New to View: ‘Amy’ a tragic look at a talented, but lost, soul

By Bob Bloom
The following Blu-rays and DVDs are being released on Tuesday, Dec. 1:
Amy (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2015, Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Rated: R, language, drug use
The lowdown: A compelling but sad documentary that looks at the troubled life of singer Amy Winehouse.
The movie shows how those closest to Winehouse enabled her for their own selfish and greedy agendas, rather than help her overcome her problems and addictions.
The best parts of the film are the performances by Winehouse. Fans of Winehouse will see the movie as an opportunity to keep her talent and spirit alive.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Supplemental materials include deleted scenes, interviews, a making of featurette, unseen performances and a commentary track.

Mississippi Grind (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2015, Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Rated: R, language
The lowdown: From “The Cincinnati Kid” to “The Sting” to “Rounders,” movies about gambling and gamblers are usually winners.
mississippi grindThis feature spotlights Ben Mendelsohn as Gerry, a down-on-his-luck player, who hits the road to New Orleans with Curtis (Ryan Reynolds), his pal who is on a hot streak.
During their trip, they play on riverboats and racetracks, seeking big scores and beautiful women.
Technical aspects: 2.40:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: “Two of a Kind: On the Road with ‘Mississippi Grind’,” a behind-the-scenes featurette, is the major bonus component.

Amy Schumer: Live at the Apollo
Details: 2015, HBO Home Entertainment
Rated: TV-MA, language, sexual references
The lowdown: Amy Schumer is a provocative comedian who ignores boundaries, believing that no subject is taboo or off limits.
This HBO special, her first, was directed by Chris Rock and taped at the Apollo Theater in New York.
This extended edition of her stand-up concert may make some viewers, especially those with closed minds or uptight attitudes, squirm.
The rest of us, like me, will giggle, laugh and chortle at Schumer’s off-kilter and shocking jokes and observations.
Technical aspects: 16:9 widescreen picture; English 2.0 Dolby Digital.

Goodnight Mommy (Blu-ray)
Details: 2015, Anchor Bay Entertainment
Rated: R, disturbing images and content, nudity
The lowdown: In this German thriller, a pair of 9-year-old twin brothers await the return of their mother from the hospital.
When she returns, bandages cover her face, and things around the house change, causing the twins to doubt whether the woman is actually their mother.
Thus begins a deadly cat-and-mouse thriller that will keep you unsettled.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.39:1 widescreen picture; German 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: The major bonus feature is a conversation with screenwriters-directors Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala.

Downhill Racer: Special Edition (Blu-ray)
Details: 1969, The Criterion Collection
Rated: PG
The lowdown: Robert Redford stars as an ambitious skier aiming for the Olympics in this drama that marked the directorial debut of Michael Ritchie.
Redford, in one of his earliest roles, gets support from Gene Hackman as the coach who tries to rein in Redford’s David Chappellet obsession with glory.
The film features some breathtaking cinematography and images.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English LPCM monaural; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Among the extras are 2009 interviews with Redford, screenwriter James Salter, editor Richard Harris, production designer Walter Coblenz and former skier Joe Jay Jalbert, who served as a technical adviser, ski double and cameraman; audio excerpts from a 1977 American Film Institute seminar with Ritchie; “How Fast,” a 1969 12-minute promotional feature; and an essay by critic Todd McCarthy.

Some Kind of Beautiful (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2015, Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Rated: R, sexual content, language, nudity, drug use
The lowdown: Pierce Brosnan, Jessica Alba and Salma Hayek star in this romantic comedy about a college professor who gives up a life of one-night stands to marry a much-younger woman.
Three years later, the professor’s wife falls in love with someone else and moves out. The wife sends her sister to make sure her husband is taking care of their young son.
Of course, sis soon falls in love with the prof and, in the end, everyone winds up where they should be.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.40:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH, English and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: A making of featurette is the main bonus component.

