New to View: ‘Hot Pursuit’ will leave you cold

By Bob Bloom
The following Blu-rays and DVDs are being released on Tuesday, Aug. 11
Hot Pursuit (Blu-ray + DVD + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2015, Warner Home Video
Rated: PG-13, violence, language, sexual content, drug use
The lowdown: This lame action comedy — it received an 8 percent fresh rating at Rottentomatoes.com — wastes the talents of Academy Award-winner Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara.
Witherspoon plays Cooper, an uptight, by-the-book cop and Vergara is the widow of a drug boss and the federal witness she is assigned to protect.
The clichés are as thick as weeds as the two find themselves being pursued by gunmen and crooked cops.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 2.40:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English 5.1 Dolby Digital descriptive audio and French 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, Spanish and French subtitles.
Don’t miss: A behind-the-scenes look at the interaction and on-the-set antics between Witherspoon and Vergara, a featurette on the actresses trying to speak each other’s language, a gag reel, alternate ending and an “Action Like a Lady” featurette comprise the major bonus materials.

Unfriended (Blu-ray + DVD + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2015, Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Rated: R, graphic violence, language, sexual content, drug and alcohol use
The lowdown: The hook to this horror-thriller is that most of it unfolds over a teen-ager’s computer screen.
CybernaturalWhen a prank goes wrong, it begins a sequence of deadly consequences for a group of teens who posted a shaming video that led a bully to kill herself.
The action takes place on the anniversary of the girl’s suicide and involves the group of friends who precipitated the tragedy.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 1.78:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH subtitles; DVD: 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby Digital; English SDH subtitles.

The Knick: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2014, HBO Home Entertainment
Rated: TV-MA
The lowdown: Clive Owen stars Dr. Thackery in this Cinemax series set in 1900 New York’s Knickerbocker Hospital.
The series focuses on the struggles of Thackery and the hospital’s staff to keep it running and viable after an exodus of wealthy patients.
The series looks at some of the issues of the time including changes in medicine, drug addiction, class distinctions and race relations.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.78:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French, Castilian Spanish and German 5.1 DTS digital surround, Latin Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese and Czech 2.0 DTS Digital surround; English SDH, French, Latin and Castilian Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Czech, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Episodes include looks at surgical techniques featured in the series, commentary tracks and a digital book with conversations about the series as well as all 10 first-season scripts.

I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story
Details: 2014, Cinedigm-Tribeca Film
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A documentary that looks at Caroll Spinney who, for 46 years, has been the man behind “Sesame Street’s” iconic Big Bird as well as Oscar the Grouch.
This is a warm and heartfelt portrait of the man and the artist who has brought so much joy to generations of children around the world.
The film traces Spinney’s life from bullied child to his meeting and collaboration with Jim Henson and forward, using archival footage, home movies and interviews with family members and collaborators.
Technical aspects: 16:9 widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby Digital surround; English closed-captioned.
Don’t miss: A series of deleted scenes comprises the bonus features.

2 Broke Girls: The Complete Fourth Season
Details: 2014-15, Warner Home Video
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Enjoy all 22 fourth-season episodes of this hit CBS series that follows the lives of struggling entrepreneurs Max (Kat Dennings) and 2 Broke Girls_Caroline (Beth Behrs) as the devise ways to keep their business — and dreams — thriving and growing.
Besides their bakery, the young women dive into other endeavors designing trendy tees.
The sitcom is entertaining mainly because of the chemistry between its two stars.
Technical aspects: Widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby Digital surround; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Unaired scenes and a gag reel comprise the major bonus materials.

Ex Machina (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Release date: July 14
Details: 2015, Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Rated: R, nudity, graphic violence, sexual references, language
The lowdown: One of the best films of 2015 asks such questions as what comprises intelligence and humanity.
The movie centers on a brilliant programmer who wins a contest to spend a week with his reclusive and eccentric inventor and his private mountain retreat. Once there, the programmer learns he was chosen to be the human component in a test in which he must evaluate the capabilities of the inventor’s latest creation in artificial intelligence. purpose of Bateman’s tests and his role in them.
“Ex Machina” is an excellent, sterile movie that, despite a lot of talk and a dearth of action, keeps you on your mental toes as you try to navigate its many twists and turns.
It is a cerebral movie about ideas that keeps you in suspense and questioning motives until its finale.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.40:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English 5.1 DTS Digital surround, English DTS.X and English DTS Headphone.X; English SDH, English and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: The major bonus offering is a five-part featurette on the creation of the film, going behind the scenes on various aspects of the production. Also included are eight behind-the-scenes vignettes and a question-and-answer session with filmmakers and actors at SXSW.

