New to View: March 28

By Bob Bloom
The following Blu-rays and DVDs are being released on Tuesday, March 28, unless otherwise noted:
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Blu-ray + DVD + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2016, Warner Home Video
Rated: PG-13, fantasy action and violence
The lowdown: The shadow of the “Harry Potter” world looms so large over this new feature, directed by David Yates from a screenplay by J.K. Rowling, that it nearly obscures the entire project.
“Fantastic Beasts” is set in 1920s New York and stars Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander, a young wizard from England who is lugging along a very special suitcase.
Newt is a collector of rare and endangered magical animals. Consider him a wizarding Jane Goodall.
Newt has come to the city to find a specific creature, but he immediately gets into trouble when one of his charges escapes from the suitcase and runs amok.
The crux of the movie deals with the search for an ancient malevolent entity, which is something that is unleashed when a young wizard tries to hide his or her true nature and suppress his or her powers.
When it is released, it causes destruction and death. And one is running loose in the city.
The best parts of the movie, though, have nothing to do with the main story. It’s when Newt takes his non-magical, new friend, Jacob Kowalski (a funny and lively Dan Fogler) into the suitcase for a tour of the sanctuary where Newt keeps the creatures he has gathered and saved.
These CGI beasties, which come in all sizes and shapes, are enchanting and imaginative — more so than the rest of the story.
They fly, soar, bound and crawl — and most work their way into your heart.
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 descriptive audio and French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles; DVD: 2.40:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby digital and English 5.1 Dolby digital descriptive audio; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include a series of featurettes on the wizarding world before “Harry Potter,” a look at the characters and creatures as well as the various production designs and sets, and deleted scenes.

20th Century Women (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2016, Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Rated: R, language, sexual material, nudity, drug use
The lowdown: Annette Bening, Greta Gerwig and Elle Fanning star in this drama, set in 1977 Santa Barbara, Calif, about a single mother (Bening), who enlists the help of two younger women in raising her teenage son.
The film, set during a period of cultural change in the nation, is brimming with wit and insight.
Billy Crudup costars as a bohemian handyman who, along with Gerwig, boards in Bening’s home, thus creating a rather unusual but effective family.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.00:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus offerings include a making of featurette, a commentary track and a look at the cast.

Blow-Up: Special Edition (Blu-ray)
Details: 1966, The Criterion Collection
Rated: Not rated, nudity, sexual content
The lowdown: Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni’s first English-language film is an existentialist, counterculture classic about seeing and image making.
David Hemmings stars in this psychological mystery as a fashion photographer who unknowingly captures a death on film after he follows two lovers to a park.
The movie is awash in a rich color palette, abetted by the jazzy score by Herbie Hancock.
A brilliant supporting performance by Vanessa Redgrave and a cameo by the Yardbirds, add to the film’s time capsule.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English LPCM monaural; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus materials include looks at Antonioni and his artistic approach, a 2016 documentary on the making of the movie, a 2016 conversation with Redgrave, archival interviews with Antonioni, Hemmings and actress Jane Birkin, a book featuring essays and writings about the movie and shooting, and the short story on which the movie was loosely based.

Cinema Paradiso (Blu-ray)
Details: 1988, Arrow Academy
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: This set contains the theatrical and director’s cut versions of this movie-lovers’ Italian feature about a director returning to his hometown for the funeral of his old friend, who was the projectionist at the local movie theater.
Told in flashback, the film shows how the projectionist and the movies influenced the life and career choice of the future director.
The movie also details how the now adult director reconnects with the community he left.
This is a film that devotees of cinema cannot pass up.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.66:1 picture; Italian 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and 2.0 LPCM monaural; English subtitles.
Don’t miss: Among the bonus options are featurettes on the inspiration for and making of the movie, including interviews with actors and filmmakers, a commentary track and a booklet with stills and behind-the-scenes photos.

Arsenal (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2016, Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Rated: R, brutal, bloody and graphic violence, language, drug use
The lowdown: “Entourage” star Adrian Grenier stars in this thriller about family loyalty.
Grenier plays a successful businessman who must pay a ransom to a vicious gangster (an over-the-top Nicholas Cage) to save his deadbeat brother, Johnathon Schaech.
The movie’s pleasure comes from watching an out-of-control Cage chew the scenery and everything around him.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.40:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH, English and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: A featurette on building the movie’s arsenal, extended cast and crew interviews and a commentary track comprise the major bonus offerings.

