New to View: June 13
By Bob Bloom
The following Blu-rays and DVDs are being released on Tuesday, June 13, unless otherwise noted:
The LEGO Batman Movie (Blu-ray + DVD + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2017, Warner Home Video
Rated: PG, action, rude humor
The lowdown: “The LEGO Batman Movie” is like a child’s toy room, cluttered with games, action figures and knick-knacks scattered everywhere.
This follow-up to 2014’s hit, “The LEGO Movie” is highly entertaining, moves quickly and rivets the youngsters. But, it over-reaches, tossing in too many characters — good and evil — and too many self-referential in-jokes that adults will appreciate. Many, however, may go over the heads of younger viewers.
Basically, the movie plays off the mythos of Batman being a sullen loner, a no-nonsense vigilante who believes he is the sole guardian of Gotham City.
The movie is a parable about the needs and benefits of family and community — and the drawbacks of excluding others from your life.
This lesson is presented in such a simple way that youngsters will understand the concept.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 2.40:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English Dolby Atmos TrueHD, English 5.1 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 Dolby Atmos and French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH, Spanish and French subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus features include four original animated shorts, deleted scenes, a making of featurette, a look inside Wayne Manor, a featurette on making LEGO Batman, a “Behind the Brick” featurette, a “Me and My Mini Fig” featurette, a Comic Con panel, Rebrick contest winners and a commentary track.
A United Kingdom (Blu-ray + DVD + digital HD)
Release date: June 6
Details: 2017, Fox Home Entertainment
Rated: PG-13, language involving racial slurs, sexual content
The lowdown: This dramatic story of an interracial romance with international implications is based on true events.
David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike star as Seretse Khama and Ruth Williams. He is king of the African nation of Botswana, which borders South Africa, and she is a London office worker.
Their proposed marriage in the late 1940s created a crisis as South Africa, which had recently introduced its intolerable policy of apartheid, would not tolerate a biracial couple ruling a neighboring country.
The South African and British governments exerted enormous pressure on the couple who, nonetheless, married and persevered.
This is a powerful love story made even more interesting because its foundation rests on actual episodes.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 2.39:1 widescreen picture; English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and English 5.1 descriptive audio; English SHD, French and Spanish subtitles; DVD: 2.39:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby digital and descriptive audio; English SDH, Spanish and French subtitles.
Don’t miss: Supplemental materials include a making of featurette, a look at filming in Botswana, a featurette on the legacy of Seretse and Ruth and a behind-the-scenes look at London Film Festival opening night premiere.
3 Generations (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2016, Anchor Bay Entertainment
Rated: PG-13, mature thematic content, sexual situations, language
The lowdown: Susan Sarandon, Naomi Watts and Elle Fanning star in this drama about three generations of a family living together in New York, and how they deal with a life-altering transformation.
Fanning’s Ray is a teenage boy who was assigned female at birth. Ray has been living for years as a boy and is finally ready to begin hormone replacement therapy.
Ray’s mom, Maggie (Watts), must find Ray’s biological father, played by Tate Donovan, and get his consent for the procedure.
Meanwhile Maggie’s mother, Dolly (Sarandon), a lesbian, is having a difficult time accepting that her granddaughter will soon be her grandson.
Basically, each family member must learn to embrace who they are as well as accept each other.
The movie, which received a tepid 30 percent fresh rating at Rottentomatoes.com, focuses more on drama than character development.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Deleted and extended scenes comprise the major bonus components.
A Cure for Wellness (Blu-ray + DVD + digital HD)
Release date: June 6
Details: 2017, Fox Home Entertainment
Rated: R, disturbing and violent content and images, nudity, sexual content, language
The lowdown: A horror-thriller about a young and ambitious executive sent to retrieve his company’s CEO from a mysterious and remote “wellness center.”
Once there, the young man begins to notice many strange things. As he begins to try unraveling the secrets behind the center, he finds himself diagnosed with the same illness that is keeping everyone else at the facility.
The movie offers some impressive visuals, but the story is rather formulaic and unoriginal.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 1.78:1 widescreen picture; English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English 5.1 descriptive audio and Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH, Spanish and French subtitles; DVD: 1.78:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby digital and 5.1 descriptive audio and Spanish and French 2.0 Dolby digital surround; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include a deleted sequence, meditations and a behind-the-scenes look at the score.
Ghost World: Special Edition (Blu-ray)
Release date: May 30
Details: 2001, The Criterion Collection
Rated: R, language, sexual content
The lowdown: Terry Zwigoff directed this adaptation of Daniel Clowes’ comic, which is a singular portrait of adolescent alienation that is bleak, funny and engaging.
Thora Birch is Enid and Scarlett Johansson is Rebecca, friends who fear they may be drifting apart after Enid considers moving cross-country to attend college.
Holding her, is her attraction to Seymour (Steve Buscemi), a record collector many years her senior.
The movie is considered a classic look at teen angst. My Indiana Film Journalists Association colleague, Nick Rogers, summed up the film in a 2010 review, saying it “tackles the true torches we often keep to ourselves as well as the struggle of feeling like a specter. …”
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus offerings include a commentary track with Zwigoff, Clowes and producer Lianne Halfon, interviews with Birch, Johansson and costar Illeana Douglas, an excerpt from “Gumnaam,” a 1965 Bollywood feature that include the number seen in “Ghost World’s” opening title sequence, deleted scenes plus writings about the movie and its soundtrack.
