New to View: Dec. 6

By Bob Bloom
The following Blu-rays and DVDs are being released on Tuesday, Dec. 6, unless otherwise noted:

The Secret Life of Pets (Blu-ray + DVD + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2016, Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Rated: PG, action, rude humor
The lowdown: “The Secret Life of Pets” is a cute and funny animated feature that rushes by as quickly as the wagging tail of an excited puppy.
You don’t have to be a pet lover — or even a pet owner — to enjoy this frivolous and exaggerated tale of what dogs, cats, birds and other so-called domesticated animals do while their masters are away. It’s all colorful fun, even if the story is slight.
The film is nonstop action, which will keep the youngsters engrossed.
The movie also offers a slight sense of danger, as well as providing a few mild scary moments.
The animated antics of the various animals, as well as their interactions, drive the movie from sequence to sequence.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English Atmos Dolby TrueHD, English 2.0 Dolby digital descriptive audio, Spanish 7.1 Dolby digital plus and French 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles; DVD: 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen picture; English, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby digital and English 2.0 Dolby digital descriptive audio; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus offerings include a featurette on making an animated movie, an anatomy of a scene, a trio of mini-movies, a profile of the pets, a look at the vocal talent, a featurette on the hairstylist to the dogs and a featurette on the best of Snowball’s one-liners.

Jason Bourne (4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2016, Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Rated: PG-13, intense and graphic violent sequences, language
The lowdown: This action-thriller is an unnecessary sequel in which hand-to-hand fights, chases — on foot and in vehicles — gunshots and roadway mayhem are used as diversions to cover a flimsy plotline and some wooden and pedestrian performances.
On the uptick, if you want to see a fast-paced movie that rushes through its nearly two-hour running time like an out-of-control canoe barreling down some rapids, plus fine stunt work and fight choreography, then you will definitely enjoy “Jason Bourne.
It is filled with double crosses, treachery, murder and all the necessary ingredients that comprise the genre.
However, this series is played out, and it is time to take Jason Bourne off the grid permanently.
Technical aspects: 4K Ultra HD: 2160p, 2.40:1 widescreen picture; English DTS X immersive audio, DTS HeadphoneX, Spanish 7.1 DTS-HD and French 5.1 DTS digital surround; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles; Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 2.40:1 widescreen picture; English DTS X immersive audio, English DTS HeadphoneX, English 2.0 Dolby digital descriptive audio, Spanish 7.1 DTS-HD and French 5.1 DTS digital surround; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include a featurette with star Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass discussing how they brought Bourne back to the screen; three behind-the-scenes looks at major fight sequences; a behind-the-scenes look at the challenges in creating the Athens chase sequence; and a couple of behind-the-scenes featurettes on the shooting of the Las Vegas sequences.

“The 2016 World Series” (Blu-ray + DVD + digital copy)
Details: 2016, Shout! Factory
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Still on Cloud 9 over the Chicago Cubs first World Championship in 108 years?
Well, you can relive all the highlights of the Cubbies road to glory with this Blu-ray/DVD combo set that features highlights of the season, the playoffs and the biggest thrills of the World Series.
Consider this set an appetizer for the Dec. 13 release of the “2016 World Series Collector’s Edition: Chicago Cubs,” an eight-disc set that will offer more thrills and excitement.
Until then, feast of these fond memories of the North Side’s victorious season.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 1.78:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH subtitles; DVD: 1.78:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture, English 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include regular season highlights, clinching moments, World Series highlights and the World Series parade.

Author: The JT LeRoy Story
Details: 2016, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Rated: R, language, violent images, sexual content, drug use
The lowdown: A documentary that looks at the controversy surrounding young author JT LeRoy, whose tough writing about a sordid childhood had engrossed millions of readers as well as celebrities and icons from around the world.
The literary world was rocked when on Jan. 9, 2006, “The New York Times” revealed that LeRoy did not exist. Instead, he was the creation of a 40-year-old San Francisco housewife named Laura Albert.
For a decade, Albert, a former phone-sex operator, had created this illusion about LeRoy, whom she brought to life through subterfuge and deceit.
The film follows Albert’s creation into a glittery world of rock shows, fashion events and the Cannes Film Festival red carpet.
Technical aspects: 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH, English and Spanish subtitles.

