Friday, February 28, 2014

The Nutty Professor: 50th Anniversary Edition Is Coming To Blu-ray On June 3, 2014!

The Jerry Lewis Classic Debuts on Blu-ray™ June 3 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment with All-new Featurette, Storyboard Book, Cutting Script with Director Notes, Special Production Booklet and More


Lewis’ Cinderfella and The Errand Boy DVDs and 
rare Phoney Phone Calls CD also included in 4-Disc Set


Burbank, Calif., February 27, 2014 – The Nutty Professor, one of Jerry Lewis’ most celebrated comedies, will be released on Blu-ray™ by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (WBHE) June 3 in a brand-new 50th Anniversary Collector’s Edition. Lewis directed, stars in, and co-wrote (with Bill Richmond) the parody of the classic “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” tale which was selected for the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress in 2004.


WBHE is releasing the four-discCollector’s Edition with personal input from Mr. Lewis, who has helped compile lots of entertaining extra content for this release. Highlights include a new featurette, Jerry Lewis: No Apologies, an intimate look at “The King of Comedy”; a48-page book of the film’s original story boards; a 44-page book of excerpts from Jerry's cutting script with personal notes; and a recreated “Being a Person” book, written by Jerry exclusively for the film’s crew. Adding to the offering is the very funny CD collection, Phoney Phone Calls, 1959-1972, with private prank calls secretly recorded by Lewis during those years.


The Nutty Professor 50th Anniversary Collector’s Edition ($54.99 SRP) will include the film in DVD format as well as Blu-ray, along with DVDs of two other well-known Lewis comedies, Cinderfella andThe Errand Boy. Also currently available from the Warner Archive Collection ( are Lewis’ films,Family JewelsCracking Up (akaSmorgasbord) and Which Way to the Front?

In a personal letter included with the new Blu-ray, Lewis notes, “[This] is a very special film with a lot of heart and soul. I thoroughly enjoyed the writing, directing, acting, editing, scoring and extensive promotion of the film. It is what I always dreamed of doing when I was growing up, watching Charlie Chaplin on the big screen.


“I am so happy to offer the unique elements of this collection for the first time, and I’m thankful to Warner Bros. and Paramount Pictures for the opportunity to collaborate on this great release of The Nutty Professor, my very special child.”


A Jerry Lewis Production, The Nutty Professor also stars Stella Stevens and features Del Moore, Kathleen Freeman and Howard Morris. Ernest D. Glucksman produced.



More About the Special Features:

The Nutty Professor:

  • Jerry Lewis: No Apologies NEW!  An intimate look at the artist who has entertained and educated audiences for more than eight decades
  • Directors Letter NEW! A letter specially written by Jerry to present this new collection
  • Recreated “Being A Person” book:96-pages made up of drawings and quotes inspired/written by Jerry Lewis and drawn by his personal illustrator. 250 copies of this book were originally made and distributed to members of the cast and crew ofThe Nutty Professor after the director heard of general conflicts among them.
  • CD: Phoney Phone calls 1959-1972:Years before the Jerky Boys were harassing unwitting shop clerks, housewives and businessmen, Lewis perfected the art, as these recordings show. Released in 2001 on the Sin-Drome label, this is a collection of private prank calls secretly recorded by Jerry Lewis over the years.
  • 48-Page Storyboard Book
  • 44-Page Cutting Script with Jerry’s notes
  • Commentary by Jerry Lewis and Steve Lawrence
  • The Nutty Professor: Perfecting The Formula Behind-The-Scenes Footage
  • Jerry Lewis at Work
  • Jerry at Movieland Wax Museum with commentary by son Chris Lewis
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Jerry and Stella Promos
  • Bloopers
  • Screen Tests
  • Outtakes
  • Original Mono Track
  • Trailers



  • Commentary by Jerry Lewis and Steve Lawrence
  • Bloopers


Errand Boy

  • Select Scene Commentary by Jerry Lewis and Steve Lawrence
  • Bloopers
  • Promo Spots
  • Theatrical Trailer



Synopsis of The Nutty Professor

The title’s eponymous professor is Julius F. Kelp (Lewis), a shy, bumbling chemistry teacher who has a mad crush on his student Stella Purdy (Stella Stevens). When he tires of being made fun of, Kelp develops a magic potion that turns him into smooth and smarmy nightclub singer Buddy Love. Stella is drawn to Buddy but unfortunately, the potion’s formula is unstable and Buddy keeps slipping back into Julius at the most embarrassing moments. In the end the professor’s ploy is revealed, but not before he delivers a speech calling for everyone to learn to love themselves first before others can return the favor. Stella realizes she loves him for who he is and, needless to say, the ending is a happy one.


About Jerry Lewis

Consummate entertainer and world-renowned humanitarian, Jerry Lewis is a cultural icon in the U.S. and France. He is also the only entertainer ever to be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.


