Trading Places, Coming to America, Black Snake Moan, Star Trek, Martin & Lewis, Gunsmoke and a lot more.

     May 8, 2007

Yes, this article is running late. And, yes, I did write about a week ago that I was about to post new Paramount and Warner Bros. DVD cover art. But as I’ve toldthose who’ve been emailing me…these articles take a ton of time to get ready and posted.



The good news is that the Paramount update is below and it’s loaded with a ton of new titles. The negative is that I’m not even half way through the WB update, but I’m hoping to get it up by tomorrow at the latest.



If you’re a fan of “Trading Places” and “Coming to America” both movies have new DVDs coming. There are also new “Star Trek” box sets, more TV shows, and other classic movies. I’ve also posted some of the new HD titles that have recently been announced. But just to be clear, while the HD cover art posted below is the Blue-Ray editions, Paramount releases everything in both HD-DVD and Blue-Ray. I’ve just posted one of them to save a bit of time.





Click on any image for a high resolution version








Black Snake Moan DVD


Street Date: June 26, 2007


Actors: Samuel L. Jackson, Christina Ricci, David Banner, John Cothran, Jr., S. Epatha Merkerson, Michael Raymond-James, Kim Richards, Justin Timberlake


Director: Craig Brewer



Synopsis:


When ex-blues musician Lazarus (Samuel L. Jackson) finds the town nymphomaniac Rae (Christina Ricci) left for dead on the side of the road, he vows to nurse her back to health…and cure her of her wickedness. Until then, she’ll be chained to the immovable radiator in his home. But Lazarus has demons of his own: his wife just left him for his own brother. While Lazarus and Rae struggle to fix their broken lives, the situation threatens to explode as Rae’s boyfriend Ronnie (Justin Timberlake) — a roughneck soldier just back from Iraq — comes searching for his missing lover.









Trading Places “Looking Good, Feeling Good” Edition


Street Date: June 5, 2007


Actors: Eddie Murphy, Dan Akroyd, Don Ameche, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ralph Bellamy, Denholm Elliot



Synopsis:


The fun begins when the rich and greedy Duke Brothers (Don Ameche and Ralph Bellamy) wager a bet over whether born loser Valentine (Eddie Murphy) could become as successful as the priggish Winthorpe (Dan Akroyd) if circumstances were reversed. The Dukes have the money to make this happen, but when Valentine and Winthorpe catch on they arrange for a rich and riotous payback!








Coming to America Special Collector’s Edition DVD


Street Date: June 5, 2007


Actors: Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, James Earl Jones, John Amos, Louie Anderson, Sahri Headley, Eriq La Salle



Synopsis:


Coming to America casts comedian Eddie Murphy as pampered African prince Akeem, who rebels against an arranged marriage and heads to America to find a new bride. Murphy’s regal father (James Earl Jones) agrees to allow the prince 40 days to roam the U.S., sending the prince’s faithful retainer Semmi (Arsenio Hall) along to make sure nothing untoward happens. To avoid fortune hunters, Prince Akeem conceals his true identity and gets a “Joe job” at a fast-food restaurant. Murphy and Hall play multiple roles, and there are innumerable celebrity cameos peppered throughout the proceedings — including the Duke Brothers (Don Ameche and Ralph Bellamy) from Trading Places. Coming to America made further headlines when humorist Art Buchwald sued the film’s producers for plagiarizing one of his works. Buchwald carried the case to trial, where he won a sizeable judgement against the film’s producers.






The Best of Chappelle’s Show DVD


Street Date: June 5, 2007



Synopsis:


Catch twenty-five of Dave’s greatest sketches from the first three seasons of his hit show on this one-disc gem, which contains some of Dave’s most memorable sketches, such as the Mad Real World, Samuel Jackson Beer, Keeping it Real, and the unforgettable Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories featuring Rick James.






The Fugitive: The First Season, Volume One DVD


Street Date: August 14, 2007


Actors: David Janseen, Bill Raisch, Barry Morse



Synopsis:


Dr. Richard Kimble is accused to be the murder of his wife. The night before his execution, he escapes. The only chance to prove his innocence is to find the man who killed hi wife. Kimble, persecuted by the Lt. Gerard, risks his life several times when he shows his identity to help other people out of trouble.






