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Brad Bird’s fabulous re-launching of the Mission: Impossible series, Ghost Protocol, comes out on Blu-ray/DVD tomorrow. Hopefully some of you got the chance to see that in an IMAX theater – it was quite spectacular. Feel free to order Ghost Protocol below through the LFM Store.

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In related spy news, this fall brings the release of Bond 50, the new Blu-ray set commemorating the 50th anniversary of the James Bond film series – which launched in 1962 with the release of Dr. No. This new Bond 50 set (see the trailer above) features all 22 James Bond films on Blu-ray disc in one set for the first time, including nine 007 films never before available on Blu-ray: The Spy Who Loved Me, You Only Live Twice, Diamonds are Forever, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, A View to a Kill, Octopussy, The Living Daylights, Goldeneye and Tomorrow Never Dies. Needless to say, the Sean Connery and Roger Moore films will be the best.

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The set also includes more than 130 hours of bonus features – so it should be quite comprehensive. You can pre-order the set above.

Posted on April 16th, 2012 at 3:07pm.

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Apr 162012

Some good new promotional teasers are appearing for the forthcoming season of Steven Spielberg’s Falling Skies on TNT. Check out this new one above. Hopefully the new show will actually be as good as the promos. Falling Skies has its two-hour, season 2 premiere on Sunday, June 17th.

And the alien invasions just keep coming. Check out the new sci-fi short film Chameleon that’s making the rounds, and also a teaser for the indie film Ombis. (Hat tip to io9 for those shorts.) And if that’s not enough for you, check out this set video of Toronto being transformed into Tokyo for Guillermo del Toro’s forthcoming Pacific Rim; plus, you can catch this new video on the creature design for Peter Berg’s Battleship, or watch Ridley Scott, Charlize Theron, Michael Fassbender and Noomi Rapace conduct an interesting, 36-minute discussion of Prometheus at a Paris press conference on April 11th.

Posted on April 16th, 2012 at 3:02pm.

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[Editor's Note: We want to wish everyone a Happy Easter & Passover. Below is a re-posting of LFM's Blu-ray review of Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments (1956), from March 27th, 2011. Also: Turner Classic Movies is showing Easter- and Passover-themed films all day today. Check the TCM website for details.]

By Jason Apuzzo. The new Ten Commandments Blu-ray comes out this Tuesday, March 29th (see the trailer for the Blu-ray at the bottom of this post). Paramount will be releasing a 2-disc Blu-ray set of the classic film, and also a Limited Edition 6-disc DVD/Blu-ray Combo set, that features both Cecil B. DeMille’s 1956 and 1923 versions of the film – and a host of goodies, including a handsome archival booklet that may be worth the price of the set on its own.

The Ten Commandments is a special favorite of mine. Not only is the film one of Hollywood’s greatest epics of the 1950s, the film is also a timeless and enduring ode to human freedom – and one which seems to grow only more timely and urgent as the years go by. The Ten Commandments is a film that will always remain powerful and ‘relevant’ so long as there are souls yearning for freedom – even, as we’ve seen recently, in contemporary Egypt and North Africa where so much of The Ten Commandments was filmed.

We had the pleasure of showing what was then the best existing print of The Ten Commandments at our first Liberty Film Festival in 2004, when we invited cast member Lisa Mitchell to talk about her recollections of Mr. DeMille – and how influential he was in her life. Several years later Govindini and I spent time with Cecilia DeMille Presley, granddaughter of Cecil DeMille and a caretaker of his legacy – who shared some wonderful memories of her grandfather with us. Most special, however, was the opportunity Govindini and I had years ago to meet Charlton Heston himself at The Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, when he introduced a special screening of The Ten Commandments. (We actually sat right behind him during the screening – and watched his reactions to the film, which he still seemed to take great delight in so many years later.) It was an extraordinary thrill to meet him; even late in life, he was still handsome and rugged, with a biting wit – but also a warm and generous spirit. He was the consummate gentleman.

Charlton Heston in "The Ten Commandments."

