The documentary Michael Smerconish: Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started will come out on DVD, EST and VOD Dec. 8 from Virgil Films.
Smerconish celebrates his 30th year as a talk radio host in this one-man performance, which is both an intimate memoir and a unique explanation of the origin of nation’s partisan divide. He regales viewers with stories that range from meeting Ronald Reagan as a newly minted voter, dining for eight hours with Fidel Castro, entertaining rock ‘n’ roll Hall of Famers’ Yes in his backyard and confronting the living members of Led Zeppelin with a demand that they reunite. Smerconish’s political journey from reliable Republican to one of the nation’s leading independent voices is both personal to him and a compelling explanation of the nation’s shift toward partisanship.
He went to great lengths to ensure his account would come to life. The 2020 outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic coincided with the launch of what was to be a nationwide speaking tour. Tickets for a two-night Philadelphia launch sold-out in under five hours; other dates across country were about to be announced when the world went into lockdown. Undeterred, Smerconish recruited noted television director Chris Strand to oversee the recording of this onetime performance in the empty and historic Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope, Pa., on a stage once graced by theater royalty including Robert Redford, Grace Kelly, Jimmy Stewart, Kevin Kline and Andrea McArdle.
The result is an engaging, informative, humorous and compelling look at America’s political landscape through the lens of a unique observer. In July of 2020, CNN aired a one-hour special featuring some of the material contained in this, the full program.
The documentary Guitar Man, the story of legendary bluesman Joe Bonamassa, will be available on VOD and digital purchase Dec. 8 from Paramount Home Entertainment.
The film tells the story of the incredible rise of blues-rocker Bonamassa, whose hard work and determination have made him one of today’s top-selling blues artists. With more No. 1 blues albums than anyone else in history, Bonamassa pulls back the curtain on his career, allowing us to see his remarkable musical achievements and pioneering style.
The documentary features behind the scenes interviews and live concert footage, showcasing Bonamassa’s astounding talent from his childhood as a “wunderkind” discovered and mentored by Blues legend B.B. King. At the age of only 43, Bonamassa has an illustrious career spanning over three decades. Through highs and lows, he persevered, taking his musical journey into his own hands to overcome challenges and reach his goals. In 2009, Bonamassa fulfilled a lifelong dream of playing at the prestigious Royal Albert Hall and was joined on stage by Eric Clapton, marking a pivotal moment that elevated his music to the next level.
Lionsgate is unveiling three big releases for the holidays: Schitt’s Creek: The Complete Collection on DVD, the Arnold Schwarzenegger classic sci-fi film Total Recall on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, and the director’s cut of the 1999 Natasha Lyonne starrer But I’m a Cheerleader on 4K Ultra HD Digital.
Schitt’s Creek: The Complete Collection, DVD, Available Now
The irreverent character-driven comedy centers on the reversal-of-fortune story of the once filthy-rich Rose family. Suddenly finding themselves broke, the Roses are forced to rebuild their empire in Schitt’s Creek, a small town they once purchased as a joke. As the seasons go on, we see the family thrive in a place they begin to call home, ready to take their personal relationships, business pursuits and, for some, exit strategies, to the next level.
The show received 19 Emmy nominations during its run, with 15 for its sixth season, setting a record for most nominations for a comedy series in its final season. At the 2020 ceremony, “Schitt’s Creek” became the first Canadian show to win the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series, for its sixth and final season. In doing so, it also became the first ongoing series to sweep all four acting categories — Eugene Levy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, Catherine O’Hara for Lead Actress, Daniel Levy for Supporting Actor, and Annie Murphy for Supporting Actress — plus the awards for writing and directing, en route to nine total wins (it also won for casting and con-temporary costumes).
The cast also includes Chris Elliott, Emily Hampshire, Jenn Robertson, Sarah Levy and John Hemphill.
DVD special features include deleted scenes, bloopers, featurettes, outtakes, “Behind the Episode” segments, and the documentary “A Schitt’s Creek Farewell.”
The 1990 sci-fi classic comes out on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray for the first time in celebration of the film’s 30th anniversary. The three-disc combo pack will include the film on both 4K and standard Blu-ray, plus a Blu-ray of additional bonus material.
Directed by Paul Verhoeven and inspired by the Philip K. Dick short story “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale,” the film stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as a construction worker on Earth in 2084 whose memory implant of a vacation to Mars awakens the dormant personality of a secret agent involved with revolutionary forces on the red planet. The cast also includes Rachel Ticotin, Michael Ironside, Sharon Stone and Ronny Cox.
The film has been restored by StudioCanal in 4K from a scan of the original 35 mm negative. Supervised by Verhoeven, the restoration crew paid particularly high attention to preserving special-effects continuity. Total Recall was one of the earliest films to use computer-generated images for visual effects, winning a Special Achievement Oscar.