With worldwide box-office receipts in excess of $800 million (when most tickets were sold for 25-50 cents), Jerry was the top box-office star from 1952-56 with Dean Martin and from 1957-64 solo. Jerry’s groundbreaking brand of physical comedy has influenced generations.


First on stage at age five, Jerry performed in Vaudeville alongside his parents and later began performing stand-up at the age of 15. His meteoric rise to fame began in 1946 at the age of 20, when he teamed with Dean Martin. “They were the biggest stars in the world as a comedy team,” said Billy Crystal about the duo, who caused Beatles-esque pandemonium wherever they went.


Jerry has appeared in more than 50 films, directed a dozen movies, had 13 television specials, three television series, an NBC radio show, recorded numerous records and albums; been the hero of a comic book series; authored four books (and been the subject of many more); and made thousands of other appearances on TV, stage (including a hit Broadway and tour run in Damn Yankees from 1994-97) and in nightclubs all over the world.


Additionally, Jerry Lewis was a major innovator in motion pictures. Director Francis Ford Coppola once noted, “Jerry’s invention of putting a video camera next to the motion picture camera (the Video Assist) so he could play it back and direct himself, has been used for decades by every director in the movie industry.”


Some of his other hit films include Who’s Minding the Store?The Disorderly Orderly,The PatsyThe Ladies Man, The Bellboy,Visit to a Small PlanetThe Geisha Boy,The Delicate Delinquent, and 16 Martin & Lewis films, 1949-1956.

Jerry has been honored with numerous awards including two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame; the Governor’s Award at the Emmy® Awards; a Career Achievement Award from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association; a Lifetime Achievement Award in Comedy at the American Comedy Awards and many more.


Enormously popular in Europe, particularly France, Jerry was awarded that country’s two most distinguished honors in 1984, making him a Commander in the Order of Arts and Letters and inducting him into the Legion of Honor by the Decree of President Francois Mitterrand.


Jerry has long been a tireless and dedicated philanthropist. For more than 60 years, he has been the driving force behind the fight against muscular dystrophy. As national chairman of the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Jerry raised more than $2 billion for patient care and research and made the term “Jerry’s Kids” a part of the modern American lexicon. His creation, the MDA Labor Day Telethon, is the most successful fundraising program in the history of television and established a new benchmark in charitable giving.


Jerry has received numerous awards for his charitable endeavors, including: the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award (2009); the American Medical Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award (1996), the U.S. Defense Department’s highest civilian award; and the Medal for Distinguished Public Service (1985), among many others.


The Nutty Professor 50th Anniversary Collector’s Edition

Street Date: June 3, 2014

Order Due Date: April 29, 2014

$54.99 SRP

Cat/UPC: 1000477604883929404872


Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Last Days On Mars DVD Review

The Last Days On Mars features an ensemble cast that includes Liev Schreiber, Elias Koteas, Olivia Williams, Goren Kostic, John Harris, Tom Cullen and Yusra Warsawa star as scientists on Mars who shortly before they are due to be relieved from the six month stint trying to find evidence of extraterrestrial life on the red planet discover a bacteria that spreads from host to host somewhat in a muddled way and turns the living into murderous flesh eating zombies.

Filmmaker Ruairi Robinson states in the making of featurete, which also includes cast interviews (15:17), that he told his agent he wanted to direct a film like John Carpenter's The Thing. Unfortunately for him he got something more akin to John Carpenter's Ghosts Of Mars meets REC, but with no real sense of thrills. The film is well acted. It also refreshingly seems to pay attention to real science. The effects look terrific, but aside from creating an atmosphere of doom, the Director does not appear to be adept at creating scary moments. This is terrible because the premise of what is essentially zombies on Mars is such a disappointment that at least if the film were exciting, scary, fun and anything else other than bleak then maybe it would have been easier to deal with the absurd concept.

The DVD features a clear 16 by 9 enhanced standard definition widescreen presentation with an average English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Soundtrack. English Subtitles for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired and Spanish Language Subtitles are encoded as options.

Besides a making of featurette, there is an analysis of the visual effects produced for the film with puzzle like motion transitions between what was shot on location all the way through to the completed scene (8:00) and there is also a behind-scenes picture-in-picture comparison of the film set with the completed scenes in the little box toward the lower right corner. (4:01). A short look at the film that aired on ASXTV (3:12) and a reel of advertisements for Europa Report, Here Comes The Devil, Beyond Outrage, How I Live Now and the ASXTV Network itself (8:23) wraps up the bonus features on this DVD.

The Last Days On Mars will debut on DVD as well as Blu-ray Disc, but sold separately on Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at retailers on and offline courtesy of Magnolia Home Entertainment.

(C) Copyright 2014 By Mark Rivera
All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Rest In Peace Roger Hill AKA Cyrus.

Rest in peace Roger Hill AKA Cyrus from the 1970s Walter Hill film The Warriors. May his immortal lines, "Can you dig it? Can you dig it? CAN YOU DIG IT?!" always be remembered and appreciated. Great 70s classic too.

