New to View: ‘Violent Year’ a gritty, but slow crime drama
By Bob Bloom
The following Blu-rays and DVDs are being released on Tuesday, April 7:
A Most Violent Year (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2014, Lionsgate
Rated: R, violence, language
The lowdown: Oscar Isaacs and Jessica Chastain star in this dark, urban drama set in New York in the early 1980s when crime and corruption ran rampant.
The story centers on Isaacs’ Abel Morales, whose successful oil-delivery business is being attacked and sabotaged by rivals.
The film, though gritty, is more talk than action.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.40:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include a behind-the-scenes featurette, a conversation with Isaacs and Chastain, deleted scenes, a commentary track, outtakes, a featurette on the origins of the film and a “We Can Cure Violence” public service announcement.
The Immigrant (Blu-ray)
Details: 2014, Anchor Bay Entertainment
Rated: nudity, sexual content, language
The lowdown: Marion Cotillard stars in this drama as a young woman who comes to America from Poland to begin a new life, only to fall prey to some unscrupulous men.
Cotillard’s Ewa is forced into prostitution, but a kind-hearted stage magician saves her and helps restore her self-esteem.
Joaquin Phoenix and Jeremy Renner costar in this drama.
Technical drama: 1080p high definition, 2.40:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Among the supplemental offerings are a look at the visual inspiration for the movie and a commentary track.
Manhattan: Season One (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2015, Lionsgate
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A three-disc set featuring all 13 first-season episodes of this drama series that looks at the scientists whose job was to build the first atomic bomb as well as their families.
The conflict stems from the secrecy of the scientists’ work, which they cannot discuss even with their loved ones, and the lies they must perpetrate in order to keep the knowledge of what they are doing from the outside world.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.78:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH, English and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: The bonus offerings include a look at bringing the A-bomb to the screen, a featurette on creating a city that did not exist, a profile of the father of the atomic bomb, J. Robert Oppenheimer, commentaries and a look at recreating the costumes and design of the era.
The Voices (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2014, Lionsgate
Rated: R, graphic and bloody violence, language, sexual references
The lowdown: A black comedy about a chipper and friendly guy (Ryan Reynolds) who works in a bathtub factory.
His court-appointed shrink encourages him to pursue his office crush, but life takes a dark turn after she stands him up on a date.
Reynolds’ Jerry, guided by the voices of his evil cat and benevolent dog, must decide whether to keep fighting for normalcy or give in to his more sinister and murderous impulses.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.35:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital; English SDH, English and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Special s include a making of featurette, a look at the talking animals, a comparison showreel, a behind-the-scenes look at the voices of Reynolds, deleted and extended scenes, animatics and a cast and costume sketch gallery.
Release date: March 31
Details: 2014, E One Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Nicolas Cage and Hayden Christensen star in this period costume drama about a war-weary crusader who recruits a mythical outlaw to help protect a young prince who is being hunted by assassins hired by his older brother.
The film features lots of swordplay and action.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.39:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 4.1 Dolby Digital surround.
Don’t miss: A making of featurette and cast and crew interviews comprise the major bonus offerings.
Singles, Empire Records & Detroit Rock City (Blu-ray)
Details: 1992-99, Warner Home Video
Rated: PG-13, R, language, sexual situations, drug use
The lowdown: To commemorate International Record Store Day, which is April 18, Warner is marking the Blu-ray debuts of a trio of music-centric movies.
“Singles” (1992, PG-13) is writer-director Cameron Crowe’s affectionate look at a group of twentysomethings in Seattle as they search, run from or run toward love.
The cast includes Matt Dillon, Kyra Sedgwick, Bridget Fonda, Bill Pullman, Eric Stoltz, Tom Skerritt and Jeremy Piven.
“Empire Records” (1995, PG-13) follows one eventful day in the lives of some young people who work at a store called Empire Records.
The young cast includes Renee Zellweger, Liv Tyler, Debi Mazer, Rory Cochrane, Anthony LaPaglia and Maxfield Caulfield.
