MVD Entertainment Group and Gotham Distribution Corp. Join Forces to Form Old School Ventures

MVD Entertainment Group and Gotham Distribution Corp. have formed Old School Ventures, a new entity formed between the companies to run, service and administrate the music and film consumer 
direct business, 

Old School Ventures will operate out of MVD’s headquarters in Pottstown, Pa., and will be headed up by industry veteran Joe Buesgen, who has been VP of marketing at since 2000.  

“With the combined expertise and resources of MVD and Gotham, we are well-positioned to take to the next level and continue to innovate in the industry,” said Buesgen in a statement. “This partnership represents a great opportunity to leverage our strengths and provide our customers with the best possible experience.”  
MVD, founded in 1986, is a full-service music and movie distribution firm, exclusively representing a catalog of audio and visual products for DVD, Blu-ray, CD, vinyl, and digital rights, worldwide. Ed Seaman and  Eve Edwards are co-CEOs of MVD. 

“MVD has been working with Gotham & Collectables closely for the last 20-plus years and we know them very well; this opportunity to be in business with the Greene family is an honor,” said Seaman in a statement. “We are very optimistic about the future of collectible physical media, and together we are going to make a great team.” 

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Founded in 1980 by Nina Greene, Jerry Greene and Melissa Greene-Anderson, Gotham Distributing Corp. is a music and movie distribution company based in West Conshohocken, Pa. Over the past two decades, their division has grown into one of the largest music and movie consumer-direct catalog and e-commerce companies in the United States. Gotham is also the home of Collectables Records, a reissue record label established in 1980, and Alpha Video, an entertainment company that specializes in the manufacturing and marketing of classic movies and TV shows on DVD.  

“After the sale of our iconic warehouse along the Blue Route, we realized that it was time to explore other options and partnerships that could help us continue to grow and serve our customers,” said Jerry Greene in a statement. “The formation of Old School Ventures with MVD Entertainment Group is a perfect example of how we are leveraging our strengths and resources to take to new heights. We are excited about this new chapter in our company’s history and look forward to working closely with our partners to build a bright future for the music and movie consumer-direct business.” 

Operations transfer to the new entity Old School Ventures on March 29.  

1973 Dario Argento Film ‘The Five Days’ Headed to 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray March 28 From MVD and Severin

The 1973 Dario Argento-directed drama The Five Days will be released on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and Blu-ray Disc March 28 from MVD Entertainment Group and Severin Films.

Set during the 1848 five-day siege of Milan by the Austrian army, the film follows a cynical thief (pop star Adriano Celentano) who teams with a naïve young baker (Enzo Cerusico of The Dead Are Alive!) to survive the brutality and absurdity of the Italian Revolution. Marilù Tolo (The Scorpion With Two Tales), Glauco Onorato (Black Sabbath) and Salvatore Baccaro (The Beast in Heat) co-star in this dark action-comedy that reflected turbulent ’70s Italy and Argento’s own politics, from a story co-written by Enzo Ungari (The Last Emperor) and Luigi Cozzi (Paganini Horror) with a score by Giorgio Gaslini (Deep Red), now scanned in 4K from the original negative with more than four and a half hours of new special features.

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Special features include audio commentary with Troy Howarth, author of Murder by Design: The Unsane Cinema Of Dario Argento, and Mondo Digital’s Nathaniel Thompson; “Talkin’ ‘Bout a Revolution,” an interview with director Dario Argento; “The Battle for Freedom,” an interview with screenwriter Luigi Cozzi; an interview with executive producer Claudio Argento; “An Italian Story, ” an interview with actress Carla Tatò; “Home Delivery,” an interview with actress Luisa De Santis; “174 Years Ago,” an interview with production manager Angelo Iacono; Dario Argento: The Man, The Myths & The Magic author Alan Jones on the film; the trailer; and TV spots.

Mel Gibson Film ‘Attack Force Z’ Due on Blu-ray March 28 From MVD and Severin

The 1981 Australian World War II action film Attack Force Z, starring Mel Gibson, will be released on Blu-ray Disc March 28 from MVD Entertainment Group and Severin Films.

