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DVD Releases For July 29, 2008

A plethora of Blu-ray releases for fans of all genres, some Tiny Toons and more, all on DVD and Blu-ray today.

BEOWULF Director's Cut On Blu-ray

From Paramount Home Ent. comes the director's cut Blu-ray and DVD of BEOWULF. In a legendary time of heroes, the mighty warrior Beowulf battles the demon Grendel and incurs the hellish wrath of the beast's ruthlessly seductive mother. Their epic clash forges the timeless legend of Beowulf.

Groundbreaking director Robert Zemeckis offers a unique vision of the Beowulf saga in a way that it has never been told before. BEOWULF stars Ray Winstone in the title role and Anthony Hopkins as the corrupt King Hrothgar, as well as John Malkovich, Robin Wright Penn, Brendan Gleeson, Crispin Glover, Alison Lohman and Angelina Jolie as Grendel's mother. Neil Gaiman (the graphic novel MIRRORMASK, SANDMAN) & Roger Avary (PULP FICTION) have adapted the legend to the screen.

The performance capture CG and vfx were by Sony Pictures Imageworks.

"Details, details, details" seemed to be the mantra, according to Visual Effects Supervisor Jerome Chen, who also worked on THE POLAR EXPRESS. And Chen really didn't appreciate the full extent of this until first viewing BEOWULF in 3-D. "I have come to realize that this should be the native format that audiences should experience," Chen suggests. "Bob's [Zemeckis] movies are always instinctively 3-D and, like James Cameron, he understands the stereoscopic aesthetic, because he likes objects to come up to the camera and he likes to break the screen plane and come out toward the viewer. And what's fascinating to me is that you get to look around at things and we have an incredible amount of detail in BEOWULF, both geometric and textural in our models and the clothes and the faces. I had forgotten how much stuff the artists had put in there.

"In terms of stats, there are probably only 800 shots in the whole film. Bob likes to have very long 'concept shots.' He likes to connect the story into one long camera move and show all the different perspectives. However, it not only makes for incredibly long shots but it also complicates things as you pan from one side of an environment to another. You have to light two directions and then you have longer rendering times. And in Bob's case, you always have some other effects element that has to be incorporated," Chen said.

Special Features:

Disc 1:

--In The Volume -- feature-length picture-in-picture track, including motion capture performance, animatics and storyboards--Web Enabled Features (tbd)--BEOWULF Profiler--Scene Sharing

Disc 2:

--A Hero's Journey: The Making of BEOWULF (HD)--A Hero's Journey: The Making of BEOWULF Interactive Version with Optional Pop Up Trivia and Additional Featurettes (HD)--The Journey Continues (HD)--The Volume (HD)--"T" Pose (HD)--What is the E.O.G.? (HD)--Lay of the Land (HD)--Givin' Props (HD)--Scanners (HD)--Stunts and Rigs (HD)--Plan of Attack (HD)--Fight Me (HD)--Baby It's Cold Outside (HD)--Beasts of Burden: Designing the Creatures of BEOWULF (HD)--The Origins of BEOWULF (HD)--Creating the Ultimate BEOWULF (HD)--The Art of BEOWULF (HD)--A Conversation with Robert Zemeckis (HD)--Deleted Scenes (HD)--Theatrical Trailer (HD)

DARK CITY Director's Cut On DVD And Blu-ray

From New Line comes the critically-acclaimed triumph from visionary director Alex Proyas (I ROBOT THE CROW) is back with a brand new directors cut featuring enhanced picture and sound never-before-seen footage and three commentary tracks that take you deeper than ever before into the world of one of sci-fi's most exciting and revered tales.

When John Murdoch (Rufus Sewell) wakes with no memory at the scene of a grisly murder he soon finds himself hunted by the police a woman claiming to be his wife and a mysterious group of pale men who seem to control everything and everyone in the city. Starring Rufus Sewell (THE ILLUSIONIST) Jennifer Connelly (A BEAUTIFUL MIND) William Hurt (A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE) and Kiefer Sutherland (24).

