New to View: June 20
By Bob Bloom
The following Blu-rays and DVDs are being released on Tuesday, June 20, unless otherwise noted:
Life (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2017, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Rated: R, graphic science fiction violence and terror, language, nudity
The lowdown: The crew of a spacecraft is menaced by an alien life form that, to ensure its own survival, begins killing the humans one by one.
Any guesses? Anyone?
What I’m talking about is “Life,” a new sci-fi thriller that, while entertaining when viewing, features predictable and nearly cliché-like situations.
In many respects, “Life” is more intellectually stimulating and science-based than its predecessors. That doesn’t mean, however, that it avoids some genre formulae.
The plot is triggered by the rescue of the contents from an unmanned space probe hit by a meteor on its return voyage from Mars.
The six-person international crew is defined more by their duties than their personalities: a biologist, a doctor, a pilot, a commander, a computer technician — you get the idea.
The biologist begins examining the soil samples, discovering a nucleus or cell or whatnot that pertains to a living organism.
He begins cultivating it, and the wee fella begins to grow and thrive. You can figure out the rest.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.39:1 widescreen picture; English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French and Portuguese 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English audio description track and Spanish and Thai 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH, English, Cantonese, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Indonesian/Bahasa, Korean, Malay, Portuguese, Spanish and Thai subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus materials include a featurette on creating a thriller in space, a look at “Life in Zero G,” deleted scenes, astronaut diaries and a featurette on the art and reality of Calvin.
Table 19 (Blu-ray + DVD + digital HD)
Release date: June 13
Details: 2017, Fox Home Entertainment
Rated: PG-13, adult themes, sexual content, language, drug use, nudity
The lowdown: A comedy that is short on laughs, but generous with clichés.
Anna Kendrick stars as a maid of honor relieved of her duties after being dumped by the best man. She still decides to attend the wedding reception, seated among strangers at the back of the ballroom.
There, among an odd assortment of characters, including Lisa Kudrow, Stephen Merchant and Craig Robinson, she forms a bond with her tablemates as they share secrets, discover new friendships and even a bit of romance.
The premise is cute, but cannot sustain a feature-length movie.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 2.39:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English 5.1 descriptive audio, French 5.1 DTS and Spanish 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles; DVD: 2.39:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby digital and descriptive audio and Spanish and French 2.0 Dolby digital surround; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include behind-the-scenes featurettes and deleted scenes.
Bones: The Flesh & Bones Collection
Bones: The Final Chapter
Release date: June 13
Details: 2005-2017, Fox Home Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Fans of Dr. Temperance “Bones” Brennan (Emily Deschanel) and FBI agent Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz) will be in nirvana with this collection that features all 12 seasons of this popular crime-solving series.
Here is your change to relive all 10,752 minutes of bizarre, gruesome and head-scratching mysteries that confound Brennan, Booth and their helpers at Washington’s Jefferson Institute.
The series features romance, as Brennan and Booth slowly fall in love and eventually marry.
Some dark humor also pervades various episodes.
Fans of the show now have the opportunity to return to the scenes of the crimes.
And if you already have the first 11 seasons, than you can get Bones: The Final Chapter, which offers the last season in a three-disc set that contains all 12 episodes, which include appearances by such guest stars as Betty White, Ed Asner and Ryan O’Neal.
Technical aspects: 1.78:1 widescreen picture; English and Spanish 5.1 Dolby digital and Spanish 2.0 Dolby digital and Dolby digital surround; English SDH, Spanish and French subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus features include the memorable finale, “Back to the Lab: A ‘Bones’ Retrospective,” “Bones” at Comic-Con, the featurette, “Bones: Inspired by the Life of Forensic Anthropologist and Author Kathy Reichs,” visual effects, various making of featurettes, gag reels, commentaries and deleted scenes.
The Lawnmower Man: Collector’s Edition (Blu-ray)
Details: 1992, Scream Factory
Rated: Not rated & R, violence, language
The lowdown: Jeff Fahey and Pierce Brosnan star in this science fiction thriller about a scientist (Brosnan), obsessed with perfecting virtual reality software, who finds the perfect test subject in a slow-witted gardener (Fahey).
The scientist wants to use his software to benefit mankind, but a shadowy group called “The Shop,” wants to use it to create an invincible war machine.
The experiments change the gardener into a superhuman being that creates a Jekyll-and-Hyde struggle that could determine the fate of mankind.
The two-disc set features the theatrical and director’s cut of the movie.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include behind-the-scenes footage, a commentary track, deleted scenes, vintage cast interviews, edited animated sequences, a featurette on creating the movie, conceptual art, design sketches and storyboards.
The Borgias: The Complete Series
Release date: June 13
Details: 2011-13, CBS DVD-Paramount Home Entertainment
Rated: Not rated, violence, sexual situations
The lowdown: A nine-disc set featuring all 29 episodes of this Showtime series that centers on the Italian family that ruthlessly ruled during the 15th century, grabbing wealth and power through murder, guile and conniving.