The 4K Ultra HD disc will include the film in Dolby Vision with Dolby Atmos sound, plus commentary with Schwarzenegger and Verhoeven, the film’s trailer, the new documentary Total Excess: How Carolco Changed Hollywood, and the new featurettes “Open Your Mind: Scoring Total Recall” and “Dreamers Within the Dream: Developing Total Recall.”
The second disc will contain the film on regular Blu-ray, plus the commentary and the two new featurettes. Disc three will be a regular Blu-ray with the Carolco documentary, the trailer, and previously released extras including the documentary “Imagining Total Recall” and the featurettes “The Making of Total Recall” and “Total Recall: The Special Effects.”
But I’m a Cheerleader: Director’s Cut, Digital 4K Ultra HD, Dec. 8
Collectors can celebrate the 20th Anniversary of “the best lesbian movie of all time” (Riese Bernard, Autostraddle) when But I’m a Cheerleader: Director’s Cut arrives on Digital 4K Ultra HD. From Primetime Emmy Award-nominated director Jamie Babbit (2017, Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series, “Silicon Valley”), the film features Natasha Lyonne, Clea DuVall, Melanie Lynskey, RuPaul Charles, Eddie Cibrian, Bud Cort, Wesley Mann, Richard Moll, Douglas Spain, Katharine Towne, Michelle Williams, Julie Delpy and Cathy Moriarty.
Remastered in 4K and featuring never-before-seen deleted scenes, this is Babbit’s definitive director’s cut and original vision of the film.
“I uncovered some amazing lost scenes that I wasn’t able to include in the original film and am so happy to see them added back into this cut. This film is so special to me and I can’t wait for everyone to fall in love with it all over again,” said Babbit.
This whimsically edgy comedy follows teenager Megan (Lyonne), whose suburban existence ﬁlled with friends, cheerleading, and all-American fun is upended when her straight-laced parents suspect she may be a lesbian. In a panic, they send her to True Directions, a “rehabilitation” camp run by the strict and prudish Mary (Moriarty), to mount an intervention led by counselor Mike (RuPaul Charles). Megan dutifully follows the program — until she develops feelings for another camper (DuVall) in this timeless, satirical romantic-comedy about self-acceptance and love.
Special features include an audio commentary with director Babbit, costume designer Alix Friedberg, and production designer Rachel Kamerman; “But I’m a Cheerleader Class Reunion,” reuniting the cast for the first time in 20 years; “Making But I’m a Cheerleader … In 1999”; “But I’m a Composer … A Chat With Pat Irwin”; and Babbit’s student film Discharge.
The thriller Don’t Tell a Soul will come out in theaters, on digital and on demand Jan. 15 from Lionsgate and Saban Films.
In the film, while stealing money to help their sick mother (Mena Suvari), teen brothers Matt and Joey (Fionn Whitehead and Jack Dylan Grazer) are surprised by Hamby (Rainn Wilson), a security officer who gives chase and is then trapped in a well.
Over the next few days, Joey and Hamby forge an uneasy relationship. Hamby tells Joey he’ll keep quiet if Joey sets him free. But Hamby holds another secret, one that will threaten Joey and his family, in this twist-filled, cat-and-mouse thriller.
The comic drama The Last Shift will come out on DVD, Blu-ray and digital Dec. 29 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
In the film, Stanley (two-time Oscar nominee Richard Jenkins), an aging fast-food worker, plans to call it quits after 38 years on the graveyard shift at Oscar’s Chicken and Fish. His last weekend takes a turn while training his replacement, Jevon (Shane Paul McGhie), a talented but stalled young writer whose provocative politics keep landing him in trouble. These two who share little in common are brought together through circumstance. Stanley, a high school dropout who has watched his life pass by his drive-through window, proudly details the nuances of the job. While Jevon, a columnist who’s too smart to be flipping patties, contends their labor is being exploited. A flicker of comradery sparks during the long overnight hours in a quiet kitchen.
The comedy Buddy Games will come out on digital, on demand and DVD Nov. 24 from Paramount Home Entertainment.
Josh Duhamel (Transformers) stars in the comedy, which follows six lifelong friends who have a five-year falling out. Bob (Duhamel), aka “The Bobfather,” reunites his pals for the Buddy Games, a competition of absurd physical and mental challenges with the chance to win a $150,000 pot. The determined dudes fight, claw and party for the big bucks in this bro-fest featuring Dax Shepard (CHiPs), Olivia Munn (Office Christmas Party) and Kevin Dillon (“Entourage”).
Fueled by the coronavirus pandemic, consumers spent nearly 18% more on home entertainment in the third quarter of this year than in the comparable period of 2019, according to numbers released Nov. 11 by DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.
DEG numbers do not include money spent on premium video-on-demand (PVOD), which would have taken the home entertainment spending total significantly higher. With theaters shuttered due to the pandemic, studios chose to release several high-profile films digitally, at a premium price.
