New On DVD/Blu-ray This Week: Barbarella, Dynasty, Midsomer Murders, Mannix

by | July 4, 2012 at 12:20 AM | General

'Barbarella' (Paramount Home Entertainment)

Barbarella

Who can perform a zero-gravity striptease, seduce an angel and still have time to save the universe?  Sexy, sultry, space adventurer ‘Barbarella,’ that’s who!  Coming in for a landing on Blu-ray for the first time ever, the terrifically titillating sci-fi romp ‘Barbarella’ continues to entertain with its outrageous, out-of-this-world story and brazen sexuality. Jane Fonda stars as the titular heroine who lands on the planet Lythion in the year 40,000.  Faced with robots, monsters and evil of varying stripes, she must vanquish her enemies, all while attempting—and failing—to keep her skin-tight spacesuit on.  Along the way she receives assistance from a variety of handsome men, each of whom receives her uninhibited appreciation.  Directed by Roger Vadim (Fonda’s ex-husband), ‘Barbarella’ is a kind of sexual Alice in Wonderland of the future and the film is replete with psychedelic set designs, far-out characters and an outrageously entertaining story set amongst the stars. The ‘Barbarella’ Blu-ray is presented in 1080p high definition with English Mono Dolby TrueHD, French Mono Dolby Digital and Spanish Mono Dolby Digital and English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles.  The Blu-ray includes the theatrical trailer in high definition. Buy the Blu-ray right here.

Dynasty

The addictive, primetime soap opera that quickly became a 1980s hit and lives on in popular cult status returns to DVD with ‘Dynasty: The Sixth Season, Volume One & Volume Two.‘ Each volume includes four discs of all the over-the-top glamour and drama from the series sixth season. Explore the conflicts, passions, drives, and tensions of the Carringtons, a rich and powerful oil family, as they struggle to maintain their status of wealth and influence. Volume 1 includes 15 episodes featuring the episode that set the stage for the popular “Dynasty” spin-off, “The Colbys.” Volume 2 includes 15 episodes featuring the final episodes starring Pamela Bellwood as the long-suffering Clauda. Buy the Season 6, Volume 1 & Season 6, Volume 2 DVD right here.

Midsomer Murders

The U.S. debut of fan favorite John Nettles’ final episodes in ‘Midsomer Murders, Set 20,’ now available on Blu-ray and DVD. For more than a decade, DCI Tom Barnaby (John Nettles, Bergerac) has policed the murderous county of Midsomer, winning legions of fans—including the queen of England herself. In these four new, contemporary stand-alone mysteries, Barnaby investigates his final cases before leaving the denizens of Midsomer in the capable hands of his cousin, DCI John Barnaby (Neil Dudgeon, Life of Riley). Set in England’s picture-perfect but perilous Midsomer County, Set 20’s episodes are available to U.S. audiences for the first time with this release. New episodes of Midsomer Murders are still in production starring Neil Dudgeon. The cozy villages of Midsomer County reveal their most sinister secrets in these contemporary British television mysteries inspired by the novels of Caroline Graham, modern master of the English village mystery. Detective Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby has policed the murderous county for decades, and now he’s ready to retire. Also starring Jason Hughes as Detective Sergeant Ben Jones. Buy the Set 20 DVD right here.

Mannix

‘Mannix,’ the action-packed detective drama starring Golden Globe winner Mike Connors, follow a hard-boiled and gritty private investigator who defies all rules and protocols as he fights crime on the streets of Los Angeles. Mannix: The Seventh Season comes in a collectible 6 disc-set that includes all the high-speed car chases, flying bullets and fistfights that made the legendary series a fan-favorite. Buy the Season 7 DVD right here.