In one of his earliest film roles, Gibson stars with Sam Neill (Jurassic Park) and John Phillip Law (Danger, Diabolik) in the true story of Z Special Force, WWII’s top-secret Pacific commando unit. In the film, when an American fighter jet crashes on an island held by the Japanese, a five-man Z Force assault team launches a daring mission of courage, carnage and desperate jungle warfare to rescue the survivors. Chris Haywood (Razorback), John Waters (Breaker Morant) and Sylvia Chang (“Mad Mission” series) co-star in the complete version of this 1981 Australia/Taiwan co-production directed by Ozploitation veteran Tim Burstall (Alvin Purple), written by Roger Marshall (And Now the Screaming Starts) and edited by David Stiven (The Road Warrior), scanned in 2K from the original negative at the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.

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Special features include “The Z Men Debriefed,” featuring interviews with executive producer John McCallum and actors John Waters and Chris Haywood; a photo gallery; and the trailer.

Jackie Chan Actioner ‘Gorgeous’ Due on Blu-ray April 11 From MVD and 88 Films

The Jackie Chan action adventure Gorgeous (1999) will be released on Blu-ray Disc April 11 from MVD Entertainment Group and 88 Films.

In the film, young and beautiful Bu (Shu Qi, The Transporter) finds a romantic message in a bottle near her family restaurant in Taiwan. On a whim, she flies to Hong Kong to meet her potential soulmate, who turns out to be Albert (Tony Leung, Infernal Affairs), a gay beautician pining for his ex. Taking pity on the girl, he brings her to his workplace, where she falls for the wealthy and lonely C.N. Chan (Jackie Chan, Rush Hour, Supercop). But when Chan’s lifelong enemy Lo discovers Chan has a new love, he decides to ruin their happiness.

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The film, which garnered a 36th Golden Horse Award nomination for Jackie Chan (Best Action Choreography) and a 19th Hong Kong Film Awards nomination for Jackie Chan (Best Action Choreography), also stars Emil Chau (Rumble in the Bronx) and Stephen Chow (Kung Fu Hustle).

1995 Parker Posey Comedy ‘Party Girl’ Due on DVD and Blu-ray March 28 From MVD

The 1995 cult comedy Party Girl, starring Parker Posey, will be released on DVD and limited-edition Blu-ray Disc March 28 from Fun City Editions and MVD Entertainment Group.

In the film, Mary (Posey, Dazed and Confused, The House of Yes), a fast-talking, under-employed New York free spirit, is jailed for throwing an illegal house party. She cajoles her librarian godmother (Sasha von Scherler, Network) into bailing her out and giving her a job as a clerk at the public library. What follows is Mary’s screwball-like journey from a life of late nights and hangovers to romance with a falafel vendor (Omar Townsend) and a potential long-term career as a librarian. Director Daisy von Scherler Mayer’s Party Girl, set amidst the thriving and vibrant club culture of ’90s Lower Manhattan, also stars Guillermo Diaz (“Scandal”), Liev Schreiber (“Ray Donovan”), Donna Mitchell (The Ice Storm) and Anthony DeSando (Kiss Me, Guido). In addition to its quotable screenplay by von Scherler Mayer and Harry Birckmayer, Party Girl is noted for its soundtrack, which includes Tom Tom Club, Run-DMC, Deee-lite, Carl Craig and Ultra-Naté, as well as Mary’s wardrobe, which includes pieces by Vivienne Westwood, Todd Oldham, Jean Paul Gaultier and Chanel.

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Party Girl had its finger on the pulse when released in 1995 and, decades later, it’s revered as a cinematic record of a special time and place in New York City’s history. Previously only available in aged standard-definition masters, Party Girl has now been restored in 4K from its original 16mm camera negative.

Bonus features on the DVD include the theatrical trailer. Special features on Blu-ray include the theatrical trailer, a booklet with an essay and photos, an image gallery, a video interview with music supervisor Bill Coleman, a video interview with writer/producer Harry Birckmayer, a video interview with director Daisy von Scherler Mayer, audio commentary with Jake Fogelnest, and a video interview with Posey.

1991 Sci-Fi Actioner ‘The Grand Tour’ Due on DVD and Blu-ray March 14 From Unearthed and MVD

The 1991 sci-fi action-adventure The Grand Tour will be released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc (sporting a new 4K scan from the negative) from Unearthed Classics and MVD Entertainment Group.

