Christmas is a week from today. Have you finished you shopping yet? If not, you should jump on some of the last-minute gift ideas that make up this week’s list of new DVD and Blu-ray releases. There’s vintage favorites, TV season sets and recent theatrical offerings aplenty. Here’s a glimpse at what you’ll be hoping for you in your stocking!
A Farewell to Arms
Stationed in Italy during World War I, American ambulance driver Gary Cooper falls in love with British nurse Helen Hayes. While the pair swears oaths of eternal love, the horrors of war threaten to destroy their beautiful relationship. This first screen adaptation of Ernest Hemingway’s timeless wartime romance co-stars Adolph Menjou, Jack La Rue. This special edition is officially authorized by the estate of David O. Selznick.
The Great Sinner
In the 1860s, a young, aspiring Russian wordsmith (Gregory Peck) becomes infatuated with a sophisticate (Ava Gardner) he encounters during a train trip. He follows her to Monte Carlo, to discover that the crippling gambling habit of her father (Walter Huston) has made her the marker for the casino’s corrupt owner (Melvyn Douglas). Does the smitten scribe possess either the skill or the luck to win her back? Uncredited adaptation of Dostoyevsky’s short story “The Gambler” co-stars Ethel Barrymore, Frank Morgan, Agnes Moorehead.
The Green Years
An orphaned Irish lad (Dean Stockwell) is sent to Scotland to be raised in his grandparents’ home. As he grows to be a young man (Tom Drake), he seeks to obtain a scholarship, with the help of his indulgent great-grandfather (Charles Coburn) and in spite of his flinty grandfather (Hume Cronyn). Beautifully realized adaptation of the A.J. Cronin novel co-stars Gladys Cooper, Jessica Tandy, Norman Lloyd, Selena Royle.
Edward, My Son
Masterful adaptation of the Robert Morley-Noel Langley stage play benefits from a strong and uncharacteristically unsympathetic performance by Spencer Tracy as a ruthless businessman who, in flashback, recounts the crimes committed and lives destroyed so he could pave life’s path for his spoiled, ne’er-do-well son (who’s never seen on screen). Deborah Kerr, Ian Hunter, Mervyn Johns co-star under George Cukor’s direction.
The Office Wife/Party Husband
Dorothy Mackaill is captured in her pre-Code heyday in this pair of racy efforts. First, publisher Lewis Stone posits that contemporary businessmen have closer bonds with their secretaries than their spouses, and has to squirm as eager new girl Friday Mackaill puts his theory to the test, in “The Office Wife.” Joan Blondell, Blanche Friderici co-star. Then, Mackaill and new spouse James Rennie are cockily confident of their open marriage arrangement, at least until the attentions of others give them pause, in “Party Husband.” Mary Doran, Donald Cook co-star.
The Right of Way/The Truth About Youth
Loretta Young shines in this pair of early-career melodramas. Between a wife who’s abandoning him and a brother-in-law who’s embezzling, slick Quebec lawyer Conrad Nagel is on the verge of losing it all when he’s stricken with amnesia. Between the kindness of strangers and the love of postal clerk Young, he carves a new life–for a time–in “The Right of Way.” Next, kindly benefactor Conway Tearle hopes to arrange a happy union between housekeeper’s daughter Young and wasteful ward David Manners, but gold-digging chanteuse Myrna Loy has other ideas, in “The Truth About Youth.”
I’ve Got Your Number/Havana Widows
The two go-to tough cookies of the ’30s Warner Brothers lot, Joan Blondell and Glenda Farrell, are teamed in this pair of comic treats. “I’ve Got Your Number” finds the pair being romanced by smooth-talking phone repairmen Pat O’Brien and Allen Jenkins, who have to cross some lines when Blondell’s framed on a criminal rap. Eugene Pallette co-stars. “Havana Widows” casts the two as showgirls visiting Cuba in the hopes of landing rich husbands. Guy Kibbee, Lyle Talbot, Frank McHugh co-star.
