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New on DVD and Blu-ray, Week of March 6

View Harley Lond's Profile

By Harley Lond - 03/07/12 at 03:50 PM CT

In addition to this week's major theatrical releases ("The Skin I Live In," "Footloose," "Immortals," "Like Crazy" and "Jack & Jill"), there's a cornucopia of Blu-ray and 'B' film releases. Here's a rundown:

Two high profile debuts highlight the Blu-ray releases this week. First is the wacky (to say the least; words desert us when it comes time to describe this incredibly nasty comedy) "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" (1974), starring Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones and Michael Palin. Sony has pretty much ported over the special features from the last DVD release, which includes "The Holy Book of Days Second Screen Experience"; lost animations with introduction by Terry Gilliam; outtakes & extended scenes; commentaries by Terry Gilliam & Terry Jones and even more revealing commentaries by John Cleese, Eric Idle & Michael Palin; "Quest for the Holy Grail Locations" with Michael Palin & Terry Jones; "Lego Knights: The Knights of the Round Table in Lego"; special Japanese version; "How to Use Your Coconuts" (an educational film); "BBC Film Night" on location; three songs to sing-along; cast directory photo gallery. ...

Paramount has for us the sophisticated cat burglar comedy-thriller "To Catch a Thief" (1955), directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Cary Grant, Grace Kelly. Bonus features include "A Night With the Hitchcocks," in which Alfred Hitchcock's daughter and granddaughter discuss the prolific director; "Unacceptable Under the Code: Film Censorship in America" look's at censorship during the time and its impact on the film; an exploration of the writing and casting; a "making-of" featurette; "Behind the Gates: Cary Grant and Grace Kelly" profiles; an interactive travelogue; "Alfred Hitchcock and To Catch A Thief: An Appreciation"; commentary by Hitchcock film historian Dr. Drew Casper; photo galleries; the original theatrical trailer, "Edith Head: The Paramount Years." Nice stuff.

Three other films are being re-released to Blu-ray this week in spiffed up versions: Michael Cimino's great "The Deer Hunter" (1978), starring Robert De Niro, John Cazale, John Savage, Christopher Walken, Meryl Streep, George Dzundza, here re-packed as a "Universal's 100th Anniversary" edition ... an "Out of Africa Collector's Series" edition (1985), directed by Sydney Pollack and starring Robert Redford and Meryl Streep, packed with a 44-page book with an introduction by Leonard Maltin, rare movie memorabilia, photos and more ... and "Reindeer Games (The Director's Cut)" (2000), John Frankenheimer's last feature film, starring Ben Affleck, Isaac Hayes, Charlize Theron and Gary Sinese; bonus features include a behind-the-scenes featurette, audio commentary with Frankenheimer, scenes cut from the original theatrical film; from Lionsgate.

TV viewers have been clamoring for the first release from the highly popular "Game of Thrones" series, and here it is: "Game of Thrones: The Complete First Season" (2011), a five-disc set retailing for $59.99. Extras for all you George R.R. Martin fans include seven audio commentaries with cast and crew; "Complete Guide to Westeros" an interactive compendium of the noble houses and lands featured in Season One; "Making Game of Thrones"; "Character Profiles"; "Creating the Show Open"; "From the Book to the Screen": "The Night's Watch" featurette; "Creating the Dothraki Language." Also available on Blu-ray Disc, which adds "In-Episode Guides," an in-feature resource that provides background information about on-screen characters, locations, and relevant histories while each episode plays; "Anatomy of an Episode"; hidden dragon eggs.

And, lastly -- though I'm not quite sure about the reasoning behind this one -- Warner Home Video is re-releasing Ben Affleck's "The Town" in an Ultimate Collector's Edition. I guess the 2010 thriller about a Boston bank robbery and its aftermath is a lot more popular than one would suspect. The film -- which gets an alternate ending -- is packed as a three-disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack (with UltraViolet digital Copy) in a collectible set that includes the theatrical version of the film and extended cut with alternate ending. Extras include "The Town: A Director's Journey" new 30-minute documentary; director commentary on the theatrical version and extended cut; "Pulling Off the Perfect Heist," "The Town," "Nuns With Guns: Filming in the North End," "The Real People of The Town," "Ben Affleck: Actor and Director," "The Cathedral of Boston." Collectible memorabilia includes a letter from Ben Affleck; 48-page photo book with behind the scenes photos, filmmaking and script notes; poster-size map of Charlestown with details on crime scenes from the film; film prop reproductions: rub-on tattoo sheet with the tattoo from Jem's neck; Desmond Elden's Vericom Employee File that the FBI obtained after the first robbery; four mug shot cards (from the FBI office); 15-page FBI report (as held by FBI Special Agent Adam Frawley in the film).

