‘A Madea Family Funeral’ Brunch

In celebration of the home entertainment release of Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral, Lionsgate hosted a Southern brunch May 31 at Cafe Club Fais Do-Do in Los Angeles with talent from the film and entertainment from a gospel choir. Available now on digital, the film streets June 4 on Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD. In A Madea Family Funeral, Tyler Perry steps into the character of Madea for her last movie after nearly a dozen film appearances.

Comedy ‘Little’ Graduating to Digital June 25, Disc July 9 From Universal

The “body swap” comedy Little will arrive on digital (including Movies Anywhere) June 25 and Blu-Ray, DVD and on demand July 9 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

Regina Hall (Girls Trip, “Black Monday”) and Marsai Martin (“Black-ish”) star as Jordan Sanders — Hall as the take-no-prisoners tech mogul adult version of Jordan and Martin as the 13-year-old version of her who wakes up in her adult self’s penthouse just before a do-or-die presentation. Issa Rae (“Insecure,” The Hate You Give) plays Jordan’s long-suffering assistant April.

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Bonus features include a gag reel, behind-the-scenes featurettes, a “mockumentary” featuring Hall and a special “Assistant Survival Guide” presented by Rae.

Johnny Depp Comedy ‘The Professor’ to Debut on Disc and Digital July 9 From Lionsgate

The dark comedy The Professor, starring Johnny Depp, will arrive on Blu-ray (plus digital), DVD, and digital July 9 from Lionsgate.

In the film, Depp plays a college professor who decides to live his last chapter with reckless abandon after being diagnosed with a terminal illness. To the shock of his wife (Rosemarie DeWitt) and school chancellor (Ron Livingston) — and the delight of his students — he leads a hilarious crusade against authority and hypocrisy. The film also stars Zoey Deutch.

Bonus features include a making-of featurette.

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Lionsgate Inks International Distribution Rights to Hulu Series ‘Ramy’

Lionsgate has picked up international distribution rights to A24’s comedy series “Ramy,” which debuted on Hulu and has been picked up for a second season.

“When I watched ‘Ramy’ for the first time, I knew this is a show that has the potential to break through because I couldn’t stop watching,” said Lionsgate president of worldwide television and digital distribution Jim Packer. “I have the utmost respect for our partners at A24 and am thrilled to expand our longstanding distribution partnership by bringing ‘Ramy’ to audiences around the world.”

Lionsgate will showcase “Ramy” to international buyers as part of its L.A. Screenings presentation May 19. The star and co-creator of the show, Ramy Youssef, will be at Lionsgate’s presentation to talk about his inspiration and vision for the show.

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“Ramy” tells the story of a 20-something, first generation Egyptian-American on a spiritual journey in his politically-divided New Jersey neighborhood. The show explores the challenges of what it’s like being caught between a Muslim community that thinks life is a moral test and a millennial generation that thinks life has no consequences. Youssef stars alongside Amr Waked, Hiam Abbass and May Calamawy.

Beer League

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 5/14/19
MVD/FilmRise;
Comedy, B.O. $0.5 million, $14.95 DVD, $24.95 Blu-ray, ‘R’ for nonstop language, including strong sexual references, sexuality, nudity and drug use.
Stars Artie Lange, Ralph Macchio, Anthony De Sando, Cara Buono, Jimmy Palumbo, Jerry Minor, Joe Lo Truglio, Seymour Cassel, Laurie Metcalf, Louis Lombardi.

I love this movie. It’s the perfect tonic for the Al Bundy in us all — an ode to camaraderie, teamwork and the art of the great insult.

That description belies a certain temperament, of course, but how one not eyeball a movie headlined by Artie Lange about a softball squad of New Jersey drunks and not expect to find something potentially offensive to ponder? If it was un-PC when it first premiered in 2006, and it most certainly was, it would be hard pressed to even get made in the Twitter-fueled outrage culture of today. And that’s aside from how years of cocaine use have turned Lange’s nose into silly putty.

Co-written by Lange and director Frank Sebastiano (and based on Shakespeare’s Ale League, Sebastiano quips in the commentary), Beer League is the Bad News Bears if the entire team were Buttermakers — a portrait of drunken thirtysomethings whose last shot at glory rests with success in one of those community rec-center slow-pitch softball leagues where the teams consist of bar buddies.

