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DVD New Releases: November 20, 2012

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Ancient Aliens: Season Four (2012) Four-disc set with 12 episodes. Formats: DVD, $29.95; Blu-ray Disc, $39.95. (A&E).

Booster (2012) Nico Stone, Adam DuPaul, Seymour Cassel, Kristin Dougherty. When a petty criminal's brother is arrested for armed robbery, he's asked to commit a string of similar crimes in an attempt to get his brother acquitted. Formats: DVD. (Echo Bridge Home Entertainment).

Christmas With Danny Kaye From 1963 to 1967, Danny Kaye hosted the Emmy Award-winning, top-rated television variety series on CBS, "The Danny Kaye Show." This holiday DVD collection brings together two memorable Christmas episodes in their entirety, unseen since their original 1960s network TV broadcast: The first (aired Christmas day, 1963) features the legendary Nat King Cole and Mary Tyler-Moore; and the second (Dec. 21, 1966) features Peggy Lee and Wayne Newton. Formats: DVD, $14.98. (Inception Media Group).

Color Me Obsessed (2012) The first documentary about famed 80's indie-rock band The Replacements, told through the eyes of fans, friends, and contemporaries, combining over 140 interviews with rockers (Colin Meloy of The Decemberists, Craig Finn of The Hold Steady, Tommy Ramone, Grant Hart and Greg Norton of Husker Du, all three members of Goo Goo Dolls), journalists (Robert Christgau, Legs McNeil, Ira Robbins, Greg Kot, Jim DeRogatis), and fans both famous (Tom Arnold, Dave Foley, George Wendt) and not. Formats: Two-disc DVD. (MVD Entertainment Group).

Doctor Who: Limited Edition Gift Set (2011) Forty-one DVDs with the complete seasons 1-6 covering the 9th, 10th and 11th Doctors (Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, and Matt Smith), $249.95 Formats: DVD. Extras: Three new Doctor specials coming to DVD for the first time, collectible 11th Doctor Sonic Screwdriver, three original art cards, and the comic book "Doctor Who at Comic Con." (BBC/Warner).

The Dust Bowl (2012) Two-part, four-hour documentary by Ken Burns offers a dramatic depiction of how human blindness to the balance of nature destroyed the farmlands of the Great Plains throughout the 1930s as prairies were turned into deserts and massive deadly dust storms took the lives and hopes of many Americans. Yet amidst the heartbreaking tragedy, there are also tales of heroic perseverance as families found ways to survive and government agencies and farmers worked together to develop new farming and conservation methods. Filled with seldom-seen movie footage, unpublished photographs, the songs of Woody Guthrie and the observations of two remarkable women who left behind eloquent written accounts, the film explores this critical time in American history in all its complexities. The fascinating documentary also features compelling interviews with 26 survivors of those hard times and may well be the last recorded testimony of the generation that lived through the Dust Bowl. Narrated by Peter Coyote and features voiceovers by Carolyn McCormack, Patricia Clarkson, Kevin Conway, and Amy Madigan. The Blu-ray and DVD both feature over an hour of bonus material, including more eyewitness interviews, additional stories, revealing footage and a look at the legacy of the Dust Bowl. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray Disc. (PBS Distribution/Paramount Home Media Distribution.).

Eclipse Series 37: When Horror Came to Shochiku Following years of a certain radioactive rubber beast's domination of the box office, many Japanese studios tried to replicate the formula with their own brands of monster movies. One of the most fascinating dives into that fiendish deep end was the short-lived one from Shochiku, a studio better known for its elegant dramas by the likes of Kenji Mizoguchi and Yasujiro Ozu. In 1967 and 1968, the company created four certifiably batty, low-budget fantasies, tales haunted by watery ghosts, plagued by angry insects, and stalked by aliens including one in the form of a giant chicken-lizard. Shochiku's outrageous and oozy horror period shows a studio leaping into the unknown, even if only for one brief, bloody moment.