Loose Ankles/The Naughty Flirt
Tired of her snooty aunts’ making her inheritance contingent on keeping up a respectable appearance, free-spirited Loretta Young advertises for a gigolo in order to stir up scandal. She has to settle for earnest Douglas Fairbanks, Jr….but what happens when they really fall for each other? “Loose Ankles” co-stars Louise Fazenda. Then, socialite Alice White’s flighty ways irk lawyer suitor Paul Page enough for him to walk, leaving room for fortune hunter Douglas Gilmore and vixenish sister Myrna Loy to swoop in. “The Naughty Flirt” co-stars George Irving.
Road to Paradise/Week-End Marriage
Loretta Young is spotlighted in this pair of tales from her pre-Code career phase. First, she assays a dual role in “Road to Paradise,” the story of a fallen girl recruited in a scheme by hoodlums targeting a look-alike socialite for robbery. Raymond Hatton, Jack Mulhall co-star. Then, her seemingly ideal union with Norman Foster heads for the rocks when he loses his job and she has to become the breadwinner, in “Week-End Marriage.” George Brent, Aline McMahon co-star.
The Brothers Karamazov (Remastered Edition)
Writer/director Richard Brooks turns Dostoyevsky’s literary classic into an effective and engrossing family drama. Lee J. Cobb is the domineering father whose house is divided by greed, lust, and murder. Yul Brynner, William Shatner, Richard Basehart, and Albert Salmi play the title roles; Maria Schell, Claire Bloom co-star.
Classic screwball comedy from director William Wellman and co-scripter Ben Hecht stars Fredric March as a scheming New York tabloid newsman who builds a story around small-town girl Carole Lombard when she’s misdiagnosed with radium poisoning, bringing the “dying” Lombard to the Big Apple for a publicity tour and trying to keep other reporters from learning the truth. With Walter Connolly, Charles Winninger, Margaret Hamilton. This special release is officially authorized by the David O. Selznick estate.
Based on events that led to the 2008 financial meltdown, this film set inside a fictitious Wall Street investment firm finds an entry-level analyst (Zachary Quinto) in possession of disturbing information about the corporation’s financial health, which soon makes its way to the two men (Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons) at the top of the executive chain. Sensing looming disaster, they make decisions about preserving their wealth…at any cost. With Demi Moore, Stanley Tucci, and Paul Bettany.
Army Wives: The Complete Fourth Season
All 18 episodes from season four–including “Collateral Damage,” “Be All You Can Be,” “New Orders,” “AWOL,” and “Forward March”–are featured in a four-disc set.
Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2
The lovable talking Chihuahuas are back, and this time there’s a whole litter of them! Newly wed pups Chloe (voiced by Odette Yustman) and Papi (voiced by George Lopez) move into their new digs with their offspring in tow. When their human owners face the possibility of losing their home, the family of canines enters a competitive dog pageant in hope of winning the prize money to save the day. Ernie Hudson and Christine Lakin co-star in this fun sequel.
In suggesting that Butch Cassidy (Sam Shepard) somehow survived his encounter with the Bolivian military, this provocative Western adventure picks up the saga as the aging bank robber lives in a small village under the assumed name of James Blackthorn. Sensing his mortality and wishing for a reunion with his family, the legendary outlaw sets out on a dangerous journey towards America. Eduardo Noriega, Stephen Rea also star.
Comic performer Dax Shepard, frustrated by not successfully “breaking through” the ceiling of Hollywood stardom, decides to pitch himself anew…as a martial arts star! With producer Nate Tuck and actors Bradley Cooper and Tom Arnold at his side, Shepard shops his new persona as an action hero all over town–to less than enthusiastic response. Farcical mockumentary co-stars Ashton Kutcher, Jon Favreau.