Home on the Range

For the first time on Disney Blu-ray come join the fun as the resident animals of a dairy farm go bounty hunting for a notorious outlaw to save their home. From the stunning animation and spectacular original songs written by Alan Menken – Academy Award winning composer of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and ‘Aladdin’ – ‘Home on the Range’ is the perfect fun-filled adventure for the whole family. When a greedy outlaw schemes to take possession of “Patch of Heaven” dairy farm, three determined cows, a karate-kicking stallion named Buck, and a colorful corral of critters join forces to save their home. The stakes are sky high as this unlikely animal alliance risks their hides and match wits with a mysterious band of bad guys. Buy the Blu-ray combo pack right here.

Treasure Planet

Joe + Belle

Writer/director/actor Veronica Kadar’s dark romantic comedy ‘Joe + Belle’ is now available on DVD. Two women who are relative strangers become an unlikely team when they accidentally shoot a guy – twice! – and must figure out how to get rid of the body and escape the authorities. They go on the lam together, and surprisingly fall in love amidst car chases, falling rocket bombs and other surprising misadventures. ‘Joe + Belle won “Best Director” at the 2011 International Women’s Film Festival in Israel, as well as “Best Screenplay” at Cinemascope Festival and “Best Alternative Feature” at Cinema South’s International Film Festival in Israel. Currently the film is travelling the U.S. and International film festival circuit, with stops including LA’s Outfest, San Francisco’s Frameline, and LGBT festivals in Seattle, Boston, London, Paris and dozens of other cities. Things get very complicated very quickly when Joe (Veronica Kedar), an angsty drug dealer, meets Belle (Sivan Levy), a buoyant suicidal psychopath, in this dark comedy. After an outlandish accident in Tel Aviv leaves the pair with a body to dispose of, they embark on a madcap journey to lose the cops – and end up finding love in Sderot (the target of ongoing rocket attacks). Gritty but tender, Joe + Belle offers an absurd portrait of life in contemporary Israel. Buy the DVD right here.

Step Up

LEGO Ninjago Masters of Spinjitzu

Prepare for a battle against evil villains and sinister snakes with the release of LEGO Ninjago Masters of Spinjitzu Season One on DVD. Currently the #1 rated show on Cartoon Network with boys ages 6-11, LEGO Ninjago Masters of Spinjitzu Season One follows four ninja heroes who must protect the world of Ninjago from a new enemy. The two-disc DVD set includes all 13 action-packed season one episodes of LEGO Ninjago Masters of Spinjitzu. Life is never easy for a ninja hero.  LEGO Ninjago Masters of Spinjitzu Season One finds Kai, Jay, Zane, and Cole in a heated battle against Lloyd Garmadon, son of their archenemy Lord Garmadon.  Garmadon launches an attack on Ninjago with an army of sinister snake tribes in an attempt to conquer the land. However, his plan backfires when the snakes organize a mutiny and take him as prisoner. Now forced to surrender to his former rivals, Garmadon joins the ninjas to thwart the rise of an enemy prophesied to shroud the land in eternal darkness. Ancient legend states that only one ninja will ultimately rise above the rest to become the Green Ninja…those answers and more lie ahead. Buy the Season 1 DVD right here.

The Hunter

Two-time Academy Award Nominee, Willem Dafoe (John Carter, Spider-Man Franchise, The English Patient), Golden Globe Nominee Frances O’Connor (Blessed, A.I. Artificial Intelligence) and Golden Globe Nominee Sam Neill (The Vow, Daybreakers, Jurassic Park) bring a true tale of epic storytelling to life with ‘The Hunter,’ now available on Blu ray and DVD. The movie that made its world premiere at the 2011 Toronto Film Festival is based on the bestselling novel of the same title by acclaimed author/filmmaker, Julia Leigh. After being hired by an anonymous company, Martin (Dafoe), a skilled mercenary, heads into the Tasmanian wilderness on a hunt for the Tasmanian tiger that is believed to be extinct. Staying with a family whose eco-activist father is missing, Martin reluctantly becomes involved with them.  Working to stay on task for collecting genetic material from the elusive tiger, Martin is lead down a path of unforeseen dangers, complicating his already deadly mission. Buy the Blu-ray right here.

