‘Donnie Darko’ 4K Ultra HD, ‘Elvira’ Blu-ray Among Titles Available From MVD and Arrow in April

Donnie Darko on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, Elvira: Mistress of the Dark on Steelbook Blu-ray, and two 1970s cult films on Blu-ray, Switchblade Sisters and Death Has Blue Eyes, are available in April from Arrow Video and MVD Entertainment Group.

Richard Kelly’s debut feature Donnie Darko (2001) is coming to 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray April 27 in a two-disc set that includes both the theatrical and director’s cut. Initially beset with distribution problems, it would slowly find its audience and emerge as a cult classic. Donnie is a troubled high school student: in therapy, prone to sleepwalking and in possession of an imaginary friend, a six-foot rabbit named Frank, who tells him the world is going to end in 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes and 12 seconds. During that time, he will navigate teenage life, narrowly avoid death in the form of a falling jet engine, follow Frank’s maladjusted instructions and try to maintain the space-time continuum. Described by its director as “The Catcher in the Rye as told by Philip K. Dick,” Donnie Darko stars Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal, Patrick Swayze, Drew Barrymore, Mary McDonnell, Katharine Ross and Noah Wyle and features a soundtrack of 1980s classics by Echo and the Bunnymen, Tears for Fears and Duran Duran. The new 4K restorations of both the theatrical cut and the director’s cut from the original camera negatives by Arrow Films were supervised and approved by director Richard Kelly and cinematographer Steven Poster and feature Dolby Vision. The release includes a 100-page hardcover book featuring writing by Nathan Rabin, Anton Bitel and Jamie Graham; an in-depth interview with Richard Kelly; an introduction by Jake Gyllenhaal; and contemporary coverage, illustrated with original stills and promotional materials. It also includes a double-sided fold-out poster featuring newly commissioned artwork by Luke Preece; six double-sided collector’s postcards; and limited edition packaging with a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Luke Preece. Both discs include numerous extras, including commentaries and featurettes.

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Horror icon Elvira’s big screen debut Elvira: Mistress of the Dark (1988) is coming to Blu-ray in a Steelbook special edition April 27. In the film, having just quit her job as a Los Angeles TV horror hostess, Elvira receives the unexpected news that she’s set to inherit part of her great aunt Morgana’s estate. Arriving in the small town of Fallwell, Mass., to claim her inheritance, Elvira receives a less than enthusiastic reception from the conservative locals — among them, her sinister uncle Vincent, who, unbeknownst to Elvira, is in fact an evil warlock secretly scheming to steal the old family spell book for his own nefarious ends. Elvira: Mistress of the Dark helped solidify the horror hostess (played by Cassandra Peterson) as a major pop culture icon. Featuring a 2018 restoration from a 4K scan of original film elements, the release includes an introduction by director James Signorelli; 2017 audio commentary with Signorelli, hosted by Fangoria editor emeritus Tony Timpone; 2017 audio commentary with Patterson Lundquist, www.elviramistressofthedark.com webmaster and judge of U.S. TV show “The Search for the Next Elvira”; “Too Macabre – The Making of Elvira: Mistress of the Dark,” a 2018 version of this feature-length documentary on the making of the film, including interviews with various cast and crew and rare never-before-seen archival material; “Recipe for Terror: The Creation of the Pot Monster,” a 2018 version of this featurette on the concept and design of the pot monster, as well as the film’s other SFX; original storyboards; extensive image galleries; original U.S. theatrical and teaser trailers; a limited edition Steelbook featuring newly produced artwork; and a limited edition booklet featuring a foreword by writer and director Sam Irvin and writing on the film by Kat Ellinger and Patterson Lundquist.

