New to View: May 2

By Bob Bloom
The following Blu-rays and DVDs are being released on Tuesday, May 2, unless otherwise noted:
The Red Turtle (Blu-ray)
Details: 2016, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Rated: PG, thematic elements and danger
The lowdown: This collaboration between director/animator Michael Dudok de Wit and the famed Japanese animation house Studio Ghibli is a wordless fantasy about a shipwrecked man stranded on a beautiful, but desolate, island.
He slowly adapts to his surroundings and learns to accept his isolation because his efforts to leave escape are seemingly thwarted by a giant red turtle.
Later, he comes upon a woman also stranded at sea. The two of them bond and they create a family.
The movie was nominated for an Academy Award for best animated feature.
This is an elegant and beautifully crafted movie that needs no words to tell its story.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and English 5.1 Dolby digital audio description track; English SDH, English, Portuguese and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus materials include a commentary track, a “Birth of ‘The Red Turtle’ ” featurette and a “Secrets of ‘The Red Turtle’ ” featurette.

A Dog’s Purpose (Blu-ray + DVD + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2017, Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Rated: PG, mature themes, danger elements
The lowdown: Director Lasse Hallstrom directed this feature based on the best-selling novel by W. Bruce Cameron about a devoted dog who finds the meaning of his existence through the lives of the various humans he touches.
Josh Gad voices the dog in its many incarnations. The cast includes Dennis Quaid and Peggy Lipton.
The movie awkwardly mixes sentiment, schmaltz and canine suffering.
Hallstrom has done much better adaptations, including “The Cider House Rules.”
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, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include a featurette that tells the story behind Cameron’s novel, a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the movie, outtakes and deleted scenes.

The Salesman (Blu-ray)
Details: 2016, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Rated: PG-13, mature themes, bloody images
The lowdown: This Iranian film, written and directed by Asghar Farhadi (whose original screenplay for “A Separation” received a 2011 Academy Award nomination), won the Oscar for best foreign language film.
The story centers on a young couple living in Tehran whose flat is damaged, forcing them to move into a new apartment.
Later, an incident linked to the apartment’s previous tenant dramatically alters the couple’s life, creating a tension between the two.
Aiding the film are strong performances by Shahab Hosseini, Taraneh Alidootsi and Babak Karimi. The film earned an impressive 97 percent positive rating at Rottentomatoes.com.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; Farsi 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH, English and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: The major extra is a conversation with Farhadi.

We Are X (Blu-ray)
Release date: April 25
Details: 2016, Magnolia Home Entertainment
Rated: R, language
The lowdown: This documentary, from the filmmakers who gave us “Searching for Sugar Man,” follows one of the world’s biggest and most successful bands that most people never have heard of.
X Japan has sold more than 30 million albums and singles, and has attracted such admirers as Sir George Martin, KISS, Stan Lee and the Emperor of Japan.
The movie contains interviews with Gene Simmons, Marilyn Manson and others.
Music lovers will enjoy this documentary, and will find learning about X Japan’s leader, Yoshiki, an interesting experience.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.78:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include interviews, deleted scenes, a musical performance and a fan video.

The Last Ship: The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2016, Warner Home Video
Rated: TV-14, language, violence
The lowdown: A Blu-ray set featuring all 13 episodes from the third season of this exciting TNT series.
During the season, the crew of the “Nathan James” shifts their attention to Asia after President Michener learns that China has been hoarding the cure for the virus that nearly decimated mankind.
The president sends “Nathan James” Capt. Tom Chandler to a global summit to investigate this claim, as well as rumors of a possible mutation of the original virus, which has caused a fresh outbreak in Japan.
The future of the world is at stake and Capt. Chandler and his crew need to find answers quickly to save humanity.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.40:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and French and Spanish 2.0 Dolby digital; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Inside the episodes and behind-the-scenes featurettes, a 30-minute documentary behind the vessel that serves as the inspiration behind the “U.S.S. Nathan James” and character pieces comprise the major bonus components.

The 4400: The Complete Series
Details: 2004-07, CBS DVD-Paramount Home Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A 14-disc set featuring all 42 episodes of this science fiction-supernatural series about 4,400 missing people who mysteriously reappear after a comet hurtles close to Earth.
Some of those who return have new and strange abilities, and it’s up to a government agency to solve the mystery of this returnees and what it means for mankind.
The cast includes “Moonlight” Academy Award-winning actor Mahershala Ali, Peter Coyote, Joel Gretsch and Jacqueline McKenzie.
Technical aspects: 16:9 widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby digital surround (seasons 1 & 2), English 5.1 Dolby digital stereo surround and Spanish Dolby digital stereo (seasons 3 & 4); English SDH, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles (seasons 3 & 4).
Don’t miss: Extras include a season three featurette on crafting and restructuring the series mythology as it evolves, a look at how real-world events influences some of the returnees’ powers, a behind-the-scenes look at creating the visual effects, video pods that examine the connections of the characters, behind-the-scenes footage and cast and crew interviews from season four, a profile of “The Grey Man,” a gag reel, deleted scenes, a look at creating Gretsch’s Tom Baldwin and a director’s cut of “The Great Leap Forward” episode.

