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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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13 Aug, 2013

'Once Upon' a Bonus Disc

In a week with plenty of new releases upon which to attach a juicy retailer exclusive, the only one of note seems to be Disney’s Once Upon a Time: The Complete Second Season and an exclusive bonus disc that came with copies of the fantasy TV show at Best Buy.

The Best Buy bonus DVD included a 15-minute featurette about the design and fashion of the show, as well as exclusive deleted scenes. In addition, Best Buy touted a coupon good for $15 off the season-two Blu-ray and $10 off the DVD, available at .

At Walmart, the chain’s latest batch of exclusive titles includes a thinly veiled Planes knockoff called Wings, from Lionsgate, featuring the voices of Josh Duhamel, Jesse McCartney, Hilary Duff, Rob Schneider and Tom Skerritt.

Walmart also stuck some extras in the recent release of Lionsgate’s Duck Dynasty: Season Three, including 30 minutes of exclusive bonus features.

Also, Walmart’s preorder for Sony Pictures’ The Smurfs 2, at $27.96, comes with a DVD of the first movie.

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12 Aug, 2013

New on Disc: 'Shane' and more …

Shane (Blu-ray)

Street 8/13
Warner/Paramount, Western, $19.98 Blu-ray, NR.
Stars Alan Ladd, Jean Arthur, Van Heflin, Brandon de Wilde, Jack Palance.
Shane is probably the most gorgeous Technicolor movie Paramount ever made before it got into VistaVision, and even acknowledging its Oscar win for cinematography doesn’t do full justice to its stunning Grand Teton purple mountain’s majesty. This high-def rendering of director George Stevens’ perennial doesn’t have to work very hard to knock off a full warehouse of socks. For a movie with a folkloric hero, Shane has a kind of folkloric history. It has the signature role of underrated lead Alan Ladd’s career — a performance of stoic perfection. Had it not been for From Here to Eternity, this probably would have been the year’s Oscar picture.
Extras: The commentary by Stevens Jr. and Shane’s late associate producer Ivan Moffat (carried over from the standard DVD) is top of the line.
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Love Me Tender (Blu-ray)

Fox, Musical, $19.99 Blu-ray, NR.
Stars Richard Egan, Debra Paget, Elvis Presley. Mildred Dunnock.
Elvis’ screen debut has a disproportionately lousy reputation yet has its share of fascinations as long as you don’t need one of them to be compelling storytelling. All four of its songs are decent or better, including a title tune that was a monster year-end hit at the time, to say nothing of a future concert staple. And by virtue of its rock ‘n’ roll gyrating couched in an immediate post-Civil War setting, the movie is one of a kind. There’s something transforming about seeing Elvis wiggle on stage to screaming girls in widescreen, especially when it’s at an 1865 county fair.
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6 Aug, 2013

A Path to Retail 'Oblivion'

Target's 'Oblivion' Cover
Target's 'Oblivion' Cover

The latest new release causing retailers to line up their own exclusive editions is Universal’s sci-fi thriller Oblivion.

Best Buy offered an exclusive Blu-ray combo pack edition with an additional 30 minutes of behind-the-scenes extras.

Walmart offered the Oblivion Blu-ray with special metallic packaging (dubbed “metalpak”).

Target also offered special packaging for Oblivion, in the form of a slipcover with 3D lenticular artwork.

Aside from Oblivion, Target offered an exclusive Pitch Perfect “Aca-Awesome” limited-edition DVD gift set that included a cup, sunglasses, pens and a glitz pencil.

Among other promotions, copies of Oblivion at several stores were labeled with a discount offer to save $8 off the purchase of the Riddick Collection three-pack, re-released to promote the upcoming movie Riddick. Likewise, the Riddick Collection touted a discount for Oblivion, $5 off at Target and $8 off at Walmart.

Best Buy and Target also touted catalog titles with coupons for upcoming films.

