‘Laurel & Hardy: The Definitive Restorations’ Coming on Disc June 16 From MVD

Laurel & Hardy: The Definitive Restorations will come out on Blu-ray and DVD June 16 from MVD Entertainment Group.

The comedy films of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy have been beloved around the world since they were first released between 1927 and 1940. Unfortunately, many of the available copies are blurred dupes printed from worn-out negatives. The best of their short comedies and two of their features have been fully restored for the MVD release.

The release includes new 2K and 4K transfers from the best original 35mm materials. The release also includes the 1927 silent “pie fight” film The Battle of the Century, making its video debut after being “lost” for 90 years; the only reel of the duo’s bloopers and outtakes, “That’s That!”; shorts “Berth Marks,” “Brats,” “Hog Wild,” “Come Clean,” “One Good Turn,” “Helpmates,” “The Music Box” (the legendary Academy Award winning “piano moving” short), “The Chimp,” “County Hospital,” “Scram!,” “Their First Mistake,” “Towed in a Hole,” “Twice Two,” “Me and My Pal,” “The Midnight Patrol” and “Busy Bodies”; and the feature films Sons of the Desert and Way Out West (which includes the team’s famous soft shoe dance routine).

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Extras include 2,500 rare photos and studio documents, audio and film interviews with the duo’s co-workers, original music tracks and trailers, and a full restoration of their one surviving color film The Tree in a Test Tube. Also included are commentaries by Laurel & Hardy historians Randy Skretvedt and Richard W. Bann.

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The restorations are provided by Jeff Joseph/SabuCat in conjunction with the UCLA Film & Television Archive and the Library of Congress.

 

Netflix Launching Live Comedy Festival in Los Angeles

Netflix reportedly is planning a major live comedy festival event in Los Angeles this spring from April 27 to May 3 in partnership with Live Nation.

Dubbed “Netflix Is a Joke Fest,” the seven-day event will feature more than 100 comics across 20 venues, including a tribute to late comedians George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Joan Rivers and Robin Williams, according to the Los Angeles Times, which first reported the event.

Among the 130 comics slated to appear: Dave Chappelle, David Letterman, Amy Schumer, Ali Wong, Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, Jamie Foxx, Sarah Silverman, Kevin Hart, Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg, Ken Jeong, and Martin Lawrence, among others.

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Ticket prices range from $15 to $500 depending on the line-up. Netflix is projecting about 80,000 attendees across all venues.

Netflix, which has produced and streamed myriad standup comedy specials, will stream 11 of the bigger-name acts at a later date. Venues include the Wiltern Theater, The Paladium, the Hollywood Bowl, the Fonda Theater hosted by David Letterman.

“Stand Out: An LGBTQ+ Celebration,” a gay-themed comedy format will showcase at the Greek Theatre, featuring Sandra Bernhard, Alan Carr, Margaret Cho, Hannah Gadsby, Rosie O’Donnell and Wanda Sykes, among others.

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Other comics appearing include Bill Burr, Pete Davidson, Chelsea Handler, Jenny Slate, Whitney Cummings, Marlon Wayans, Iliza Shlesinger and Michelle Wolf.

“This festival is a unique celebration of the art of comedy, and the role it plays in reflecting our lives and defining culture,” Ted Sarandos, chief content officer, said in a statement. “It’s a chance for comedy lovers to come together and see their favorite artists as well as discover new ones, and for us to be able to share the electricity and excitement of the festival in Los Angeles with Netflix members around the world.”

 

Animated ‘Spies in Disguise’ to Be Unveiled on Digital and Disc — Including 4K — March 10

The animated comedy Spies in Disguise will come out on digital, 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD March 10 from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

In the film, super spy Lance Sterling (Will Smith) and scientist Walter Beckett (Tom Holland) are almost exact opposites. Lance is smooth, suave and debonair. Walter is none of the above. But this unlikely duo must team up for the ultimate mission to save the world when a “biodynamic concealment” experiment transforms Lance into a pigeon.

The film earned $163.5 million at the global box office.

Blu-ray bonus features include multiple making-of featurettes and two music videos as well as “Super Secret Spy Mode,” an immersive, in-movie experience that takes you deeper into the story with Easter eggs, facts and behind-the-scenes insights into the making of the film.

