New to View: Feb. 23

By Bob Bloom
The following Blu-rays and DVDs are being released on Tuesday, Feb. 23:
Spotlight (Blu-ray + DVD + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2015, Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Rated: R, language, sexual references
The lowdown: This is one of the highest acclaimed movies of 2015, nominated for several Academy Awards, including best picture, best director and best original screenplay.
The film follows the investigation of the Boston Globe’s Spotlight team of reporters into widespread abuse by priests in the city’s Catholic diocese and the subsequent cover-up by religious, legal and government officials.
This is a movie that will make you angry at the gross indifference of the establishment toward working-class and poor people under their protection.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH, Spanish and French subtitles; DVD: 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH, Spanish and French subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include a roundtable with the Spotlight team, a look inside the making of the movie and a featurette on the state of journalism.

The Good Dinosaur (Blu-ray + DVD + digital HD)
Details: 2015, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Rated: PG, action danger, some mature themes
The lowdown: Similar to a host of other Disney and Pixar animated films, “The Good Dinosaur” follows the tried-and-true formula of a protagonist who feels inadequate and must overcome fear or a lack of self-confidence to rise to the occasion and save the day.
Now, that is not a knock at the film. No, “The Good Dinosaur” is an enjoyable romp that is aimed directly at the youngsters as it follows an imaginative premise: What would have happened if the asteroid that struck Earth and caused the extinction of the dinosaurs had missed?
The story focuses on a young Apatosaurus named Arlo and his unlikely human friend.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 2.39:1 widescreen picture; English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English 2.0 descriptive audio and French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles; DVD: 2.39:1 widescreen pictures; English, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby digital and English 2.0 descriptive audio; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: A featurette on the filmmakers’ journey to creating the movie, an animated short promotional film, a look at what separates the film dinosaurs from the real thing, a behind-the-scene look at the creation of the best dinosaur made from discarded items, a featurette on the special effects challenges, a featurette on the family that inspired the T-Rex ranchers, deleted scenes, a commentary track and the Academy Award-nominated animated short, “Sanjay’s Super Team.”

My All American (Blu-ray + DVD + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2015, Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Rated: PG, mature themes, language, partial nudity
The lowdown: Writer-director Angelo Pizzo, who wrote “Rudy” and “Hoosiers,” returns to the world of sports with this true story of Freddie Steinmark.
Steinmark is told he is too small to be an athlete, but that does not deter him. Football coach Darrell Royal takes note of his determination and gives him a scholarship.
Steinmark, of course, eventually faces another battle as he fights for his life.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 2.40:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH and Spanish subtitles; DVD: 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: A featurette on the spirit of Steinmark and a featurette on the making of the movie are the major bonus offerings.

Secret in Their Eyes (Blu-ray + DVD + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2015, Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Rated: PG-13, mature themes, graphic violence, language, sexual references
The lowdown: A revenge thriller starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman and Julia Roberts as investigators who are torn apart after the daughter of Roberts’ Jess is brutally murdered.
Jess spends 13 years seeking clues and searching for the killer. At that time Ejiofor’s Ray uncovers a lead that he believes will solve the case.
However, the investigation uncovers shocking secrets that are tied to a personal vendetta.
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, Spanish and French subtitles.
Don’t miss: A featurette on adapting the story, a featurette with Roberts discussing her role and a commentary track comprise the major bonus offerings.

The Graduate: Special Edition (Blu-ray)
Details: 1967, The Criterion Collection
Rated: PG, sexual situations, language
The lowdown: Dustin Hoffman burst upon the scene as Benjamin Braddock in director Mike Nichols’ movie about a young man who is aimless after graduating from college.
He drifts into an affair with Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft), a friend of his parents, and then turns his attentions to her daughter, played by Katharine Ross.
The movie, which features a score by Simon and Garfunkel, as well as a witty script by Buck Henry, is a timeless classic that had a large cultural impact on a young generation of moviegoers.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.35:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and English LPCM; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus offerings include an interview with Hoffman, two commentary tracks, a conversation between Henry and producer Lawrence Turman, an interview with film writer and historian Bobbie O’Steen about editor Stan O’Steen’s work on the film, a 2007 short documentary on the film’s influence, a 1992 featurette celebrating the film’s 25th anniversary, a 1966 interview with Nichols by Barbara Walters from the NBC “Today” show, screen tests, a 1970 appearance by Simon on “The Dick Cavett Show” and an essay abut the movie.

The Irish R.M.: The Complete Collection
Details: 1982-85, Acorn Media-RLJ Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A six-disc set featuring all 18 episodes of this British series about a retired English army officer who becomes a resident magistrate in turn-of-the-20th-century West Ireland.
Peter Bowles stars as Major Sinclair Yeates, who struggles to apply judicial logic in a region populated by eccentrics.
The series, which mixes some drama and comedy, was shot on location in County Kildare.
Technical aspects: 4×3 full-screen picture; English Dolby digital; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: A making of featurette is the major bonus offering.

