What To Watch: This Week’s DVR Picks

by | March 2, 2014 at 11:56 AM | General

'Pee-wee's Playhouse' (Shout! Factory)

Pee-wee’s Playhouse

Experience ‘Pee-wee’s Playhouse‘ like never before! All 45 wacky episodes, plus the Pee-wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special, have been meticulously remastered from the original film elements — and now you can see this ground-breaking series for the first time in beautiful high-definition. Scream along to the secret word with Pee-wee Herman and his pals: Jambi the Genie, Miss Yvonne, Cowboy Curtis, Reba the mail lady, Captain Carl, Magic Screen, Conky, Globey, Chairry, Pterri, Randy and all the rest. ‘Pee-wee’s Playhouse: The Complete Series’ Blu-ray box set, with special bonus content, is now available from Shout! Factory. Also available to own  is Pee-wee’s Playhouse: Seasons One and Two in a high-definition 4-DVD set, available at Walmart stores nationwide.  Mecka-lecka hi, Mecka-hiney ho! Winner of an amazing 22 Emmy Awards, Pee-wee’s Playhouse is a cultural touchstone for a generation, and its visually dynamic design and offbeat sense of humor were a genuine phenomenon.  Whether reliving childhood memories or introducing this beloved series to a new generation, the newly re-mastered ‘Pee-wee’s Playhouse’ will take you back to being a kid.  This is an essential Blu-ray collection for loyal fans and collectors. TV Guide named ‘Pee-wee’s Playhouse’ #10 on their list of The Top 25 Cult television shows ever. For over 25 years, the enormously popular Pee-wee Herman and innovative television series ‘Pee-wee’s Playhouse,’ created by, and starring Paul Reubens, has captured a special place in the hearts of millions of viewers, young and old.  Since its initial premiere on CBS in 1986, this highly acclaimed children’s program became Saturday morning appointment viewing for kids in the ‘80s and ‘90s and has been a staple in the pop culture zeitgeist ever since. ‘Pee-wee’s Playhouse’ is an educational, artistic and entertaining show that teaches kids strong ‘life lessons.’  With its innovative production design and Reubens’ rich original characters and humor, Pee-wee’s Playhouse is a magical place that sparks creativity and imagination—and brings joy to children and adults alike. Parents and grown-ups have always enjoyed the show’s many double entendres. The series features beloved regulars Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne), Reba the Mail Lady (S. Epatha Merkerson), Miss Yvonne (Lynne Marie Stewart), Captain Carl (Phil Hartman), The King of Cartoons (William Marshall), Jambi the Genie (John Paragon), Ricardo (Vic Trevino) and Mrs. Rene (Suzanne Kent). And of course, Chairry, Pterri, Conky, Magic Screen, Clocky, Cool Cat, Dirty Dog, Chicky Baby, Penny, the Dinosaur family, and the rest of the gang. Buy the complete series Blu-ray right here.

The Red Skelton Show

Buy the Early Years 1951-1955 DVD right here.

The Vincent Price Collection II

Collectors, classic film aficionados and horror enthusiasts will relish the 4-Disc Blu-ray release of Scream Factory’s ‘The Vincent Price Collection Volume II,’ perfectly timed for Halloween and this year’s holiday gifting season. This extraordinary collector’s set is an essential movie collection for every home entertainment library and brings together SEVEN Vincent Price masterpiece classics, featuring the first-ever Blu-ray movie presentation of ‘The House on Haunted Hill’ (1959), ‘The Return of the Fly’ (1959), ‘The Comedy of Terrors’ (1963), ‘The Raven’ (1963), ‘The Last Man on Earth’ (1964), ‘The Tomb of Ligeia’ (1964) and ‘Dr. Phibes Rises Again’ (1972). Brimming with a bevy of chilling bonus content including audio commentaries with producer/director Roger Corman, actor Brett Halsey, film historians, original theatrical trailers, rare photos and archival materials, this highly-anticipated Blu-ray collection also includes a 32-page collector’s book, featuring an essay by author and film historian David Del Valle. Buy the Blu-ray right here.