Rocko’s Modern Life

Rocko, Spunky, Heffer and Filburt are back! Get ready for more zany O-Town adventures with the release of ‘Rocko’s Modern Life: Season Three,’ now available on DVD. Packed with all 13 wacky episodes including a murder investigation involving the Bigheads, Heffer unearthing a rare talent for belching, Filburt popping the question and the exposure of Rocko’s spinach tooth, this 2-DVD set features an all-new cover art illustration and special commentary by series creator Joe Murray. Buy the Season 3 DVD right here.

George Gently

Likened to Foyle’s War and Midsomer Murders, ‘George Gently,’ Series 4 is now available on Blu-ray and DVD. Award-winning actor Martin Shaw (Death in Holy Orders, Judge John Deed) is back as Inspector George Gently in these two feature-length mysteries based on the long-running series of novels by Alan Hunter. Shot in stunning high-definition, these powerful dramas boast clever writing, stylish direction, and strong casts and unfold against the beautiful backdrop of rural Britain during the tumultuous 1960s. George Gently premiered in the U.K. on BBC1 in April 2007 and has run for four series, with a fifth series in production. The Blu-ray single and DVD 2-disc set feature two mysteries, plus a behind-the-scenes featurette. Tony nominee Martin Shaw is back as Inspector George Gently, a by-the-book cop from London now working in the North East of England. This corner of the country is just starting to experience the social changes sweeping the rest of 1960s Britain, but the former Scotland Yard detective finds that crime occurs here the same as anywhere else. In his meticulous manner, Gently examines the passions and planning that lead to murder, his methods more often than not offset by those of his cocky young sidekick, Sergeant John Bacchus (Lee Ingleby, A Place of Execution). Buy the Series 4 DVD right here.

The Streets of San Francisco

The classic 1970s police drama starring Hollywood icon Michael Douglas returns to DVD with ‘The Streets Of San Francisco: Season Three, Volume One & Volume Two.’ Douglas stars alongside Karl Malden in the thrilling television crime drama about 20-year veteran Detective Lt. Mike Stone (Malden) who is partnered with young, college educated Inspector Steve Keller (Douglas) with a lot to learn about being a police detective on the streets of San Francisco. Buy the Season 3, Volume 1 and Season 3, Volume 2 DVDs.

Sister Act & Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit

A sleeper hit that received a lukewarm reception from critics but was a success with audiences, ‘Sister Act‘ (1992) was star Whoopi Golberg’s first bona fide smash after her Oscar victory for Ghost (1990). Goldberg stars as Deloris Van Cartier, a Reno lounge singer who accidentally witnesses a brutal murder carried out by her gangster boyfriend Vince (Harvey Keitel). Under the protection of a detective (Bill Nunn) who’s trying to bring down Vince’s criminal operation, Deloris is placed in protective custody at a San Francisco convent. Masquerading as a nun renamed Sister Mary Clarence, Deloris shakes up the established order of the sisters’ lives, particularly enlivening their choral efforts. Although running constantly afoul of the Mother Superior (Maggie Smith), the new, jazzed-up musical act becomes a huge hit in the community, even drawing the attention of the Pope, but also alerting Vince to Deloris’ whereabouts. Although credited to the pseudonymous Joseph Howard, Sister Act was actually written by Paul Rudnick and Carrie Fisher. The film was followed by a sequel, ‘Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit‘ (1993). In the sequel to the hit comedy Sister Act, Whoopi Goldberg reprises her role of Deloris Van Cartier, a Las Vegas entertainer who hid out with in a convent of nuns to avoid a nasty bunch of gangsters. In Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, Deloris is persuaded to return to the convent by the Mother Superior (Maggie Smith), because her help is needed in teaching their choral students at St. Francis High in San Francisco. However, St. Francis is in a crisis, since the administrator running the school (James Coburn) is threatening to shut the place down. If the gospel choir wins first place in a singing contest in Los Angeles, St. Francis will be saved from the priest’s plans. Buy the Blu-ray right here.