Hawaii Five-O: The Second Season DVD


Street Date: July 31, 2007


Actors: Jack Lord, James MacArthur, Zulu, Kam Fong, Al Harrington, William Smith, Sharon Farrell, Moe Keale



Synopsis:


Filmed entirely on location in Hawaii, the show followed Jack Lord as he played Steve McGarrett, head of an elite state police unit investigating “organized crime, murder, assassination attempts, foreign agents, felonies of every type.” James MacArthur played his second-in-command Danny (“Danno”) Williams, with local actors Kam Fong, Zulu, Al Harrington, and Herman Wedemeyer, among others, playing members of the Five-O team. Guest stars included Helen Hayes, Ricardo Montalban, Leslie Nielsen, Herbert Lom, Hume Cronyn among others. McGarrett’s nemesis is the evil Wo Fat — “a Red Chinese agent in charge of the entire Pacific Asiatic theatre.






Gunsmoke: The First Season DVD


Street Date: July 17, 2007


Actors: James Arness, Dennis Weaver, Amanda Blake, Milburn Stone



Synopsis:


Marshall Matt Dillon is responsible for keeping the law and respectability in Dodge City in this western action-drama. Gunsmoke captured the courage, character and spirit of the Western Frontier.






Star Trek: Fan Collectives (5-Pack) DVD


Street Date: July 24, 2007







Star Trek: Captain’s Log DVD


Street Date: July 24, 2007


Actors: William Shatner, Scott Bakula, Avery Brooks, Kate Mulgrew, Patrick Stewart



Synopsis:


The fans and captains have spoken! Not only have Star Trek fans voted online for their all-time favorite captain episodes from all five Star Trek series, but each show’s legendary leader Captain Kirk, Patrick Stewart, Avery Brooks, Kate Mulgrew, and Scott Bakula has carefully chosen their favorite episode, which resulted in Star Trek: Fan Collective Captain’s Log.






The Mexican DVD


Street Date: June 8, 2007


Actors: Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, James Gandolfini, Bob Balaban, David Krumholtz, J.K. Simmons, Sherman Augustus, Richard Coca, Castulo Guerra


Director: Gore Verbinski



Synopsis:


A clumsy criminal is put in a position where he not only has to save his own skin, but that of his girlfriend in this comedy with strong undercurrents of romance. Jerry Welbach (Brad Pitt) is a low-level Mafia “mechanic” whose ineptitude is countered by frequent (but unpredictable) bursts of dumb luck. Jerry’s girlfriend Samantha (Julia Roberts) wants him to get out of the business, and after his latest blunder lands capo Arnold Margolese (Gene Hackman) in jail, so does mid-level crime kingpin Bernie Nayman (Bob Balaban). But Bernie insists that Jerry do one last errand for the mob before they let him find employment elsewhere — he has to go to Mexico and recover a rare and very valuable pistol, which is said to be cursed. While Samantha objects to Jerry taking the assignment, he isn’t in much of a position to argue; Jerry heads south of the border, while Samantha, in a huff, sets out for Las Vegas. Once in Mexico, Jerry finds the pistol easily enough, but making his way back to the States proves to be an unexpected challenge. Meanwhile, Jerry’s superiors want insurance that he’ll return with the goods, so they hire Leroy (James Gandolfini), a hitman, to kidnap Samantha and hold her hostage until Jerry comes back. However, Samantha and Leroy quickly strike up a friendship, and she soon learns the gunman has a sensitive side he doesn’t show to the world — along with a few other secrets. The Mexican marked the first screen pairing for mega-stars Julia Roberts and Brad Pitt — though, given the film’s narrative arc, they play only a handful of scenes together. The film was directed by Gore Verbinski, who won awards for his work in commercials before breaking through with the quirky family comedy Mouse Hunt.








Norbit DVD


Street Date: June 5, 2007 Actors: Eddie Murphy, Thandie Newton


Director: Brian Robbins



Synopsis:


It’s Eddie Murphy “as you love to see him!” in this gut-bustingly funny movie that displays his comedic genius in multiple roles! Murphy star as mild-mannered Norbit, who gets a second chance at love with his childhood sweetheart, Kate (Thandie Newton, The Pursuit of Happyness). But there’s one huge obstacle: jealous, mean-tempered Rasputia (Murphy), you wants Norbit all to her sizeable self. Can Norbit win the heart of Kate… before Rasputia put the hurt on him? With an all-star cast including Cuba Gooding Jr. (Jerry Maguire), Marlon Wayans (White Chicks) and Eddie Griffin (Date Movie), Norbit “will make you laugh ‘til you cheer!”