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From Jack Hill, director of Spider Baby, Coffy, Foxy Brown and The Swinging Cheerleaders, comes the 1975 grindhouse classic Switchblade Sisters, due on Blu-ray April 27. In the film, Lace (Robbie Lee), the leader of inner-city girl gang the Dagger Debs, meets her match when new girl Maggie (Joanne Nail) moves into the neighborhood. Mistrust and conflict turn to friendship as the girls end up in Juvenile Detention together at the mercy of abusive guards. Meanwhile, the Dagger Debs’ male counterparts the Silver Daggers have to contend with the arrival of a new gang, led by the villainous Crabs (Chase Newhart). But when the girls get back on the streets, a planned retaliation strike in tandem with the Silver Daggers backfires and puts Lace in hospital. Maggie assumes control, teaming up with Muff (Marlene Clark) and her gang of African-American militants from across town to declare all-out war, but there’s a traitor in their midst. Extras include a new audio commentary by historians/critics Samm Deighan and Kat Ellinger; “We Are the Jezebels,” an archival documentary featuring director Jack Hill, producer John Prizer, casting director Geno Havans, production designer B.B. Neel, stunt coordinator Bob Minor, and stars Joanne Nail, Asher Brauner, and Chase Newhart; “Gangland: The locations of Switchblade Sisters,” an archival documentary in which Jack Hill and filmmaker Elijah Drenner revisit the shooting locations; Jack Hill and Joanne Nail at the Grindhouse Film Festival, a 2007 archival interview with the director and actor; an interview with Jack Hill, Robbie Lee and Joanne Nail, an archival 1990s interview with the director and stars in conversation with Johnny Legend; galleries of behind the scenes stills, international posters, video covers and lobby cards; theatrical trailers; a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by the Twins of Evil; and, for the first pressing only, an illustrated collectors’ booklet featuring new writing by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas and Heather Drain.

Available now is Death Has Blue Eyes (1976) on Blu-ray, a paranormal action thriller from the director of the cult classic Island of Death (1976). In the film, when local gigolo Chess (Chris Nomikos) greets his vacationing friend Bob Kovalski (Peter Winter) at Athens airport, the pair embark on a string of scams and erotic dalliances that eventually lead them into contact with an elegant wealthy woman Geraldine Steinwetz (Jessica Dublin) and her glamorous daughter Christine (Maria Aliferi). Geraldine blackmails the two bachelors into acting as bodyguards for Christine, whom it transpires has telepathic abilities and has had her eye on them for some time. After fleeing from a series of assassination attempts, it soon becomes clear that Geraldine herself might not be quite who she seems, as the two young men find themselves caught up in a political conspiracy of international dimensions. In his debut feature, filmmaker Nico Mastorakis presents viewers non-stop car, bike and helicopter chases, a bevy of beautiful girls with guns, softcore sex scenes, psychic thrills, and Cold War political intrigue set against the picturesque landscapes of 1970s Greece. The release features a new restoration from the original camera negative approved by the director; two versions of the film, the widescreen 1.85:1 version and the full-frame 1.33:1 version; an exclusive new interview featurette with Nico Mastorakis; an exclusive new interview with actress Maria Aliferi; “Dancing with Death,” tracks from the Death Has Blue Eyes original soundtrack; original theatrical trailers; an image gallery; a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys; and, for the first pressing only, an illustrated collectors’ booklet featuring new writing by Julian Grainger.

Kaleidescape, Sony Mount Joint Promotion

Kaleidescape, designer and manufacturer of home movie servers and players, has mounted a joint promotion with Sony Electronics offering a $3,000 discount to customers purchasing a Kaleidescape system alongside one of four Sony projectors: VPL-GTZ380, VPL-VW5000ES, VPL-VW995ES or VPL-VW915ES.

“This joint promotion with Kaleidescape underscores our unwavering commitment to provide the finest in 4K HDR entertainment,” Jeff Goldstein, head of custom integrator channel sales at Sony Electronics, said in a statement. “Besides being an incredible deal, this incentive ensures that our customers will get the very best from their premium Sony projector.”

