Sometimes you just want to have an adventure. Fortunately, MovieFanFare can help you out. You see, there’s plenty of excitement to be found in the sword and sorcery epics that highlight this week’s new releases. There’s also classic comedy, recent hits, a pop culture landmark from The Beatles and so much more. Here’s what DVDs and Blu-rays are now available.
Twenty-four laugh-filled episodes from Jack Benny’s long-running CBS comedy series–unseen since their original airing and guest starring Milton Berle, George Burns, Gary Cooper, Frank Sinatra, President Harry S. Truman, John Wayne, and others–are featured in a four-disc set.
All 21 episodes from the sixth season–including “Dance Like Nobody’s Watching,” “Alexis Goodlooking and the Case of the Missing Whisky,” “The Shower Principle,” “Murphy Brown Lied to Us,” and “What Will Happen to the Gang Next Year?”–are featured in a three-disc set.
“Identity” (2011) finds Eddy welcoming Saffy home from two years in prison on political charges. When her ex-cellmate (Lucy Montgomery) drops in for a visit, it turns out she’s also Patsy’s former drug dealer…and she’s owed thousands! “Job” (2012) has Eddy trying to salvage her agency and Saffy’s respect by booking the Albert Hall for an eccentric French film star (Lindsay Duncan). Lastly, disaster reigns when Eddy rents out the house to A-lister visitors for the “Olympics” (2012). Jennifer Saunders, Joanna Lumley, Julia Sawalha, June Whitfield, Jane Horrocks star.
All 22 episodes from the second season–including “Mercy,” “A Night on the Town,” “The Uniform,” “Some Kind of Hero,” and “Mother’s Day”–are featured in a six-disc set.
All 23 episodes from the fourth season–including “Rise,” “Demons,” “Dial M for Mayor,” “The Limey,” and “Always”–are featured in a five-disc set.
Guy Williams (Disney’s “Zorro”) stars in this classic tale from Ancient Greece in which he plays Damon, who volunteers to die in place of close friend Pythias, who has been accused of plotting the assassination of King Dionysis I. With Don Burnett, Ilaria Occhini, and Liana Orfei.
In this stirring historical drama, atheist General Enrique Gorostieta Velarde (Andy Garcia) rises up to defend the religious freedom of believers when Catholic worship is severely restricted in the wake of the Mexican Revolution. At first a reluctant warrior, Gorostieta uses his great skills to rally a ragtag army to oppose the crackdowns instigated by President Plutarco Elias Calles (Ruben Blades). With Bruce Greenwood, Eva Longoria, Nestor Carbonell, and Peter O’Toole. AKA: “Cristiada.”
Eager to finance his bid to become emperor, Roman governor Massimo Girotti tasks skilled architect slave Jeffrey Hunter with the mission of reaching Spain’s Sil Valley and extracting the precious gold within. No easy feat, particularly when there’re hordes of angry Celtic warriors who resent the intrusion. Swords and savagery abound with Mylene Demongeot, Rod Randell, Giulio Bosetti; co-directed by Andre De Toth.
The charming cartoon Yule fable “A Christmas Story” (1971) concerns a little boy’s letter to Santa that doesn’t get mailed, and how a dog and mouse work together to get that missive to the jolly old elf before it’s too late. Everybody’s favorite friendly ghost teams up with Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound, Quick Draw McGraw, and other cartoon crazies in the animated holiday treat “Casper’s First Christmas” (1979). The massive want list of greedy young Jeremy Creek winds up causing an unexpected benefit for “The Town Santa Forgot” (1993).
Johanna Spyri’s beloved tale gets the Hanna-Barbera treatment in this full-length animated musical. Swiss orphan Heidi (voiced by Margery Gray) is left in the reluctant care of her crusty grandfather (voiced by Lorne Greene). Can her cheery nature win the bitter old man over? With the voices of Sammy Davis, Jr., Pamelyn Ferdin, Michael Winslow.
That’s three times the heroes of legend for your buck in this brawny Saturday matinee opus, as the quest of Hercules (Kirk Morris) and Ulysses (Enzo Cerusico) to hunt down a heinous sea creature finds them marooned on Judea’s shores. Imprisoned by the Philistines, the crew’s freedom hinges on Herc tracking down and capturing the equally formidable Samson (Richard Lloyd). Liana Orfei, Fulvia Franco co-star; Pietro Francisci directs.
All 22 episodes from the fifth and final season–including “The Queen of Hearts Is Wild,” the two-part “The Summer of ’69,” “Justice for All,” “May the Horse Be with You,” and “In Full Command”–are featured in a six-disc set.
Whimsical comedy centering on a young boy who leaves his work-obsessed mom and dad to find a new set of parents. Along with his “guardian angel” (a bunny-suited Bruce Willis), the lad sets out on a worldwide journey to screen parental prospects. Elijah Wood, Jon Lovitz, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jason Alexander, and Dan Aykroyd co-star in Rob Reiner’s fanciful tale.
All 22 episodes from season five–including “God Laughs,” “Remember Me,” “The Breaking Point,” “Andromeda,” and “Gone, Baby, Gone”–are featured in a five-disc set.
A jungle guide (Victor Mature) accepts the task of leading a wealthy British eccentric (Ronald Culver) and his fiancee (Janet Leigh) on a Kenyan expedition for a legendary lion. What he really wants to hunt, though, is the Mau Mau rebel who slew his son…and he’s willing to put the whole party in jeopardy for his vengeful agenda. Terence Young directs.
