New to View: Neeson increases the body count in ‘Taken 3’

By Bob Bloom

The following Blu-rays and DVDs are being released on Tuesday, April 21:

Taken 3: Unrated (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2015, Fox Home Entertainment
Rated: Unrated & PG-13
The lowdown: Once again Liam Neeson creates a massive body count in order to protect his family after he finds himself framed for the murder of his ex-wife.
Complicating matters is the fact that he is framed for the killing, a police detective is on his trail and he must keep his daughter safe.
All in a day’s work for Neeson’s former CIA operative Bryan Mills. The Blu-ray contains the theatrical and unrated versions of the movie.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.39:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby Digital; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Among the bonus offerings are deleted scenes, a look at the Rabbit Hole, a featurette on filming in Los Angeles and an overview of the franchise.

Cake (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2015, Fox Home Entertainment
Rated: R, language, disturbing images, mature themes
The lowdown: Jennifer Aniston stars in this raw story of personal Cakeredemption as a woman who begins a strange relationship with a widower, played by Sam Worthington, while dealing with hallucinations of his dead wife, played by Anna Kendrick.
The film works hard for an art house vibe, but only partially succeeds. Aniston, though, stretching her acting chops, is interesting to watch.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.40:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: A featurette on the making of the film and a behind-the-scenes look at the cast members comprise the major bonus offerings.

Bleaching Black Culture
Details: 2014, Cinedigm
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A very interesting documentary that looks at the cultural contributions of blacks to American society, from jazz to hip-hop, to advances in technology, and how these innovations have been appropriated. The film also looks at the effects on the African American community and how cultural branding has marginalized black society.
Technical aspects: Widescreen picture; English 2.0 Dolby Digital; English closed-captioned subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extended interviews and on-the-street point of views comprise the bonus features.

Maps to the Stars
Release date:
April 14
Details: 2014, Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Rated: R, disturbing violence, sexual content, nudity, language, drug use
The lowdown: A jumbled and unwieldy dark comedy directed by David Cronenberg about a veteran actress whose career is unraveling, a self-help therapist to the stars, his wife, their child-actor son, an unwanted family member and a limo driver. We follow how their lives all intersect and intertwine in this movie that features an all-star cast headed by Julianne Moore, John Cusack, Olivia Williams, Mia Wasikowska and Robert Pattinson.
Technical aspects: 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby Digital; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: No bonus features.

The River: Special Edition (Blu-ray)
Details: 1951, The Criterion Collection
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Jean Renoir’s first color film, shot in India, tells of the growing pains of three young women and their lives around a Bengal River. This is a quiet and eloquent movie that looks at the connections between emotions and the reality of life.
This is a beautifully photographed film that highlights the spirituality of India.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.33:1 full-screen picture; English LPCM monaural; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include a 1962 introduction to the film by Renoir, a 2008 documentary about the making of the movie, a 2004 interview with Martin Scorsese about the film, a 2000 audio interview with the film’s producer, a video essay about the movie and a booklet with an essay about the film and notes by Renoir.

Escape From New York: Collector’s Edition (Blu-ray)
Details: 1981, Scream-Shout! Factory
Rated: R, graphic violence, language
The lowdown: Kurt Russell stars in this cult favorite as Snake Plissken, a mercenary who lives by his own code. Set in 1997, the movie’s premise is original: the island of Manhattan has been turned into a walled prison where the most brutal of criminals are sent. But when a plane carrying the President of the United States crashes on the island, Snake is “recruited” to rescue him. And he must do it in 24 hours or lose his life.
The film is loaded with action. It is a seminal work for Russell and director John Carpenter, who co-wrote the script.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.35:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include a trio of commentary tracks, a look at the special effects, a new interview with still photographer Km Gottlieb, who discusses being on set with Carpenter, a deleted scene, the original opening bank robbery sequence and a featurette on the film’s legacy and impact.

Everly (Blu-ray)
Details: 2015, Anchor Bay Entertainment
Rated: R, graphic violence, language, torture, nudity, sexual content
The lowdown: Salma Hayek kicks ass in this violent thriller about a woman trapped in her apartment and forced to battle assassins sent by a crime lord who learns she is no longer loyal to him.
The film is an explosive exploitation that offers an adrenaline rush for action junkies.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.39:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Two commentary tracks and a music video comprise the bonus features.

The Man With the Iron Fists 2: Unrated (Blu-ray + DVD + Ultraviolet)
Release date: April 14
Details: 2014, Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Rated: Unrated & R, graphic and bloody violence
The lowdown: RZA returns in this action-packed sequel that finds the badly wounded Thaddeus discovered and cared for by a miner, played by Dustin Nguyen, and his wife. During his convalesce, he learns that their village is pitted in a dispute with the evil Beetle Clan as well as a terrifying warrior, Lord Pi (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa).
Thaddeus teaches the miner the ways of marital arts and together they battle to protect the village and its people. The film contains a lot of exciting marital arts action. The set contains the R-rated and unrated versions of the film.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 1.78:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and Spanish and French 5.1 DTS Digital surround; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles; DVD: 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen picture; English, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus materials include deleted scenes, a making of featurette and a commentary track.

