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August 29, 2014 - Thirty-five years ago, Gary Busey earned an Academy Award nomination for Lead Actor for his turn in The Buddy Holly Story. This 1978 biopic looks at the short life and career of the influential rock and roll singer from Texas with a sound unlike any before him. Now available in limited quantities, Twilight Time's Blu-ray retains an audio commentary by Busey and director Steve Rash (Can't Buy Me Love) and the film's original trailer. It also adds a music-only track and an essay booklet. Read our review.
Before making such acclaimed films as Gravity, Children of Men, and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Academy Award-winning director Alfonso Cuarón got the world's attention with Y Tu Mamá También. This racy 2001 Mexican coming-of-age drama follows two immature teenagers (Diego Luna and Gael García Bernal) and an older woman (Maribel Verdú) on an aimless road trip to the beach. The Criterion Collection's recent 3-disc Dual-Format Edition (consisting of 1 Blu-ray and 2 DVDs) includes over an hour of making-of featurettes and retrospectives, deleted scenes, US marketing, an epic booklet preserving the director's detailed character biographies, and a short film directed by the film's co-writer Carlos Cuarón. Don't miss our thorough review.
Expanding in theaters today is The Trip to Italy. In this follow-up to 2011's The Trip similarly adapted from a BBC television series, Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon play mildly fictionalized versions of themselves on vacation in Italy, where they take in historical sites and local cuisine, while entertaining us with impressions of famous actors. No reservations needed for our film review.
August 28, 2014 - Anchor Bay Entertainment and RADiUS-TWC have announced an October 21st Blu-ray and DVD release date for Snowpiercer. One of 2014's most acclaimed films, Bong Joon Ho's post-apocalyptic thriller starring Captain America's Chris Evans will be packed with bonus features. Its two-disc sets will include a critics audio commentary and much more. For artwork, preorders, and complete details, see the full press release.
August 27, 2014 - Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore reunite for a third romantic comedy in Blended. From The Wedding Singer director Frank Coraci, this film sends a widower (Sandler), a divorcée (Barrymore), and their total of five kids to Africa for one lavish vacation intended for a blended family. Now available, Warner's combo pack includes deleted scenes, a gag reel, and a host of making-of featurettes. Our review.
Clark Gregg (Agent Coulson from Marvel films and television shows) wrote, directed, produced and stars in Trust Me, which tells the story of a struggling Hollywood agent to child actors whose spirits are lifted by a promising new client (Saxon Sharbino). Featuring Amanda Peet, Sam Rockwell, Felicity Huffman, and Allison Janney, this independent film is now on DVD. Read our review.
August 26, 2014 - Paramount has announced a September 30th Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, and DVD release for Transformers: Age of Extinction. This fourth and latest installment of director Michael Bay's blockbuster action franchise sees Mark Wahlberg assume the lead human role. It will be joined by over three hours of extras on Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D, which arrive two weeks after the film becomes available on Digital HD. For cover art and complete details, see the press release.
Our newest review covers "Low Winter Sun": The Complete Series. Remaking the 2006 British miniseries of the same name, this AMC hour-long drama stars Mark Strong (reprising his role) as a Detroit homicide detective trying to cover up the fact that he and a colleague have killed one of their own. Now available, the 3-disc, 10-episode collection includes deleted scenes, episode featurettes, and three behind-the-scenes shorts. Our complete DVD review.
August 25, 2014 - Our coverage of this week's new discs begins with "Portlandia": Season Four. The IFC sketch comedy series, nominated for two awards at tonight's Primetime Emmys, brings back a host of eccentric characters played by Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein. Guest stars include Emmy-nominated Steve Buscemi, Jeff Goldblum, Olivia Wilde, Kirsten Dunst, the Portland Trail Blazers, and k.d. lang. VSC's two-disc DVD has no Blu-ray alternative or bonus features. Our review.
August 21, 2014 - John Turturro writes, directs, and stars in Fading Gigolo, a comedy about a New York florist who steps into the lucrative world of male prostitution. Co-starring Woody Allen, Sharon Stone, Sofía Vergara, Liev Schreiber, and Vanessa Paradis, this independent film was a minor hit in limited spring release. It is now on Blu-ray, joined by a Turturro audio commentary, deleted scenes, outtakes, and a trailer. Our review.
August 20, 2014 - Writer-director Jim Jarmusch (Broken Flowers, Dead Man) turns our attentions to a bohemian vampire couple in Only Lovers Left Alive. Tom Hiddleston, Tilda Swinton, Mia Wasikowska, Anton Yelchin, and John Hurt star in this film about cultured undead who haven't aged in centuries. Now available, Sony's DVD includes a 49-minute documentary, nearly a half-hour of deleted/extended scenes, a music video, and the film's trailer. Our review.
