New to View: ‘Furious 7’ roars onto home entertainment centers

By Bob Bloom
The following Blu-rays and DVDs are being released on Tuesday, Sept. 15:
Furious 7: Extended Edition (Blu-ray + DVD + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2015, Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Rated: Not rated and PG-13, violent action and mayhem, language, suggestive content
The lowdown: The action is as spectacular and explosive as in previous outings, but it seems this sequel lacks that spark of fun that infused the earlier efforts.
Possibly this is because of the tragic death of co-star Paul Walker during the middle of shooting. The movie is a direct follow-up to “Fast and Furious 6,” in which Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), Brian O’Conner (Walker) and the rest of the crew helped Dwayne Johnson’s Hobbs take down a criminal group headed by Shaw (Luke Evans).
In “Seven,” Shaw’s brother, Deckard (Jason Statham), is out to even the score.
The chases and explosions roar to life on my home screen. The picture is razor sharp and the audio blasts you back in your seat.
The set features extended as well as the theatrical versions of the movie. The extended version adds two minutes to the feature.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 2.40:1 widescreen picture; English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English descriptive audio and Spanish and French 5.1 DTS digital surround; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles; DVD: 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen picture; English, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital; English descriptive audio; English SDH, Spanish and French subtitles.
Don’t miss: Hours of bonus offerings include a look at the cars, deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes looks at the flying cars and Abu Dhabi tower jump sequences, a featurette on the training for hand-to-hand combat scenes, a featurette with the cast discussing how the franchise has evolved over the years, a music video, a look back with filmmakers and cast members on how the franchise has evolved, a look at the return to the fictional Race Wars featured in the first movie, a making of featurette and a behind-the-scenes peek at the shooting of one of the film’s premier action sequences.

Cinderella (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD
Details: 2015, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Rated: PG, mature themes
The lowdown: Disney’s live-action adaptation of its classic animated fairy tale is a well-done and handsome feature that takes a rather mature cinderella mainapproach to its subject matter.
Oh, magic still plays a role — as does a fairy godmother, mice transforming into horses, a pumpkin into a coach, etc. etc. — but it’s done by director Kenneth Branagh in a manner that feels neither cartoonish nor childish.
Lily James as Cinderella is a plucky and luminous ingénue, while Cate Blanchett brings an unexpected vulnerability to the role of the evil stepmother.
The film loses nothing in its transition from big to small screen.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 2.39:1 widescreen picture; English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English 2.0 audio descriptive track and Dolby Digital 5.1 French and Spanish; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles; DVD: 2.39:1 widescreen picture; English, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital and English 2.0 audio descriptive track; English SDH, Spanish and French subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus materials include the animated short “Frozen Fever,” a behind-the-scenes featurette on bringing the fairy tale to life, a peek at creating the lavish ball sequence, an alternate opening sequence, an inside look at the animal performers and deleted scenes.

Love & Mercy (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2015, Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Rated: PG-13, mature themes, drug use, language
The lowdown: A well-done biopic that looks at the life and struggles of Brian Wilson, the genius singer-songwriter of The Beach Boys.
Paul Dano plays the younger Brian as he struggles to express the sounds he hears in his head and contend with a domineering and abuse father. John Cusack plays the older Brian, under the influence and control of his therapist — a very creepy performance by Paul Giamatti — who battles, with the help of a loving woman, played by Elizabeth Banks, to regain control of his own life.
This is one of the best movies of the year, rounded out by a talented group of solid performers.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.78:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital; English SDH, English and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include deleted scenes, a featurette on creating the movie’s look, a featurette on the two actors portraying Wilson and a commentary track.

The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2015, HBO Home Entertainment
Rated: TV-MA
The lowdown: This HBO documentary looks at the life of Robert Durst, heir to a New York real estate empire, who, in the past 30 years, has been accused of three killings.
The two-disc set spotlights Durst as a brilliant, complex and reclusive individual who has kept silent over the years despite being constantly under the media microscope.
The filmmakers spent 10 years on the project, uncovering secrets that have perplexed investigators and leading to Durst’s arrest the day after the airing of the final episode.
Technical aspects: 1.78:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and Spanish 2.0 DTS digital surround; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.

