New to View: ‘The Loft’ an unpleasant place to visit

By Bob Bloom
The following Blu-rays and DVDs are being released on Tuesday, May 26:
The Loft (Blu-ray + DVD + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2014, Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Rated: R, nudity, sexual content, violence, language, drug use
The lowdown: An unpleasant and sleazy thriller about five friends who unite to share a secret penthouse in the city where they can indulge their deepest and darkest fantasies.
When a dead body is discovered, friendships and loyalties are tested as the friends realize one of them is a killer.
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, French and Spanish subtitles.

Hello Ladies: The Complete Series and the Movie
Details: 2013-14, HBO Home Entertainment
Rated: TV-MA
The lowdown: This short-lived HBO series follows Englishman Stuart Pritchard (Stephen Merchant) as he relocates to Los Angeles is hopes of crashing the world of the beautiful people.
The episodes are filled with cringe-worthy humor as Stuart stumbles through his attempts to be a ladies’ man.
The three-disc set features all eight series episodes as well as the movie that wraps up the series.
Technical aspects: 16×9 widescreen picture; English and French 5.1 Dolby Digital and Spanish 2.0 Dolby Digital; English, French, Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus materials include a behind-the-scenes featurette with comments from cast members and filmmakers and deleted scenes.

Ray Donovan: Season Two (Blu-ray)
Details: 2014, Showtime Entertainment-CBS DVD-Paramount Home Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Live Schreiber stars as Hollywood crisis fixer Ray Donovan in the second season this Showtime series.
Among the challenges facing Ray in season two, is his ex-con father, played by Jon Voight, dodging the law, and his wife’s growing attraction for a police officer.
In this three-disc set, Donovan must face the challenge of keeping his family intact and catering to the needs of his clients.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 16:9 widescreen picture; English 5.1 TrueHD, French 5.1 TrueHD surround and Spanish 2.0 TrueHD stereo; English SDH and English subtitles.
Don’t miss: Commentaries on select episodes marks the major bonus feature.

State of Siege: Special Edition (Blu-ray)
Details: 1972, The Criterion Collection
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Director Costa-Garvas’ political thriller is rather rough on the United States as it focuses on the abduction of a U.S. official by a guerrilla group in an unnamed Latin American country.
The group is violently protesting the counterinsurgency and torture training organized by the CIA.
The kidnapping soon becomes a media event, which sparks violence and repercussions. The film examines the U.S. government’s support for dictatorships, while questioning the morality of radical violence to oppose such regimes.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.66:1 widescreen picture; French LPCM monaural; English subtitles.
Don’t miss: A discussion between Costa-Garvas and film scholar Peter Cowie, a 1970 NBC news excerpt on the kidnapping of U.S. diplomat Dan A. Mitrione, which inspired the film, plus an essay about the movie comprise the extras.

Ballet 422 (Blu-ray)
Details: 2014, Magnolia Home Entertainment
Rated: PG, language
The lowdown: A documentary that goes behind the scenes at the New York City Ballet to watch up-and-coming choreographer Justin Peck create his Ballet 422.
The movie showcases the process of the dance as well as the hard work and dedication necessary to bring it to fruition.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.78:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH, Spanish and French subtitles.
Don’t miss
: Extras include a look at creating the film, deleted scenes, a commentary track, choreography sketch gallery, a costume design gallery and a music, lighting and stage management gallery.

Glee: The Final Season
Release date: May 19
Details: 2015, Fox Home Entertainment
Rated: TV-14
The lowdown: The final season of this series took some bizarre turns before its two-part finale, which was sentimental and a tribute to the series’ original premise.
The four-disc set features all 13 episodes, as the show seemed to stagger into its final act.
Technical aspects: 1.78:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby Digital; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles; English closed-captioned.
Don’t miss: Bonus offerings include a music jukebox, a looking back video yearbook and a final curtain featurette.

Orange Is the New Black: Season Two (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Release date: May 19
Details: 2014, Lionsgate
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A three-disc set featuring the complete second season of the popular dark comedy series set in a women’s prison.
The series follows Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling) and her fellow inmates in Litchfield prison, where anything can happen — and usually does.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.78:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and French 5.1 Dolby Digital; English SDH, English and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include four behind-the-scenes featurettes as well as commentaries.