Check out this video on YouTube:

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Justice League: War: Blu-ray + DVD + Ultraviolet Digital Copy HD Review

Justice League: War is the latest DC Universe animated feature to be released on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Copy and like previous animated features, which Warner Brothers and DC Comics has excelled at producing perhaps even more so than even Disney and Marvel's animated counterparts. Definitely more successful than a great deal of Warner Brothers' live action feature films, which have often focused too much on Superman and Batman films, but ironically ignoring the excellent graphic novels published. It is a fact that all too often if one compares an animated DC Universe feature released to tie-in to an upcoming live action DC Comic adaptation, the animated feature will probably be better. Case and point, compare the Green Lantern live action feature to the animated DC Universe counterpart released by Warner Home Video entitled Green Lantern: Emerald Knights, I can assure you the animated feature was better than the live action feature film in that case at least.

Yet this is not always the case. Thankfully Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy actually focused more inspiration drawn from various graphic novels, but still told original stories proved that you can take a superhero film and elevate it to the level of detective crime drama like Michael Mann's classic feature that felt at times like viewing an epic crime novel come to life entitled Heat. I hope Nolan and company and Warner Brothers never succumb to producing a fourth Dark Knight film because good film trilogies are truly quite rare and are often ruined when a sequel is produced solely out of a desire to profit over a passion to tell a good story.

Justice League: War is based on the graphic novel by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee and tells the story of the early formation of what would eventually become the Justice League with first time encounters and uneasy, but still successful collaboration in a unified front against a global threat with Batman, Green Lantern, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash and even an origin story for Cyborg.  If there is a weakness in the storytelling it is in the fact that the film is too straight forward for it's own good with action sequences that feel at times over extended and no real surprise twists.

At times the animation style looks a little too much like an anime film, which I have nothing against, but I prefer Bruce Timm's animated style when it comes to the animated DC Universe. Presented in a high definition (1.78:1) aspect ratio, the picture quality is as expected, terrific. For both the Blu-ray and standard definition DVD versions feature clear English, French and Spanish Language Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Soundtracks along with English Subtitles for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired as well as French and Spanish Language Subtitles are encoded as options.

A featurette examining the process  of adapting a graphic novel into an animated feature with a comparison and contrast between the printed page and memorable sequences from the film. Another short focuses on Artist Jim Lee and his collaboration with Geoff Johns and animatics and pencil tests for the film's finale. A sneak peak at the next DC Universe animated feature Son of Batman and four bonus cartoons from the DC/Warner Brothers Animated Vault wraps up the extra value materials on Blu-ray Disc. A limited time redeemable insert containing an Ultraviolet HD Digital Copy of the animated feature is included within two-disc Blue-ray BD case.

Justice League: War: Blu-ray + DVD + Ultraviolet Digital Copy HD is available now at retailers on and offline courtesy of Warner Home Video.

(C) Copyright 2014 By Mark Rivera
All Rights Reserved.

A Personal Thought.

I think it is a sad fact of life that often people we like and admire are not always appreciated until after they pass. Sometimes it is because they are famous and or we don't know them personally and other times it is because we know them so personally that we take them for granted until they are gone. Whatever the case might be, here's a salute to all the people we know in our lives and those we don't. May they know they are appreciated in their lifetimes and may we appreciate them while they are still in ours. Thank you.


Mark Rivera

Author and Writer/Reviewer/Editor

The Web Resource For Home Video Entertainment & More!

Monday, February 24, 2014

John Wayne: The Epic Collection Debuts May 20 DVD Collection of 40 Warner and Paramount Films is the Largest John Wayne Box Set Ever and Includes Hours of Special Features and Remarkable Memorabilia

John Wayne: The Epic Collection Debuts May 20

DVD Collection of 40 Warner and Paramount Films is the

Largest John Wayne Box Set Ever and Includes
Hours of Special Features and Remarkable Memorabilia


Fourth Annual John Wayne Film Festival Set for April 24-27 in Dallas

Burbank, Calif., February 24, 2014 -- To commemorate one of America’s most iconic film heroes, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will introduce a comprehensive new DVD set -- John Wayne: The Epic Collection -- on May 20.The spring release, just in time for Father’s Day gift-giving ($149.98 SRP), will contain 38 discs with 40 Wayne films (full list below), including The Searchers, once called one of the most influential movies in American history[1] and the film for which Wayne won his Best Actor Academy Award®True Grit (1969). The collection comes packaged in a handsome book with unique collectibles and hours of special features.


The coffee table book includes a chronological presentation of Wayne films, enhanced with wonderful photographs; the hours of special features include commentaries, documentaries, featurettes, vintage shorts and classic cartoons; and the special John Wayne collectibles include personal correspondence, script pages/covers, pages with Wayne’s notations and behind-the-scenes artifacts.


