New to View: Feb. 7
By Bob Bloom
The following Blu-rays and DVDs are being released on Tuesday, Feb. 7, unless otherwise noted:
Loving (Blu-ray + DVD + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2016, Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Rated: PG-13, mature themes
The lowdown: Richard and Mildred Loving are the focal point of this true story about an interracial couple from Virginia who married in 1958 and simply wanted to live as man and wife like other people.
But the state’s antiquated miscegenation laws forced them to leave their home and Virginia to avoid prison sentences.
Relocating to Washington, D.C., the Lovings began raising a family and adapting to the city.
Both, however, felt out of place. They were small-town, rural people who were missing family and friends back home.
In the early 1960s, Mildred was encouraged to write a letter to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, who referred their situation to the ACLU, which saw the case as a chance to overturn all the miscegenation laws still on the books in most Southern — as well as some other — states.
The beauty of “Loving,” written and directed by Jeff Nichols, is that while the ACLU was hungry to make a big splash and headlines, all the Lovings wanted to do was return home so they could enjoy life in familiar and warm surroundings.
Ruth Negga, who portrays Mildred, received a best actress Academy Award nomination — and deservedly so.
“Loving” is a gentle reminder that love is powerful enough to overcome even the greatest obstacles thrown up by a state government and myopic people who are more interested in divisiveness than embracing the bonds that unite people — in marriage and in life.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 2.40:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English 2.0 Dolby digital DVS and Spanish and French 5.1 DTS digital surround; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles; DVD: 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen picture; English, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby digital and English 2.0 Dolby digital DVS; English SDH, Spanish and French subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus components include a look at the making of the movie, a featurette on the cast, a look at the lawsuit, a featurette about Virginia and its state laws at the time of the Loving case and a commentary track.
The Eagle Huntress (Blu-ray)
Details: 2016, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
The lowdown: This is a beautiful documentary with some awesome visuals and an inspiring story.
The feature, shot in Mongolia, tells the story of Aisholpan, a 13-year-old girl, who aspires to be the first female eagle hunter in her family.
For generations, eagle hunting has been handed down from father to son, but Aisholpan’s father, Rhys, inspired by her determination and skill, sees no reason why he should not train her in this difficult art.
Smartly, the film, narrated by Daisy Ridley — who also serves as one of its executive producers — spends the bulk of its time chronicling Aisholpan’s extensive training — from capturing her eaglet to teaching it to obey her commands and hunt.
The Mongolian steppe region where the film takes place is a desolate, cold and, at times, harsh environment. Yet Aisholpan and her family survive — as her tribe has for generations — by moving and adapting to changes in weather and seasons.
This feature is about conquering barriers with pure talent and grit and by ignoring naysayers and those who want to maintain a status quo.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; Kazakh 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and English 5.1 Dolby digital audio description track; English SDH, English, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: A behind-the-scenes featurette on the making of the documentary and a commentary track are the main bonus offerings.
Vice Principals: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2016, HBO Home Entertainment
Rated: TV-MA, language
The lowdown: Danny McBride and Walton Goggins costar in this dark comedic HBO series, co-created by McBride, about two ambitious school administrators who are engaged in a power struggle to attain the top spot at a school after the longtime principal retires.
However, another person, played by Kimberly Hebert Gregory, is given the post, which forces the two rivals to put their differences aside and team up to bring her down, even though she may be the only person to have the school’s best interests at heart.
This is a wickedly funny series that pokes fun at today’s state of education.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.78:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French 5.1 DTS digital surround and Spanish 2.0 DTS digital surround; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include a blooper reel, deleted scenes and nine commentaries.
Graves: Season One
Details: 2016, Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Nick Nolte stars as former two-term President Richard Graves who embarks on an idealistic quest to correct the wrongs of his administration, 25 years after leaving the White House.
The show is the first original comedy series from EPIX, and costars Sela Ward and Skylar Astin.
Nolte gives an eccentric comic performance as the former POTUS.
Technical aspects: 1.78:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include a featurette on the making of the series, a gag reel and a behind-the-scenes look at the ensemble cast.
Justice League Dark: Limited Edition Gift Set (Blu-ray + DVD + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2016, Warner Home Video
Rated: R, disturbing violence
The lowdown: A supernatural tale as Batman teams up with demon fighter John Constantine and others, including Zatanna, Deadman and Etrigan the Demon to battle otherworldly beings after a series of nightmarish crimes in Gotham City and Metropolis.
This new team battles an evil supernatural force threatening mankind and the planet.
