The holiday film Piney: The Lonesome Pine will be available on digital and DVD Nov. 2 from NCircle Entertainment and Mill Creek Entertainment.
The animated film follows a 5-year-old Welsh girl named Georgie who gets to grow her very own pine tree, Piney, on her Grandpa Sid’s Christmas tree farm. Four years later, the day finally arrives for Piney to become what he was planted to be. He’s ready to be dressed up in baubles and bows and have bright shining lights from his head to his toes. Excited to take Piney into her home, Georgie discovers that Piney has accidentally been removed from the farm with a shipment of other trees. Georgie’s best friend, Jackster the dog, leads Piney on a journey across the countryside to try to get back home before Christmas Eve, while Georgie and Grandpa Sid frantically search for them.
Piney features the voices of Sir Jonathan Pryce (Tomorrow Never Dies, The Two Popes, The Wife) who received a 2021 Daytime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program, Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead, The World’s End, Hot Fuzz), Jason Anthony (Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, “Star Trek: Discovery”), Lesley Nicol (“Downton Abbey,” “East Is East”), and Parminder Nagra (“The Blacklist,” “ER,” Bend it Like Beckham).
The Original Christmas Specials Collection will come out in a Steelbook Blu-ray Nov. 2 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, featuring five classic stories produced by Rankin/Bass.
The collection includes Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town and The Little Drummer Boy featuring stop-motion animation and the animated Frosty the Snowman and Cricket on the Hearth. The productions feature the iconic voice talents of Fred Astaire, Jimmy Durante, Mickey Rooney, Danny Thomas, Burl Ives and many more, as well as classic songs.
To celebrate the film’s 75th anniversary, Paramount Home Entertainment will release director Frank Capra’s timeless classic It’s a Wonderful Life Nov. 16 in a collectible, limited-edition two-disc Blu-ray.
Named the No. 1 most inspiring film of all time by the American Film Institute, the film stars James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Thomas Mitchell and Henry Travers. In the film, an angel is sent from Heaven to help a desperately frustrated businessman by showing him what life would have been like if he had never existed.
The Blu-ray set includes a colorized version of the film in high definition as well as the original, digitally remastered black-and-white movie in high definition, and access to a digital copy of the film. The set also includes 10 collectible recipe cards from Insight Editions’ “It’s a Wonderful Life: The Official Bailey Family Cookbook” with cuisine inspired by the film. Additionally, the set includes more than 45 minutes of previously released bonus content exploring the meticulous process of preserving and revitalizing this iconic masterpiece, a look at the movie’s extraordinary sound, music, cinematography and visual effects, and vintage footage from the film’s wrap party.
Vizio has unveiled “Unwrap the Magic of SmartCast,” its holiday hub featuring a collection of special programming for the holiday season.
With more than 200 hours of holiday-themed movies, TV episodes, music and more from app partners, the hub features free and premium holiday streaming options, including 12 days of special offers and discounts on video-on-demand movies throughout December.
Vizio has teamed up with ROW8 and Redbox to present 12 days of SmartCast movie deals with specially priced, video-on-demand holiday titles such as Elf, A Christmas Story, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and Arthur Christmas, as well as new releases such as Fatman, The Stand-in and Greenland.
“We are pleased to offer Vizio SmartCast consumers the ultimate holiday destination with hundreds of hours of holiday movies and programming to celebrate the season,” Katherine Pond, VP of business development for Vizio, said in a statement. “With our abundant holiday content offering free channels, premium apps, and discounted holiday titles, together with our seasonal discounts on our award-winning TVs and sound bars, Vizio continues to deliver a best-in-class entertainment experience for people of all ages.”