Kaleidescape delivers reference-quality 4K HDR movies at the source, optimizing for the highest resolution, dynamic range and contrast capabilities of Sony’s high-end projectors, according to a company press release. With more than 12,000 movies and shows to choose from within its interface, Kaleidescape employs proprietary metadata to adjust Sony’s projectors to display every movie in native aspect ratio.

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“Sony is synonymous with 4K innovation and shares Kaleidescape’s vision for delivering the finest picture and sound quality,” Kaleidescape CEO Tayloe Stansbury said in a statement. “When you combine Sony’s finest projectors with Kaleidescape’s exceptional products, like the newly released Terra movie server with 48TB storage, the result is a 4K HDR experience you can’t take your eyes off.”

A streaming device cannot maximize a high-end projector’s innovative capabilities and stops short of delivering the best possible viewing experience, according to the press release. In contrast, a Kaleidescape system is designed to play 4K HDR movies with a video bitrate four times higher while reproducing lossless audio at up to 10 times higher than any streaming device.

‘The Day of the Beast,’ Rosie Perez Starrer ‘Perdita Durango’ Among Titles Coming to 4K and Blu-ray Disc March 30 From MVD and Severin

Coming to disc March 30 from MVD Entertainment Group and Severin Films are Perdita Durango (1997), The Day of the Beast (1995), Nosferatu in Venice (1988) and A Scream in the Streets (1973).

Writer-director Álex de la Iglesia’s Perdita Durango and The Day of the Beast are restored on 4K Ultra HD (in combo pack with Blu-ray) and Blu-ray Disc for the first time in America.

For his English-language debut with Perdita Durango, de la Iglesia chose novelist Barry Gifford’s prequel to Wild at Heart featuring the titular sociopath priestess. But when the U.S. distributor saw the finished film, they slashed more than 10 minutes of gleefully profane sex and violence and dumped it under the title Dance With the Devil. Severin is now presenting the complete director’s cut starring Oscar nominee Rosie Perez and Academy Award winner Javier Bardem in a violent love story filled with human sacrifices, kidnapping, murder and fetus trafficking with the dogged DEA agent (James Gandolfini) on the trail of it all. Don Stroud (Django Unchained), Demián Bichir (The Hateful Eight), Alex Cox (Repo Man) and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins co-star in the film with music by Simon Boswell. Special features include “On the Border,” an interview with de la Iglesia; “Writing Perdita Durango,” an interview with writer Barry Gifford; an appraisal by film scholar Dr. Rebekah McKendry; “Narcosatanicos: Perdita Durango and the Matamoros Cult,” an interview with Abraham Castillo Flores and Cauldron of Blood author Jim Schutze; “Canciones de Amor Maldito: The Music of Perdita Durango,” an interview with composer Simon Boswell; “Shooting Perdita Durango,” an interview with director of photography Flavio Labiano; and trailers.

In between his cult hit debut Accion Mutante and Perdita Durango, de la Iglesia delivered the international horror comedy smash The Day of the Beast, which won six Goya Awards, including Best Director. In the film, when a rogue priest (Álex Angulo of Pan’s Labyrinth) discovers the exact date The Antichrist will be born, he enlists a Death Metal record store clerk (Santiago Segura of Killer Barbys) and a cheesy TV psychic (Armando De Razza) for an urban spree to prevent the Apocalypse by summoning Satan himself. Terele Pávez (800 Bullets) co-stars. Special features include “Heirs of the Beast,” a feature length documentary by Diego López and David Pizarro on the making and cultural impact of the film; “Antichrist Superstar,” an interview with director Alex de la Iglesia; “The Man Who Saved the World,” an interview with actor Armando De Razza; “Beauty and the Beast,” an interview with actress Maria Grazia Cucinotta; “Shooting the Beast,” an interview with director of photography Flavio Martínez Labiano; “Mirindas Asesinas,” a 1990 short film by Alex de la Iglesia; and trailers.

Nosferatu in Venice (1988) and A Scream in the Streets (1973) are coming out on Blu-ray for the first time ever March 30 scanned in 2K from the original negatives.