The 1998 film's vfx were by DFILM Services.

Special Features Include:--Expanded audio commentaries from film critic Roger Ebert, Director Alex Proyas, writers Lem Dobbs and David S. Goyer--Documentaries with introduction by Alex Proyas: "Memories Of Shell Beach" and "Architecture of Dreams"--Production Gallery--Theatrical Trailer

DOOMSDAY Unrated On DVD And Blu-ray

From the director of THE DESCENT comes an action-packed thrill ride through the beating heart of hell. To save humanity from an epidemic, an elite fighting unit must battle to find a cure in a post-apocalyptic zone controlled by a society of murderous renegades. Loaded with ferocious fights and high-octane chases, DOOMSDAY, from Universal Studios Home Ent. and Rogue Pictures (vfx from The Senate) grabs you right from the start, and doesn't let go till its explosive end.

The project grew from an initial estimate of about 110 shots to around 275, with most of the work being done by Double Negative. Supervised by Mark Michaels and produced by Clare Tinsley, the London-based shop delivered about 180 shots for DOOMSDAY, with Diccon Alexander as the lead matte painter. While Michaels says their work on the film wasn't innovative in a technical sense, the film required a lot of set extensions that had to be pulled off under tight budget restrictions.

"A lot of the shots were in daylight and it took an extensive amount of set extensions and matte paint extensions, 2D solutions, 3D solutions, to pull it off visually and convincingly," Michaels explained.

"Everything that could have been projected as a texture was done that way rather than building the full 3D model," added CG Supervisor Alex Pejic.

DVD Special Features Include:

--"Anatomy Of Catastrophe: Civilization On The Brink" -- Writer/Director Neil Marshall takes you inside the making of DOOMSDAY. Meet the enormous cast and crew, experience the challenges and endurance it takes to bring a film of this massive scale to the screen and break down how all of the major stunts, explosions and fight sequences were executed.--"The Visual Effects Of DOOMSDAY" -- Meet the visual effects wizards and see how they collaborated with Director Neil Marshall to achieve his vision in creating the compelling sets that couldn't be built but were instead created by computer.--Feature Commentary (Unrated Version Only) -- Director Neil Marshall and cast members Sean Pertwee, Darren Morfitt, Rick Warden and Les Simpson.--Original Theatrical Version

Blu-ray Special Features Include:

--Exclusive U-Control -- Go beyond the movie and customize you own HD experience.--Reaper Virus Files -- While you watch the movie, crack open top-secret DD intelligence files.--Picture In Picture -- Access interactive cast and crew interviews and behind the scenes footage, all without interruption to the movie experience.--Tech Specs -- Get in-depth technical specs on the film's Bentley and outrageous weapons as you see them in action.

SHINE A LIGHT On DVD And Blu-ray

On April 4, Academy Award-winning filmmaker Martin Scorsese and the world's greatest rock n' roll band united to bring audiences the year's most extraordinary musical film event, SHINE A LIGHT, to theaters everywhere. Martin Scorsese's concert documentary SHINE A LIGHT showed the world the Rolling Stones as they've never been before with special appearances by Christina Aguilera, Jack White and Buddy Guy.

This Paramount Home Ent. release has vfx by The Senate.

Special Features Include:

--Widescreen Version Enhanced --Dolby Digital: English 5.1 Surround, French 5.1 Surround, Spanish 5.1 Surround--Subtitles: English, French and Spanish--Four Bonus Songs: "Undercover Of The Night," "Paint It Black," "Little T And A" and "I'm Free"

STARGATE: CONTINUUM On DVD And Blu-ray

From MGM Home Ent. and award-winning Producers Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper, STARGATE: CONTINUUM debuts exclusively on DVD and Blu-Ray Disc, July 29. In this adrenaline-driven, action adventure, members of SG-1 find themselves returning to a world where their history has been dramatically altered. Continuing the legacy of STARGATE SG-1, the longest-running, scripted, made-for television series in U.S. broadcasting history, STARGATE: CONTINUUM reunites Richard Dean Anderson as Jack O'Neill, with series favorites Ben Browder, Amanda Tapping, Christopher Judge, Claudia Black, Golden Globe winner and three-time Emmy Award-winning actor, Beau Bridges and Michael Shanks as Daniel Jackson.