Wayne’s legacy will also be celebrated at the 4th annual John Wayne Film Festival in Dallas from April 24th through the 27th. The four-day festival will feature screenings of some of Wayne’s classic feature films, Q + A sessions with Wayne family members and co-stars, and parties celebrating the John Wayne heritage and legacy. All the proceeds from the festival will benefit the John Wayne Cancer Foundation.


In making the announcement of the new collection, Jeff Baker, WHV’s Executive VP and General Manager, Theatrical Catalog said, “Thanks to our recent strategic alliance with Paramount and their catalog titles, we’re delighted to be able to offer this number of titles representing such a broad range of Wayne’s work. Wayne was one of the most popular film stars ever. For more than a quarter century he was one of the tops at the worldwide box-office. This collection will certainly be a ‘must have’ for loyal John Wayne fans and, hopefully, will have an equal appeal to younger folks who want to learn more about him.”


Born Marion Robert Morrison in Winterset, Iowa, John Wayne first worked in the film business as a laborer on the Fox lot during summer vacations from U.S.C., which he attended on a football scholarship. He met and was befriended by John Ford, a young director who was beginning to make a name for himself in action films, comedies and dramas. It was Ford who recommended Wayne for his first leading role.  


For the next nine years, Wayne worked in a multitude of B-Westerns and serials in between bit parts in larger features. Wayne’s big break came in 1939, when Ford cast him as the Ringo Kid in the adventure Stagecoach. Wayne nearly stole the picture from his more seasoned co-stars, and his career as a box-office superstar began. During his 50 year film career, Wayne played the lead in more than 140 movies[2], an as yet unsurpassed record, and was nominated for three Academy Awards®[3], winning the Best Actor award for his performance in True Grit (1969). 


Discs In John Wayne: The Epic Collection



Big Stampede/Ride Him Cowboy/Haunted Gold, 1932

Telegraph Trail/Somewhere in Sonora/Man from Monterey, 1933

Allegheny Uprising, 1939

Reunion In France, 1942

Tall in the Saddle,1944

Back to Bataan, 1945

They Were Expendable, 1945

Without Reservations, 1946

Tycoon, 1947

Fort Apache, 1948

The Three Godfathers, 1948

She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, 1949

Flying Leathernecks, 1951

Operation Pacific, 1951

Big Jim McLain, 1952

Trouble Along the Way, 1953

Blood Alley, 1966

The Sea Chase, 1955

The Searchers, 1956

The Wings Of Eagles, 1957

Rio Bravo, 1959

Hatari, 1962

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, 1962

How The West Was Won: Special Edition, 1962

Donovan's Reef, 1963

In Harm's Way, 1965

The Sons Of Katie Elder, 1965

El Dorado, 1966

The Green Berets, 1968

True Grit, 1969

Chisum, 1970

Cowboys, The: Deluxe Edition, 1972

Cahill: U.S. Marshall, 1973

The Train Robbers, 1973

McQ, 1974

The Shootist, 1976



John Wayne

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products Celebrates the 35th Anniversary of ALIEN and Releases First-Ever Action Figures of Ellen Ripley



Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products Celebrates the 35th Anniversary of ALIEN and Releases First-Ever Action Figures of Ellen Ripley


NECA, SEGA, Sideshow Collectibles, Diamond Select, Super7 x Funko and 10 More Partners to Roll Out Exclusive Branded Toys and Collectible Merchandise Worldwide to Celebrate ALIEN Franchise


Los Angeles, CA – February 18, 2014 – 35 years later, fans are still “screaming” in space as Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products celebrates the 35th anniversary of the ground-breaking film ALIEN, one of the most enduring sci-fi horror franchises of all time, with multiple iconic partners for exclusive branded merchandise available worldwide.


National Entertainment Collectibles Association (NECA), an entertainment conglomerate and global leader in licensed consumer goods, in association with Fox Consumer Products, announces today the first-ever action figures of Lieutenant Ellen Ripley that feature the likeness of actress Sigourney Weaver, who was nominated for an Oscar® and Golden Globe® for ALIENS in 1987. The officially licensed Ripley action figures from NECA will span multiple movies within the ALIEN saga: initial plans include a figure of Ripley in her Nostromo jumpsuit from the original 1979 film, to be followed later by a Ripley figure based on the 1986 movie ALIENS, directed by James Cameron.


“As we celebrate the 35th anniversary of one of the most successful film franchises of all time,  we are thrilled to introduce an array of commemorative products across different categories in partnership with iconic brands including NECA, SEGA and many more,” said Jeffrey Godsick, president of Fox Consumer Products. “In addition to the highly anticipated release of Alien: Isolation™, hardcore fans can finally add Lieutenant Ellen Ripley to their ALIEN collections as we welcome her NECA figures into the family of officially-licensed merchandise. Many other exciting first-time and limited edition products will also release to celebrate this exciting milestone this year.”