Jesus of Nazareth: The Complete Miniseries: 40th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray)
Details: 1977, Shout! Factory
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Franco Zeffirelli directed this highly acclaimed network miniseries that chronicles the life of Jesus from birth to death and beyond.
Robert Powell stars as Jesus, backed by an all-star supporting cast, including Anne Bancroft, Ernest Borgnine, Rod Steiger, James Mason, James Earl Jones, Olivia Hussey, Sir Laurence Olivier, James Farentino, Stacy Keach, Tony Lo Bianco, Anthony Quinn, Christopher Plummer, Michael York and Peter Ustinov.
Zeffirelli’s production remains one of the better depictions of the life of Christ, as it offers depth and emotion.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.33:1 full-screen picture; English DTS-HD Master Audio; English subtitles.
Don’t miss: Interviews with York and author Jean-Pierre Isbouts comprise the major supplemental presentations.

Millennium/R.O.T.O.R. Double Feature (Blu-ray)
Details: 1988, 1989, Scream Factory
Rated: PG-13, Not rated
The lowdown: Two science-fiction thrillers from the late 1980s comprise this double feature.
“Millennium” (PG-13, 1989) follows safety investigator Bill Smith (Kris Kristofferson), whose examination of a disastrous plane crash reveals a secret that will change his life and the course of humanity.
Cheryl Ladd costars as the mysterious woman who finally allows Smith to see his future and that of mankind.
“R.O.T.O.R.” (Not rated, 1988) is a film heavily influenced by “RoboCop.”
In this feature, a robotics expert loses his job after a corrupt police commissioner orders the development and construction of a Robotic Officer Tactical Operation Research prototype.
Of course, something goes wrong and R.O.T.O.R. begins terrorizing the city, acting as judge, jury and executioner.
The robotics expert, of course, is the only person who can stop it.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture (“Millennium”) and 1.78:1 widescreen picture (“R.O.T.O.R.”); English DTS-HD Master Audio stereo (“Millennium”) and monaural (“R.O.T.O.R.”); English subtitles.
Don’t miss: An alternate ending for “Millennium” is the major extra.

I Knew Her Well: Special Edition (Blu-ray)
Details: 1965, The Criterion Collection
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: This Italian drama follows a party girl in Rome as she flirts and gets involved with various men, attends parties, models and hangs around in the circles of the rich and famous.
But director Antonio Pietrangeli uses the movie to point out the stifling culture that dehumanizes people.
The movie is funny and tragic, and is one of the forgotten treasures of 1960s Italian cinema.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; Italian LPCM monaural; English subtitles.
Don’t miss: An interview with the film’s star, Stefania Sandrelli, an interview with film scholar Luca Barattoni about the career of Pietrangeli, archival footage of Sandrelli’s audition and an essay about the movie comprise the bonus features.

Racing Extinction (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2015, Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A documentary by the team behind “The Cove” that looks at the forces driving our planet to its potential next mass extinction, one that could impact half the species on the planet.
The movie looks at international wildlife trade as well as the effects of the oil and gas industries on the planet’s biological balance.
The movie pushes for a proactive approach by all of us to save threatened wildlife and, in doing so, saving us.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.78:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH, English and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: The major bonus feature is a discovery education’s virtual field trip.

The Serpent and the Rainbow: Collector’s Edition (Blu-ray)
Details: 1987, Scream Factory
Rated: R, graphic violence, language
The lowdown: Wes Craven directed this supernatural thriller about a Harvard anthropologist’s nightmarish experience in Haiti with the world of voodoo.
Bill Pullman stars as the scientist sent to Haiti to retrieve a strange powder that is said to have the power to bring people back from the dead.
In his search for this miracle drug, the scientist enters a world of blood rites, curses and walking zombies.
The movie, based on the real-life experiences of author Wade Davis, costars Cathy Tyson, Paul Winfield and Michael Gough.
To add some authenticity, the movie was shot on location in Haiti.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English DTS-HD Master Audio stereo; English subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus offerings include interviews with Pullman, Davis, director of photography John Lindley and special effects artists Lance Anderson and David Anderson, a commentary track and a making of featurette.

Extraction (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2015, Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Rated: R, violence, language, nudity, sexual content
The lowdown: A former CIA operative, played by Bruce Willis, is kidnapped by terrorists.
His son, a government analyst played by Kellan Lutz, launches his own unsanctioned rescue mission.
The son, who has been repeatedly rejected for field service, puts all his training to use to combat assassins, terrorists and others in order to rescue his dad and, in the process, foil an international terrorist plot.
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: Bonus offerings include deleted and extended scenes, a making of featurette, cast and crew interviews and a commentary track.

Other Blu-rays and DVDs being released on Tuesday, unless otherwise indicated:
The Curse/Curse II: The Bite (Blu-ray) (Scream Factory)

FOR KIDS
Chuggington: Delivery Dash at the Docks
(Anchor Bay)
Shaun the Sheep: Season 2 (DVD + Ultraviolet) (Lionsgate Home Entertainment)
Shaun the Sheep: Sheep on the Loose (Lionsgate Home Entertainment)

Digital downloads
Brooklyn (Fox Home Entertainment)

Coming next week: The Danish Girl

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.

 

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