New On DVD This Week: Casablanca, BBC High Definition Natural History Collection

'Casablanca' (Warner Brothers Home Entertainment)


This new limited and numbered gift set edition, perfect for Mother’s Day gift giving, introduces two never-before-seen documentaries – “Casablanca: An Unlikely Classic,” and “Michael Curtiz: The Greatest Director You Never Heard Of.” The new documentaries will complete the most extensive collection of content in one gift set — more than 14 hours of bonus material that also includes a compilation of three comprehensive feature length documentaries: The Brothers Warner, You Must Remember This: The Warner Bros. Story and Jack L. Warner: The Last Mogul. The ‘Casablanca‘ 70th Anniversary 3-Disc Blu-ray + DVD Combo Edition looks like another beginning of a beautiful friendship as well — elegantly packaged in a double-wide giftbox, with brand-new collectibles created for this release including a 60-page production art book with never-before-seen photos, personal memos and archival documents about the production. A reproduction of the original 1942 film poster and a set of four collectible drink coasters from “Rick’s Café Americain” in a special keepsake box. Buy the 70th Anniversary Limited Collector’s Edition Blu-ray/DVD combo right here.

BBC High Definition Natural History Collection with Planet Earth

The BBC has gathered four of its most outstanding, award-winning high definition natural history series into one spectacular 10-disc Blu-ray collection. Experience the best the Earth has to offer in stunningly clear high definition. Witness rare action, impossible locations and intimate moments with our planet’s best-loved creatures with the critically acclaimed, Emmy-winning ‘Planet Earth Special Edition,’ now packed with over seven hours of extras. Travel the length and breadth of China and discover the fabulous diversity of its natural wonders in ‘Wild China.’ Visit the home of the most astonishing creatures found anywhere on Earth with ‘Galapagos,’ narrated by Oscar winner Tilda Swinton, and discover a kaleidoscope of color and energy as you explore the river that shaped the wildlife, culture and beliefs of India in ‘Ganges.’ It’s your world as you’ve never see it before in dazzling Blu-ray high definition. You get over 19 hours of programming and over 8 hours of bonus materials, all on 10 Blu-ray discs. Buy the Special Edition Blu-ray right here.

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Adapted from the acclaimed bestseller by Jonathan Safran Foer, ‘Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close‘ is a story that unfolds from inside the young mind of Oskar Schell, an inventive eleven year-old New Yorker whose discovery of a key in his deceased father’s belongings sets him off on an urgent search across the city for the lock it will open. A year after his father died in the World Trade Center on what Oskar calls “The Worst Day,” he is determined to keep his vital connection to the man who playfully cajoled him into confronting his wildest fears. Now, as Oskar crosses the five New York boroughs in quest of the missing lock – encountering an eclectic assortment of people who are each survivors in their own way – he begins to uncover unseen links to the father he misses, to the mother who seems so far away from him and to the whole noisy, dangerous, discombobulating world around him. Buy the Blu-ray/DVD combo pack right here.

BBC Natural History Collection with Planet Earth Special Edition

This is the ultimate Natural History collection, featuring the truly remarkable ‘Planet Earth Special Edition,’ now with over seven hours of extras, plus three additional landmark series: ‘The Blue Planet,’ ‘The life of Mammals,’ and ‘The Life of Birds,’ all narrated by world renowned naturalist Sir David Attenborough. The collection introduces thousands of species of plants and animals and includes hours of special features that take you behind the scenes. Each critically acclaimed series reveals elements of the Earth and its unique creatures through stunning imagery and insightful commentary. Journey with the BBC and explore our vast and diverse world. Soak up over 33 hours of programming and over 12 hours of bonus material, all on 18 discs. Buy the collection right here.

The Bodyguard

Lawrence Kasdan originally wrote his script for ‘The Bodyguard‘ in the late 1960s as a vehicle for Steve McQueen; by the time it reached the screen, Kasdan’s star was another movie hearthrob, Kevin Costner. When imperious musical superstar Whitney Houston begins receiving death threats, she is compelled to hire a bodyguard. Enter Costner, who immediately incurs the wrath of Houston and her entourage by imposing prison-like security measures. An ex-Secret Service agent, Costner still hasn’t purged himself of his guilt feelings over his inability to protect President Reagan from would-be assassin John Hinckley (in the original concept, the agent had been guarding JFK in Dallas, but Costner was too young to make this credible; besides, he and Oliver Stone had been there before). Gradually, and inevitably, Costner and Houston fall in love. Ralph Waite is cast as Costner’s father, while Robert Wuhl and Debbie Reynolds please the crowd in their cameo roles. The Bodyguard was a huge box-office success, helped along in no small part by Whitney Houston’s bestselling rendition of the old Dolly Parton hit “I Will Always Love You.” Buy the Blu-ray right here.