The most northerly-filmed movie production in history, filmed partly in the Arctic, STARGATE: CONTINUUM is the most ambitious Stargate production yet, featuring incredible visual effects, out-of-this-world battle sequences and breathtaking scenes shot on the Arctic ice.

STARGATE: CONTINUUM, also being considered for the Guinness Book of World Records for "Most Northerly Film Shoot," is packed with a host of all-new bonus content on DVD and Blu-Ray, including feature-length audio commentary with Producer/Writer Brad Wright and Director Martin Wood, as well as three featurettes. Delving into the extraordinary making of STARGATE: CONTINUUM, the featurettes explore how the US military provided assistance, such as a Navy nuclear submarine and F-15 fighter jets from the Air Force, what it was like shooting in the Arctic, and how science and science fiction collide.

The only series ever to receive the United States Air Force Seal of Approval, STARGATE SG-1 also boasts four Saturn Awards, two Gemini Awards, nine Leo Awards, eight Emmy nominations and three Visual Effects Society nominations for vfx provider Rainmaker.

Special features include:

--Audio Commentary with Executive Producer/Writer Brad Wright and Director Martin Wood--The Making of STARGATE: CONTINUUM featurette--STARGATE Goes to the Arctic featurette--The Layman's Guide to Time Travel featurette

The Blu-Ray release will be authored in BD-Java with AVC (MPEG 4 compression) on a single-layer 25 GB disc with English 5.1 DTS HD Lossless Master Audio plus French 5.1 Dolby Digital and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital subtitles. The disc features all of the above special features.

BIRDS OF PREY: The Complete Series On DVD

BIRDS OF PREY, the hit WB show and the #5 most requested unreleased show on TVShowsOnDVD.com, will finally make it to DVD. Three young female heroines will be fighting together, living together, and soaring into adventure together when Warner Home Video releases BIRDS OF PREY: The Complete Series on July 29, 2008. BIRDS OF PREY: The Complete Series includes all 13 episodes from the series plus all-new bonus features in a four-disc collection.

From the creators of the CW hit SMALLVILLE, BIRDS OF THE PREY was produced in 2002 for the WB and is loosely based on the DC Comics series with the same name. The hit show brought in 7.6 million viewers each week and was the largest audience in the 18-34 demographic for the network at that time. While the world was sleeping at night, the BIRDS OF PREY flock together to fight crime on the streets of New Gotham City. Several years after the city was abandoned by Batman, the awesome threesome of Huntress (Ashley Scott), Oracle (Dina Meyer), and Dinah (Rachel Skarsten) was formed. Huntress is the daughter of Batman and Catwoman and can smell danger from miles away. Dinah has the gift of clairvoyance and Oracle leads the team through her cyber experience, despite being wheelchair bound by the Joker. During the course of the show, the girls are often confronted with schemes masterminded by Dr. Quinzel, but always prevail and beat him at his own game.

In addition to the entire series, complete with 13 episodes, BIRDS OF PREY: The Complete Series includes never-before-seen special features such as:

--"Gotham Girls S1-3" -- An animated series of shorts starring the BIRDS OF PREY characters.

TINY TOON ADVENTURES, Season 1, Volume 1And FREAKAZOID!: The Complete First Season On DVD

Warner Home Video brings the hit, hilarious animated television series TINY TOON ADVENTURES and FREAKAZOID! to DVD July 29. TINY TOON ADVENTURES, Season 1, Volume 1, features 35 episodes and bonus material on four discs, and will retail for $44.98. FREAKAZOID!: The Complete First Season will showcase 14 episodes on a two-disc set and will retail for $26.99.

