New to View: Nov. 22
By Bob Bloom
The following Blu-rays and DVDs are being released on Tuesday, Nov. 22, unless otherwise noted:
Hell or High Water (Blu-ray + DVD + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2016, Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Rated: R, graphic violence, language, brief sexual content
The lowdown: Small towns clinging to survival and little ranches fending off bankers who covet the land dot the rural, uninviting Texas landscape of “Hell or High Water.”
The film is a contemporary Western heist-thriller about two brothers who rob small banks to raise money to save their late mother’s ranch from foreclosure. Predatory lenders tricked her into signing a reverse-mortgage agreement.
The film’s atmosphere is one of desperation, as well as anger.
The movie is one of the best of the year, a riveting drama with depth and a modicum of socioeconomic anger.
Home viewing makes it a more intimate drama, allowing you to appreciate how the cinematography and music blend into the film.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 2.40:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Spanish 5.1 Dolby digital, English 2.0 Dolby digital optimized for late-night viewing and English audio description track; English SDH, English and Spanish subtitles; DVD: 2.40:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English and Spanish 5.1 Dolby digital and English descriptive audio track; English SDH, English and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include featurettes on the characters, the performances and visualizing the heart of America, a filmmaker question-and-answer session and a look at the film’s red carpet premiere.
War Dogs (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2016, Warner Home Video
Rated: R, language, drug use, sexual references
The lowdown: “War Dogs” could have been a skewed examination of fulfilling the American dream, or a satire about inept oversight and corruption.
The story is based on true events about two young men who became arms dealers during the Iraq War and made millions.
“War Dogs” is ordinary and bland; it lacks tension and insight. The absurdist edge needed to convey how an inexperienced pair of 20-somethings could win Pentagon contracts for millions of dollars to sell weapons and equipment to the military is totally missing.
Jonah Hill and Miles Teller are talented actors who, either because of a weak script or direction, could not add any quirks or textures to their characters. Nor can they engage or connect with the audience.
The film is a missed opportunity to say something critical or otherwise about the tragedy, cost and waste of the Iraq War.
Technical aspects: 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 French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include a trio of featurettes, “General Phillips: Boots on the Ground,” “War Dogs: Access Granted” and “Pentagon Pie,” all of which go behind-the-scenes at the making of the film.
Kubo and the Two Strings (Blu-ray + DVD + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2016, Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Rated: PG, scary images of action and danger, some thematic elements
The lowdown: A young boy sets out on a magical quest to discover his legacy in this imaginative animated fantasy from the filmmakers who created “Coraline, “Paranorman” and “The Boxtrolls.”
Kubo entertains residents of his village with his gift of spinning wild stories using origami.
But when Kubo accidentally summons an evil spirit seeking vengeance, he is forced to go on a quest to solve the mystery of his fallen samurai father and his magical weapons as well as discover his own powers.
The movie features the vocal talents of Charlize Theron, Matthew McConaughey, Ralph Fiennes and Rooney Mara.
This is an entertaining feature that offers some scares, laughs and adventure for young viewers.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 2.40:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English 2.0 Dolby digital audio descriptive track and DTS digital Spanish 5.1; English SDH, Spanish and French subtitles; DVD: 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen picture; English and Spanish 5.1 Dolby digital and English 2.0 Dolby digital audio descriptive track; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus materials include featurettes on Kubo’s journey, a featurette on the story’s various locations and a commentary track.
Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World
Details: 2016, Magnolia Home Entertainment
Rated: PG-13, mature themes, language
The lowdown: Documentary filmmaker Werner Herzog trains his camera on the virtual world, from its origins to the outermost reaches.
Herzog’s curiosity takes us on a journey that explores the digital landscape that has encompassed the globe.
The film features interesting and enlightening conversations with such Internet pioneers as Bob Kahn, Elon Musk and Kevin Mitnick.
Herzog reveals how the online world has transformed not only itself, but the real world — from business to education to health care and space travel.
Herzog holds our attention throughout the film as he traces the growth and potential of the Internet.
Technical aspects: 1.78:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: The major supplemental feature is an interview with Herzog.
Mechanic Resurrection (Blu-ray + DVD + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2016, Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Rated: R, violence, language
The lowdown: Jason Statham returns as the Mechanic in this action-packed sequel.
Statham’s Arthur Bishop is forced to return to his old life by the machinations of a cunning and ruthless woman, played by Jessica Alba.
Bishop complete a list of assassinations, killing some of the most dangerous men in the world.