Prominent partners participating in the ALIEN global anniversary campaign include:


  • Bandai - Bandai’s premium collectors label “Tamashii Nations” will release super-articulated S.H.MonsterArts figures featuring diecast material. S.H.MonsterArts ALIEN Big Chap will be available May 2014.
  • Dark Horse Comics – A new comics program will debut later this year which includes Alien, Prometheus, Predator and Aliens vs. Predator.
  • Diamond Select Toys and Collectibles – New collectibles including MiniMates block figures, vinyl banks, bottle openers and a reproduction of the original 18-inch Alien figure, available this summer/fall.
  • Insight Editions will produce a highly-illustrated and a detailed guidebook to the Alien creature.
  • NECA - Figures, board games, bobbleheads, plush and toys will hit major retail stores beginning in March 2014. Prototypes of the Ripley figures will debut later this summer at San Diego Comic-Con.
  • SEGA – The highly-anticipated first person survival horror game Alien: Isolation will be available on PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360 and PC in late 2014.
  • Sideshow Collectibles – High end, limited edition Alien franchise products, including an immense bust of the Big Chap Alien design, available for pre-order in April 2014! Check for Alien Franchise products, and more!
  • Super7 x Funko – Glasses and retro ReAction Figures currently availableonline.
  • Titan Books will release all-new canon fiction novels based on the film franchise, followed by a 35thanniversary retrospective called “ALIEN: Archives” which will be the most comprehensive book ever created about the ALIEN franchise with new exclusive interviews with Ridley Scott and Sigourney Weaver and content that has never been released. 

Other partners include Hollywood Collectibles for highly-detailed prop replicas, Upper Deck for an all-new collectible card game, Hallmark for ornaments, Square Enix for Aliens: Colonial Marines Play Arts KAI action figures, Titan Merchandise for stylized mini vinyl figurines, Rizzoli for wall calendars and Rubie’s Costume Companyfor amazingly detailed Halloween costumes in addition to even more partners with apparel and additional collectible merchandise to be released throughout the year.

Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is set for home video release on April 8.

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has today announced that Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is set for home video release on April 8. The film, a production of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM), arrives on DVD, Digital HD, Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack and as a Limited Collector’s Edition Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack, housed in a boxed set that includes two Gates of Erebor replica bookends from the Noble Collection. Check out images of the set below!
Ian McKellen returns as Gandalf the Grey, with Martin Freeman in the central role of Bilbo Baggins, and Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield. The international ensemble cast is led by Benedict Cumberbatch, Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, Stephen Fry, Ken Stott, James Nesbitt and Orlando Bloom as Legolas. The film also stars Mikael Persbrandt, Sylvester McCoy, Aidan Turner, Dean O’Gorman, Graham McTavish, Adam Brown, Peter Hambleton, John Callen, Mark Hadlow, Jed Brophy, William Kircher, Stephen Hunter, Ryan Gage, John Bell, Manu Bennett and Lawrence Makoare.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug will be available on Limited Collector’s Edition Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack for $105.43, Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack for $44.95, Blu-ray Combo Pack for $35.99 and 2-disc DVD Special Edition for $28.98. The Limited Collector’s Edition features the theatrical version of the film in 3D hi-definition, hi-definition and standard definition; only 25,000 will be available in the U.S. The Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack features the theatrical version of the film in 3D hi-definition, hi-definition and standard definition; the Blu-ray Combo Pack features the theatrical version of the film in hi-definition on Blu-ray; and the DVD features the theatrical version in standard definition. All versions include a digital version of the movie on Digital HD with UltraViolet.
Blu-ray and DVD special features are listed as follows:·
Peter Jackson Invites You to the Set: In the Company of the Hobbit and Peter Jackson Invites You to the Set: All in a Day’s Work – Experience the film’s challenges and demands, and journey alongside the director into Mirkwood, Lake-town and Dale as the movie’s most intense, pivotal scenes are created
Production Videos – Watch production come to life as Peter Jackson gives you an inside look at the making of the film
New Zealand: Home of Middle-earth, Part 2– Travel with Peter Jackson and his team across the stunning locations of New Zealand transformed by the filmmakers into Middle-earth
I See Fire Music Video – Ed Sheeran’s beautiful theme song from the film is illuminated with this intimate music video

Monday, February 17, 2014

The White Queen Blu-ray Disc Review

Based upon the books The White Queen, The Red Queen and The Kingmaker's Daughter, the Starz/BBC co-production miniseries entitled The White Queen can be seen as sort of an unofficial prequel to The Tudors. The miniseries covers The War of the Roses, which lasted for some thirty years between the House of Lancaster and The House of York over the throne of England. The historical aspects and not Philippa Gregory best selling novels are the inspiration behind George RR Martin's A Song Of Ice And Fire Novels, which in turn are the basis for the hit HBO series Game Of Thrones, but while one can get a sense for where the dramatized action may have been a stepping stone, I think both series pull from history in their own way, but it is otherwise unfair to compare them.

