New to View: Jan. 5
By Bob Bloom
The following Blu-rays and DVDs are being released on Tuesday, Jan. 5:
The Walk (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2015, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Rated: PG, mature themes, dangerous situations, nudity, language, smoking, drug references
The lowdown: This film is a dizzying experience, chronicling one man’s obsession with his art on a pair of buildings that reach into the heavens.
The movie, directed and co-written by Robert Zemeckis, stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Philippe Petit, who was the subject of the 2008 Academy Award-winning documentary, “Man on Wire.”
On. Aug. 7, 1974, Petit brought Manhattan to a standstill when he illegally performed on a high wire strung between New York’s World Trade Center twin towers.
The movie is similar to a live-action version of a classic Disney animated feature. It entertains while also offering some goose bumps and scares to amaze, not only youngsters, but adults as well.
Sony also offers a 3D Blu-ray, which is a much more satisfying way to experience “The Walk.”
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.40:1 widescreen picture; English and Portuguese 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; Dolby digital 5.1 English audio description track, French, Spanish and Thai; English SDH, English, Cantonese, Chinese (simplified and traditional), French, Indonesian/Bahasa, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish and Thai subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include a featurette on Gordon-Levitt learning the walk the wire, deleted scenes, a “Pillars of Support” featurette and a pair of behind-the-scenes featurettes.
Sicario (Blu-ray + DVD + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2015, Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Rated: R, graphic and bloody violence, language
The lowdown: A movie that examines the drug war in which U S. and Mexican authorities battle to defeat the cartels and stem the flow of drugs from across the border into the United States.
The movie’s big message — the fight is almost an exercise in futility — as if those of us who keep up on the news didn’t already know that.
The film’s other big meaning — to kill a monster, one must become a monster.
None of this is new or groundbreaking, however.
The film does offer strong performances by Emily Blunt and Benicio del Toro.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 2.40:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD compatible), Spanish 5.1 Dolby digital and English 2.0 Dolby digital optimized for late-night listening; English SDH, English and Spanish subtitles; DVD: 2.40:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English and Spanish 5.1 Dolby digital and English descriptive track; English SDH, English and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include a featurette on the film’s visual design, a featurette in which Blunt, Del Toro and Josh Brolin discuss their characters, a featurette on the origins of the film and another on the movie’s score.
The Visit (Blu-ray + DVD + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2015, Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Rated: PG-13, disturbing images and material, violence, nudity, language
The lowdown: When you stop to analyze M. Night Shyamalan’s creepy thriller, you realize the plot is filled with holes and preposterous situations that really don’t make much sense.
But Shyamalan uses parlor tricks and misdirection to hold the viewer in suspense for as long as possible.
The main problem with “The Visit” is its presentation. Shyamalan takes the found-footage video approach that has become a tiresome cliché in recent years.
The film, though manipulative, is entertaining, but uneven.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Spanish and French 5.1 DTS digital surround and English 2.0 Dolby digital descriptive track; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles; DVD: 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen picture; English, Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby digital; English 2.0 Dolby digital and 2.0 English descriptive track; English SDH, Spanish and French subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus offerings include deleted scenes, a making of featurette, an alternate ending and a look at photos by the character Becca.
True Detective: The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2015, HBO Home Entertainment
Rated: TV-14, graphic violence, language, sexual situations
The lowdown: The second season of this HBO limited series is dark, but lacks the intensity of the first season.
Also, the main characters, portrayed by Colin Farrell, Vince Vaughn, Rachel McAdams and Taylor Kitsch, fail to ignite any sparks. For most of the series, they seem to move and speak in slow motion.
The mood, music and cinematography compensate for some of the shortcomings, but not all.
Overall, while featuring a very sharp digital transfer, this second season fails to measure up.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.78:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French 5.1 DTS digital surround and Spanish 2.0 DTS digital surround; English SDH, French, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Dutch, Czech, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Among the bonus offerings are a behind-the-scenes look at creating the Vinci massacre, a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the series, aerial images of some of the California landscapes used in the show and commentaries.
