New to View: Aug. 23

By Bob Bloom
The following Blu-rays and DVDs are being released on Tuesday, Aug. 23, unless otherwise noted:
The Nice Guys (Blu-ray + DVD + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2016, Warner Home Video
Rated: R, graphic violence, language, nudity, drug use
The lowdown: Screenwriter-director Shane Black seems to have culled the best moments from some of his previous features such as “Lethal Weapon,” “The Last Boy Scout,” “The Last Action Hero” and other buddy films to create this raucous and comic confection starring Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling.
Crowe plays Jackson Healy, a hired enforcer with his own, strange moral code. Gosling is Holland March, a so-so, often bumbling, private investigator more interested in getting paid than solving the cases for which he is hired.
The movie is at its best when Crowe and Gosling are on screen together. They create movie magic; their collective charisma explodes off the screen.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 2.40:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English 5.1 Dolby digital audio descriptive track and Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH, English, Spanish and French subtitles; DVD: 2.40:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English, Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Among the bonus features are the cast riffing about Black and a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the movie.

The Huntsman: Winter’s War: Extended Edition (Blu-ray + DVD + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2016, Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Rated: Unrated and PG-13, fantasy action violence, sexual situations
The lowdown: This prequel to “Snow White and the Huntsman” finds Chris Hemsworth back as Eric the Huntsman and Charlize Theron reprising her the evil Queen Ravenna.
In this story, Ravenna betrays her good sister, Freya (Emily Blunt), unleashing an icy power Freya did not know she had. (No, this is not a live-action rip-off of “Frozen.”)
It is up to Eric and fellow warrior Sara (Jessica Chastain) to help Freya defeat her sister.
The movie has some fine action sequences and special effects, but overall, it does not mesh well.
The set features the theatrical version and an extended version with six additional minutes.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 2.40:1 widescreen picture; English DTS X Immersion audio, DTS headphone audio, Spanish 2.0 DVS Dolby digital and French 5.1 DTS digital surround; English SDH, Spanish and French subtitles; DVD: 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen picture; English, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby digital; English 2.0 DVS Dolby digital; English SDH, Spanish and French subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include featurettes on the three women stars and the power of their characters and one on the four dwarfs; a look at creating the film’s magical world and effects; a gag reel; deleted scenes with commentary; a behind-the-scenes look at the costuming; a behind-the-scenes look at the set during filming; and a commentary track.

Ratchet & Clank (Blu-ray + DVD + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2016, Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Rated: PG, action, crude and rude humor
The lowdown: A science fiction animated feature, based on the popular video game franchise, that is aimed at youngsters.
The movie, featuring such voice talent as Paul Giamatti, John Goodman, Rosario Dawson and Sylvester Stallone, follows a pair of unlikely heroes as the reluctantly fight to stop an evil alien from destroying all the planets in the Solana Galaxy.
Rachet is the last of the Lombax. He is foolhardy. Clank is a robot with more brains than brawn.
The two find a terrifying weapon that could destroy entire planets and must join the Galactic Rangers to help save the galaxy.
Along the way, of course, they learn about heroism, friendship, self and teamwork.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 2.40:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and 2.0 DVS and Spanish and French 5.1 DTS digital surround; English SDH, Spanish and French subtitles; DVD: 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen picture; English, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby digital and English 2.0 DVS Dolby digital; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: A behind-the-scenes featurette on the making of the movie as well as a look at the challenges of adapting a video game for the big screen comprise the major bonus offerings.

Maggie’s Plan (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2016, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Rated: R, language, sexual content
The lowdown: The always-interesting Greta Gerwig stars in writer-director Rebecca Miller’s romantic comedy about a young woman who falls in love with an anthropology professor, who happens to be married.
The professor and his wife, played by Ethan Hawke and Oscar-winner Julianne Moore, are not happy, so Gerwig’s Maggie instigates a plan that will change all of their lives.
Plans, however, do not always work out the way one imagines, as Maggie eventually learns.
The cast also includes Bill Hader, Maya Rudolph and the wonderful Wallace Shawn.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English audio description track, Russian voice-over and Thai 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH, English, Chinese (simplified and traditional), French, Russian and Thai subtitles.
Don’t miss: A making of featurette, outtakes, a Sundance Film Festival question-and-answer session and a commentary track with Miller comprise the major bonus offerings.

Dark Horse
Details: 2016, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Rated: PG, suggestive themes, language
The lowdown: A charming documentary about a group of friends in a Welsh town who decide to take a chance and enter the “sport of kings” by breeding themselves a racehorse.
These people pool what little resources they have to make their dreams come true, succeeding beyond their wildest expectations.
If the film were a work of fiction, it would be criticized for being too unbelievable.
The movie will inspire and entertain.
Technical aspects: 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby digital and audio description track; English SDH, English and French subtitles.
Don’t miss: A photo gallery is the only extra.