Lange basically plays himself, a guy named Artie whose team is so bad they always end up picking a fight with their main rivals rather than admit defeat. A local cop (a great cameo by Louis Lombardi of “24”) is so fed up with the fights he orders the team that finishes with the worst record to leave the league.

Artie has a personal motivation for winning, as the other team is led by his oldest rival, who has held the upper hand in their feud since high school.

All seems lost until Artie realizes that if his team can stay sober in a league of drunks, they might actually have an advantage.

But Artie can’t seem to get out of the way of his own personal problems, particularly when it comes to his new girlfriend, played by Cara Buono, who later had a prominent role in season four of “Mad Men” as the love interest of Don Draper who gets dumped so he can marry his secretary; most recently she’s been on “Stranger Things” as Mike’s mom.

A few other plot machinations conspire to bring the team to their lowest point just before the championship, leading to a final game one must see to believe. There’s just something special about seeing a batter throw up in mid-swing, a feat Joe Lo Truglio (of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”) pulls off with aplomb.

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The late Seymour Cassel, who just died in April, gets some of the film’s best lines and steals nearly every scene he’s in as the crotchety old-timer who pitches for Artie’s team.

Also notable is Jimmy Palumbo as Johnny, who constantly refers to his quest to finish the season with a .700 batting average (“It’s so unfair … it’s like pitching to a healthy Lou Gehrig”).

Artie’s best friend is played by Ralph Macchio, who at the time was basically at the tail end of his Karate Kid fame before a guest appearance on HBO’s “Entourage” led to his casting in this movie and sparked a bit of a career renaissance that brought him full circle with “Cobra Kai.”

Even Tina Fey gets in on the action with a one-line cameo as a gym receptionist. Fey was wrapping up her stint on “Saturday Night Live” at the time and about to debut “30 Rock,” and shows up here visibly pregnant with her first daughter.

This is one of those films that critics are prone to dismiss, and most did at the time, but for the audience in the target demographic, which I suppose would be middle-aged Johnny Six-Packs, it hits the sweet spot. It’s crude, extremely funny and eminently watchable in the vein of The Hangover or Major League, and rife with quotability. My brother and I still toss off zingers from the film to this day.

With its flair for crudeness and apathy toward the human condition, Beer League is a perfect companion piece for 1998’s Dirty Work, which was co-written by Sebastiano and also starred Lange.

The new FilmRise Blu-ray edition of the film is basically an updated pressing of the Echo Bridge Blu-ray from 2008, with a new menu and the same previously released trove of bonus material.

The Lange-Sebastiano commentary ends up being surprisingly serious compared with the tone of the film itself, mainly because in-between Lange laughing about his various drug habits they actually focus on how the film was made.

We get a glimpse of Sebastiano’s directing style in the 19-minute behind-the-scenes featurette, which shows him calling the shots in a Yankee cap and bath robe.

The Blu-ray also includes the minute-long faux “Beer Goggles” commercial that went on to inspire the production of Beer League.

Additional extras include the film’s trailers; a photo gallery; four minutes of Lange recording jokes for the film’s promotional campaign; footage of Lange behind the scenes at “Best Damn Sports Show,” “The Jimmy Kimmel Show” and Cine Vegas (3-4 minutes each); and 19 minutes of cast junket interviews.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Netflix Plans ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’ Interactive Special

Netflix has ordered an “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” interactive special, according to the SVOD service.

The Universal comedy series, created and executive produced by Tina Fey, stars Ellie Kemper, Tituss Burgess, Jane Krakowski and Carol Kane.

“We’re thrilled to announce that we’re about to start production on an all-new interactive ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’ special, set to debut on Netflix in 2020,” said Fey at the “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” FYSEE panel in New York City May 8. “’Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’ was one of the first original comedy series on Netflix, and now it will be its first interactive comedy event. Fans will be able to make choices on behalf of our characters, taking different story paths with, of course, different jokes. I think it’s a great fit for our show and will be a great way to officially complete the series.”

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“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” has earned 18 Primetime Emmy Award nominations, including Outstanding Comedy Series for each of its seasons.

Final Season, Full Series Set of ‘Broad City’ Coming to DVD July 9 From Paramount

The fifth and final season and full series set of critically acclaimed series “Broad City” will arrive on DVD July 9 from Paramount Home Media Distribution.