Mad Men

The beginning of the end for television’s most celebrated show, ‘Mad Men: The Final Season – Part 1′ is now avaialble on Blu-ray (plus Digital HD), DVD (plus Digital) and Digital HD from Lionsgate Home Entertainment. From creator Matthew Weiner (HBO’s “The Sopranos”), the critically acclaimed show features a top-notch cast that includes Golden Globe winner and Primetime Emmy nominee Jon Hamm (Friends with Kids), Primetime Emmy nominee Elisabeth Moss (TV’s “Top of the Lake”), Primetime Emmy nominee Christina Hendricks (Ginger & Rosa), Primetime Emmy nominee January Jones (X-Men: First Class), John Slattery (The Adjustment Bureau) and Primetime Emmy nominee Robert Morse (TV’s “City of Angels”). As TV’s most talked-about drama, ‘Mad Men‘ has been recognized for its intelligent storylines and stellar acting, winning three consecutive Golden Globe awards for Best Television Series – Drama and four consecutive Primetime Emmy awards for Outstanding Drama Series. Nominated for a 2014 Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series, Mad Men: The Final Season – Part 1 is set in the captivating world of 1960s New York and continues to follow iconic ad man Don Draper, his colleagues and his family, as viewers get a glimpse at how the renowned television series will end. The 2-disc Blu-ray and 3-disc DVD sets are packed with bonus materials, including audio commentaries and numerous featurettes including “The Trial of the Chicago Eight: Parts One and Two,” “Gay Rights” and “Gay Power”, and a Blu-ray exclusive interactive timeline “Technology: 1969.” Buy the final season DVD part 1 right here.

Annie Oakley

Relive the iconic 1950s Wild West adventure with the release of ‘Annie Oakley‘ Complete TV Collection on DVD for the first time as a full set from Cinedigm and produced by VCI Entertainment. Nominated for an Emmy in 1955, the acclaimed series stars Gail Davis, hailed by renowned actor Gene Autry as “the perfect western actress,” Jimmy Hawkins (‘Pettycoat Junction’) and Brad Johnson (Counterspy, Bedtime for Bonzo). Considered to be one of the first television shows to successfully portray a woman as independent, with courage, dignity and honor, ‘Annie Oakley’ is based on the legendary sharpshooter of the same name and originally aired from 1954 to 1957. Set in the frontier town of Diablo, AZ, the series follows the adventures of Annie and her sidekick, deputy sheriff Lofty, as well as her mischievous little brother Tagg, as they clean up the streets of their quiet city by rescuing law-abiding neighbors and arresting outlaws. An 11 disc set featuring every episode from the show’s three seasons and a collectible booklet, the ‘Annie Oakley’ Complete TV Collection is packed with bonus features, including a never-before-seen documentary about Gail Davis, photo galleries featuring 100s of photos from Gail Davis’ personal collection, the original TV pilot starring Billy Gray as Tagg and more. Buy the complete TV collection DVD right here.

Duck Dynasty

Bring home the latest three seasons of America’s favorite backwoods family in the ‘Duck Dynasty:  Seasons 4-6 Gift Set,’ now available on DVD from Lionsgate Home Entertainment. The most successful TV-on-DVD franchise of 2013 with over 3.5 million copies sold to date, the hilarious family shares all of their jokes and hijinks, with some silly and sage advice along the way. Fans can gear up for the brand-new season with the collectible set including never before released bonus features, and an exclusive Uncle Si beard. America’s most charming family is back, full of fun and adventure in this special collection of Seasons 4–6 of ‘Duck Dynasty‘ on A&E. For the Robertsons, it’s truly a family affair: everyone comes together for Phil and Miss Kay’s surprise wedding party, Phil teaches his granddaughters how to fish, the boys at the warehouse continue to get Willie’s goat and Phil and Kay host a slumber party — and that’s just for starters! The guys also coach Martin in romance and train with the local fire department, while Phil makes a jack-o’-lantern with a shotgun. The governor of Louisiana even shows up to give Willie an award. As always, the guys’ antics continue to amaze: can they get Phil’s wheelbarrow out of a tree? Plus, the whole dang clan gets even bigger as two new family members join the action. Daily life on the bayou is anything but mundane for the Robertsons. Buy the Seasons 4-6 DVD right here.