Directed by David Twohy (Pitch Black, The Arrival), the film follows a widowed innkeeper (Jeff Daniels ) who battles a band of disaster-groupies from the future with explosive results. Ben Wilson (Daniels) and his daughter (Ariana Richards) buy an old Victorian mansion and begin renovations with plans to open up an inn. Their first guests are a strange and mysterious covey of tourists led by the eccentric Madame Lovine (Marilyn Lightstone). In a race against time, Ben must battle the seductive time bandits as well as his own personal demons in an attempt to save his daughter and the town from total destruction.

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Nick Nolte Thriller ‘Who’ll Stop the Rain’ Among Titles Due on Blu-ray March 14 From Ronin Flix and MVD

The boxing drama Body and Soul (1981); the mystery thrillers Last Rites (1988), Who’ll Stop the Rain (1978) and Wild Orchid 2: Blue Movie Blue (1991); and a Jet Li double feature are available on Blu-ray Disc March 14 from MVD Entertainment Group and Ronin Flix.

In Who’ll Stop the Rain, from the bloody battlefields of Vietnam, Ray Hicks (Nick Nolte, The Deep, 48 Hrs., The Prince of Tides) does his friend Converse (Michael Moriarty, Courage Under Fire, Pale Rider, Q, The Stuff) a favor, smuggling a stash of heroin back to the States. But when Ray goes to deliver the drugs, he and Converse’s wife, Marge (Tuesday Weld, Pretty Poison, Thief, Falling Down), are ambushed and barely escape with their lives. Suddenly on the run from two ruthless thugs and a murderous cop, the unlikely pair must find a way to get along and survive a perilous double-cross. The film also stars Anthony Zerbe (The Omega Man, Opposing Force, License to Kill), Richard Masur (The Thing, Risky Business, Scavenger Hunt, Fallen Angel), Ray Sharkey (The Idolmaker, Wiseguy, Hellhole), Charles Haid (Altered States, “Hill Street Blues”) and Gail Strickland (The Drowning Pool, Protocol) and features music by Creedence Clearwater Revival. Special features include audio commentary with film historians Daniel Kremer and Scout Tafoya and interviews with actor Richard Masur, associate producer Roger Spottiswoode and screenwriter Judith Rascoe.

Body and Soul is based on the 1947 classic of the same name. It’s rags-to-riches tale about a vivacious young fighter from Chicago that pulls no punches in its portrayal of boxing’s dark side. Featuring Muhammad Ali as himself, Body and Soul follows Golden Gloves champ Leon, played by Leon Isaac Kennedy (Lone Wolf McQuade, Too Scared to Scream), who has no interest in becoming a pro boxer. Instead, he wants to be a doctor. But when his little sister requires immediate and expensive medical treatments, he decides to go for the title and all the money it will bring. On his way to the top, however, Leon succumbs to the temptations that come with success. As a result, he begins to lose everyone and everything he used to care about. The film also stars Jayne Kennedy, Peter Lawford (Salt and Pepper, One More Time), Perry Lang (The Hearse, Spring Break) and Academy Award nominee Michael V. Gazzo (The Godfather: Part II, Alligator). Special features include an interview with star Leon Isaac Kennedy.

The mystery thriller Last Rites stars Tom Berenger (The Dogs of War, The Big Chill, Platoon, Major League) and Daphne Zuniga (The Sure Thing, Modern Girls, The Fly II, TV’s “Melrose Place”) in a controversial tale of a love affair between a priest and a woman. With a shocking final twist, Last Rites features a Mafia hit, a vulnerable witness and a man of the cloth with a secret past. In the film, when Father Michael Pace (Berenger) finds himself drawn to the mistress (Zuniga) of a brutally murdered mobster, he risks his life, his standing and even his faith to protect her. Shot on location in New York by legendary cinematographer David Watkins (Catch-22, Out of Africa, Chariots of Fire, Moonstruck) and featuring a supporting cast that includes Chick Vennera (The Milagro Beanfield War, Yanks), Anne Twomey (Deadly Friend, The Image Maker), Dane Clark (Moonrise, Skidoo), Paul Dooley (Breaking Away, Sixteen Candles), Tony Lip (Goodfellas) and Adrian Paul (Duncan MacLeod of TV’s “Highlander”). Special features include interview with Director Donald Belissario and the theatrical trailer.