Jesus Henry Christ

Precocious doesn’t even begin to describe Henry James Herman (Jason Spevak, Fever Pitch, Sunshine Cleaning, Ramona and Beezus), born a misfit genius.  At nine months, he was speaking in full sentences, and, at ten, he went to college.  But even a boy genius needs a father and when it’s revealed that this prodigy is a test-tube baby, it sets into motion a very modern comedy about life, love and family dynamics.  A selection of the Tribeca Film Festival and a 2012 theatrical release, ‘Jesus Henry Christ,’ from producer Julia Roberts and starring Emmy and BAFTA Nominee Michael Sheen (Midnight in Paris, Frost/Nixon, The Queen) and Emmy winner and Oscar and Golden Globe Nominee Toni Collette (“United States of Tara”, Little Miss Sunshine, The Sixth Sense) is now available on DVD. This off-beat, modern comedy revolves around 10-year-old boy genius Henry and his fervently left-wing single mother Patricia (Collette), who works at the local university’s cafeteria.  A misfit from birth, Henry’s precocious, rabble-rousing ways catch up with him when he gets kicked out of school for writing “Manifestos on the Nature of Truth.” Meanwhile, 12-year-old Audrey (Samantha Weinstein, Big Girl, The Rocker) has her own problems because of her single father, university professor Dr. Slavkin O’Hara (Sheen), who used her as the test subject for his best-selling book “Born Gay or Made that Way?” Needless to say, she gets a not-so-nice nickname from her classmates. When Henry scores a scholarship to the university as a child prodigy, the two families cross paths and everything they knew about their lives is thrown to the wind. Buy the DVD right here.

Newsies

Newsies‘ created toe-tapping, song-and-dance excitement out of the true story of an 1899 strike by newspaper boys against publishing magnate Joseph Pulitzer. The “newsies” band together to protest a pay cut by Pulitzer (Robert Duvall), organizing a union to protect their rights and ensure fair wages. They are helped along the way by Medda (Ann-Margret), a local dance-hall performer who befriends the boys and provides an opportunity for an additional song or two. Director Kenny Ortega had previously choreographed Dirty Dancing, and composer Alan Menken had provided the acclaimed scores for Beauty and the Beast and Little Shop of Horrors, but their work here failed to capture the spark of their popular successes. Unable to connect with older or younger viewers, Newsies gained a reputation as a major bomb that cut short an attempt to bring back the live-action musical, though in the intervening years it has gained a small but appreciative cult. Buy the 20th Anniversary Blu-ray right here.

Battle Force

The action-packed mission begins in ‘Battle Force.’ This high stakes, life or death operation features powerful and touching performances by Scott Martin and Clint Glenn Hummel. In 1942 an elite fighting unit was formed, officially named the First Special Service Force, they were made up of mountain men, hunters and all around misfits. They were trained to scale cliffs, jump out of airplanes and kill Nazis. The following summer, days before the invasion of Sicily, the best of these men were handpicked for a desperate mission. Amidst the bloodshed of World War II these men went armed for combat and the only way out was to aim, fire and stay alive. Buy the DVD right here.

The Color of Money

Oscar-nominated in 1961 for his performance as pool hustler Fast Eddie Felson in The Hustler, Paul Newman won that award a quarter century later when he reprised the role in ‘The Color of Money.’ At the end of The Hustler, Felson was banned for life from playing the game professionally. In the intervening years, he has become what the despicable George C. Scott was in the 1961 film: a front man for younger hustlers, claiming the lion’s share of the winnings. His latest “client” is arrogant young Tom Cruise, who is goaded into accepting Felson’s patronage by his avaricious girl friend Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio. Cruise learns not only the refinements of the game, but also the dirty trickery that will help him lure in the suckers. As Cruise becomes successful on these terms, Felson seethes with jealousy, hitting the bottle and carelessly allowing himself to fall victim to another hustler. He tells Cruise to get lost, and vows to make an honest comeback. It is inevitable from this point onward that the younger and the older player will square off in a game for the biggest stakes of all: Fast Eddie Felson’s self-respect. Both the original Hustler and The Color of Money were based on novels by Walter Tevis. Buy the Blu-ray right here.