The Scribbler

‘The Scribbler’ follows Suki (Katie Cassidy), a young woman confronting her destructive mental illness using “The Siamese Burn,” an experimental machine designed to eliminate multiple personalities. The closer Suki comes to being “cured,” she’s haunted by a thought…what if the last unwanted identity turns out to be her? Buy the Blu-ray right here.

See No Evil 2

Buy the Blu-ray right here.

The Squad

Buy the Blu-ray right here.

Silent Witness

Before CSI: Crime Scene Investigation…before ‘Bones’…before ‘NCIS’…’Silent Witness’ brought viewers from the crime scenes to the laboratories where forensic evidence speaks louder than words. BBC Home Entertainment has brought the popular long-running procedural drama to DVD for the first time in North America – releasing not only the first season but also the most recent seventeenth season (with more seasons to be released in the coming months). Created by Nigel McCrery, a former murder squad detective in Nottingham, England, ‘Silent Witness’ mixes a unique blend of crime mystery, science and detection. The plot centers on a dedicated and driven team of forensic pathologists as they use their scientific expertise and unquenchable thirst for the truth to unravel clues in mysterious and suspicious deaths. Every body tells a story: who they were, how they lived, and most importantly, how they died. With consistently engaging and imaginative writing, ‘Silent Witness’ is one of the BBC’s most successful and longest-running dramas. From the first season into the eighth, the team is led by the intelligent and challenging Dr. Samantha Ryan (Amanda Burton, Bronson). During the eighth season (and continuing into the seventeenth), a new female lead character is introduced: Dr. Nikki Alexander (Emilia Fox, Merlin). Surrounding them are a rotating cast of characters, but the team always continues on an unwavering and hugely satisfying quest for the truth. Buy the Season 1 DVD right here and the Season 17 DVD right here.

Autumn Blood

Two young orphans in the Australian Tirolian Mountains come under siege by a vicious band of hunters in ‘Autumn Blood.’ Frightened of being separated by child services following the death of their mother, a self-sufficient 16-year-old girl (Sophie Lowe) and her10-year-old brother (Maximilian Harnisch) – who hasn’t spoken a word since seeing his father killed by the mayor (Peter Stormare) – strive to live offthe land in peace. Their innocence is shattered, however, when a group of hunters led by the mayor’s son brutalizes and rapes the free-spirited girl. Later, when a well-meaning social services worker arrives too late to protect the terrorized siblings, the girl and her brother prepare to take a stand against their ruthless attackers. Buy the DVD right here.

Bronco

Bronco Layne (Ty Hardin) continues to crisscross the Wild West in the second season of his rip-roaring adventures. The “Texas Twister” isn’t looking for trouble, but his flying fists aren’t shy about ending it should it come his way. This 5-Disc, 20-Episode collection sees Bronco’s Civil War espionage exploits come back to haunt him, solving a murder mystery, get caught in a range war defending Quakers, take refuge in a town run by the lawless, come between notorious outlaws Cole Younger (Richard Coogan) and Jesse James (James Coburn), play undercover outlaw to a crew of 19th century delinquents (including Joel Grey), and team-up with Pat Garrett (Rhodes Reason and Billy the Kid (Stephen Joyce). Riding the range with Bronco are notable guests Adam West, Alan Hale, Yvonne Craig, Troy Donahue, Warren Oates, and a very young Mary Tyler Moore. Buy the Season 2 DVD at WBshop.com.

Le Chef

When a famous chef finds his position at a renowned restaurant threatened by a young hotshot who specializes in chemically enhanced cuisine, he partners with a self-taught gourmet to save his failing career in ‘Le Chef.’ Buy the Blu-ray right here.

