- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Father’s Day is this Sunday and here are a few last-minute gift suggestions for the dad who loves watching movies and TV shows in his entertainment room.

True Stories of WWII Collection (Warner Home Video, Not Rated, $29.99) — This four-disc set offers a trio of gritty films in high-definition highlighting just some of the heroes and horrors of a world war that reshaped the planet. Dad should be prepared for a full weekend with over seven hours of dramatic action watching high-definition versions of “Memphis Belle,” (the 1990 film about a fictionalized account of at a final flight of an American B-17 bomber starring Mathew Modine); “Battle of the Bulge,” (a 1965 classic highlighting one of Germany’s last major offensives and starring Henry Fonda); and “Defiance,” (a 2008 look at a group of Jewish brothers who helped saved their brethren from the Nazis, starring Daniel Craig).

The films are a treat, but over two hours of fascinating bonus features offer an overview on how Hollywood, specifically Warner Bros. studios, greatly assisted with war efforts through training and propaganda films created in its First Motion Picture Unit initiative.

Two documentaries (each roughly 45 minutes each) one narrated by Steven Spielberg cover not only the topic extensively but an overview of the Warner brother’s brand of cinema before viewers access actual examples of the some of the shorts.

These include one starring Capt. Ronald Reagan, as he introduces the unit’s functions; Lt. Jimmy Stewart, as he talks about the importance of young men joining the Air Force (a short that reportedly led to signing up 150,000 recruits); and cartoon character Trigger Joe (voiced by Mel Blanc), as he  explains how to target enemy aircraft.

Gift-givers still looking for another taste of classic war cinema can also grab Warner Home Video’s Invasion Europe: World War II Collection ($29.99) for a high-definition look at the classic movies “The Big Red One,” The Dirty Dozen” and “Where Eagles Dare” The set includes the documentary “George Stevens: D-Day to Berlin.”


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The Man With No Name Trilogy (Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment and MGM Home Entertainment, Not Rated,  $39.99) — Before Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained,” Director Sergio Leone was the master of chronicling a violent American West. This three-disc, Blu-ray set offers his trio of spaghetti westerns starring the legendary Clint Eastwood as a quiet and deadly gunslinger. Viewers get the mid-1960s classics “A Fistful Of Dollars,” “For a Few Dollars More,” and a newly remastered version of “The Good, The Bad And The Ugly.”

Dad can also appreciate over five hours of previously released extras with optional but very informative commentary tracks by film historians Richard Schickel and Sir Christopher Frayling. He can also watch a collection of ancient featurettes covering the filming of a prologue to “A Fistful of Dollars” before it aired on ABC, lots of nostalgic trailers and even Mr. Eastwood offering memories about playing the brutal gunslinger in a 2003 interview.

True Detective (HBO Home Entertainment, Rated TV-MA, $79.98) – HBO’s critically acclaimed mini-series from early this year arrives in Blu-ray just in time for the big guy in the family to appreciate a fantastic crime drama in his man cave. Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson star as a pair of mismatched detectives assigned to solve a cultish murder case in the Louisiana bayou taking place between the years 1995 and 2012.

Mr. McConaughey’s complex and intellectually twisted performance as Rustin Cohle diametrically keeps pace with Mr. Harrison’s portrayal of the fatally flawed and machismo saturated Martin Hart. Viewers get all eight episodes of the series in high-definition glory along with such extras as interviews with both stars, some never-before-seen footage from Episode 4 and a behind-the-scenes look at the show in all of its very mature and sometimes grisly glory.

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