By ANGELA DAWSON
Front Row Features
Josh Duhamel (Transformers) stars in the wild and hilarious, no-holds-barred comedy “Buddy Games,” arriving on DVD, On Demand and Digital Tuesday Nov. 24, from Paramount Home Entertainment.
After six lifelong friends have a five-year falling out, Bob (Duhamel), aka “The Bobfather”, reunites his pals for the Buddy Games, an insane competition of absurd physical and mental challenges with the chance to win a $150,000 pot. Now all bets are off, as the determined dudes fight, claw, and party for the big bucks in this star-studded bro-fest featuring Dax Shepard (“CHiPs”), Olivia Munn (“Office Christmas Party”) and Kevin Dillon (“Entourage”).
Ealing Studios Comedy Collection
Just in time for holiday gift-giving, Film Movement Classics presents “The Ealing Studios Comedy Collection,” a four-film collection of some of the famed British studios’ most beloved films. The collection will be available on Blu-ray and DVD beginning Tuesday Nov. 24.
“The Ealing Studios Comedy Collection” brings together four of the studio’s greatest and most classic comedies, all newly remastered from pristine vault materials in stunning HD: Alexander Mackendrick’s “Whisky Galore!” and “The Maggie,” “Passport to Pimlico,” and “The Titfield Thunderbolt.”
In the 1940s and 50s, the Ealing Studios was the birthplace of the most delectable crop of movies to decorate postwar cinemas, a group of veddy British comedies that spoke to moviegoers around the globe. Their output not only helped define what was arguably the golden age of British cinema but also introduced audiences to beloved legends such as Alec Guinness, Stanley Holloway, Hugh Griffith, Margaret Rutherford, as well as fostered the emergence of talented directors such as Alexander Mackendrick (“The Ladykillers,” “The Man in the White Suit”) and Charles Crichton (“A Fish Called Wanda,” “The Lavender Hill Mob”).
This four-disc collection is loaded with bonus features including audio commentary, several featurettes, interviews, collectible booklets featuring exclusive essays and more.
Never before available as a Blu-ray collection in North America, the set will also be released on DVD, priced to add to every home entertainment collection at $69.95 (SRP) and $39.95 (SRP) respectively.
The Essential Fellini
Joining in the international celebration of Federico Fellini’s 100th birthday, Criterion is releasing “The Essential Fellini,” a 15-disc Blu-ray box set Tuesday Nov. 24, that brings together 14 of the director’s most imaginative and uncompromising works for the first time.
The set includes: “Variety Lights” (1950), “The White Sheik” (1952), “I Vitelloni” (1953), “La Strada,” (1954), “Il Bidone,” (1955), “Nights of Cabiria,” (1957), “La Dolce Vita,” (1960), “8-1/2” (1963), “Juliet of the Spirits,” (1965), “Fellini Satryicon,” (1969), “Roma,” (1972), “Amarcord,” (1973), “And the Ship Sails On,” (1983), and “Intervista” (1987).
Alongside new restorations of the theatrical features, the Criterion Collection set also includes short and full-length documentaries about Fellini’s life and work, archival interviews with his friends and collaborators, commentaries on six of the films, video essays, the director’s 1968 short “Toby Dammit,” and much more.
The edition is accompanied by two lavishly illustrated books with hundreds of pages of notes and essays on the films by writers and filmmakers, as well as dozens of images of Fellini memorabilia. “Essential Fellini” is a fitting tribute to the maestro of Italian cinema.
For the first time ever, screen legends Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jackie Chan face off against each other in the epic fantasy-adventure “Iron Mask,” available on Blu-ray and DVD Tuesday Nov. 24, from Lionsgate. The epic fantasy-adventure also is now available on Digital and On Demand.
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. This larger-than-life, 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.
The historic epic drama is directed by Oleg Stepchenko, who also write the screenplay along with Alexey A. Petrukhin.
The Killing Floor
“The Killing Floor” arrives on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Tuesday Nov. 24, from Film Movement Classics.
The drama, initially released in 1984/1985, is the first feature film directed by Bill Duke and explores a little-known true story of an African American migrant in his struggle to help build an interracial union in the Chicago Stockyards. The screenplay by Obie Award-winner Leslie Lee is from an original story by producer Elsa Rassbach and is based on actual characters and events, tracing ethnic and class conflicts seething in the city’s giant slaughterhouses, when management efforts to divide the workforce fuel racial tensions that erupt in the deadly Chicago Race Riot of 1919.