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Comedy ‘Ernesto’s Manifesto’ Due on Disc and Digital From Random Media Jan. 14

The comedy Ernesto’s Manifesto will come out on DVD, Blu-ray, on demand and digital from Random Media Jan. 14.

The film stars Cuban-born American Fernando Hidalgo (“The Fernando Hidalgo Show”), Amy Davidson (“8 Simple Rules”), Adam Huss (“Power”), Lisandra Tena (“The Good Place”), Randy J. Goodwin (“The Rookie”) and newcomer Tabitha Caulfield.

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Written and directed by David M. Matthews, it follows Ernesto, a sweet, simple and gentle man, who is doing the best he can to get by in Los Angeles. A series of bad breaks, however, cause him to lose his job, his girlfriend, and his home. Then, just when all seems hopeless, he finds employment, which leads to housing, an important friendship, and unexpectedly, a new and improved career trajectory.

Matthews and actor-executive producer Hidalgo met through a U.S.-based online advertising outlet, Craigslist, and the production was completely funded by Hidalgo’s Bitcoin profits.

The film was released theatrically Dec. 13.

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Comedy Dynamics Stand-Up Channel Now Streaming on Samsung TV Plus

Cinedigm Jan. 7 announced that the fully-curated linear version of the ad-supported video-on-demand Comedy Dynamics service is now available on Samsung TV Plus. The linear channel offers 24/7 stand-up comedy specials carefully curated by Comedy Dynamics’ staff.

Samsung TV Plus is Samsung’s free ad-supported video service. Pre-installed on all 2016-2019 Samsung Smart TVs, users can watch TV for free with just an Internet connection.

Founded in 2008, Comedy Dynamics is an independent producer of stand-up comedy content. With this new linear network, Samsung TV Plus users have access to Comedy Dynamic’s specials, both classic and modern, starring some of stand-up’s biggest performers. Cinedigm is the distributor of the channel.

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Performers include Jim Gaffigan, Whitney Cummings, Kevin Hart, Tom Segura, Iliza Shlesinger, Tiffany Haddish, Jeff Dunham, Maria Bamford, Bob Saget, Tim Allen, Nick DiPaolo, Eddie Griffin, Bill Hicks, and more.

“Comedy Dynamics gives viewers the best seat in the house every night, delivering an unprecedented library of classic and modern specials from comedy’s biggest names and brightest stars,” Tony Huidor, GM of Cinedigm Digital Networks, said in a statement.

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Comedy Dynamics is behind the reboot of “Mad About You” featuring Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt, and has produced Netflix’s “Kevin Hart’s Guide to Black History,” Netflix’s “The Toys That Made Us,” “The Movies That Made Us,” “Jim Gaffigan: Noble Ape,” The CW’s “Discontinued,” Animal Planet’s “Animal Nation with Anthony Anderson,” the scripted comedy on Hulu “There’s… Johnny!,” History’s “Join Or Die with Craig Ferguson,” MTV2’s “Wild ’N On Tour,” Hulu’s “Coming To The Stage,” and unannounced projects for Disney+, BET+ and more.

Comedy Dynamics began releasing original films in theaters and released the acclaimed independent film Slut in a Good Way in Spring of 2019. In 2017, the Comedy Dynamics Network (CDN) launched and currently distributes specials, television shows and films to all major transactional platforms such as iTunes, Amazon, Google, PlayStation, Xbox and most major telco & satellite providers, including AT&T, Comcast, Charter, Dish, and Verizon.

Comedy Dynamics’ 17 releases have been Grammy-nominated (with three wins), including all five in the Comedy Album category for the 61st Annual Grammy Awards in 2019.

Horror Film ‘Famine’ Served Up This Month on Blu-ray From MVD

The comic splatterfest Famine is available now on Blu-ray from MVD Entertainment Group and Unearthed Films.

The film occurs two years after a high-school prank that nearly killed popular teacher Mr. Balszack during the school’s annual famine. The graduating class of Sloppy Secondary is trying to forget the incident and decides to hold a 24-hour famine in hopes of making it an annual event again. Soon, students and staff start turning up dead at the hands of a killer masquerading as the school’s mascot.

Special features include a commentary with director Ryan Nicholson, a still gallery and trailers.