Executive produced by Amy Poehler, “Broad City” stars series creators Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer​, as a pair navigating their 20s in New York. The show’s many guest stars have included Fred Armisen, Amy Sedaris, Seth Rogen, RuPaul, Kumail Nanjiani, Kelly Ripa, Jane Curtin, Fran Drescher, Amy Ryan, Aidy Bryant, Whoopi Goldberg, Cynthia Nixon, Seth Green, Tracee Ellis Ross, Hillary Clinton, Tony Danza and Wanda Sykes.​

“Broad City” season five will be available in a two-DVD set and “Broad City” The Complete Series will be available in an 11-DVD set, which includes an extra disc of special features.

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Season 1 (two discs) includes 10 episodes; outtakes and deleted scenes;  video commentary on select episodes; and a photo gallery. Season 2 (two discs) includes 10 episodes; outtakes and deleted scenes;  a pop-up enhanced episode; “Hack Into Broad City”; and “Body by Trey” videos. Season 3 includes 10 episodes; “Hack Into Broad City”; “Behind the Scenes with Broad City”;  deleted scenes; and NOMO FOMO, an art show about broads in the city. Season 4 (two discs) includes 10 episodes; “Hack Into Broad City”; “Behind Broad City”; and deleted and extended scenes. Season 5 (two discs) includes 10 episodes; “Hack Into Broad City”; and  outtakes and deleted/extended scenes. The complete series special features disc includes “Abbi & Ilana’s Broad City”; “Behind the Scenes,” which includes two set tours and two featurettes on the costumes; a fan surprise; “The Making of Season 5,” which includes three featurettes, one of which is exclusive to the DVD; and “A NYC Broad City Send-Off Fit for a Queen” exclusive to the DVD.

‘Slaughterhouse Rulez’ to Matriculate to Digital May 17, DVD June 18 From Sony

The dark comedy Slaughterhouse Rulez will graduate to digital May 17 and DVD June 18 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

The film takes place at an elite boarding school where boys and girls are groomed for power and greatness. Pupils and teachers become embroiled in a battle with a hoard of subterranean monsters, unleashed from a gaping frack site sinkhole, wreaking havoc on the school grounds.

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Asa Butterfield (TV’s “Sex Education,” Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children), Finn Cole (TV’s“Peaky Blinders”) and Hermione Corfield (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) star alongside Michael Sheen (TV’s “Good Omens,” “The Twilight Saga”). Simon Pegg (the “Mission Impossible” and “Star Trek” franchises) and Nick Frost (Fighting With My Family, Shaun of the Dead) appear in the film and serve as executive producers.

RLJ, Xenon and Aflik Join Allied Vaughn MOD Service

RLJ Entertainment, Xenon Pictures and Aflik Films have joined the Allied Vaughn manufacture-on-demand service.

Coming April 23 on Blu-ray from RLJ Entertainment and Acorn TV are three series sets of “The Heart Guy,” about gifted but arrogant heart surgeon Hugh Knight (Rodger Corser) who leads a charmed life in Sydney and believes his talent lets him live outside the rules. When an incident involving drugs and alcohol brings his world crashing down, he’s placed on probation and banned from performing surgery. He retreats to his rarely visited hometown of Whyhope in rural Australia to work as general practitioner.