The film is basically all over-the-top action and stunts.
The cast also includes Tommy Lee Jones and Michelle Yeoh.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 2.40:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English Dolby Atmos, English 2.0 Dolby digital optimized for late-night listening and English Dolby descriptive audio; English SDH, English and Spanish subtitles; DVD: 2.40:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby digital and English descriptive audio; English SDH, English and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus offerings include a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film, scoring the movie, a look at the Malaysian prison break sequence, a featurette on Yeoh and one about Statham discussing stunts.
Rabid: Collector’s Edition (Blu-ray)
Details: 1977, Scream Factory
Rated: R, graphic violence, language, nudity
The lowdown: Former adult film star Marilyn Chambers heads the cast in this horror-thriller from writer-director David Cronenberg.
Chambers stars as Rose who, after a radical emergency surgery, develops an insatiable desire for blood.
She searches out victims who are infected after she feeds her needs. Those people, in turn, spread the disease, which drives people insane and makes them equally as bloodthirsty.
The movie has a cult following, and was one of the films that brought Cronenberg to the attention of American audiences.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.66:1 widescreen picture; English DTS-HD Master Audio monaural; English subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus features include two commentaries tracks, one of which is with Cronenberg; an archival interview with the director; interviews with executive producer Ivan Reitman and co-producer Don Carmody; and a video essay by author Caelum Vatnsdal, who wrote “They Came From Within: A History of Canadian Horror Cinema,” which charters Cronenberg’s career.
C.H.U.D.: 2-Disc Special Edition (Blu-ray)
Details: 1984, Arrow Video
Rated: R, violence, language
The lowdown: This horror feature was vilified by the majority of critics, but it also developed a cult following with genre fans.
The story takes place in the New York underground and centers on a police captain who is searching for his missing wife.
His investigation leads to the tunnels and sewers beneath the streets of Manhattan, where he makes a horrifying discovery — a horde of underground cannibalistic dwellers who once and a while venture to the surface to munch on human flesh.
The movie features John Heard, Daniel Stern and, in one of his earliest roles, John Goodman.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English LPCM monaural; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include an extended shower scene, a look at New York City locations used in the film, an interview with the composers as well as isolated score selections, an interview with production designer John Caglione Jr., a commentary track and a booklet with writings about the movie.
Mystery Science Theater 3000: Volume XXXVII
Details: 1961-83, Shout! Factory
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Buckle up, it’s time for more laughs and screwy observations from the crew of the Satellite of Love about a quartet of B-movies that make you feel good because they are so cinematically inept.
The movies in this four-disc edition are “The Human Duplicators,” “Escape 2000,” “The Horror of Party Beach” and “Invasion of the Neptune Men,” a Japanese import starring cult favorite Sonny Chiba.
You watch these movies for the goofy commentary, which always enhances the enjoyment of the features.
Technical aspects: Widescreen and full-screen pictures; English Dolby digital; English closed-captioned.
Don’t miss: Extras include MST hour wraps, new introductions to the movies, a featurette on the making of “Escape 2000,” a “Return to Party Beach” featurette, a talk by Japanese film historian August Ragone on “Neptune Men” and four mini-posters.
To Live and Die in L.A.: Collector’s Edition (Blu-ray)
Details: 1985, Shout! Factory
Rated: R, violence, language, nudity, mature themes
The lowdown: William Friedkin directed this action-thriller about a federal agent, played by William Petersen, who is out to take down a killer counterfeiter, Willem Dafoe, by any means necessary, even if it means bending the law.
The film is an intense cat-and-mouse drama as Petersen’s Richard Chance lets his obsession with revenge take him to dark places that could destroy his life.
The film costars John Pankow, Dean Stockwell, John Turturro, Debra Feuer and Darlanne Fleugel.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English subtitles.
Don’t miss: Among the bonus features are a making of featurette, a commentary track with Friedkin, a deleted scene and alternate ending and interviews with Petersen, stunt coordinator Buddy Joe Hooker and Wang Chung (Jack Hues and Nick Feldman).
Other Blu-rays and DVDs being released on Tuesday, unless otherwise indicated:
The Childhood of a Leader (IFC Films)
The Land (IFC Films)
Sneakerheadz: Do It with Sole (FilmRise)
DIGITAL DOWNLOADS and STREAMING
The Secret Life of Pets (Universal Studios Home Entertainment)
A Place to Call Home: Season 4 (Acorn TV, Nov. 24)
Quarry: Season One (HBO Home Entertainment, Nov. 28)
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