Tag Archives: HBO Home Entertainment

Game of Thrones: The Complete Third Season on Blu-ray

Game of Thrones Season 3

Now available on DVD and Blu-ray, Season 3 of ‘Game of Thrones’ contains a shocking plot twist its executive producers call ‘a watershed moment.’

Fans of HBO’s fantasy blockbuster Game of Thrones learned a long time ago to expect the unexpected, but if you didn’t catch Season 3 of the series – which was released on DVD and Blu-ray earlier this week – brace yourself. Among these 10 episodes lies a plot twist that redefines the tem “game-changer.”
Even if by some miracle you managed to avoid spoilers as to the nature of this shocker, chances are good you know something major happened, because HBO Home Entertainment has been liberally using footage in its TV commercials that purports to show Game of Thrones fans jumping out of their skins when they saw the original broadcast in 2013.
Season 3 contains several very important story lines and plot developments. In Kings Landing, insane and inbred King Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) finds his petulant power curtailed somewhat by the return of one of the few men who doesn’t fear the nasty little twerp: Joffrey’s grandpa, Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance), who also makes life even more difficult for his put-upon son, Tyrion (Emmy winner Peter Dinklage). What Joffrey also fails to realize, however, is that a secondary threat has entered his court in the person of Lady Margaery Tyrrell (Natalie Dormer), whose own grandmother (the great Diana Rigg) is a masterful politician in her own right.
Much farther to the north, Robb Stark (Richard Madden) and his widowed mother, Catelyn (Michelle Fairley), make peace over their recent differences and set upon devising a scheme to shore up the family’s dwindling army of allies in the face of renewed threat from the Lannisters.
Meanwhile, across the sea, Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) blossoms into a true queen as she assembles a formidable army of her own with a little help from her dragons.
The bombshell (don’t worry, no spoilers follow) arrives in the penultimate episode of the season, entitled “The Rains of Castamere,” named after a song associated with the Lannister clan. The new Blu-ray set includes an insightful 46-minute featurette called “The Rains of Castamere Unveiled,” in which executive producers D.B. Weiss and David Benioff, as well as principal cast members and various members of the crew, offer fascinating insights into how this crucial episode – and what Weiss calls “a watershed moment” – was structured and executed.
“Everything changes after this point,” Benioff says in his commentary. “Ned’s (Sean Bean) death was so pivotal at the end of Season 1. Even though there have been many big moments since then, there’s nothing that compares to (this).”
HBO’s 5-disc Blu-ray set, which contains copious other special features and background material, is, as usual, state of the art in technical terms. With Season 4 of Game of Thrones set to premiere on April 6, this release offers a welcome opportunity for fans to refresh their memories as to details in the labyrinthine plot even if they caught Season 3 during its original run last spring.
'The Rains of Castamere'

A scene from the Season 3 episode ‘The Rains of Castamere.’

Christopher Guest’s ‘Family Tree’ comes to home video

Chris O'Dowd (wearing red) stars in Season One of 'Family Tree,' released on DVD today by HBO Home Entertainment.

Visiting Brit Tom Chadwick (Chris O’Dowd, wearing red) lands in hot water for his behavior during a Civil War reeenactment in Season One of ‘Family Tree,’ released today on DVD.

In a world of snark, Family Tree – Christopher Guest’s low-key but charming HBO comedy series about a Brit searching for his roots – felt like an oasis when it premiered on the premium channel last May. Irish actor Chris O’Dowd (Bridesmaids) stars in this series – released today on DVD in a two-disc set from HBO Home Entertainment — as sweetly bedfuddled Tom Chadwick, who is feeling a little rudderless at age 30, having recently lost both his wife and his job.
He finds unexpected new purpose when he learns that his late great-aunt Victoria, of whom he has no memories, has left Tom a very old chest packed with family memorabilia. After consulting with his father, Keith (Michael McKean), and a neighbor, Mr. Pfister (Jim Piddock, who co-created and co-wrote the series), Tom becomes obsessed with learning more about his family, embarking on a quest accompanied by his very eccentric sister, Bea (Nina Conti), and best chum Pete (Tom Bennett).
The memorable encounters Tom has along this personal journey, which eventually leads him to the United States, aren’t as gut-bustingly funny as, say, Waiting for Guffman, my personal favorite among Guest’s feature films, but then, Guest and Piddock seem to be pursuing something far more bittersweet here: a celebration of and meditation on family, both the good and the bad.
If you missed this show’s run on HBO last spring, it’s certainly worth catching via this new set, which includes appearances by Fred Willard, Don Lake, Kevin Pollak, Ed Begley Jr. and Guest himself, all of whom excel at Guest’s trademark style, which uses heavily improvised dialogue. The welcome extras in the DVD set include several memorable outtakes from those improvisations, including Pete’s confession of his one-night stand with Bea that got scuttled by her hand puppet, Monk.
Another extra features more extended footage from There Goes the Neighbourhood and Move Along, Please!, two (completely fictional) 1970s Britcoms we fleetingly see Keith enjoying at various points during the series. There’s also a track that includes all the engaging music from the show.
No word yet on whether there will be a Season Two of Family Tree, a co-production between HBO and the BBC, but it’s good to have the lovely moments from Season One preserved on disc in time for holiday gift-giving.
Family Tree DVD