This latest installment in the DC Universe is a dark, original animated feature aimed at adults.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 1.78:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French 5.1 Dolby digital, Spanish Castilian 2.0 Dolby digital and Latin Spanish 5.0 Dolby digital; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles; DVD: 1.78:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English, French and Latin Spanish 5.1 Dolby digital; Spanish Castilian 2.0 Dolby digital; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include a sneak peek at the next DC Universe feature, “Teen Titans: The Judas Contract”; a featurette on Swamp Thing; a behind-the-scene look at the film’s major characters; a 2016 Comic Con panel featurette; sneak peaks at two upcoming Justice League features; and two bonus episodes from the DC vault featuring Batman.
Dirty Dancing: 30th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray + DVD + Ultraviolet)
Details: 1987, Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Rated: PG-13, sexual situations, language
The lowdown: Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey again dance their way into your hearts in this reissue that contains new extras.
The story, set in the summer of 1963 at a Catskills resort, tells the story of Baby (Grey), an outspoken young woman, and Johnny (Swayze), the hotel’s dance instructor.
The feature’s music and dance numbers are timeless and engaging.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 1.78:1 widescreen picture; English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH, English and Spanish subtitles; DVD: 1.78:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby digital EX; English SDH and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus features include a never-before-seen interview with Swayze, a 30th anniversary salute from celebrity fans, outtakes, deleted and extended scenes, archival cast interviews, music videos and two commentaries.
Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2005, Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Rated: PG-13, sex-related material
The lowdown: This wonderful documentary captures the music and soul of musician-poet Leonard Cohen.
The film, which Cohen narrates, features performances by the singer-songwriter as well as Nick Cave, U2, Rufus Wainwright and Jarvis Cocker.
Fans of Cohen, who recently died, can find solace in this feature that captures his music for posterity.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.78:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH, English and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include a conversation with Cohen, a commentary track and additional performances by Cohen and others.
Life on the Line (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2016, Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Rated: R, grisly violence and images, language
The lowdown: John Travolta stars in this action-drama as a veteran lineman haunted by the death by lightning of his brother years earlier.
Meanwhile, a massive electrical storm is sweeping toward Texas and Travolta’s Beau and his team race to replace miles of power cables before the storm hits.
The movie costars Kate Bosworth, Sharon Stone and Devon Sawa.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.40:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH, English and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include a behind-the-scenes featurette with cast members and filmmakers and a music video.
Beyond Redemption (Blu-ray)
Details: 2015, Well Go USA Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A martial arts action-thriller starring stuntman Brian Ho as an undercover police officer who infiltrates the inner circle of a powerful gang to prove his loyalty to its leader.
The film is set in the grimy underworld of Vancouver, where Ho’s cop must go deeper and deeper to maintain his loyalty and solve a high-stakes case that involves the infamous Triad.
Fans of the genre will enjoy the stunts and fights.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 16:9 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD stereo surround; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: A behind-the-scenes look at a fight sequence is the major bonus option.
The Black Dragon’s Revenge (Blu-ray)
Release date: Jan. 31
Details: 1975, The Film Detective
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A martial arts thriller starring Ron van Clief about rival gangs searching for a lost “finger fighting” manual written by Bruce Lee.
This feature combines two powerful 1970s genres — Blaxploitation and kung fu.
The movie features some crude dialogue and cost-cutting film techniques common to both genres, but it succeeds because of the action and the allure of van Clief.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.35:1 widescreen picture; English Dolby digital.
Other Blu-rays and DVDs being released on Tuesday, Feb. 7, unless otherwise indicated:
Antibirth (Blu-ray) (IFC Midnight-Scream Factory)
Come What May (Blu-ray) (Cohen Media Group)
Fall (Breaking Glass Films)
Nocturne (Random Media)
Stake Land II (Blu-ray) (Dark Sky Films)
Underground Kings (Breaking Glass Pictures)
Shimmer and Shine: Friendship Divine (Nickelodeon-Paramount Home Entertainment)
Teletubbies: Big Hugs (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Jan. 17)
DIGITAL DOWNLOADS and STREAMING
Hacksaw Ridge (FandangoNow)
Manchester by the Sea (Lionsgate Home Entertainment & FandangoNow)
Nocturnal Animals (Universal Pictures Home Entertainment & FandangoNow)
Peter and the Farm (Magnolia Home Entertainment)
Blind Sun (Shudder, Feb. 9)
Bornless Ones (October Coast Publicity, Feb. 10)
Do You Dream in Color? (Uncork’d Entertainment, Feb. 10)
Havenhurst (Brainstorm Media, Feb. 10)
Coming next week: The Edge of Seventeen
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 email@example.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.