August 19, 2014 - The Amazing Spider-Man 2 extended the tradition of diminishing returns that have met what was twice last decade the biggest attraction in films. Director Marc Webb continues to chart the dual lives of Peter Parker and Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield). In this installment, Peter/Spidey graduates from high school, reconnects with an old friend, gets dumped by Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), and does battle with three new villains (played by Jamie Foxx, Dane DeHaan, and Paul Giamatti). Available today, Sony's Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD combo pack serves up over five hours of bonus features, including commentary, 13 deleted/alternate scenes (including a jaw-dropping one), an Alicia Keys music video, and a feature-length making-of documentary. Don't miss our full review.
August 18, 2014 - Better late than never! We're closing the book on last year with a final update to our The Films of 2013: Ranked and Reviewed feature. In it, 225 films released theatrically in 2013 are ranked from worst to first and revisited with a one-sentence review and a link to our full theatrical or home video coverage. Start with the worst or skip ahead to the top 75. Either way, use this exhaustive resource to decide what you need to see, as well as what you can skip, from a good chunk of last year's output. Begin the final countdown!
August 17, 2014 - Our newest review details The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad & Fun & Fancy Free. Disney's newest 2-Movie Collection actually holds three films, including The Reluctant Dragon, the entertaining 1941 "documentary" taking you behind the scenes of the Disney studio. Consisting predominantly of half-hour animated shorts, Ichabod and Fun stand above most of their fellow 1940s anthology films. On DVD, they're joined by virtual storybooks and a 1997 retrospective on Fun's making. Our review.
August 15, 2014 - Disney has announced another wave of Studio Ghibli Blu-ray + DVD combo packs to release on November 18th. Receiving their US Blu-ray debuts will be The Wind Rises, the last film of Hayao Miyazaki released to North American theaters earlier this year; Kiki's Delivery Service, the 1988 fantasy that became Disney's first dub in the late 1990s; and Princess Mononoke, a PG-13 which is now being branded Disney after previously carrying the Miramax Films name. Each set will carry a $36.99 SRP and include the standard supply of storyboards, trailers, English voice cast featurettes, and more. Click the thumbnails below for larger cover art and Amazon preorders:
August 14, 2014 - After favorable reviews and strong word-of-mouth weren't enough to make it stand out this summer, Warner Bros. looks to downplay the generic title for the home video release of Edge of Tomorrow. From Bourne Identity director Doug Liman, this sci-fi action film starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt looks at a future where one man can relive an important day of combat against a formidable race until he gets it right. In stores October 7th with cover art emphasizing the tagline Live Die Repeat, the film will be joined by deleted scenes and a number of featurettes, two of which also make it to the DVD. See the press release for cover art and full details.
Today's new review covers next week's release of Toy Story of Terror!. Pixar's first television special finds the toys at a hotel, where they start disappearing one at a time. The low-priced Blu-ray + Digital HD Digital Copy release is loaded with bonus features including all three Toy Story Toons shorts, audio commentaries on those shorts and the special, a making-of featurette, deleted scenes, and vintage toy commercials created for this. Do not miss our thorough review.
August 13, 2014 - "Peppa Pig": The Balloon Ride serves up an hour of the animated British children's television series that airs on Nick Jr. In twelve 5-minute episodes, Peppa and her family rides bikes and hot air balloons, visit relatives and a museum, go ice skating, use a movie camera, and eat ice cream. Read our full DVD review.
Our coverage of this week's many Disney combo packs continues with a look at Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers. The three titular characters star in their first single narrative feature together, playing clumsy janitors who have long dreamed of becoming Musketeers. This direct-to-video comic adventure celebrates its 10th anniversary by adding a short new dance video to recycled extras including deleted scenes, character commentary, a making-of featurette, and Disney Song Selection. Our review.
August 12, 2014 - The Railway Man tells the true story of Eric Lomax (Colin Firth), a train enthusiast in 1980s England still haunted by his harrowing experiences as a prisoner of war during World War II. Co-starring Nicole Kidman, Jeremy Irvine, and Stellan Skarsgård, this British-Australian drama is now on Blu-ray from The Weinstein Company and Anchor Bay, accompanied by filmmakers' audio commentary and a half-hour making-of featurette. Our review.