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5 Aug, 2013

New on Disc: 'Ishtar' and more …

Ishtar: Director’s Cut

Street 8/6
Sony Pictures, Comedy, $19.99
Blu-ray, NR.
Stars Warren Beatty, Dustin Hoffman, Isabelle Adjani, Charles Grodin.
This movie is, of course, best known for prodigious cost overruns partially sparked by Elaine May’s directorial indecision that led this Road to Morocco for the 1980s to be termed “The Road to Ruin” by one or more industry wags. Accordingly, easy-to-pronounce Ishtar has become, for a quarter century now, convenient shorthand to convey a bomb for all seasons immersed in a tsunami of red ink. Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman play singer-songwriters so desperate for any gig they take a bargain-basement engagement in a desert burg mired in international intrigue involving a threatened Emir and his CIA cronies. I suppose some will carp that there are no bonus extras here, but can you see going to Beatty or Hoffman or Isabelle Adjani or May and asking them to do a commentary?
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Blood and Sand (Blu-ray)

Fox, Drama, $24.99 Blu-ray, NR.
Stars Tyrone Power, Linda Darnell, Rita Hayworth, Anthony Quinn.
There’s Technicolor beauty to burn in director Rouben Mamoulian’s remake of the Vicente Blasco Ibanez bullfighting warhorse. Tyrone Power plays an illiterate who finds his financial success as a matador compromised by the usual leeches and hangers-on who become part of the package. To a Blu-ray degree I’d never fathomed in previous viewings, here’s one of the absolute hallmarks of Hollywood Golden Age pigmentation. The Oscar it got for color cinematography is no lie, and the scenic design, which could serve as the final in someone’s geometry class, really gets a Blu-ray boost here.
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30 Jul, 2013

'G.I. Joe' Deploys at Retail

Walmart's 'G.I. Joe: Retaliation' steelbook packaging
Walmart's 'G.I. Joe: Retaliation' steelbook packaging

With Paramount’s G.I. Joe: Retaliation being the first movie that grossed more than $100 million domestically to make its way to home video since Oz the Great and Powerful June 11, retailers lined up to give special treatment.

Best Buy offered an exclusive “Extended Action Cut” of the film packaged with the theatrical cut in the Blu-ray combo pack.

Target, on the other hand, offered a twofer: Its G.I. Joe: Retaliation Blu-ray combo pack came with not only 35 minutes of exclusive bonus features, but also a set of pack-on dog tags.

Walmart offered the Retaliation 3D Blu-ray in a steelbook case, and the DVD packed with the first film, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.

Looking at other promotions, Best Buy offered Warner’s Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox Blu-ray combo pack with a pack-on figurine Professor Zoom, Flash’s archrival and the villain of the film.

Target heralded the arrival of Star Trek: The Next Generation — Season Four on Blu-ray by offering a $5 discount to anyone who bought it in conjunction with the same-day released Star Trek: Redemption Blu-ray.


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25 Jul, 2013

Best Buy Bets on 'Wolverine'

Best Buy's 'Wolverine' Comic Giveaway
Best Buy's 'Wolverine' Comic Giveaway

Best Buy is offering a huge promotion tied to the theatrical release of the latest “X-Men” movie, The Wolverine.

The chain is touting $10 in box office coupons included with Blu-ray and DVD copies of previous “X-Men” movies, offered at $9.99 each for Blu-ray and $7.99 for DVD, with a box set of the first three films listed at $19.99 for Blu-ray and $14.99 for DVD.

Best Buy also brought back its coupon deal for used DVDs, giving an additional $5 discount on Blu-rays $9.99 and up in exchange for a used DVD. This would drop the “X-Men” Blu-rays to $4.99 each and $14.99 for the trilogy.

In addition, specially marked packages include an exclusive Wolverine No. 1 comic book.

In addition, Best Buy continues to tout its G.I. Joe: Retaliation preorders, listing their version as an exclusive “Extended Action Cut.”

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22 Jul, 2013

New on Disc: 'The Jack Benny Program: The Lost Episodes' and more…

The Jack Benny Program: The Lost Episodes

Street 7/23
Shout! Factory, Comedy, $29.93 three-DVD set, NR.
Having already done well by Ernie Kovacs, Mel Brooks and Richard Pryor in recent times with lavish boxed sets, Shout! Factory now offers 18 restored “Jack Benny” episodes from UCLA’s Film & Television Archive. You eventually will be rewarded with the unimaginable sight of Gary Cooper, backed by Benny’s in-house group The Sportsmen, performing a 1958 cover of the Everly Brothers’ Cadence hit of the day — “Bird Dog.” John Wayne shows up as well — coming out of his seat in the audience to promote The Alamo by (in a skit) enjoying a café date with singer Jaye P. Morgan (later of “The Gong Show” notoriety). This is an indication of just how big Benny’s CBS Sunday nights were for so long.
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Bert Stern: Original Mad Man

