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New on DVD and Blu-ray Week of January 8-14

View Harley Lond's Profile

By Harley Lond - 01/07/13 at 10:02 PM CT

There's not much excitement on the theatrical-to-DVD shelves this week; here's some brief rundowns on the major releases:

Has Tim Burton run out of ideas? You might think so with his latest, "Frankenweenie," a 3D stop-motion animated adventure that revisits the director's original 1984 short. It's a cheery, creepy tale about a boy and his dog. After unexpectedly losing his beloved pooch Sparky, young Victor harnesses the power of science to bring his best friend back to life -- with just a few minor adjustments. He tries to hide his home-sewn creation, but when Sparky gets Tim Burton's black and white stop-motion animated film, Frankenweenie out, Victor's fellow students, teachers and the entire town all learn that getting a new "leash on life" can be monstrous. With the voices of Winona Ryder, Robert Capron, Charlie Tahan, Martin Short, Catherine O'Hara, Martin Landau, Conchata Ferrell and Christopher Lee.

In the thriller "Hit & Run," Charlie Bronson (Dax Shepard), a former getaway driver, busts out of the Witness Protection Program to drive his girlfriend (Kristen Bell) to Los Angeles so she can land her dream job. Their road trip grows awkwardly complicated, when they are chased by the feds (led by Tom Arnold), and increasingly dangerous, when Charlie's former gang of criminals (led by Bradley Cooper) enter the fray. More laughs than thrills.

"House at the End of the Street" is a typical haunted house thriller: Seeking a fresh start, newly divorced Sarah (Elisabeth Shue) and her daughter Elissa (Jennifer Lawrence) find the house of their dreams in a small, upscale, rural town. But when startling and unexplainable events begin to happen, Sarah and Elissa learn the town is in the shadows of a chilling secret. We won't tell.

"Dredd" is a super violent, nonsensical special-effects and explosion laden big-screen adaptation of the Judge Dredd comic strip. It takes place in a future America that is an irradiated waste land of vast, violent metropolises where criminals rule the chaotic streets and the only force of order lies with the urban cops called "Judges," who possess the combined powers of judge, jury and instant executioner. The ultimate Judge -- Dredd, played by Karl Urban -- must rid the city of its latest scourge -- a dangerous pusher of dangerous drug. It's violence for violence's sake.

DVD Collectibles:


Topping the list of collectibles this week is the Blu-ray debut of
"Jazz Singer" (1927), starring Al Jolson, Warner Oland, May McAvoy and Eugenie Besserer in a Blu-Ray Book package with behind-the-scenes collector's cards, lobby cards, souvenir program, a booklet with reproductions of vintage documents, a post premiere telegram from Al Jolson, and a collection of vintage cartoons and rare early sound era shorts and Vitaphone talkies; $35.99 from Warner ... Follow that up with the Blu-ray debut of "Two-Lane The Jazz Singer Poster Black Top" (1971) from maverick director Monte Hellman. Drag racing east from L.A. in a souped-up '55 Chevy are the wayward Driver and Mechanic (singer-songwriter James Taylor and the Beach Boys' Dennis Wilson, in their only acting roles), accompanied by a tagalong Girl ("Cockfighter's" Laurie Bird). Along the way, they meet Warren Oates's Pontiac GTO-driving wanderer and challenge him to a cross-country race -- ­the prize: their cars' pink slips. But no summary can do justice to the existential punch of "Two-Lane Blacktop." With its gorgeous widescreen compositions and sophisticated look at American male obsession, this stripped-down narrative is one of the artistic high points of 1970s cinema; from The Criterion Collection ... The "Lost Films of Herschell Gordon Lewis" brings together three previously thought lost sexploitation features from Herschell Gordon Lewis, the acclaimed master of exploitation cinema: "Ecstasies of Women" (1969) is a torrid comedy/drama set in the swinging world of late 60s Los Angeles; "Linda and Abilene" (1969) combines the savagery of a classic Hollywood Western with sequences of intense eroticism; "Black Love" (1971) exposes the lovemaking habits of a contemporary black couple through a series of amusing and creative vignettes. All three films have been restored in 2K from their original camera negatives and are being released on home video for the first time. In a Blu-ray/DVD Combo from Vinegar Syndrome/CAV Distributing.

There's three more Blu-ray debuts this week: "Driving Miss Daisy" (1989), "Mrs Miniver" (1942) and "Grand Hotel" (1932).