I, Claudius

The star-studded BBC epic, ‘I, Claudius,’ is now available on DVD and packed with bonus features. Winner of an Emmy and numerous other awards, this riveting tale of ambition, debauchery, and intrigue remains one of the most popular and acclaimed dramas in Masterpiece Theatre history. The celebrated BBC series spans the history of the Roman Empire from Augustus through Claudius, a stuttering scholar who learns early to play the fool and stay alive. The DVD 5-disc set includes the complete 12 episodes, along with a bonus disc, featuring two feature-length documentaries, extended original versions of the first episodes, a new Derek Jacobi interview; SDH subtitles, and much more. Based on the novels by Robert Graves, it stars Derek Jacobi (The King’s Speech, Cadfael) as Claudius in a career-defining role. Patrick Stewart (X-Men), George Baker (The Ruth Rendell Mysteries), Margaret Tyzack (Cousin Bette), and James Faulkner (The Bank Job) also star. Buy the DVD right here.

In the Land of Blood and Honey

From Academy Award winner Angelina Jolie (Best Supporting Actress, Girl, Interrupted, 1999) comes the acclaimed war drama ‘In the Land of Blood and Honey,’ now available on Blu-ray + DVD Combo Pack. Jolie makes her stunning directorial and screenwriting debut with this gripping tale of love and survival set against the backdrop of the Bosnian War. Nominated for a 2012 Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film, ‘In the Land of Blood and Honey has been hailed by critics as one of the top movies of the year.. Now, movie fans can experience this riveting film with a Blu-ray + DVD Combo Pack which includes two versions of the film –the authentic language film with English subtitles on the Blu-ray and the English language version featured on the DVD disc. The Blu-ray combo pack includes a “Making of” featurette that goes behind the scenes of filming in two languages with a local cast, who share their painful stories of their personal conflict during the war.  Exclusively available on the Blu-ray version is a Q&A with Jolie and Actress Vanesa Glodjo. Buy the Blu-ray/DVD combo pack right here.

Mystery Science Theater 3000

Much like the country that spawned it, ‘Mystery Science Theater 3000‘ is a melting pot. In every imaginable genre, Joel, Mike and their robot pals Tom Servo and Crow T. Robot have seen the promise of cinema mutilated by mediocrity. Nowhere is this highfalutin concept more hilariously exemplified than in this 23rd collection of episodes from the beloved cult comedy television series. You want a Western? It’s here. Space adventure? Look no further. We’ll even throw in a failed TV pilot and a barely coherent science fiction-horror-thriller. All genres are treated with equal disrespect by the luckless crew of the Satellite of Love. They pledge allegiance only to funny, with justice — SoL style — for all. Titles Include: King Dinosaur, The Castle Of Fu Manchu, Code Name: Diamond Head and Last Of The Wild Horses. Buy the Vol. XXIII DVD right here.

The Lion of Judah

A band of cute critters has captured the hearts of audiences around the globe, and now you can bring home the heartwarming family fun and laughter with ‘The Lion of Judah,’ now available as a Blu-ray 3D Pack. Starring the vocal talents of Ernest Borgnine (The Dirty Dozen, The Wild Bunch), Georgina Cordova (Nickelodeon’s Winx Club, The Tale of Despereaux) Scott Eastwood (Invictus, Gran Torino) and Michael Madsen (Free Willy, Donnie Brasco), The Lion of Judah showcases the best work of Tom Roth, a 40- year animation veteran (Shrek, Hercules, Looney Tunes, Mrs. Doubtfire), and Eric Lessard (Shrek 3, Madagascar). Winner of the Best Animated Film award at the Sabaoth International Film Festival in Milan (March 2011), The Lion of Judah tells the story that changed the world. When Judah the Lamb is taken by the townspeople to become a sacrifice, his six new friends from a Bethlehem stable must go to his rescue! An incredible adventure follows, full of danger, drama, friendship and heroics. Buy the Blu-ray right here.

The Broken Tower

From Focus World, Entertainment One and multiple award-winning writer/director/star James Franco comes ‘The Broken Tower.’ Making his directorial debut, Franco has crafted a film adapted from Paul L. Mariani’s definitive biography on Crane. Hart Crane (Oscar, Emmy and Golden Globe nominee Franco, 127 Hours, Milk, Spider Man, Pineapple Express) was one of the most important voices in American poetry – but lived a life filled with as much turmoil as passion.  From his early life to his journeys from New York, Cuba, and Paris, Crane’s story and that of the loves that defined him is told with imaginative empathy and with a no holds barred performance by Franco – in a stark black & white film as introspective, rebellious, heartbreaking, and honest as Crane himself.  Also starring Oscar nominee Michael Shannon (“Boardwalk Empire”, Revolutionary Road), the DVD features audio commentary with Franco. Buy the DVD right here.