Flesh and Bone (Blu-ray)
Details: 2015, Anchor Bay Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: The cutthroat world of ballet is the focus of this Starz limited series, which follows a young dancer who joins a famous New York company.
The young woman, Claire, has a troubled past, which gets in her way as she tries to make it in the dark, gritty and dysfunctional dance world.
The series features some wonderful dance sequences as well as drama and romance.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.78:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD; English SDH and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: The major bonus offering is a look at creating the world of the series.
“The Complete Lady Snowblood”: Special Edition (Blu-ray)
Lady Snowblood and Lady Snowblood: Love Song of Vengeance
Details: 1973, 1974, The Criterion Collection
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Two Japanese historical dramas starring Meiko Kaji as a young woman trained from childhood as an assassin.
She is seeking revenge for crimes committed against her family in 12th-century feudal Japan.
The movies are rife with violence and wonderfully choreographed swordplay. The first film, “Lady Snowblood,” was the major inspiration for Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill” movies.
Fans of Asian cinema will find these features very satisfying.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.35:1 widescreen picture; Japanese LPCM monaural; English subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus materials include an interview with the writer who inspired the films as well as the movies’ screenwriter and an essay about the films.
The Green Inferno (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2015, Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Rated: R, graphic violence and torture, nudity, sexual content, language, drug use
The lowdown: Director Eli Roth helmed this horror feature about a group of student activists who fly to Peru because they want to protect the Amazon rainforest.
However, their plane crash-lands deep in the jungle and they are captured by a tribe of cannibals, who perform various acts of butchery on the people who actually were coming to try and save them.
The movie is not for the weak of heart or stomach.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.40:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: The major bonus feature is a commentary track.
Details: 2015, Magnolia Home Entertainer
Rated: PG-13, mature themes, language
The lowdown: Peter Sarsgaard stars in this period drama as Yale University professor Stanley Milgram who designed a psychology experiment in which people think they are delivering painful electric shocks to an easy-going stranger, played by comedian Jim Gaffigan.
The majority of subjects disregard the stranger’s pleas and continue administering what they believe are near-fatal electric shocks.
Milgram’s study of authority and conformity strikes a culture nerve as well as upsetting the scientific community.
His experiment continues to be conducted to this day.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.78:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: A making of featurette, a look at designing the movie, a profile of Milgram and an interview with Joel Milgram comprise the major bonus offerings.
Over Your Dead Body (Blu-ray)
Details: 2014, Scream Factory
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: In this feature from Japan, directed by Takashi Miike, who helmed the acclaimed “Audition,” a beautiful actress plays the lead in a new production based on a legendary ghost story.
The actress gets her lover, a relatively unknown actor, cast in the play, as well.
As rehearsals begin, the line between reality and fantasy begin to blur, impacting everyone involved.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.35:1 widescreen picture; Japanese and dubbed English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English subtitles.
Details: 2015, Dark Sky Films
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A horror feature about two high-school outsiders, both metalheads, who form their own heavy-metal band.
Their resentment leads them to a mysterious piece of sheet music said to grant ultimate power to whoever plays it.
The music, however, also summons an ancient evil spirit known as Aeloth The Blind One, who threatens to rip apart existence.
He wreaks havoc, possessing the teens’ classmates and family with demonic forces, who tear out their eyes and become psychotic murderers.
The teens and their remaining friends must stop the evil before it wipes out all of mankind.
The feature mixes horror with some comic elements.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: A commentary track, behind-the-scenes featurettes and music video comprise the major bonus offerings.
Other Blu-rays and DVDs being released on Tuesday, unless otherwise indicated:
Ancient Aliens: Season 8 (Lionsgate Home Entertainment)
Battle for Skyark (DVD + Ultraviolet) (Lionsgate Home Entertainment)
Full of Grace (Cinedigm)
Kill Game (Cinedigm)
Little Dead Rotting Hood (Cinedigm-The Asylum Home Entertainment)
Mercury Plains (DVD + Ultraviolet) (Lionsgate Home Entertainment)
Coming next week: The American Friend
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.