After its usual summer slowdown, home video picks up the slack today with a deluge of new and notable Blu-ray and DVD releases, including seven combo packs from Disney alone. For a detailed look at today's new discs, see our schedule.
August 11, 2014 - Another animated Disney film reaches Blu-ray and we've got a review. Adapted from the first of many Edgar Rice Burroughs novels on the character, the 1999 adventure Tarzan revived provided Disney with their biggest in-house animated hit since The Lion King. Featuring songs by Phil Collins including the Oscar-winning "You'll Be in My Heart", the film tells the story of a boy raised by apes in the jungles of Africa. Available tomorrow, the Special Edition Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD Digital Copy includes hours of bonus features, including audio commentary, deleted scenes, music videos, character and effects featurettes, trailers, a storyboard comparison, and a progession reel. Our thorough review.
August 10, 2014 - Muppets Most Wanted, the Jim Henson franchise's eighth theatrical film, takes the colorful gang on a world tour, where Kermit switches places with a fugitive criminal, who teams with their manager (Ricky Gervais) to target the crown jewels and other European treasures. Releasing on Tuesday, Disney's The Unnecessarily Extended Edition, a Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD Digital Copy combo pack lives up to its name with an elongated cut of the film. It also includes Statler & Waldorf's preferred edit of the film, a Bret McKenzie music video, a short clip featuring Rizzo the Rat, and an historically long blooper reel. Full review.
August 9, 2014 - Our coverage of the five Disney animated films making their Blu-ray debuts next week begins with Hercules. It tells the story of Hercules, son of Zeus and Hera, trying to become heroic as a mortal against the wishes of underworld leader Hades. From Aladdin and The Little Mermaid directors Ron Clements and John Musker, this 1997 musical comedy is joined by a making-of featurette, a fiery Ricky Martin music video, and a "Zero to Hero" sing-along on its much-anticipated Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD Digital Copy combo pack. Read our review.
August 8, 2014 - Bears, the newest film from Disneynature, lives up to its title with a look at the first year of life for two brown bear cubs and their mother as they go searching for food. In stores Tuesday, Disney's Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD Digital Copy combo pack includes four short making-of featurettes and an Olivia Holt music video. Full review.
Reaching DVD next Tuesday from Paramount, Turtle Power: The Definitive History of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles documents the first thirty years of the franchise, from its humble beginnings as a limited print comic in New Hampshire to the extremely popular late '80s and early '90s animated show, toy line, and film franchise that followed. This feature length documentary includes interviews with creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, licensors, toy manufacturers, voice cast members, filmmakers, and fans. Don't miss our advance review.
"Breaking Bad" Emmy winner Aaron Paul makes the jump to leading man of film in Need for Speed, adapted from the long-running Electronic Arts driving video game series. Paul plays Tobey Marshall, a mechanic and racer who looks to clear his name after serving a two-year jail sentence. Co-starring Michael Keaton, Dominic Cooper, Imogen Poots, and Kid Cudi, this PG-13 action movie is now on Blu-ray, joined by deleted scenes, an audio commentary by Paul and director Scott Waugh (Act of Valor), and a number of making-of featurettes. Read our review.
August 7, 2014 - Our newest Blu-ray review covers Divergent, the hit adaptation of the bestselling young adult novel. In a dystopian future where the public is divided into five factions, one teenage girl (Shailene Woodley) discovers she is the rare outlier suited for all five. Now available, Summit's Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD combo pack includes two audio commentaries, more than an hour of making-of content, deleted scenes, trailers, and an Ellie Goulding music video. Don't miss our review.
August 5, 2014 - Our coverage of today's new DVD and Blu-ray releases includes a detailed look at Ping Pong Summer, an independent coming-of-age comedy set in Ocean City, Maryland during the summer of 1985. Shy 13-year-old Radford Miracle brings his own paddle to the crab town, where he makes a new best friend, develops a crush on Stacy Summers, and runs afowl of a couple of rich residents, one of whom he challenges to a ping pong showdown. Featuring Susan Sarandon, Lea Thompson, John Hannah, and Amy Sedaris, this unrated release hits home video from Millennium Entertainment, joined by a making-of featurette and an audio commentary by writer-director Michael Tully and producer George Rush. Our Blu-ray review.
August 1, 2014 - Marvel introduces us to a new team of superheroes in Guardians of the Galaxy. Now in theaters, this action comedy from director James Gunn (Slither, Super) tells the story of an American abducted in childhood (Chris Pratt) and the eccentric allies with whom he attempts to escape a high security space prison. With enthusiastic reviews and big box office expectations, read our full review.