Details: 2016, Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Rated: R, graphic violence, disturbing images
The lowdown: A tepid historical drama set in 1930s Ukraine about its people rising up against the tyranny of Joseph Stalin’s Soviet oppressive policies, which include starvation, imprisonment and torture.
The film, which received a paltry 10 percent fresh rating at Rottentomatoes.com, uses the formulaic approach of young lovers caught in the middle of a brutal conflict to tell its clichéd story.
Mostly those with a curiosity about this little-known period in history will find the movie interesting.
Technical aspects: 2.35:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby digital and option Ukrainian dubbed soundtrack; English SDH and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: A photo gallery is the main extra.
The Ballad of Cable Hogue (Blu-ray)
Release date: June 6
Details: 1970, Warner Archive Collection
Rated: R, violence, language, sexual situations
The lowdown: Sam Peckinpah directed this heartfelt paean to the Old West in which frontiersman Cable Hogue (Jason Robards) earns his fortune by selling water to thirsty desert travelers.
Hogue can retire if he wishes. Instead, he is waiting for the two double crossers who robbed him years earlier and left him for dead.
The movie, which costars, Stella Stevens, David Warner, Strother Martin, Slim Pickens, L.Q. Jones, R.G. Armstrong and Peter Whitney, is not as violent as other Peckinpah features. It has more of a wistful tone, more lyrical.
The film, a made-on-demand Blu-ray from the Warner Archive Collection, is more fable than revenge saga.
The movie can be ordered at www.wb.com/warnerarchive or other online dealers.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.78:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio monaural; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus features include a featurette on Stevens and a commentary track.
Cheech and Chong’s Next Movie (Blu-ray)
Details: 1980, Shout! Factory
Rated: R, drug use, language, sexual situations
The lowdown: This scattershot sequel to “Up in Smoke” finds Chong’s meeting Cheech’s cousin, Red (Cheech Marin), and the two new pals spend most of the movie just driving around Hollywood in a Ferrari.
Along the way, the get into misadventures on a movie set, at a brothel, a hotel and a welfare office.
Cheech, meanwhile, must deal with losing his job as well as an angry neighbor.
The movie mainly is a bunch of comedy routines with no real cohesive plot.
But fans of the comedy duo will enjoy the shenanigans.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English DTS-HD Master Audio; English subtitles.
Don’t miss: The main extra is a new interview with Cheech Marin.
Alone in Berlin
Details: 2017, IFC Films
Rated: R, violence
The lowdown: A drama starring Brendan Gleeson and Emma Thompson as a working-class German couple in Berlin simply trying to ride out the war.
But when their son is killed on the frontlines, the couple begin pouring their grief and rage into postcards emblazoned with anti-Nazi slogans, leaving their messages of protest all around the city.
Their small act of defiance rattles German authorities who assign a bulldog police inspector, played by Daniel Bruhl, to track down the subversives and silence them.
The movie is a tribute to resistance, no matter how feeble or ineffective.
Technical aspects: Widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH and Spanish subtitles.
The Gumball Rally (Blu-ray)
Details: 1976, Warner Archive Collection
The lowdown: Five years before Burt Reynolds, director-stuntman Hal Needham and their friends teamed up to make their silly “Cannonball Run” home movies, there was “The Gumball Rally.”
The movie centered on a cross-country, 2,900-mile race from New York City to Los Angeles.
Stuntman-director Chuck Ball kept a break-neck pace, creating several comic stunts.
The cast, headed by Michael Sarrazin, also included Gary Busey, Raul Julia, Norman Burton, Steven Keats, Tim McIntire, Nicholas Pryor, Susan Flannery and Joanne Nail.
The Blu-ray is a made-on-demand feature from the Warner Archive collection and can be ordered at www.wb.com/warnerarchive or other online dealers.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.40:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio monaural; English SDH subtitles.
Static Shock: The Complete Second Season (DVD-R)
Release date: May 30
Details: 2002, Warner Archive Collection
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: The second season of this animated series finds Static facing new challenges, more metahuman threats and an alliance with a certain Dark Knight and his sidekick.
In the 11 episodes of the season, Static travels with Batman and Robin to Dakota to find The Joker, who is leading the metahumans in wreaking havoc on that state’s residents.
The season features some special guest vocal talent, including Mark Hamill as Joker and Shaquille O’Neal.
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 retailers.
Technical aspects: 1.33:1 (4×3) full-screen picture; English Dolby digital stereo.
Other Blu-rays and DVDs being released on Tuesday, unless otherwise indicated:
Frantz (DVD + digital) (Music Box Films)
The Iron Ivan (Synergetic-MVD Visual Entertainment)
Madhouse (Blu-ray + DVD) (Arrow Video)
The Vampire Diaries: The Eighth and Final Season (Warner Home Video)
Kuu Kuu Harajuku: Music, Baby! (Shout! Kids Factory)
DIGITAL DOWNLOADS and STREAMING
CHIPS (Warner Home Video)
Deep in the Woods (Uncork’d Entertainment)
Garden of Stars (Uncork’d Entertainment)
My Brother’s Shoes (Random Media)
My Scientology Movie (Magnolia Home Entertainment)
T2: Trainspotting (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
800 Words: Series 2 (Acorn TV, June 19)
Loch Ness (Acorn TV, June 19)
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.