‘Middle-Earth Ultimate Collector’s Edition’ Due on 4K Ultra HD Oct. 26

The “Middle-Earth Ultimate Collector’s Edition,” timed to the 20th anniversary of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, will come out on 4K Ultra HD Oct. 26 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

The $249.99, 31-disc collection of Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth saga contains new special features along with the theatrical and extended versions of the six films from New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures — The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies as well as The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, which won Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay.

It comes in “Puzzle Box” packaging and includes a 64-page booklet featuring costumes, photography and production notes from the film, and art cards featuring travel posters and images from iconic locations throughout Middle-Earth including The Shire, Lake-Town, Erebor, Anduin, Rohan, Minas Trith and Rivendell.

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Also included are the original Cannes Film Festival presentation reel, and footage from the recent Alamo Drafthouse cast reunion, featuring director Peter Jackson along with cast members Sean Astin, Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, Billy Boyd, Ian McKellan, Dominic Monaghan, Viggo Mortenson, Andy Serkis, Liv Tyler and Elijah Wood.

The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray discs will feature Dolby Vision HDR and a Dolby Atmos soundtrack. All six films also come on Blu-ray discs remastered from the 4K master. The 4K remastering process was overseen by Jackson.

Vudu Mounting Sci-Fi and Fantasy Title Sale

Fandango’s TVOD service Vudu is mounting several sales on science-fiction and fantasy titles.

Taking place Aug. 31 through Sept. 13 is Vudu’s Summer of Savings: Sci-Fi/Fantasy Sale, featuring more than a hundred titles at 25% off, such as blockbuster bundles including the Lord of the RingsThe HobbitStar Trek and Godzilla franchises, as well as recent titles such as Nicolas Cage’s Willy’s Wonderland, Anthony Mackie’s Synchronic and Bruce Willis’ Cosmic Sin. Also included in the sale are: Avatar, Labyrinth, Interstellar, Ready Player One, They Live, Limitless, Arrival, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Total Recall, War of the Worlds (2005) and Edge of Tomorrow.

Other sci-fi-related sales include the Marvel Studios sale, Aug. 31-Sept. 8, with titles up to 60% off (select titles such as Black Panther and Captain Marvel for $7.99, with the four-movie Avengers collection for $29.99); “Pixar Fest,” Aug. 31-Sept. 15, with select Pixar titles, such as  Luca, Onward, Up and WALL-E, available at $9.99 each; and 1950s films at $5 each Aug. 31-Sept. 14, including The Incredible Shrinking Man, Creature From the Black Lagoon, Revenge of the Creature, It Came from Outer Space, It Came from Beneath the Sea, It! the Terror from Beyond Space and The War of the Worlds (1953).

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‘The Green Knight’ Due on 4K, Blu-ray and DVD Oct. 12

The fantasy adventure The Green Knight arrives on 4K, Blu-ray, DVD and digital Oct. 12 from Lionsgate.

The title is available in a 4K plus Blu-ray plus digital combo pack, and Blu-ray plus DVD plus digital combo pack, as well as a standalone Blu-ray.

A new take on the 14th century medieval story of “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight,” the film stars Academy Award nominee Dev Patel (2017, Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, Lion), Academy Award winner Alicia Vikander (2016, Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role, The Danish Girl), Golden Globe nominee Joel Edgerton (2017, Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama, Loving), Sarita Choudhury (TV’s “Blindspot,” “Jessica Jones,” “Little Fires Everywhere”), Sean Harris (The King, Mission: Impossible – Fallout, Tresspass Against Us), Kate Dickie (Prometheus, The Witch, Filth) and Ralph Iverson (The Witch, Brahms: The Boy II, TV’s “The Accidental Medium”).

From acclaimed writer-director David Lowery (Petes’ Dragons, Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, A Ghost Story), The Green Knight tells the story of Sir Gawain (Patel), King Arthur’s reckless and headstrong nephew, who embarks on a daring quest to confront the eponymous Green Knight, a gigantic emerald-skinned stranger and tester of men. Gawain contends with ghosts, giants, thieves and schemers in what becomes a deeper journey to define his character and prove his worth in the eyes of his family and kingdom.

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Special features include “Boldest of Blood and Wildest of Heart: Making The Green Knight”; “Practitioners of Magic: Visual Effects”; “Illuminating Technique: Title Design”; and the theatrical trailer.

Horror Films ‘Lust’ and ‘Through the Shadow’ and Sci-Fi Title ‘I Am Toxic’ Due on DVD Aug. 10 From MVD

Two horror films, Lust and Through the Shadow, and the science-fiction fantasy I Am Toxic will come out on DVD Aug. 10 from Jinga Films and MVD Entertainment Group.

In the Spanish-language Lust, a famous crime writer becomes a victim after a crazed fan brutally attacks her. Isolated in her apartment she tries to recover but continues to feel threatened after experiencing strange events. Her psychiatrist believes that it’s all in her mind, a result of post-traumatic stress, but she is convinced that her attacker is stalking her and resorts to extreme violence to protect herself. Extras include behind-the-scenes featurettes, stills and a trailer.

