New to View: March 15

By Bob Bloom

The following Blu-rays and DVDs are being released on Tuesday, March 15:
Sisters: Unrated (Blu-ray + DVD + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2015, Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Rated: Not rated and R, sexual content, language, drug use
The lowdown: The chemistry between Tiny Fey and Amy Poehler overcome many of the shortcomings of this low-brow comedy.
The movie may be too long, and some plot elements are predictable, but, when the two are on screen, those drawbacks simply evaporate because you are having such a good time watching them interact.
Fey and Poehler play Kate and Maura Ellis, middle-aged sisters. In what could be considered a switch in casting, Fey’s Kate is the wild, irresponsible big sister, while Poehler’s Maura is the responsible, levelheaded younger sibling.
The movie is a throwback, old-school, raunchy and profane comedy, featuring gross-out, vulgar situations and formulaic party animal antics.
Despite some jokes falling flat, “Sisters” is nearly nonstop laughter that makes you hope for more pairings of Fey and Poehler, and perhaps a stronger script that could really take advantage of their comic personalities.
The set features the theatrical and extended unrated versions of the film.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 2.40:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English 2.0 descriptive audio track and Spanish and French 5.1 DTS digital surround; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles; DVD: 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen picture; English, Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby digital and English 2.0 audio descriptive track; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: A variety of bonus offerings include a “How to Throw a Party” featurette, a look at why grown-up parties suck, the Alex chronicles, the Kate and Pazuzu chronicles, a featurette on this being a teen movie for adults, a look at the original sister, a behind-the-scenes on the pool collapse visual effects, deleted and extended scenes, a gag reel, a look at the improvisations and a commentary track with Fey, Poehler, director Jason Moore and writer Paula Pell.

Game of Thrones: The Complete Fifth Season (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2015, HBO Home Entertainment
Rated: TV-MA, violence, language, sexual situations
The lowdown: A four-disc set that features the complete fifth season of this highly popular HBO series based on the books of George R.R. Martin.
As usual, there are deaths, betrayals, new alliances and new dangers in Westeros, Essos and the other kingdoms as the prophecy that “winter is coming” draws nearer.
New characters and societies that add to the drama are introduced as well.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.78:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby digital and Dolby Atmos (7.1 Dolby TrueHD compatible), French 5.1 Dolby digital, Latin Spanish, Czech and Polish 2.0 Dolby digital and Castilian Spanish and German 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH, French, Spanish (Latin and Castilian), German, Czech, Polish, Brazilian Portuguese, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish and Greek subtitles.
Don’t miss: Hours of extras including a featurette on the story of the Greens and Blacks, the Targaryen civil war that led to the downfall of the dragons; an in-episode guide; a look at the histories and lore of Westeros and Essos; an anatomy of an episode; a two-part featurette on the real heroes behind the series, including author Martin and historians exploring the inspirations and the actual personalities in Britain’s “War of the Roses” era who inspired events in the series; an inside look at the production process; a look at the new characters and locations; deleted scenes and 12 commentaries with crew and cast members.

Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine (Blu-ray)
Details: 2015, Magnolia Home Entertainment
Rated: R, language
The lowdown: Paired with Adam Sorkin’s “Steve Jobs,” this documentary helps form a complete picture of the innovative tech genius and Apple founder.
The film was made by Oscar-winning director Adam Gibney (“Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief”) and offers a no-holds-bar look at Jobs’ life, career and legacy.
Gibney smartly displays Jobs’ warts as well as his triumphs, which helps explain why his loss was so deeply felt.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.78:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH, Spanish and French subtitles.
Don’t miss: An interview with Gibney and deleted scenes comprise the major bonus features.