The Hollars (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2016, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Rated: PG-13, mature themes, language
The lowdown: This is one of those dysfunctional family comedy-drama hybrids that, as you watch it, a feeling of déjà vu envelops you.
The movie is decent, but plays like an extended episode of a TV series.
You continually try to shake the notion that you have seen this all before — and that is because you probably have.
The film does offer some edgy humor, but not enough to sustain it to its finale. It offers some tenderness and heartache, but, again, it fails to fully grab you emotionally.
“The Hollars” is an OK movie, worth seeing for the work of costars Margo Martindale and Richard Jenkins. Just don’t go expecting anything out of the ordinary.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English and Japanese 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH, English, Chinese (traditional) and Japanese subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include a look at the making of the film, a commentary track with star-director John Krasinski and Martindale, a profile of Martindale and a Los Angeles Film Festival question-and-answer session with Krasinski, Martindale and costar Anna Kendrick.

The BFG (Blu-ray + DVD + digital HD)
Release date: Nov. 29
Details: 2016, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Rated: PG, action danger, scary moments, crude humor
The lowdown: “The BFG” is a marvelous and dreamlike movie with a heart as big as its gentle main character.
The movie is a modern-day fairy tale about the unlikely friendship between a giant and a plucky little girl named Sophie.
The film is a wonderful magical experience that fits right in director Steven Spielberg’s wheelhouse as a storyteller.
With its humor, action and moments of awe and frights, this live action-CGI combo hearkens back to the early days of such classical Disney animated features as “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and “Pinocchio.”
The movie’s heart and soul is the motion-capture performance of Academy Award-winner Mark Rylance as the Big Friendly Giant, who collects dreams and who, unlike his larger counterparts, refuses to eat people.
“The BFG” is a bit too slow and too cautious. It fails to capture what most fairy tales do best — a sense of fright and darkness to give the kids in the audience some goose bumps and keep the adults totally engrossed.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 2.39:1 widescreen picture; English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English 2.0 audio description track and French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles; DVD: 2.39:1 widescreen picture; English, Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby digital and English 2.0 audio description track; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the movie and its progression from book to screen, a short film about the BFG and a little boy he befriended, a featurette on the movie’s fearsome giants, a tribute to the late screenwriter Melissa Mathison, a look at the words of the BFG and a digital-only featurette through the movie’s concept art and memorable moments, and featuring glimpses from composer John Williams’ scoring sessions.

Pete’s Dragon (Blu-ray + DVD + digital HD)
Release date: Nov. 29
Details: 2016, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Rated: PG, action danger and language
The lowdown: Disney’s re-imagining of its earlier live action-animated feature uses CGI to create its magical green dragon, Elliot.
The movie stars Bryce Dallas Howard and Robert Redford, who take in a 10-year-old boy, Pete, who has been living in the forest, claiming he has been protected by his best friend — a dragon.
A pro-environmental tone has been tacked on to this contemporary update, and it does not detract from the movie’s sense of wonder.
The kids will enjoy the antics and relationship between Pete and Elliot.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 2.39:1 widescreen picture; English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English 2.0 audio description track and Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles; DVD: 2.39:1 widescreen picture; English, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby digital and English 2.0 audio description track; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Supplemental materials include director David Lowery’s personal diary that he kept during filming, a behind-the-scenes look at designing Elliot, a featurette with Lowery sharing a montage of the movie’s “lost” scenes, bloopers, music videos and a commentary track.

LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures Complete Season One (Blu-ray)
Details: 2016, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Rated: TV Y7 FV
The lowdown: This LEGO “Stars Wars” adventure takes place in the time between events in “The Empire Strikes Back” and “The Return of the Jedi.”
A family of scavengers build and sell starships from battle debris collected throughout the galaxy. When the youngest member of the family discovers a connection with the Force through an ancient artifact known as the Kyber Saber, his world is turned upside down.
The discovery throws him and his family in a battle against the Empire to help restore peace and freedom throughout the galaxy.
The set features all 13 episodes of this series.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.78:1 widescreen picture; English and Spanish 5.1 Dolby digital and French 2.0 Dolby digital; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus materials include a tour of the best salvage shop in the galaxy and a featurette on the Freemaker family.

BrainDead: Season One
Details: 2016, CBS DVD-Paramount Home Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A four-disc set containing all 13 first-season episodes of this summer political satire series.
The series features Mary Elizabeth Winstead as young documentary filmmaker Laurel Healy who takes a job in Washington, D.C., with her brother, a U.S. senator.
She soon discovers something deep and disturbing under the surface of the nation’s capital — a conspiracy theory involving alien bugs replacing the brains of several members of Congress.
No matter what is happening, though, it’s not politics as usual in the seat of power.
Considering the events of the past few months, this series takes on a new edge when revisiting it.
Technical aspects: 16:9 widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: A gag reel, a featurette on the show’s creators and how they came up with the premise, a look at the characters, deleted scenes and a featurette on how the 2016 election impacted the series are among the bonus offerings.