God Bless America

Divorced, recently fired and possibly terminally ill, Frank (Joel Murray) has had enough of the downward spiral of American culture in ‘God Bless America,’ now available on DVD. He sees America as overrun with cruelty, stupidity and intolerance. Finding himself with nothing to live for, he decides not to take his own life, but instead buys a gun to take out his frustration on the cruelest, stupidest, most intolerant people he can imagine—reality television stars. On his journey, he finds an unusual accomplice in a high-school student named Roxy (Tara Lynne Barr), who shares his sense of rage and disenfranchisement. Together they embark on a nation-wide assault on our country’s dumbest, most irritating celebrities. Buy the Blu-ray right here.

Wind Blast

Director Gao Qunshu follows up his breakout hit The Message with the action-packed martial arts western ‘Wind Blast,’ now available on Blu-ray and DVD.  Starring national wushu fighting champion Wu Jing (Kill Zone, Legendary Assassin), newcomer Zhang Li, Yihong Duan(The Message, Hot Summer Days), and Francis Ng (Exiled, Infernal Affairs II), this fast paced, shoot-em up western follows a group of elite policemen on the trail of a hitman and his pregnant girlfriend as they try to elude two hired killers sent by his former employer to silence them.  Bonus features include a making of featurette, behind the scenes footage and trailers. Cold blooded killer Zhang Ning sneaks back into China to blend in. He is quickly pursued by two fierce and brutal bounty hunters. A grisly battle ensues between the killer, bounty hunters and cops. After a flurry of gunfights, martial arts combats, car chases, equestrian acrobatics, and pyrotechnic extravaganza, many a life will be lost and much honor and glory won in this grimly exciting Chinese Martial Arts Western that should not be missed. Buy the Blu-ray right here.

Under the Tuscan Sun

Experience the inspiring romantic comedy ‘Under the Tuscan Sun,’ starring Academy Award nominee Diane Lane (Best Actress, 2002, Unfaithful) for the first time on Blu-ray, featuring an all-new digital restoration with enhanced picture and sound. Based on the #1 New York Times best-selling book, ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’ follows San Francisco writer Frances Mayes (Lane) on a ten-day trip to Tuscany. Once there, she is captivated by the beautiful Italian countryside, and impulsively buys an aging, but charming villa. Fully embracing new friends and local color, Frances finds herself immersed in a life-changing adventure filled with enough unexpected surprises, laughter, and romance torestore her new home – and her belief in second chances. Enjoy every breathtaking moment in stunning Blu-ray high definition. Buy the Blu-ray right here.

Evita

Cocktail

Tom Cruise juggles Martini shakers and ice cubes as the materialistic Brian Flanagan, a bartender who drops out of school to search for the perfect “rich chick” who will bankroll him into luxury in the hit film ‘Cocktail.’ Brian meets up with bar veteran Doug Couglin (Bryan Brown) and they put together a dance-duo bar-tending act, taking five minutes to a mix a drink as they dance and toss gin bottles behind the bar to cutting-edge rock music circa 1988. The patrons, instead of demanding the booze, are dazzled by their antics and cheer them on. As a result, the bartenders become wildly popular — in particular, Brian, who finds the bar babes falling all over each other to hop into the sack with him. As a result of their bar-tending success, they get hired to tend bar at a swanky disco, but there Brian and Doug have a falling out, and Brian takes off for Jamaica. There he meets vacationing New York City waitress Jordan Mooney (Elisabeth Shue) and the two fall in love. But then Brian meets rich New York fashion executive Bonnie (Lisa Banes) who wants to take Brian back to Manhattan with her to become her drink-mixing stud. When Jordan sees this, the love affair is put on hold. But not for long, as pangs of consciousness begin to filter through Brian’s drunken haze. Buy the Blu-ray right here.