Even without PVOD, spending rose to an estimated $7.3 billion from $6.2 billion in the third quarter of 2019, DEG says, maintaining that “when new [theatrical] releases slowed as a result of production halts and theater closures … consumers seamlessly shifted their viewing to a broad variety of content, including catalog movies and TV shows.”
As expected, consumer spending on subscription streaming surged during the three-month period that ended Sept. 30, rising nearly 39% to an estimated $5.5 billion, or 75% of total consumer spending.
With no fresh theatrical product, spending on home entertainment purchases slipped 24.4% during the third quarter, to an estimated $1.1 billion. Packaged media was hit particularly hard due to widespread store closures due to regional bans on “non-essential” retail, with consumer spending on DVD and Blu-ray Discs down 34.3% in the quarter, to an estimated $483.3 million. Spending on digital content, or “electronic sellthrough” (EST), was off just 13.9%, to an estimated $600.8 million.
Consumer spending on transactional video-on-demand, or electronic rental, ticked up slightly to an estimated $459 million from $447.6 million in the third quarter of 2019.
DVD and Blu-ray Disc rental spending was off 34.4% as stay-at-home orders limited foot traffic to video stores and Redbox kiosks.
In the first nine months of the year, overall U.S. consumer spending across digital and physical home entertainment formats came in at an estimated $22.2 billion, a 23% spike from the $18 billion consumers spent in the same period a year earlier.
Electronic sellthrough spending was up 15.8% to an estimated $2.2 billion, while electronic rental was up nearly 24% to an estimated $1.8 billion.
Spending on subscription streaming for the first nine months of 2020 is pegged by DEG at $15.6 billion, a 38.7% gain from the first nine months of 2019.
DEG says that among the top titles purchased and rented in the third quarter of 2020 were all three seasons of the TV series “Yellowstone,” from Paramount; the DreamWorks movie Trolls World Tour, distributed by Universal; RLJ Entertainment’s The Tax Collector; MGM/Orion’s Bill & Ted Face the Music, distributed by Warner Bros.; The King of Staten Island (Universal); Force of Nature (Lionsgate); Sonic the Hedgehog (Paramount); Schitt’s Creek:Season 6 (CBS), Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Warner Bros.) and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Warner Bros.).
The crime thriller American Dream debuts on DVD, digital and on demand Jan. 12 from Lionsgate.
Academy Award-winning cinematographer Janusz Kaminski (Saving Private Ryan) directs this intense thriller about the brutal struggle for success. Desperate for cash, entrepreneurs Scott (Luke Bracey, Point Break 2015) and Nicky (Michiel Huisman, “Game of Thrones”) turn to Russian mobster Yuri (Nick Stahl, Sin City). After they refuse the funding he offers, Yuri gets revenge by trying to take over their construction project. The partners are terrified, until Nicky’s tough Russian girlfriend, Ana, decides to take action herself.
The horror film The Beach House will come out on VOD, digital HD, DVD and Blu-ray Dec. 15 from AMC’s RLJE Films and Shudder.
The directorial feature debut of Jeffrey A. Brown, who also wrote the screenplay, the film stars Liana Liberato (“Light as a Feather”), Noah Le Gros (A Score to Settle), Maryann Nagel and Jake Weber (Dawn of the Dead, “13 Reasons Why”).
In the film, hoping to reignite their relationship, college students Emily (Liberato) and Randall (Le Gros) arrive at their weekend getaway only to discover a peculiar older couple already staying there. They all agree to share the home but, after an indulgent night of partying, they’re awoken to a living nightmare of apocalyptic proportions. A mysterious airborne microbe has infected the water and it’s making its way to the house.
Christopher Nolan’s Tenet will arrive on 4K, Blu-ray, DVD and digital Dec. 15 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.
Written, directed and produced by Nolan (Inception, Dunkirk), Tenet opened globally in August 2020 and has grossed $350 million to date, with anticipated theatrical openings in the major markets of New York and Los Angeles still to come. Tenet will be available to preorder from digital and physical retailers beginning Nov. 10.
In the film, armed with only one word — Tenet — and fighting for the survival of the entire world, the Protagonist (John David Washington) journeys through a twilight world of international espionage on a mission that will unfold in something beyond real time — not time travel, inversion.
Tenet features an international ensemble cast led by Washington (BlacKkKlansman, TV’s “Ballers”). The film also stars Robert Pattinson (the “Twilight” films, The Lighthouse, upcoming The Batman), Elizabeth Debicki (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, The Great Gatsby), Dimple Kapadia (Angrezi Medium), Martin Donovan (Ant-Man, Fahrenheit 451), Fiona Dourif (Cult of Chucky), Yuri Kolokolnikov (The Hitman’s Bodyguard), Himesh Patel (Yesterday), Clémence Poésy (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows), Aaron Taylor-Johnson (The Avengers: Age of Ultron), with Michael Caine (Inception, The Cider House Rules, The Dark Knight) and Kenneth Branagh (Dunkirk, Murder on the Orient Express).