‘Scenes From an Empty Church’ To Debut on DVD Aug. 10

MPI Media Group has set an Aug. 10 DVD release date for Scenes from an Empty Church. The film will carry a suggested retail price of $24.98.

Scenes from an Empty Church was released theatrically and through digital retailers on July 2, one week after its world premiere on opening night of the Chattanooga Film Festival.

In a locked-down New York City, two priests open their church doors to those seeking salvation during the pandemic. From the commonplace to the truly metaphysical, their visitors reflect the full spectrum of personal crises of spirituality. Throughout their encounters with the city’s sweetest, wildest and weirdest, the two priests learn the importance of connection, empathy and open-mindedness.

From writer-director Onur Tukel (Catfight), Scenes from an Empty Church features performances Kevin Corrigan (The Departed, TV’s “Ray Donovan”), Max Casella (ApplesauceInside Llewyn Davis), and Thomas Jay Ryan (EqualsFay Grim).

UFO Documentary Slated for Digital Release on Aug. 3 by 1091 Pictures

Small Town Monsters — On the Trail of UFOs: Dark Sky will become available on a number of digital platforms Aug. 3 from 1091 Pictures.

Cryptid documentarian Seth Breedlove and paranormal researcher Shannon LeGro continue their search for the truth behind the enigma of unidentified flying objects in the latest “Small Town Monsters” release.

Dark Sky explores the UFO topic from the point of view of LeGro, a podcast host and author, and focuses more heavily on eyewitness accounts than typical alien fare. “This project excited us because we were able to look into reports from real people in real places that still connect what they’re seeing to what is being talked about in the mainstream media today,” Breedlove said in a statement. “Particularly, this idea of why these objects or lights in the sky might actually be here on earth and how they might be closer connected to us than we think.”

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On the Trail of UFOs: Dark Sky will be available to purchase or rent on a number of platforms from 1091 Pictures, including iTunes, Amazon Prime Video, Vudu and FandangoNow.

Dark Sky is a follow-up to 2020’s On the Trail of UFOs: Season 1, an episodic series created by Breedlove and LeGro and distributed by 1091. On the Trail of UFOs explored the long history of the topic and became one of the most-viewed independent UFO documentary series in history, racking up nearly 10 million views on Amazon, alone.

Dark Sky goes beyond the history of the subject, exploring modern-day accounts, with additional filming taking place as recently as early May.

Sony Pictures Sets Aug. 17 Home Release Dates for ‘The Truffle Hunters’ Doc

Sony Pictures Entertainment has announced home release dates for The Truffle Hunters, which will become available on digital, Blu-ray Disc and DVD Aug. 17.

Directed by Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw, The Truffle Hunters is a documentary about a group of aging men, in their 70s and 80s, hunting in the forests of Piedmont, Italy, for the rare and expensive white Alba truffle,  which to date has resisted all of modern science’s efforts at cultivation. They’re guided by a secret culture and training passed down through generations, as well as by the noses of their expertly trained dogs. They live a simpler, slower way of life, in harmony with their loyal animals and their picture-perfect land, seemingly straight out of a fairy tale. They’re untethered to cell phone screens or the Internet, opting instead to make their food and drink by hand and prioritizing in-person connections and community.

The film had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2020 and was released on March 5 of this year by Sony Pictures Classics.

The three home editions each include a featurette, “The Story of The Truffle Hunters,” in which filmmakers Dweck and Kershaw talk about how they entered the storybook world of truffle hunting and embraced the eclectic personalities behind the culinary quests.

Cohen Film Collection Sets Aug. 31 Blu-ray Disc, DVD Release Dates for Two French Alain Delon Films

Cohen Film Collection has announced an Aug. 31 Blu-ray Disc and DVD release of “Three Men to Kill,” a double feature of two classic French crime dramas starring Alain Delon, the French actor and screen sex symbol of the 1960s and ’70s.

The collection will consist of  the movies The Gang (1977) and Three Men to Kill (1980), and will retail at $19.95 (DVD) and $29.95 (Blu-ray). 

The Gang: In 1945, as World War Two comes to a close, five small-time crooks unite to form a gang led by the charismatic Delon. After several bold robberies they become notorious as “the front-wheel drive gang.” The police attempt to stop their crime spree with little success, but the gang’s luck won’t last forever.

Three Men to Kill (1980): In this gritty, violent and suspenseful thriller, Delon plays Gerfaut, who comes to the aid of a man laying wounded in the road, not knowing the man has taken two bullets to the belly. Soon he becomes the target of the killers, who see him as a dangerous witness. But Gerfaut has been around the block a couple of times and he won’t be so easily eliminated. 