The Valley of the Gwangi (Blu-ray)
Release date: March 14
Details: 1969, Warner Archive Collection
Rated: G
The lowdown: It’s cowboys vs. dinosaurs in this Ray Harryhausen special effects extravaganza.
James Franciscus stars as a Wild West showman who leads a group into the desolate Mexican valley of the title, where prehistoric creatures continue to roam.
Capturing an allosaurus, Franciscus and his roping crew bring the monster back to civilization, where they put it on display in his show.
The dinosaur, of course, breaks loose and creates havoc before the inevitable finale.
The film contains some of Harryhausen’s finest work, recalling a sequence he worked on earlier in his career with the legendary Willis O’Brien on “Mighty Joe Young.”
The release is a made-on-demand Blu-ray from the Warner Archive Collection and can be found at www.wbshop.com or other online dealers.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio monaural; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: A making of featurette with comments by Harryhausen is the major bonus offering.

Demon Seed (Blu-ray)
Release date: March 14
Details: 1977, Warner Archive Collection
Rated: R, sexual content, violence
The lowdown: Julie Christie stars in this disturbing science fiction thriller about a woman, Susan Harris, alone in her house, who is trapped by a computer named Proteus, which has an artificial brain that has learned to reason.
The movie, based on a Dean Koontz novel, follows the woman’s attempts to outwit and outthink her techno-terrorizer.
Susan finally learns what Proteus wants: a child conceived in Susan’s womb that is destined for world domination.
The feature is a movie-on-demand release from the Warner Archive Collection and can be found at www.wbshop.com or other Internet sellers.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.40:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio monaural; English SDH subtitles.

Mystery Science Theater 3000: Volume XXXVIII
Details: 1952-76, Shout! Factory
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: The crew of the Satellite of Love returns for another foray into snarky as they comment on four movies that deserve the unique type of criticism offered by the cast.
The four movies in this set are: “Invasion USA” (1952), a Cold War-era drama about the dangers of Communism; “High School Big Shot” (1959), a story of a young man who gets involved in crime to try curing the troubles of his alcoholic father; “Colossus and the Headhunters” (1960), a sword-and-sandal Italian feature; and “Track of the Moon Beast” (1976), a horror movie about an mineralogist’s transformation into a killer reptile, the effects of a meteor shower.
The films are worthy of ridicule, and they receive it in such fun fashion that you can’t be offended.
Technical aspects: Widescreen and full-screen pictures; English Dolby digital; English closed-captioned.
Don’t miss: Extras include “Zugsmith Confidental,” a look at the exploitation producer; a “Mike by Joel” featurette; an interview with “Moon Beast” actress Leigh Drake; and four mini-posters.

Wanted: Jane Turner (DVD-R)
Release date: March 14
Details: 1936, Warner Archive Collection
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Lee Tracy and Gloria Stuart star in this fast-paced RKO Radio Pictures programmer about a pair of crack postal inspectors who are tracking a gang of mail thieves.
After a deadly mail truck robbery, the two inspectors — who, as is usual in some comedy-mysteries, can’t stand each other — discover a vital clue: A general delivery letter filled with cash addressed to a “Jane Turner.”
The pair track the letter to Los Angeles, where things get complicated as two Jane Turners come for the letter.
This fun black-and-white release is a made-on-demand DVD-R from the Warner Archive Collection and can be found at www.wbshop.com or other online retailers.
Technical aspects: 1.37:1 (4×3) full-screen picture; English Dolby digital monaural.

The Creeping Garden (Blu-ray + DVD + CD)
Details: 2014, Arrow Academy
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A documentary that explores the world of plasmodial slime mould as revealed through the eyes of fringe scientists, mycologists and artists who work with them.
This organism has become the focus of a lot of research in various fields, some of which borders near science fiction.
The film traverses the laboratory and natural habitats. Time-lapse, macro-cinematography is utilized to reveal hidden crevices of the world all around us.
This is a movie that is vastly different from most other features.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 2.35:1 widescreen picture; English 2.0 Dolby digital; English SDH subtitles; DVD: 2.35:1 widescreen picture; English 2.0 Dolby digital; SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include featurettes about the film, a series of short movies, a commentary track and a booklet with writings about the movie.

Other Blu-rays and DVDs being released on Tuesday, unless otherwise indicated:

Static Shock: The Complete First Season (DVD-R) (Warner Archive Collection)

DIGITAL DOWNLOADS and STREAMING
The Bye Bye Man (Universal Studios Home Entertainment)
Child Eater (MVD Visual Entertainment)
Hidden Figures (Fox Home Entertainment)
The Marine 5: Battleground (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)

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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