The holiday hub can be found on the SmartCast home screen and includes a combination of premium content and free channel options. SmartCast provides audiences with home screen access to subscription apps such as Netflix, Disney+, Apple TV, Hulu, Prime Video and Peacock as well as streaming across 130-plus free channels. SmartCast supports streaming from devices with Apple AirPlay and Chromecast Built-in, and smart home connectivity with Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant and Alexa-enabled devices.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation was the top classic and Elf the top post-2000 film in a Redbox customer survey on favorite holiday movies. The survey of 402 “engaged Redbox customers” took place Nov. 9-15.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is a 1989 comedy film starring Chevy Chase as Clark Griswold, a man who loves Christmas but whose plans to give his family the best Christmas ever are repeatedly spoiled by everything from a trapped squirrel to a Scrooge-like boss. Beverly D’Angelo, Randy Quaid and Juliette Lewis also star.
Elf, directed by Jon Favreau, is a 2003 comedy with Will Ferrell as Buddy, a human who was adopted and raised by Santa’s elves. When he discovers he’s not a real elf he travels to New York City to meet up with his real dad, a curmudgeonly book publisher.
Redbox is running a “Merry Movie Nights” promotion, featuring holiday hits at the Box, including Last Christmas, Christmas Under the Stars, Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch, Elf and The Nightmare Before Christmas; Christmas classics and family favorites On Demand, including The Polar Express, Home Alone, A Christmas Story, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and How the Grinch Stole Christmas; holiday romances On Demand, including The Holiday, Love Actually, Last Holiday, Serendipity, The Best Man Holiday and Just Friends; and “Not Really Christmas Movies,” including Die Hard, Edward Scissorhands, Gremlins, Why Him, Harry Potter & The Sorcerer’s Stone and Trading Places.
The transaction-based streaming service movieSpree is featuring a lineup of holiday features, new and old.
In The Farmer and the Belle: Saving Santaland, sparks fly between a famous model and a farmer with a young daughter when she visits her childhood home. The town is in danger of losing their beloved Santaland festival, but miracles happen with a little love, family and faith. The cast for this Dove-approved feature includes Jenn Gotzon, Jim E. Chandler, Corbin Bersen, John Schneider, Robert Amaya, Natasha Bure and radio superstar Delilah.
Angela’s Christmas is an animated short based on the children’s book Angela and the Baby Jesus by Frank McCourt (Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Angela’s Ashes). The story from the Oscar-nominated studio Brown Bag Films focuses on the power of family and the innocent desire of a child to ensure everyone is safe, warm and loved at Christmas time. The title features the voices of Oscar nominee Ruth Negga (2016, Best Actress, Loving), Lucy O’Connell (Song of the Sea) and Brian Gleeson with writer and director Damien O’Connor (TV’s “Doc McStuffins”). The title was nominated for three Emmy Awards.
Unlikely Angel stars country music legend Dolly Parton as the hard-living barroom singer Ruby Diamond, who dies in a car accident and meets St. Peter (Roddy McDowall) at the gates of heaven. The angel informs her that she must return to Earth to perform a selfless deed in order to gain admittance. Disguising herself as a nanny, Ruby soon edges her way into the joyless family life of workaholic widower Ben Bartilson (Brian Kerwin) and his children Sarah (Allison Mack) and Matthew (Eli Marienthal), hoping to both heal the grief-stricken family and earn her heavenly wings in time for Christmas. Unlikely Angel is punctuated by Dolly’s musical numbers.
Those who set up a free movieSpree account get an added bonus of the chance to redeem a curated assortment of 100 films to add to their accounts free of charge. The service’s app is available on Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, iOS and Android devices.
Knives Out was voted the top movie to watch for Thanksgiving, Home Alone was voted the favorite family-friendly holiday film, and Die Hard was named the top unconventional holiday film by fans on Fandango’s transactional video on-demand services, Vudu and FandangoNow.
Fandango surveyed more than 1,000 film fans in the first weeks of November.
As might be expected, 92% of those surveyed expect to watch more movies at home during the holiday season than in previous years. Also, 71% said they are planning to binge watch during the holiday season, and 62% said they plan to watch their favorite holiday classics more than once.