Steve Reeves stars as the ferocious Sandokan in this riveting adventure. After his father, the Sultan of Muluder, is kidnapped, he embarks on a perilous mission to rescue him. Leading a band of warriors through a steamy jungle to locate and save his pop, Reeves faces an incredible challenge that will push him to his breaking point. With Genevieve Grad, Rik Battaglia. AKA: “Sandokan, The Tiger Of Mompracem.”
This limited-edition, nine-disc collector’s set includes all 14 “Sharpe’s” films starring Sean Bean, plus the specials “Sharpe: The Legend” and “Sharpe’s Shooting,” and comes packaged with an antique map reproduction and pewter letter opener.
The timeless fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm is brought to life in this dark and exciting fantasy saga. Beautiful princess Snow White (Kristen Stewart) is imprisoned by her sinister stepmother Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron), who must consume the young lady’s heart in order to become immortal. Escaping captivity, Snow White is joined by Eric the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) and a band of grizzled dwarves as she leads a daring attack on the evil queen. With Bob Hoskins, Ian McShane.
Continuing the saga of “Spartacus: Blood and Sand,” this exciting Starz series finds Spartacus (Liam McIntyre) and his rebel army finally free of the House of Batiatus. But the champion gladiator must soon decide if he should do what’s in the best interests of the fight against Roman rule or quench his own thirst for revenge. With Peter Mensah, Manu Bennett, Katrina Law, and Lucy Lawless.
From executive producer Steven Spielberg comes this thrilling sci-fi adventure series. In the year 2149, overpopulation and devastating pollution have spelled certain doom for all life on Earth. In order to save humanity, a select few are sent back in time to establish a new colony 85 million years in the past. But these daring pioneers must face deadly prehistoric beasts as well as a rebellious separatist movement. Jason O’Mara, Shelley Conn, Stephen Lang star.
All 24 episodes from season five–including “The Skank Reflex Analysis,” “The Russian Rocket Reaction,” “The Shiny Trinket Maneuver,” “The Weekend Vortex,” and “The Countdown Reflection”–are featured in a three-disc set.
The British film studio synonymous with fright turned its attention to the small screen with this short-lived anthology series, featuring fear-filled shock stories with an array of guest stars that included Peter Cushing, Diana Dors, Denholm Elliott, Kathryn Leigh Scott, Brian Cox, and Pierce Brosnan.
An epic historical film focuses on the experiences of the KGB officer who was the personal film projectionist for Josef Stalin, and how his domestic life was sacrificed for his devotion to the the State. Tom Hulce, Lolita Davidovich, and Bob Hoskins star in this lavishly produced drama.
In William Castle’s spin on the J.B. Priestley novel, Tom Penderel (Tom Poston), an American car salesman living in England, gets a strange invitation to spend the weekend at the spooky old Femm Estate. When the members of the eccentric Femm family start getting picked off one by one, Tom must find the killer and stop him before he winds up next on the hit list. Robert Morley, Janette Scott co-star in this comic horror tale.
Promoted for his loyalty and field heroics, centurion Steve Reeves is tasked by Caesar (Ivo Garrani) to journey to Egypt and keep an eye on the machinations of Crassus (Claudio Gora). The expedition fatefully brings him to discover that he is the son of the slave revolutionary Spartacus. Will he renounce his allegiance to Rome to fight for his legacy? Sword-and-sandal stunner also stars Gianna Maria Canale, Jacques Sernas.
The banks of the Volga threaten to run red in this elaborate Italian-lensed costume actioner, as Viking chief Victor Mature’s slaying of a Russian Tartar leader causes Tartar overlord Orson Welles to up the ante by taking the Norseman’s wife (Liana Orfei) as a plaything for the troops. Bella Cortez, Luciana Morin co-star; Richard Thorpe directs.
Director James Cameron’s epic blockbuster, at the time the most expensive movie ever, won a record-tying 11 Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. As an undersea expedition explores the remains of the RMS Titanic, a survivor of the doomed ship relates her account of the 1912 voyage, when, as a young socialite, she had a life-changing romance with a handsome steerage passenger. Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Zane, Gloria Stuart star; includes Celine Dion’s hit “My Heart Will Go On.”
All 24 episodes from the debut season–including the “Pilot,” “Parents,” “Week Off,” “Baby Fever,” and “The Proposals”–are featured in a three-disc set.
Inspired by the best-selling reference guide, this witty and insightful ensemble comedy concerns five Atlanta couples who are expecting newborns. As such interconnected characters as a May-December husband and wife (Dennis Quaid, Brooklyn Decker), an adoptive mother photographer (Jennifer Lopez), and a baby-crazy woman (Elizabeth Banks) prepare for their new arrivals, they discover how weird and wonderful impending parenthood can be. Cameron Diaz, Chace Crawford co-star.
“Roll up, roll up for the mystery tour.” Originally airing on British television, this colorful, music-filled odyssey follows The Beatles on a wild holiday bus trip. Along the way, John, Paul, George, Ringo (all of whom appear as themselves, as well as in a variety of other roles), and the rest of the eccentric passengers experience a series of bizarre occurrences. Songs include the title tune, “The Fool on the Hill,” “I Am the Walrus,” “Your Mother Should Know,” and more.
For details and availability of more of this week’s new releases, click here.
Here’s a look at last week’s DVD & Blu-ray releases.