I am not overly familiar with this part of history, but if one were to begin with William Shakespeare's Henry IV, Parts 1 & 2 as well as Henry V and then jump to The White Queen Miniseries and follow it up with the Tudors and then Elizabeth I, you have a great chunk of history that is every bit as fascinating as studying the transition of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire beginning with the slave revolt led by Spartacus and ending with the death of Nero and the end of the Julio-Claudian Dynasty. The events in England share some similarities such as civil wars, plots within plots and the rise and fall and subsequent rise again of House Lancaster with the defeat of Richard III at the armies of Henry Tudor VII, which if I am correct starts the Tudor Dynasty, which in itself like the first royal family of Rome, ends as a result of no direct male heirs to the throne.

Unlike the BBC version, the Starz version features some nudity and simulated sex, but it is not gratuitous  or distasteful. The violence is bloodless. James Frain stands out as Warwick and I bet if someone were to meet him out of character, he is probably the nicest guy, but it seems whether it is The Tudors or even something like True Blood, Frain is always cast as a heavy or villain type. Not knowing the history helps make some of the action surprising.

The story is also very much about not only strong women behind influential men, but pagan faith in magic versus Christian faith in God's will and the miniseries makes a strong case for both. A lot of people die tragically. It seems with political upheaval there is always a lot of death that follows and this story is no different. In that respect I find it to be scary. 

It is interesting to see how different the more colorful style of dress that dominates this era contrasts the more subdued and puritanical look of the reformation era of England.

Starz Home Entertainment through Anchor Bay Entertainment presents The White Queen in a beautiful 1080p/24fps full high definition (1.78:1) presentation with a well rounded English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Surround Soundtrack. A Spanish Language Stereo Soundtrack as well as English Subtitles for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired as well as Spanish Language Subtitles are encoded as options across all three discs.

The third Blu-ray Disc contains a series of high definition featurettes covering the making of the series (3:24), an overview (4:27), a look at the transition from book to series (4:25), The History Behind The White Queen (3:37), a set tour (3:59), a look at Queen Elizabeth (3:02), King Edward IV (2:38), The Heir Apparant (1:32), a study of the woman (1:47), conjuring up the White Queen (1:57) and the costume design (2:37).

An insert detailing the family tree in the miniseries as well as another insert containing a limited time only code to redeem an Ultraviolet HD Digital Copy wraps up the bonus material included within the set.

The White Queen is available now at retailers on and offline on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Starz and Anchor Bay Entertainment.

(C) Copyright 2014 By Mark Rivera
All Rights Reserved.

Two New Star Wars: Rebels Teasers Released.

I am a sucker for Star Wars, but this teaser looks good and the animation looks a bit more traditional, but still close enough to The Clone Wars to keep fans of both hopefully happy.

Please copy and paste the URLs to your browser if the links do not appear automatically. Thank you.


Saturday, February 15, 2014

New Breaking Bad: The Complete Series Packaging on Blu-ray.

I don't have a street date yet, but I was hoping a more properly packaged form of Breaking Bad: The Complete Series on Blu-ray Disc would be released since I was not a fan of the holiday gift set released late last year. When I have a press release to share I will post it here. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Escape Plan Blu-ray Disc Review

Though they have shared screen time in The Expendables parts 1 & 2, Escape Plan is really the first time Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger have co-stared in an action picture and the results are quite good so long as one knows that this is an action picture vehicle for both stars and not everything works logically and at times some of the brevity is misplaced. Still what I liked about Escape Plan was that it gave both action hero titans a chance to shine. They both really work so well together that one wishes they could have worked together a lot sooner when they were in their prime.

When I think of Stallone's heyday as an action star I think the time between Rambo: First Blood Part II and Rocky IV as being his zenith as far as popularity. Though ironically First Blood is a far better motion picture on multiple levels and the first and third Rocky pictures are my favorite followed by Rocky Balboa, which gave his signature character a proper farewell.

For Schwarzenegger, I think he hit his career high with Terminator 2: Judgment Day. With the exceptions of John Milius and Paul Verhoeven, no one has ever directed Schwarzenegger as well on screen as James Cameron. Though both action heroes have had career highs and lows since then, even in the disc extra features, both men acknowledged that while they were very competitive at one time, age and wisdom has made their pairing work better now than they might have been in the 1980s and 90s.

The premise is straight forward. Stallone is a professional jail breaker used to expose the faults in prisons so they can be corrected. He gets betrayed and abducted on his latest job and placed in a prison unlike any he has been in before and with no knowledge where he is. Schwarzenegger is the inmate who teams up with Stallone's character and together they formulate and execute an escape plan. The film also features performances by Jim Caviezel, Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, Sam Neill, Vincent D'Onofrio, Faran Tahir, Amy Ryan, and Guy Ritchie gangster picture alumni Vinnie Jones.

The film is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a spot on 1080p/24fps high definition (2.40:1) aspect ratio coupled with an intensive English DTS-HD MA 7.1 Surround Soudtrack. A Spanish Language Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Soundtrack along with English Dolby Digital 2.0 Optimized For Night Listening  and an English Descriptive Audio Soundtracks are provided as well. There is also a DTS Surround Optimizer program included on the disc along with English Subtitles for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired and English and Spanish Language Subtitles.