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The mystery thriller Wild Orchid 2: Blue Movie Blue is from the director of the erotic titles Wild Orchid and “Red Shoe Diaries.” It follows a beautiful young woman caught between passion and innocence — and two shades of the truth. The film stars Tom Skerritt (Top Gun, Alien, Opposing Force), Robert Davi (License to Kill, Showgirls, Die Hard, The Taking of Beverly Hills), Wendy Hughes (Paradise Road, My Brilliant Career, Happy New Year), Nina Siemaszko (License to Drive, Lost Angels, Airheads), Joe Dallesandro (The Limey, Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein, Seeds of Evil) and Liane Curtis (Sixteen Candles, Critters 2: The Main Course). In the film, after her father (Skerritt) dies, Blue (Siemaszko) is forced to grow up fast. Taken in by Elle (Hughes), a high-class brothel madam, she discovers a beguiling world of power and pleasure — but also the tightening grip of Elle’s control. To make matters worse, she is falling for Josh (Brent Fraser, Dark Side of Genius, Wild at Heart), a regular guy who doesn’t know about her double life. Special features include scenes deleted from the theatrical cut and the theatrical trailer.

The limited edition Jet Li double feature includes two martial arts action films directed by Corey Yuen (The Transporter): The Legend of Fong Sai Yuk 1 and, for the first time on Blu-ray in the United States, The Legend of Fong Sai Yuk 2. In The Legend of Fong Sai Yuk 1 (aka The Legend), Li stars as a carefree young martial arts expert who gets involved with a government official’s daughter just as he discovers his family is part of a rebel resistance movement. While his fighting ability and charm made him a local champion, his epic battle for freedom would make him a legendary hero. It includes a sequence fought entirely atop the heads of stunned onlookers. The Legend was the winner of Best Action Choreography at the Hong Kong Film Awards. In The Legend of Fong Sai Yuk 2 (aka The Legend 2), Li kicks back into action as the heroic Fong Sai Yuk. In the film, having fought to save his father from the wrath of the Chinese government, Fong Sai Yuk joins his father’s underground revolutionary organization, the Red Flower Society. But in the camp of rebels, a traitor lurks. At a time when few can be trusted, Fong Sai Yuk must utilize his every skill in the fight to overthrow his nation’s brutally powerful empire. Special features include a custom slipcover; theatrical trailers; “The Pen is Mightier than the Sword,” an exclusive interview with writer Jeff Lau; “Hit Hard & Fly High,” an exclusive interview with Yuen; and new audio commentary from the author of These Fists Break Bricks, Chris Poggiali (The Legend only).

Dramas ‘I Miss You, Hugs and Kisses’ and ‘The Dogs,’ and the Spanish Erotic Film ‘Sex Is Crazy’ Due on Blu-ray Feb. 28 From MVD and Severin

The dramas I Miss You, Hugs and Kisses and The Dogs and the Spanish erotic film Sex Is Crazy are due on Blu-ray Disc Feb. 28 from Severin Films and MVD Entertainment Group.

From writer-director Murray Markowitz, the shocking drama I Miss You, Hugs and Kisses is inspired by one of Canada’s most infamous homicides. In the film, when a former model (Elke Sommer, Baron Blood) is brutally murdered, her wealthy husband (Donald Pilon, The Uncanny) is arrested for the slaying. But the trial that follows will uncover a lurid saga of illicit lovers, escaped serial killers, and enough graphic mayhem to merit its condemnation as a “Video Nasty.” Chuck Shamata (The House by the Lake), Cindy Girling (Meatballs) and five-time Canadian heavyweight champion George Chuvalo co-star in this 1978 Canuxploitation rarity — also known as Left for Dead and Drop Dead, Dearest — featuring the first score by three-time Oscar winner Howard Shore (“The Lord of the Rings”), now scanned in 2K from the National Archive’s only known 35mm print. Extras include audio commentary with filmmaker and historian Stephen Broomer; an interview with Markowitz; an interview with Pilon; “Crimes of Dispassion,” film programmer Eric Peretti on the Demeter case and I Miss You, Hugs and Kisses; and a trailer.