  • The X from Outer Space (1967): When a scientist crew returns from Mars with some space spores that contaminated their ship, they inadvertently bring about a nightmarish Earth invasion after the spores are analyzed in a lab, one escapes, eventually growing into an enormous, rampaging beaked beast.
  • Goke, Body Snatcher from Hell (1968): After an airplane is forced to crash-land in a remote area, its passengers find themselves face-to-face with an alien force that wants to possess their bodies and souls and perhaps take over the entire human race. Filled with creatively repulsive effects including a very invasive bloblike life-form.
  • The Living Skeleton (1968): In this atmospheric tale of revenge from beyond the watery grave, a pirate-ransacked freighter's violent past comes back to haunt a young woman living in a seaside town. Mixing elements of kaidan (ghost stories), doppelganger thrillers, and mad-scientist movies,this is a wild and eerie work, with beautiful widescreen, black-and-white cinematography.
  • Genocide (1968): The insects are taking over in this nasty piece of disaster horror. A group of military personnel transporting a hydrogen bomb are left to figure out how and why swarms of killer bugs took down their plane; the answer is more deliriously nihilistic and convoluted than you could imagine. Also known as "War of the Insects," "Genocide" enacts a cracked doomsday scenario like no other.
Formats: DVD. (The Criterion Collection).

The Expendables 2 (2012) Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Chuck Norris, Liam Hemsworth, Scott Adkins, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Yu Nan. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray Disc, VOD, Digital, UltraViolet. Extras: Commentary with director Simon West, "Gods of War: Assembling Earth's Mightiest Anti-Heroes" featurette, "Big Guns, Bigger Heroes: The 1980's and the Rise of the Action Film" featurette, "On the Assault: The Real-Life Weaponry of The Expendables" featurette, "Guns for Hire: The Real Expendables" featurette, deleted scenes, gag reel. (Lionsgate).

Game of Thrones: The Complete First Season Collector's Edition (2012) Collector's 10-disc (five Blu-rays, five DVDs plus digital copies) box set designed with the sigils of the four main houses of the series' Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, and comes with a premium dragon egg paperweight, a Blu-ray bonus disc of Season Two, Episode One, as well as all of the bonus materials and interactive features from the original DVD and BD releases; $99.97. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray Disc, Blu-ray/DVD Combo, VOD, Digital Download, UltraViolet (cloud). Extras: (Studio).

Heaven's Gate (1980) A visionary critique of American expansionism," Heaven's Gate," directed by Oscar winner Michael Cimino ("The Deer Hunter"), is among Hollywood's most ambitious and unorthodox epics. Kris Kristofferson brings his weathered sensuality to the role of a Harvard graduate who has relocated all the way to Wyoming as a federal marshal; there, he learns of a government-sanctioned plot by rich cattle barons to kill the area's European settlers for their land. The resulting skirmish is based on the real-life bloody Johnson County War of 1892. Also starring Isabelle Huppert and Christopher Walken, "Heaven's Gate" is a savage and ravishingly shot demystification of western movie lore. This is the full director's cut, letting viewers today see Cimino's potent original vision. New, restored transfer of director Michael Cimino's cut of the film, supervised by Cimino. New restoration of the 5.1 surround soundtrack, supervised by Cimino, in DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu-ray edition. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray Disc. Extras: New illustrated audio interview with Cimino and producer Joann Carelli; new interviews with actor Kris Kristofferson, soundtrack arranger and performer David Mansfield, and second assistant director Michael Stevenson; "The Johnson County War," a video interview with historian Bill O'Neal about the real-life conflict that inspired the film, and its resonance in popular culture; trailer and TV spots; a booklet featuring an essay by critic and programmer Giulia D'Agnolo Vallan. (The Criterion Collection).

Ike & Tina: On The Road: 1971-72 (2012) By combining soul music with an explosive stage show, complete with the high energy dance choreography of Tina Turner and the Ikettes, and an ingredient sorely missed in today's soul... gritty rock n' roll... Ike & Tina Turner gained a reputation as one of the great live acts of all-time. In the early 70's, legendary rock photographer Bob Gruen and his wife Nadya toured with Ike & Tina, filming them performing, on the road, and behind the scenes. Now for the first time ever this footage is available to the public. Formats: DVD, $19.98 (MVD Entertainment Group).

Inside John Lennon (Unauthorized) (2003) Intimate account of the life and career of the most controversial Beatle, originally released in 2004. Formats: DVD, $9.99. (Entertainment One).

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Complete Series (1993-96) Nineteen-disc set with all 145 original episodes from "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" Seasons One, Two and Three, plus the 10-episode series "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Alien Rangers," $119.99. Formats: DVD. Extras: Morphin Time!, a look back at Mighty Morphin Power Rangers with members of the cast, crew and creative team; "A Morphenomenal Cast" featurette; "The Fans Power Up" featurette; "Lord Zedd's Monster Heads"; "Alpha's Magical Christmas"; Rare "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" Fan Club video; "MMPR Karate Club: The White Ranger Kata"; "Power Rangers Live: The World Tour." (Shout! factory).

