New to View: March 29
By Bob Bloom
The following Blu-rays and DVDs are being released on Tuesday, March 29:
The Hateful Eight (Blu-ray + DVD + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2015, Anchor Bay Entertainment
Rated: R, bloody and graphic violence, sexual content, nudity, language
The lowdown: You will either embrace or be repulsed by Quentin Tarantino’s long, loud and messy Western.
This genre bending, three hour-plus opus is a violent and profane mixture of Sergio Leone and Agatha Christie, all sprinkled with Tarantino outrageousness.
Set in post-Civil War Wyoming, “The Hateful Eight” offers moments of dizzying dialogue, brutality, sexism, racism and dark humor, all taking place, basically, on one set.
The film will make you cringe and laugh — and often at the same time. It definitely is a visceral experience.
This combo set contains the 168-minute road show version of the movie, and it looks and sounds fantastic.
The audio is the most important aspect of this feature and the transfer does it proud.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 2.76:1 widescreen format; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and Spanish 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH and Spanish subtitles; DVD: 2.76:1 widescreen picture; English and Spanish 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include a behind-the-scenes featurette and sat Sam Jackson’s guide to the 70mm process and filming.
Point Break (Blu-ray + DVD + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2015, Warner Home Video
Rated: PG-13, mature themes, action violence, language, drug use, sexual situations
The lowdown: This remake of the 1991 feature that starred Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves ups the action and stuntwork, but still remains a mind-numbing, though, thrilling exercise.
Newly minted FBI agent Johnny Utah (Luke Bracey) infiltrates a team of thrill-seeking, elite athlete, led by the charismatic Bodhi (Edgar Ramirez), who are suspected of carrying out a series of crimes in very unusual ways.
The action includes sheer-face snowboarding, free rock climbing, big-wave surfing and high-speed motorcycling.
The adrenaline rush is there, but the movie still can’t rise to the level of the action.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 2.40:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English 5.1 Dolby digital descriptive track and French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles; DVD: 2.40:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English, Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH, Spanish and French subtitles.
Don’t miss: Supplemental materials include deleted scenes, four behind-the-scenes looks at the movie’s key stunts.
Humans, Series 1: Uncut UK Edition
Details: 2015, Acorn Media
Rated: Not rated, violence, language, nudity, sexual situations
The lowdown: A three-disc set that features all eight first-season episodes of this British science fiction series about a near-future in which humanoid servants help busy families.
The servants, called synths, may be the perfect helpers, but they do create some uneasiness in people.
The series explores the tensions between man and machine and its impact on our futures.
Technical aspects: 16:9 widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Behind-the-scenes footage and featurettes comprise the major bonus offerings.
Exposed (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2015, Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Rated: R, violence, sexual assult, language
The lowdown: Keanu Reeves plays a NYPD detective investigating the death of his partner.
His digging finds something much deeper and darker — corruption within the department as well as other findings.
The key to his investigation is a young woman who can help solve his partner’s murder.
The cast also includes Ana de Armas, Mira Sorvino, Christopher McDonald and Big Daddy Kane.
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: A making of featurette and extended cast interviews comprise the major bonus components.
Bicycle Thieves: Special Edition (Blu-ray)
Details: 1948, The Criterion Collection
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A movie that is considered one of the classics of the post-World War II Italian neorealist movement.
Vittorio De Sica directed this Academy Award-winning feature set in poverty-stricken Rome. The film centers on a man on the first day of his new job that could better his family’s life.
But his bicycle, which he needs for work, is stolen. Along with his young son, the man sets off to find the thief and recover the bike.
The movie is heartbreaking, profound and very, very honest. It is a timeless piece of cinema that any true film buff should embrace.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.37:1 full-screen picture; Italian LPCM monaural; English subtitles.
Don’t miss: A series of interviews with writers, actors and critics about working with De Sica, a program on the history of the Italian neorealist movement, a 2003 documentary on longtime De Sica screenwriter and collaborator Cesare Zavattini and a booklet with essays about the film and reminiscences by De Sica and his colleagues.
A Poem Is a Naked Person: Special Edition (Blu-ray)
Details: 1974, The Criterion Collection
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Between 1972 and 1974 documentary filmmaker Les Blank filmed this profile of singer-songwriter Leon Russell.
Yet, this is the first time the movie has been released. It was shot, at Russell’s request, at his recording studio in Oklahoma.
Russell had hired Blank to make the movie, which ended up being an intimate portrait of the musician, as it shows Russell and his band performing in concert and in the studio.
Blank also captured many off-the-cuff, behind-the-scenes moments of Russell and such fellow musicians as Willie Nelson and George Jones.