A DVD with a standard definition anamorphic widescreen presentation, English and Spanish Language Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and English Closed Captions for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired and English and Spanish Language Subtitles is included too.

The Blu-ray interactive menus are well rendered and easy to navigate. Within the Blu-ray BD case is an insert containing a limited time code for both a high definition i'Tunes Digital Copy and Ultraviolet HD Digital Copy of the film too.

On both the Blu-ray and DVD is a retrospective feature length audio commentary with Director Mikael Hafstrom and Co-Writer Miles Chapman and a making of featurette (23:13). Exclusive to the Blu-ray Disc is a featurette about real maximum security prisons that dissects and reveals implausibilitiee in Escape Plan (21:57), a documentary focusing on Arnold and Sylvester's quest to co-star in a film together that took thirty years to happen (15:34) and a reel of 11 deleted scenes (8:13) presented in high definition too.

A reel of trailers for other Lionsgate titles that include Divergent, The Expendables 2, The Last Stand, and Dredd (6:28) wrap up the bonus features encoded onto this Blu-ray Disc Set. Escape Plan is now available on Blu-ray Disc at retailers on and offline courtesy of Lionsgate Home Entertainment.

(C) Copyright 2014 By Mark Rivera
All Rights Reserved.

Happy Valentines Day From The Other Woman.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions and Lucent Pictures Entertainment Partner on the Sci-Fi Adventure Appleseed Alpha

Culver City, CA (February 12, 2014) – Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions (SPWA) and Lucent Pictures Entertainment today announced they will co-finance the sci-fi adventureAppleseed Alpha.  A state-of-the-art full CG animated feature film, Appleseed Alpha is the latest installment in the sci-fi action adventure franchise based on the original comic books by Shirow Masamune (creator of Ghost in the Shell) published by Seishinsha.


This new installment, slated to be released this summer, is a reboot and will depict the early days of Deunan and Briareos in search of the legendary city of Olympus.  Appleseed Alphawill be directed by Shinji Aramaki (Appleseed, Starship Troopers Invasion, Space Pirate Captain Harlock) and produced by Joseph Chou (Appleseed Ex-Machina, Halo Legends).


Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions and Lucent Pictures Entertainment are co-financing the production by Sola Digital Arts.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014


I am interrupting my usual reviews, sci-fi fanboy stuff and work as a science fiction author to post something more important.


Please click on the link above and find out what you can do now.

Monday, February 10, 2014

I miss Tower Books in New York City.

"Institutions stand in contrast to human civilization."

From The Final Arbiter

By Mark Rivera.

(C) By Mark Rivera

All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

All Is Lost Blu-ray Disc Review

All Is Lost could be seen as a thesis as to why Robert Redford is a good actor. His generation of talent are elder statesmen in both mainstream and independent films. Mr. Redford helped to create the Sundance Film Festival and besides his work as an activist, Mr. Redford is also a talented Director. In All Is Lost we never learn his character's name. He do not ever learn why we went out on a voyage into the open sea alone and aside from a short opening narration by Redford and garbled up radio communication there is no dialogue in the film at all. Everything rests upon what the audience intimates from Redford's character's actions and that is why I think this film is like a visual thesis that showcases why Robert Redford is one of the great American Actors of his and just about any generation. 

It is not that he is the only person who could pull something like this off. There are a great many, but Redford brings something to the film that is pure and instinctual that just seems like a perfect match. That is why as we learn from the filmmaker commentary and extra value features the script was written with him in mind as their first choice. 

The story is simply a lone man struggling to survive increasingly bleak circumstances after the hull of his boat is pierced by floating debris. It is a man being humbled by nature and yet it is strangely lyrical and at times almost dreamlike. It kind of reminded me of an early Peter Weir motion picture.

Lionsgate Home Entertainment's Blu-ray Disc edition of All Is Lost presents the film in a beautiful 1080p/24fps high definition widescreen (2.40:1) widescreen aspect ratio with a discrete English DTS-HD MA 5.1 Surround Soundtrack. A Spanish Language Dubbed Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Soundtrack is also included along with English Subtitles for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired and English and Spanish Language Subtitles.

Extra value features include four vignettes covering the story (3:45), the Filmmaker J.C. Chandor (3:17), Actor Robert Redford (4:25) as well as the sound effects design that if one could credit a second character in the story, it would be the sound itself (11:59). There is also a production featurette (3:45) as well as a four part examination chronicling the evolution of a scene from storyboards, pre-shooting with a stand-in Actor for blocking, time lapsed footage and VFX for green screen. An audio commentary with the Director J.C. Chandor and Producers Neal Dodson and Anna Gerb supports the rest of the extra value content as well as the feature itself. 