A Dangerous Method

Based on the true story of renowned psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, his determined colleague Carl Jung, and a disturbed patient who challenged the minds and work ethics of both men, ‘A Dangerous Method‘ is now available on Blu-ray, DVD and digital. This riveting, dark drama from director David Cronenberg brings together a prominent ensemble cast including Academy Award nominee Keira Knightley (Lead Actress, Pride & Prejudice), Academy Award nominee Viggo Mortensen (Lead Actor, Eastern Promises), Golden Globe nominee Michael Fassbender (Best Actor, Shame) and Vincent Cassel (Black Swan). ‘A Dangerous Method’ premiered at the 2011 Venice Film Festival and was an Official Selection at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival and 2011 New York Film Festival.  The film’s star Viggo Mortensen also received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture. Buy the Blu-ray right here.

Murder Investigation Team

A realistic, procedural crime drama in the vein of CSI, ‘Murder Investigation Team,’ Series 2 is now available on DVD. Broadcast on A&E in the U.S. and on ITV in the U.K. (2005), this critically acclaimed police thriller follows an intense team of investigators led by DC Rosie MacManus and DS Trevor Hands as they rely on both new technology and old-fashioned instinct to find those responsible for gruesome crimes. Meticulously crafted to reflect real-life investigations, each episode brims with twists and tension. The series stars Lindsey Coulson (EastEnders) and Michael McKell (Emmerdale Farm), with guest stars Kenneth Cranham (Rome), Anthony Stewart Head (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), and Claire Higgins (Hellraiser). The DVD 2-Disc Set includes the final four episodes from Series 2, along with a 12-min. interview with actor Michael McKell and producer Jonathan Young. From the creators of the popular, long-running series, The Bill, this critically acclaimed police thriller follows an intense team of investigators with the Special Crimes Unit of London’s Metropolitan Police. Love triangles, family estrangements, greed, and lies lead to a series of wrong turns and dead ends, building the pressure to solve cases while the evidence is still fresh—and, sometimes, before the killer can strike again. Along the way, the investigators struggle to walk the line between professional loyalties and personal interests. Buy the Series 2 DVD right here.

The Kate Logan Affair

An intense, fast-paced noir in the vein of such thrillers as Derailed, Sea of Love and Femme Fatale, ‘The Kate Logan Affair’ tells the dark tale of a case of mistaken identity when Logan (Alexis Bledel, ‘The Gilmore Girls’), a young policewoman, stops Benoit Gando (Laurent Lucas), a French insurance executive she mistakes for a felon wanted on rape charges.  Fearing that he will tell her superiors about her error, she sets off to dissuade him with seduction.  He succumbs to her advances, but little does Benoit know that he’s started down a dangerous path that will not only lead him into real trouble with the law, but will irrevocably change his life forever. Buy the DVD right here.


Featuring three new feature-length mysteries from the critically acclaimed crime series, ‘Single-Handed,’ Set 2 is now available on DVD. Filmed against the spectacular and foreboding backdrop of Connemara, Ireland, Set 2 stars Owen McDonnell (Wild Decembers) as Jack Driscoll, the lone Garda sergeant whose personal life is inextricably bound with his professional duties in his insular community. Nominated for best drama series at the Irish Film & Television Awards and a silver medal at the New York Festivals Television & Film Awards, Single-Handed debuted on ITV in the U.K. in 2009 and has aired for four series. Set 2’s episodes are available to U.S. audiences for the first time. The DVD 3-Disc Set features the complete series four, which aired in the U.K. in July 2011. His position as local Garda sergeant puts Jack Driscoll at the heart of his community—and often at odds with it. Relationships are everything in his small Irish town, but when two new arrivals come from England (Matthew McNulty, Lark Rise to Candleford and Simone Lahbib, Wire in the Blood), eager to discover family history in the area, Jack learns that the solutions to current crimes frequently lie in the distant past. Oscar® nominee Stephen Rea (The Crying Game, V for Vendetta) also guest stars. In Set 2, Jack investigates the seemingly pointless killing of an elderly recluse, a murder dressed up as arson, and a local schoolgirl’s involvement with a Dublin pimp. Buy the Set 2 DVD right here.

Black Butterfly

Ariel is a talented, strong-willed high school student with dreams of making the U.S. swim team when, in a flash, her world is turned upside down by a brutal event that causes her to turn inward and lose focus.  Shocked and angered when the story starts to surface, her family and their entire community join forces to get justice in Mark Harris’ powerful drama, ‘Black Butterfuly,’ which premiered on BET Networks prior to its DVD debut. An audience favorite at urban film festivals nationwide. ‘Black Butterfly’ stars Mahogany Monae (Get a Job), Richard Gallion (The Ideal Husband), Sheree Bynum (Holla If You Hear Me, Overcome) and Tiffany J. Curtis (Love Relations, The Evil One, A Get2Gether). Buy the DVD right here.