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Due April 9 on MOD from Xenon, recognized in the home entertainment marketplace for creating labels focused on the African-American audience, are eight titles. The comedy How U Like Me Now (1992) stars Darnell Williams, Salli Richardson, Daniel Gardner, Raymond Whitefield and Debra Crable in a story that follows a group of young African Americans as they struggle for both financial and sexual fulfillment in early 1990s Chicago. A Day in Black and White (2001) stars Harold Perrineau and Anthony Desando in a comedy about two close friends, one black and one white, who get into a heated discussion on race relations, kicking off a series of interconnected stories that explore the racial terrain of New York City. Identity Crisis (1989) stars Mario Van Peebles, Melvin Van Peebles, Rick Aviles, Shelley Burch and Richard Fancy. In the comedy, a world-Famous French fashion designer Yves Malmaison and rapper Chilly D are both attacked by the same gang of dope smugglers, leaving one in a coma and the other not so lucky. When Chilly D wakes up from his coma several days later, he discovers that his body is also possessed by the soul of Malmaison, unaware that it has been placed there by a strange old homeless woman who witnessed the murder. Because both souls occupy the same body, Chilly D can change from tough black rapper to gay white fashion designer, or back again, anytime he is struck. Kitchen Privileges (2000) is a horror film starring Peter Sarsgaard about a housebound rape victim further terrified by news of a serial killer who preys on young women. Still, she thinks nothing of renting a room to a cook named Tom, who often drags heavy garbage bags into the house and locks the kitchen door while he prepares exotic meat dishes. The Luau (2002) is a comedy, starring Brian Hooks, Maia Campbell, Troy Winbush and Faizon Love, about a man who throws a luau to earn money for rent and pay off a gambling debt. Malibooty (2002) is a party comedy starring Brian Hooks, Stickey Fingaz, Kym Whitley, Traci Bingham, E-40 and Kent Masters-King. The Outback (2009) stars Natalie Bassingthwaighte, Jesse Johnson, Ben Kermode, Natalie Walker and Christian Clark in the story of a group of friends who encounter horror in the Australian desert. Finally, Q: The Movie (1999) stars Brian Hooks, Kelita Smith and Darryl Brunson in a comedy about a man who throws a wild barbeque while his parents are gone.

Aflik, known for Nollywood movies and African-inspired content, is offering four MOD titles: three romances, Beauty of the Mind, Marriage or Prison and The Good Wife, and one drama, Marriage Rules.

SiriusXM and Netflix to Launch ‘Netflix Is a Joke Radio’ Channel April 15

SiriusXM and Netflix April 15 will launch “Netflix Is a Joke Radio,” a full-time comedy channel to air exclusively on SiriusXM channel 93.

It is the first time the streaming company has worked in unison with another major subscription media company to create a new outlet for their content, according to a SiriusXM press release.

The channel will feature highlights from top Netflix talent including Adam Sandler, Aziz Ansari, Bill Burr, Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, Ellen DeGeneres, Gabriel Iglesias, Jerry Seinfeld, John Mulaney, Ken Jeong, Ricky Gervais, Sarah Silverman, Sebastian Maniscalco, Trevor Noah and Wanda Sykes.

“Netflix Is a Joke Radio on SiriusXM will be an audio extension of our award-winning stand-up comedy on Netflix,” said Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos in a statement. “We are thrilled to feature some of the greatest and funniest performers in the world with highlights from Netflix shows as well as original programming that further celebrates the art of comedy, and we are excited to do this in partnership with SiriusXM.”

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“SiriusXM is delighted to become the audio home for Netflix’s blockbuster comedy programming,” said Scott Greenstein, president and chief content officer, SiriusXM, in a statement. “Netflix has established itself as the unrivaled video source for stand-up, attracting the biggest names in the industry as well as break-out newcomers, and we’re eager to deliver SiriusXM subscribers access to their star-studded library, new specials, and original live shows.”

“I’ve seen the power of Netflix on their service for my own special, Stay Hungry, and now with their own SiriusXM channel, this opens up a whole new audience and it’s a great way to digest comedy on the run,” said comedian Sebastian Maniscalco in a statement.

In addition to featuring top comedy from Netflix’s established and up and coming artists, segments from future stand-up specials will debut on Netflix Is a Joke Radio, granting SiriusXM subscribers the chance to hear new material from ‘A’-list comics before anyone else, according to the release. The channel will also broadcast clips of Netflix’s comedy talk shows and other comedic content from the service.

The exclusive channel plans to introduce an original daily show, featuring celebrity guests and comedians discussing pop culture and hot topics of the day. The program will be recorded from SiriusXM’s new studios in Los Angeles.

SiriusXM’s comedy lineup also includes Kevin Hart’s Laugh Out Loud Radio Channel, for which Hart hosts a regular show, as well as a regular series with Ricky Gervais. In addition to original programs hosted by Larry the Cable Guy, Jeff Foxworthy, Jim Norton & Sam Roberts, Sebastian Maniscalco and Nikki Glaser, SiriusXM also produces audio documentaries on comedians such as Robin Williams, Richard Pryor, George Carlin, and Garry Shandling.

SiriusXM subscribers with streaming access can listen to SiriusXM’s 200-plus channels – including Netflix Is a Joke Radio – at home on connected devices including smart TVs, Amazon Alexa devices, Apple TV, Sony PlayStation, Roku and Sonos speakers.