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John Grisham’s The Rainmaker Special Collector’s Edition DVD


Street Date: July 24, 2007


Actors: Matt Damon, Danny DeVito, Jon Voight, Claire Danes, Mickey Rourke, Mary Kay Place, Andrew Shue


Director: Francis Ford Coppola



Synopsis:


Francis Ford Coppola directs and scripts an exciting, star-packed adaptation of John Grisham’s novel about an idealistic young attorney who takes on the case of a lifetime. Matt Damon (Good Will Hunting) plays Rudy Baylor, a rookie lawyer in over his head on a high-profile case. Opposing him: an army of seasoned legal sharks (led by Jon Voight). On Rudy’s side: Deck Shifflet (Danny DeVito), a feisty “paralawyer” who specializes in flunking the bar exam. Rudy’s chances are slim to none- until he uncovers a trail of corruption that might lead to the one thing that could win his case: the truth.






Reno 911!: The Complete Fourth Season – Uncensored!


Street Date: June 26, 2007


Actors: Carlos Alazraqui, Ben Grant, Kerri Kenney, Thomas Lennon, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Niecy Nash, Cedric Yarbrough



Synopsis:


The brave men and women of the Washoe County Sheriff’s Department give you the 411 on the thin khaki line that keeps Reno, Nevada on the straight and narrow. Led by Lt. Jim Dangle, the officers of Reno 911! will teach you all you need to know about law enforcement and the nitty-gritty lives of a group of cops who won’t hesitate to beat you with your own shoe.









Flags of our Fathers Special Collector’s Edition 2-Disc


Street Date: May 22, 2007



Actors: Ryan Phillippe, Jesse Bradford, Adam Beach, John Benjamin Hickey, John Slattery, Barry Pepper, Jamie Bell, Paul Walker, Robert Patrick, Neal McDonough, Melanie Lynskey, Tom McCarthy, Christopher Bauer, Judith Ivey, Myra Turley Director: Clint Eastwood



Synopsis:


From Academy Award-winning director Clint Eastwood (“Million Dollar Baby,” “Unforgiven”) comes the World Was II epic “Flags of Our Fathers,” produced by Eastwood, Academy Award winner Steven Spielberg (“Saving Private Ryan,” “Schindler’s List”), and Rob Lorenz (“Mystic River”). February 1945. Even as victory in Europe was finally within reach, the war in the Pacific raged on. One of the most crucial and bloodiest battles of the war was the struggle for the island of Iwo Jima, which culminated with what would become one of the most iconic images in history: five Marines and a Navy corpsman raising the American flag on Mount Suribachi. The inspiring photo capturing that moment became a symbol of victory to a nation that had grown weary of war and made instant heroes of the six American soldiers at the base of the flag, some of whom would die soon after, never knowing that they had been immortalized. But the surviving flag raisers had no interest in being held up as symbols and did not consider themselves heroes; they wanted only to stay on the front with their brothers in arms who were fighting and dying without fanfare or glory. ‘Flags of Our Fathers’ is based on the bestselling book by James Bradley with Ron Powers, which chronicled the battle of Iwo Jima and the fates of the flag raisers and some of their brothers in Easy Company. Bradley’s father, John “Doc” Bradley, was one of the soldiers pictured raising the flag, although James never knew the full extent of his father’s experiences until after the elder Bradley’s death in 1994. The ensemble cast of “Flags of Our Fathers” includes Ryan Phillippe (“Crash”), Jesse Bradford (“Happy Endings”), Adam Beach (“Windtalkers”), Paul Walker (“Into the Blue”), Jamie Bell (“Billy Elliot”), Barry Pepper (“Saving Private Ryan”) and John Benjamin Hickey (“Flightplan”). Clint Eastwood directed “Flags of Our Fathers” from a screenplay adapted by William Broyles, Jr. (“Cast Away”) and Oscar winner Paul Haggis (“Million Dollar Baby,” “Crash”).






Beauty and the Beast: The Second Season DVD


Street Date: July 10, 2007


Actors: Jay Acovone, Edward Albert, Roy Dotrice, David Greenlee, Linda Hamilton, Ron Perlman, Armin Shimmerman



Synopsis:


The Beauty and the Beast TV show was a fantasy series about a man-beast (Vincent) and his love for a beautiful assistant district attorney (Catherine Chandler). Vincent lived in an underground world beneath New York City where his gruesome looks were less important to his peers than were his caring and benevolent personality. Together, Vincent and Catherine had many adventures both above and below ground level and their love for each other continued to grow.