And now for something completely different: Take a look at "Lapland Odyssey" (2010 -- Finland), a buddy-road-trip comedy that's thankfully short on the Lapland Odyssey DVD Cover raunch but long on off-kilter humor and heart. Set in the frozen landscape of northern Finland (Lapland), this comedy follows a raucous road trip that begins when slacker Janne is sent out into the night by his beautiful and frustrated girlfriend Inari to purchase a cable box for their home. But the quest is not as simple as it sounds. Janne, accompanied by his two hapless and troublemaking friends, is propelled along a bizarre journey filled with such obstacles as naked, gun-toting Russians, a very very hostile reindeer, a Jacuzzi of bikini-clad beauties, barroom brawls, Inari's creepy ex-boyfriend, and much more. From indie distribution company Artsploitation Films, a new home for edgy, unpredictable and provocative films from around the world.

Buzzin' the 'B's:


A priceless Apache war mask has been stolen from an Indian casino causing criminals, frat boys, tomahawk-wielding hit men, modern-day cowboys, Elvis impersonators and a six-foot-tall blonde assassin to rampage through a small desert Nevada town in hopes of claiming the treasure first in "Guns, Girls and Gambling" (2011), starring Gary Oldman, Christian Slater, Dane Cook, Powers Boothe, Jeff Fahey, Megan Park and Chris Kattan; on DVD and Blu-ray from Universal ... In "War of the Dead" (2011 -- USA-Lithuania-Italy), War of the Dead Blu-Ray Cover starring Andrew Tiernan, Mark Wingett, Mikko Leppilampi and Jouko Ahola, a platoon of American and Finnish soldiers is driven deep into a Russian forest where its captain discovers a terrifying secret: They're fighting an army of undead Nazi soldiers who can't be killed. On DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo from Entertainment One ... The National Geographic Channel feature "Seal Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden" (2012) is based on true events and framed by real-time footage, and recounts the dramatic behind-the-scenes decisions that brought the world's most wanted man to justice. Stars Cam Gigandet, Anson Mount, Freddy Rodriguez, Xzibit, Kathleen Robertson, Eddie Kay Thomas and Kenneth Miller. On DVD and Blu-ray from The Weinstein Company/Anchor Bay ... In "Now Is Good" (2012), starring Dakota Fanning and Jeremy Irvine, a young woman (Fanning), after being told she has only a few months to live, decides to fill her remaining days with unexpected adventure, laughter and romance. Based on the romantic best-seller. From Sony ... The smash U.K. series The Inbetweeners makes it way to the big screen with "The Inbetweeners Movie" (2012). After high school graduation, best friends Will, Jay, Neil and Simon jet off on an all-expenses paid, no-holds-barred, totally mental trip to an exotic Greek isle. Buoyed by dreams of endless sun-drenched days, booze-fueled evenings and booty-filled nights, the young lads are on the loose in virgin territory but soon discover that they're in way over their heads. Stars James Buckley, Joe Thomas, Simon Bird and Blake Harrison. From Lionsgate ... The Inbetweeners Movie DVD Cover "The Assassins" (2012 -- China), starring Chow Yun-Fat, Yifei Liu and Hiroshi Tamaki, is an historical action drama set in the Three Kingdoms period of Chinese history and focuses on Han Dynasty warlord Cao Cao (Chow Yun-Fat) in his later years, as he explores the areas of military tactics, love, and the relationship between father and son. On DVD and Blu-ray from Well Go USA ... In this modern retelling of the classic horror tale "Hansel & Gretel" (2013), Dee Wallace, the kind-hearted mother in "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial," transforms into a cannibalistic monster who enslaves teen siblings in her house of terror deep in the forest. Co-stars Brent Lydic and Stephanie Greco. From The Asylum ... When a school project goes terribly wrong in the family friendly mystery "Ghost Trap" (2013), Cynthia Carter finds herself doing community service at mean, old Mrs. Gotham's house, rumored to be haunted. But it takes more than gossip to scare this scientist-in-training and she's determined to get to the bottom of the eerie happenings. From Inception Media Group ... Sleep Tight DVD Cover"Pathfinders: In the Company of Strangers" (2011), starring Michael Conner Humphreys and Christopher Serrone, is the true story of the American Pathfinders, volunteer paratroopers whose deadly mission was to land 30 minutes before the Normandy invasion, locate and mark strategic "drop zones" and set up the top-secret navigation equipment needed to guide the main airborne assault on D-Day. On DVD and Blu-ray from Inception Media Group ... "Sleep Tight" (2011) is a creepy thriller from Spain. Toiling silently among the residents of an everyday Barcelona apartment building, doorman Cesar harbors a dark secret: His sole desire in life is to make others unhappy. When he sets his sights on Clara, one of his building's cheeriest residents, his sick need blossoms into a full-fledged obsession. Latest film from Jaume Balaguero, the director of "Fragile" and the horror-thrillers "[Rec]" and "[Rec] 2." On DVD and Blu-ray from Dark Sky Films ... "Stone of Destiny" (2008) is the story of Ian Hamilton, a dedicated nationalist who re-ignited Scottish national pride in the 1950s with his daring raid on the heart of England to bring the Stone of Scone back to Scotland. From Green Apple Entertainment.