What was intended to be an unofficial sequel to Werner Herzog’s Nosferatu, Nosferatu in Venice instead became one of the most notoriously fascinating productions in EuroCult history. Klaus Kinski stars as the legendary vampire resurrected in modern-day Venice with an insatiable hunger for warm blood and rough sex. Donald Pleasence and Academy Award winner Christopher Plummer co-star in this shocker that features music by Oscar winner Vangelis (Chariots of Fire) and employed five different directors, including Mario Caiano (Nightmare Castle), Luigi Cozzi (Paganini Horror), writer-producer Augusto Caminito and reportedly Kinski himself. Special features include “Creation is Violent,” a new feature-length documentary on Kinski’s Final Years; “Creation is Violent Outtakes: – Nothing Bad Can Happen – Gypsies Should Be Played by Real Gypsies!”; and a trailer.

From producer Harry Novak — whose Box Office International Pictures brought the world such classics as Axe, Mantis in Lace and Wham Bam Thank You, Spaceman — comes A Scream in the Streets, about a pair of L.A.P.D. detectives hunting a transvestite psychopath through a polyester jungle of massage parlor perverts, suburban sex fiends and violence-crazed cops. Directed by Carl Monson (Please Don’t Eat My Mother), the film stars Joshua Bryant (Enter the Devil), Sandy Carey (Drive-in Massacre), Linda York (Chain Gang Women) and Sharon Kelly (aka ’80s adult film superstar Colleen Brennan). Special features include “The Peeper — Two Sexy Shorts Produced From A Scream in the Streets outtakes” and a trailer.

Gattaca

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Sony Pictures;
Sci-Fi;
$24.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for brief violent images, language and some sexuality.
Stars Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, Alan Arkin, Jude Law, Loren Dean.

In revisiting Gattaca, it’s easy to see why the film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Art Direction and for a Golden Globe for Best Original Score. The retro-futuristic look of the film and its haunting score are truly extraordinary and still impress more than two decades after its initial 1997 release.

Written and directed by Andrew Niccol (The Truman Show), Gattaca’s story, set in an indefinite future time period, also hold ups well. The issues the sci-fi thriller explores are perhaps even more relevant today. Ultimately, it poses the question: What makes us, genes or guts?

The film centers on Vincent (Ethan Hawke), an “in-valid,” or genetically inferior “God child,” whose parents chose not to use genetic means to make a baby. Saddled with a heart condition, among other “defects,” Vincent decides to take a “borrowed ladder” by assuming the identity of a member of the genetic elite to pursue his goal of traveling into space with the Gattaca Aerospace Corp. (The name “Gattaca” cleverly features the letters in the genome sequence.) Thus, through a financial arrangement, he uses the name and genetic material of Jerome Morrow (Jude Law), who is confined to a wheelchair. All seems to be going well until a week before his mission, a murder marks Vincent as a suspect. With investigators in pursuit and a love interest (Uma Thurman) beginning to suspect his deception, Vincent sees his dream beginning to unravel.

The 4K edition has been remastered from the original camera negative, and the crisp picture nicely renders the effect of the small skin cells and strands of hair falling onto surfaces, littering the workspace and threatening to give Vincent away. It also makes more vivid the graphic lines of the concrete and glass architecture. (The film was shot in part at Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1960 Marin County Civic Center in San Rafael, Calif.) The 4K treatment does justice to the lasting, timeless beauty of this film.

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Sony is releasing the title in a Steelbook combo pack that includes a regular Blu-ray and digital copies of the film in addition to the 4K disc, which does not include extras. Extras on the Blu-ray include deleted scenes, a blooper reel and the featurette “Welcome to Gattaca.”

Godzilla (2014)

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Warner Bros.;
Sci-Fi;
$24.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for intense sequences of destruction, mayhem and creature violence.
Stars Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Watanabe, Elizabeth Olsen, Juliette Binoche, Sally Hawkins, David Strathairn and Bryan Cranston.

Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ Godzilla (2014) marked a big-screen reboot of the King of the Monsters and the start of Legendary’s MonsterVerse, which would come to include Kong: Skull Island (2017), Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) and the upcoming Godzilla vs. Kong, hitting theaters and HBO Max March 31. The 4K release of Godzilla is nicely timed to prepare for the latest installment in the series.

Directed by Gareth Edwards (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story), the film is based on the character Godzilla, owned and created by Toho Co. The adventure reimagines the lizard-like giant in contemporary times and is set 15 years after a nuclear meltdown in Japan which was caused by giant MUTOs (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms). Years later, as two MUTOs terrorize the countryside in order to reproduce, they awaken the ancient alpha predator, known as Godzilla, whose existence has been kept secret by the U.S. government since 1954.

Godzilla starts with a strong dramatic sequence featuring Bryan Cranston and Juliette Binoche at the nuclear plant 15 years previous; then it flashes forward to follow their son (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), a U.S. Navy officer who has just returned home to his son and wife (Elizabeth Olsen, in a pairing of the two before the Marvel series). He reluctantly leaves them once again because his father, obsessed by what caused the nuclear disaster, has been detained in the plant’s quarantine zone. Eventually, both get caught up in the chaos caused by giant monsters that feed on radiation.

As do many first movies in a series, this film takes its time introducing the true star of the show, Godzilla, and the action slows a bit before he emerges. Still, he’s quite impressive when he does. The disc features a Dolby Atmos soundtrack, which is used to full effect when the bellowing, truly enormous Godzilla enters. In addition to the monster sequences, another impressive action scene features a HALO jump that is as beautiful as it is nerve-wracking. These scenes are the kind of visuals that are really shown to their best advantage in 4K.

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There are no extras on the 4K disc, but the Blu-ray in the combo pack contains the previously released special features “MONARCH: Declassified,” offering new evidence not contained in the film that unravels the massive cover-up to keep Godzilla’s existence a secret, and “The Legendary Godzilla,” a behind the scenes look at the monsters in the film.

‘Speed’ Racing to 4K Ultra HD May 4

Jan de Bont’s action thriller Speed will motor to 4K Ultra HD for the first time May 4, including a limited-edition exclusive Best Buy Steelbook, from Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution.

In the Fox film, Keanu Reeves stars as an L.A.P.D. SWAT team specialist who is sent to diffuse a bomb that a revenge-driven extortionist (Dennis Hopper) has planted on a city bus. But until he does, one of the passengers (Sandra Bullock) must keep the bus speeding through the streets of Los Angeles at more than 50 miles per hour — or the bomb will explode.

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Special features, which vary by product and retailer, include audio commentary by de Bont; audio commentary by Graham Yost and Mark Gordon; several making-of featurettes; extended scenes; and a Speed music video by Billy Idol.

The film, released theatrically in 1994, earned more than $350 million at the worldwide box office.

Best Buy’s ‘Speed’ 4K Steelbook

Guy Ritchie Comedy ‘Snatch’ Due on 4K Ultra HD June 1

The comedy Snatch, from director Guy Ritchie, is being released on 4K Ultra HD June 1 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

The writer-director of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels delivers a story about a diamond heist gone wrong, a colorful Irish gypsy-turned-prizefighter — and a very temperamental dog. In the heart of gangland, two novice unlicensed boxing promoters, Turkish (Jason Statham) and Tommy (Stephen Graham), get roped into a rigged bare-knuckle fight with local kingpin/villain and fellow boxing promoter Brick Top (Alan Ford). But all goes wrong when wild-card Irish gypsy boxer One Punch Mickey O’Neil (Brad Pitt) starts playing by his own rules, and the duo find themselves heading for a whole lot of trouble. Meanwhile, Franky Four Fingers (Benicio Del Toro) and his stolen 86-carat diamond have gone missing in London. Head honcho Avi (Dennis Farina) hires local legend Bullet Tooth Tony (Vinnie Jones) to find them, launching everyone into a spiral of double-crossing vendettas and events, most of them illegal.

