‘Munsters’ at Marineland DVD Coming in October From MPI Media Group

MPI Media Group on Oct. 4 will release on DVD Marineland Carnival With the Munsters TV Show Cast Members & More Lost Treasures, a compilation of rare shows from the 1960s sitcom about a monster family living in a suburban neighborhood.

The collection features long-lost television appearances featuring the Munster family —Fred Gwynne (Herman), Yvonne De Carlo (Lily), Al Lewis (Grandpa), Pat Priest (Marilyn) and Butch Patrick (Eddie).

Included is the hour-long “Marineland Carnival 1965” special; a 1966 full-color “Munsters”-themed “episode” with Herman on “The Danny Kaye Show,” additional rare skits and vintage talk show interviews with “The Munsters” TV stars, an all-new featurette (Munster Memories) with Butch Patrick, hit music from the New Christy Minstrels, and guest appearances by Edie Adams, Joey Bishop and others.

The DVD will carry a suggested retail price of $19.98.

‘King Otto’ Soccer Movie to Debut Theatrically, Digitally on March 25

MPI Media Group has announced the simultaneous theatrical and digital release on March 25 of King Otto, the acclaimed story  about soccer’s ultimate underdog triumph.

The North American premiere will be held two days earlier as a red carpet event at the Modern Museum of Art in Manhattan, followed by openings in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and other cities.

At the same time, the film will be released on digital platforms, including Prime Video, Google Play, Microsoft Movies & TV, and Vudu.

King Otto is set in the summer of 2004, when the Greek National Soccer Team, which had never previously won a game, or even scored a goal in a major tournament, defied 300-1 odds to become the unlikeliest of European champions. Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal, Zinedine Zidane’s France and David Beckham’s England were left stunned as a team featuring players no one had ever heard of took down the titans of the world’s game. The architect behind this unprecedented triumph was legendary German coach “King” Otto Rehhagel. After accomplishing every major success in his own country, he decided to leave all he knew behind and work with the underachieving Greek National Team in a language he didn’t speak, and in a country he couldn’t understand. 

Korean Drama ‘The Concubine’ Set for Nov. 9 DVD Release by MPI Media Group

Capelight Pictures and the MPI Media Group have set a Nov. 9 DVD release date for the Korean film The Concubine, a 2012 erotic romantic historical drama.

Set during the early Joseon Dynasty in Korea, Hwa-yeon, a minister’s daughter, and Kwon-yoo, a commoner, are deeply in love. When Hwa-yeon is ordered to the royal palace to become the king’s concubine, she and Kwon-yoo attempt to flee. They are intercepted by Hwa-yeon’s father and his men, who threaten to kill Kwon-yoo. To save her one true love, Hwayeon agrees to go to the palace as instructed.

Five years later, the king is slowly dying and Hwa-yeon is the mother of the heir to the throne. After his death, the king’s stepmother uses her power to appoint her biological son Sung-won as the successor. Sung-won has been madly in love with the unobtainable Hwa-yeon for years. Now that he must procreate in order to produce an heir to the throne, he can have any woman he wants except Hwa-yeon … which pushes both of them into a dangerous chess game of lust, sex and power.

The Concubine was directed by Kim Dae-Seung and stars Cho Yeo-Jeong, Kim Dong-Wook, and Kim Min-Joon. The film was produced by Hwang Yun-Jeong and Park Sung-Il.

The DVD will be issued in special collector’s media book packaging, as a two-disc set. The set comes with a 24-page booklet featuring director and cast profiles and photos.

MPI, Capelight Set DVD, Blu-ray Dates for ‘Chernobyl 1986,’ ‘The Hidden Life of Trees’

Capelight Pictures and MPI Media Group on Nov. 2 will release Chernobyl 1986 and The Hidden Life of Trees on Blu-ray Disc and DVD.

Chernobyl 1986 follows the deadly explosion that year at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in what was then the Soviet Union. Europe is faced with an even greater threat — a possible steam explosion that would eject even more radioactive material into the atmosphere over the entire continent. Firefighter Alexey volunteers for what seems like a suicide mission: manually drain the plant’s reservoir before the melting reactor collapses into it. Risking their lives in service to their country, Alexey and his colleagues must navigate the labyrinthine passages of the plant’s underground, facing danger at every turn from the facility’s quickly failing infrastructure. With time running out, and the fate of all of Europe hanging in the balance, this team of ordinary citizens turned heroes must use all their strength and bravery to save their nation from complete devastation.