They're tiny, they're toony, they're all a little loony! Exec produced by Steven Spielberg, TINY TOON ADVENTURES is a Daytime Emmy Award animated series that spawned a whole new generation of madcap Looney Toons characters including Buster Bunny, Babs Bunny, Plucky Duck, Hamton J. Pig, among others. The characters reside in Acme Acres and are enrolled at Acme Looniversity, where they are schooled under the wise (guy) guidance of veteran toon legends such as Bugs Bunny, Yosemite Sam, Elmer Fudd and others in hopes of graduating with a "Diploma of Lunacy." The series originally premiered in 1990 and aired for three seasons.

FREAKAZOID! made its television debut and aired for two seasons. Also, exec produced by Spielberg, this Daytime Emmy Award-winning series chronicles the adventures of Freakazoid, a manic, insane superhero who battles a vast array of super villains. Freakazoid is the alter-ego of geeky teen Dexter Douglas, who upon surfing the web one night, is swept into a digital techno-electric smash up that zaps him in the gigabytes and he is transformed from geek to Freakazoid, a smart-mouthing, butt-kicking, mega-voltage superhero.

THE SUM OF ALL FEARS Special Collector's Edition On Blu-ray

From Paramount Home Ent., Ben Affleck is ready for action, commanding the role of CIA agent Jack Ryan in this thrilling adventure based on the Tom Clancy bestseller. America's Cold War fears are rekindled after the President of Russia dies and is succeeded by a man with a cryptic past. But East-West tensions erupt when the CIA suspects that renegade Russian scientists are developing more nuclear weapons. Mobilized into action by CIA Director William Cabot (Morgan Freeman), Jack Ryan (Affleck) follows a danger-ridden trail to a shocking conclusion: terrorists plan to provoke a war between the U.S. and Russia -- by detonating a nuclear bomb at a championship football game. Costarring James Cromwell and Liev Schreiber, THE SUM OF ALL FEARS adds up to the year's most explosive entertainment.

This 2002 theatrical release had vfx by Intrigue, The Howard Anderson Company and Rhythm and Hues.

Special Features Include:

--Commentary by director Phil Alden Robinson and cinematographer John Lindley--Commentary by director Phil Alden Robinson and novelist Tom Clancy--"The Making of The Sum of All Fears," "A Cautionary Tale: Casting" and "A Cautionary Tale: Production" featurettes--"Creating Reality: The Visual Effects of THE SUM OF ALL FEARS:" Carrier Attack, A-4, Hospital, Motorcade, Helicopter--Theatrical Trailer

THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER Special Collector's Edition On Blu-ray

From Paramount Home Ent., based on Tom Clancy's bestseller, directed by John McTiernan (DIE HARD) and starring Sean Connery and Alec Baldwin, THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER seethes with high-tech excitement and sweats with the tension of men who hold doomsday in their hands. A new technologically-superior Soviet nuclear sub, the RED OCTOBER, is heading for the U.S. coast under the command of Captain Marko Ramius (Connery). The American government thinks Ramius is planning to attack. A lone CIA analyst (Baldwin) has a different idea: he thinks Ramius is planning to defect, but he has only a few hours to find him and prove it -- because the entire Russion naval and air commands are trying to find him, too.

This 1990 theatrical release had vfx by Boss Film Studios, Chandler Group Visual Effects, ILM and Slagle Minimotion.

Special Features Include:

--Commentary by Director John McTiernan--"Beneath the Surface" featurette--Theatrical Trailer

CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER Special Collector's Edition On Blu-ray

From Paramount Home Ent., this is the third film based on Tom Clancy's high-tech espionage potboilers starring CIA deputy director Jack Ryan. Harrison Ford, returning to the Ryan role after his first go-round in 1992's PATRIOT GAMES, is assigned to a delicate anti-drug investigation after a close friend of the President (a Reaganesque Donald Moffat) is murdered by a Colombian drug cartel. When Ryan discovers that the President's wealthy friend was in league with the cartel, the President's devious national security adviser (Harris Yulin) and an ambitious CIA deputy director (Henry Czerny) send a secret paramilitary force into Colombia to wipe out the drug lords. The force is captured and then abandoned by the President's lackeys. It falls to Ryan to enter Colombia and rescue them, aided only by a renegade operative named Clark (Willem Dafoe), with both his life and career on the line.