“Watching a favorite classic movie is part of a beloved holiday tradition for many families,” Fandango managing editor Erik Davis said in a statement. “This year there’s an extra nostalgia factor because many of us cannot gather together in front of the same screen. The top picks center on the power of families, warts and all, and serve as the kind of cinematic comfort food we look forward to enjoying during the holiday season.”
Top Movies to Watch for Thanksgiving:
Addams Family Values
Planes, Trains and Automobiles
The Fantastic Mr. Fox
Home for the Holidays
Grumpy Old Men
Scent of a Woman
Pieces of April
Favorite Family-Friendly Holiday Movies
The Santa Clause
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
The Nightmare Before Christmas
The Polar Express
A Christmas Story
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
It’s a Wonderful Life
Favorite Unconventional Holiday Movies:
Bad Moms Christmas
Office Christmas Party
The Night Before
Anna and the Apocalypse
Favorite Performances as Santa Claus:
Tim Allen, The Santa Clause
Edward Asner, Elf
Billy Bob Thornton, Bad Santa
Tom Hanks, The Polar Express
James Cosmo, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe
Richard Attenborough, Miracle on 34thStreet (1994)
Paul Giamatti, Fred Claus
Edmund Gwenn, Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
Rickey Smiley, The Friday After Next
Alec Baldwin, Rise of the Guardians
Favorite Holiday Movie Villains:
Harry & Marv (Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern), Home Alone
Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman), Die Hard
Mr. Potter (Lionel Barrymore), It’s a Wonderful Life
The Grinch (Jim Carrey), Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Oogie Boogie (Ken Ross), The Nightmare Before Christmas
Frank Cross (Bill Murray), Scrooged
Scrooge (Jim Carey), Disney’s A Christmas Carol
Fulton Greenway (Michael Lerner), Elf
Ted Maltin (Phil Hartman), Jingle All the Way
Scut Farkas (Zack Ward), A Christmas Story
The winners can also be found in the holiday sections on Vudu and FandangoNow.
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.
Criterion, Comedy, $29.95 DVD, $39.95 Blu-ray, NR. Stars Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Lew Ayres, Doris Nolan, Edward Everett Horton.
1938. Adapted from a play Philip Barry wrote well before he concocted The Philadelphia Story, this comic portrait of the unapologetic rich featured one of the four pairings of Katharine Hebburn and Cary Grant. Hepburn is as full of herself as ever, but this time in charming ways against a story that makes one fully empathize with her character. And Grant, so soon after The Awful Truth “made” him, gets another chance to deliver on his burgeoning screen charm but against a less farcical backdrop. Extras: The Blu-ray includes the 1930 version of the story. Also included are an often funny back-and-forth from critics Michael Sragow and Michael Schlesinger; excerpts from 1970-72 AFI interviews of director George Cukor; a costume photo tribute; and a welcome essay by Slate critic Dana Stevens. Read the Full Review
Flicker Alley, Drama, $34.99 Blu-ray/DVD, NR. Stars Lloyd Bridges, Barbara Payton, John Hoyt.
1949. For a tawdry, if seductively so, minor melodrama that director Richard Fleischer apparently didn’t even mention in his memoirs despite early-career finesse with noir, Trapped is full of what genre enthusiasts, at least, would count as curio compensations. Extras: The esteemed Alan Rode and the luminous Julie Kirgo offer a Blu-ray commentary. Read the Full Review
The holiday film Buttons: A Christmas Tale will arrive on digital Nov. 19 and DVD Dec. 3 from Paramount Home Entertainment.
The cast includes Jane Seymour, Roma Downey and Abigail Spencer, along with screen legends Dick Van Dyke and Angela Lansbury. The film is narrated by Kate Winslet and Robert Redford.
From creator/director/writer/composer Tim Janis, who has sold millions of albums and worked with a wide array of artists, Buttons: A Christmas Tale follows the heartwarming journey of two orphan girls whose only wish is to find a home for Christmas. With a little help from their guardian angels (Van Dyke and Lansbury), they discover that miracles really can happen when you find the power to believe.