The Hidden Life of Trees is based on the bestselling book of the same name by forester and writer Peter Wohlleben. Traveling through Germany, Poland, Sweden and Vancouver, he discusses, debates and explains the process of life, death and regeneration he has observed in the woodland, and the scientific mechanisms behind trees.

MPI Media Group to Release Vintage Cop Show on DVD July 20

MPI Media Group has set a July 20 DVD release of “Code 3: L.A. Sheriff’s Case Files,” a vintage 1957 TV show that, like “Dragnet,” was based on actual police case files.

The collection will contain all 39 episodes from the police procedural series, from Hal Roach Studios and producer Ben Fox.

Starring Richard Travis as Sheriff George Barrett of the Los Angeles County Police Department, the series also featured Denver Pyle as Sgt. Murchison and Fredd Wayne as Sgt. Bill Hollis.

“Code 3″ featured true crime cases from the files of the search and rescue branch of the Los Angeles Police Department – always “changing the names to protect the innocent,” again, much like “Dragnet.”

At the end of most of the broadcasts, the real-life Sheriff of Los Angeles County, Eugene W. Biscailuz, made an appearance to recap that night’s adventure.

Supporting actors in the series, which ran in syndication, include Christopher Dark, Robert Armstrong (King Kong), James Anderson, Harlan Warde, Douglas Kennedy, William Schallert, Ray Montgomery, Peter Leeds, Stacy Keach Sr. (“Get Smart”), Richard Sargent (“Bewitched”), Russell Johnson (“Gilligan’s Island”), John Archer, DeForest Kelley (“Star Trek”), Mike Connors (“Mannix”), Claude Akins, Guy Williams (“Zorro”), Harry Bartell (“Dragnet”), Mae Clarke and James Best (“The Dukes of Hazard”).

MPI Media Group Sets Home, Theatrical Release Dates for ‘Scenes From an Empty Church’

MPI Media Group has announced a July 2 theatrical and digital release date for Scenes From an Empty Church, one week after the film’s world premiere on opening night of the Chattanooga Film Festival.

The film, from writer-director Onur Tukel, takes place during the pandemic in locked-down New York City. Two priests open their church doors to anyone seeking salvation.  From the commonplace to the truly metaphysical, their visitors reflect the full spectrum of personal crises of spirituality. The two priests learn valuable lessons about the importance of connection, empathy and open-mindedness.

The cast includes Kevin Corrigan (The Departed, TV’s “Ray Donovan”), Max Casella (Applesauce, Inside Llewyn Davis), and Thomas Jay Ryan (Equals, Fay Grim).



$14.99 DVD, $29.99 Blu-ray;
Not rated.
Stars Yevgeny Mironov, Konstantin Khabensky, Vladimir Ilyin, Alexandra Ursulyak, Yelena Panova, Anatoly Kotenyov.

The Russian film Spacewalker takes a look at the Soviet side of the space race by focusing on the 1965 mission in which Alexei Leonov became the first person to perform an EVA.

The story plays a bit like a cross between The Right Stuff and Apollo 13, providing a harrowing story of spaceflight most Americans will be wholly unfamiliar with beyond the milestones achieved, if that.

By the mid 1960s, the United States and the Soviet Union were locked in a race to put the first man on the moon, a target America had boldly set after being beaten by the Soviets to a number of spaceflight milestones, such as the Sputnik, the first object to reach orbit, in 1957, and the first person in space, Yuri Gagarin in 1961.

There were a couple of key differences between the American and Soviet space programs. First, the U.S. was more transparent with the progress and goals of its space program, while the Russians conducted theirs behind a veil of secrecy. So, while the American NASA would publicly announce timetables for its mission goals, the Soviet space agency wouldn’t announce anything until it had already done it, and even then it had a tendency to lie about how successful it was.

That’s due largely to the second key difference between the programs — the Soviets were a bit more lax in their safety standards, which could result in cutting corners on the engineering of their spacecraft, since a lot of their motivation was simply to show up the West. (America would learn the lesson of trying to rush through goals with the Apollo 1 fire in 1967.)

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Spacewalker begins in 1963, with the chief Soviet designer, Sergei Korolev (Vladimir Ilyin) learning details of America’s Gemini program — in particular plans to conduct an extravehicular activity in 1965. So, Korolev advances his own timetable by two years in an effort to beat the Americans.