This 1994 theatrical release had vfx from Video Image, Kleiser-Walczak Construction Company and Matte World Digital.

Special Features Include:

--"Behind the Danger" Featurette--Theatrical Trailer

NARUTO THE MOVIE 2: THE LEGEND OF THE STONE OF GELEL On DVD

From VIZ Media comes NARUTO THE MOVIE 2: THE LEGEND OF THE STONE OF GELEL on July 29. The 2-disc set continues the exciting saga of a mischievous young boy training to become a ninja and features 60 minutes of special bonus features. The DVD, rated T for Teens, has an estimated retail price of $29.98.

In the latest feature film, Naruto, Shikamaru and Sakura are in the middle of returning a lost ferret to its owner, supposedly the easiest mission ever. Or so they think! When a young knight, Temujin, attacks them out of nowhere, they are drawn into a fierce struggle over a treasure harboring legendary power -- the Stone of Gelel. Temujin's master wants to use the stone's power to create a utopia, while the last of the clan who once controlled the stone wants to keep it sealed away forever. Naruto and the others, along with help from Gaara and Kankuro, must protect the stone from those who want to misuse its power. When the dream of utopia becomes a nightmare, it'll take a ninja to set things right!

Special Features Include:

--"Creating the World of Naruto 2" featurette--"Write and Adapt Like a Ninja" featurette--Words From Japan--Production Art Gallery--Original Storyboards--Original Japanese Movie Trailers--Director's commentary track--Trailer for the upcoming third NARUTO movie, NARUTO THE MOVIE 3: GUARDIANS OF THE CRESCENT MOON KINGDOM

PHINEAS AND FERB: THE FAST AND THE PHINEAS On DVD

Nothing is impossible in the wacky, wonderful world of PHINEAS AND FERB: THE FAST AND THE PHINEAS coming to Disney DVD on July 29 from Walt Disney Studios Home Ent. In this hilarious animated series created by Dan Povenmire (FAMILY GUY) and Jeff "Swampy" Marsh (THE SIMPSONS), you will laugh along with two of Disney Channel's fastest rising stars, Phineas and Ferb, in some of their most outrageous and inspired animated adventures, that includes an exclusive, never-before-seen two-part bonus episode and awesome new set-top games.

Every over-the-top episode is jam-packed with the pair's trademark crazy schemes, hare-brained ideas and amazing escapades -- set to unforgettably goofy original songs. With 104 days of summer, Phineas and Ferb are determined to make the most of each and every day -- like soaping up the car and entering it into the biggest race of the year, inventing a time machine or directing a smash hit movie. Now, the only limit to their world is their own wild imaginations. With their unwilling older sister Candace and their pet platypus (a.k.a. Secret Agent P) on board, they embark on a series of astonishing exploits -- and always make it home in time for dinner.

Special Features Include:

--PHINEAS AND FERB'S HOMEMADE TREE SHADE ARCADE (Set-Top Games) -- "MOM!!! Phineas and Ferb made a Homemade Tree Shade Arcade!!!" Oh yes they did! What else for two mad cool adventurers to do with a humdrum summer day? With a little elbow grease and a lot of ingenuity, they've converted their backyard into an awesome arcade, complete with four custom-designed games, and everyone is invited to join the wacky fun. And don't forget to watch out for Perry -- he's undercover.--Original Pitch by Dan Povenmire -- Go behind the scenes in this unique opportunity to witness the creator of PHINEAS AND FERB (and voice of Dr. Doofenshmirtz) Dan Povenmire during his original pitch for the show, which (he swears it's true) is loosely based on his own childhood.

