New to View: June 6
By Bob Bloom
The following Blu-rays and DVDs are being released on Tuesday, June 6, unless otherwise noted:
Beauty and the Beast (Blu-ray + DVD + digital HD)
Details: 2017, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Rated: PG, scary images, action violence and danger
The lowdown: I am conflicted by Disney’s semi-live-action “Beauty and the Beast” remake.
I enjoyed the movie, but kept wondering why it was necessary to produce — especially in the direction the studio and director Bill Condon chose.
The movie is a very faithful adaptation of the Academy Award-nominated animated feature.
The cynic in me harps that it’s simply another ploy to add gold to the studio coffers.
Ah, but the movie lover — the fan, if you wish — understands that this offers a new perspective on the old story to a new and younger generation of moviegoers.
This live-action version does some tweaking with the original. The Beast (Dan Stevens) seems less ferocious and cuddlier.
And the antagonist, Gaston (Luke Evans), is more a villain than a buffoon.
The one constant is Belle (Emma Watson). She is as spunky, courageous, intelligent and compassionate as in the original.
The movie is as much fun as its animated predecessor, so you can’t go wrong with selecting either.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 2.40:1 widescreen picture; English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English 2.0 descriptive audio and Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles; DVD: 2.40:1 widescreen picture; English, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby digital and English 2.0 descriptive audio; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus materials include an extended table read of the script with cast members, a look at the process of turning an animated feature into a live-action movie, a behind-the-scenes look at the women who helped bring the film to the screen, a featurette on filming the musical sequences, a “Beauty and the Beast” music video and a making of the video with Ariana Grande and John Legend, a featurette with Celine Dion who sings “How Does a Moment Last Forever,” deleted scenes, an alternate version of the Beast’s “Days in the Sun” song and a song selection option.
Land of Mine
Details: 2016, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Rated: R, graphic violence and images, language
The lowdown: This feature, which was nominated for a best foreign language film Academy Award, is set in post-World War II Denmark.
The movie centers on a group of German POWs who are forced, with little or no training, to defuse and clear 2 million land mines from the Danish coast.
The film also explores the relationship between a hardened Danish army sergeant and the conscripts, many of whom are killed or injured during the operation.
The movie, which was inspired by true events, makes you ponder the consequences of war and its aftermath.
Technical aspects: 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen picture; German, Danish and English audio description track 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH, English, French, Portuguese and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: The major extra is a conversation with director Martin Zandvliet.
The Young Pope (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2016, HBO Home Entertainment
The lowdown: Jude Law stars in this HBO miniseries as Lenny Belrado, aka Pope Pius XIII, the first American pope and the youngest person elected by the College of Cardinals.
Immediately after his election, Pius ignores the counsel of Vatican elders and turns to Sister Mary (Oscar-winner Diane Keaton), the nun who raised him, for advice.
As the episodes unfold in this three-disc set, we watch as Pius’ papacy is characterized by a strict adherence to Catholic dogma, intermixed with flights of fancy and crises of faith.
The series is a study of a complicated individual whose singular vision creates havoc within the Vatican — and outside its boundaries.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.78:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and Spanish 2.0 DTS digital surround; English SDH and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Supplemental offerings include a making of featurette, a behind-the-scenes look at the set and a peek inside the episodes.
Logan (Blu-ray + DVD + digital HD)
Release date: May 23
Details: 2017, Fox Home Entertainment
Rated: R, graphic violence, language, nudity
The lowdown: A three-disc set featuring the theatrical release as well as a black-and-white “Logan Noir” version of the movie.
This latest venture into the Marvel Cinematic Universe is an intense drama surrounded by a thick aura of melancholy.
It is a bleak and sad experience, but a worthy farewell — at least for now — to two beloved Marvel characters.
The movie, set in 2029, finds an aged, worn-down and heavy-drinking Logan (Hugh Jackman), aka Wolverine, hiding out in Mexico with an ailing Dr. Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and a grousing Caliban (Stephen Merchant).
Mutants are nearly extinct, and Logan, who works as a driver for hire, drinks to forget the past.
Logan’s self-imposed exile abruptly comes to an end when he is thrust into protecting and transporting a young girl with extraordinary gifts to safety.
The girl, Laura (newcomer Dafne Keen), is wanted by one of those sinister corporations that are trying to create super-soldiers by using DNA and other materials from mutants.
This is a violent, profane feature that, when Logan is forced to unleash the Wolverine within him, sends heads rolling and limbs flying.