The crew chosen for the mission are Pavel Belyayev (Konstantin Khabensky) and hotshot pilot Leonov (Yevgeny Mironov, also one of the film’s producers). However, moving up the timeline puts a lot of pressure on the crew’s training, not to mention the engineering team to get the spacecraft right. Korolev too is under tremendous political pressure simply to beat the Americans, a fact that weighs on his conscience as he seems to be the only one concerned with the safety of the cosmonauts. When he attempts to delay the mission for a year after a disastrous test flight, Leonov and Belyayev proudly volunteer anyway.

The launch of the Voskhod 2 mission in March 1965 (two-and-a-half months prior to Gemini IV, the first American spacewalk), seems to go off without a hitch, and offers one of the films highlights. However, the mission quickly becomes plagued by mishaps due to defects in the Voskhod capsule and Leonov’s spacesuit. While he completes the spacewalk, providing the few seconds of footage they proudly released to the world to demonstrate their space prowess, most of what happened next they kept hidden for the most part. Namely, that hardware malfunctions pushed the craft off course during re-entry and left the crew to fend for survival in an icy Russian forest trying not to freeze to death before a rescue team could locate them.

The fall of the Iron Curtain in the 1990s revealed that such miscues weren’t uncommon with the Russians, (most notably the later Soyuz 1 and 11 flights that resulted in the deaths of their crews). But even the aftermath of supposedly successful flights such as Leonov’s demonstrate the immense risks inherent in spaceflight that many people wouldn’t even consider.

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The film looks great in high-definition and should be highly entertaining to space enthusiasts. It might be a harder sell to those without at least a passing familiarity with the space race, though it does present some valuable history and I hope it leads to more depictions of the Soviet side of spaceflight (contrasting with American depictions such as First Man and From the Earth to the Moon).

Being a Russian production, the film was shot in Russian and can be viewed in its native language with English subtitles. However, the default setting on the Blu-ray is to play an English dub, which is slightly awkward at first but becomes less distracting as the movie plays on. The film was known by several names as it toured the festival circuit beginning in 2017, from The Age of Pioneers to The Spacewalk, before being dubbed Spacewalker for its American release.

The Blu-ray includes two rather substantial bonus featurettes: the 26-minute “The First Walk in Space,” centered on an interview with the real Leonov (who died in 2019), and “The Story Behind Spacewalker,” a 25-minute look at the making of the film, including a detailed look at the creation of the impressive visual effects. Both are in Russian with English subtitles.

MPI Releasing Playboy Series ‘The Girls Next Door’ Through Digital Retailers Nov. 17

MPI Media Group is releasing the reality TV series “The Girls Next Door” through digital retailers Nov. 17.

Produced by Kevin Burns, the 2005-10 series ran for six seasons on E! and depicted life at the Playboy Mansion with Playboy Magazine founder Hugh Hefner and his girlfriends Holly Madison, Kendra Wilkinson and Bridget Marquardt.

The sixth season features Crystal Harris, Karissa Shannon and Kristina Shannon.

The complete series is also available on DVD.

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Woody Allen’s ‘A Rainy Day in New York’ Due on Digital and Disc Nov. 10

Woody Allen’s A Rainy Day in New York will come out on VOD, digital, DVD and Blu-ray Nov. 10 from MPI Media Group and Signature Entertainment.

The film stars Timothee Chalamet, Elle Fanning, Selena Gomez, Jude Law, Diego Luna and Liev Schreiber.

The film tells the story of college sweethearts, Gatsby (Chalamet) and Ashleigh (Fanning), whose plans for a romantic weekend together in New York City are dashed as quickly as the sunlight turns into showers. The two are soon parted, and each has a series of chance meetings and comical adventures while on their own. Over the course of a day in New York, Ashleigh discovers she might not be who she thought she was and Gatsby learns that while you only live once, once is enough if you find the right person.

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Pat Boone Christmas and Thanksgiving Specials Coming to DVD Nov. 6 From MPI

Pat Boone and Family: Christmas & Thanksgiving Specials will come out on DVD Nov. 6 from MPI Media Group.

Top-selling crooner Boone and his four singing daughters — Debby, Cherry, Lindy and Laurie — as well as his wife Shirley appear in these music and comedy specials that first aired on ABC in 1978 and 1979. The Christmas show includes classic holiday songs, appearances by the Hudson Brothers, Dinah Shore, Rosemary Clooney, and stars from “Three’s Company,” “Happy Days” and “The Love Boat.” The Thanksgiving special features Bob Hope and the Hudson Brothers. Songs performed by the Boones include “Can’t Smile Without You,” “You Needed Me” and “Bless This House.”

Bonus material includes “The Pat Boone Family — Christmas in Bethlehem,” Christmas carols and a Boone family photo album.