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2015-16, Warner Home Video
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: This superhero series centers on maverick time traveler Rip Hunter, who assembles a team of good guys and bad guys to defeat the immortal villain, Vandal Savage.
The two-disc set features all 16 first-season episodes, which, unfortunately, while well produced, seem to grow repetitious as each week one member of the team or another either contemplates leaving or departs from the team, only to return.
Fans of the CW’s superhero franchise shows will most likely enjoy the series more than casual viewers.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.78:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus offerings include a tour of the Waverider set, a featurette on the episode featuring Jonah Hex, a gag reel and a 2015 Comic-Con panel featurette.

NCIS: New Orleans: The Second Season
Release date: Aug. 9
Details: 2015-16, CBS DVD-Paramount Home Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: This six-disc set features all 24 second-season episodes of the newest member of the “NCIS” franchise.
It’s not the cases they investigate as much as the interaction and byplay between the characters, spearheaded by Scott Bakula’s Dwayne “King” Pride that drives the show.
The cases Pride and his team investigate range from black market drones to terrorist threats to deadly new drugs.
But this NCIS group all gets their perp.
Technical aspects: 16:9 full-screen picture; English 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH and Portuguese subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus offerings include a behind-the-scenes look at an “NCIS” crossover episode, an overview of the season, featurettes on the cast members’ wardrobe, a featurette on Shalita Grant’s agent Sonja Percy, deleted scenes, a “Now You See It” featurette, another on “All the World’s a Stage” and commentaries on several episodes.

Woman in the Dunes: Special Edition (Blu-ray)
Details: 1964, The Criterion Collection
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: This movie by Hiroshi Teshigahara is one of the seminal works of 1960s Japanese cinema.
The story centers on an entomologist who has left Tokyo to study an unclassified beetle species found in a desert.
When he misses his bus back to Tokyo, he is persuaded to spend the night with a young widow in her hut at the bottom of a sand dune.
What occurs next is one of the most erotic and suspenseful battles of the sexes to be captured on film.
Elji Okada plays the entomologist and Kyoko Kishada portrays the widow.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.33:1 full-screen picture; Japanese LPCM monaural; English subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include a video essay by film scholar James Quandt, four short early works by Teshigahara, a 2007 documentary on the collaboration between the director and novelist Kobo Abe and booklet with an essay about the movie and an interview with Teshigahara.

Lucifer: The Complete First Season
Details: 2016, Warner Home Video
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: The premise of this series is that after billions of years, Lucifer is bored as the ruler of Hell.
He comes to Los Angeles to have some fun, but soon becomes involved with Chloe Decker, a beautiful detective investigating a murder Lucifer witnessed.
He is intrigued, helps her solve the case — and a TV series is born.
The set contains all 13 first-season episodes as Lucifer takes devilish delight in being good as well as irreverent.
Technical aspects: 16×9 widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: A gag reel, deleted scenes, four character profiles, a look at Lucifer, a devilish duo featurette and a 2015 Comic-Con panel.

Elementary: The Fourth Season
Details: 2015-16, CBS DVD-Paramount Home Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Jonny Lee Miller returns as Sherlock Holmes and Lucy Liu costars as Dr. Joan Watson in the fourth season of this popular CBS series.
The six-disc set features all 24 episodes as Holmes and Watson unravel puzzling crimes that usually have the police baffled.
The series, set in contemporary New York, is enjoyable to watch and guess along.
In season four, Holmes’ father, Morland, played by the wonderful John Noble, moves to the Big Apple, thus complicating Sherlock’s life.
Technical aspects: 16:9 full-screen picture; English 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH and Portuguese subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include a look at the necessary tools to qualify for a villain on the series, a commentary track on the episode “Miss Taken,” an interview with Noble, a gag reel, deleted scenes and a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the episode “Wag the Dog: Hounded.”

Narcos: Season One (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2015, Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: This TV series follows the rise of international drug cartels, most notably Colombia’s Pablo Escobar (Wagner Moura), and the attempts by law enforcement officials to stop the deadly trade.
The episodes also look at the two DEA agents, Steven Murphy (Boyd Holbrook) and Javier Pena (Pedro Pascal), dispatched to capture Escobar.
The series, which airs on Netflix, will return for a second season.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.78:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus offerings include featurettes on establishing the drug routes, the Colombian collection and the language barrier, as well as deleted scenes and commentaries.

