Lionsgate Home Entertainment for the Holidays

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

Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara in “Schitt’s Creek.”

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.”

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Total Recall, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, Dec. 8

Arnold Schwarzenegger in Total Recall

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.

Best Buy’s ‘Total Recall’ Steelbook

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.”

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But I’m a Cheerleader: Director’s Cut, Digital 4K Ultra HD, Dec. 8

Clea DuVall and Natasha Lyonne in But I’m a Cheerleader.

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.

Irresistible

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 9/1/20;
Universal;
Comedy;
$29.98 DVD, $34.98 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘R’ for language including sexual references.
Stars Steve Carell, Rose Byrne, Chris Cooper, Mackenzie Davis, Topher Grace, Natasha Lyonne, Will Sasso.

Comedian Jon Stewart returns to familiar ground from his “Daily Show” days with a biting political satire that takes aim at electioneering in America.

Stewart also reunites with his old “Daily Show” cohort Steve Carell, who plays Gary, a Democrat political operative on the outs following the 2016 presidential election. In an attempt to get back into the party’s good graces, he takes on the challenge of convincing a farmer and former Marine colonel named Jack (Chris Cooper) to run for mayor as a Democrat in a traditional Midwestern town, hoping a win will serve as a template for bringing a progressive message to other red states.

His involvement, however, attracts the attention of his opposite number from the Republican Party, Faith (Rose Byrne), who swoops into town to make sure the incumbent mayor keeps his seat.

The race quickly descends into a microcosm of a national campaign, with major party donors throwing big bucks at the candidates, allowing Stewart to throw shade at nearly all the tropes of an American election he made fun of for years on Comedy Central, from endless fundraising to disingenuous pandering to media manipulation. In keeping his crosshairs on the election process, Stewart veers away from partisanship for the most part, though he does overplay his own biases in a few of the jokes.

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Meanwhile, Carell has his eyes on Jack’s daughter, Diana (Mackenzie Davis), a fresh-faced farmgirl eager to help her father’s campaign. However, Stewart has more up his sleeve than just a simple underdog story, and there’s more to this sleepy downtrodden town than it would seem. The story delivers some nice twists and turns that, while clever, may limit the film’s rewatchability.

The Blu-ray offers a slew of deleted and extended scenes, a gag reel, and three behind-the-scenes featurettes that run about five minutes each.

‘Handmaid’s Tale,’ ‘Russian Doll’ Big Winners Among Digital Originals, Parrot Says

Demand for the perennially popular “The Handmaid’s Tale” spiked 53% on the heels of the release of a season 3 teaser trailer, pushing the dystopian Hulu drama series to the No. 1 spot on the digital originals chart for the week that ended Feb. 9, according to Parrot Analytics.

The previous week, “The Handmaid’s Tale” was ranked No. 14. The Feb. 3 release of the trailer saw the number of average daily Demand Expressions rise to 29.2 million from 19 million the week before.

The biggest winner, however, was Netflix’s “Russian Doll,” a quirky comedy starring Natasha Lyonne as a software engineer who repeatedly dies and relives her 36th birthday party night in an ongoing loop.

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The series, which also stars Greta Lee, Yul Vazquez, Charlie Barnett and Elizabeth Ashley, premiered Feb. 1. During the week that ended Feb. 9, the average number of daily Demand Expressions soared a whopping 374% to 21 million, landing the series in the top 10 with a No. 8 debut.

Demand Expressions is a proprietary metric used by Parrot Analytics to measure global demand for TV content. The metric draws from a wide variety of data sources, including video streaming, social media activity, photo sharing, blogging, commenting on fan and critic rating platforms, and downloading and streaming via peer-to-peer protocols and file sharing sites.

A “digital original” is a multi-episode series in which the most recent season was first made available on a streaming platform such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video or Hulu.

The prior week’s top digital original, “Marvel’s The Punisher,” from Netflix, fell to No. 5, with a 13.5% drop in demand.

Similar, “Stranger Things,” also from Netflix, held onto the No. 3 spot despite a 6.2% decline in the number of average daily Demand Expressions.

Rounding out the top five on the digital originals chart was “Star Trek: Discovery,” with new episodes in the CBS All Access science-fiction series to the No. 4 position on the digital originals chart, up from No. 6 the prior week.

Media Play News has teamed with Parrot Analytics to provide readers with a weekly top 10 of the most popular digital original TV series in the United States, based on the firm’s  proprietary metric called Demand Expressions, which measures global demand for TV content through a wide variety of data sources, including video streaming, social media activity, photo sharing, blogging, commenting on fan and critic rating platforms, and downloading and streaming via peer-to-peer protocols and file sharing sites.

Netflix’s ‘Russian Doll,’ ‘Sex Education’ Top ‘TV Time’ Binge Week Chart

Netflix created the binge-viewing phenomenon, so it’s understandable if two of the SVOD pioneer’s original series ranked among the top-three binged TV shows from Feb. 4 to Feb. 10, according to TV Time.com.

Top series streamed repeatedly included Netflix’s “Russian doll,” starring Natasha Lyonne, and “Sex Education,” starring Gillian Anderson, Kedar Williams and Asa Butterfield, among others.

Notably, re-runs of “Friends” finished third, underscoring why Netflix paid $100 million to series’ owner Warner Bros. Television for the rights through 2019.

TV Time claims to rank shows with the most binge sessions. A binge session is when four or more episodes of a show are watched and tracked in the TV Time app within a given day.

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Separately, TV Time reports that actress Natasha Lyonne was the No. 1 trending talent of the week, based on fan votes. Lyonne’s role as Nadia Vulvokov in “Russian Doll” is currently the third runner-up out of Lyonne’s cast of characters following “Orange Is the New Black” and “Smoky Quartz.”