Monkey Kingdom (Blu-ray + Digital HD)
Details: 2015, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Rated: G
The lowdown: Disneynature’s latest feature takes viewers to the jungles of South Asia and introduces us to Maya, and her new son, Kip.
The footage is colorful and spectacular as Maya strives to protect her newborn from the dangerous around them.
Tina Fey narrates this delightful tale filled with fun and surprises.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English 2.0 descriptive audio track and French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus offerings include a behind-the-scenes look at the preparation for capturing the images on film, a visit to the mocoques, a look at how conservation efforts are helping people and wildlife coexist and a music video.

Nightingale (Blu-ray)
Details: 2015, HBO Home Entertainment
Rated: TV-MA
The lowdown: David Oyelowo (“Selma”) is fascinating in this one-man performance as a war veteran struggling to come to terms with the aftermath of a horrific act.
Oyelowo’s Peter seeks to rekindle the relationship of a friend with whom he served. To do so, he goes on a psychological journey to regain control of his life and shed his demons.
Oyelowo gives a brilliant performance as an isolated individual in a world ruled and fueled by social media.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 16:9 picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French 5.1 DTS digital surround and Spanish 2.0 DTS digital surround; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.

CSI: Cyber: The First Season
Details: 2015, CBS DVD-Paramount Home Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Academy Award-winner Patricia Arquette stars in this latest “CSI” spinoff as FBI Special Agent Avery Ryan who heads the agency’s Cyber Crime Division, which investigates anything from cyber thefts to virtual stalkers to crooks who use the latest technological advances to commit illegal activities.
The four-disc set features all 13 first-season episodes as Ryan and her team, which also includes James Van Der Beek, Shad Moss, Hayley Kiyoko and Charley Koontz, outwit the bad guys and bring them to justice.
Technical aspects: 16×9 full-screen picture; English and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include the cast and crew discussing the show’s first season, deleted scenes, a gag reel, commentaries on select episodes, a featurette with the show’s creators discussing and explaining its concept, a tour of the show’s main set, a look at the tech gadgets used in the series and an episode of “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” entitled “Kitty.”

Blind Chance: Special Edition (Blu-ray)
Details: 1981, The Criterion Collection
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: This first feature by Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Kieslowski shows the promise that earned him acclaim for his “Three Colors” trilogy and other works.
“Blind Chance” is a drama about reconciling political ideals and personal happiness. The story centers on Witek, a medical student who has an uncertain future in Communist Poland.
Witek’s journey is shown as a series of different possibilities as Kieslowski suggests that chance as much as choice rules our lives.
The film was originally suppressed then censored by the Polish government. This edition presents the film in its complete original form.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.66:1 widescreen picture; Polish LPCM stereo; English subtitles.
Don’t miss: Interviews with Polish film critic Tadeusz Sobolewski and filmmaker Agnieszka Holland, nine sections of the movie that were originally censored and an essay about the film and an interview with the director are the major supplemental offerings.

Homeland: The Complete Fourth Season (Blu-ray)
Release date: Sept. 8
Details: 2014, Fox Home Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Claire Danes returns for the fourth season of this Showtime series. Danes’ Carrie is now a CIA station chief.
She convinces former colleagues Saul and Quinn to help her hunt down a terrorist, while also recruiting a young Pakistani as an asset.
The operation gets out of control and the line between right and wrong becomes blurred as Carrie takes many risks in order to protect her nation.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.78:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include character profiles, deleted scenes and a series of script to screen featurettes.

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: The Final Season
Details: 2014-15, CBS DVD-Paramount Home Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: It has outlasted its spinoffs in Miami and New York, and now the original “CSI” heads to the finish line in this five-disc set featuring all 18 episodes of the show’s final season.
The unit investigates such cases as a fatal medical marijuana clinic and a deadly memorabilia convention.
Star Ted Danson is taking his D.B. Russell character to Washington, D.C., to join the “CSI: Cyber” team.
Technical aspects:
16×9 full-screen picture; English and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: A discussion with crew and cast members as they reflect on the series’ final season, a look at elaborate crime scenes pre-processed by a serial killer, a look at creating a CSI convention with the latest forensic equipment, a featurette on the living doll costumes from the “Rubbery Homicide” episode, a featurette on longtime cast member George Eads and his Nick Stokes character, a behind-the-scenes peek at the cool cars from “The Last Ride” episode, deleted scenes and commentaries on a couple of episodes comprise the major bonus offerings.