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The 4K release includes a new Dolby Atmos soundtrack and the theatrical trailer. Extras on Blu-ray include director and producer commentary; deleted scenes with optional commentary; the “Making Snatch” featurette; storyboard comparisons; and a video photo gallery.

MOD Service Allied Vaughn Releases First 4K Ultra HD Title, Warner’s ‘Batman v Superman’

Manufacture-on-demand service Allied Vaughn is bowing its first 4K Ultra HD title, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice — Ultimate Edition, March 23.

The extended cut of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice includes 30 more minutes of story and action not seen in theaters. The disc set also includes the theatrical version of the film and more than two hours of bonus content.

Directed by Zack Snyder, the film stars Ben Affleck as Batman/Bruce Wayne and Henry Cavill as Superman/Clark Kent in the characters’ first big-screen pairing. Fearing the actions of a god-like superhero left unchecked, Gotham City’s own formidable vigilante takes on Metropolis’s most revered, modern-day savior, while the world wrestles with what sort of hero it really needs. With Batman and Superman at war with one another, a new threat quickly arises, putting mankind in greater danger than it’s ever known before.

This new edition of the “Ultimate Cut,” which was released on Blu-ray in 2016, has been remastered by Snyder to include scenes shot for Imax screens in a 4:3 ratio rather than the cropped 16:9 for most widescreen TVs. This will better match it to Snyder’s footage for his upcoming four-hour director’s cut of 2017’s Justice League which premieres on HBO Max March 18. The remastered BvS — Ultimate Cut also arrives on HBO Max March 18.

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‘News of the World’ Coming to Digital March 9, 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD March 23

The Tom Hanks Western News of the World will be available for purchase on digital March 9 and on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD March 23 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

The film was previously released as a premium VOD rental.

Set in the 1870s, the film stars Hanks as former Army captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, who moves from town to town as a non-fiction storyteller, sharing the news from the far reaches of the globe. In the plains of Texas, he crosses paths with a 10-year-old girl (Helena Zengel) taken in by the Kiowa people and raised as one of their own. Kidd agrees to deliver the child where the law says she belongs. As they travel hundreds of miles into the unforgiving wilderness, the two face tremendous challenges of both human and natural forces.

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The film is based on the best-selling novel and was nominated for two Golden Globe Awards and two Screen Actors Guild Awards.

The release will feature exclusive bonus content, including deleted scenes, feature commentary with co-writer/director Paul Greengrass (Captain Phillips, “Bourne” Franchise), and an inside look into the relationship between movie veteran Hanks and newcomer Golden Globe-nominee Helena Zengel.

‘Super 8’ Coming to 4K Ultra HD May 25

Super 8, from writer/director J.J. Abrams and producer Steven Spielberg, will debut on 4K Ultra HD May 25 from Paramount Home Entertainment.

Originally released on June 10, 2011, the film celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. Newly remastered for the 4K Ultra HD release, Super 8 stars Joel Courtney (The Kissing Booth), Kyle Chandler (“Friday Night Lights”) and Elle Fanning (“The Great”). It tells the story of six friends who witness a train wreck while making a Super 8 movie, only to discover that something unimaginable escaped during the crash. They soon discover that the only thing more mysterious than what it is, is what it wants.

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The 4K Ultra HD release includes access to a digital copy of the film and more than two hours of previously released bonus content, commentary by Abrams, Bryan Burk and Larry Fong; “The Dream Behind Super 8”(HD); “The Search for New Faces” (HD); “Meet Joel Courtney (HD); “Rediscovering Steel Town (HD); “The Visitor Lives (HD); “Scoring Super 8 (HD); “Do You Believe in Magic?” (HD); “The 8mm Revolution (HD); Easter eggs (HD); “Deconstructing the Train Crash” (HD); and deleted scenes (HD).