability at Amazon.com, where it was offered only through third-part Marketplace sellers. Amazon has been limiting accessibility to recent Disney discs, including not taking preorders for them.

Best Buy also had an exclusive for Warner's Batman and Harley Quinn Blu-ray, adding a graphic novel to the widely available gift set that also includes a Harley Quinn figurine. Target offered a Batman and Harley Quinn Blu-ray steelbook.


25 Aug, 2017

Disney/Netflix Petition Based on Unrealistic Expectations


I couldn’t help but chuckle at the petition drive urging Walt Disney Co. not to pull its content from Netflix.

Petitioners, comprised primarily of cord-cutters who no doubt expected to reap huge savings from canceling their cable service, call the pullout “a huge blow to Netflix users and Disney lovers who don’t want to have to pay double to access the content we love,” the Care2 petition says. “Historically, we could buy a movie or TV show from any number of sources. But now, we’re being forced to buy subscriptions to multiple sources just to get the content we love.”

No sympathy here for any pity party. My dear consumers, you can still buy movies or TV shows “from any number of sources.” Buy a Blu-ray Disc or DVD at Walmart or Best Buy or Amazon; buy a digital copy from iTunes, Vudu, Xfinity or any of a growing number of other online sellers.

In fact, the selection of movies and TV shows you can buy is far greater than the selection you can access through Netflix.

And for a good reason: When you watch Netflix, you’re not buying a movie or TV show. You’re not even paying for streaming rights to a specific program. You’re spending about the same amount of money you’d normally spend on one new movie, either on disc or as a download, for an entire month of viewing — and that’s why you have no right to be so picky.

In fact, most studios don’t sell any of their movies to Netflix — at least, nothing newer than nine or 10 years old. Even Netflix’s big announcement in May 2016 that it would be the exclusive online home to Disney, Marvel, Pixar and Lucasfilm movies was a little grandiose: Only a handful of movies were made available every month, and only after they had exhausted their sales potential, with a similar window to that on HBO, Starz and other pay-TV networks.

The popularity of Netflix has never been based on movies. The growth driver has been binge-viewing of TV shows, first popular network shows and now original programming. The movie lineup at Netflix has always been, and likely will continue to be, anemic, with the good new stuff reserved for the purchase market.

Indeed, Gizmodo last October reported that Netflix’s content library is increasingly losing its best movies: “The Streaming Observer did some analysis, and found that only 31 movies from the IMDb Top 250 are currently available on Netflix. … Even worse than the paltry selection of movies, it’s noteworthy that this figure is actually down 12% from 2014, when a Reddit user documented the 49 available films from the IMDb Top 250 then available on Netflix. The IMDb Top 250 has changed over the last two years as well, but the decrease in titles is still significant.”

Will the loss of Disney movies hurt Netflix? I doubt it — not as long as the service keeps cranking out original content (last year, Netflix said its goal was 50% original content within the next few years).

But with Disney planning to launch its own streaming service in concert with the 2019 withdrawal from Netflix, it certainly needs what we in the business call a unique selling proposition — and creating its own streaming silo for Disney movies and TV shows certainly sounds like smart business sense to me.

The petitioners, while clearly ignorant of the economics of the movie/TV business, were right on one count: they’re going to have to buy subscriptions “to multiple sources just to get the content we love.”

And you know what? They’re going to wind up buying those extra subscriptions, regardless of how much they are protesting now.

 


22 Aug, 2017

The Rush for 'Guardians' Exclusives

Best Buy's 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2' 4K/3D Blu-ray Steelbook
Best Buy's 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2' 4K/3D Blu-ray Steelbook

Exclusives for Disney's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 seemed to be in great demand Aug. 22, particularly Steelbook editions of the Blu-ray at Best Buy.

The Steelbook edition was apparently sold out throughout several Southern California Best Buy locations before they even opened Tuesday morning, with customers arriving early to pick up a copy in person greeted by half-empty Guardians displays (though the Best Buy standalone Guardians displays were impressive, incorporating a social media photo op with lifesize cardboard cutouts of the team). A clerk at a Costa Mesa, Calif., store said all their copies of the Steelbooks were diverted to a large number of online preorders, and the Best Buy website indicated no copies available at any stores within hundreds of miles.

One of the reasons for the high demand for the Steelbook, particularly the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray version, was that it was the only way for fans to get their hands on a 3D disc of the film, as Disney relegated the 3D edition to a Best Buy exclusive. While Disney has held back on releasing 3D versions of the studio's films in recent years, the choice to limit 3D availability of the "Guardians" sequel to a single-retailer premium exclusive was a particularly interesting one given how much the potential for 3D influenced the film's visual style, which only adds to the potential demand among fans for the 3D version, regardless of how niche the format may have become.

Based on information posted online by fans around the United States looking for the 4K/3D combo, stores in places like New Jersey and Tennessee had plenty of copies of the 3D exclusive on shelves, which points to some curious allocation decisions on the part of Best Buy as to how many copies were produced and where they were sent for the title's launch day. Even the Steelbook of the standard Blu-ray edition was sold out at most stores, which definitely points to the popularly of the collectible packaging as well.

Shoppers would have better luck finding the exclusives at Target and Walmart, though some problems were reported with those as well.

Target offered the Blu-ray and UHD Blu-ray with an exclusive digital "Meet the Ravagers" featurette redeemable through the Disney Movies Anywhere streaming service. However, several fans took to the Internet to complain that their exclusive codes either didn't work or were listed as having been no longer valid after erroring out. Such issues aren't altogether uncommon for new releases and are usually ironed out within a day or so of the title's release.

Walmart offered the Blu-ray version of the film with exclusive box art and two packs of Upper Deck Marvel trading cards.

Best Buy had a variety of exclusives with other new releases as well, such as Steelbook packaging with Warner's Supergirl: Season 2 and Lionsgate's Ash vs. Evil Dead: Season 2 Blu-rays, and lenticular packaging on Lionsgate's The Walking Dead: Season 7 Blu-ray.


15 Aug, 2017

A Retail 'Covenant'

Walmart 'Alien: Covenant' shirt exclusive
Walmart 'Alien: Covenant' shirt exclusive

Plenty of exclusives for Fox's Alien: Covenant were available at retail when the movie hit shelves Aug. 15.

Walmart offered Blu-ray and UHDs packed with an XL T-shirt emblazoned with the winner of the 2017 Alien Day fan art contest.

Target offered The Blu-ray with a 36-page "Creatures of Alien: Covenant" booklet.

And Best Buy offered Steelbook packaging for both the Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray combo packs, at a $2 premium for each.


14 Aug, 2017

New on Disc: 'Variete' and more …


Varieté (Blu-ray)

Street 8/22/17
Kino Lorber, Drama, $29.95 Blu-ray, NR.
Stars Emil Jannings, Lya De Putti, Warwick Ward.
1925. Varieté is probably the best and most famous film from the less celebrated E.A. Dupont — with German star Emil Jannings Jannings as the owner of a sideshow.
Extras: The packed Blu-ray includes the previously DVD-released 1922 version of Othello, which also teamed Jannings and Lya De Putti, plus an illuminating supplementary “visual essay” by historian Bret Wood and several options for the background music.
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Money From Home

Olive, Comedy, $24.95 DVD, $29.95 Blu-ray, NR.
Stars Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis, Marjie Millar, Pat Crowley.
1953. The first nine of 16 total Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis comedies were in black-and-white, the final seven were in color, and Money From Home (a Damon Runyon racetrack farce about a potentially underhanded steeplechase contest) was first of the latter bunch.
Read the Full Review