The Widow From Chicago (DVD-R)
Release date: Aug. 9
Details: 1930, Warner Archive Collection
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: This film is best known as the debut of Edward G. Robinson, before he became a cinematic icon a few months later in “Little Caesar.”
This early-sound crime thriller stars Alice White, who is out to avenge the death of her detective brother who was undercover posing as a gangster in order to infiltrate the mob.
Robinson plays Dominic, the mob boss of Chicago, who is her target.
The movie costars Neil Hamilton, best known today for his role as Commissioner Gordon in the mid-1960s campy “Batman” TV series.
The release is a made-on-demand DVD-R from the Warner Archive Collection. It can be found at www.wbshop.com or other Internet sellers.
Technical aspects: 1.37:1 (4×3) full-screen picture; English Dolby digital monaural.

Midnight Run: Collector’s Edition (Blu-ray)
Details: 1988, Shout! Factory
Rated: R, violence, language
The lowdown: Robert De Niro plays a bounty hunter and Charles Grodin is the accountant who embezzled $15 million from the mob in this action-comedy directed by Martin Brest.
Grodin’s sensitive Jonathan “The Duke” Mardukas gave the money to charity, then later jumped bail.
De Niro’s Jack Walsh can earn $100,000 if he can capture Mardukas and deliver him alive from New York to Los Angeles.
What is supposed to be an easy bounty becomes a hilarious cross-country chase with the FBI and the mob after the pair.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.78:1 widescreen picture; English DTS-HD Master Audio stereo; English subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus materials include interviews with De Niro, Grodin and cast members Joe Pantoliano, John Aston, Yaphet Kotto and writer George Gallo and an archival making of featurette.

Unholy Partners (DVD-R)
Release date: Aug. 9
Details: 1941, Warner Archive Collection
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Edward G. Robinson stars as a newspaper editor-publisher who, returning from World War I, takes money from a racketeer to start his own tabloid.
Everything goes smoothly until the editor begins exposing his silent partner’s illegal activities. Many of the editor’s staff gets caught in the crossfire, until the editor decides to put a stop to the gangster’s retribution in his own way.
The movie costars Laraine Day, Marsha Hunt, Edward Arnold, William T. Orr and Don Beddoe.
The release is a made-on-demand DVD-R from the Warner Archive Collection and can be found at www.wbshop.com or other online dealers.
Technical aspects: 1.37:1 (4×3) full-screen picture; English Dolby digital monaural.

Psycho IV: The Beginning (Blu-ray)
Details: 1990, Scream Factory
Rated: R, violence, sexual content
The lowdown: Henry Thomas plays a young Norman Bates in this “Psycho” prequel, in which Anthony Perkins reprises his role as the adult Bates, going on a radio show to discuss matricide.
Bates tells about living with a schizophrenic mother (Olivia Hussey of “Romeo and Juliet”), and the memories threaten to relight Norman’s urge to kill.
Joseph Stefano wrote the script, and Mick Garris (“The Stand”) directed the feature.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.78:1 widescreen picture; English DTS-HD Master audio stereo.
Don’t miss: Behind-the-scenes footage and a commentary track comprise the major bonus features.

Blackmail (DVD-R)
Release date: Aug. 9
Details: 1939, Warner Home Video
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Edward G. Robinson stars as a famed fighter of oil field blazes who holds a dark secret.
It seems he is a fugitive, escaping after a false robbery conviction. He now is a respected family man.
But his past catches up with him when a former shipmate catches up with him, reveals his past and swindles him out of his new oil venture.
He is returned to the Georgia chain gang from which he escaped, and where a vengeful guard awaits his return.
Everything is put right in a blazing finale.
The movie costars Ruth Hussey, Gene Lockhart and Bobs Watson.
The release is a made-on-demand DVD-R from the Warner Archive Collection. It can be found at www.wbshop.com or other online dealers.
Technical aspects: 1.37:1 (4×3) full-screen picture; English Dolby digital monaural.

The Bloodstained Butterfly (Blu-ray)
Details: 1971, Arrow Video
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Another Italian giallo-inspired tradition that melds the genre with a courtroom drama.
Of course, some grisly murders are involved.
The story centers on a female student who is killed in a park during a thunderstorm. Her lover, of course, is the main suspect as witnesses saw him fleeing the scene.
The lover is captured, but while he is in custody, the killer strikes again, making it apparent that there is more to the case than authorities first realized.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.35:1 widescreen picture; Italian and English 1.0 DTS-HD Master audio monaural; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include a commentary track with critics Alan Jones and Kim Newman, a visual essay about the movie and a booklet with essays and writings about the film.

Other Blu-rays and DVDs being released on Tuesday, unless otherwise indicated:
Stand By Me: 30th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray + DVD + Ultraviolet) (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
On Guard / Five Day Lover double feature (Blu-ray) (Cohen Media Collection, Aug. 9)

DIGITAL DOWNLOADS and STREAMING
Hell Town (Gravitas Ventures)
The Jungle Book (Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment)
Now You See Me 2 (Lionsgate Home Entertainment)
Janet King: Series 2 (Acorn TV, Aug. 29)

Coming next week: The Jungle Book
Me Before You

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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