If this is the last hurrah for Jackman and Stewart, then director James Mangold, who also is one of the screenwriters, has given them a vehicle worthy of their talents.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.39:1 widescreen picture; English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English 2.0 Dolby digital, English 5.1 descriptive audio and Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles; DVD: 2.39:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 and 2.0 Dolby digital, English 5.1 descriptive audio and Spanish and French 2.0 Dolby digital surround; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus features include a commentary track with Mangold, a making of featurette and deleted scenes.
Bambi: Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray + DVD + digital HD)
Details: 1942, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
The lowdown: This animated classic is the latest re-release in the Walt Disney Signature Collection.
The coming-of-age story of a fawn and his friends has melted hearts of young and old alike for decades,
The adventures in the forest, filled with humor, charm and, of course, tragedy, features some of the best work by Disney animators who breathe life and personality into Bambi, Thumper, Flower and the other woodland creatures.
The film is a timeless tale that continues to inspire and entertain.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 1.33:1 full-screen picture; English 7.1 DTS-HDHR and Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles; DVD: 1.33:1 full-screen picture; English, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH, Spanish and French subtitles.
Don’t miss: Hours of extras, many from earlier releases of the movie, include Walt Disney’s recordings about “Bambi,” deleted scenes, a featurette on how today’s animated films were inspired by the making of “Bambi,” an extended edition of “Inside Walt’s Story Meetings,” animal fun facts inspired by the movie, a making of featurette and a couple of animated shorts, “Africa Before Dark” featuring Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, and the classic Silly Symphony, “The Old Mill.”
The Assignment (Blu-ray + DVD + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2016, Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Rated: R, violence, nudity, language, drug use
The lowdown: Michelle Rodriguez stars in this action-thriller from writer-director Walter Hill.
The movie’s hook is that Rodriguez’s hit man, Frank Kitchen, is double-crossed while on his latest assignment. He awakens to discover he has been surgically altered and has the body of a woman.
Frank seeks revenge on the person who transformed him, a brilliant surgeon named Dr. Rachel Kay (Sigourney Weaver), who has her own agenda.
While the film’s premise is intriguing, Hill fails to sustain the overall concept throughout.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 2.39:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH and Spanish subtitles; DVD: 2.39:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: A “Filmmaking Portraits” photo montage is the major bonus offering.
Aftermath (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2016, Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Rated: R, violence
The lowdown: Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as Roman, a bitter man because of the deaths of his wife and daughter in a plane crash.
The life of Jake (Scott McNairy) also was drastically changed, as he was air traffic controller who inadvertently caused the catastrophe.
The devastated Jake moves away from his family and assumes a new identity.
But Roman cannot move on until he confronts the man responsible for his grief.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.40:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Among the extras are interviews with the director and the director of photography and a commentary track.
Where the Buffalo Roam: Collector’s Edition (Blu-ray)
Details: 1980, Shout! Factory
Rated: R, language, drug use
The lowdown: Bill Murray stars as “Gonzo” journalist Hunter S. Thompson in this adaptation in which the underground reporter looks back at the 1960s and ‘70s, and their excesses, including his own fondness for weird chemicals, alcohol, violence and a bit of insanity.
Peter Boyle costars as Thompson’s best friend, Carl Lazlo, Esq.
The movie looks at a free-for-all San Francisco drug trial to a one-on-one bathroom interview with then-presidential candidate Richard Nixon.
The wild comedy, which features a musical score by Neil Young, is part of the new Shout Select series.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English DTS-HD Master Audio stereo; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: The major extra is an interview with screenwriter John Kaye.
Major Crimes: The Complete Fifth Season
Release date: May 30
Details: 2016, Warner Home Video
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: This five-disc set features all 21 episodes of the hit police drama starring Mary McDonnell, G.W. Bailey, Tony Denison, Michael Paul Chan, Raymond Cruz, Kearran Giovanni and Phillip P. Keene.
Among the baffling cases the squad must solve are a beheading, a decades-old cold case, searching for a missing teenage girl and hunting for the killer of a possible dirty cop.
The unit’s members also must deal with personal challenges, including tragedy and romance.
Technical aspects: Widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby digital surround; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: A blooper reel and deleted scenes comprise the major bonus components.
Other Blu-rays and DVDs being released on Tuesday, unless otherwise indicated:
Political Animals (DVD + digital) (Gravitas Ventures)
The Ticket (Blu-ray) (Shout! Factory)
Spotlight on a Murderer (Blu-ray) (Arrow Academy, May 30)
DIGITAL DOWNLOADS and STREAMING
A Handsome Devil (Breaking Glass Pictures)
Finding Kim (Random Media)
Freedom to Marry (Ro’Co Films)
Good Mourning Lucille (Breaking Glass Pictures)
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.