The Soul Man

Cedric “The Entertainer” is back on the pulpit in the second season of ‘The Soul Man,’ the uplifting and side-splitting sitcom from Suzanne Martin (Hot In Cleveland). Former R&B superstar-turned-preacher Boyce “The Voice” Ballentine (Cedric) continues to find his footing in the transition from music to ministering in Season Two’s ten episodes, facing whatever challenges that come his way with grace and humor. Between a fiercely cutthroat choir competition, to an unexpected visit from an old flame, to the countless antics of his family, Boyce will need a miracle to keep it together. Season Two of ‘The Soul Man’ also stars Niecy Nash (Getting On), John Beasley (Everwood), Wesley Jonathan (What I Like About You), and Jazz Raycole (My Wife and Kids). Buy the Season 2 DVD right here.

Misfire

Image Entertainment, an RLJ Entertainment (NASDAQ: RLJE) brand, brings you ‘Misfire,’ now available on DVD and Digital Download. Directed by R. Ellis Frazier, the film stars kick-boxing legend Gary Daniels (The Expendables, Forced to Fight), Vannessa Vasquez (“East Los High”) and Michael Greco (EastEnders). A fearless D.E.A. agent waging a one man crusade against drug cartels on the U.S.-Mexico border, Cole (Gary Daniels) will stop at nothing to bring down the bad guys. When his ex-wife is kidnapped and his brother framed for it, Cole’s battle against the cartel becomes personal. With the help of local reporter, the headstrong and hot-blooded Gracie, he navigates the deadly Tijuana underworld run by brutal kingpin Raul Montenegro. Now the clock is ticking down to a final showdown where justice will be decided at gunpoint. Buy the DVD right here.

Kundo: Age of the Rampant

‘Kundo: The Age of the Rampant,’ the international box office hit and Asia’s answer to Robin Hood, is now available on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital from Well Go USA Entertainment. Set in mid-19th century, the tongue-in-cheek historical comedy-action film depicts a power struggle between the unjust wealthy noblemen who run society and a group of righteous outlaws who steal from corrupt officials to give to the downtrodden and starving.  Directed by Yun Jong-bin (Nameless Gangster: Rules of the Time), ‘Kundo: Age of the Rampant’ stars Ha Jung-woo (The Berlin File), Kang Dong-won (Haunters), Lee Sung-min (The Good, the Bad, the Weird) and Ma Dong-seok (Quick). When the film opened this summer, it broke all existing opening day box office records in South Korea. 1859. The last days of the Joseon Dynasty, where the wages of greed bring poverty and death. A pack of bandits – calling themselves Kundo – rise against the tyrants, stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. In an era where status is decided by birth, this band of thieves risks their lives for honor, in the name of the poor and oppressed. But for one man, a debt of bloody revenge is owed to the aristocrat who robbed him of his family and his name. Buy the Blu-ray right here.

Yankee Doodle Dandy

Legendary actor James Cagney stars in the role for which he won an Academy Award–the life of singer, dancer and songwriter George M. Cohan, a true Yankee Doodle Dandy. This non-stop musical tour de force sings, dances and celebrates the life and career of a music man who lifted a nation, the first entertainer awarded the United States Congressional Medal of Honor for his contribution to morale. From his early days as a vaudeville performer to his stardom on Broadway, George M. Cohan composed the songs that defined his generation. Directed with gusto by Michael (Casablanca) Curtiz, the film has long been a national treasure, winning 2 additional Academy Awards (Best Musical Score and Best Sound Recording), and was nominated for 5 additional Academy Awards. The film was added to the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress in 1993. as a work of enduring importance to American culture. Special Features: Leonard Maltin hosts Warner Night at the Movies 1942 with Casablanca trailer, 1942 newsreel, Warner Bros. short “Beyond the Call of Duty”, Warner Bros. vintage cartoon “Bugs Bunny Gets the Boid”; James Cagney in wartime short “You, John Jones”; Yankee Doodle Dandy theatrical trailer; Let Freedom Sing!: The Story of Yankee Doodle Dandy documentary; audio commentary with Warner Bros. historian Rudy Behlmer; “John Travolta remembers James Cagney” featurette; audio-only extras – radio show and pre-recording session outtakes/rehearsals; vintage Warner Bros. cartoon “Yankee Doodle Daffy”. Buy the Blu-ray at WBshop.com.

