New to View: July 5

By Bob Bloom
Dear Eleanor
Details: 2016, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Rated: PG-13, suggestive material, smoking
The lowdown: This period, coming-of-age feature centers on best friends Max and Ellie, who decide to leave their backwater hometown and travel cross-country to meet their hero, Eleanor Roosevelt.
The girls “borrow” the blue convertible that belongs to Ellie’s dad and set out on their journey.
They run into various people and adventures along the way as well as learn some important life lessons.
Technical aspects: 2.39:1 anamorphic widescreen picture; English, French and Portuguese 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH, English, Chinese, French, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish and Thai subtitles.
Don’t miss: Two commentary tracks comprise the major bonus features.

Electra Woman & Dyna Girl
Details: 2016, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A feature film that adds a new twist to the cult classic 1970s TV series from Sid and Marty Krofft.
Electra Woman and Dyna Girl ramp up their crime-fighting efforts when they move from their small Ohio town to glitzy Los Angeles, where they hope to stand out and make names for themselves.
Their aim is to not only subdue the bad guys, but also find superhero stardom.
The movie is an inoffensive and disposable popcorn guilty pleasure
Technical aspects: 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH, English, Chinese (simplified and traditional), French, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish and Thai subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus offerings include a making of featurette, eight additional behind-the-scenes featurettes about various aspects of the film, an “Inside Creative Masked Management” featurette and a commentary track.

Kung Fu Panda 3 (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD)
Release date: June 28
Details: 2016, DreamWorks-Fox Home Entertainment
Rated: PG, martial arts action, rude humor
The lowdown: Po and the Furious Five return in this animated adventure in which the lovable panda discovers a secret village of pandas, including his father.
But when Kai, a supernatural villain who wants to destroy kung fu, threatens to destroy the village, Po must train the fun-loving and rather awkward pandas in the martial arts.
The movie contains enough action and humor to satisfy the youngsters.
The vocal talent is led by Jack Black and also includes Bryan Cranston, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, J.K. Simmons, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liuy, James Hong and Kate Hudson.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 2.35:1 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, Spanish and French subtitles; DVD: 2.35:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby digital, English 5.1 audio descriptive track and Spanish and French 2.0 Dolby digital; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus features include two new “Kung Fu Panda” animated shorts, a making a panda party paper pal, a look at the origins of Skadoosh, a Po’s posters of awesomeness featurette, a look at how to play like a panda and deleted scenes.

Cabin Fever (Blu-ray)
Details: 2016, IFC Midnight-Scream Factory
Rated: Not rated, graphic violence, language
The lowdown: Horrormeister Eli Roth serves as executive producer of this reboot of a cult favorite horror outing.
The story centers on a group of recent college graduates on retreat at a remote cabin for one last weekend of hearty partying.
The revelers, though, soon become snack food for a flesh-eating virus.
The movie mixes gore and giggles, and offers enough of both to please fans of the genre.
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: A making of featurette is the major bonus component.

Chronicles of the Ghostly Tribe (Blu-ray)
Details: 2016, Well Go USA Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: This supernatural thriller begins in 1979 Mongolia where massive fossils of unknown creatures are discovered.
An excavation team, headed by a famous professor, his assistant and the professor’s daughter, are sent to recover the fossils. But when a freak explosion triggers a landslide, only a few members of the team survive.
They fall to the floor of the mountain where they unearth an ancient temple and discover its hideous residents.
More than 25 years later, the assistant is living a quiet life as a librarian, trying to unravel the mysteries of that fateful day.
About that same time, the professor is found roaming the mountains thousands of miles from where he supposedly died, and a young woman with amnesia has been found in a recently-uncovered tomb.
And then there’s that mining town in northern China that has just been destroyed by giant, ravenous beasts.
To see how all of these coalesce, check out this entertaining Chinese import.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 16:9 widescreen picture; Mandarin 5.1 DTS-HD stereo and surround sound; English and Chinese subtitles.

Endgame (Blu-ray)
Details: 2015, Shout! Factory
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: This fictionalized story about a young student in Brownsville, Texas, who helps his school chess team make it to the state finals was inspired by actual events.
In the film, young Jose (Rico Rodriguez) has been playing chess since he was 5. His grandfather was a champion in Mexico. Jose‘s coach helps him along as the team faces adversity in its fight for recognition.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.78:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Cast and crew interviews, deleted scenes and a commentary track comprise the major bonus offerings.

The Swinging Cheerleaders (Blu-ray)
Details: 1974, Arrow Films
Rated: R, sexual content, language
The lowdown: Filmmaker Jack Hill specialized in features with tough female characters, with movies about girl gangs (“The Switchblade Sisters”) and women in prison (“The Big Doll House” and “The Big Bird Cage”).
He turned Pam Grier into an international icon with such movies as “Coffy” and “Foxy Brown.”
In “The Swinging Cheerleaders,” he features a young undergraduate who goes undercover as a cheerleader for her student newspaper at Mesa University to expose female exploitation.
She uncovers something much bigger, though, corruption in the football team, led by the coach and his friends.
The cast includes Colleen Camp, Rainbeaux Smith and Rosanne Katon.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English stereo; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus materials include interviews with Hill, Camp, Katon, Johnny Legend and cinematographer Alfred Taylor and a commentary track with Hill.

The Mermaid (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2016, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Rated: R, violence
The lowdown: This action-comedy from director Stephen Chow (“Kung Fu Hustle”) was China’s highest grossing film of all time.
The story centers on a greedy real estate tycoon who buys a pristine coastal enclave known as Green Gulf, which he plans to turn into a hot market commodity.
Unknown to the tycoon, the waters are home to the last surviving mermaids, who decide to take action to protect what is theirs.
They send one of their own to seduce the tycoon in order to stop the destruction of their waters. But when their plan goes south, neither side is willing to back down and a final, fatal showdown looms.
The movie offers excitement and an easy-to-digest environmental message.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.35:1 widescreen picture; Mandarin and English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and Thai 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH, English, Chinese, French, Indonesian/Bahasa, Polish, Spanish and Thai subtitles
Don’t miss: Extras include behind-the-scenes and making of featurettes and a music video.

The Pack (Blu-ray)
Details: 2015, IFC Midnight-Scream Factory
Rated: Not rated, violence, language
The lowdown: A pack of bloodthirsty wild dogs attacks a family at its farmhouse in this Australian horror-thriller.
The isolated family — a sheep rancher, his veterinarian wife and their two teenage children — must fight together in order to survive.
The movie builds and sustains tension throughout, as the family faces one crisis after another in their fight to avoid being devoured.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.35:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: A making of featurette is the major supplemental offering.

Suture (Blu-ray)
Details: 1993, Arrow Video
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A strange drama about a wealthy young man, Vincent, who meets his half-brother, Clay, at their father’s funeral.
He is struck by their similarity and decides to kill his sibling and assume his identity.
However, the half-brother survives, and now is mistaken for his murderous sibling.
The notion that one brother is white and the other black and no one notices the difference when they switch roles is one of the film’s unusual conceits about the nature of identity.
Michael Harris stars as Vincent and Dennis Haysbert is Clay.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.39:1 widescreen picture; English stereo; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include deleted scenes, a commentary track, interviews with filmmakers and cast members and a short film by the directors.

Other Blu-rays and DVDs being released on Tuesday, unless otherwise indicated:
Joseph & Mary (Cinedigm)
George Crumb: Voice of the Whale (MVD Visual, June 24)

DIGITAL DOWNLOADS AND STREAMING
Barbershop: The Next Cut (Warner Home Video) (digital download)
All the Way (HBO Home Entertainment) (digital download, July 11)

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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