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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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19 Dec, 2016

New on Disc: 'The Asphalt Jungle' and more …


The Asphalt Jungle

Criterion, Drama, $29.95 DVD, $39.95 Blu-ray, NR.
Stars Sterling Hayden, Louis Calhern, Jean Hagen, James Whitmore, Sam Jaffe, John McIntire, Marilyn Monroe.
1950.
The granddaddy of meticulously high-scale robbery pics remains as vital and robust as ever, though gender-wise, there’s nothing too daddy-ish about the way Marilyn Monroe wears a jumpsuit here in the role that jump-started her career.
Extras: Includes the 1983 documentary Pharos of Chaos about actor Sterling Hayden; it also includes featurettes with noir maven Eddie Muller and cinematographer John Bailey, plus brief archival material of John Huston discussing the film and an almost hour-long documentary of him on Canadian TV promoting the much subsequent Wise Blood. Scholar/academic Drew Casper’s commentary shared with an edited-in James Whitmore is carried over from the DVD.
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The Best of Cinerama

Flicker Alley, Documentary, $39.95 Blu-ray/DVD, NR.
1963.
For an assemblage whose reason for being at the time was mostly to fill a temporary dearth of product, The Best of Cinerama (culled from five preceding travelogues dating back to 1952) plays so spectacularly well that if you need a “demonstration” disc to help show off the home system for which you forfeited your kids’ education, this could be the one.
Extras: Includes a commentary by Cinerama historian David Coles, a pair of 70mm featurettes about Shell Oil and NASA restored and saved from oblivion, heavy samplings of Dimitri Tiomkin music, a lengthy — and magnificent — photo montage of the process’s scores of pioneers, and a chronological theater-by-theater review of all the Cinerama theaters that opened worldwide up until about 1960.
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13 Dec, 2016

A 'Squad' of Exclusives

Amazon's 'Suicide Squad' with Harley Quinn figurine
Amazon's 'Suicide Squad' with Harley Quinn figurine

There were plenty of retailer exclusives available for Warner's Suicide Squad Dec. 13.

Best Buy offered the DC Comics superhero movie with two different exclusives: a Blu-ray combo pack with a graphic novel, and the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray iwith Steelbook packaging.

Target offered the Blu-ray combo pack with exclusive 64-page Digibook and lenticular packaging. Target also had exclusive Batman Funko POP! figures for $8.99 each.

Walmart offered one of its typical Warner DVDs without any bonus materials.

Amazon.com offered two deluxe gift sets of the Blu-ray combo pack with special box art. One set came with a Harley Quinn figurine and was listed at $116.99 on the first day. Another version of the gift set came with a Deadshot figureine, listed at $99.99.

Target offered a $5 savings with the purchase of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children on disc with the book upon which the movie is based.

Target also advertised an exclusive edition of the DVD that contained a bracelet, although all retailers had the bracelet edition of the movie, at the same price as the regular DVD.


12 Dec, 2016

New on Disc: 'T.A.M.I. Show/The Big T.N.T. Show' and more …


T.A.M.I. Show/The Big T.N.T. Show (Blu-ray)

Shout! Factory, Music, $29.98 Blu-ray, NR.
1964/66.
The T.A.M.I. Blu-ray presentation looks slightly more vital than previous releases, despite the source limitations, while The Big T.N.T. Show half of a nicely conceived twofer is its home market premiere.
Extras: T.A.M.I. carries over the DVD’s wonderful joint commentary by director Steve Binder and rock journalist/historian Don Waller. T.N.T. has some solid bonus interviews.
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Pretty Poison (Blu-ray)

Available via ScreenArchives.com
Twilight Time, Drama, $29.95 Blu-ray, ‘R.’
Stars Anthony Perkins, Tuesday Weld, Beverly Garland, John Randolph.
1968.
A still-twisted tale cast to the hilt thanks to leads Anthony Perkins and Tuesday Weld, Pretty Poison was belated critical success that gets a nifty Twilight Time assist.
Extras: The Blu-ray includes two commentaries: one with director Noel Black carried over from the old DVD, and a new one with film historian Lem Dobbs, Poison producer Lawrence Turman and Twilight Time’s Nick Redman.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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