On the Indie Front:


A small town cinema in rural Ireland becomes the setting for a dramatic struggle between faith and passion, Rome and Hollywood and a man and his conscience in the 1950s in "Stella Days" (2011), starring Martin Sheen and Stephen Rea; from Tribeca Film ... When a prank caller convinces a fast food restaurant manager to interrogate an innocent young employee for theft, she commences the Stella Days DVD Coverinvestigation, following step-by-step instructions from the "officer" at the other end of the line, no matter how invasive they become in the based-on-a-true-story "Compliance" (2012), starring Dreama Walker, Ann Dowd and Pat Healy. From Magnolia Home Entertainment ... "Who Did I Marry?" (2012), starring Terri J. Vaughn and Thomas Ford, is a filmed stage play that explores the boundaries of love and marriage when a young wife discovers her husband's infidelity. From Entertainment One ... In "The Wise Kids" (2012), starring Tyler Ross, Molly Kunz and Allison Torem, three teenage friends contemplate their next stage of life following graduation: Brea, an introspective pastor's daughter experiencing debilitating doubt, the hyperactive Laura, Brea's best friend and a devout believer, and gay teen Tim, who draws strength from the support of his PFLAG Dad as he copes with the twists and turns of late adolescence. From Wolfe Video.

For the Family:


"Best of Widget!" (2012) includes six episodes -- plus a special bonus show -- featuring Wubbzy's pal Widget as he modifies a road racer for the Wuzzleburg Derby, tries to become a ballerina, and invents a solar-powered Barney: Let's Go to the Moon DVD Cover super-robot. "Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!" has been a hit with young viewers and families since its 2006 premiere on Nickelodeon, and this DVD is the second in the "Best of Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!" series. From Anchor Bay ... "Angelina Ballerina: Dance Around the World" (2013) consists of five new episodes of the preschool favorite dancing mouse as she dances around the world: "Angelina and the Irish Jig," "Angelina and the Cheddar Cheese Slide," "Angelina and the Windy Children's Day," "Angelina and the Smelly Cheese" and "Angelina and the Dragon Dance." $14.98 from Lionsgate ... In "Barney: Let's Go to the Moon" (2013), Barney and his friends discover that the sky's not the limit when you use your imagination in three "space" adventures: "Dream Big," "The Misbegotten Moon" and "The Amazing Captain Pickles." $14.98 from Lionsgate ... "Monsuno: Destiny" (2012) is the first DVD collection based on the highly popular Nicktoons animated series; five episodes, $14.97 from Shout! Factory Kids.

Special Interest:


"Hollywood: Streets of Gold" is an anthology of five documentaries on Hollywood: 1961's "Hollywood: The Golden Years" takes a look at the Golden Age of Cinema from its beginnings to the advent of sound, narrated by Gene Kelly; Henry Fonda narrates and looks at the lives, performances and mystique of the iconic personalities that made Hollywood the glamor capital of the world in 1963's "Hollywood: The Great Stars"; 1966's "The Legend of Marilyn Monroe" is a documentary on the life and career of the iconic sex symbol, narrated by director John Huston; Henry Fonda interviews Ingrid Bergman, Katharine Hepburn, Alfred Hitchcock, Rock Hudson and many more Hollywood insiders in 1969's "Hollywood: The Selznick Years"; 1982's "Hollywood: The Gift of Laughter" is a retrospective look at 60 years of great moments in film comedy, from the 1920s Samsara Blu-Ray Cover to the present. An incredible bargain at $9.98. From Mill Creek Entertainment ... The world of nature, and mankind's place in, is at the center of "Samsara" (2012) (a Sanskrit word meaning "continuous flow," referring to the cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth), the new feature shot on five continents over five years and created by Ron Fricke and Mark Magidson, the makers of the critically acclaimed "Chronos" and "Baraka." This one-of-a-kind look at our world, from the peaks of the Himalayas to the depths of Yosemite Valley and 25 countries in between (photographed in 70mm and transferred to 4K digital projection format), offers mesmerizing images of unprecedented clarity that illuminate the links between humanity and the rest of nature, showing how our life cycle mirrors the rhythm of the planet. On DVD and Blu-ray from MPI Media Group ... In "George Lopez: It's Not Me, It's You" (2012), George Lopez returns to HBO for his third live solo stand-up special, direct from the 7,000-seat Nokia Theatre in L.A. In the special, Lopez discusses the state of Latinos in the U.S. and covers topics such as dating and marriage, alcohol and drugs, parenting, irritating pets, Latino environmental firsts, getting old, the behavior of children, politics and more. $19.97 from HBO.