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Complete Series Set of ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’ Due on DVD and Blu-ray Feb. 4 From Mill Creek

The complete series set of “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” will come out on DVD and Blu-ray Feb. 4 from Mill Creek Entertainment.

All 51 episodes from the show’s four-season run will be available for the first time together on DVD at $54.98 and Blu-ray at $74.98.

The series follows Kimmy Schmidt, rescued after 15 years in a cult, who decides to reclaim her life by venturing to New York, where she experiences everyday life with wide-eyed enthusiasm. On a whim, she rents a room from Titus, a gay wannabe Broadway actor and the unlikely pair find they’re well-suited to help each other out. Titus reintroduces Kimmy to modern life, and she provides him with the inspiration to follow his dreams.

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Created by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock (“30 Rock”), the comedy series earned 18 Primetime Emmy nominations including Outstanding Comedy Series for each of its seasons. The cast includes Ellie Kemper (“The Office”), Tituss Burgess (Dolemite Is My Name), Jane Krakowski (“30 Rock”) and Carol Kane (The Princess Bride) with guest appearances from Amy Sedaris, Jon Hamm, Josh Charles, Fred Armisen, David Cross and Tina Fey.

Netflix will be premiering an “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” interactive special in early 2020, the first interactive comedy event for the service.

Lionsgate to Bow ‘The Turkey Bowl’ on DVD Jan. 14

The comedy The Turkey Bowl arrives on DVD Jan. 14 from Lionsgate.

The film is now available on digital and on demand.

Co-written and directed by Greg Coolidge, creator of the “Ride Along” franchise, and co-writer/director of Employee of the MonthThe Turkey Bowl stars Ryan Hansen, Matt Jones, Kristen Hager, Brett Cullen, Barry Switzer and Alan Ritchson.

The story follows Patrick Hodges, a former small-town high school quarterback — now a high-powered Chicago businessman engaged to a politician’s daughter — who hasn’t returned to his tiny Midwestern town in years. But his old friends have lured him back for Thanksgiving to force him to finish the legendary Turkey Bowl — a football game that was snowed out 15 years ago. Patrick must risk his future to lead his ragtag team against their bitter crosstown rivals, ultimately realizing how much he misses the simpler life and the girl that got away.

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Special features include an audio commentary with director Coolidge and co-writer Kirk Ward and deleted scenes with commentary.

HBO Max Orders Amy Schumer Doc

WarnerMedia’s pending SVOD service HBO Max has ordered the documentary Expecting Amy (working title) from Emmy Award winner Amy Schumer.

The service is set to launch in the spring of 2020.

The documentary takes viewers behind-the-scenes as Schumer goes through an extraordinarily difficult pregnancy while touring to prepare for a stand-up special. From hospitalizations to going out in front of a crowd of thousands, to quiet moments at home with her family, Schumer shares it all. Beginning the day she found out she was pregnant, through the birth of her child, she showcases her journey on the road, revealing just how challenging it can be working night after night. Expecting Amy offers a hilarious and raw 360 degree look at this new stage of her life with her family and colleagues along for the ride to support her.

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“Amy Schumer is an inspiration and this project is such an honest look at her experience being on the road while preparing for her special,” said Sarah Aubrey, head of original content, HBO Max, in a statement. “Her willingness to showcase her immense vulnerability, during the most challenging time in her life, is both empowering and hilarious.”

“Women are warriors, every one of us. And I hope sharing my story brings more awareness to the challenges of pregnancy and childbirth,” said Schumer in a statement.

The project is produced by Schumer.

‘Big Mouth’ Creators to Make New Animated Series for Netflix

Netflix has ordered “Human Resources,” a workplace comedy set in the world of the monsters from the creators of the Emmy-nominated series “Big Mouth.”

The announcement was made at New York Comic Con.

Nick Kroll, Andrew Goldberg, Mark Levin, Jennifer Flackett, and Kelly Galuska will serve as creators and executive producers.

Kroll, Goldberg, Levin and Flackett recently signed an overall deal with Netflix under their newly formed animation production company, Brutus Pink. In addition to “Big Mouth” and “Human Resources,” Brutus Pink will create a variety of animated projects in both film and television that are adult, funny and emotional, according to a Netflix release.

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