Beauty & the Beast: The Final Season
Details: 2016, CBS DVD-Paramount Home Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A four-disc set featuring the final 13 episodes of this reboot of the cult favorite 1980s series.
In the final season of this drama Catherine “Cat” Chandler (Kristin Kreuk) and Tess (Nina Lisandrello) become involved in a case in which fingerprints are discovered that prove Cat’s love, Vincent (Jay Ryan), is still alive.
Vincent, who was reportedly killed in Afghanistan in 2002, has been hiding a terrible secret — when he becomes enraged, he transforms into a terrifying beast with super-strength and increased senses.
Will Cat and Vincent be able to reconnect and live happily ever after?
You will have to check out these last episodes to find the answer.
Technical aspects: 16:9 full-screen picture; English 5.1 Dolby digital and 2.0 Dolby digital stereo surround; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include an overview of the final season, deleted scenes, a gag reel and a featurette on the process of ending the series.

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer: 30th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray)
Details: 1986, Dark Sky Films
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Director John McNaughton’s cult classic stars Michael Rooker as Henry, a psychotic drifter who has killed several people for no apparent reason and without any remorse.
The movie is an examination of a mass murderer, and retains its chilling power even after three decades.
This new release, which features a 4K restoration, tells its story in a rather clinical and detached manner, making no judgments about Henry or his actions.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.33:1 full-screen picture; English 5.1 Dolby digital stereo; English subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include an appreciation of the film, a commentary track with McNaughton, a making of featurette, deleted scenes and outtakes, a look at the controversy over the film with the MPAA and an interview with author Stephen Thrower about the film.

Call of Heroes (Blu-ray)
Details: 2016, Well Go USA Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A martial arts feature about the spoiled son of a powerful general who has become a viscous and brutal warlord.
The son is accused of a triple murder, and his father threatens to destroy the entire town and kill everyone in it if his son is not released.
The villagers prepare to defend themselves to see that justice is done.
The cast includes genre favorites Sammo Hung, Louis Koo and Eddie Peng.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 16:9 widescreen picture; Cantonese and Mandarin 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English and Chinese subtitles.
Don’t miss: A making of featurette is the major bonus component.

Howards End: 25th Anniversary (Blu-ray)
Details: 1991, Cohen Film Collection
Rated: PG, violence, sexual content, language
The lowdown: This Merchant Ivory classic gets a 4K restoration upgrade for its 25th anniversary release.
Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson head the cast in this superb adaptation of E.M. Forster’s novel about class relations and the changing social climate in Edwardian England.
Thompson won a best actress Academy Award for her performance in this drama that also features Helena Bonham Carter and Vanessa Redgrave.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.78:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus materials include a collector’s book with stills and essays about the movie, new cast and filmmaker interviews, behind-the-scenes featurettes and documentaries, a 2016 question-and-answer session and a commentary track.

Never Open the Door (Blu-ray)
Details: 2014, Maltauro Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Three couples enjoying Thanksgiving dinner at that now-familiar secluded cabin the woods has their celebration interrupted by a severely wounded man who, once inside, vomits blood onto one of the people, then dies.
But before he does, he utters the warning, “Never open the door.”
Too late, the couples already have.
Later, Tess, the woman who was the recipient of the vomited blood, disappears.
A different Tess then comes to the door and all hell begins to break loose in this strange horror thriller.
Technical aspects: 1080p, widescreen picture.
Don’t miss: The major extras are interviews with cast members and filmmakers.

Other Blu-rays and DVDs being released on Tuesday, unless otherwise indicated:
The Devil’s Dolls (Blu-ray) (IFC Midnight-Scream Factory)
The Great Gilly Hopkins (Lionsgate Home Entertainment)
If There’s a Hell Below (Dark Sky Films)
In Order of Disappearance (Blu-ray) (Magnolia Home Entertainment)
Jennifer Lopez: Dance Again (Anchor Bay Entertainment)

DIGITAL DOWNLOADS and STREAMING
Buddy Solitaire (Leann Lei Productions)
The Merry Gentleman (Breaking Glass Films)
Storks (Warner Home Video)
Sully (Warner Home Video)
Contract to Kill (Lionsgate Home Entertainment, Dec. 9)
The Level (Acorn TV, Dec. 12)

Coming next week: Southside With 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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