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Season One, Volume Two (1993) Three-disc set with the final 30 original episodes of Season One, $19.93. Formats: DVD. (Shout! Factory).

Omnibus: James Agee's Mr. Lincoln and the Civil War Called "the most successful cultural magazine series and a prototype for educational television," "Omnibus" was the Golden Age of Television's most distinguished production, a multiple Emmy and Peabody Award-winning series delivering sophistication, refinement, and sparkling intelligence to a national audience. Its eight groundbreaking seasons broadcast live and nationwide from 1952 to 1961 over 164 episodes of live, commercial-network broadcasts featured host Alastair Cooke and the most accomplished luminaries of the day, and garnered more than 13 million viewers per program and 65 awards. This historic two-DVD collection features the centerpiece of "Omnibus'" inaugural season: the ambitious five-part biographical drama of the 16th president by renowned author, screenwriter and film critic James Agree and starring Royal Dano and Joanne Woodward. Long considered one of the finest films about Lincoln ever made, this 1950s masterpiece is supplemented by three additional Civil War-themed Omnibus presentations: "Uncle Tom's Cabin" (1955), an excerpt from the Harriet Beecher Stowe classic adapted by Ellen Violett; "The Four Flags of the Confederacy" (1955), a 14-minute historical feature by Arnold Sundgaard; and "Lee at Gettysberg" (1957), a three-act play by Alvin Sapinsley. Remastered from the original kinescope prints by Entertainment One and The Archive of American Television Presents. $34.98. Formats: DVD. (Entertainment One).

The Rolling Stones Under Review 1975-1983: The Ronnie Wood Years Part 1 (2012) An in-depth documentary covering the career and music of the Rolling Stones between 1975 and 1983. By the end of 1974 all was not well with "the greatest rock n' roll band in the world." Their last two records had received little in the way of critical acclaim, the co-songwriters and main players had drifted far apart, and Mick Taylor handed in his resignation. But then Ronnie Wood, formerly of the Faces, plugged into the group, breathing new life into the band. This documentary covers the Stones' career and music between 1975 and 1983 and includes archive and exclusive interviews, contributions from music experts and writers, and rare and classic footage. Formats: DVD. (MVD Entertainment Group).

Shipping Wars: Season One (2012) Two-disc set with 10 episodes, $19.95. Formats: DVD. (A&E).

Storage Wars Texas: Season One (2011-12) Two-disc set with six episodes, $19.95. Formats: DVD. (A&E).

The Story of Film: An Odyssey (2012) Filmmaker Mark Cousins covers 120 years of the world of cinema in 15 one-hour segments, filmed on four continents in over six years, and features interviews with legendary filmmakers and actors such as Gus Van Sant, Lars Von Trier, Kyoko Kagawa, Claire Denis, Robert Towne, and many more. The documentary covers famous moments in film... the birth of Hollywood and the great movie genres, the evolution of movie stardom, the shock of the French "New Wave," the revolution of digital cinema, and much more. But it goes further and deeper in the history of cinema than any other recent celluloid survey, examining, amongst many things, Shanghai films of the 30s, the great Indian melodramas of the 50s and the triumph of African filmmakers of the 70s. It also touches and delves into social issues at various periods in the 20th Century including the role of women in cinema and the driving forces behind the industry. Formats: DVD, $69.95; VOD, Digital. Extras: Booklet. (Music Box Films).

Tarantino XX: 8-Film Blu-ray Collection Contains eight films chosen by Quentin Tarantino to illustrate the first 20 years of his career, featuring the films that helped define his early success, including "Reservoir Dogs," "True Romance," "Pulp Fiction," "Jackie Brown," "Kill Bill Vol. 1," "Kill Bill Vol. 2," "Death Proof" and "Inglourious Basterds." To complete the stunning high definition 10-disc set, the Tarantino XX: 8-Film Collection also features two discs with five hours of all-new bonus material, highlighted by a critics' retrospective on Tarantino's ground-breaking catalog of films and “20 Years of Filmmaking” that contains interviews with critics, stars and other masters of cinema. $119.99. (Lionsgate).

Transformers Prime: Season Two (2012) Four-disc set with 26 episodes, $29.93. Formats: DVD. Extras: "Optimus Prime: Up Close and Personal Panel" from San Diego Comic-Con International 2012, interviews. (Shout! Factory).
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