Brothers and Sisters: The Complete Fourth Season
All 24 episodes from season four–including “The Road Ahead,” “Last Tango in Pasadena,” “The Wig Party,” “Nearlyweds,” and “Leap of Faith”–are featured in a six-disc set.
Midnight in Paris
Writer/director Woody Allen’s hit comedy starsOwen Wilson as Gil, an American writer vacationing in Paris with his fiancee (Rachel McAdams). While struggling to finish his first novel, Gil finds inspiration during late night strolls through the city streets that somehow transport him to the 1920s and into encounters with Cole Porter, Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, and others. But will too much time with figur es from the past cost him his future wife? With Michael Sheen, Marion Cotillard.
Burke and Hare
Dark, fact-inspired farce pairs Simon Pegg and Andy Serkis as the infamous 19th-century Scottish grave robbers who turned to murder in order to step up supply for their medical school clientele. Tom Wilkinson, Isla Fisher, Jessica Hynes, and a slew of surprising cameos co-star; John Landis directs.
Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future: The Complete Series
In the year 2147, the Metal Wars between man and machine have left the tyrannical Lord Dread and his Bio-Dread Empire in control of a battle-scarred Earth. Rising up to fight Lord Dread were the Soldiers of the Future, a five-person team clad in high-tech Power Suits and led by Captain Jonathan Power. Mixing live-action and computer animation, this syndicated sci-fi series also featured segments where viewers used special toys to interact with the on-screen action.
This intense and offbeat Tarantino-esque actioner follows three bad girls working for a ruthless drug lord as they travel to a remote diner to intercept a cocaine deal. Along the way, they encounter a murderer who is posing as a state policeman and a smarmy lowlife–resulting in a surprising and bloody showdown. Nikki Reed, Bruce Willis, Forest Whitaker, Malin Akerman star.
This exotic thriller from co-writer/producer Luc Besson (“La Femme Nikita”) stars Zoe Saldana as the sexy and lethal Cataleya, a professional assassin aiming to secure her revenge upon those who murdered her parents when she was a child. Branding each of her victims with the lipstick-drawn image of an orchid not only alerts her enemy, but puts her in the crosshairs of authorities trying to put an end to her violent crusade. Jordi Molla, Michael Vartan co-star.
Dinky Dog: The Complete Series
Hanna-Barbera’s 1978-81 animated series, originally airing as part of “The All-New Popeye Hour,” follows the misadventures of the huge–and, thus, ironically named–Dinky Dog (voiced by Frank Welker). Adopted by young Sandy (voiced by Jackie Joseph) and Monica (voiced by Julie Bennett) when he was a pup, Dinky is always causing king-sized damage, much to the consternation of the girls’ uncle Dudley (voiced by Frank Nelson).
Inspired by a fascinating true story, this moving drama for the whole family focuses on Winter, a dolphin who loses her tail after being injured by a crab trap. Realizing she may die without the ability to swim, the young boy (Nathan Gamble) who helped rescue her, a marine biologist (Harry Connick Jr.), and a doctor (Morgan Freeman) who specializes in prosthetics work together to create an innovative, fabricated tail. With Ashley Judd, Kris Kristofferson.
Drak Pack: The Complete Series
To make amends for the horrific careers of their infamous monster ancestors, teens Drak, Frankie, and Howler join forces to become a mighty team of young superheroes with scary great powers. Now, in this ghoulishly fun 1980-82 animated series, whenever these normal-looking kids must save the day, the “Drak Whack” brings their vampiric, man-made monster, and lupine abilities. Stars the voices of William Callaway, Hans Conried, and Don Messick.
Futurama, Vol. 6
Good news, everybody! Thirteen episodes from season six–including “The Silence of the Clamps,” “Benderama,” “Fry Am the Egg Man,” “Cold Warriors,” and “Reincarnation”–are featured in a two-disc set.
