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DVD/Blu-ray Roundup for October 16th, 2015

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Well, it’s not quite as busy this week for new releases, but the ones arriving are certainly noteworthy and worth reading up on. So if you can’t make it out to the movies this week, be sure to give one of these titles a try.

Big New Releases!

Dope - A brainy teen living in inner-city Los Angeles juggles school life, college applications and an invitation to a big party in this independent comedy. Unfortunately, the journey to the shindig ends up resulting in all sorts of wild misadventure. Reviews were very strong for this effort. They referred to the young cast as incredibly charming and the story filled with laughs (although some believed it ran out of steam by the close). Overall, it sounds like a real winner. It stars Shameik Moore, Kiersey Clemons, Tony Revolori, ASAP Rocky and Zoe Kravitz.

San Andreas - Disaster movie enthusiasts will want to check out this title about a massive earthquake rocking California. After it hits, a Los Angeles helicopter rescue pilot decides to take the day off of work and use a chopper to find and reunite members of his estranged family. It garnered split reactions from the press. All admitted it was ridiculous, full of character stereotypes and plot holes, but about half felt like the impressive effects earned it a pass. The cast includes Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino, Alexandria Daddario, Ioan Gruffudd, Paul Giamatti, Hugh Johnstone-Burt and Kylie Minogue.

Tomorrowland - This Disney adventure underperformed at the box office over the summer, but now curious parties can check it out. It involves a young woman who joins a bitter genius as they attempt to find title location and save the world. Of course, there are nasty forces out to stop their efforts. Reaction was divisive to this title as well. While all critics thought the movie looked impressive, 50 percent of them found it all a bit convoluted and lacking in wonder. George Clooney, Brittany Robertson, Hugh Laurie, Judy Greer, Keegan Michael Key and Kathryn Hahn are featured.

Blasts From the Past!

There’s quite a lot of older films coming to Blu-ray. Kino Lorber have the classic Lon Chaney take on The Phantom of the Opera (1925/1929). In case you’re wondering about the multiple dates, there were two versions of the film released and the disc includes both of them.

If goofy action and thrillers are your bag, you’re also in luck. Kino have the international buddy comedy flick Company Business (1991) starring Gene Hackman and Mikhail Baryshnikov as an American and Russian agent teaming to stop an espionage plot. Malone (1987) stars Burt Reynolds as an ex-CIA hit man hiding out in a small town. When Malone discovers that a criminal organization (run by Cliff Robertson) is forcing residents out and buying up their land for a nefarious purpose, he must stand up to them. This one is as silly as it gets and should provide plenty of cheesy, B-movie kicks for 80s action fans.

There is also the thriller Scissors (1991), featuring Sharon Stone as a traumatized woman trying to overcome a horrible attack. She befriends two brothers (both played by Steve Railsback) also living in the apartment complex, but soon suspects one of them may be harboring a secret. Finally, Shattered (1991) is a Hitchcock-esque title with Tom Berenger and Bob Hoskins about an amnesia victim who begins to have strange visions of people and things he can’t place, much to the consternation of his wife. Again, it’s very goofy, but something that may also be fun if you’re in the right frame of mind.

Fox have some interesting reissues coming your way. If you’re a fan of Die Hard (1988), you may be interested in the Nakatomi Plaza Die Hard Collection, which collects the original film, as well as Die Hard 2 (1990), Die Hard With a Vengeance (1995), Live Free or Die Hard (2007) and A Good Day to Die Hard (2013). The Blu-rays are packaged within a replica of the Nakatomi Plaza building (which actually serves as the real offices of Fox) featured in the very first movie. Reportedly, the set also contains the Unrated cut of Live Free or Die Hard, which hasn’t previously been made available on the format.