The St. Louis Kid

Eddie is at the wheel and good buddy Buck rides shotgun on the St. Louis – Chicago run. But there’s an obstacle in life’s roadway, catching the two truckers in a squeeze between striking farmers and the dairy business. The labor strife turns violent, a farmer is murdered, and Eddie, who is accused of the crime, scrambles to clear his name as well as rescue his sweetie after she is kidnapped by the killers. As Eddie, James Cagney is in his fan-pleasing Depression-era element, rat-a-tat-tatting dialogue and shouldering the heroics of a lickety-split comedy-drama entertainment steeped in the working-class ethos typical of many of the era’s Warner films. Comedy-support-actor Allen Jenkins portrays sidekick Buck. Fans may be surprised how the feisty Cagney persona plunges headfirst quite literally – into the rough stuff. A bigger surprise: the slap-down our hero gets from costar Patricia Ellis (Picture Snatcher!) Buy the DVD at WBshop.com.

Play Hooky

Wild Eye Releasing, a longtime sponsor of the PollyGrind Film Festival, has released Frank S. Petrilli’s ‘Play Hooky’ on DVD.  A hit among critics and audiences, the film took home the Most Innovative Film award at the PollyGrind Film Festival and is the first film to be released on Wild Eye’s PollyGrind Presents label. Five high school friends skip class in hopes of finding the perfect spot to party. They chose the wrong place. Against all warnings, they break into an abandoned mental hospital, notorious for reports of ghost sightings, satanic rituals and demon possessions. Now, armed only with a camera, they are trapped inside, haunted and hunted by something they cannot stop, reason with, or describe. The camera captures every last breath in the fight for their lives.
Buy the DVD right here.

CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story

Buy the DVD right here.

Life After Beth

It’s never too late for a second chance at love in ‘Life After Beth,’ now available on Blu-ray (plus Digital HD) and DVD (plus Digital) from Lionsgate Home Entertainment. Just in time for Halloween, the laugh out loud “zom-rom-com” proves that relationships can always be more challenging, especially when your girlfriend is a zombie. The film features an all-star comedic cast that includes Aubrey Plaza (TV’s “Parks & Recreation”), Dane DeHaan (The Amazing Spider-Man 2), Molly Shannon (Bad Teacher, TV’s “Saturday Night Live”), Cheryl Hines (HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm”), Paul Reiser (TV’s “Mad About You”), Matthew Gray Gubler (TV’s “Criminal Minds”), and John C. Reilly (Stepbrothers, Chicago). Released theatrically by A24, the film was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. Zach (DeHaan) is devastated after his girlfriend Beth (Plaza) dies unexpectedly. After Beth suddenly and mysteriously returns to life, Zach is overjoyed to have the second chance to prove his love for her. But when Beth starts developing some bizarre tendencies – including a rather disturbing taste for flesh – Zach has to confront the facts. Can love survive among the living dead? Buy the Blu-ray right here.