Ransom

Ron Howard directed the thriller ‘Ransom,’ which stars Mel Gibson as Tom Mullen, a former fighter pilot who built a ramshackle one-plane airline into a major multinational service fleet. Mullen has a multi-million dollar fortune, a beautiful wife, Kate (Rene Russo) and a nine-year-old son, Sean (Brawley Nolte) that he dotes on. However, Mullen’s life comes crashing down around him when Sean is kidnapped. The FBI are called in, but Mullen is wary — he was the recent target of an FBI investigation in which he was found to have bribed union officials while negotiating a contract. FBI Agent Hawkins (Delroy Lindo) advises Mullen to make the $2 million dollar drop to pay the kidnappers, which will make it easier to track the criminals, but when the tradeoff goes wrong, Mullen takes a new tactic — he goes on television and offers a $2 million bounty for the heads of the people who kidnapped his child. Meanwhile, it becomes clear the kidnappers include Maris Connor (Lili Taylor), who once worked for the Mullens, and Jimmy Shaker (Gary Sinise), one of the cops who investigated Mullen for bribery. This remake of the 1956 Glenn Ford vehicle of the same name was scripted by Richard Price, who has a bit part as a police detective. Buy the 15th Anniversary Blu-ray right here.

Phenomenon

Director Jon Turteltaub followed up the hit While You Were Sleeping (1995) with ‘Phenomenon.’ John Travolta stars as George Malley, a humble mechanic in a rural California town. On his 37th birthday, George celebrates at a pub with friends Nate (Forest Whitaker) and Doc (Robert Duvall), the local physician. When he steps outside, George observes a bright light in the sky that knocks him briefly unconscious. When he awakens, George has incredible intellectual powers. He checks books out of the library in armfuls, becomes an inventor, a psychic, has telekinetic powers, predicts an earthquake, and memorizes Portuguese in minutes. Using his newfound powers, George becomes a hero, but he can’t totally win over the spooked townsfolk or the standoffish Lace (Kyra Sedgwick), a single mom burned by love once too often. As George’s kindness breaks down Lace’s reserve and a romance begins, his fame spreads, bringing him to the attention of the FBI and curious university scientists. Buy the Blu-ray right here.

The Horse Whisperer

Robert Redford directed himself for the first time in ‘The Horse Whisperer,’ this romantic drama adapted from the 1995 best-seller by Nicholas Evans. Fourteen-year-old Grace MacLean (Scarlett Johansson of Manny & Lo) and her friend Judith go horseback riding in upstate New York on a winter morning, but their horses lose their footing on ice and slide onto a road, where Judith and her horse are killed by a jackknifing truck. Grace and her horse are also seriously injured — doctors must amputate Grace’s right leg — and the frightening incident leaves a lasting trauma not only on Grace but also on her horse, Pilgrim. Grace’s mother — magazine editor Annie MacLean (Kristin Scott Thomas) — seeking Grace’s recovery, feels there’s a link between her crippled, embittered daughter and Pilgrim’s behavior. Learning about a horse trainer with a special gift, she takes Grace and Pilgrim to Montana where horse whisperer Tom Booker (Robert Redford) lives on a ranch with his younger brother Frank (Chris Cooper), Frank’s wife Diane (Dianne Wiest) and their children. Tom’s work with the horse also has a rejuvenating effect on the guilt-ridden Grace. Annie loses her magazine job, and the low-key romantic involvement between Annie and Tom develops during the summer, stifled by the unexpected arrival of Annie’s husband, Robert MacLean (Sam Neill). Screenplay by Eric Roth and Richard LaGravenese (who adapted The Bridges of Madison County). Buy the Blu-ray right here.