The Manchurian Candidate: Special Edition (Blu-ray)
Details: 1962, The Criterion Collection
Rated: PG-13, violence, sexual situations
The lowdown: Director John Frankenheimer’s political thriller has become a classic.
The film, based on the novel by Richard Condon, centers on decorated Army sergeant Raymond Shaw (Laurence Harvey) who, along with his POWs, are brainwashed after capture by North Korean forces.
Shaw is transformed into a sleeper assassin controlled by his ambitious mother, a chilling performance by Angela Lansbury, whose buffoonish senator husband (portrayed by James Gregory) has presidential aspirations.
Frank Sinatra plays Shaw’s fellow POW whose nightmares help uncover the sinister conspiracy.
The movie is one that can be viewed and enjoyed over and over, despite knowing the outcome.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.75:1 widescreen picture; English LPCM; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include a 1997 commentary with Frankenheimer, a new interview with Lansbury, a discussion with filmmaker Errol Morris about his appreciation of the movie, a 1987 conversation between Frankenheimer, screenwriter George Axelrod and Sinatra about the movie, a new interview with historian Susan Carruthers about the Cold War brainwashing scare and an essay about the film.

Victor Frankenstein (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Release date: March 8
Details: 2016, Fox Home Entertainment
Rated: PG-13, disturbing and scary images, violence
The lowdown: Another retelling of the Frankenstein story, this time from the perspective of Igor (Daniel Radcliffe), the assistant of young Victor Frankenstein (James McAvoy), whose obsessive experiments into immortality leads to death and destruction.
And while this version of Mary Shelley’s tale shares many of the components of other cinematic renditions, it somehow does not click as a whole, despite handsome production values and decent performances from its two stars.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.39:1 widescreen picture; English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English 5.1 descriptive audio track and Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: A seven-part documentary on the making of the movie and behind-the-scenes views of the process and deleted scenes comprise the bulk of the major bonus features.

Louie: The Complete Fifth Season
Release date: March 10
Details: 2015, Fox Home Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A made-on-demand DVD-R that features all eight season five episodes of comedian Louis C.K’s popular television series.
On stage Louis’s life is fine, but his personal life is a train wreck, with potty issues in public, a relationship that is faltering and showing up at the wrong potluck.
The DVD-R can be found at www.foxconnect.com or other online sellers.
Technical aspects: 1.78:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby digital.

Censored Voices
Details: 2015, Music Box Films
Rated:
Not rated
The lowdown:
A documentary that features interviews with soldiers returning from Israel’s triumphant victory in the 1967 Six-Day War over Egypt, Jordan and Syria.
While the nation tripled its territory after its pre-emptive strike when those nations had amassed armies on Israel’s borders, the returning soldiers had a more conflicted reality of the war.
Israelis celebrated the victory with pride and relief, but these soldiers, in recordings made a week after the war, found soldiers wrestling with many questions ordinary Israelis did not want to ask or even know the answers to.
The recordings were censored and not unearthed until 50 years later, and offer a different perspective of the conflict.
Technical aspects: 16×9 widescreen picture; Hebrew 5.1 Dolby digital; English and Hebrew subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus materials include an interview with director Mor Loushy, an interview with author Amos Oz, who fought in the war, a question-and-answer session with the director from the film’s New York opening and an essay about the war and its legacy.

Sunchaser
Release date: March 10
Details: 1996, Fox Home Entertainment
Rated: R, violence, language
The lowdown: An up-and-coming doctor, played by Woody Harrelson, is kidnapped by a very ill patient, played by Jon Seda, who is desperate to find a fabled Navajo healing place.
Meanwhile, law enforcement officials are searching for the two, who, during their odyssey begin to understand each other and form a different type of healing.
The movie was directed by Michael Cimino, who helmed “The Deer Hunter” as well as the infamous “Heaven’s Gate.”
This is a made-on-demand DVD-R that can be ordered at www.foxconnect.com or other online dealers.
Technical aspects: 16×9 widescreen picture.

