New to View: ‘Sniper’ a violent tribute to an American hero

By Bob Bloom

The following Blu-rays and DVDs are being released on Tuesday, May 19:
American Sniper (Blu-ray + DVD + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2014, Warner Home Video
Rated: R, strong, disturbing and graphic war violence, language, sexual references
The lowdown: A buffed Bradley Cooper stars and Clint Eastwood directs this drama about Chris Kyle, the most proficient sniper in the annals of American military history.
The film follows Kyle through his four tours in Iraq as well as showing the emotional, mental and physical toll of his service on himself and his family. Cooper etches a strong performance, as does Sienna Miller as his wife, Taya.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 2.40:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English and French 7.1 Dolby Atmos, English 5.1 Dolby Digital descriptive audio and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles; DVD: 2.40:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: A behind-the-scenes documentary on the making of the movie as well as a look at the process of overcoming various obstacles in order to bring Kyle’s story to the screen.

Strange Magic
Details: 2015, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Rated: PG, action, scary images
The lowdown: This musical-filled, magical animated adventure will enchant the youngsters as it tells its story about a princess who has sworn off love, a dubious villain, an off-kilter Sugar Plum Fairy, a knight who lacks charm, a determined elf and an imp who loves to create mayhem.
The story, written by George Lucas, features the vocal talents of Evan Rachel Wood, Kristin Chenoweth, Alan Cumming and Maya Rudolph.
Technical aspects: 2.35:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby Digital and 2.0 Dolby Digital descriptive track; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include outtakes, animation tests and melodies and a look at the cast and filmmakers.

Leviathan (Blu-ray)
Details: 2014, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Rated: R, sexual content, nudity, language
The lowdown: This Russian import, an Academy Award nominee for best foreign language film, details a family’s battle against government corruption, specifically the town mayor who is trying to take away the family’s business, house and land.
The head of the family turns to an old friend who is an attorney to fight back. Despite, collecting dirt on the mayor, the family seems to be fighting a losing battle.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.40:1 widescreen picture; Russian 5.1 DTS-HD and English audio descriptive track and French 5.1 Dolby Digital; English SDH, English and French subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus offerings include a question-and-answer session at the Toronto International Film Festival with director Andrey Zvyagintsev, deleted scenes, a making of featurette and a commentary track.

Cymbeline (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2014, Lionsgate
Rated: R, violence
The lowdown: This modern adaptation of Shakespeare’s tragedy pits dirty cops against an outlaw biker gang.
Like the original, it’s bloody and violent. The film features an A-list cast headed by Ethan Hawke and Ed Harris, as well as Milla Jonovich, Dakota Johnson, Bill Pullman, John Leguizamo, Delroy Lindo, Penn Badgley and Anton Yelchin.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH, English and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: A behind-the-scenes look at the making of the movie, extended cast interviews and a commentary track comprise the major bonus features.

Boardwalk Empire: The Complete Series (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2010-14, HBO Home Entertainment
Rated: TV-MA, graphic violence, sexual content, nudity, language, drug use, smoking
The lowdown: A 20-disc set featuring all five seasons and 56 episodes of this HBO series set mainly in 1920s Atlantic City, N.J., which is ruled by Enoch “Nucky” Thompson, beautifully portrayed by Steve Buscemi.
The series mixes fact and fiction as it chronicles the era of Prohibition with the rise of organized crime, featuring such historical figures as Al Capone, Lucky Luciano and Arnold Rothstein.
If you missed the series when it aired on HBO, this is a good way to see what you missed. This is a dynamite series that examines greed and corruption at many levels.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.78:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French 5.1 DTS Digital surround, Latin Spanish 2.0 DTS Digital surround and Castilian Spanish 5.2 DTS Digital surround; English SDH, French, Latin and Castilian Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish subtitles.
Don’t miss: More than four hours of bonus features, most of which are from the first four seasons, are included. Final season extras encompass a look back at the series with cast members and filmmakers; a look at the choreography of some of the series’ most violent sequences; a behind-the-scenes look at bringing the Atlantic City Boardwalk to life; a featurette on developing the look of the series as well as its production design; and a look at the visual effects.

The Rose: Special Edition (Blu-ray)
Details: 1979, The Criterion Collection
Rated: R, language, sexual situations, drug use
The lowdown: Bette Midler made an acclaimed film debut in this drama about a damaged rock star, known as the Rose, battling to cope with fame and addiction.
The demands of life on the road negatively affect her romantic and personal relationships as well as her mental and emotional health.
The film, directed by Mark Rydell, was beautifully photographed by Vilmos Zsigmond — with first-class assistance on the concert sequences by Conrad L. Hall, Laszlo Kovacs, Owen Roizman and Haskell Wexler.
Midler’s touching and vulnerable performance is the movie’s foundation.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include an informative commentary track with Rydell, new interviews with Midler and Zsigmond, archival interviews with Midler and Rydell with on-set footage and a booklet with an essay about the movie.