LEGO Star Wars: The New Yoda Chronicles
Details: 2015, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Rated: TV Y7 FV
The lowdown: Four exciting episodes that will engage youngsters as Yoda, the ghost of Obi-Wan Kenobi and the legendary Holocrons help train Luke to reach his potential as a Jedi Knight.
Also, superclone Jek-14 joins the Rebel cause in these four intergalactic adventures.
Technical aspects: 1.78:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital and French 2.0 Dolby Digital; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: An alternate ending to the “Clash of the Skywalkers” episode is the major bonus feature.

Queen and Country
Release date: Sept. 8
Details: 2014, BBC Home Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: John Boorman directed this sequel to this 1987 movie, “Hope and Glory.”
Bill Rohan is now a young adult, just in time for the Korean War. Bill and his new comrades make light of boot camp and eagerly await getting weekend passes so they can woo local women.
The movie, with the war as a backdrop, is filled with laughter, poignancy and heartache.
Those who enjoyed “Hope and Glory” will find Boorman’s latest offering just as moving.
Technical aspects: 16:9 anamorphic widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby Digital; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: A behind-the-scenes featurette on the making of the movie is the major bonus component.

Misery Loves Comedy
Release date: Sept. 8
Details: 2014, Cinedigm-Tribeca Film
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: More than 60 funny people, including Larry David, Amy Schumer, Jimmy Fallon, Tom Hanks, Judd Apatow, Lisa Kudrow and Kevin Smith share their observations during in-depth interviews that looks at a performer’s need to connect with an audience and soak up the applause and approval that comes with it.
This engaging documentary, directed and co-written by actor-comedian Kevin Pollak, shares insights from the performers, who also discuss the paths they took to reach their goals of making people laugh.
Technical aspects: 16:9 widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby Digital; English closed-captioned subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include extended interviews with Fallon, Smith, Kelly Carlin and Freddie Prinze Jr.

NCIS: The Best of Abby
Details: 2004-13, CBS DVD-Paramount Home Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Pauley Perrette has become not only a fixture, but a fan favorite on “NCIS.”
In this three-disc set, Perrette shares 12 episodes chosen by fans of the series that highlight her delightful character, forensic scientist Abby Scuito.
The episodes cover the length of the series as Perrette’s Abby helps Leroy Jethro Gibbs and the rest of the team solve some rather puzzling crimes.
Technical aspects: 16×9 full-screen picture; English 5.1 Dolby Digital; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Introductions and closing remarks by Perrette, commentaries by Perrette and others on the episodes and a behind-the-scenes look at Perrette’s transformation into Abby comprise the major bonus features.

Sisters: Seasons One & Two
Details: 1991-92, Shout! Factory
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: This seven-disc set features 29 episodes from the first two seasons of this popular series that centers on the four Reed sisters, portrayed by Swoosie Kurtz, Sela Ward, Patricia Kalember and Julianne Phillips.
The series focuses on the challenges — personal and professional — faced by the four, and touched on such issues as alcoholism, infidelity, infertility, divorce and children.
Technical aspects: 1.33:1 full-screen picture.
Don’t miss: A three-part documentary that features interviews with series creators Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman is the major extra.

The Legacy (Blu-ray)
Details: 1978, Scream Factory
Rated: R, violence, language, sexual situations
The lowdown: A couple involved in a car accident accept the hospitality of the other driver in this gothic thriller.
He takes them to his country estate where they learn that the other guests have been awaiting their arrival.
Soon, the other guests are being killed in rather gruesome manners, and that the owner of the house is seeking an heir to a horrible legacy.
Katharine Ross and Sam Elliott star as the young couple. Roger Daltrey of The Who is among the supporting players.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English DTS-HD Master Audio.
Don’t miss: The major bonus feature is an interview with special effects artist Robin Grantham.

