New to View: Feb. 9

By Bob Bloom
The following Blu-rays and DVDs are being released on Tuesday, Feb. 9:

Crimson Peak (Blu-ray + DVD + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2105, Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Rated: R, bloody violence, disturbing and frightening images, sexual content, language
The lowdown: If Charlotte Bronte and Daphne du Maurier had been collaborating screenwriters at Universal Pictures in the 1930s, the result might have been “Crimson Peak.”
This chilling feature has the feel of one of Bronte’s Gothic romances, such as “Jane Eyre,” blended with the psychological thriller vibe of du Maurier’s “Rebecca.”
Despite its color palate, the filmmakers create a nostalgic aura that recalls the black-and-white features released by Universal or 20th Century Fox in the late 1930s and early to mid-1940s.
The three leads, Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston) and Jessica Chastain, are superb.
“Crimson Peak” is a feature where the shocks are not thrown in your face, but sneak up on you like a Stealth bomber.
The film translates well for the home theater market, losing none of its impact from the big screen.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English 7.1 DTS:X, DTS 2.0 Headphone:X and Spanish and French 5.1 DTS surround; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles; DVD: 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen picture; English, Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby digital; English 2.0 descriptive audio; English SDH, Spanish and French subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include interviews with the cast and director Guillermo del Toro, a behind-the-scenes look at the construction of the movie’s dilapidated and spooky mansion, a featurette with del Toro tracing the lineage of Gothic Romance in movies, an inside look at the creation of the scary effects, a featurette on the costume design, deleted scenes, a behind-the-scenes explanation of the movie’s visuals, a tour of Hiddleston of some of the mansion’s secret places and a most enlightening commentary track with del Toro.

Love the Coopers (Blu-ray + DVD + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2015, Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Rated: PG-13, mature themes, sexual situations, language
The lowdown: Despite an impressive cast headed by Diane Keaton, John Goodman and Alan Arkin, this holiday feature failed to gel with audiences or critics.
The story centers on four generations of the Cooper family gathering for the holidays. Of course, they bring along emotional baggage, surprise guests and secrets.
The family matriarch and patriarch are definitely hiding the biggest secret of all — one that could shatter the family’s foundation.
The large cast also includes June Squibb, Amanda Seyfried, Anthony Mackie, Ed Helms, Olivia Wilde and Marisa Tomei.
One of the film’s oddities is the “narration” by the family dog, Rags.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 2.40:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and English descriptive audio; English SDH, English and Spanish subtitles; DVD: 2.40:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby digital and English descriptive audio; English SDH, English and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus offerings include a making of featurette, a behind-the-scene look at Rags the dog, a featurette about the fun the cast was having on set and a music video.

Suffragette (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Release date: Feb. 2
Details: 2015, Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Rated: PG-13, intense violence, adult elements, language, nudity
The lowdown: In 1912, women in England — after years of their earnest pleas being ignored — took a more militant approach to fight for equality and the vote.
And that is the focus of “Suffragette,” a political drama in which some women, tired of asking civilly for equal rights, began a campaign of civil disobedience and targeted destruction to bring attention to their cause.
The movie features strong performances from Carey Mulligan and Helena Bonham-Carter as well as a potent cameo from Meryl Streep.
The transfer for home use makes it easier than in the theaters to understand the British accents.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.40:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and French 5.1 DTS digital surround; English SDH, Spanish and French subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus materials include a behind-the-scenes look inside the shooting of the film, a featurette on the suffragette movement and a history of women’s advances, a look at the film’s visual effects and a commentary track.

MI-5 (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2014, Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Rated: R, violence, language
The lowdown: A feature film adapted from the BBC TV series about Britain’s intelligence agency.
In the film, a terrorist escapes custody and agent Will Holloway must team with Harry Pearce, the disgraced MI-5 chief, to track him down and prevent a terrorist attack on London.
The film has twists and turns that hold your interest.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.40:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: A making of featurette and deleted scenes comprise the major bonus offerings.

The Emigrants/The New Land: Special Edition (Blu-ray)
Details: 1971,1972, The Criterion Collection
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Swedish director Jan Troll’s two-film epic looks at Swedish farming families who emigrated to the United States in the 19th century.
The films star Max Von Sydow and Liv Ullmann who face physical and emotional trails as they try to begin new lives in a new land.
These are two powerful films that in times such as these remind us of the important contributions immigrants made to the growth and expansion of this nation.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition; 1.66:1 picture; Swedish monaural; English subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include new introductions by theater and film critic John Simon, a conversation between Troll and film scholar Peter Cowie, an interview with Ullmann, a 2005 documentary on the making of the movies and an essay about the films.

Sheba, Baby: Special Edition (Blu-ray + DVD)
Details: 1975, MVD Visual
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Pam Grier was the queen of the Blaxploitation genre, starring in such films as “Coffy” and “Foxy Brown.”
In “Sheba, Baby,” Grier stars as Sheba Shayne, a private eye in Chicago, who is called home to stop the local mob boss from taking over her father’s loan business.
The movie features gunfights, boat chases, car bombs and a lot of bloodshed.
Fans of the genre will enjoy the film as well as Grier’s performance.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition; 1.66:1 picture; English LPCM; English SDH subtitles; DVD: 1.66:1 picture; English monaural; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus materials include two commentary tracks, an interview with screenwriter David Sheldon, a profile of Grier and her years as the Blaxploitation queen, a gallery with publicity shots and lobby cards and new reversible sleeve artwork.