INGLORIOUS BASTARDS On DVD

Quentin Tarantino just announced that his next movie will be Castellari's 1978 World War II INGLORIOUS BASTARDS. Now, for the first time in the U.S. and Canada, the original INGLORIOUS BASTARDS will be released on DVD with Quentin Tarantino in the bonus features, including an exciting interview with the original director where Quentin reveals plans for his own version that starts production in October.

Enzo G, Castellari, the Rome-based writer/director recently hailed as "The '70s Italian Drive-In God" by L.A. WEEKLY, was feted by longtime fan Quentin Tarantino at a recent pair of Hollywood events. Footage from the events -- a raucous screening of two Castellari action hits and an in-depth summit between the two directors -- will be featured on the special three-disc DVD of Castellari's INGLORIOUS BASTARDS to be released July 29 by Severin Films.

Castellari has been one of international cinema's most celebrated writer/directors for more than four decades, specializing in all-star testosterone-fueled films that have defined the EuroCult genres of spaghetti Westerns, war sagas, crime dramas, sci-fi, fantasy and more. Castellari remains a stylistic hero to a generation of filmmakers that includes Tarantino, who has called the 70-year-old former prizefighter one of his favorite action directors.

On May 6, Tarantino hosted "Enzo Castellari Night" at Hollywood's Silent Movie Theater. The following day, Tarantino joined Castellari at The Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills for a rousing 3-hour career-spanning discussion that ranged from the challenges of the original BASTARDS production to Tarantino's plans for his own upcoming version.

Castellari's 1978 international hit remains perhaps the biggest and most badass war movie in EuroCult history. Exploitation legends Fred "The Hammer" Williamson and Bo Svenson (WALKING TALL, KILL BILL) star as the leaders of a gang of condemned criminals who escape from an Allied prison convoy with a plan to blast their way to the Swiss border, only to find themselves "volunteering" for a suicide mission deep inside Nazi occupied France. Academy Award nominee Ian Bannen (FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX, BRAVEHEART) co-stars in this explosive action epic that has now fully restored from original vault elements for the first time ever in America.

"Part of our desire to restore and release INGLORIOUS BASTARDS on DVD was the opportunity to work with Enzo," said Carl Daft, co-founder and CEO of Severin. "Besides being a remarkable director, he's perhaps the most charismatic badass in EuroCult history. After we'd recorded a terrific audio commentary with him in Rome, we knew we wanted to bring him to Los Angeles for some kind of special event. Quentin couldn't have been more enthusiastic about being involved in these DVD extras."

Special Features Include:

--"Quentin Tarantino and Enzo Castellari In Conversation" -- an all-new featurette with the two legendary directors--"Train Kept-A-Rollin'" -- Documentary with Director Enzo Castellari, Stars Fred Williamson, Bo Svenson and Massimo Vanni, Special Effects Artist Gino de Rossi, Producer Roberto Sbarigia, Screenwriter Laura Toscano and Filippo De Masi.--"Back To The War Zone" -- Locations featurette with Director Enzo Castellari and Special Effects Artist Gino de Rossi--Theatrical Trailer--Audio Commentary with Director Enzo Castellari--Bonus Soundtrack CD containing the previously unreleased scores of INGLORIOUS BASTARDS

AVATAR BOOK 3 VOLUME 4 On DVD

The kids return to the Fire Nation and prepare for their final confrontation with Firelord Ozai, but they discover that the Firelord has plans of his own: he has ordained himself Phoenix King and appointed Princess Azula as the next Firelord.

In the spectacular four-part finale of AVATAR BOOK 3: FIRE, Aang fulfills his destiny as the Avatar and confronts the Firelord in the greatest battle of the series.

Episode Titles:Chapter 16: "The Southern Raiders"Chapter 17: "The Ember Island Players"Chapter 18: "Sozin's Comet, Part 1: The Phoenix King"Chapter 19: "Sozin's Comet, Part 2: The Old Masters"Chapter 20: "Sozin's Comet, Part 3: Into The Inferno"Chapter 21: "Sozin's Comet, Part 4: Avatar Aang"

Special Features Include:

--Exclusive AVATAR Comic Book--Audio Commentary by creators, cast and crew

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