From Hell It Came (Blu-ray)
Release date: April 25
Details: 1957, Warner Archive Collection
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: This happens to be one of the strangest — and campiest — horror films ever produced.
The action is set on a South Seas island where the prince of the isle is unjustly put to death by an evil witch doctor — are there any other kind in movies such as these?
But the prince is resurrected as Tabonga, half-tree, half-man and all vengeance, against fellow natives as well as American scientists visiting the island.
This kitschy movie is guilty pleasure fun.
The release is a made-on-demand Blu-ray from the Warner Archive Collection and can be found at www.wb.com/warnerarchive or other online retailers.
When they say they don’t make ‘em like that anymore, this creature feature fits the bill.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio monaural; English SDH subtitles.

“Swashbuckler Double Feature”
Release date:
April 25
Details: 1951, 1954, The Sprocket Vault
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Two low-budget, B-costume adventure flicks courtesy of Robert L. Lippert Sr. and Jr.
The features are “Tales of Robin Hood” (1951), starring Robert Clarke, a mainstay of B-movies of adventure, horror and science fiction, as well as Mary Hatcher, veteran character actor-villain Paul Cavanagh, Wade Crosby, Whit Bissell, Ben Welden and Robert Bice.
The 60-minute film was originally produced as a TV pilot, but failed to sell.
“The Black Pirates” (1954) stars Anthony Dexter, Clarke and Lon Chaney Jr.
The 74-minute color feature focuses on a band of buccaneers who land in a Latin American town to find a hidden treasure. They learn a church was built over the spot where the loot was buried.
The pirate chief enslaves the townspeople, forcing them to dig for the treasure.
Part of the movie was filmed on location.
These films, while not classic, are engaging and entertaining. The releases are Amazon exclusives.
Technical aspects: 1.33:1 full-screen picture (“Tales of Robin Hood), 1.66:1 picture (“The Black Pirates”); English 2.0 Dolby digital monaural.
Don’t miss: Audio interview re-enactments with Lippert Jr. and Clarke are the major supplemental offerings.

The Wheeler Dealers (Blu-ray)
Release date: April 25
Details: 1963, Warner Archive Collection
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: James Garner and Lee Remick star in this feature about a smooth-talking Texas oilman whose well comes up a duster and a stock analyst pressured by her firm to unload worthless stock.
The two hit it off as Garner’s Henry Tyroon tries to charm Wall Street out of millions to pay his debts and turn what’s worthless into the hottest item on the stock market.
This charming business-world satire did not look at big oil as the villain it is sometimes portrayed today.
The film features a colorful supporting cast of character actors including Chill Wills, Jim Backus, Phil Harris, Louis Nye and John Astin. Arthur Hiller was the director.
This is a made-on-demand Blu-ray from the Warner Archive Collection and can be found at www.wb.com/warnerarchive or other online retailers.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.35:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio monaural; English SDH subtitles.

Rugrats: Season 1
Rugrats: Season 2
Details:
1991-92, 1992-93, Nickelodeon-Paramount Home Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A two-disc set featuring all 25 first-season episodes and a four-day set that highlights all 51 episodes of this popular Nickelodeon animated series for kids.
The episodes are told from the perspective of a group of imaginative and adventurous toddlers who transform the most basic activities into unforgettable experiences that will leave you laughing.
Millennials who grew up with the series may want to relive the experience and even share them with their youngsters.
Technical aspects: 1.33:1 full-screen picture; English Dolby digital stereo.

Monchhichis: The Complete Series (DVD-R)
Release date: April 18
Details: 1983-84, Warner Archive Collection
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: This two-disc set features the complete Hanna-Barbera animated series about monkey-like Monchhichis.
They are peace-loving urchins who enjoy simply swinging away their days in their treetop paradise.
However, the Monchhichis are threatened by the goblin-like Grumplins, whose evil leader, Horgg, wants nothing more than to enslave the Monchhichis.
Each episode the clever Monchhichis defeat the schemes of Horgg and his minions and continue with their happy lives.
The release is a made-on-demand DVD-R from the Warner Archive Collection and can be found at www.wb.com/warnerarchive or other online dealers.
Technical aspects: 1.37:1 (4×3) full-screen picture; English Dolby digital monaural.

Other Blu-rays and DVDs being released on Tuesday, unless otherwise indicated:
The Autopsy of Jane Doe (Blu-ray + DVD) (IFC Midnight-Scream Factory — Walmart exclusive)

DIGITAL DOWNLOADS and STREAMING
American Exorcism
(Uncork’d Entertainment)
Beacon Point (Uncork’d Entertainment)
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
The Space Between Us (Universal Studios Home Entertainment)
Wonder Woman: Commemorative Edition (Warner Home Video)
Crashing: Season 1 (HBO Home Entertainment, May 8)

Coming next week: 50 Shades Darker
Divorce: The Complete First Season
Orange Is the New Black: Season Four

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.

  • ReelBob

    Check out these newest releases, especially if you are a fan of foreign films and animated features.