New to View: ‘While We’re Young’ a sharp comedy that explores the gift of aging
By Bob Bloom
The following Blu-rays and DVDs are being released on Tuesday, June 30:
While We’re Young (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2015, Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Rated: R, language
The lowdown: Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts head the cast in director Noah Baumbach’s comedy about a middle-aged couple, Josh and Cornelia who meet a free-spirited twenty-something couple and the impact on the older couple’s lives.
Adam Driver and Amanda Seyfried portray the younger pair who influences the older couple to, among other activities, take hip-hop dance classes and attend mind-expanding parties.
Yet, the various experiences seem to make Josh and Cornelia appreciate more and more the rewards of growing old together.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: A series of behind-the-scenes featurettes on the cast, working with Baumbach, the hip-hop class and other looks at the film comprise the major bonus offerings.
Get Hard: Unrated (Blu-ray + DVD + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2015, Warner Home Video
Rated: Unrated and R, crude humor, language, sexual content, nudity, drug material
The lowdown: Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart star in this lowbrow comedy, which offended some people because of perceived racial stereotyping.
Ferrell plays a millionaire hedge fund manager sentenced to time in Sing Sing for fraud. He asks Hart, whom he believes is an ex-con, but, in reality, is a small business owner, to teach him how to survive in prison. Several of the laughs are politically incorrect, which is the entire point of the film. The set contains the unrated and theatrical versions of the movie.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English 5.1 Dolby Digital audio descriptive track and French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles; DVD: 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English, English audio descriptive track, Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby Digital; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus offerings include a line-o-rama, a Kevin hart workout featurette, a behind-the-scenes of Ferrell fighting, a gag reel, a look at gangsta Ferrell and deleted scenes.
Five Easy Pieces: Special Edition (Blu-ray)
Details: 1970, The Criterion Collection
Rated: R, language, sexual situations
The lowdown: Jack Nicholson had his first starring role after his success in “Five Easy Pieces” in this dramatic character study by director Bob Rafelson.
Nicholson’s Bobby Dupea is not a nice person. He is a shiftless s.o.b., a former oil rigger and piano prodigy, who lacks any sense of responsibility. The plot centers on Dupea’s return to his childhood home with his blue-collar girlfriend — a strong performance by Karen Black — to visit his sick father.
The movie is one of cinema’s great studies in alienation.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English LPCM monaural; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include a commentary track, a 2009 featurette about the film, a 2009 documentary about the BBS film company, a 1976 AFI interview with Rafelson and a booklet with an essay about the movie.
“The Decline of Western Civilization Collection” (Blu-ray)
Details: 1980-98, Shout! Factory
Rated: Not rated and R, language
The lowdown: A four-disc set featuring Penelope Spheeris’ trilogy of rock music documentaries. “The Decline of Western Civilization” (1980) looks at the punk rock scene, it mosh pits, humor, violence and anti-establishment concepts; the second movie examines the heavy metal scene of the late 1980s in Los Angeles; and the third film, which never achieved a theatrical release, looks at homeless youth who fled because of alcoholism, neglect or abuse.
Among the musicians featured in the first two movies are Black Flag, X, Circle Jerks, Alice Cooper, Ozzy Osbourne, Kiss, Aerosmith, Megadeath, Faster Pussycat and Motorhead.
These are three fascinating — and in some aspects, disturbing — movies about what is perceived as counterculture movements.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.33:1 full-screen (“The Decline of Western Civilization,” 1.78:1 widescreen pictures on “Parts II and III”; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and DTS-HD Master Audio monaural.
Don’t miss: Among the bonus offerings are never-before-seen interviews and performances, vintage interviews with Spheeris, a couple of commentary tracks, behind-the-scene footage, extended interviews with various band members, a panel discussion and a 40-page booklet featuring stills.
Danny Collins (Blu-ray + DVD + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2015, Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Rated: R, language, drug use, nudity
The lowdown: Al Pacino stars as Danny Collins, an aging 1970s rock musician, who is having difficulty giving up his hard-living ways. His life radically changes after his longtime manager, played by Christopher Plummer, unearths a 40-year-old letter written to Collins by John Lennon.
Collins sets out to reconnect with his family, establish a romantic relationship and basically clean up his act. The film’s soundtrack contains songs by Lennon, which should please fans of the late singer-songwriter.
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: A behind-the-scenes featurette and a look at Danny Collins album covers through the years comprise the major bonus offerings.
Vanilla Sky (Blu-ray)
Details: 2001, Warner Home Video
Rated: R, sexual content and language
The lowdown: Tom Cruise, Penelope Cruz and Cameron Diaz star in this strange drama about a handsome and rich publishing magnet who supposedly has it all.
One night, he meets the woman of his dreams who he believes will make his life complete. But a jealous lover causes a tragedy that upends the tycoon’s life.
The movie is rather confusing as writer-director Cameron Crowe makes it difficult to discern reality for the tycoon’s imagination and dreams.
The Blu-ray does feature an alternate ending version as well as the theatrical release.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 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 extras are a gag reel, 12 alternate scenes, a mask test, a Kurt Russell single test, an interview with Paul McCartney, a music video and a commentary track.
The Lazarus Effect (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Release date: June 16
Details: 2015, Fox Home Entertainment
Rated: PG-13, intense horror violence and terror, language, sexual references
The lowdown: A group of young researchers have succeeded in bringing the dead back to life. But when Zoe (Olivia Wilde), the fiancée of the lead researcher is killed in an accident, the team uses their serum to bring her back. Since this is a horror feature, the results — as you can guess — are not what they expected.