First Run, Documentary, B.O. $0.03 million, $27.95 DVD, NR.
After a year-and-a-half of hopping around from festival to festival, writer-director Shannah Laumeister’s documentary on a true photographic genius (and her longtime lover to boot) got a brief theatrical run this past April, not quite three months before its subject died on June 25. Bert Stern was known for a lot of things — most prominently, I would guess, the series of those semi-nude Marilyn Monroe photos that were shot weeks before the actress’s death. Throughout the documentary and in the DVD extras, we see examples of Stern’s work, and the recognition factor is almost enough to make one gasp if he or she is of a certain age. There’s a great bit where we see what Madison Avenue ads looked like before Stern came on the scene and changed the playing field.
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16 Jul, 2013

Walmart's Exclusive 'Bullet'

Only Walmart is selling a 'Bullet to the Head' standalone DVD
Only Walmart is selling a 'Bullet to the Head' standalone DVD

After the Sylvester Stallone actioner Bullet to the Head pulled in less than $10 million at the domestic box office, Warner decided to make it one of the rare home videos of a recent film with just a Blu-ray combo pack getting a wide release.

The exception, as could be expected, is Walmart, which is the only retailer offering a standalone DVD of the film, which it is selling at a price point about half that of the combo pack. The $12.96 price is also cheaper than the digital version on Amazon.com.

Walmart also unveiled the latest family film for which it has exclusive rights, Screen Media’s The Adventures of Mickey Matson and the Copperhead Treasure, presented on DVD at $9.96.

Target offered a few deals with Warner’s new 42 home video. The Blu-ray combo pack came with exclusive box art and bonus content. In addition, Target offered an instant $5 savings when 42 was purchased in conjunction with a licensed team baseball hat.

For Sony Pictures’ Evil Dead remake, Target offered the Blu-ray in an exclusive steelbook case.

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15 Jul, 2013

New on Disc: 'Wild Bill: Hollywood Maverick' and more …

Wild Bill: Hollywood Maverick

Kino Lorber, Documentary, $19.95 DVD, NR.
Though William A. Wellman directed his share of clunkers for a filmmaker occasionally and, well, erroneously mentioned in the same breath with titans John Ford or Howard Hawks, you have to credit him for surviving four active decades in the business. Directed by son William Jr., this documentary hasn’t been seen enough. Because Wellman worked for so many years and didn’t get tied down at any one studio (partly because he perpetually defied authority), it almost seems as if he worked with everybody. One doesn’t expect the director of Wings to have also worked with Clint Eastwood, Sidney Poitier, James Garner, Tab Hunter and Tom Laughlin, but he did — also Gregory Peck, Nancy Reagan, Richard Widmark and Robert Mitchum, and all nine are interviewed on camera along with many others Wellman directed over the long haul. Even Robert Redford is here (and extremely affecting) because he was a baseball buddy of Bill Jr. and thus a friend of the family. John Wayne and James Cagney also show up via kinescope.
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Jupiter’s Darling

Available through online retailers via Warner Archive
Warner, Musical, $18.95 DVD, NR.
Stars Esther Williams, Howard Keel, Marge Champion, George Sanders, Richard Haydn, William Demarest.
Adapted from the play Road to Rome by Robert E. Sherwood, this has been described as the movie that ended the MGM musical — which isn’t precisely true but close enough. It is the last movie in which Esther Williams swam. It purports to tell what happens when invading Carthaginian Hannibal clashes geographically and romantically with Rome’s Fabius Maximus.
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9 Jul, 2013

Retailers Push Film Tie-Ins

The attention retailers heaped upon Despicable Me 2 prior to its July 3 theatrical release has paid off with huge box office numbers, so it’s understandable tie-ins with new theatrical releases would remain fresh on the agendas of the major chains.

Target is offering $7.50 Theater Cash coupons for several recent and upcoming movies with the purchase of select catalog DVDs and Blu-rays, chief among them a Despicable Me 2 coupon and Minion figure with the Despicable Me, Lorax, Hop or ParaNorman DVD at $8.99.

Other movies in the deal include a $7.50 Turbo coupon with the Madagascar 3 DVD ($14.99), a $7.50 World War Z coupon with the purchase of the Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol Blu-ray ($11.99), $10 for White House Down with the Colombiana Blu-ray ($11.99), and $8 for R.I.P.D. or Kick-Ass 2 with The Bourne Legacy Blu-ray ($11.99).

Best Buy offered $5 in instant savings with the joint purchase of two new Tyler Perry discs: his latest film Temptation and his play The Haves and the Have Nots.

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