New to View: ‘Fury Road’ retains its thrills for home theaters

By Bob Bloom
The following Blu-rays and DVDs are being released on Tuesday, Sept. 1:
Mad Max: Fury Road (Blu-ray + DVD + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2015, Warner Home Video
Rated: R, intense violence, disturbing images
The lowdown: A relentless, nonstop and breathless post-apocalyptic thriller, starring Tom Hardy as Max, who wanders the desolate wasteland of his shattered world simply trying to survive.
The film loses none of its power in its transfer for home theater viewing. The colors are sharp and vivid and the sound will blow you out of your seat as it did in the theater.
Great stunts and beginning-to-end action makes “Fury Road” a great addition to any home entertainment collection.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 2.40:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English Dolby Atmos, English 5.1 Dolby Digital descriptive track and French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles; DVD: 2.40:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English, Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby Digital; English SDH, Spanish and French subtitles.
Don’t miss: Among the extras are jaw-dropping featurettes on the making of the movie, a look at the creation of the vehicles used in the film, a behind-the-scenes peek at the stunt work, deleted scenes, profiles of Hardy and Charlize Theron, a look at the odds and ends collected to make the tools of the apocalyptic future and a featurette on the young women who play the five wives.

Bessie (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2015, HBO Home Entertainment
Rated: TV MA
The lowdown: Queen Latifah stars as legendary blues singer Bessie Smith as she transforms herself from a struggling young novice to the “Empress of the Blues.”
The film also examines her tumultuous personal life as well as her professional triumphs.
Latifah gives a strong performance, backed by Michael Kenneth Williams and Mo’Nique.
The Blu-ray’s audio track brings Smith’s music to life.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 16:9 picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French 5.1 DTS surround and Spanish 2.0 DTS surround. English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: A featurette that examines the collaboration between the cast and filmmakers that brought “Bessie” to the screen.

Texas Rising (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2015, Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: This HISTORY miniseries looks at Texas’ fight for independence from the rule of Mexican Gen. Santa Anna as well as how creation of The Texas Rangers.
Academy Award-nominated Roland Joffe (“The Killing Fields”) directed this epic that features Bill Paxton as Sam Houston, along with Brendan Fraser, Ray Liotta, Oliver Martinez, Thomas Jane, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Chad Michael Murray and Max Thieirot.
History buffs will enjoy seeing how the people of Texas overcame huge odds to form, first, their own republic, then become part of the United States.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.40:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: A featurette on the making of the miniseries and profiles of Houston and Santa Anna comprise the major bonus offerings.

Madam Secretary: Season One (DVD + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2014-15, CBS DVD-Paramount Home Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A six-disc set featuring all 2 first-season episodes of the new, hit CBS series that stars Tea Leoni as Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord.
Being a television series, of course, McCord has an independent streak that sometimes gets her — and the administration — in hot water, but she is usually able to extricate the government by the end of the hour.
A major arc of the first season deals with the investigation into the supposed accidental death of McCord’s predecessor in a plane crash.
The episodes also delve into McCord’s private life as a wife and mother.
Technical aspects: 16×9 full-screen picture; English 5.1 Dolby Digital; English SDH and Portuguese subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include an overview of the making of season one, deleted scenes, commentaries on select episodes, a featurette with cast members and former political reporters discussing U.S. foreign policy as well as the first episode of “The Affair.”

Scorpion: Season One (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2014-15, CBS DVD-Paramount Home Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A five-disc set featuring the initial season of the series about a team of brilliant misfits who work with a Homeland Security agent to protect the country from high-tech threats.
These young heroes, of course, have issues, including a gambling addiction and anger and anxiety issues. But they still manage to get the job done.
Technical aspects: 16:9 full-screen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby Digital stereo surround. English SDH subtitles.
Don’t’ miss: Bonus materials include a making of featurette, a behind-the-scenes look at the most intense sequences of the season, a gag reel, deleted scenes, commentaries and a look inside the brain of star Eddie Kaye Thomas.

The Vampire Diaries: The Complete Sixth Season (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2014-15, Warner Home Video
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: This four-disc set features all 22 sixth-season episodes of the popular CW series, that finds Elena returning to Whitmore College after the loss of her boyfriend and best friend to the Other Side.
But no one is ever really gone in this supernatural series, as Damon makes his way back to Elena and Bonnie trapped in a prison world.
Topping it all, Mystic Falls is under an anti-magic spell. The episodes are filled with love, loss, betrayal, reunions and, of course, magic.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.78:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and French and Spanish 2.0 Dolby Digital; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include a featurette saying goodbye to Nina Dobrev, Steven R. McQueen, Marguerite MacIntryre and Michael Trevino, a look at fans reactions to memorial moments from the season, a commentary track, a look at the 2014 Comic-Con panel, deleted scenes, a gag reel and a Visit Georgia public service announcement.