The movie stands as a tribute to Blank’s filmmaking and Russell’s talents.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.33:1 full-screen picture; English LPCM monaural; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include a conversation between Russell and Harrod Blank, excerpts from a 2013 question-and-answer session with Les Blank, a documentary on the making of the movie, a short documentary by sound recordist Maureen Gosling and an essay about the movie.
Brave Miss World
Release date: Available now
Details: 2013, Linor Documentary
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: In 1998, Linor Abargil was 18 and Miss Israel, set to represent her country in the Miss World Pageant.
Two months before the contest, while modeling in Italy, she was abducted and raped by an Israeli travel agent.
She went to the police and a hospital in Rome for a medical examination.|
In November of 1998, she was crowned Miss World at the pageant in the Seychelles Islands.
Upon her return to Israel, she was asked to not to speak about the rape in order to allow her alleged attacker to return to Israel, where authorities arrested him.
This documentary by Cecilia Peck, who also directed the documentary about the Dixie Chicks, “Shut Up & Sing,” follows Linor as she travels the world as a victims’ advocate, encouraging other to speak out about sexual violence, thus helping putting an end to this heinous criminal behavior.
Her travels and advocacy comes with a high cost, though, Linor suffers breakdowns as well as symptoms of PTSD.
She later returns to Italy to thank the prosecutor who collaborated with Israeli authorities in apprehending her attacker, and also meets another woman who was assaulted by the same man.
This is an extraordinary movie about a very special woman who continues to search for wholeness, while working to help others.
Technical aspects: Widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH, English, Chinese, Dutch, Hebrew, French, Finnish, German, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Additional scenes and stories from other survivors comprise the bonus offerings.
NOMA: My Perfect Storm (Blu-ray)
Release date: March 22
Details: 2015, Magnolia Home Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: This documentary takes you behind-the-scenes for a look at René Redzepi, acknowledged as one of the world’s best chefs.
His restaurant, NOMA, has been voted best restaurant in the world four times. Redzepi has been credited with revolutionizing the food world with his unusual and unique take on classic cuisine.
The film takes you into his kitchen as he works to create meals that will leave his customers satisfied and breathless.
Food junkies and fans of cooking shows will really get a kick out of this fantastic film. It is one that will whet their appetites.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.35:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Deleted scenes, a NOMA cuisine gallery and a testing the menu featurette comprise the major bonus components.
“Death Walks Twice: Two Films by Luciano Ercoli” (Blu-ray)
Details: 1971, 1972, Arrow Video
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: The two films in this set, directed by Luciano Ercoli, were released at the height of Italian cinema’s giallo boom of the early 1970s.
The movies, “Death Walks on High Heels” (1971) and “Death Walks at Midnight” (1972), star Nieves Navarro (who was billed under her stage name of Susan Scott) as the woman in peril.
In “High Heels,” she plays the daughter of a murdered jewel thief, who finds herself threatened by a black-clad attacker determine to get her father’s stolen jewels.
In “Midnight,” Navarro stars as a model who, in the midst of a drug-fueled photo shoot, witnesses a murder in an apartment opposite hers.
It later is determined the crime she witnessed actually occurred six months earlier. So, it is up to the model to solve the crime.
Both movies feature the stylistic twists and turns typical of the genre.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.35:1 widescreen picture; Italian and English LPCM monaural; English SDH and English subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus materials include a visual essay that looks at the collaboration between Ercoli and Navarro, introductions to the films and ab interview with screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi, commentaries on both films, archival interviews with Ercoli and Navarro, an interview with composer Stelvio Cipriani and a 60-page booklet about the films and the giallo genre.
Murders in the Rue Morgue & The Dunwich Horror double feature (Blu-ray)
Details: 1970, 1971, Scream Factory
Rated: PG-13, R, violence, sexual content, nudity
The lowdown: This horror double feature presents a couple of films loosely based on the writings of Edgar Allan Poe and H.G. Lovecraft.
“Murders in the Rue Morgue” (1971, PG-13), is set in early 20th-century Paris. It centers on a theatrical company that specializes in Grand Guignol and a madman with an axe to grind.
The cast includes Jason Robards and Herbert Lom.
“The Dunwich Horror” (1970, R) is set in a small New England town. The focus of the story is on a very strange young man, Wilbur Whateley, and a doctor of the occult, Dr. Henry Armitage.
Caught between them is the beautiful young student, Nancy.
As Armitage digs into the Whateley family history, he uncovers dark secrets and evil beyond imagination.
The cast includes Dean Stockwell, Sandra Dee and Ed Begley.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.78:1 widescreen picture; English DTS-HD Master Audio monaural; English subtitles.