Blackbird

Breaking Glass Pictures has released the drama/thriller ‘Blackbird‘ on DVD/VOD. Written and directed by Jason Buxton, ‘Blackbird’ explores the power and danger of cyber-bullying, while showing that the worst prisons are often the ones we create for ourselves. ‘Blackbird’ stars Canadian actors Connor Jessup (Steven Spielberg’s ‘Falling Skies’) and Alexia Fast (Jack Reacher, The Captive). An unlikely friendship forms between Sean Randall (Jessup) and popular teen Deanna Roy (Fast). After writing a death threat online, Sean is falsely accused of plotting a Columbine-like massacre. The police raid his home and find rifles, shotguns, and a ‘hit list’ with twenty names of students. As the media and authorities claim another Columbine has been averted, Sean faces imprisonment in a youth dentation facility. Sean must overcome his dark image and prove his innocence to Deanna and his shaken community. ‘Blackbird’ won Best Canadian First Feature at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival and Best Director, Best Writer, and Best Atlantic Film at the 2012 Atlantic Film Festival. The film also won the Cannes Junior Award for Best Film in 2013. Buy the DVD right here.

A Letter to Momo

Perfect for anime fans and suitable for the whole family, ‘A Letter to Momo‘ is centered on an 11-year-old girl, who has a hard time coping with sudden changes after her father’s death. An official selection in the Toronto Int’l Film Festival and a Grand Prize Winner in the New York International Children’s Film Festival, the A Letter to Momo Blu-ray and DVD includes an English dub voice over and native Japanese bonus audio tracks, as well as English subtitles. From the creators of Ghost in the Shell comes the supernatural anime classic featuring thousands of squirming, morphing ghosts and spirits. The last time Momo saw her father they had a fight and now all she has left to remember him by is an incomplete letter penned with the words “Dear Momo,” but nothing more. Moving with her mother to the remote Japanese island of Shio, Momo soon discovers three Yokai living in her attic, a trio of mischievous spirit creatures that only she can see and who create mayhem in the tiny seaside community as she tries desperately to keep them hidden. But these funny monsters have a serious side and may hold the key to helping Momo discover what her father had been trying to tell her. Buy the Blu-ray/DVD combo pack right here.

Billy Crystal 700 Sundays

Buy the DVD right here.

Mona Lisa is Missing

The story behind the greatest little-known art theft of modern times is told in the revealing, charming and touching ‘Mona Lisa is Missing.’ More than a century after Italian workman Vincenzo Peruggia stole Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece from the Louvre in Paris in 1911 (and kept it for two years), writer-director Joe Medeiros presents the results of his decades-long search for the real reason behind the theft. Medeiros combs through historical documents and photographs and conducts revealing interviews – the most touching being with Peruggia’s 84-year-old daughter, who says she always thought her father stole the Mona Lisa for patriotic reasons – to return it to Italy. But there’s a lot more to the story, as this definitive documentary reveals. In addition to receiving nationwide theatrical release, ‘Mona Lisa Is Missing’ has been specially screened at leading museums. Winner of the Best Documentary prize at both the San Antonio and Amelia Island film festivals, among other awards, this movie is an indelible look at the power of art and the search for truth. Buy the DVD right here.

Satellite

Buy the DVD right here.

Mobilize

After a friend’s father was diagnosed with brain cancer, potentially from twenty years of cell phone use, filmmaker and community activist Kevin Kunze became fascinated with cell phone radiation, public health and their intersection.  The result is ‘Mobilize,’ an explosive investigative documentary that explores the potential long-term health effects from cell phone radiation, including brain cancer and infertility – findings that the cell phone industry vigorously disputes. Did you know that majority of cell phone manuals tell consumers, in fine print, to keep the phone about an inch away from the body at all times?  Or that researchers have discovered studies conducted over 10 years or longer show an increased risk of brain cancer for heavy cell phone users?  Filmed over three years in conjunction with associate producers Devra Davis, Ph.D., M.P.H., a Nobel Prize-winning author and scientist, Ellie Marks, founder of the California Brain Tumor Association and Joel Moskowitz, Ph.D., the Director for Family and Community Health in the School of Public Health at Berkeley, this thought-provoking film examines the most recent scientific research, and the harsh challenges politicians face trying to pass precautionary legislation.   Featuring interviews with expert researchers, mobile phone industry representatives, and prominent politicians, ‘Mobilize’ illuminates how the industry’s economic and political influence can corrupt public health in myriad ways. Buy the DVD right here.