Hawaii Five-0: The Fifth Season
Details:
2014-15, CBS DVD-Paramount Home Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: The Five-0 team returns in this six-disc set offering 25 exciting episodes as they protect Hawaii from terrorists and just plain old criminals.
Steve McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin), Danny “Danno” Williams (Scott Caan) and the rest of the team deal with the theft of priceless art, the kidnapping of one of their own and, of course, facing off against their nemesis, Wo Fat.
So, warm up for the upcoming season of this CBS series, by checking out or catching up with the previous season’s adventures.
Technical aspects: 16:9 full-screen picture; English 5.1 Dolby Digital stereo; English SDH and Portuguese subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include an overview of the season’s action, the music, a look at locations, commentaries on select episodes, a behind-the-scenes with Daniel Dae Kim directing, a gag reel, deleted scenes, a music video and a Five-0 x 100 featurette.

Gemma Bovery
Details: 2015, Music Box Films
Rated: R, sexual content, nudity, language
The lowdown: A beautiful young Englishwoman (Gemma Arterton) and her husband move into an old farmhouse in Normandy in the same village where Gustave Flaubert wrote “Madame Bovary” a century earlier.
The local baker, a Flaubert enthusiast, begins to draw parallels between the literary character and the village’s new arrival.
A local playboy is smitten with Gemma, the Englishwoman, causing the baker to fear for her future.
The film is an interesting literary mash-up, a romantic drama and a celebration of French provincial life.
Technical aspects: 2.35:1 widescreen picture; French 5.1 Dolby Digital; English and French subtitles.
Don’t miss: A making of featurette, another with director Anne Fontaine, a look at transferring the graphic novel to the screen and gallery from the graphic novel comprise the major bonus offerings.

Extinction
Details: 2015, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Rated: R, graphic horror and terror violence, language
The lowdown: Another futuristic zombie apocalypse feature. This one takes place nine years after the cataclysm and focuses on two men and a little girl, the daughter of one of the men.
They have taken refuge in a snowbound town named Harmony, where they do not see any zombies, nor any signs of other survivors.
When one of the men goes in search of food, he discovers the undead have evolved into creatures even more dangerous.
Once again, humanity must make a last stand.
Technical aspects: 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen picture; English, Spanish and Thai 5.1 Dolby Digital; English SDH, English, traditional Chinese, French, Korean, Spanish and Thai subtitles.
Don’t miss: A series of eight behind-the-scenes featurettes that dissect various aspects of the film comprise the bonus materials.

Felt
Details: 2015, Anchor Bay Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A young woman who is struggling to cope with past sexual trauma as well as the indignities of a male-dominated society, creates grotesque-costumed alter egos in order to survive and give herself a sense of power.
But when she meets and begins a relationship with a seemingly nice guy, her alter egos lash out and threaten to lead her down a very dark path.
The film is based on a story by star Amy Everson and director Jason Banker.
Technical aspects: 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby Digital; English SDH and Spanish subtitles.

The Harvest (Blu-ray)
Details: 2015, IFC Midnight-Scream Factory
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: This creepy feature is notable for its director, John McNaughton, who helmed the cult favorite, “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer.”
In this outing, a young girl moves in with her grandparents after she is orphaned. The lonely girl befriends a deathly ill, bed-ridden boy, even though the boy’s mother objects.
The girl, however, persists and continues to secretly visit the boy. Slowly she uncovers some sinister and unsettling events happening in the house.
The cast includes Michael Shannon and Samantha Morton.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH subtitles.

Blood Punch
Details: 2015, Bluff Road Productions-Midnight Releasing
Rated: Not rated, mature themes
The lowdown: A drama about a chemistry student in a court-mandated rehab center who is seduced by a new patient, a beautiful young woman, who wants the student to cook up some drugs for her.
Things get complicated when her boyfriend busts them out of the facility and takes them to an isolated hunting lodge, where the two are forced to kill the trigger-happy guy.
But he returns the next day with no memory of being killed, and the pair kill him again and again, day after day.
This psychological thriller blurs the line between reality and hallucination.
Technical aspects: 16×9 widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby Digital stereo.
Don’t miss: Deleted scenes, outtakes and test footage comprise the major bonus features.

