New to View: Jan. 12

By Bob Bloom
The following Blu-rays and DVDs are being released on Tuesday, Jan. 12:
The Martian (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2015, Fox Home Entertainment
Rated: PG-13, language, disturbing images, nudity
The lowdown: This magnificent and stirring achievement is a celebration of man’s ingenuity and resourcefulness.
Producer-director Ridley Scott has created an inspiring and thrilling feature that is a public-relations coup for NASA.
It’s the performance of Matt Damon, as astronaut Mark Watney, which sells “The Martian.” Watney, a botanist, is stranded on Mars after his crew, believing he was killed in a fierce storm, aborts its mission and blasts off for Earth.
Realizing he is alone, Watney must not only devise a way to survive, but find a way to signal Earth that he is alive.
Damon’s portrayal is one of the strongest and best of his career.
Watching the film on your home screen does diminish some of the impact of the vastness and isolation that Watney endures as he battles to survive and await rescue.
That, however, is nitpicking because “The Martian” is one of the best films of the year.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.40:1 widescreen picture; English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English 5.1 Dolby digital descriptive audio and Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus offerings include featurettes on the writing and directing of the film, the casting and costuming, a gag reel, five behind-the-scenes looks at various aspects on the making of the film and a look at Watney’s rescue from the perspective of seven years after the event.

Mr. Robot: Season 1 (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2015, Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: One of USA network’s new series that offers an edgier and darker vibe than previous offerings, centers on a cyber-security engineer who moonlights by night as a vigilante hacker.
Rami Malek plays Eliot, who is recruited by a mysterious leader, played by Christian Slater, who calls himself Mr. Robot, to bring down the very corporation he works for.
The series basically revolves around Eliot’s conflict over his beliefs vs. helping make the world a better place.
The set features all 10 first-season episodes.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.78:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: A making of featurette, gag reel and deleted scenes comprise the bonus materials.

Sinister 2 (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2015, Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Rated: R, graphic violence, bloody and disturbing images, language
The lowdown: In this horror sequel, a mother and her twin sons find themselves the prey of the evil spirit, Bughuul, in a rural home.
Also, Bughuul’s evil continues to spread at a frightening pace, creating death and havoc wherever it goes.
Genre fans will enjoy the blood and intensity of this feature.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.40:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Among the extras are deleted scenes, a making of featurette and a commentary track.

The American Friend: Special Edition (Blu-ray)
Details: 1977, The Criterion Collection
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: German director Wim Wenders’ tribute to American film noir movies is a very loose adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s “Ripley’s Game.”
Dennis Hopper is featured as an amoral American art dealer who entangles a terminally ill German, played by Bruno Ganz, in the criminal underworld as revenge for a personal slight.
However, when the two become involved in a murder plot, they must reluctantly join forces.
Wenders filmed in Hamburg, Paris and New York and included cameos by filmmakers Samuel Fuller, Nicholas Ray and Jean Eustache.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.66:1 widescreen picture; English, French and German 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Supplemental materials include new interviews with Wenders and Ganz, deleted scenes with commentary by Wenders, a commentary track from 2002 with Wenders and Hopper and an essay about the movie.

Bitter Rice: Special Edition (Blu-ray)
Details: 1949, The Criterion Collection
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: An Italian nourish feature set during planting season in northern Italy.
A rice-field worker falls for a small-time crook who is planning on stealing the crop with the help of his girlfriend.
The movie serves as a socially conscious expose about the hardships of underpaid field workers as well as a melodramatic crime caper.
The movie, produced by Dino De Laurentiis and directed by Giuseppe De Santis, blends neorealism with Hollywood pulp.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.33:1 full-screen picture; Italian LPCM monaural; English subtitles.
Don’t miss: A 2008 documentary about De Santis, a 2002 interview with screenwriter Carlo Lizzani and an essay about the movie comprise the extras.

Memories of the Sword (Blu-ray)
Details: 2015, Well Go USA Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A Korean historical drama that finds three legendary warriors leading a revolt to overthrow the corrupt Goryeo Dynasty.
They are thwarted when treachery costs the life of a master swordsman, setting off a plot for justice and revenge that rages for decades between the two survivors.
The movie features some exciting swordplay and martial arts action.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 16:9 widescreen picture; Korean 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and 2.0 Dolby Digital; English subtitles.

Contracted: Phase 2 (Blu-ray + DVD)
Details: 2015, IFC Midnight-Scream Factory
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A sequel that picks up directly where the first movie left off, with an infected Riley (Matt Mercer), who is running out of time, trying to find out more about the virus and its strange host.
As he investigation continues, Riley comes to the attention of a detective who doubts his innocence, and a man who holds the key to the virus — as well as the possible extermination of all of mankind.
This stomach-churning feature offers a blood-soaked finale that will have you winching.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 2.35:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH and Spanish subtitle; DVD: 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH and Spanish subtitles.

The Image Revolution
Details: 2014, Shout! Factory
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A look at the artists who left Marvel Comics in the early 1990s because of what they believed were years of mistreatment toward creative talent by the industry’s leading publishers, and formed their own company, Image Comics.
The group, which included Todd McFarlane, creator of “Spawn,” granted power to creators, thus launching the company to an iconic status.
Soon, however, the strong bond between these artists began to unravel because of the power held by the individuals in the group.
Comic book fans will find this documentary fascinating.
Technical aspects: 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen picture; English 2.0 Dolby digital; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extended interviews comprise the major bonus feature.

Coming next week: Straight Outta Compton
The Intern

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

    “The Martian” leads the new releases on Blu-ray and DVD. Did you see “The Martian” in the theater? Are you looking forward to viewing it at home? Share your thoughts at ReelBob.