The Confession: Special Edition (Blu-ray)
Details: 1970, The Criterion Collection
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Costa-Garvas followed up his highly acclaimed “Z” with this story that focused on the Soviet bloc show trials of the 1950s.
Yves Montand stars as Czech Communist Party official who is abducted, imprisoned and interrogated, yet is left in the dark about his abductors’ motives.
Simone Signoret costars in this nightmarish drama.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.66:1 widescreen picture; French LPCM monaural; English subtitles.
Don’t miss: Supplemental materials include a 1970 on-set documentary about the film and its origins, a 1981 French TV program in which Artur and Lisa London discuss their experiences as political prisoners, a 1970 interview with Montand, an interview with editor Francoise Bonnot, a 1998 conversation between Costa-Garvas and film scholar Peter von Bagh, an interview with author John Michalczyk, who wrote a book about Costa-Garvas and an essay about the film.

The Saint: The Complete Series
Details: 1962-69, Timeless Media Group
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Before he took over as James Bond, Roger Moore portrayed Leslie Charteris’ Simon Templar, known as “The Saint.”
This 33-disc set contains all 118 episodes of the British-made series, which featured such guest stars as Oliver Reed, Edward Woodward, Lois Maxwell, Honor Blackman, Donald Sutherland, Julie Christie and Shirley Eaton.
Technical aspects: 4×3 full-screen picture; English Dolby Digital.
Don’t miss: Extras include commentaries on several episodes.

The Merchant of Four Seasons: Special Edition (Blu-ray)
Details: 1971, The Criterion Collection
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Rainer Werner Fassbinder directed this black comedy that charts the self-destructive decline of a former police officer and war veteran who, to make ends meet for his family, works as a fruit vendor.
For this film, Fassbinder used a more complex script and narrative structure as well as showing a more sophisticated use of his camera.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.37:1 full-screen picture; German LPCM monaural; English subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include a commentary track, interviews with cast members, an interview with film scholar Eric Rentschler and an essay about the film.

Walker, Texas Ranger: The Complete Collection
Release date:
May 12
Details: 1993-2001, 2005, CBS DVD-Paramount Home Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Chuck Norris is the modern-day Texas Ranger who battles outlaws in the Lone Star State in this 52-disc set.
The set includes all eight seasons — 198 episodes — of this action-packed series as this contemporary cowboy metes out his high-kicking brand of justice.
Technical aspects: 4×3 full-screen picture; English 5.1 Dolby Digital stereo; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: The extra is the feature-length film, “Walker, Texas Ranger: Trial by Fire.”

Let Us Prey (Blu-ray)
Details: 2014, Dark Sky Films
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A rookie cop finds herself over her head during her first night at a backwater precinct when a series of supernatural events begin after the arrival of a mysterious stranger.
The cop must fight for her life against crooks and fellow officers while she strives to uncover the stranger’s true plans.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.44:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 and 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio; English subtitles.
Don’t miss: A making of featurette is the main bonus offering.

Two Men in Town (Blu-ray)
Release date: May 12
Details: 2014, Cohen Media Group
Rated: R, language
The lowdown: Academy Award-winner Forest Whitaker stars as an ex-con trying to turn his life around after being paroled. However, the local sheriff continues to hassle the parolee, while his former criminal friends pressure him to resume his old life.
Harvey Keitel, Brenda Blethyn, Luis Guzman and Ellen Burstyn co-star.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, widescreen picture (16×9 enhanced); English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: A “Fences” special feature is the major extra.

Sword of Vengeance (Blu-ray)
Details: 2015, Well Go USA Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A costume drama about a Norman prince, freed from slavery, who sets out to avenge the murder of his father, killed by the prince’s treacherous uncle.
The prince and a group of exiled farmers band together. He leads them in a rebellion against his uncle. But will his thirst for revenge allow him to sacrifice his new comrades in order to gain his retribution?
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.39:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD stereo surround; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: A behind-the-scenes featurette and interviews with the filmmakers comprise the major bonus offerings.

Amazing Space (Blu-ray + DVD + CD)
Details: 2015, Film Chest Media
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A documentary film that takes you on a journey into space as seen through the lens of the Hubble telescope.
The film is a meditative reflection about our place in the universe as it combines yoga, meditation and dance in an effort to lift your spirits. This three-disc set is an audio-visual experience using sight, sound and music.
Technical aspects: 16×9 widescreen picture.
Don’t miss: Filmmaker interviews and an informational pamphlet comprise the major bonus features.

Other Blu-rays and DVDs being released on Tuesday, unless otherwise indicated:
Assassin’s Game (DVD + Ultraviolet) (Lionsgate
Cut Bank (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet) (Lionsgate)
Nightlight (DVD + Ultraviolet) (Lionsgate)

Coming next week: Jupiter Ascending
Focus
McFarland, U.S.A.

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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