Cooties (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2015, Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Rated: R, graphic horror violence and gore, language, sexual references, drug use
The lowdown: Elijah Wood and Rainn Wilson star in this horror-comedy about teachers at an elementary school who must fight for their lives after a virus in the cafeteria food transform the children into little killers.
Most teachers don’t look forward to Mondays, and, battling to survive, these educators have the worst beginning of the week imaginable.
The film mixes gore, blood and laughs.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.40:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH, English and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include a behind-the-scenes featurette on the making of the movie; extended and alternate scenes, a gag reel, an alternate ending with optional commentary, a talking “Cooties” featurette and a cast and crew commentary track.

Roger Waters The Wall (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2010-13, Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Rated: R, violent images, nudity, language
The lowdown: The co-founder and principal songwriter for Pink Floyd created this concert film based on the famed concept album.
This dazzling show heightens the senses as it deals with the loss Waters felt throughout his life because of war.
Waters has fused his convictions with his music to offer memorable music that is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.40:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby Atmos True HD; English SDH, Brazilian Portuguese, Bulgarian, Castilian Spanish, complex Mandarin, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French Canadian, French European, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin American Spanish, Norwegian, Polish, Russian, simplified Mandarin, Swedish and Turkish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include a visit with Frank Thompson, time lapses, Facebook films and additional concert footage.

The Hunting Ground
Details: 2015, Anchor Bay Entertainment
Rated: PG-13, disturbing material involving sexual assault, language
The lowdown: A documentary that looks at the problem of sexual assaults on college campuses, the cover-ups by the institutions and the toll on students and their families.
The movie uses cinema verite footage and first-person accounts to tell the story of several undergraduate survivors of assault as they attempt to pursue their education and get justice.
The film also deals with the pressure put on these students to keep silent as well as the harassment and trauma they endured in the aftermath of their attacks.
Technical aspects: 1.78:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby Digital; English SDH and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: A question-and-answer session with two survivors and additional stories comprise the major bonus features.

The Bold Ones: The Lawyers: The Complete Series
Details: 1973, Timeless Media Group
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Academy Award-winner Burl Ives, along with Joseph Campanella and James Farentino, star in this series about lawyers who take on cases, many of which mirror the issues of that era.
The series was part of a rotation under “The Bold One” umbrella.
The set features all 27 episodes, including the full-length pilot movies.
Technical aspects: 1.33:1 full-screen picture. English Dolby Digital monaural.

Mystery Science Theater 3000: Vol. XXXIV
Details: 1956-57, Shout! Factory
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: It’s time to razz more movies as the crew of the Satellite of Love endure “The Saga of the Viking Women and Their Voyage to the Waters of the Great Sea Serpent,” “War of the Colossal Beast,” “The Undead” and “The She Creature.”
These films are a hoot, and are made even more enjoyable by the sharp and funny observations by Joel, Mike and the rest of the crew.
Technical aspects: English Dolby digital.
Don’t miss: Extras include new introductions by Frank Conniff, a featurette on American International Pictures and four mini-posters.

Other Blu-rays and DVDs being released on Tuesday, unless otherwise indicated:
The Guardsman (DVD + Ultraviolet) (Lionsgate Home Entertainment)
Jerusalem (Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray) (FilmBuff-MPI Media Group)
War Pigs (Blu-ray + DVD) (Cinedigm)
Zero Tolerance (DVD + Ultraviolet) (Lionsgate Home Entertainment)
Grievous Bodily Harm (MGM-Fox Home Entertainment) (MGM Limited Edition Collection DVD-R, Nov. 24)
Stealing Heaven (MGM-Fox Home Entertainment) (MGM Limited Edition Collection DVD-R, Nov. 24)

FOR KIDS
Huevos: Little Rooster’s Egg-cellent Adventure (DVD + Ultraviolet) (Lionsgate Home Entertainment)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Revenge! (Nickelodeon-Paramount Home Entertainment)

Coming next week: Ant-Man

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

    Are you an Amy Winehouse fan? What did you think of “Amy?” Are you planning on getting the Blu-ray or DVD? Share your opinions here.