Recent Film Reviews:
• Mid-Year Report - Counting down the ten best and ten worst films released this year and looking ahead with teasers and trailers to twenty upcoming releases worth anticipating.
• Boyhood - Twelve years in the making, this drama from writer-director Richard Linklater (Before Midnight, Dazed and Confused) looks at the coming-of-age of one Texas boy (Ellar Coltrane). Met with near-universal acclaim and the best reviews of 2014 so far, this nearly three-hour film casts Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke as the boy's separated parents.
• Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is a surprisingly excellent follow-up to the 2011 reboot Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Changing directors and human cast, while moving the focus to the apes, this sequel from Cloverfield director Matt Reeves grips with its tale of human-ape tension. No wonder it's become one of 2014's best-reviewed films.
• Edge of Tomorrow - Adapted from a Japanese graphic novel, this sci-fi action flick is set in a future in which an Army PR guy (Tom Cruise) discovers he has the opportunity to relive the same day, a gift he uses to aid in the military's war against alien creatures. Directed by The Bourne Identity's Doug Liman, the film co-stars Emily Blunt and Bill Paxton.
Recent Blu-ray and DVD Reviews:
• Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace & Music (40th Anniversary Revisited Blu-ray) - Released the spring after the iconic Bethel, New York concert attended by half a million, this winner of the 1970 Best Documentary Feature Academy Award is presented in its nearly four-hour 1994 director's cut and joined by six hours of bonus features. The brand new bonus disc's extras include 16 previously unreleased song performances and an additional 35 minutes of featurettes. They join the nearly four hours of performances and retrospectives from a recycled bonus disc and are packaged alongside an iron-on concert patch, ticket replicas, and color reproductions of newspaper and magazine articles.
• "The Birthday Boys": The Complete First Season - The LA comedy troupe makes the leap to IFC in this sketch comedy series executive produced by and featuring Bob Odenkirk and Ben Stiller. Available next Tuesday, Anchor Bay's 2-disc DVD holds the first ten episodes, all with audio commentary, plus nearly an hour of additional extras including a making-of featurette, stage show excerpts, assorted bonus video, and promos.
• Noah (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD) - Darren Aronofsky, the Academy Award-nominated director of Black Swan and The Wrestler, brings an Old Testament story to the big screen. Russell Crowe plays the early man, who builds a giant ark following premonitions of a great flood. Co-starring Jennifer Connelly, Ray Winstone, Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, and Anthony Hopkins, this Biblical epic grossed $100 million in theaters. Paramount's combo pack holds an hour of making-of featurettes.
• "Secret State" - The four-episode UK political thriller stars Gabriel Byrne as a Deputy Prime Minister who runs for Prime Minister in the wake of two tragedies, he subsequently must address. Acorn's two-disc DVD includes four behind-the-scenes featurettes.
• Insomnia (Criterion Collection Blu-ray + DVD) - The 1997 Norwegian thriller that Christopher Nolan remade in 2002, is reissued in this Dual-Format Edition. Stellan Skarsgård (Mamma Mia!, Thor) stars as a Swedish detective investigating the murder of a teenaged girl while battling sleeplessness during Norway's 24-hour summer sunlight. The two-disc set includes a new conversation between Skarsgård and director Erik Skjoldbjærg, Skjoldbjærg's two half-hour student shorts, a trailer, and an essay booklet.
• We're in the Movies: Palace of Silents & Itinerant Filmmaking (Blu-ray + DVD) - Flicker Alley's combo collects two documentaries and five bonus shorts. When You Wore a Tulip and I Wore a Big Red Rose reflects on the filming and locations of the 1914 Wausau, Wisconsin short The Lumberjack. Then, Palace of Silents: The Silent Movie Theater in Los Angeles celebrates and chronicles a longtime LA institution. The two are joined by silents and itinerant shorts plus a booklet essay.
• Transcendence (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD) - Accomplished Christopher Nolan cinematographer Wally Pfister makes his directorial debut on this sci-fi thriller starring Johnny Depp as a dying brilliant scientist who takes steps to live on in a computer system. Co-starring Rebecca Hall, Paul Bettany, Morgan Freeman, Cillian Murphy, and Kate Mara, this spring box office dud hits Blu-ray combo pack this week, joined by a number of trailers and short featurettes.
• Blue Ruin (Blu-ray) - This acclaimed revenge drama finds a Delaware drifter (Macon Blair) looking to avenge his parents when their killer is released from jail. Featuring Home Alone's Devin Ratray and "The Brady Bunch"'s Eve Plumb, this feature from writer-director-cinematographer Jeremy Saulnier is joined by an audio commentary, a making-of featurette, two deleted scenes, and a camera test on the Weinstein-Anchor Bay Blu-ray.
