Blu-Ray Round-Up: ‘American Beauty,’ ‘Boogie Woogie,’ ‘Bored to Death,’ More

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CHICAGO – The Blu-Ray Round-Up has looked around the office after the dust has settled on the major September HD releases and realized that there are a few remaining titles worthy of a mention. Before frost warnings, Halloween decorations, and planning for Thanksgiving, pick up one of these five titles. You won’t regret it.

Note: The Round-Up is designed merely to present synopsis, cast & crew, tech specs, and special features information on titles that may otherwise fall through the cracks for your purchasing perusal. Having said that, “American Beauty” is a must-own in HD just for the gorgeous cinematography of Oscar-winner Conrad L. Hall and the film has held up much-better than the cynical haters would have you believe. It’s a great movie. And “Bored to Death” continues to be one of the more intriguing shows on cable. If we had to pick favorites it would be those two. Okay, back to the unbiased information…

“The Phantom” was released on Blu-ray on September 7th, 2010.

“Boogie Woogie” and “Bored to Death: Season One” were released on September 14th, 2010.

“American Beauty” and “The Peacemaker” were released on September 21st, 2010.

“The Phantom”

The Phantom
Photo credit: Genius Products

Synopsis: “Chris Moore is an urban daredevil who gets his kicks racing across rooftops. When a secret organization approaches him with proof that he is actually son of a legendary international crime fighter called The Phantom, he is thrust into a world he never knew existed - a world of exotic islands, secret lairs, and a heritage that borders on royalty. Re-imagined and re-loaded, this classic superhero is upgraded for the 21st Century with a new, state-of-the-art costume and a newly formed rivalry against some of the most techno-savvy villains to ever terrorize the world! It’s explosive action and nonstop adventure from start to finish as The Phantom comes to life!”

“The Phantom” stars Isabella Rossellini, Ryan Carnes, and Cameron Goodman. It was written by Daniel & Charles Knauf and directed by Paolo Barzman. It is not rated and runs 175 minutes. The film is presented in widescreen with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio and accompanied by an English DTS-HD 5.1 audio track.

Special Features:
o Interview With Director Paolo Barzman
o Interview With Star Ryan Carnes

“Boogie Woogie”

Boogie Woogie
Photo credit: MPI

Synopsis: “An all-star cast has wicked fun in skewering the pretentions and superficiality of the art world in this comic romp by director Duncan Ward. Emmy® and Golden Globe® winner Gillian Anderson (The X-Files) is a cougar on the prowl for a new boy-toy; Heather Graham (Boogie Nights, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me) is an ambitious assistant who will do anything to advance her career; Tony® winner Alan Cumming (X-Men 2) is a hapless dealer with too much decency for his own good; Danny Huston (Robin Hood, Clash Of The Titans) is a rapacious dealer; and the legendary Christopher Lee (The Lord Of The Rings trilogy) is the owner of the priceless work of art titled Boogie Woogie that they all circle with naked desire. Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but art ALWAYS has a price.”

“Boogie Woogie” stars Gillian Anderson, Alan Cumming, Heather Graham, Danny Huston, Christopher Lee, Joanna Lumley, Charlotte Rampling, Amanda Seyfried, and Stellan Skarsgard. It was written by Danny Moynihan and directed by Duncan Ward. It is rated R and runs 94 minutes. The film is presented in widescreen with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio and accompanied by an English 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio track.

Special Features:
o Trailer
o TV Spot

“Bored to Death: The Complete First Season”

Bored to Death: Season One
Photo credit: HBO Home Video

Synopsis: “Meet Jonathan Ames: writer, romantic, unlicensed private detective. Moonlighting from his job as a novelist and writer for a New York magazine, Jonathan is looking to jettison some heavy emotional baggage (his girlfriend just dumped him, okay?) through an unusual second careerof cracking cases of missing persons, espionage and infidelity in the Big Apple. ”

“Bored to Death: The Complete First Season” stars Jason Schwartzman, Ted Danson, Zach Galifianakis, and Heather Burns. It was created by Jonathan Ames. It is not rated and runs 220 minutes. The show is presented in widescreen with a 1.78:1 aspect ratio and accompanied by an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 audio track.

Special Features:
o Making of Bored to Death
o Jonathan Ames’s Brooklyn
o Deleted Scenes
o Audio Commentaries

“American Beauty”

American Beauty
Photo credit: Paramount

Synopsis: “Look close….and experience American Beauty as never before, with the pristine picture and sound quality of Blu-ray. In his directorial debut, Academy Award winner Sam Mendes creates, with Oscar winning screenwriter Alan Ball, a dark, intelligent, and truthful portrayal of suburbia. Named Best Picture of the Year by over 65 critics and honored with five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, American Beauty stars Kevin Spacey and Annette Bening as Lester and Carolyn Burnham, a seemingly ordinary couple whose unraveling marriage sparks a storm of change in their seemingly perfect neighborhood. Also featuring an acclaimed ensemble supporting cast, American Beauty has been hailed as a “flat-out masterpiece” (Rod Brecher, New York Post) ”

“American Beauty” stars Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, Thora Birch, Wes Bentley, Mena Suvari, and Chris Cooper and was written by Alan Ball and directed by Sam Mendes. It is rated R and runs 122 minutes. The film is presented in widescreen with a 2.35:1 aspect ratio and is accompanied by an English DTS-HD 5.1 audio track.

Special Features:
o Commentary by Director Sam Mendes and Screenwriter Alan Ball
o American Beauty: Look Closer…
o Storyboard Presentation with Sam Mendes and Director of Photography Conrad L. Hall
o 2 Theatrical Trailers

“The Peacemaker”

The Peacemaker
Photo credit: Paramount

Synopsis: “When a train carrying atomic warheads mysteriously crashes in the former Soviet Union, U.S. nuclear specialist Dr. Julia Kelly discovers that the accident is really part of a diabolical plot to cover up the theft of the weapons. In a race against time, crack special forces Colonel Thomas Devoe and Dr. Kelly team up, putting aside their personal differences as they track the last remaining warhead to the steps of the United Nations in this taut apocalyptic thriller from director Mimi Leder. ”

“The Peacemaker” stars George Clooney, Nicole Kidman, and Armin Mueller-Stahl and was written by Michael Schiffer and directed by Mimi Leder. It is rated R and runs 124 minutes. The film is presented in widescreen with a 2.35:1 aspect ratio and is accompanied by an English DTS-HD 5.1 audio track.

Special Features:
o Stunt Footage
o From the Cutting Room Floor…
o Theatrical Trailer content director Brian Tallerico

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