The Ten Commandments is without a doubt one of the best films Hollywood has ever produced, and a carrier of important ideas about freedom, so I thought we’d take a little look back at it today. It also happens to be a magnificent showpiece for the Blu-ray medium – with the film’s rich, saturated colors, beautiful costumes and production design, endless desert vistas, and iconic visual effects sequences. To put it mildly, The Ten Commandments is not only an emotional spectacle of the heart … it’s also an eyeful.

Interestingly,The Ten Commandments happens to be the fifth highest-grossing film of all time, adjusted for inflation. When the film was released in 1956, theater tickets cost about 50 cents – and the film still grossed over $65 million. What this means is that at today’s ticket prices, The Ten Commandments would have grossed over $1 billion at the domestic box office. In the history of American moviemaking, only Gone With the Wind, Star Wars, The Sound of Music and E.T. have fared better at the box office than did DeMille’s extraordinary film.

I don’t mention The Ten Commandments‘ box office success because that denotes anything in particular about the film’s merits – success at the box office can always be misleading – but to suggest the kind of powerful bond this film has with the public. The Ten Commandments is, as it turns out, a beautifully written, directed, acted, photographed and scored film – a majestic and emotional voyage into one of the primary myths of Western religious life. It’s also the crowning achievement of one of America’s greatest moviemakers. At the same time, The Ten Commandments is something else: it’s a part of American popular mythology, as important to America’s filmic conversation about freedom and individual dignity as Casablanca, Gone With the Wind or On the Waterfront. Continue reading »

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David Soul (left) with Fred Ward as Ronald Reagan in "Farewell."

By Jason Apuzzo. We wanted Libertas readers to know that a movie we were very excited about last year, the new Cold War thriller Farewell, just recently came to Blu-ray/DVD – and is available now here through the LFM Store. Special thanks to reader Vince for tipping me off about Farewell’s release.

Farewell tells the true story of a disenchanted K.G.B. colonel  — code-named ‘Farewell’ by Western spy agencies – who decided that he could no longer serve the Soviet state, and consequently chose to funnel classified information to French intelligence agents. This intelligence apparently included information on what the Soviets knew about our air defenses, how much the Soviets were spending on defense, what defense technologies they were stealing from the United States, and also a list of highly placed K.G.B. agents who’d infiltrated government and industry in the West.

The leaking of this information, when later combined with President Reagan’s public commitment to create the ‘Star Wars’ missile defense system, were crucial elements in the winning of the Cold War. In fact, President Ronald Reagan himself called L’Affaire Farewell “one of the most important espionage cases of the 20th century.”

Farewell stars Willem Defoe, David Soul and Fred Ward as Ronald Reagan, and you can read Joe Bendel’s glowing Libertas review of the film here. The film is available on Blu-ray/DVD, and through Amazon streaming. Give it a look!

Posted on April 22nd, 2011 at 12:04pm.

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Colin Farrell in "The Way Back."

By Jason Apuzzo. Special thanks to reader Vince for alerting me to the fact that Peter Weir’s The Way Back, an epic saga starring Ed Harris and Colin Farrell about a breakout from one of Stalin’s gulags, will be released on DVD and Blu-ray on April 22nd. You can pre-order the film below through the LFM store.

We greatly admired The Way Back here at Libertas (see our review here), along with the courage it took to make it, and are glad to see the film making the transition to DVD/Blu-ray so quickly. It’s often frustrating for us to recommend indie films of this kind here on this site, and then have to wait 6 months from their appearance in a film festival or in limited theatrical release for people to be able to see them. Bravo to the team behind The Way Back for making it available so swiftly. This, one hopes, is the way of the future for indie releasing.

Posted on February 15th, 2011 at 9:17am.

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By Jason Apuzzo. I wanted people to be aware that Chris Morris’ brilliant satire on Islamic terrorism, Four Lions, is coming to Blu-ray and DVD on March 8th. We loved the film here at Libertas (see the LFM review here).

I’ve embedded a clip of one of my favorite scenes from Four Lions above. (Note: the language gets a little rough.) You can pre-order the film now below in the LFM Store.

Posted on February 11th, 2011 at 12:28pm.

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