The Divergent Series: Insurgent (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Release date: Aug. 4
Details: 2015, Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Rated: PG-13, intense violence and action, adult themes, sexual situations, language
The lowdown: In the second film in this series Shailene Woodley’s Tris looks for answers and allies as the stakes get higher in the “Divergent” series.
Tris and her friends are targeted and hunted, even as they fight to protect their loved ones and unlock the truth about the past.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.40:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English Dolby TrueHD Atmos, English Dolby Digital audio optimized for late-night listening, English descriptive audio and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital; English SDH, English and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include an extensive behind-the-scenes look to all aspects of the movie, a look at adapting “Insurgent” for the screen, a look at the cast and filmmakers, a featurette on the train fight, a featurette on Peter Hayes and a commentary track.

True Story (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Release date: Aug. 4
Details: 2015, Fox Home Entertainment
Rated: R, disturbing images, language
The lowdown: James Franco and Jonah Hill star in this cat-and-mouse thriller about a disgraced journalist (Hill) who, after learning that an accused murderer (Franco) has been using his identity.
The journalist, hoping to revive his career, begins interviewing the convict as both men use each other to meet their own ends.
The movie is not as suspenseful or intense as it could have been, despite solid performances by both actors.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English 5.1 Dolby Digital descriptive audio and Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby Digital; English SDH and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Among the bonus offerings are an alternate ending, deleted scenes, a behind-the-scenes featurette about the making of the movie, a look at the real story, a featurette on Franco’s Christian Longo, another on Hill’s Mike Finkel and a commentary track.

The French Lieutenant’s Woman: Special Edition (Blu-ray)
Details: 1981, The Criterion Collection
Rated: R, language, violence, sexual situations
The lowdown: Meryl Streep and Jeremy Irons star in this sweeping adaptation of John Fowles’ novel, adapted to the screen by playwright Harold Pinter.
The movie plays as a period love story as well as a feature about cinema as it follows parallel narratives about a Victorian-era gentleman and the social outcast he loves as well as the contemporary actors playing the roles who are involved in their own off-set affair.
Nimbly directed by Karel Reisz with wonderful cinematography by the legendary Freddie Francis and a memorable score by Carl Davis, “The French Lieutenant’s Woman” remains a timeless and beguiling feature about love and passion.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English LPCM monaural; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include interviews with Streep, Iron, Davis and editor John Bloom, an interview with film scholar Ian Christie, a 1981 episode of “The South Bank Show” with Reisz, Fowles and Pinter and an essay about the movie.

Dig: Season One (Blu-ray)
Details: 2015, Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: This global thriller that aired on USA begins with the killing of an American woman in Jerusalem. From there, it evolves into a conspiracy about an unholy secret and the fulfilling of an ancient prophecy that could change the course of history.
Jason Isaacs and Anne Heche star in this 10-part series.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.78:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus offerings include deleted scenes, an alternate pilot episode and a featurette that goes behind-the-scenes on the making of the series.

The Killing: The Complete Fourth Season
Release date: Aug. 4
Details: 2014, Fox Home Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A two-disc set featuring all six fourth-season and final episodes of this police drama.
The series heads towards its climax with Detective Sarah Linden (Mireille Evans) and her partner Stephen Holder (Joel Kinnaman) seeking evidence that would link Linden to the murder of her former lover.
The pair also must investigate the killing of a youth at a respected military academy. The show does not disappoint as it continually delivers suspense and tension.
The video-on-demand DVD-R release is part of the Fox Cinema Archives collection and can be found at www.foxconnect.com or other Internet retail sites.
Technical aspects: 1.78:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby Digital.

