New to View: A vivid portrait of a famed artist
By Bob Bloom
The following Blu-rays and DVDs are being released on Tuesday, May 5:
Mr. Turner (Blu-ray)
Details: 2014, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Rated: R, sexual content
The lowdown: Timothy Spall stars in director Mike Leigh’s biopic about famed British painter J.W.W. Turner, whose life was as contentious and controversial as his artwork.
Spall gives a singular performance, presenting Turner as a cantankerous and complex individual.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.39:1 widescreen picture; English, French and Portuguese 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital audio description track; English SDH, English, Spanish, French and Portuguese subtitles.
Don’t miss: A featurette on the film’s cinematography, deleted scenes and a commentary track with Leigh comprise the major bonus offerings.
Black Sea (Blu-ray + DVD + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2015, Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Rated: R, graphic violence, disturbing images, language
The lowdown: A pretentious treasure-hunting thriller that is filled with stock characters and clichéd situations. Jude Law stars as the captain of a rogue sub who gathers a crew of British and Russian misfits to retrieve a cache of Nazi gold at the bottom of the Black Sea.
As is the case with most movies of this ilk, things go horribly wrong, lives are lost and sacrifices are made. This is a sloppy and cumbersome feature.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 2.40:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles; DVD: 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby Digital; English SDH, Spanish and French subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include a making of featurette and a commentary track with director Kevin Macdonald.
The Last Five Years (Blu-ray)
Details: 2014, Anchor Bay Entertainment
Rated: PG-13, sexual situations, language, drug use
The lowdown: Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan star in this adaptation of the musical about the tempestuous love affair between a struggling actress (Kendrick) and a novelist (Jordan).
The story, told mostly through song, traces their relationship from both sides; hers from the end of the marriage moving backwards, his from the beginning and moving forward.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.40:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include a conversation with composer-lyricist Jason Robert Brown and a sing-along version of the film.
“Frank Sinatra 5-Film Collection” (Blu-ray)
Details: 1945-64, Warner Home Video
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A set spotlighting the versatility of Frank Sinatra as singer, dancer, comedian and actor.
The set includes his first big MGM musical, “Anchors Away” (1945), in which he co-starred with Gene Kelly. He and Kelly reunited in 1949 for the adaptation of the Broadway hit “On the Town.” Sinatra played Nathan Detroit to Marlon Brando’s Sky Masterson in the film adaptation of “Guys and Dolls” (1955).
The Rat Pack came together in 1960 to romp through its first film, “Ocean’s Eleven.” This caper feature co-starred Dean Martin, Peter Lawford, Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop and a host of others. Bing Crosby joined Sinatra, Martin, Davis and Peter Falk for “Robin and the Seven Hoods” (1964), a gangster spoof set in Chicago.
All the movies have been digitally remastered. And if you want more Sinatra, Warner also is offering “Frank Sinatra: Ultimate Film Collection” featuring 15 movies with the musical icon.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, full-screen and widescreen pictures; English, Spanish and French DTS-HD and Dolby Digital formats; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Each film features a variety of extras available from earlier individual releases of the films.
Mad Max: Collector’s Edition (Blu-ray)
Details: 1980, Scream-Shout! Factory
Rated: R, violence, language, sexual situations
The lowdown: The movie that brought Mel Gibson to the fore gets a new release in this collector’s edition Blu-ray. The movie is being released to coincide with the May 15 debut of “Mad Max: Fury Road” starring Tom Hardy.
The original, set in a post-apocalyptic landscape, deals with a savage motorcycle gang that rules the road and the one man who defies them. The movie still is as dynamic as when it was first released.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.35:1 widescreen picture; Australian English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and monaural and U.S. English DTS-HD Master Audio monaural.
Don’t miss: Among the supplemental materials are new interviews with Gibson, co-star Joanne Samuel and director of photography David Eggby; a commentary track; a featurette on the film’s impact and legacy; and a featurette on Gibson and the impact of the film on his career.
Miss Julie (DVD + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2014, Lionsgate
Rated: PG-13, adult themes, sexual situations, language, disturbing images
The lowdown: Liv Ullmann directed this adaptation of August Streinberg’s play about an affair between a young aristocratic woman and her father’s valet. Jessica Chastain plays Miss Julie with Colin Farrell as the valet. The drama is an examination of class boundaries and the consequences of battling what is socially acceptable.
Technical aspects: 1.85:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby Digital; English closed-captioned and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Interviews with Ullmann and Chastain comprise the major bonus features.
Details: 2014, Cinedigm
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A documentary that asks if the very harsh and sometimes hate-filled criticism and moments aimed at President Barack Obama and his family are a product of politics or racism towards the nation’s first black president.
The film contrasts the president’s accomplishments with the scorn and ridicule that has been heaped on Obama and his family.
Technical aspects: Widescreen picture; English 2.0 Dolby Digital; English closed-captioned subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extended interviews comprise the major extras.
Halt and Catch Fire: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray)
Details: 2014, Anchor Bay Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A multidisc set featuring all 10 first-season episodes of this AMC series that traces the beginnings of the PC era in the early 1980s.
The series follows a group trying to create a computer that will change the world and how people view it.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.78:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD; English SDH and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: A look inside each episode, a featurette on remaking the 1980s, a featurette on the rise of the digital cowboys and a look at the research and technology of the era comprise the extras.
Spare Parts (DVD + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2015, Lionsgate
Rated: PG-13, violence, language
The lowdown: An inspirational story based on true events that center on four high school students who unite to enter a robotics competition against the nation’s top tech colleges. The only person who believes they have a chance is a substitute teacher who spurs them on to fulfill their dreams.
Technical aspects: 2.40:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby Digital; English closed-captioned and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Deleted scenes comprise the major extras.
Other Blu-rays and DVDs being released on Tuesday, unless otherwise indicated:
A Few Best Men (Universal Studios Home Entertainment)
De Que Te Quiero Te Quiero (Cinedigm)
Murder of a Cat (Anchor Bay Entertainment)
Little Accidents (Anchor Bay Entertainment, April 21)
Children’s Classics Collection (CBS DVD-Paramount Home Entertainment)
Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal Season 1 (Cinedigm-Flatiron Film Co.)
Coming next week: Still Alice
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.