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: Bonus offerings include a making of documentary, a look at the moral dilemma behind the film’s concept and deleted and extended scenes.
Southbounders: 10th Anniversary Edition Director’s Cut
Release date: June 23
Details: 2015, FilmBuff
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Writer-director Ben Wagner’s character study of a young woman and the two young men she meets while hiking the complete Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia.
Two men befriend the young woman, who is a novice hiker. Along the way, romance ensues and the young woman also is forced to question her motives for the journey.
The indie film, originally released in 2005, is getting a 10th anniversary video-on-demand release.
Doctor Who: The Cybermen
Release date: May 19
Details: 2006-14, BBC Home Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A two-disc set that features three Doctor Who reincarnations battling these terrifying and killing cyborgs.
The set includes Tenth Doctor David Tennant in “Army of Ghosts/Doomsday,” Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith in Closing Time and Nightmare in Silver and Twelfth Doctor Peter Capaldi in “Dark Water/Death in Heaven.” These episodes show why the Cybermen have been one of the most formidable foes the various Doctors have encountered.
Technical aspects: 16×9 anamorphic widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby Digital; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include Fifth Doctor Peter Davison starring in the four-part Cybermen adventure “Earthshock” and a documentary chronicling the history and development of the cyborgs.
Release date: June 16
Details: 1981, Warner Home Video
Rated: R, graphic violence, language
The lowdown: Albert Finney plays a NYPD detective and Gregory Hines portrays a coroner in this intelligent supernatural thriller about a group of mysterious and brutal murders.
The killers are werewolves who are protecting their territory from the encroachment of mankind.
The movie, directed by Michael Wadleigh, looks and sounds first-rate, with superb cinematography by Gerry Fisher. The release, part of the Warner Archive Collection, can be found at www.warnerarchive.com or other online retailers.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.40:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH subtitles.
Last Knights (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2014, Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Rated: R, violence
The lowdown: Clive Owen and Morgan Freeman star in this medieval costume drama about a fallen knight who sets out to avenge his disgraced master by battling a corrupt and sadistic ruler.
The film contains the usual sword fights and court intrigue, enough to satisfy fans of the genre. Plus the casting of Owen and Freeman add weight to the feature.
Technical aspects: 2.40:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio: English SDH, English and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus offerings include a behind-the-scenes featurette, a look at the special effects and interviews with cast members and filmmakers.
Release date: June 16
Details: 1971 MGM-Fox Home Entertainment
Rated: R, language, sexual content
The lowdown: Frank Zappa and the Mother of Invention’s film is definitely a product of its times. Free flowing and self-indulgent, the film really has no plot. Rather, it’s an audio and visual assault on the senses, featuring the band’s strange and bawdy form of humor. Among others in the cast are Theodore Bikel and Ringo Starr.
The release is part of the MGM Limited Edition Collection and can be found at www.foxconnect.com or other online retailers.
Technical aspects: 4×3 full-screen picture.
Release date: June 16
Details: 1974, MGM-Fox Home Entertainment
The lowdown: A family-oriented comedy about a prejudiced basketball coach who must rethink his attitude after his big hearted wife adopts three children of mixed ethnic backgrounds.
Joseph Bologna plays the coach,, who, of course, slowly mends his ways; and Barbara Harris is his wife. The movie does have an edge, but comes around to happy ending conventions by the final reel.
The release is part of the MGM Limited Edition Collection and can be found at www.foxconnect.com or other Internet dealers.
Technical aspects: 1.85:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture.
“Eddie Cantor 4-Film Collection”
Release date: June 16
Details: 1931-36, Warner Home Video
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Eddie Cantor was one of the most popular entertainers in the early decades of the 20th century.
He started out in vaudeville, then Broadway musicals, movies and radio.
In the 1930s, he starred in a series of musical comedies for producer Samuel Goldwyn, who was able to showcase Cantor’s bubbly personality.
This set contains four of those films: “Palmy Days” (1931), in which Cantor plays a baker who gets mixed up with a gang of phony psychics; “The Kid From Spain” (1932), in which our hero must masquerade as a famous bullfighter; “Roman Scandals” (1933), in which Eddie is an exiled Okie who dreams of life in ancient Rome; and “Strike Me Pink” (1936), which finds Eddie standing up to a group of gangsters. His costar in this effort is Ethel Merman.
The release is part of the Warner Archive Collection and can be found at www.warnerarchive.com or other online DVD dealers.
Technical aspects: 1.37:1 (4×3) full-screen picture; English Dolby Digital monaural.
Release date: June 16
Details: 1969, MGM-Fox Home Entertainment
The lowdown: This weak satire, written and directed by Philip Kaufman, marked the film debut of Jon Voight, who plays a country boy who treks to the big city of Chicago and is murdered by mobsters.
The young man is reincarnated as a superhero. The movie is rather pretentious, and the wit is obvious and only mildly amusing.
The release is part of the MGM Limited Edition Collection and can be found at www.foxconnect.com or other online sources.
Technical aspects: 16×9 widescreen picture.
Other Blu-rays and DVDs being released on Tuesday, unless otherwise indicated:
Gangland Undercover: Season 1 (Lionsgate Home Entertainment)
Ghosthouse & Witchery double feature (Blu-ray) (Scream Factory)
Valerie and Her Week of Wonders: Special Edition (Blu-ray) (The Criterion Collection)
Coming next week: House of Cards: The Complete Third Season
Merchants of Doubt
Bob Bloom is a member of the Indiana Film Journalists Association. He reviews movies, Blu-rays and DVDs for ReelBob (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.