Don’t miss: Both movies include commentary tracks by film historian Steve Haberman. “Rue Morgue” also features a featurette on “Stage Tricks & Screen Frights.”
Cherry Falls (Blu-ray)
Details: 2000, Scream Factory
Rated: R, violence, language, sexual situations
The lowdown: A serial killer is rampaging through the town of Cherry Falls, targeting young girls.
It turns out that he specifically is preying on virgins, so the town’s students, in a magnanimous gesture to protect the female population, begin planning a “Pop Your Cherry” party where all those who haven’t already, will lose their virginity.
What noble and self-sacrificing young men, these students are. They should be admired and applauded.
However, the virtuous daughter of the town sheriff thinks it would be a better idea if she sprung a trap to catch the killer.
The film is not as silly as it sounds; it is thrilling and suspenseful.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English DTS-HD Master Audio stereo; English subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include a commentary track, interviews, new and archival, with cast members and filmmakers, a BD-Rom original script and behind-the-scenes footage.
The Red House (Blu-ray)
Details: 1947, The Film Detective
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Edward G. Robinson and Judith Anderson head the cast of this exciting melodrama about a farmer and his spinster sister who have raised a young girl as their own on their secluded land.
When the girl, Meg (Allene Roberts), convinces her friend, Nath (Lon McAllister), to help her with her chores.
Despite warnings from the farmer to stay away from an old, abandoned red house in the woods, the young people explore it, finding disturbing and deadly secrets.
The film features a fine score from legendary composer Miklos Rozsa and solid direction by Delmer Daves.
The cast also includes Rory Calhoun and Julie London.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.33:1 full-screen picture; English Dolby digital; English subtitles.
The Sicilian: Director’s Cut (Blu-ray)
Details: 1987, Shout! Factory
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Christopher Lambert (“Highlander”) stars in this adaptation of the Mario Puzo novel about the Sicilian bandit Salvatore Giuilano.
The movie, directed by Academy Award-winner Michael Cimino, is set in the aftermath of World War II, and follows Giuilano’s efforts to make the island independent from Italy and the Mafia.
The director’s cut is 146 minutes, as opposed to the 115-minute theatrical release.
The movie’s major drawback is Lambert’s wooden performance.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.35:1 widescreen picture; English DTS-HD Master Audio stereo; English subtitles.
Death Valley Days: The Complete First Season: Collector’s Edition
Details: 1952-53, Timeless Media Group-Shout! Factory
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: This three-disc set features all 18 first-season episodes of this syndicated Western anthology series that ran until 1970.
For the first 11 years, character actor Stanley Andrews played “The Old Ranger,” who introduced the episodes, which were supposedly based on true events.
Among the first-season guest stars was Phyllis Coates, who played Lois Lane in the first season of the “The Adventures of Superman,” “Annie Oakley” star Gail Davis and such B-Western and serial regulars as Harry Lauter, Myron Healey, Jock Mahoney and Margaret Field (stepfather and mother of two-time Oscar-winner Sally Field), Denver Pyle and Rick Vallin.
Technical aspects: 1.33:1 full-screen picture; English Dolby digital stereo.
Mystery Science Theater 3000: Vol. XXXV
Details: 1958-1986, Shout! Factory
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: The crew of the Satellite of Love is again providing their own entertainment as they continue their scathing and funny observations about some cheesy movies.
The films in this volume are “Teenage Cave Man” (1958), “12 to the Moon” (1960), “Being From Another Planet” (aka “Time Walker”) (1982) and “Deathstalker and the Warriors From Hell” (1986).
While the movies offer some schlocky charm and laughable moments it is, as always, the comments from Joel, Mike, Crow and Tom that liven up the proceedings.
Technical aspects: Full-screen and widescreen pictures; English Dolby digital; English closed-captioned subtitles.
Don’t’ miss: Extras include an “I Was a Teenage Caveman” featurette, an interview with Richard Band, the original version of “Time Walker,” a “12 to the Moon” featurette, a featurette on “Deathstalker III” and four mini-posters.
Other Blu-rays and DVDs being released on Tuesday, unless otherwise indicated:
The Making of Trump (Lionsgate Home Entertainment)
Rhythm ‘N’ Bayous: A Road Map to Louisiana Music (Mug-Shot Productions-MVD Visual Entertainment, March 25)
Marriage Material (Indie Rights Movies-MVD Visual Entertainment, March 22)
My Life Over the Top (Indie Rights Movies-MVD Visual Entertainment, March 22)
Hero Quest (Cinedigm)
The Last Treasure Hunt (Random Media)
Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, April 1)
Coming next week: Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Banshee: The Complete Third Season
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.