From TV to Video:


"Anger Management: Season One" (2012) is a two-disc set with 10 episodes, $29.97 from Lionsgate ... "Dallas: The Complete First Season" (2011) is a three-disc set with 10 episodes of the new series inspired by the original. The saga of the Ewing family dynasty continues with the children of J.R., Sue Ellen and Bobby battling each other for the coveted Southfork family estate. Dallas: The Complete First Season DVD Cover Extras include a "Back in Production" behind-the-scenes featurette, "Dressing Dallas" costume featurette, deleted scenes and a "Who Shot J.R.?" featurette; $39.98 from Warner ... "Dance Moms Season 2: Volume 1" (2011) is a three-disc set with 12 episodes, and "Dance Moms Season 2: Volume 2" (2012) is a three-disc set with 13 episodes, $24.98 each from Lionsgate ... "Enlightened: The Complete First Season" (2011) is a two-disc set with 10 episodes; DVD, $39.98; Blu-ray Disc, $49.99; from HBO ... "Episodes: The Complete First and Second Seasons" (2011-12) is a two-disc set with 16 episodes, with "Biographies" and photo galleries; $41.99 from CBS/Paramount ... "Fury -- The Lost Episodes" (1955-1960) features 23 episodes of the show about a boy and his horse; it includes 18 episodes never before on home video. The show, starring Peter Graves, aired for five seasons, then aired in syndication throughout the mid-1960s and 1970s under the name "Brave Stallion." $9.98 from Mill Creek Entertainment ... "Game Change" (2012), directed by Jay Roach and starring Julianne Moore, Ed Harris, Woody Harrelson, Alex Hyde-White, Brittany Underwood, Kevin Bigley, Peter MacNicol, Jamey Sheridan, Sarah Paulson and Ron Livingston, revisits a defining moment in U.S. politics with a searing, behind-the scenes look at John McCain's beleaguered 2008 presidential campaign -- from the decision to select Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as a running mate to the ticket's ultimate defeat in the general elections. Winner of five 2012 Emmy Awards. Based on the best-selling book of the same name. On DVD and Blu-ray from HBO ... "The Goode Family: The Complete Series" (2009) is a two-disc set with 13 episodes, $22.97 from Shout! Factory ... In "Hearts Afire -- The The Hour 2 DVD Cover Complete Series" (1992), John Ritter and Markie Post starred as a strict Washington conservative and a liberal journalist, respectively, who fall in love. Includes all 54 episodes, $9.98 from Mill Creek Entertainment ... "The Hour 2" (2011) is the second season of the acclaimed BBC America behind-the-scenes drama and espionage miniseries set in Cold War-era England that centers on a journalist, a producer, and an anchorman for an investigative news program. Available as a two-disc set with six episodes; DVD, $34.98; Blu-ray Disc, $39.98. From BBC Home Entertainment ... "Midsomer Murders Set 21" includes four new, contemporary stand-alone murder mysteries in the regional community of Midsomer; there's a new DCI and a new partner. Available as a four-disc DVD and two-disc Blu-ray. From Acorn Media ... In "Red Dwarf X" (2012), the most inept band of space travelers ever to roam the interstellar highway return with an all-new season of misadventures. Two-disc set with six episodes; DVD, $34.98; Blu-ray Disc, $39.98. From BBC Entertainment ... "Smash: Season One" (2012) is a four-disc set with 15 episodes, $59.98 from Universal.

Check out other new January 8-14 DVD releases at OnVideo.

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