Blackhat (Blu-ray + DVD + Ultraviolet)
Release date: May 12
Details: 2015, Universal Studios Home Entertainment
The lowdown: A rather silly and incompetent thriller about a furloughed blackhat mainhacker who, along with his American and Chinese partners, work to track down a very organized and lethal cybercrime network.
This globetrotting drama is rather preposterous at times, with a finale that is stupefying and unbelievable.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 2.40:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English 2.0 Dolby Digital audio descriptive track and French and Spanish 5.1 DTS Digital surround; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles; DVD: 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen picture; English, Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby Digital and English 2.0 Dolby Digital audio descriptive track; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include creating a cyber reality and a look at the cyber threat and a behind-the-scenes peek of the global locations.

Black or White (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Release date: May 5
Details: 2014, Fox Home Entertainment
Rated: PG-13, adult themes, language, violence, drug use, drinking
The lowdown: Kevin Costner and Octavia Spencer star in this family drama about on true events about two grandparents engaging in a heated custody battle over their granddaughter.
The dispute forces both parties to examine their attitudes about race, family and, most importantly, forgiveness.
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: A making of featurette is the main added attraction.

The Pyramid (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Release date: May 5
Details: 2014, Fox Home Entertainment
Rated: R, horror violence, bloody and graphic images
The lowdown: A team of archaeologists stumble into terror when they discover a pyramid unlike any other they’ve seen.
As the team members begin to explore and unlock the pyramid’s secrets, they realize they are being hunted by an ancient evil that wants them dead.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.35:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English 5.1 descriptive audio and Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby Digital; English SDH and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus offerings include an extended ending and a series of featurettes on the making of the movie.

Beauty & The Beast: The Second Season
Details: 2013-14, CBS DVD-Paramount Home Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A six-disc set featuring all 22 second-season episodes of this popular CW series, which returns later this month.
Kristin Kreuk stars as homicide detective Catherine “Cat” Chandler and Jay Ryan as the mysterious Dr. Vincent Keller.
During the season, “Cat” must discover what happened during Vincent’s abduction and find out who — or what — he has become.
Technical aspects: 16:9 full-screen picture; English 5.1 Dolby Digital stereo; English SDH, Portuguese and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: A review of the season, a look at creating an episode from script to screen, a set tour, deleted scenes and a gag reel comprise the extras.

Clint Eastwood: The Universal Pictures 7-Movie Collection (Blu-ray)
Release date: May 5
Details: 1968-75, Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Rated: R, PG
The lowdown: Seven early movies from Clint Eastwood, both as actor and director are included in this set that will please fans of the iconic star.
The set includes “Two Mules for Sister Sara” (PG), “Joe Kidd” (PG), “High Plains Drifter” (R), “Play Misty for Me” (R), “Coogan’s Bluff” (R), “The Beguiled” (R) and “The Eiger Sanction” (R).
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.35:1 and 1.85:1 widescreen presentations; English 5.1 and 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: The bonus offerings include a look at Eastwood acting and directing, a look back at “Play Misty for Me” and a featurette on “The Beguiled.”

Wet Hot American Summer (Blu-ray)
Release date: May 12
Details: 2001, Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Rated: R, sexual content, language, drug use
The lowdown: A summer camp comedy that includes getting ready for the big talent show, dollops of romance, laughs, sex and drug jokes. Oh, and there’s drama centering on the possibility of a piece of Skylab wiping out the camp!
The cast includes Janeane Garofalo, David Hyde Pierce and Christopher Meloni.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH and French subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include deleted scenes, a behind-the-scenes featurette, comments from cast members, a commentary track, a soundtrack with extra farts and songs with production stills.

Battlestar Galactica: The Remastered Collection (Blu-ray)
Battlestar Galactica: The Definitive Collection (Blu-ray)
Release date: May 12
Details: 1978-80, Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: This set includes all 24 episodes of “Battlestar Galactica: The Original Series” and the 10-episode “Galactica 1980” spinoff. The original series, an attempt to cash in on the science fiction craze started by “Star Wars,” follows the flagship battlestar Galactica as it journeys to a new home — the legendary planet Earth — after a devastating war with the Cylons destroys the colonies’ home planets.
“Galactica 1980” is set 30 years after the events of the first series and details what happens when the colonists discover Earth and help them prepare to ward off a Cylon attack.
The “Definitive Collection” also includes the theatrical version of the original pilot movie that includes several scenes different from the televised version.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.78:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and 2.0 DTS Digital surround monaural; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include a commentary track on the pilot episode, deleted scenes, a look at remastering the series, a featurette on remembering the series, an interview with Glen Larson on creating “Battlestar Galactica” and a talk with composer Stu Philiips about his score for the series.

Gunland
Details:
2014, Cinedigm
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A look at the city of Chicago and its epidemic of shootings and killings.
The documentary’s purpose is to discover why this is happening in the Windy City and what can be done to curtail the violence.
The film points a finger at Mexican drug cartels as one factor, gun trafficking, unemployment and issues within the African-American culture.
Technical aspects: Widescreen picture; English 2.0 Dolby Digital; English closed-captioned.
Don’t miss: Extended interviews and deleted scenes comprise the extras.