Gary Unmarried: The Complete First Season
All 20 episodes from the first season–including the “Pilot,” “Gary Breaks Up His Ex-Wife and Girlfriend,” “Gary Toughens Up Tom,” “Gary Moves Back In,” and “Gary Fixes Allison’s Garbage Disposal”–are featured in a three-disc set.
Glee: The Concert Movie
Attention, gleeks: The “Glee” concert movie is here! This song-and-dance extravaganza features the cast of the television phenomenon in a documentary record of their live summer tour. Featuring unforgettable and stylish new performances of “Don’t Stop Believin’,” “Jesse’s Girl,” “I’m a Slave 4 U,” “Firework,” and more hits, the film also features candid interviews with the actors and their most ardent fans. Dianna Argon, Lea Michele, Darren Criss, Heather Morris, Chris Colfer, and Jane Lynch star.
Grey’s Anatomy: Complete Sixth Season
All 22 sixth-season episodes–including “Good Mourning,” “Invasion,” “The Time Warp,” “Push,” and “Sympathy for the Parents”–are featured in a six-disc set.
I Am Number Four
A seemingly ordinary teen, John Smith (Alex Pettyfer) is actually the fourth of nine superpowered extraterrestrials living in secret on Earth. When he learns that the evil aliens who destroyed his home planet have killed three of his kind, John realizes he’s next. Now, he’ll embark on a daring adventure to defeat his enemies, save what’s left of his people, and protect the Earth. Dianna Agron, Kevin Durand, and Timothy Olyphant co-star in this exciting sci-fi actioner based on the popular young adult novel by Pittacus Lore.
NFL: Two Minutes to Glory
Some of the most exciting moments in NFL history have come during the “two-minute” offense. It’s that time at the end of a game when a team is behind and must hurry down the field to claim victory. Usually, these last-minute heroics fall into the hands of the quarterback, and highlights of their greatest comebacks from 1975 to the present are now being offered by the NFL in one compendium. Relive amazing action from QBs such as Joe Montana, John Elway, Tom Brady, and Peyton Manning.
Amy and David Sumner (Kate Bosworth and James Marsden) are a young couple who moves to Amy’s small Mississippi hometown to rebuild her late father’s house. When her ex-boyfriend Charlie (Alexander Skarsgard) and his friends begin sexually harassing her and taunting David, it leads to a deadly confrontation inside the Sumners’ farmhouse as it comes under siege by their relentless tormentors. James Woods also stars in this exciting remake of the Sam Peckinpah classic.
Glossy adaptation of the Herman Wouk novel stars James Franciscus as the Kentucky trucker who hits Manhattan with nothing but towering literary aspirations, and proceeds to seduce his way across high society in pursuit of his ambition. Stellar support in this Delmer Daves sudser from Suzanne Pleshette, Genevieve Page, Mary Astor, Eva Gabor.
A world-weary Marine (Tom Hardy) returns home to Pittsburgh, and reaches out to his estranged fight trainer father (Nick Nolte) to help him prepare for a mixed martial arts tournament with a record purse. His rise through the rankings, however, hits an unexpected snag in the form of his similarly embittered ex-MMA battler brother (Joel Edgerton), who has his own designs on the big prize. Jennifer Morrison, Kevin Dunn, Frank Grillo co-star.
The Donna Reed Show: Season 4: The Lost Episodes
All 39 episodes from the fourth season–including “One Starry Night,” “Alex the Professor,” “Once Upon a Timepiece,” “The Swingin’ Set,” and “Dear Wife”–are featured in a five-disc set.
The Boys: The Sherman Brothers’ Story
Brothers Robert B. and Richard M. Sherman constitute one of the most successful songwriting teams–and the only to be put under contract by Walt Disney Studios. The masterminds behind hits like “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” and “It’s a Small World (After All),” the Shermans have written over 1,000 songs, featured in 50 motion pictures. Directed by the songwriters’ sons, this intimate documentary not only explores their great musical partnership, but also their shockingly dysfunctional personal relationship.
For details and availability of more of this week’s new releases, click here.