Martin & Lewis – Volume 2 DVD


Street Date: June 5, 2007


Actors: Jerry Lewis, Dean Martin, Raymond Burr, Eva Gabor, Janet Leigh, Shirley MacLaine, Agnes Moorehead, Lon Chaney, Jr., Anita Ekberg



Synopsis:



LIVING IT UP: The 1954 Martin-and-Lewis romp Living It Up is an amusing remake of the 1937 comedy classic Nothing Sacred. More specifically, it is the film version of the Broadway musical Hazel Flagg, which was based on Nothing Sacred. The heroine of the original undergoes a sex change to become feckless Homer Flagg (Jerry Lewis), who is led to believe that he’s dying of radiation poisoning. Manhattan newspaperwoman Wally Cook (Janet Leigh), hoping to improve circulation of her paper, convinces her boss, Oliver Stone (Fred Clark), to fete Homer as a hero with an all-expenses-paid trip to the Big Apple. Meanwhile, Homer learns from local doctor Steve (Dean Martin) that he isn’t dying at all. But Steve talks Homer into taking advantage of the celebrity treatment bestowed on him by Wally, and a good time is had by all — until medical specialist Dr. Egelhofer (Sig Rumann) insists upon examining Homer. Highlights include a hilarious bit at Yankee Stadium, and an energetic jitterbug number featuring Jerry Lewis and Sheree North. The handful of songs retained from Hazel Flagg include “Every Street’s a Boulevard in Old New York.”



YOU’RE NEVER TOO YOUNG: You’re Never Too Young is a slapstick-with-songs remake of the 1944 Ray Milland/Ginger Rogers vehicle The Major and the Minor. Dean Martin plays the Milland part, while Ginger’s shoes are filled by…Jerry Lewis? Lewis plays an apprentice barber who inadvertently crosses a homicidal jewel thief (Raymond Burr), and equally inadvertently hightails it out of town with the crook’s jewels in his possession. Desperate to escape the crook’s clutches, and lacking the necessary funds for a train ticket, Lewis disguises himself as a 12-year-old boy so he can travel half fare. He latches onto Dean, a music teacher heading for an all-girls school. After innumerable routines sparked by Lewis’s adolescent disguise, the jewel thief catches up with him, leading to a rollicking climactic speedboat chase. Dean Martin has plenty of opportunities to serenade leading lady Diana Lynn (who’d played a supporting role in The Major and the Minor), while Jerry Lewis is in peak form doing his usual “waah-waah-waah” schtick. The original Billy Wilder/Charles Brackett script for The Major and the Minor was reshaped into You’re Never Too Young by future bestselling novelist Sidney Sheldon.



ARTISTS AND MODELS: Bearing very little relation to the 1937 Paramount musical of the same name, Artists and Models is a lavish, girl-filled vehicle for the popular team of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. Martin plays Rick Todd, a comic-book artist who is under fire from his publisher (Eddie Mayehoff), who complains that Rick’s work isn’t gory enough. Lewis plays Eugene Fullstack, Rick’s roommate, who while asleep dreams up elaborate comic-book plots and garishly costumed superheroes. Eugene‘s nightmares help Rick become a success; meanwhile, our two heroes romance their luscious neighbors, artist Dorothy Malone and rambunctious model Shirley MacLaine (who during one song wrestles Eugene to the floor and sits on his chest!) Eugene‘s overworked imagination somehow attracts the attention of a group of Russian spies, who attempt to abduct Eugene during the annual Artists and Models Ball. Director Frank Tashlin uses Artists and Models as an excuse for some of the wildest sight-gags seen in a mid-1950s film. At one point, the director contrives to stuff a gag in Shirley MacLaine’s mouth. Tashlin also exhibits his ongoing fascination with female breasts and legs by giving ample screen time to the natural attributes of co-stars Anita Ekberg and Zsa Zsa Gabor. One of the best of the Martin/Lewis efforts, Artists and Models suffers only from being about 20 minutes too long.



PARDNERS: This Dean Martin-Jerry Lewis romp is liberally based on the 1936 Bing Crosby film Rhythm on the Range. Set around 1910, the film stars Lewis as the pampered son of female tycoon Agnes Moorehead. Yearning to return to the Wild West where his father was a famed peacekeeper, Lewis purchases a prize bull, destined for the ranch inherited by rodeo star Dean Martin. It so happens that Martin and Lewis’ late fathers were “pardners”, so Martin takes it upon himself to protect Lewis from the various and sundry tough hombres in the region. Through a series of bizarre plot convolutions, Lewis gains a reputation as a rootin’ tootin’ gunslinger, and in his hubris he decides to round up a gang of outlaws headed by Jeff Morrow. As a result, he nearly gets himself blown to smitherines, but Martin shows up in the nick of time to rescue Lewis and help him capture the bad guys. Lori Nelson and Jackie Loughery supply the film’s peripheral romantic angle. Pardners ends with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis turning to the camera and promising that they’ll keep on making pictures for their faithful fans; ironically, the team was breaking up even while the cameras were turning.