Jamaica Inn: 75th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray)
Release date: May 12
Details: 1939, Cohen Media Group
The lowdown: Alfred Hitchcock’s last British film before heading to the United States stars Charles Laughton and Maureen O’Hara in a tale about a young woman who discovers her uncle is the head of a gang of ship wreckers and murderers.
The criminals are secretly receiving patronage from the local squire, played by Laughton. The young woman puts her life in danger as she tries to halt the reign of evil.
The cast also includes Robert Newton, Leslie Banks and Emlyn Williams.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.37:1 full-screen picture; English LPCM monaural.
Don’t miss: A commentary track and a video essay by author and film historian Donald Spoto comprise the major bonus offerings.

Limelight: Special Edition (Blu-ray)
Details: 1952, The Criterion Collection
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Charlie Chaplin’s touching drama centers on the twilight of a former musical-comedy star who finds hope and redemption when he meets a beautiful, young ballerina, played by Claire Bloom.
Those expecting a Chaplin comedy will be disappointed, as the film is a poignant tale about two lost souls connecting.
The comedy comes during the final reel when Chaplin and Buster Keaton perform together. Chaplin made the film during the time he was under attack by the far right for his political leanings.
Technical aspect: 1080p high definition, 1.37:1 full-screen picture; English LPCM monaural; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: A video essay by Chaplin biographer David Robinson about the film, interviews with Bloom and actor Norman Lloyd, a 2002 documentary about the movie, two short Chaplin films, an archival reading by Chaplin from his novella, “Footlights,” an outtake and essays and writings about Chaplin and the movie are among the major bonus features.

Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man (Blu-ray)
Details: 1991, Shout! Factory
Rated: R, violence, sexual situations, language
The lowdown: Mickey Rourke and Don Johnson star in this odd mixture of buddy flick, biker movie, heist thriller and science fiction feature.
Rourke’s Harley and Johnson’s Marlboro Man decide to rob a bank in order to save their favorite bar. Afterwards, the bank’s president sends a posse of hit men to kill the pair.
It’s kind of wacky fun and a time capsule of the oddball movies of the period.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio.
Don’t miss: A vintage featurette is the major bonus offering.

Britain’s Bloodiest Dynasty: The Plantagenets
Details: 2015, RLJ Entertainment-Athena
Rated: Not rated, graphic violence, nudity, sexual situations
The lowdown: For more than 300 years, the Plantagenets ruled England, ruthlessly crushing all opposition.
This look at English history features overbearing fathers, faithless wives, weak sons and warring cousins. The four-part series shows how these kings murdered, betrayed and terrorized to help forge England from the Middle Ages into the modern world.
Technical aspects: 16:9 widescreen picture; English Dolby Digital; English SDH subtitles
Don’t miss: Profiles of the Plantagenet queens and a 12-page viewer’s guide with a map of the Plantagenet realm, a timeline and the Magna Carta.

Stigmata (Blu-ray)
Details: 1999, Scream-Shout! Factory
Rated: R, intense violent sequences, language, sexual content
The lowdown: A young woman who does not believe in God suddenly begins to suffer the stigmata, the wounds of the crucified Jesus Christ.
The Vatican’s top investigator begins looking into the case while a church cardinal learns that the woman is actually channeling a message that could destroy the Catholic Church — so he sets in motion a plan to silence her for good. Patricia Arquette, Gabriel Byrne and Jonathan Pryce are the main players.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English DTS-HD Master Audio stereo; English subtitles.
Don’t miss: A featurette, “Incredible But True — Stigmata Marked for Life,” a commentary track, a look at the creation of the film, deleted scenes, a music video and alternate ending comprise the bonus offerings.

Champs
Release date: May 12
Details: 2015, Anchor Bay Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A documentary that looks at such famous boxers as Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield and Bernard Hopkins inside and out of the ring.
The film follows their lives and careers in their own words as they go from poverty to fame, fortune, self-destruction and self-discovery.
The DVD features comments from such boxing fans as Mark Wahlberg, Denzel Washington, Ron Howard, Spike Lee, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and Mary J. Blige.
Technical aspects: 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby Digital; English SDH and Spanish subtitles.

Other Blu-rays and DVDs being released on Tuesday, unless otherwise indicated:
American Hercules: Babe Ruth (Lionsgate)
Duck Dynasty: Season 7 (Lionsgate)
Lovesick (Anchor Bay Entertainment)
My Dad’s a Soccer Mom (Alchemy)
Roommate Wanted (DVD + Ultraviolet) (Lionsgate)
Beloved Sisters (Music Box Films, May 12)
FOR KIDS
Maya the Bee Movie (Shout! Kids)
Team Umizoomi: Meet Shark Car (Nickelodeon-Paramount Home Entertainment)

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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