Wolf Warrior (Blu-ray)
Details: 2015, Well Go USA Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A Chinese Special Forces marksman finds himself in jail for disobeying orders.
The members of the Wolf Warriors get him out and bring him into their outfit, where they hone his skills. And he will need them sharpened, as a band of killers are looking for men to avenge the murder of their drug lord boss.
The film is loaded with action that fans of the genre will appreciate. The movie stars Wu Jing, who also directed and co-wrote the story.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 16:9 widescreen picture; Mandarin 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio surround; English subtitles.

Army of Frankensteins (Blu-ray)
Details: 2014, Scream Factory
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A weird mash-up of horror and Civil War battle sequences are combined in this feature about a young man nearly beaten to death by a street gang.
He is taken to the lab of a mysterious doctor and his young genius assistant who conduct horrible experiments on the young man as part of a plan to reanimate the legendary Frankenstein monster.
Instead, the experiments rip a hole in space and time and pull an army’s worth of creatures from parallel universes and dump them all in the 19th century directly into the heat of a battle between North and South.
This makes the War Between the States, a war between the living and the undead.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.35:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 and 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio.

Atlantis: Season Two, Part Two
Release date: Aug. 18
Details: 2015, BBC Home Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A two-disc set featuring the conclusion of the second season of this BBC series set in the mythical Atlantis.
During these final episodes, Jason of the Argonauts is reunited with his friends Hercules and Pythagoras.
The trio get involved in a political power struggle that brings the kingdom to the precipice of collapse.
Technical aspects: 16:9 anamorphic widescreen picture; English 2.0 Dolby Digital; English SDH and French subtitles.
Don’t miss: A featurette on bringing the legends to life and behind-the-scenes look at the show, including cast and crew interviews.

Lost After Dark (Blu-ray)
Details: 2015, Anchor Bay Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A horror thriller that is a throwback to the slasher films of the 1980s.
A group of teens sneaks out of their Spring Ball 1984 dance to party on their own. Their plans go awry when they run out of gas on a deserted road and begin to hoof it.
When they discover a deserted farmhouse, they seek help. Instead, they find a cannibalistic serial killer who begins killing the teens.
Fans of the genre will appreciate the tone and pace of the movie.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.78:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD; English SDH and Spanish subtitles.

Mystery Science Theater 3000: Volume One
Details: 1960s-70s, Shout! Factory
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: The first volume of films from this popular satiric television show is reissued with restored details from the original broadcast as well as new extras.
The four movies that are the butt of jokes from the crew of the Satellite of Love are “Catalina Caper,” “The Creeping Terror,” “Bloodlust” and “The Skydivers.”
It’s not the movies, but the observations of Joel, Mike, Tom Servo and Crow that are highlights.
Technical aspects: English Dolby Digital.
Don’t miss: Among the extras, old and new, are “The Crown Jewels, which looks at Crown International Pictures; a “Creeping Terror” trailer, an extended trailer for “The Creep Behind the Camera” and a “Creep Behind the Camera” question-and-answer session with Frank Conniff and Trace Beaulieu at Screamfest 2014.

Lords of London (DVD + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2014, Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Rated: R, graphic violence, language
The lowdown: A son must confront his gangster father’s past after a shakedown goes bad in this British family crime drama.
The son begins rethinking the path he is taking as he looks at the life of his ruthless father, played by the sturdy Ray Winstone.
Technical aspects: 2.35:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby Digital; English SDH and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: A trailer gallery is the major extra.

Other Blu-rays and DVDs being released on Tuesday, unless otherwise indicated:
Backcountry (Blu-ray) (IFC Midnight-Scream Factory)
Lawless Kingdom (DVD + Ultraviolet) (Lionsgate Home Entertainment)
Panic 5 Bravo (DVD + Ultraviolet) (Lionsgate Home Entertainment)
Touched by An Angel: The Spirit of Liberty Moon (CBS DVD-Paramount Home Entertainment) (Walmart exclusive)
Walker, Texas Ranger: 4 Movie Collection (CBS DVD-Paramount Home Entertainment) (Walmart exclusive)
FOR KIDS
Alpha and Omega: The Legend of Saw Tooth Cave (DVD + Ultraviolet) (Lionsgate Home Entertainment)
Paw Patrol: Meet Everest! (Nickelodeon-Paramount Home Entertainment)

Coming next week: The Age of Adaline
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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