Five years after his Shock Treatment stunned European audiences, cult fantastique writer/director Alain Jessua delivered the startling French thriller The Dogs. In the film, in a corporate suburb outside Paris, the community’s new doctor discovers its leading citizens all get their dogs from a wealthy, charismatic trainer (Oscar nominee Gérard Depardieu) — dogs that have a ferocious appetite for immigrants, rowdy youths, people of color and anyone who challenges the status quo. Victor Lanoux (Cousin, Cousine), Nicole Calfan (The Burglars) and Fanny Ardant (Confidentially Yours) co-star in the film, now scanned in 2K from the interpositive for the first time in America. Special features include “Hounds and Music,” an interview with composer René Koering; “Jessua Lives,” an interview with Culturopoing Film Critic Emmanuel Le Gagne; and the trailer.

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In Spain in 1981 with the dictatorship over and censorship gone, writer/director Jess Franco (Diamonds of Kilimandjaro) returned to his native country to make a series of increasingly brazen films for Tritón that included Sinfonia Erotica, Two Female Spies With Flowered Panties and Sex Is Crazy. In the crazy comedy Sex Is Crazy — now scanned in 2K from the original negative recently discovered in a Bilbao seminary — an actress (Lina Romay, Female Vampire) is performing an outrageous stage show depicting aliens kidnapping Earth women and making them pregnant so that they can give birth to 600 babies an hour. However, when some real aliens actually see the show, they decide that it’s all a very good idea. Special features include “Jess Is Crazy,” an interview with Franco expert Dr. Álex Mendíbil; “Franco/Godard,” an interview with Stephen Thrower, author of Flowers of Perversion: The Delirious Cinema of Jesús Franco; and “In the Land of Franco Part 7.”

Music Doc ‘Blitzed: The ’80s Blitz Kids’ Due on DVD Feb. 17 From MVD

The music documentary Blitzed: The ’80s Blitz Kids will be released on DVD Feb. 17 from MVD Entertainment Group.

The documentary explores the club where Boy George was the coat check girl (admittedly stealing money from the purses), and Bowie, synth beats, and a new freedom of sexual identity were in the air. The Blitz Club was where a hotbed of talent emerged: Ultravox, Spandau Ballet, Culture Club, Sade, and many others. This is the story of a cultural revolution — spawned from a grimy West End club patronized by impoverished but lavishly wardrobed trendsetters, art students and trans slackers. It was a movement that redefined music, fashion and sexual expression.  Among the stories: Mick Jagger was turned away from the door for not being well enough dressed.

Derided by many, the New Romantics can now claim influence that stretches to the modern wave of synth bands, sounds, gender fluidity and fashion sensibilities that mark the second decade of the 21st century. The music the scene spawned on the dance floor of Egan’s Blitz nightclub in Covent Garden can be heard on dance floors, films and TV soundtracks to this day. Through interviews with key players, current contemporaries, punters and pundits together with archival footage, recreated scenes and original footage, the documentary shows how and why the movement took hold and where it landed today.

‘Puppet Master III: Toulon’s Revenge’ Due on 4K Ultra HD Feb. 28 From MVD and Full Moon

The 1991 prequel film Puppet Master III: Toulon’s Revenge will be released on 4K Ultra HD (plus Blu-ray) for the first time Feb. 28 from Full Moon Pictures and MVD Entertainment Group.

Viewers see where the “Puppet Master” saga began in director David De Coteau’s prequel. In the film, after hearing that mystical toymaker Andre Toulon has managed to create a troupe of sentient, living puppets, Nazi underling Dr. Hess sets his sights on exploiting Toulon’s powers for the glory of the Reich. But when Toulon’s wife Elsa is killed and Toulon is whisked away by the Nazis, his puppets attack and rescue their maker. Now hellbent on revenge, the puppet master creates a new line of stringless assassins, including the laughing Six Shooter and parasite-spewing Leech Woman, a creature made in his late wife’s image. 

The film co-stars Guy Rolfe (Stuart Gordon’s Dolls) and Richard Lynch (Vampire, Bad Dreams).

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Special features include audio commentary by writer C. Courtney Joyner and director David DeCoteau; “Behind the Scenes of Puppet Master III: Toulon’s Revenge“; the original Puppet Master III Videozone; a vintage “Puppet Master” action figure commercial; and “Puppet Master” trailers.