The Portuguese-language Through the Shadow follows prim and assuming Laura, who moves to the countryside of 20th century Rio de Janeiro and is unprepared for life on an isolated plantation. Hired as a nanny for two young orphans who live on their uncle’s coffee farm, she soon notices that things are not all as they seem. Confronted with continual apparitions, and noting the children’s increasingly ambiguous behavior, Laura becomes convinced in the presence of hostile spirits whom she believes are intent on taking possession of her young charges. With growing concerns for their safety, she strives to unravel the mysteries of her new home without realizing that it may be herself who is in mortal danger. Based on Henry James classic novel The Turn Of The Screw.

In the Spanish-language I Am Toxic, a man wakes up in a world ravaged by biological warfare with no memory of his previous life. Taken prisoner by scavengers he meets a young woman who helps him escape. As the scavengers pursue them through barren wastelands he discovers that he must make the ultimate sacrifice to save her.

‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’ With ‘Magical Movie Mode’ to Bow on Disc and Digital Aug. 17

The 2001 family film Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone will be released on digital, Blu-ray and DVD Aug. 17 with “Magical Movie Mode,” a new way to experience the film, from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment for its 20th anniversary.

The “Harry Potter Magical Movie Mode” allows fans the ability to discover filmmaking secrets, spell incantations, creatures, magical artifacts, trivia, and more in a collection of activities and curiosities.  “Magical Movie Mode” includes director’s commentary from director Chris Columbus offering candid insight and amusing anecdotes from the production of the first film, deleted scenes, quizzes testing knowledge of a vast array of topics from the film, graphics, and audio during select scenes in the film.

In the first film in the franchise, Harry Potter finds out he is the orphaned son of two wizards and embarks on an amazing journey. During his first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry learns he is destined for great things and discovers a dark wizard is determined to destroy him.

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The two-disc Blu-ray set of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone — Magical Movie Mode will be available at $19.98 and includes the theatrical film and the “Magical Movie Mode” version of the film in high-definition. It will also be available on DVD as a two-disc set at $16.98 and includes the theatrical film and “Magical Movie Mode” version of the film in standard-definition.  The film will also be available digitally on participating digital platforms where you purchase movies.

Supernatural: The Complete Series

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 5/25/21;
Warner;
Fantasy;
$329.99 86-DVD set, $359.99 58-disc Blu-ray;
Not rated.
Starring Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Misha Collins, Alexander Calvert, Katie Cassidy, Lauren Cohan, Mark A. Sheppard, Mark Pellegrino, Jim Beaver, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Samantha Smith, Adrianne Palicki, Kathryn Newton, DJ Qualls, Felicia Day, Osric Chau, Lauren Tom, Alaina Huffman, Courtney Ford, Sterling K. Brown, Kurt Fuller, Curtis Armstrong, Ruth Connell.

It may be a cliché to say they don’t make ’em like they used to, but it’s an idiom that certainly applies in the case of “Supernatural.”

The series stars Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles as Sam and Dean Winchester, brothers who spend the show traveling the country in a black 1967 Impala hunting monsters, demons, ghosts and other supernatural beings. Their quest to find their father (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and find their mothers’ killer introduces them to a wider world of demon hunters, magic and divine beings who hold the fate of reality in their hands. At one point, the characters even become animated for a crossover with Scooby-Doo (in season 13).

Running an amazing 15 seasons and 327 episodes, the series began in 2005 on the old WB network, its last year before it merged with UPN to become what’s now known as The CW. Airing on the lowest rung of the network ladder certainly helped it flourish, as it became the longest-running American sci-fi/fantasy TV series in history with its 11th season, surpassing WB/CW sister series “Smallville,” which had run for 10 seasons and 217 episode, outpacing another 10-season sci-fi series, “Stargate SG-1,” by three episodes. The British side of the genre has produced “Doctor Who,” of course, with separate runs of 26 and 12 seasons (and an upcoming 13th), but with shorter episode lengths in the classic era and fewer episodes per season in the modern.

That’s the kind of output the TV industry just isn’t interested in sustaining anymore, beyond the handful of legacy procedurals that are sticking around on the networks. Between cable and streamers and the short attention spans of audiences, three- to four-season runs of 10 episodes apiece are much more the norm now.

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The massive complete-series Blu-ray disc set efficiently repackages all the previously released individual season sets, as well as the new 15th and final season set, and all the bonus material that entails.

The set comes in the form of a handsome outer box housing seven thick Blu-ray cases, packed two seasons per case, except for the seventh case which contains the final three seasons. Each of the first six cases house eight discs (except for case two, which has seven discs for seasons three and four), while case seven has 10 discs in total. This distribution pattern left no room for the season 15 bonus disc, which is instead housed in its own separate cardboard sleave at the end of the stack, alongside a booklet containing an episode guide, photos from the series, production artwork, and notes to the fans from series creator Eric Kripke and executive producer Robert Singer.