• Lullaby - From first-time writer-director Andrew Levitas, this independent drama tells the story of a young musician (Garrett Hedlund) who returns to New York to visit his dying father (Richard Jenkins). Co-starring Amy Adams, Jessica Findlay Brown, Anne Archer, Jennifer Hudson, and Terrence Howard, this R-rated film is joined by its trailer on ARC Entertainment's slipcovered DVD.
• Heaven Is for Real (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD) - Based on the true story detailed in a bestselling 2010 book, this PG-rated spring box office hit looks at the family of a Nebraska pastor (Greg Kinnear), whose son claims to have visited Heaven during a near-death experience. Co-starring Kelly Reilly, Thomas Haden Church, and Margo Martindale, this film is directed and co-written by Braveheart's Randall Wallace. Sony's combo pack includes deleted scenes and three featurettes.
• Born Yesterday (Blu-ray) - Adapted from the Broadway play of the same name, this 1950 comedy-drama directed by George Cukor (The Philadelphia Story, My Fair Lady) tells the story of a rich tycoon (Broderick Crawford) who pays a journalist (William Holden) to make his fiancée (Judy Holliday) less ignorant. Nominated for five Academy Awards including Best Picture, this won Holliday the Best Actress Oscar over stiff competition from Sunset Blvd.'s Gloria Swanson and All About Eve's Bette Davis. Twilight Time's stunningly remastered Blu-ray includes two HD theatrical trailers, an isolated score, and an essay booklet.
• Radio Days (Blu-ray) - Written, directed, and narrated by Woody Allen, this 1987 comedy takes us back to the golden age of radio, reflecting on the late 1930s and early 1940s experiences of a working class Jewish family in Rockaway Beach, Queens and their connection to the radio programs they listen to. Nominated for two Academy Awards and featuring a large cast full of familiar faces, including Mia Farrow, Dianne Wiest, Seth Green, and Julie Kavner, this film is now available on Blu-ray from Twilight Time, joined by a trailer, a music and effects-only track, and an essay booklet.
• 13 Sins (Blu-ray) - This thriller from The Last Exorcism director Daniel Stamm finds a broke, engaged, expecting 32-year-old man (Mark Webber) promised financial security for performing a series of disturbing acts. Now available, the Weinstein/Anchor Bay Blu-ray includes a deleted sequence, an alternate ending, a making-of featurette, an audio commentary, and more.
• Ragamuffin (Blu-ray) - This low-budget biopic tells the story of Rich Mullins, the Christian singer-songwriter of "Awesome God", whom it follows from a child in 1960s Indiana to a young man attending college in Cincinnati to a successful artist in Nashville. Millennium's Blu-ray includes two deleted scenes, a making-of featurette, an audio commentary, and a message from Mullins' brother Dave.
• Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? - Taiwanese comedy tells the story of a married middle-aged optometrist who considers coming out of the closet. A Film Movement film-of-the-month club pick, the film is joined by an interview of writer-director Arvin Chen, trailers, biographies, and Chen's short film Mei.
• Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (Blu-ray) - This 1957 drama stars Robert Mitchum as a U.S. Marine and Deborah Kerr as a nun who find themselves alone stranded on the same tropical island hoping to avoid the Japanese soldiers who come and go. Nominated for two Academy Awards, this John Huston-directed film is joined by its trailer, relevant vintage newsreels, an isolated music and effects track, and an essay booklet in Twilight Time's limited edition Blu-ray.
• The Unknown Known (Blu-ray) - Academy Award-winning documentarian Errol Morris (The Fog of War) turns his attentions to another former U.S. Secretary of Defense, with an interview of Donald Rumsfeld and examination of his long career in politics, paying special notice to his actions in the war on Iraq. The Weinstein and Anchor Bay Blu-ray includes a Morris audio commentary and interview, the complete 1989 Third Annual Report of the Secretaries of Defense, and Morris' four-part op-ed article on Rumsfeld.
• The Lunchbox (Blu-ray + DVD) - The year's top-grossing foreign film so far tells the story of a working man (Life of Pi's Irrfan Khan) who starts receiving the flavorful home-cooked lunches of a neglected housewife (Nimrat Kau) at the government job from which he is about to retire. Sony's combo pack includes this Indian film's North American trailer and an audio commentary by first-time writer/director Ritesh Batra.
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