A reel of trailers for Mud, Margin Call, Much Ado About Nothing, Emperor and The Conspirator wraps up what is encoded onto this Blu-ray Disc. There is also a limited time only redemption insert inside for an Ultraviolet Digital Copy of All Is Lost included within the Blue BD case too.

All Is Lost will debut on Blu-ray Disc on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 courtesy of Lionsgate Home Entertainment.

(C) Copyright 2014 By Mark Rivera
All Rights Reserved. 

The Final Arbiter Makes The Fiction Database.

I discovered it this morning, but just like there is an Internet Movie Database, there is now a Fiction Database and I am happy to see my book and I are listed in it. Please copy and paste the URL into your web browser.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Warner Home Video To Release Blazing Saddles: 40th Anniversary Blu-ray™

Blazing Saddles:

40th Anniversary Blu-ray™


Comedy Classic ArrivesMay 6 with New Featurette by Mel Brooks and Collectibles


Burbank, Calif., February 3, 2014 – On May 6, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (WBHE) will commemorate the four-decade birthday of the great comedy classicBlazing Saddles, by releasing a new 40th Anniversary Blu-ray highlighted by a new featurette Blaze of Glory: Mel Brooks' Wild, Wild West in which Mel Brooks reflects on his own movie-making chutzpah, Blazing Saddles' lasting cultural impact on audiences of all generations, and alongside co-stars Gene Wilder and Madeline Kahn, proves why his film is, without a doubt, the funniest and most outrageous film ever made. Blazing Saddles 40th Anniversary Bu-ray will also include 10 quotable art cards with funny quotes and images from the film, plus vintage extra content including Brooks’ commentary, cast reunion documentary, and “Black Bart,” the 1975 television pilot inspired by the movie. The Blu-ray will be available for $24.98 SRP.


The unforgettable Brooks comedy, one of Warner Bros.’ most successful ever, is listed as #6 on American Film Institute’s (AFI) list of the best comedies of all time – “AFI’s 100 Years…100 Laughs.”[1] First released in 1974, Blazing Saddlesgrossed nearly $120 million at the domestic box office and has sold more than 4.6million DVDs. The Western film genre spoof is one of Brooks’ top commercially successful films, along with Young Frankenstein, also released that same year. Brooks’ other film highlights includeThe Producers, High AnxietySilent Movie,History of the World: Part I and To Be or Not to Be.


Mel Brooks is one of only seven people who have earned all four major entertainment prizes -- the Tony®, the Emmy®, the Grammy® and the Oscar®.


Brooks started as a writer for Sid Caesar on “Your Show of Shows” in 1951. Later he created with Buck Henry the popular spy sitcom “Get Smart.”  Brooks received his first Emmy® Award for Outstanding Writing Achievement in Comedy-Variety in 1967 for “The Sid Caesar, Imogene Coca, Carl Reiner, Howard Morris Special.” He later earned three more Emmys for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for “Mad About You.”


In the ‘60s, Brooks teamed with Carl Reiner for their best-selling “2000 Year Old Man” comedy album series, which continued in various versions for the next four decades. It received two Grammy® nominations and one Grammy win.


Brooks’ earned his Oscar® for The Producers, for Best Original Screenplay (1968). The film later became the basis for the hit Broadway musical of the same name, which won Brooks three Tony® Awards (2001 Musical Book, Original Musical Score and Musical) and two Grammy Awards (2001, Best Musical Show Album “The Producers” and Best Long Form Music Video “Recording The Producers: A Musical Romp with Mel Brooks”).


In addition to his own films, which includeThe Twelve Chairs, Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, Silent Movie, High Anxiety, History Of The World Part I, To Be or Not To Be, Spaceballs, Life Stinks, Robin Hood: Men In Tights and Dracula: Dead And Loving It,  Brooks has produced, under his own Brooksfilms Limited banner,The Elephant Man, The Fly, Frances and84 Charing Cross Roadamong others.


In 2009 Brooks was one of the five recipients of The Kennedy Center Honors and in 2013 he received AFI’s Life Achievement Award.


Blazing Saddles stars Cleavon Little as an unlikely sheriff in the town of Rock Ridge, Harvey Korman as the villain, Madeline Kahn as a Marlene Dietrich-style chanteuse, Gene Wilder as the wacko Waco Kid and Brooks himself as a dimwitted politico. Once the lunatic film gets started, logic is lost in a blizzard of gags, jokes, quips, puns and outrageous assaults upon good taste or any taste at all. The film was nominated for three Academy Awards®-- Supporting Actress for Kahn, Best Editing and Best Song.


DVD extra content includes:

  • Blaze of Glory: Mel Brooks' Wild, Wild West –All new!


Vintage Elements:

·         Commentary by Mel Brooks

  • Back in the Saddle cast/crew reunion documentary
  • Black Bart - 1975 TV pilot inspired by the movie; starring Lou Gossett Jr. and Steve Landesberg
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Theatrical Trailer


Note: All enhanced content listed above is subject to change