Braddock: Missing in Action III (Blu-ray)
Details: 1988, Shout! Factory
Rated: R, violence, language
The lowdown: Chuck Norris returns as Col. James Braddock who in this feature learns that his wife and 12-year-old son still are alive in Communist Vietnam.
Armed with as much firepower as he can muster, Braddock returns to Vietnam to find and bring them home.
Along the way, he rescues several abused children, as well.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English DTS-HD Master Audio stereo; English subtitles.

Children of the Stars
Release date: March 8
Details: 2012, MVD Entertainment Group
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A documentary about a UFO contactee group whose members relive their past lives on other planets by making their own science fiction movies.
In 1973, a 71-year-old widow named Ruth Norman purchased 67 acres in the mountains east of San Diego and established a landing site for the Space Brothers, envoys from an Intergalactic Confederation.
Forty-plus years later, a group of her followers continue to await the arrival of these stellar ambassadors.
The film follows students at the Uranus Academy of Science who create their own extravaganzas, while blurring the lines between fantasy and reality.
As you watch, you feel sorry and admire these people for living their lives in a manner alien to the vast majority of us.
Technical aspects: English audio.
Don’t miss: Bonus footage is the major extra.

CHiPS: The Complete Fourth Season
Details: 1980-81, Warner Home Video
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A five-disc set featuring all 21 fourth-season episodes of this popular series that follows Erik Estrada’s “Ponch” Poncherello and Larry Wilcox’s Jon Baker as they fight crime on California’s highways.
These are two tough motorcycle officers who keep busy making routine stops for speeding or catching crooks on the run in Southern California.
Technical aspects: 4×3 full-screen picture; English Dolby digital; English SDH subtitles.

Invasion U.S.A. (Blu-ray)
Details: 1985, Shout! Factory
Rated: R, violence, language
The lowdown: Chuck Norris stars in this action-packed thriller about a group of mercenaries led by a Soviet agent who invade our country.
Of course, one-man army, former special agent and martial arts expert Matt Adams (Norris) is up to the challenge of battling them and thwarting their plans of conquering the nation.
The movie is explosive nonsense, but fun to watch.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English DTS-HD Master Audio stereo; English subtitles.
Don’t miss: Interviews with filmmakers and a commentary track comprise the extras.

The Hatching (DVD + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2015, Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Rated: R, graphic horror violence and gore, drug use, sexual situations
The lowdown: A horror feature centers on the disappearance of several people from a peaceful village.
It’s not a who, but a what — a killer crocodile — that is responsible for the deadly havoc.
Technical aspects: 2.35:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby digital; English closed-captioned and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: A featurette on the making of the movie is the major bonus offering.

The Legend of Custer
Release date: March 10
Details: 1968, Fox Home Entertainment-Fox Cinema Archives
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Wayne Maunder plays Gen. George Armstrong Custer in this adaptation of the late 1960s’ TV series that offers another fictionalized account of the exploits of the famed general.
The setting is Fort Hayes, Kan., in 1868, years before Custer and his 7th Cavalry are wiped out in his ill-advised Last Stand.
The release is a made-on-demand DVD-R from the Fox Cinema Archives collection and can be found at www.foxconnect.com or other Internet dealers.
Technical aspects: 4×3 full-screen picture.

Other Blu-rays and DVDs being released on Tuesday, unless otherwise indicated:
Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove: The Final Season (Cinedigm)
Final Combination (MGM-Fox Home Entertainment) (MGM Limited Edition Collection, DVD-R, March 10)
Second Best (Fox Home Entertainment, DVD-R, March 10)
That Night (Fox Home Entertainment, DVD-R, March 10)
Paris Belongs to Us: Special Edition (Blu-ray) (The Criterion Collection, March 8)
Graham Chapman — Spot the Looney (MVD Audio CD, Feb. 12)

FOR KIDS
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Half-Shell Heroes: Blast to the Past (Nickelodeon-Paramount Home Entertainment)

DIGITAL DOWNLOADS
Point Break (Warner Home Video)

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

    Share what new Blu-ray and DVD releases you are anticipating. at ReelBob.