They also have an “Ultimate Collector’s Edition” Blu-ray of the fantastic Time Burton fable, Edward Scissorhands (1990). It features Johnny Depp as the title character, the creation of a mad scientist who is taken from his dark castle and must attempt to adapt to suburbia. It’s one of the director’s best, featuring great visuals, a powerful score and strong performances. The disc includes a new 4K restoration of the movie (which it sorely needed) and ports over all of the extras from previous editions. It also comes with some paper figures and other odds and ends.

Back at amazon, fans can pick up a 20th Anniversary Amazon Exclusive edition of The City of Lost Children (1995). The feature is from the creative force behind Delicatessen and Amelie - it’s a visually eye-popping fantasy about another mad scientists who spends his days kidnapping children in order to steal their dreams. Naturally, the kids end up fighting back. This French, foreign-language film is worth a look for the incredible production design alone.

Shout! Factory are delivering a Blu-ray of The Return of Count Yorga (1971), which finds the title character sucking the blood out of California after moving from Europe. Added features include a film historian commentary and advertising materials.

Synapse have the so-terrible-it’s-fascinating effort, Manos: The Hands of Fate (1966) coming to Blu-ray. It’s been restored (not that it’s ever going to look that good), and has not only a commentary track, but numerous featurettes on it’s production. I suppose the Master would actually approve of this edition. They’ve also got a 20th Anniversary Edition of Mosquito (1995), a horror B-movie about giant killer blood-suckers starring Gunnar Hansen (Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre). It includes a commentary track, making of, deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes footage and a trailer.

Still want more cheesy horror? Thanks to Scorpion releasing, you can pick up a DVD of Neon Maniacs (1986), a really dated 80s title about a bad new wave band fighting off undead monsters living under the Golden Gate Bridge. Finally, they’re also distributing a Blu-ray of Shakma (1990). This is an enjoyably bad horror flick about a killer baboon terrorizing scientists that are playing an a role-playing-game in their skyscraper laboratory. Yep, it’s already ridiculous and it just gets crazier from there. It features Christopher Atkins and Roddy McDowall.

Criterion also have some incredible titles. The Brood (1979) is one of my personal favorites of director David Cronenberg (Videodrome, The Dead Zone, The Fly, Existenz), which involves a husband attempting protect his young daughter from bizarre beings when his wife joins a strange and mysterious psychotherapy group. It’s a really creepy effort, and the disc is packed with too many bonuses to mention. Just some of them include a sparkling restored transfer, new documentary on the making-of the movie, interviews, promotional materials from its release and many others.

They also have the Oscar nominated Italian period drama A Special Day (1977), starring Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni as two apartment tenants who meet and form a friendship while a fascist rally occurs outside. The disc lists a restored transfer and interviews with its director and Sophia Loren among several extras.

There are also a couple of older titles for the kids. They can pick up a bonus-filled Diamond Edition Blu-ray of Aladdin (1992), or another Blu-ray of the original Don Bluth animated effort, The Land Before Time (1988).

And finally, while they’re already been made available as part of a set, action fans can now pick up two Jean-Claude Van Damme flicks individually on Blu-ray via Universal. In fact, they’re two of my favorites. There the enjoyably over-the-top John Woo effort Hard Target (1993) and the Peter Hyams action picture, Sudden Death (1995). In the latter, our hero plays a fire marshal who attends a Stanley Cup hockey final with his kids, only to find himself battling terrorists (as well as knife-wielding, costumed mascots), making important saves on the ice, and attempting to rescue both his family and the President of the United States. As ridiculous action movies go, this is one of the most entertaining.

You Know, For Kids!

And there’s plenty for the kids to check out as well! You’ll find it all listed below.

Aladdin (Diamond Edition) Disney

Atom Ant: The Complete Series (Warner Archive)

Babar and the Adventures of Badou: Operation Secret Suitcase

Barney: Barney’s Worldwide Adventure

Festive Follies Collection (WB)

The Land Before Time - The Original Movie (Blu-ray)

The Land Before Time: 3 Movie DVD Family Fun Packs (there are 4 different packs available)

Magic School Bus: Season 4

Sesame Street: Elmo Can Do It!