Jeremy Irons stars as patriarch Rodrigo Borgia who rises to pope, while gaining a large group of enemies in the process.
This series is filled with intrigue, killings, sex and more double dealings than you can count.
Technical aspects: 16:9 picture; English 5.1 Dolby digital surround, 2.0 Dolby digital stereo, Spanish Dolby digital monaural (season one) and Dolby digital 2.0 stereo; English closed-captioned subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include a “World of Borgias” featurette, behnd-the-scenes featurettes, interviews, character biographies and bloopers.
“Stephen King’s Triple Feature”
Release date: June 13
Details: 1991-1995, CBS DVD-Paramount Home Entertainment
Rated: Not rated, PG-13 (“The Langoliers”)
The lowdown: A set that features three TV miniseries based on books by Stephen King.
The set features “Golden Years” (1991), about an elderly man who starts to grow younger every day following an explosion at a secret government laboratory.
The man flees from government agents, and as he continues on the run his physical transformation continues — as does the terror.
“The Stand” (1994) is King’s look at an apocalyptic future brought on by another government accident that unleashes a deadly plague.
The few survivors must choose between good and evil as the fate of humanity lies in the balance.
Gary Sinese, Molly Ringwald and Laura San Giacomo star.
“The Langoliers” (1995) follows a group of airline passengers on a red-eye flight who awaken in mid-journey to find that they have slipped through a hole in the universe.
A great evil awaits them unless they can find a way back.
Patricia Wettig and Dean Stockwell star.
The set features nearly 13 hours of thrills, suspense and scares.
Technical aspects: 4×3 full-screen picture; English Dolby digital stereo surround, Spanish stereo surround and Portuguese monaural; English, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles.
Car Wash (Blu-ray)
Details: 1976, Shout! Factory
The lowdown: This comedy, a new release from the Shout Select series, centers on the employees, customers and others at a Los Angeles car wash.
The movie features a nice selection of 1970s music, as well as a cast that includes Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Professor Irwin Corey, the Pointer Sisters, Ivan Dixon, Antonio Fargas, Clarence Muse and Lorraine Gary.
This is a feature that definitely is a product of its time. The film is more a series of set pieces than a cohesive story.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English DTS-HD Master Audio monaural.
Don’t miss: Extras include a behind-the-scenes look at the film, a commentary track and a “Workin’ at the ‘Car Wash’ ” with Otis Day.
Hondo: The Complete Series
Release date: June 6
Details: 1967, Warner Archive Collection
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: This Western series, based on the popular John Wayne movie of the same name, lasted just 17 episodes.
Ralph Taeger played Hondo Lane, a former cavalry scout, who tries to broker a treaty between white settlers and Native Americans in the Arizona Territory.
Among the supporting cast was Noah Beery Jr. as sidekick Buffalo Baker and Michael Pate as Apache Chief Vittoro.
The set is a made-on-demand release from the Warner Archive Collection and can be found at www.wb.com/warnerarchive or other online sellers.
Technical aspects: 1.37:1 (4×3) full-screen picture; English Dolby digtal monaural.
The Bird With the Crystal Plumage
Details: 1970, Arrow Video
The lowdown: Dario Argento made his directorial debut with this “giallo” genre thriller that brought the Italian filmmaker to the attention of the international cinema community.
The story centers on Sam Dalmas (Tony Musante), an American writer in Rome, who witnesses a brutal attack on a woman in an art gallery.
The writer, helpless at the time, grows obsessed with the incident, believing something he saw may help identify the madman who is terrorizing the city.
Dalmas begins his own investigation, despite the danger it creates for himself and his girlfriend.
The film features the visuals and flare for brutal sequences of violence that became Argento’s trademark.
The movie also features a score by the legendary Ennio Morricone and cinematography by Vittorio Storaro.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.35:1 widescreen picture; Italian and English LPCM monaural; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Supplemental materials include interviews with Argento and actor Gildo Di Marco, an analysis of the movie by critic Kat Ellinger, a commentary track, a visual essay about Argento’s style and a 60-page booklet with writings and illustrations on the film.
Other Blu-rays and DVDs being released on Tuesday, unless otherwise indicated:
The Beautiful Fantastic (DVD + digital HD) (Fox Home Entertainment)
Death Pool (DVD + digital) (MTI Home Video)
DIGITAL DOWNLOADS and STREAMING
Hearing Is Believing (Gravitas Ventures)
Kong: Skull Island (Warner Home Video)
Resident Evil: Vendetta (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
The Smurfs: The Lost Village (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
Wilson (Fox Home Entertainment)
The Zookeeper’s Wife (Universal Studios Home Entertainment)
Coming next week: CHIPS
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.