Both films were directed by Jacques Deray and have been fully restored. They are in French, with English subtitles.

Interpret: Half of Consumers Who Plan Smart-TV, Streaming Media Play Purchase are First-Timers

Half of consumers who plan to purchase a smart-TV or a streaming media player within the next three months will be first-time buyers, according to new data released June 29 by Interpret.

The remainder are existing owners who are replacing their streaming device, upgrading to a newer version, or switching to a new brand.

According to Interpret’s “Streaming Devices: Platforms, Brands, and Consumers 2021” report, 10% of consumers plan to buy a smart TV and a similar number plan a streaming media player purchase within the next quarter. Samsung and Vizio owners are the least likely to replace their smart TV, and Roku owners are the least likely to want to replace their streaming media player.

The study also found:

  • 18% of Roku owners plan to replace their device within the next three months;
  • 17% of Samsung owners and 18% of Vizio owners plan to replace their devices within the next three months.

 

“With half of buyers being new to smart TVs and streaming media players, this sector of consumer electronics is primed for continued growth,” said Brett Sappington, Interpret’s VP of research. “However, not all streaming device brands will enjoy the full benefit of that growth. Our research shows that each brand attracts a unique consumer audience, with differing characteristics, habits, and preferences that are often related to key features. Those brands that best meet consumers’ needs stand the best chance of gaining market share.”

MPI Media Group to Release Vintage Cop Show on DVD July 20

MPI Media Group has set a July 20 DVD release of “Code 3: L.A. Sheriff’s Case Files,” a vintage 1957 TV show that, like “Dragnet,” was based on actual police case files.

The collection will contain all 39 episodes from the police procedural series, from Hal Roach Studios and producer Ben Fox.

Starring Richard Travis as Sheriff George Barrett of the Los Angeles County Police Department, the series also featured Denver Pyle as Sgt. Murchison and Fredd Wayne as Sgt. Bill Hollis.

“Code 3″ featured true crime cases from the files of the search and rescue branch of the Los Angeles Police Department – always “changing the names to protect the innocent,” again, much like “Dragnet.”

At the end of most of the broadcasts, the real-life Sheriff of Los Angeles County, Eugene W. Biscailuz, made an appearance to recap that night’s adventure.

Supporting actors in the series, which ran in syndication, include Christopher Dark, Robert Armstrong (King Kong), James Anderson, Harlan Warde, Douglas Kennedy, William Schallert, Ray Montgomery, Peter Leeds, Stacy Keach Sr. (“Get Smart”), Richard Sargent (“Bewitched”), Russell Johnson (“Gilligan’s Island”), John Archer, DeForest Kelley (“Star Trek”), Mike Connors (“Mannix”), Claude Akins, Guy Williams (“Zorro”), Harry Bartell (“Dragnet”), Mae Clarke and James Best (“The Dukes of Hazard”).

RLJE Films Sets Aug. 3 DVD, Digital Release Date for Shudder’s ‘Lucky’

RLJE Films, an independent distributor owned by AMC Networks, has announced Aug. 3 home release dates for the horror film Lucky, originally produced for Shudder, AMC’s premium streaming service for horror and thriller films.

Directed by Natasha Kermani (Imitation Girl, Shattered) and written by Brea Grant (12 Hour Shift), Lucky will be available through digital retailers and on DVD at $27.97.

Lucky tells the story of May (Grant), a popular self-help book author, who finds herself the target of a mysterious man with murderous intentions. Every night without fail, he comes after her, and every day the people around her barely seem to notice. With no one to turn to, May is pushed to her limits and must take matters into her own hands to survive and to regain control of her life. The cast also includes Dhruv Uday Singh (Good Trouble), Kausar Mohammed (What Men Want), Hunter C. Smith (Alien Expedition), and Kristina Klebe (Hellboy).

Bonus features on the DVD include a filmmaker commentary and a behind-the-scenes photo gallery.

Arrow’s July Release Slate Includes Two Boxed Blu-ray Disc Sets, 4K Ultra HD of Argento Debut ‘Bird With the Crystal Plumage’

Two limited-edition Blu-ray Disc boxed sets of classic movies and a 4K Ultra HD edition of Italian horror master Dario Argento’s The Bird with the Crystal Plumage highlight Arrow Video’s July 2021 disc release slate.

Releases get underway July 6 with Threshold, available on both Blu-ray Disc and DVD. The film, produced last year, tells the story of a girl who believes she is cursed and convinces her brother to head out on a cross-country road trip to break the curse. The psychological thriller was co-directed by Powell Robinson and Patrick Robert Young and stars Joey Millin, Nadine Sondej-Robinson, Daniel Abraham Stevens, John Terrell and Madison West.