Cries and Whispers: Special Edition (Blu-ray)
Release date: March 31
Details: 1972, The Criterion Collection
Rated: R, sexual situations, language
The lowdown: Ingmar Bergman’s masterpiece focuses on two sisters, Karin (Ingrid Thulin) and Maria (Liv Ullmann), who are watching over a third sister, Agnes (Harriett Andersson), who is dying of cancer.
The film is a powerful and existential study of behavior in the face of death. At times, it is difficult to watch because Bergman has made it so intimate, personal and painful.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.66:1 widescreen picture; Swedish LPCM monaural and English Dolby Digital monaural; English subtitles.
Don’t miss: A 2001 introduction to the film by Bergman, a new interview with Andersson, a video essay, behind-the-scenes footage, a 2000 interview with Bergman and a booklet with an essay about the film comprise the major bonus offerings.

Ghoulies/Ghoulies II (Blu-ray)
Details: 1985, 1987, Scream-Shout! Factory
Rated: PG-13, violence
The lowdown: Slimy, winged goblins crawl out of the toilet and wreak havoc at a creepy old Hollywood mansion in “Ghoulies” (1985, PG-13).The creatures return a couple of years later in a sequel set in a traveling House of Horrors where unsuspecting patrons become the targets during “Ghoulies II” (1987, PG-13).
Both films offer tinges of dark humor along with the horrors.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English DTS-HD Master Audio monaural.
Don’t miss: Both films come with commentary tracks and cast and filmmaker interviews. “Ghoulies II” also features deleted scenes.

Sweet Lorraine
Release date:
April 23
Details: 2014, Garden Thieves Pictures
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Tatum O’Neal stars as the wife of a minister in a suburban New Jersey town who wants to see her husband become the mayor. She will have to contend, however, with her seedy past in New York, that may ruin her husband’s campaign and expose the seedy secrets hidden beneath this quiet community.
Technical aspects: Widescreen picture.
Don’t miss: No extras.

Beside Still Waters
Release date: April 14
Details: 2014, Cinedigm-Tribeca Film
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A young man, mourning the death of his parents, invites some childhood friends to his lake house for a bit of reminiscing about the good old days. The problem is, his friends do not share his nostalgic views of the past. To make matters worse, his former girlfriend shows up with her fiancé.
Over the course of the weekend, as usually happens in such movies, secrets are revealed, resentments are unleashed, regrets are aired and sex and drugs add fuel to the fire.
Technical aspects: 16×9 widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby Digital surround; English closed-captioned subtitles.
Don’t miss: Among the bonus offerings are an alternate ending, deleted scenes, a behind-the-scenes featurette and a commentary track.

First Period
Details:
2014, Falling Anvil Productions
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A high school comedy about a new girl in school and an outcast who form a bond and are determined to join the “in” crowd.
To do so, they enter the school’s annual talent contest in order to win over the entire student population.
Of course, the popular and snobbish clique that runs the school does everything possible to deter them.
Technical aspects: 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby Digital surround; English closed-captioned subtitles.
Don’t miss: Deleted scenes, a deleted song, a featurette with the cast and a commentary comprise the major bonus offerings.

Hit By Lightning
Details:
2015, Anchor Bay Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Jon Cryer stars in this romantic black comedy about a guy yearning for love who believes he has met his dream match online. Unfortunately, she is a married woman who claims her husband is out to kill her and enlists Cryer to strike first so he and she can be together.
Technical aspects: 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby Digital; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: No extras.

From the Dark (Blu-ray)
Release date: April 14
Details: 2014, Dark Sky Films
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Here we go again. A young couple on a road trip, a broken down car and the awakening of a sinister spirit are the ingredients for this horror thriller set in Ireland. The couple realizes that light is their only defense, but the sun is setting and the evil is growing more powerful. It’s a creepy thriller that will have you jumping at times.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 and 2.0 Dolby Digital; English subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus features include a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the movie and a commentary track.

Breakin’/Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo (Blu-ray)
Details: 1984, Shout! Factory
Rated: PG
The lowdown: These two films about shot during the early days of the break dancing craze play like dinosaurs now. They may be dated, true, but the dancing remains vibrant and exciting to watch. Forget the plot or the lack of acting, just concentrate on the music and steps and go back in time for some innocuous fun.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture (“Breakin’ ”) and 1.78:1 widescreen picture (“Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo”); English DTS-HD; English closed-captioned subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include a commentary track on “Breakin’ 2,” featurettes on the elements and culture of hip-hop and a living legends montage.

Other Blu-rays and DVDs being released on Tuesday, unless otherwise indicated:

Deep in the Darkness (Scream-Shout! Factory)
Naked and Afraid: Season 1 (Cinedigm)
Signed, Sealed, Delivered: The Series (Cinedigm)
Supremacy (Blu-ray) (Well Go USA Entertainment)
Wingman Inc. (DVD + Ultraviolet) (Lionsgate)
Antarctica: A Year on Ice (Music Box Films, April 14)
God Help the Girl (Anchor Bay, April 14)

Coming next week: The Boy Next Door

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 bobbloomjc@gmail.com. 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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