Descendants
Release date: July 31
Details: 2015, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Rated: TV G
The lowdown: Director-choreographer Kenny Ortega helmed this Disney Channel feature about the children of such iconic villains as Maleficent, the Evil Queen, Jafar and Cruella De Vil who are paroled from exile to attend prep school in idyllic Auradon with the kids of many of Disney’s noted heroes such as Sleeping Beauty, Mulan, Rapunzel and the Fairy Godmother.
The focus, of course, is whether the evil offspring will follow in their parents’ footsteps and help their folks regain their evil powers or embrace goodness to help save the kingdom.
Since this is Disney, the outcome is obvious. Still, kids will enjoy the feature.
Technical aspects: 1.78:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby Digital and 2.0 French and Spanish Dolby Digital; English SDH, Spanish and French subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus offerings include a look backstage at rehearsals for the movie, a blooper reel and a look at the villainous Mal through social media.

Police Story: Lockdown (Blu-ray)
Details: 2013, Well Go USA Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Jackie Chan stars as Wen, a cop with a history of violence whose reunion with his daughter exposes a massive hostage plot that forces Wen to choose between justice and revenge.
This is the latest chapter in this popular crime thriller series.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 16:9 widescreen picture; Mandarin 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio stereo surround; English subtitles.
Don’t miss: Cast and filmmaker interviews and a behind-the-scenes featurette are the major extras.

The People Under the Stairs: Collector’s Edition (Blu-ray)
Details: 1991, Scream Factory
Rated: R, violence, language
The lowdown: Wes Craven wrote and directed this nightmarish thriller about a young boy trapped inside a fortified home owned by a mysterious couple.
The boy soon learns the true nature of the inhabitants and the secret creatures that are hidden in the house.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English DTS-HD Master Audio; English subtitles.
Don’t miss: A couple of commentary tracks, an interview with actress Wendy Robie, interviews with the special effects team, the director of photography and the composer and behind-the-scenes footage comprise the extras.

Killing Jimmy Hoffa
Release date:
July 21
Details: 2014, MVD Entertainment Group
Rated: Not rated:
The lowdown: A documentary that looks at the disappearance of former Teamsters union leader Jimmy Hoffa 40 years after the fact.
Many theories exist about what happened to Hoffa, and also about his leadership of the union, his alleged ties to organized crime and his battles with powerful political leaders.
The film features interviews, news footage and photographs to tell the story of Hoffa and help to possibly uncover his actual fate.
Technical aspects: Widescreen picture.

Madison
Release date:
Aug. 4
Details: 2005, MGM-Fox Home Entertainment
Rated: PG, sports danger, language
The lowdown: A sports drama set in Madison, Ind., that deals with the 1971 Gold Cup Championship race and the dilapidated hydroplane that is being refurbished to enter and win the race.
This is one of those feel-good sports movies that will make you cry then cheer.
The release is a video-on-demand DVD-R from the MGM Limited Edition Collection and can be found at www.foxconnect.com or other online dealers.
Technical aspects: 2.35:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture.

Below the Belt
Release date:
Aug. 4
Details: 1980, MGM-Fox Home Entertainment
Rated: R, language
The lowdown: A drama about a waitress just skimping by who is a natural at fending off sexual advances. When a promoter discovers her talents, the waitress soon finds herself competing in the grueling world of women’s professional wrestling.
This is a rather interesting movie about people who live on the edges of society.
The release is a video-on-demand DVD-R from the MGM Limited Edition Collection and can be found at www.foxconnect.com or other online retailers.
Technical aspects: 16×9 widescreen picture.

Other Blu-rays and DVDs being released on Tuesday, unless otherwise indicated:
Last Days of the Nazis (Lionsgate Home Entertainment)
Mythbusters: Collection 13 (Cinedigm-Discovery)
Shark Week: Dominating the Deep (Cinedigm-Discovery)
Club Millennium (MVD Entertainment Group, July 7)
R&B Special Edition (MVD Entertainment Group, July 7)
FOR KIDS
Blaze and the Monster Machines: High-Speed Adventures (Nickelodeon-Paramount Home Entertainment)
Lalaoopsy: Band Together (Lionsgate Home Entertainment)
Max Steel: Go, Turbo! (Lionsgate Home Entertainment)
Power Rangers Super Megaforce: The Legendary Battle (DVD + Ultraviolet) (Lionsgate Home Entertainment)
The Very Fairy Princess … And More Imaginative Tales (Cinedigm-Scholastic)

Coming next week: Walt Disney Animated Studios Shorts Collection
Dressed to Kill

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 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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