The Wrong Man (Blu-ray)
Release date: Feb. 2
Details: 1956, Warner Home Video-Warner Archive Collection.
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Alfred Hitchcock directed this story, based on a real incident, about one man’s harrowing and frightening encounter with the judicial system.
Henry Fonda stars as Manny Balestrero, arrested for crimes committed by a look-alike robber. Vera Miles plays his wife, who had to be institutionalized because of the situation.
Hitchcock filmed the movie in New York, using many of the actual locations, including the Stork Club, where Balestrero played in the orchestra.
The Blu-ray is part of the Warner Archive Collection and can be found at www.wbshop.com, www.warnerarchive.com or other online dealers.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio and French and Spanish 2.0 Dolby digital; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: A documentary about Hitchcock and the making of the movie is the major bonus feature.

Rock the Kasbah (Blu-ray + DVD + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2015, Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Rated: R, language, sexual references, violence, drug use
The lowdown: Bill Murray stars as a has-been rock promoter from California stranded in Kabul, where he meets a Pashtun teenager with a beautiful voice and the dream of becoming the first woman to compete on television in Afghanistan’s version of “American Idol.”
He teams with a motley crew of outcasts, including Kate Hudson, Bruce Willis, Scott Caan and Danny McBride, to help make her dream come true.
The movie is an uneven mix of comedy and drama, with some nice musical moments as well.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 2.40:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles; DVD: 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus offerings include deleted scenes, a featurette on Murray and a profile of Richie Lanz.

Estranged (Blu-ray)
Release date: Feb. 12
Details: 2015, Well Go USA Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A young woman, after years of partying abroad, is confined to a wheelchair after a terrible accident.
She has no memories of her past, her family or her luxurious home. However, something is off-kilter as secrets are kept from the woman, who is locked in at night.
This modern Gothic tale will hold you in suspense until its dark secrets are revealed.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 16:9 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH subtitles.

The Desperado
Release date: Feb. 2
Details: 1954, Warner Archive Collection
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Wayne Morris was a supporting player in Warner Bros. “A” pictures and a star in many of the studio’s programmers during the late 1930s and early 1940s.
Morris distinguished himself during World War II, but like many performers who returned to Hollywood after the conflict, his career never regained its pre-war heights.
In the 1950s, Morris found himself starring in a series of Westerns for Monogram-Allied Artists.
In “The Desperado,” Morris plays outlaw gunfighter Sam Garrett who mentors a young fugitive, played by James Lydon, in post-Civil War Texas.
After his new young friend is framed for a revenge murder, Garrett comes to his aid.
The cast also includes Beverly Garland as well as Lee Van Cleef playing twin brothers.
The movie was directed by Thomas Carr, who helmed several B-Westerns, serials and TV shows in the late 1940s and 1950s.
The release is a movie-on-demand DVD-R from the Warner Archive Collection and can be found at www.wbshop.com, www.warnerarchive.com or other online retailers.
Technical aspects: 1.85:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English Dolby digital monaural.

Sierra Passage
Release date: Feb. 2
Details: 1950, Warner Archive Collection
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: This Western was the first for Wayne Morris at Monogram.
He plays a sharpshooter in a traveling show. While traversing the West, Morris’ Johnny Yorke seeks the killer of his father.
The murderer, played by Alan Hale Jr., has a distinctive laugh and wears a gaudy ring.
The movie has a nice supporting cast, including Lloyd Corrigan and Roland Winters, who had been portraying Charlie Chan for Monogram before they ended the series.
This is a movie-on-demand DVD-R from the Warner Archive Collection and can be found at www.wbshop.com, www.warnerarchive.com or other Internet dealers.
Technical aspects: 1.37:1 (4×3) full-screen picture; English Dolby digital monaural.

How to Eat Your Watermelon in White Company (And Enjoy It)
Release date: Feb. 2
Details: 2006, Music Box Films
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A documentary that looks at the life and career of Melvin Van Peebles, a filmmaker, author, playwright and civil rights activist.
Van Peebles is best known for his movie, “Sweet Sweetback’s Baadassss Song,” that he produced independently. It was the movie that sparked the Blaxploitation era of filmmaking in Hollywood.
This movie looks at Van Peebles’ impact on the film industry, pop culture and politics.
Technical aspects: 16×9 widescreen picture; English 2.0 Dolby digital; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus features include a conversation with Van Peebles, Peebles’ TV news commentaries and a live concert performance.

Other Blu-rays and DVDs being released on Tuesday, unless otherwise indicated:
Mountain Men: The Rules of the Wild Have Changed (Lionsgate Home Entertainment)
FOR KIDS
Care Bears: Bearied Treasure (DVD + Ultraviolet) (Lionsgate Home Entertainment

Coming next week: Black Mass
Trumbo
The 33

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

    Check out the latest Blu-ray and DVD releases and let us know which ones tickle your fancy.