New to View: Feb. 28
By Bob Bloom
The following Blu-rays and DVDs are scheduled for release on Tuesday, Feb. 28, unless otherwise noted:
Doctor Strange (Blu-ray + DVD + digital HD)
Details: 2016, Marvel Studios
Rated: PG-13, science fiction violence and action, intense crash sequence
The lowdown: While most Marvel heroes, either teamed as The Avengers or as individuals, protect the physical world from threats domestic, foreign and alien, Dr. Strange guards the world from mystic and magical dangers.
Benedict Cumberbatch joins the A-list of such actors as Robert Downey Jr., Christian Bale, Scarlett Johannsen and Ben Affleck, portraying comic-book characters successfully transposed to the big screen.
Cumberbatch plays Dr. Stephen Strange, a brilliant, arrogant, egotistical and self-centered neurosurgeon, whose hands are irreparably damaged after a car accident.
After many futile attempts to repair his hands, Strange hears of a monastery in Kathmandu, Nepal, where he believes his hands can be fully healed.
Upon arrival, he meets the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton), who explains to him that our universe is simply one of many dimensional existences.
The skeptical Strange is given a demonstration that shatters his illusions about the real world, and he becomes a student at the monastery.
The major drawback of “Doctor Strange” is that it seems to rush through this part of the film, seemingly in a hurry to get to the main conflict.
That centers on Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen), a former student of the Ancient One, who has stolen an age-old spell that will give him and his followers immortality and put Earth under the power of a dark and evil force.
“Doctor Strange” rolls along at a swift pace that gives you little time to grasp all of what is happening.
Still, the technical magicians who have created some dazzling CGI effects, such as buildings and streets folding in on each other, or turning sideways, are most impressive.
“Doctor Strange” is another winning entry for Marvel. It will not disappoint fans, and those not familiar with the comic book or the character also will find the movie vastly entertaining.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 2.39:1 widescreen picture; English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English 2.0 Dolby digital descriptive audio 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 Dolby digital descriptive audio; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Hours of bonus offerings include a featurette on transposing Dr. Strange from the comic pages to the big screen, a featurette on the cast, a behind-the-scene look at the production design, sets and costumes, a featurette on the preparation the cast members endured to get ready for their fight sequences, a behind-the-scenes peek at the recording of the movie’s musical score, a look at many of the films being prepared for Marvel’s Phase 3 releases, a second satirical short that looks at the partnership between Thor and his roommate, Darryl, a gag reel, deleted scenes and a commentary track.
Moonlight (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2016, Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Rated: R, sexual content, drug use, violence, language
The lowdown: “Moonlight” intimately shares a young black man’s journey of self-discovery from childhood to adulthood as he tries to understand his place in the world and his sexuality.
The movie, adapted and directed by Barry Jenkins, is told in three parts, as we follow the life in Miami of a young boy nicknamed Little (Alex Hibbert), who morphs into the teenage Chiron (Ashton Sanders), who then matures into the adult Black (Trevante Rhodes).
Despite its rough exterior, “Moonlight” is a tender picture, a soft and understanding portrait of isolation, of living in the shadows by denying one’s true self.
Compassion overflows in this intimate movie that takes viewers into a world of black men that is rarely shown in film or newspaper articles.
The movie showcases a complexity about human nature and sexuality that is refreshing to watch.
“Moonlight” is a melancholy and moving feature that will tug at your heart and call you to embrace it. It’s an invitation you should accept.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.39:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus materials include a making of featurette, a commentary track, a look at the film’s music and a featurette on filming in Miami.
Release date: Feb. 21
Details: 1973, The Film Detective
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: This South African-produced “Blaxploitation” film originally was banned by the apartheid government.
It now makes it way to home markets for the first time.
The story centers on a soccer club, The Eagles, that is being victimized by a mysterious gangster a week before the championship match.
The team turns to Joe Bullet (Ken Gampu) for help.
Joe battles the gangster’s henchmen, escapes booby-trap bombs and uses his martial arts skills to defeat an assassin.
Finally, he infiltrates the gangster’s hideout to save two of the Eagles star players as well as his beautiful love interest.
Technical aspects: 1.33:1 full-screen picture; English Dolby digital; English closed-captioned.
Don’t miss: A commentary track is the major bonus offering.
The Yakuza (Blu-ray)
Release date: Feb. 14
Details: 1975, Warner Archive Collection
Rated: R, violence, language
The lowdown: Robert Mitchum stars as former private eye Harry Kilmer, who knows a lot about Japan and the gangsters who run the nation’s gambling, prostitution and protection rackets.
Kilmer also knows about the politics of the Japanese underworld and the right way to approach its leaders.
The movie, written by Paul Schrader and Robert Towne, and directed by Sydney Pollack, is a nourish East-meets-West thriller about the great cost of honor and loyalty.
The movie costars Brian Keith and Japanese star Takakura Ken.
The Blu-ray is a made-on-demand release from the Warner Archive Collection and can be found at www.wbshop.com or other online retailers.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.40:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio monaural; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include a vintage behind-the-scenes featurette and a commentary track.
Other Blu-rays and DVDs being released on Tuesday, unless otherwise indicated:
Fuller House: The Complete First Season (Warner Home Video)
We Are the Flesh (Blu-ray) (Arrow Video)
DIGITAL DOWNLOADS and STREAMING
Collateral Beauty (Warner Home Video)
Deserted (Invincible Pictures)
Sing (Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, March 3)
Midsomer Murders: Series 19, Part 1 (Acorn TV, March 6)
Coming next week: Moana
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.