The stakes could not be higher in ‘Die’ for six people trapped in a deadly game of odds from the producer of Resident Evil: Apocalyspe, Gothika and Silent Hill. In this unrated director’s cut, a group of men and women – a gambler who lives for the cards, a millionaire philanthropist just named “Humanitarian of the Year”, a cop at the end of a gruesome career, a brilliant psychiatrist and family man, a troubled teenager battling drug addictions and a caring nurse whose patients are the only life surrounding her – all on the road to self-destruction wake up in a surreal facility from which they cannot escape.  As they try to deduce  their surroundings, they soon discover they are not alone when a mysterious man forces the six abductees to participate in the “Trials”, a sadistic experiment in which the unwilling participants will come to face disturbing truths about themselves and decide each other’s fate in a nerve racking – and deadly game of dice.  Elias Koteas (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Shutter Island), Stephen McHattie (Watchmen, A History of Violence), Emily Hampshire (Casino Royale, St. Trinian’s) and Caterina Murino (Snow Cake, The Trotsky) star in this dark psychological thriller in the vein of Saw. Buy the DVD right here.

Call Me Fitz

Set almost entirely in a used car dealership, ‘Call Me Fitz’ is a twisted family dramedy about a handsome, substance-abusing, morally bankrupt used car salesman, Richard “Fitz” Fitzpatrick (Jason Priestly, ‘Beverly Hills 90210’), who torments his naïve co-workers, sleeps with any woman who has a pulse, and thinks nothing of it.  Then one day, after crashing a GT on a test drive and putting a woman in a coma, he wakes to find he’s grown a conscience, literally, in the guise of a hanger-on named Larry.  Forced to become business partners (and share a desk) with his inner conscience, Larry – an off-beat do-gooder intent on healing Fitz’s mangled psyche, one hilarious disaster at a time. Buy the Season 2 DVD right here.

Breaking Wind

Fans of spoof films are in for a treat with the release of ‘Breaking Wind.’ From writer-director Craig Moss comes a hilarious new film that parodies the “Twilight” saga. The comedy stars Heather Ann Davis, Eric Callero, Frank Pacheco, Nic Novicki and Danny Trejo. The DVD debut includes audio commentary with the writer/director and cast members plus two featurettes. The love triangle of mortals, vampires and werewolves must be cast aside when the beloved Bella is in danger. Again. This time a gang of bloodsucking newborns threatens her life, and the two loves of her life are forced to put their differences aside to save her – again. Buy the DVD right here.


The hilarity continues with the outrageous antics of the craziest conjoined twins you’ll ever encounter, made up of the highly cultured Cat and the not-so-cultured Dog! Together, ‘CatDog‘ are the very definition of friendship, fun and even trouble when it comes to their frequent run-ins with their neighbor Winslow and neighborhood street gangs like the notorious Greaser Dogs! This 2-DVD set contains the final 10 episodes of Season 1, for 20 adventures in all. ‘CatDog’ features an all-star cast including Tom Kenny (SpongeBob SquarePants, Rocko’s Modern Life), Jim Cummings (The Super Hero Squad Show, Powerpuff Girls) and Carlos Alazraqui (The Fairly OddParents, Rocko’s Modern Life). Buy the Season 1, Part 2 DVD right here.

Sebastian Maniscalco: What’s Wrong with People?

Ever wonder, what’s wrong with people? Sebastian Maniscalco does and his answers are hilarious in this stand-up comedy special, which premiered on Showtime in January.  Often compared to a young Jerry Seinfeld, Maniscalo’s self-effacing brand of comedy challenges audiences to recognize the absurdities of everyday life. In his new DVD, ‘Sebastian Maniscalco: What’s Wrong with People?’ Maniscalco, who was  one of the four featured comedians in Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show, finds humor in the mundane with side-splitting riffs on everything from jury duty to eating at Subway that are as relatable as they are hysterical. The DVD also features additional featurettes. Buy the DVD right here.

**News and Notes**

The Impossible Missions Force may not be able to stop tax day from coming, but they can help soften the blow to your wallet.  In celebration of the April 17th Blu-ray and DVD debut of the smash hit film ‘Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol,’ Paramount Home Media Distribution (PHMD) is launching a sweepstakes in which one lucky winner will receive $10,000 to use for any mission, including paying taxes or just buying something really, really cool.  From March 27th through April 24th consumers can visit to enter for a chance to win the cash prize along with a copy of the two-disc Blu-ray/DVD combo pack of Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol. Visitors can enter one time each day throughout the sweepstakes period and receive additional bonus entries by tweeting (see official sweepstakes rules at for details).

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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