Other releases all become available on July 27 and include two limited-edition Blu-ray Disc boxed sets.

The Vengeance Trails: Four Classic Westerns includes four classic Italian-American Westerns from the late 1960s and early ’70s: Massacre Time, My Name is Pecos, Bandidos and And God Said to Cain.

  • In Lucio Fulci’s Massacre Time (1966), Franco Nero stars as a New Mexico prospector who returns home to help his drunkard brother save the family ranch from a businessman and his sadistic son.
  • Robert Woods stars in My Name is Pecos (1967), from director Maurizio Lucidi. Woods plays a Mexican gunslinger who squares off with the man that killed his family.
  • Enrico Maria Salerno is a gunman who seeks revenge on a former pupil in director Massimo Dallamano’s Bandidos (1967).
  • Rounding out the set is And God Said to Cain (1970), from director Antonio Margheiti. Klaus Kinski stars as a recently released prisoner who tracks down the men who framed him.

All four films all restored in 2K using the original 35mm camera negatives. The four-disc limited edition set includes an illustrator collector’s booklet and a fold-out double-sided poster.

The second boxed set due on July 27 is The Daimajin Trilogy. This limited edition Blu-ray Disc set includes all three films in the “Daiei” series — Daimajin, Return of Daimajin, and Wrath Of Daimajin. The series takes the Golem legend and places it in 16th century Japan. The films have frequently been overlooked, but fans of the films have frequently placed them among the best the kaiju genre has to offer, praising the outstanding special effects. The set includes a 100-page book featuring essays by Jonathan Clements, Keith Aiken, Ed Godziszewski, Raffael Coronelli, Erik Homenick, Robin Gatto, and Kevin Derendorf.

Also out on July 27 is The Bird With the Crystal Plumage, director Argento’s groundbreaking debut and a film largely responsible for kicking the “Giallo” genre into high gear. Roger Ebert praised the film, saying it’s “what thrillers are all about,” while Bloody Disgusting dubbed it a “flawless debut.” Tony Musante stars as an American author vacationing in Rome when he witnesses a terrible murder, but things aren’t quite as they seem. This new release sees the Argento classic make the jump to 4K Ultra HD with a brand new 4K restoration, courtesy of Arrow. This set includes an illustrated booklet featuring writings on the film and a fold-out poster.

Japanese Horror-Comedy ‘Ghost Master’ to Stream on Demand Beginning July 13

Independent film distributor Indican Pictures has announced a July 13 home release date for Ghost Master.

The Japanese horror-comedy will be available on demand on Apple TV, DirecTV, Google Play, Prime Video, FandangoNow, and other platforms.

A DVD release will follow on an as-yet-undermined date.

From director Paul Young (Flashback), Ghost Master tells the story of a nervous assistant director working on the set of a low-budget romantic comedy who ditches the scheduled project and pivots to his own horror script. Akira Kurosawa (Takahiro Miura, Attack on Titan Part 1) is shocked when his evil screenplay comes to life and begins possessing the film’s star, Yuya (Mizuki Itagaki, First Love Loss Time). As a bloodbath begins and Yuya embraces the spirit of the cursed script, Akira is forced to put a stop to his own creation to save the cast and crew from their gruesome deaths.

Winner of “Best Film” at the 2020 International Fantasy Film Awards, Ghost Master is produced by Kazz Kitaki (Rolling) and Kensuke Zushi (The Tiger Mask). The film also stars Mizuki Itagaki (First Love Loss Time) and Motohisa Harashima (Tango on the Campania).

Comedy ‘Rock Paper Scissors’ Comes to DVD and Digital HD on July 20

Indican Pictures has announced a July 20 home release date for the comedy Rock Paper Scissors, which will be issued on DVD and Digital HD. The film will be available in retail stores as well as digital platforms such as  Apple TV, Google Play, Prime Video, FandangoNow.

Rock Paper Scissors follows best friends Kelvin and Cheddar, as they try to go from losers to cool kids by engaging in the International Tournament of Rock Paper Scissors.

Directed by Jayme Laforest (I’ll Take Your Dead) and Richard Yearwood (Gods of Accident), Rock Paper Scissors also stars Jenna Aitken (Still Here), Joey De Marco (“Cooked”), Jeremy Dozier (“Poor Us”), Kristopher Maz (“The K Pops”) and Lisa Stiles (Crave). The comedy is produced by Jaime Scott Webber (Wastelander) and Paige Hemmis.

Indican Pictures is a boutique entertainment label and film distributor. The company was founded in 2004 and has released over 300 films worldwide.