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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.


Opinion
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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.
Read the Full Review

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.
Read the Full Review
 


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.


21 Nov, 2016

Shaking Up Home Entertainment

The Martian VR Experience
The Martian VR Experience

The business of home entertainment has always been in flux. Since the very beginning of this magazine in 1979, visionary movers and shakers have been changing entertainment. We’ve seen different physical formats, from Betamax to VHS to DVD to Blu-ray to 4K Blu-ray Disc with high dynamic range (HDR). We’ve absorbed the digital delivery revolution and incorporated it into our definition of home entertainment, bringing in Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu, among other home entertainment newcomers.

With our November 2016 issue, we recognize some of the leaders of this business, the “Movers and Shakers,” who are forging the future of the home entertainment industry. We’ve got top studio executives alongside digital, retail and trade group executives who are helping to make, distribute and facilitate delivery of the home entertainment we all consume.

As we publish this list of influential executives, the industry is launching a new format, 4K Ultra HD with HDR, on Blu-ray Disc and, to some extent, on digital services — though those delivery mechanisms can be hampered by bandwidth. Several of our Movers and Shakers have been instrumental in getting this format — which promises yet another leap forward in home entertainment quality — off the ground.

In addition to physical disc and digital entertainment, the industry is embarking on newer forms of entertainment that employ virtual and augmented reality, offering another potential stream of income to the industry. The Fox Innovation Lab, under the capable direction of executives on our list, this month released its first commercial virtual reality endeavor, The Martian VR Experience, at $19.99 for PlayStation VR for the PlayStation 4 system and HTC Vive on Steam. Several of our Movers and Shakers are involved in this shakeup of the very definition of home entertainment, a new frontier that allows the audience to become immersed in a story in ways that our industry is just beginning to explore.

We congratulate the Top 50 Movers and Shakers, as well as the Up and Comers who are some of the leaders of the future. They are forging the path of home entertainment. It can be a rocky path, and those that navigate its changes must be ready to meet the unexpected.

We salute them, and look forward to their future accomplishments.
 


21 Nov, 2016

The Exciting Immersive Potential of Virtual Reality


As we were working on this year’s Movers and Shakers, a listing of the home entertainment industry’s key leaders, motivators and innovators, virtual reality came into my life in a big way, with the arrival of the Sony PlayStation VR.

The moment I put on the headset while my youngest, Hunter, slipped the demo disk into the PlayStation 4, I realized this was not just another quirky fad like 3D. I also realized we are in the very early stages of VR, with so many promises, so much potential, floating in the air above us that try as we might we simply can’t grasp — yet.

Indeed, in one of the virtual worlds on the demo disk I was in a real-life horror show with a demented carny barker I wanted badly to punch in the face — but I couldn’t reach out and do that, even with the Move motion controllers in my hands.

For now, there are still plenty of limitations, but as you roam through the virtual world and look around you, your eyes begin to open to not just the remarkably life-like surroundings but also to the vast store of possibilities that inevitably will come in the future, brought to us, no doubt, under the watch of many of the movers and shakers profiled in the November issue of Home Media Magazine.

For now, VR is the next step in gaming, an interactive, immersive experience that puts you inside a video game. Playing Batman Arkham will never be the same — in the VR version, I am not manipulating Batman, I am Batman, and the horrific opening scene in which young Bruce Wayne’s parents are brutally murdered in a dark alleyway becomes a truly nightmarish experience. (I did, in fact, dream about it the following night; I don’t remember much but it was enough to give me a nocturnal jolt in which I awakened in a sweat.)

Down the road, the possibilities for filmmakers are as daunting as they are appealing — and potentially lucrative. With set storylines, the immersive VR experience will never be quite as, well, immersive as it is in gaming, where you control the action.

But consider a movie where you actually wander into the action — sort of like the creepy girl in The Ring crawling out of the TV screen, only in reverse — and you can look around and see what the characters see. In The Sound of Music, the hills really would come alive, as you look around and take in the breathtaking scenery of the Alps, 360. And in Star Wars, wow — that’s all I need to say.

I can also see movies one day shot in such a way that we can not only enter the action, but also see things from a certain character’s perspective — and through this immersion begin to actually feel what the character is feeling. Imagine the opening scene to Saving Private Ryan — the impact could be immense and filmmaking could be forever changed.

So, yes, I am a big believer in the promise of VR. And thanks so much to the movers and shakers who will play a part in delivering on that promise.


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.