HOLLYWOOD OR BUST: Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis made their last joint film appearance in the girl-filled musical Hollywood or Bust. The thinnish plot finds inveterate film fan Jerry making a cross-country journey to Tinseltown for the purpose of meeting his favorite screen star, the buxom Anita Ekberg (the film’s title, need it be added, has a double meaning). Dean goes along for the ride, hoping to expand his bankroll during a Las Vegas stopover. The boys are joined by a third traveller, an enormous Great Dane named Mr. Bascomb; along the way, the trio becomes a quartet when pretty Pat Crowley hitches a ride. The finale takes place in Hollywood, naturally, as Jerry wreaks havoc at a film studio which looks suspiciously like Paramount. All reports indicate that Hollywood and Bust was an unhappy shoot, with Jerry Lewis behaving so obstreperously that director Frank Tashlin ordered him off the set and told him to go home until he learned to behave himself; to this day, Lewis cannot bring himself to watch the film. Happily, the animosity between the two stars never comes across on screen, and as a result Hollywood or Bust is a most enjoyable diversion.






The Warriors Ultimate Director’s Cut Blu-Ray


Street Date: July 3, 2007


Actors: Michael Beck, James Remar, Dorsey Wright, Brian Tyler, David Harris



Synopsis:


A battle of gigantic proportions is looming in the neon underground of New York City. The armies of the night number 100,000; they outnumber the police 5 to 1; and tonight they’re after the Warriors – a street gang blamed unfairly for a rival gang leader’s death. This contemporary action-adventure story takes place at night, underground, in the sub-culture of gang warfare that rages from Coney Island to Manhattan to the Bronx. Members of the Warriors fight for their lives, seek to survive in the urban jungle and learn the meaning of loyalty. This intense and stylized film is a dazzling achievement for cinematographer Andrew Laszlo.





The Untouchables Special Collector’s Edition Blu-Ray


Street Date: July 3, 2007


Actors: Kevin Costner, Charles Martin Smith, Andy Garcia, Robert De Niro, Sean Connery


Director: Brian De Palma


Synopsis:


The critics and public agree. Brian De Palma’s The Untouchables is a must-see masterpiece – glorious, fierce, larger-than-life depiction of the mob warlord who ruled Prohibition-era Chicago… and the law enforcer who vowed to bring him down. This classic confrontation between good and evil and stars Kevin Costner as federal agent Eliot Ness, Robert De Niro as gangland kingpin Al Capone and Sean Connery as Malone, the cop who teaches Ness how to beat the mob: shoot fast and shoot first.






Hustle & Flow Blu-Ray


Street Date: June 26, 2007



Synopsis:


DJay is a Memphis hustler who spends most days in a parked Chevy philosophizing about life while Nola (Taryn Manning), turn tricks in the backseat. He’s not very good at pimping, but he can hustle almost anything or anyone and makes enough to keep himself and three girls satisfied and housed in his shotgun home. DJay however is in the midst of a midlife crisis; he quietly harbors dreams of becoming a respected rapper. When he learns from a local club owner, Arnel (Isaac Hayes), that rap mogul Skinny Black (Ludacris), is rolling through town, DJay decides to record his flow with the hopes of slipping his demo to Skinny. With little help from his friends and “family” DJay sets in motion the hustle of his life, and galvanizes the lives of those around him as they learn that “Everybody’s gotta have a dream.”






The Mormons DVD


Street Date: July 17, 2007



Synopsis:


Mormons have always had a strange hold on the American imagination as licentious polygamists and pioneer heroes, subversives and super patriots, hard workers and possessors of dark secrets. Yet though Mormons have been persecuted more than any other religious group in the nation’s history, and though Mormonism is one of the fastest growing faiths, most Americans know little about the religion. In this revealing, provocative AMERICAN EXPERIENCE/FRONTLINE co-production, producer Helen Whitney (Faith and Doubt at Ground Zero) digs deep into the Mormon past to understand the church today. As she reveals, though the Mormons early story is gaudy, extravagant and scandalous, it is also inspiring and the basis of their theology. At a crossroads, the Mormon Church is now finally confronting its history-what is fact and what is myth?-and reconciling scientific and historical truth with religious doctrine. With unprecedented access to church archives and with the cooperation of church leadership, Whitney paints a more complex portrait of Mormonism than ever before, a portrait that neither vilifies the church nor extols it, and in doing so she reveals that the Mormon story is an American story and that Mormonism is perhaps the most American of religions.

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