The Returned (DVD + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2015, Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: This A&E series, based on the French series, “Les Revenants,” centers on the residents of Caldwell, Wash., who grapple with the return of deceased loved ones, who have no memory of their deaths or any awareness of how much time has passed in their absence.
The tension centers on the newly returned people acclimating themselves to a new world while their loved ones seek answers to this strange occurrence.
Technical aspects: 1.78:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 2.0 Dolby Digital; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus materials include a look inside the individual episodes, a featurette on creating the series and its world and a featurette with artist Dirk Dzimirsky on drawing characters from the series.

I’m No Dummy
Release date: Sept. 18
Details: 2015, MVD Entertainment Group
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A two-disc set that explores modern ventriloquism through such artists as Jeff Dunham, Jay Johnson and Lynn Trefzger.
The documentary shows the evolution of ventriloquism and how it has been elevated to a more dynamic and comedic art form.
Technical aspects: Widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby Digital; English and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Additional performance footage and interviews as well as footage from the Vent Haven Museum comprise the extras.

Paranormal Island
Release date: Sept. 1
Details: 2014, Cinedigm
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Three college students take summer jobs working at a bar in a club in the middle of a lake.
Its previous owner, who killed himself, supposedly haunts the club, which has been around for more than 100 years.
One fateful night, the students miss the boat for home and as darkness consumes them, must face a life-and-death struggle with a paranormal caretaker. The cast includes horror icon Lance Henriksen.
Technical aspects: Widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby Digital; English closed-captioned subtitles.

Van Morrison: Another Glorious Decade
Release date: Sept. 18
Details: 2015, Sexy Intellectual Production
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A profile of singer Van Morrison, which was not sanctioned by the musicians or any of his representatives, that looks at his journey to find independence as an artist as well as explore spirituality in his music.
The documentary uses archive, live and studio footage as well as interviews with people who have worked with Morrison over the years.
The film is a rare look at a very private individual who would rather let his music speak for him.
Technical aspects: 16:9 picture; English Dolby Digital stereo.

Reality (Blu-ray + DVD)
Details: 2015, IFC Midnight-Shout! Factory
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A odd feature set in an alternate reality of the entertainment industry in which a cameraman has 48 hours to find the world’s greatest groan sound effect for a movie he wants to direct or it does not get made.
The film, which features a mysterious VHS tape, a giant rat and killer televisions, is a weird experience from the mind of writer-director Quentin Dupieux. The cast includes “Napoleon Dynamite’s” Jon Heder.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH subtitles; DVD: 1.85:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby Digital; English SDH subtitles.

Other Blu-rays and DVDs being released on Tuesday, unless otherwise indicated:
Salad Days (MVD Visual, Sept. 18)
The Old Gun (MGM-Fox Home Entertainment) (MGM Limited Edition Collection DVD-R, Sept. 8)
Walk Tall (Fox Home Entertainment) (Fox Cinema Archives DVD-R, Sept. 8)
Bossip Comedy Series: Part 1 (Cinedigm, Sept. 1)
Heroes Del Norte 3 (Cinedigm, Sept. 1)
FOR KIDS
Care Bears: Mystery in Care-a-Lot (DVD + Ultraviolet) (Lionsgate Home Entertainment)
Power Rangers: Trickster Treat (Lionsgate Home Entertainment)
Pups United (DVD + Ultraviolet) (Lionsgate Home Entertainment)
Digimon Fusion: Season 1, Volume 1 (Cinedigm, Sept. 8)
Nelson Mandela … And More Inspiring Stories (Cinedigm-Scholastic Storybook Treasures, Sept. 8)
Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s Season 2 (Cinedigm, Sept. 8)
20 Halloween Stories (Cinedigm-Scholastic Storybook Treasures, Sept. 1)

Coming next week: Pitch Perfect 2
The Flash: The Complete First Season

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.

  • ReelBob

    Which new release are you most interested in renting or buying. Share your thoughts at ReelBob.

  • Pop Twist

    I’m No Dummy is a great follow up to Jeff Dunham’s hit special on NBC last night. And the new extra interviews with Terry Fator and others make this unmissable for comedy fans.