From TV to Video this week: "Happily Divorced: Season One" (2011) is a two-disc set with 10 episodes, $21.99 from Paramount Home Entertainment ... "Mi-5: Volume 10" (2011) is a two-disc set with six episodes, $29.98 from BBC Home Entertainment.

Buzzin' the 'B's: In "Recoil" (2011), starring Steve Austin, Danny Trejo and Serina Swan, a cop turns vigilante after his family is murdered, exacting vengeance on the killers -- and then on all criminals who have slipped through the system; from Nasser Entertainment/Vivendi Entertainment ... An heiress who's been shut inside her apartment building for nearly two decades is forced to confront her fears after one of her neighbors is killed and a detective arrives to begin the investigation in "Columbus Circle" (2010), starring Selma Blair, Amy Smart, Jason Lee, Giovanni Ribisi, Kevin Pollak and Beau Bridges; from Universal ... "Screwball: The Ted Whitfield Story" (2010) is a mockumentary that takes place during the Major League Baseball strike in 1994, when the nation turned its eyes from baseball -- the Great American pastime -- to professional wiffleball; stars Ross Patterson, Joey Kern, Christine Lakin and Richard Riehle; from Anchor Bay ... When the Prime Minister of Serbia is assassinated and a military coup arises, an elite special ops team is called in to repair the damage in "Mercenaries" (2011), starring Billy Zane, Geoff Bell and Stewart Scudamore; from Lionsgate ... "Blade of Kings" (2004 -- Hong Kong) is a comedy-fantasy-martial arts actioner, directed by Corey Yuen, starring Edison Chen, Donnie Yen, Jackie Chan and Bing Bing Fan: In the mythical land of Huadu, Charcoal Head, a humble boy born to rule an empire, must undertake his journey to claim his throne; from Well Go USA ... "Wyatt Earp's Revenge" (2012) is based on the true story of the legendary lawman; Earp here recounts how he brought together the "Best of the West" to avenge the vicious murder of his beloved Dora; stars Shawn Roberts, Trace Adkins, Matt Dallas and Val Kilmer; from Sony ... "Decision" (2011), starring Natalie Grant, Billy Dean, Michael Rosenbaum and Rusty Whitener, is an inspirational drama about a mother who struggles to make ends meet after the tragic death of her fire fighter husband; from Image Entertainment ... And, finally, here's a release to give you a pain in the, err, mouth: "Tooth Fairy 2" (2012), starring Larry the Cable Guy, David Mackey, Erin Beute, Brady Reiter, Lucius Baston and Noah Kronenberger. This direct-to-video sequel is worse than a root canal; from Fox.

On the Indie Front: In "High Road" (2011), starring Lizzy Caplan, James F. Pumphrey, Abby Elliot, Dylan O'Brien, Ed Helms, Rob Riggle, Horatio Sanz and Zach Woods., a totally improvised script has ex-rocker Glenn "Fitz" Fitzgerald dealing pot out of his garage and bonding with 16-year-old neighborhood kid Jimmy. As his former band mates begin finding success and one of his drug deals goes awry, Fitz hits the road with Jimmy and, amid car chases, guns, broken bones, sassy cabbies and a suspicious doctor, he has to navigate the way to safe harbor. From Millennium Entertainment.

For the Family: "Tom and Jerry: In the Dog House" (2011) is a collection of 22 "Tom and Jerry Tales" cartoons from the new TV series, $19.97 from Warner ... Shout! Factory is releasing "Transformers: Prime - The Complete First Season" (2010) in a four-disc set with 26 episodes, $29.93; it's also available in a Limited Edition Blu-ray Disc set, which is packed with a Transformers Prime graphic novel and bonus content, $64.99 ... Disney this week is re-releasing two direct-to-video sequels (in Blu-ray Combo packs) based on the modern animated classic "The Lion King": "The Lion King 1 1/2" (2004) and "The Lion King II: Simba's Pride"

Special Interest: Journalist Eric Sevareid relives the war-torn years on the American home front during World War II in the 10-episode series "America Goes to War": "While the Storm Clouds Gather," "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition," "Thanks for the Memories," "Accentuating the Positive," "Sacrifices and Shortages," "A String of Pearls," "On the Shady Side of the Street," "Right in the Fuerher's Face," "Mood Indigo: Blacks & Whites," and "Itís Been a Long, Long Time." Two-disc set, $29.99 from PBS Distribution ... "Ocean Giants" (2011) is a documentary that highlights the many spectacular animals that call the great sea their home; among these are the mysterious yet beautiful dolphins and whales, which have enticed and mesmerized children and adults alike. $24.99 from BBC Home Entertainment.


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