The score includes music by Gin Blossoms, the Cranberries, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Evan Dando, Crackers and Better Than Ezra.
“Detroit Rock City” (1999, R) is set in 1978 and chronicles the adventures of a high school band from Cleveland as they head out to pay their respects to KISS.
The film is part road trip and part coming-of-age comedy.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, “Singles” and “Detroit Rock City” 1.85:1 and “Empire Records” 2.40:1 widescreen picture; “Singles” English 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio, French 2.0 Dolby Digital and Spanish 1.0 Dolby Digital; “Empire Records” 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French 5.1 Dolby Digital and Spanish 2.0 Dolby Digital; and “Detroit Rock City” English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and Spanish 5.1 and 2.0 Dolby Digital; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles on all three titles.
Don’t miss: Extras on “Singles” include deleted and extended scenes, including expanding the full relationship between the Pullman and Fonda characters, a gag reel and three live performances from Alice in Chains and Soundgarden; “Empire Records” offers deleted scenes and three music videos; “Detroit Rock City” showcases deleted scenes, three commentary tracks and a pair of music videos.
Invaders From Mars (Blu-ray)
Details: 1986, Scream-Shout! Factory
Rated: PG, violence
The lowdown: Director Tobe Hooper’s remake of the early 1950s science fiction thriller centers on a young boy who discovers a Martian invasion that includes taking over the minds of residents of Earth to do their bidding.
The remake features special effects by John Dykstra and creatures by Stan Winston and a screenplay co-written by Dan O’Bannon (“Alien” and “Dark Star”).
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.35:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio.
Don’t miss: Bonus offerings include a making of featurette, a commentary track with Hooper, a retrospective featurette that includes Hooper, actor Hunter Carson and other behind-the-camera filmmakers and original storyboards.
One Step Beyond
Details: 1959-61, Film Chest Media
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A six-disc set featuring 70 of the 96 supernatural tales that encompassed this TV series, which predated “The Twilight Zone.”
The hook on “One Step Beyond,” was that its stories were inspired by true events.
The series, hosted by John Newland, featured performances by Cloris Leachman, Warren Beatty, Charles Bronson, Robert Blake, Suzanne Pleshette, Joan Fontaine and Ross Martin.
Technical aspects: 4×3 full-screen picture.
Don’t miss: An episode guide with synopses is the major bonus feature.
Details: 2013, Well Go USA
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: The story of two men, one a serial killer, the other a disgraced journalist who, after the killer’s work goes viral, discovers that he, too, can kill.
As the killing escalates, a rivalry of sorts springs up between the men, with a face-to-face showdown becoming an inevitable consequence.
Technical aspects: 16×9 widescreen picture; Indonesian, Japanese and English 5.1 Dolby Digital surround; English subtitles.
Don’t miss: No bonus offerings.
Release date: March 24
Details: 1969, Fox Home Entertainment
Rated: R, language, sexual content
The lowdown: George Cukor directed this story about a beautiful, ruthless woman who uses her family and friends in her plans to ship arms to Israel to protect her future as a Coptic in Egypt.
When her plan unravels, she is forced to turn to prostitution to stay in the good graces of government officials.
The release is part of the Fox Cinema Archives collection and can be found at www.foxconnect.com or other online dealers.
Technical aspects: 4×3 pan-and-scan full screen.
Don’t miss: No extras.
Other Blu-rays and DVDs being released on Tuesday, unless otherwise indicated:
Together Brothers (Fox Home Entertainment-Fox Cinema Archives, March 24)
Yellowbird (DVD + Ultraviolet) (Lionsgate)
Coming next week: The Babadook
Bob Bloom is a member of the Indiana Film Journalists Association. He reviews movies, Blu-rays and DVDs for ReelBob.com., The Film Yap and other print and online publications, He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can follow Bloom on Twitter @ReelBobBloom and on Facebook. Movie reviews by Bloom also can be found at Rottentomatoes: www.rottentomatoes.com.
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