Damien Leake stars as Frank Custer, a young black sharecropper from Mississippi who lands a job on “the killing floor” of a meatpacking plant—one of tens of thousands of southern blacks who journeyed to the industrial north during World War I, hoping to find racial equality. Frank finally succeeds in bringing his wife Mattie (Alfre Woodard) and family up north, but when he decides to support the union cause, his best friends from the South, distrustful of the white-led union, turn against him.
The film was shot in Chicago in 1983 by a small indie production firm just as Chicago’s first African-American mayor, Harold Washington, was elected. The filmmakers were advised by a team of prominent scholars led by renowned labor historian David Brody. The filmmakers drew on the immense talent of local Chicago union crews and guild actors and enjoyed an outpouring of community support. Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, foundations, corporations and dozens of national and local unions, “The Killing Floor” premiered on PBS’ American Playhouse series in 1984 to rave reviews. In 1985, it was invited as a theatrical film to many festivals, including Cannes, and won the Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Prize.
Bonus features include an introduction by director Bill Duke; a Q&A with Damien Leake and Elsa Rassbach, pandemic-era conversations with Duke, Leake and Clarence Felder, a making-of interview with producer/screenwriter Elsa Rassbach, and more.
The Blu-ray/DVD/Digital will be available for $29.95 (SRP) and $19.95 (SRP), respectively.
Arriving on DVD and Digital Tuesday Nov. 24 is the Latvian coming-of-age drama “Mellow Mud,” from Corinth Films.
Harsh circumstances force a resourceful and determined Latvian teen to mature beyond her years in “Mellow Mud,” from first-time feature director-writer Renars Vimba.
Following the death of their father and emigration of their mother to England to find work, 17-year-old Raya (Vaska) and her younger brother, Robis (Andzejs Janis Lilientals), are forced to share a squalid rural cottage with their paternal grandmother (Ruta Birgere), whom they despise. When Raya returns from school one day to find their grandmother dead, they uneasily bury her in the garden to avoid the local social worker who has been snooping about and go about their lives as if nothing has happened. So, when a high school English competition promising a trip to London for the finalists provides hope for Raya to escape her desperate situation—maybe even help them find her mother—she ultimately makes a series of decisions that bring her to an unenviable crossroad.
The DVD/Digital of the film festival favorite “Mellow Mud” will available for $24.95 (SRP).
Four years after South Korea’s total decimation in “Train to Busan,” the zombie thriller that captivated audiences worldwide, acclaimed director Yeon Sang-ho brings fans “Peninsula,” the next chapter in his post-apocalyptic world, available on 4K Ultra Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD Tuesday Nov. 24, from Well Go USA Entertainment.
When a former soldier returns to the “Peninsula” on a secret mission and his team encounters survivors, their lives will depend on whether the best—or worst—of human nature prevails. The film stars Gang Dong-won, Lee Jung-hyun, Kwon Hae-hyo, Kim Min-je, Koo Gyo-hwan, Kim Do-yoon, Lee Re and Lee Ye-won. Bonus content includes a making-of featurette, interviews with cast & crew and an all-new English dub.
“Peninsula” is in Korean with English subtitles. The 4K Ultra Blu-ray Combo will be available for $34.98 (SRP), the Blu-ray Combo (2K) will be available for $29.98 (SRP) and the DVD will be available for $24.98 (SRP).
Better Call Saul: Season Five
The fifth season of the popular AMC series “Better Caul Saul” arrives on Blu-ray and DVD Tuesday Nov. 24, from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
In Season Five of the critically acclaimed drama, Jimmy McGill’s (Bob Odenkirk) decision to practice law as “Saul Goodman” creates unexpected and profound waves of change throughout Albuquerque’s legal and illegal circles. Kim Wexler (Rhea Seahorn) finds herself at a crossroads as her connection with Jimmy deepens. Wracked with guilt and regret, Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks) hits rock bottom. Meanwhile, Nacho Varga (Michael Mando) tries to survive as Gus Fring’s (Giancarlo Esposito) covert war on the cartel becomes a life-and-death chess match with the mercurial and relentless Lalo Salamanca (Tony Dalton).
The DVD and Blu-ray of “Better Call Saul: Season Five” includes cast and crew commentaries on every episode, a gag reel, Mesa Verde Bank and Trust TV spots, “Ethics Training with Kim Wexler,” and a “Crystal Balls” featurette. The Blu-ray exclusively also includes deleted scenes and several more featurettes.
If you’re a fan of nail-biting zombie thrillers, Front Row Features has the giveaway for you! We’re giving away a copy of the South Korean film “Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula” on Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack to three lucky readers. To enter the contest, simply email firstname.lastname@example.org by Nov. 30 for your chance to win. Good luck!