It’s a slightly awkward configuration but seemingly unavoidable without either splitting up one of the seasons into two separate cases, inventing an 11-disc case, or putting the four discs of season 15 in its own case and making the overall box bigger. All in all it’s just a minor infringement on any OCD some fans or collectors might have.

Among the extras on that final disc are a featurette about the series finale, a documentary about the show’s strong themes of family, and a look at the Winchesters as American heroes in the vein of folklore archetypes. There’s also a gag reel, a retrospective of all 15 seasons, and highlights from the show’s 2019 San Diego Comic-Con panel, which due to COVID-19 canceling the 2020 event turned out to be the show’s last.

In the final extra, a lucky fan wins a replica of the show’s iconic Impala.

The set does not include Supernatural: The Anime Series, which was released on Blu-ray in 2011.

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‘Pinocchio’ Coming to Digital Feb. 23 From Lionsgate

The Italian film adaptation Pinocchio arrives on digital Feb. 23 from Lionsgate.

The film stars Academy Award winner Roberto Benigni (1998, Best Actor, Life Is Beautiful), Federico lelapi (Que vado?), Rocco Papaleo (Basilicata Coast to Coast, A small southern enterprise, Cecchi Gori Cecchi Gori?), Massimo Ceccherini (Tale of Tales, La mia vita a stelle e strisce), with the participation of Marine Vacth, and with Gigi Proietti.

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In the story, when a magical piece of wood falls into his hands, Geppetto (Benigni) carves from it his greatest creation, Pinocchio, a puppet wondrously bestowed with life. Pinocchio’s dreams of becoming a real boy are complicated by his misadventures among a host of otherworldly creatures — a fox-and-cat bandit duo, an asthmatic dogfish, a talking cricket, and others — until he meets a kind blue-haired fairy, whose only wish is to make his dreams come true.

‘Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV’ Coming to 4K UHD March 30 From Sony

Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV will come out on 4K Ultra HD March 30 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

In the film, the magical kingdom of Lucis is home to the sacred Crystal, and the menacing empire of Niflheim is determined to steal it. King Regis of Lucis (Sean Bean) commands an elite force of soldiers called the Kingsglaive. Wielding their king’s magic, Nyx (Aaron Paul) and his fellow soldiers fight to protect Lucis. As the overwhelming military might of the empire bears down, King Regis is faced with an impossible ultimatum — to marry his son, Prince Noctis, to Princess Lunafreya of Tenebrae (Lena Headey), captive of Niflheim, and surrender his lands to the empire’s rule. Although the king concedes, it becomes clear that the empire will stop at nothing to achieve their devious goals, with only the Kingsglaive standing between them and world domination. Based on the iconic game, which has sold nearly 9 million copies worldwide since its launch.

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Extras include “A Way with Words: Epic and Intimate Vocals,” in which Aaron Paul, Lena Headey and Sean Bean — along with the filmmakers — reveal the process of creating the vocals for this film; “Fit for the Kingsglaive: Building the World,” an in-depth exploration of imagining and designing the world of the film;  “To Capture the Kingsglaive: The Process,” exploring the intricate process of capturing the physical performances at the heart of this computer-generated film; and “Emotive Music: Scoring the Kingsglaive,” about the creation of the score.

Actioner ‘Dragon Soldiers’ Due on DVD and Digital Dec. 15

The action fantasy Dragon Soldiers will arrive on DVD, digital and on demand Dec. 15 from Lionsgate.

In the film, when locals start vanishing from a small Colorado town, the mayor hires a squad of elite mercenaries to fight off the menace — whoever or whatever it may be. Leader Cameron (Ruben Pla, Insidious, Contracted, Dead Air) and his team suspect a ruthless gang of mercenary survivalists until they come face to face with a massive, airborne, fire-breathing reptile. Stopping the creature and surviving the attacks will take weapons, explosives and gunfire.

The film also stars Antuone Torbert (Soul Hunters, “Blader”) and Heath C. Heine (Jurassic Thunder, Return of the Ghostbusters, Ink).

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Schwarzenegger Adventure ‘Iron Mask’ Due on Digital Nov. 20, Disc Nov. 24

The fantasy adventure Iron Mask will come out on digital and on demand Nov. 20 and on Blu-ray and DVD Nov. 24 from Lionsgate.

For the first time ever, screen legends Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jackie Chan face off against each other in battle. In the film, in order to save his homeland from certain doom, a kung fu master (Chan) must escape from the maniacal James Hook (Schwarzenegger) in order to send his daughter a secret talisman that will allow her to control a massive and mythical dragon. The globe-trotting tale — ranging from the impenetrable Tower of London to the fabled Silk Road and China’s Great Wall — also stars Rutger Hauer in one of the screen icon’s final performances.

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