New to View: Aug. 8
By Bob Bloom
The following Blu-rays and DVDs are being released on Tuesday, Aug. 8, unless otherwise noted:
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (Blu-ray + DVD + digital)
Details: 2017, Warner Home Video
Rated: PG-13, action violence, suggestive content, language
The lowdown: As he did with Sherlock Holmes, director Guy Ritchie offers his singular vision of the tale of King Arthur and the magical sword, Excalibur.
The story has been told many times on film, including “Knights of the Roundtable,” “Sword of Lancelot,” “Excalibur” and “First Knight.”
In Ritchie’s version, Arthur’s father is murdered by his uncle, who then usurps the throne.
Arthur grows up in the city’s back alleys unaware of his birthright until he pulls Excalibur from the stone.
It is then that he must realize his legacy and fight to win it back.
Critics were unkind to the movie, many claiming it was too much flash and very little substance and that Ritchie’s cinematic style was at odds with the period. Thus, the movie’s 28 percent fresh rating at Rottentomatoes.com.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 2.40:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English Dolby Atmos TrueHD, 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 5.1 Dolby digital and descriptive audio and French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby digital surround; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus materials include a profile of star Charlie Hunnam, an on-the-set featurette with Ritchie, a behind-the-scenes look at the cast’s training in swordplay, a featurette on the creation of the city of Londinium, a look at the 93-day shoot, a featurette on the sword Excalibur and a look at filming in Scotland.
The Dinner (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2017, Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Rated: R, language, disturbing and violent content
The lowdown: The movie’s premise is simple: Two estranged brothers and their wives meet at a restaurant to discuss a horrible crime committed by their 16-year-old sons.
The identities of their sons have not yet been made public, so, while their involvement still a secret, these parents must decide how far they will go to protect the children they love.
The strong cast — Richard Gere, Laura Linney, Steve Coogan, Rebecca Hall and Chloe Sevigny — cannot compensate for the flaws in the script, which cannot reach the wit and insight of its source material.
Flashbacks distract from the tense talk taking place at the dinner table, which is unfortunate since the film had some potential.
Critics were divided giving the movie a 51 percent fresh rating at Rottentomatoes.com.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English SDH and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: A commentary track is the main bonus offering.
Colossal (Blu-ray + DVD + digital HD)
Release date: Aug. 1
Details: 2017, Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Rated: R, language
The lowdown: Writer-director Nacho Vigalondo’s movie is a very strange experience — a strange brew of psychological drama, revenge thriller, comedy, science fiction and monster genres.
Anne Hathaway stars as Gloria, an out-of-work party girl, who, after being kicked out of her boyfriend’s apartment, is forced to leave New York and move back to her hometown.
There, she is reunited with her childhood friend, Oscar (Jason Sudeikis).
Soon, reports begin airing about a giant monster that is destroying Seoul, South Korea.
As the movie begins to twist and turn through its premise, Gloria ultimately realizes that she and the monster have some sort of connection. What Gloria cannot discern is why her existence is having such a giant impact on the world.
This is an unusual film that some may find it difficult to stay with, but trust me, the payoff is worth it.
Critics thought so, giving the film an 80 percent fresh rating at Rottentomatoes.com.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 2.40:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles; DVD: 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: A deleted scene is the major bonus offering.
The Exception (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2017, Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Rated: R, sexual content, nudity, violence, language
The lowdown: A World War II thriller about a German officer who accepts a mission to investigate exiled German monarch Kaiser Wilhelm II, who lives in a secluded mansion in the Netherlands.
As Germany conquers the nation, authorities are worried that Dutch spies are watching the Kaiser.
As the officer gets drawn more and more in the Kaiser’s life, he begins a romance with one of the former ruler’s maids, whom he soon discovers is secretly Jewish.
Allegiances are tested and secrets are revealed when SS leader Heinrich Himmler with troops in hand springs a surprise visit on the Kaiser.
The movie offers some tense moments and sharp performances, including one by Christopher Plummer as Kaiser Wilhelm II.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.39:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus materials include a behind-the-scenes featurette and a commentary track.
Fargo: 20th Anniversary Edition Steelbook (Blu-ray)
Details: 1996, Shout! Factory
Rated: R, graphic and bloody violence, language, sexual situations
The lowdown: Frances McDormand won a best actress Academy Award for her performance as Police Chief Marge Gunderson in this seven-time Oscar nominated film from Joel and Ethan Coen.
The movie revolves around a kidnapping gone horribly wrong that leads to murder and betrayal.
The focus of the movie is the very pregnant Gunderson’s easy-going, but thorough investigation that causes the caper to slowly unravel.
The supporting cast, including William H. Macy, Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare.
It’s the characters more so than the plot that drives the movie, which remains as fresh today as when it was first released.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English, Spanish and French 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include a “Minnesota Nice” featurette, interviews with the Coen brothers and McDormand, a commentary track and an “American Cinematographer” article about the film.
Blindspot: The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray)
Details: 2016-17, Warner Home Video
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A four-disc set offering all 22 second-season episodes of this popular NBC action series.
The season opens where the first season left off, with the revelations about Jane Doe’s true identity and her connections with the Sandstorm terrorist group.
After escaping CIA custody, Jane is recaptured by Kurt Weller’s FBI team.
The episodes continue to unravel the mystery of Jane’s true identity and the tattoos covering her body.
Jane is convinced to become a triple agent and joins a super-secret NSA team bent on taking down Sandstorm.
Of course, the episodes feature betrayals, suspense, secret identities and action.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.78:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: A series of seven behind-the-scenes featurettes, a 2016 Comic-Con panel, a gag reel and unaired scenes comprise the bonus offerings.
“John Wayne Double Feature” (Blu-ray)
Details: 1970, 1971, CBS DVD-Paramount Home Entertainment
Rated: G, PG-13
The lowdown: After winning an Academy Award for his performance in “True Grit” (1969), screen legend John Wayne immediately dived back into the programmer Westerns that dominated the rest of his career.
One of the first of these was “Rio Lobo” (1970, G), in which Wayne and director Howard Hawks reteamed for another variation on their successful 1958 hit, “Rio Bravo.”
“Rio Lobo” is a post-Civil War story about a former Union colonel (Wayne) searching for the men who betrayed him and his unit.
“Big Jake” (1971, PG-13) features the last pairing of Wayne and Maureen O’Hara.
In this violent movie, Wayne goes after the gang of outlaws who raided his ranch, killed many workers and kidnapped his grandson.
Richard Boone plays the main villain in a cast that also includes Patrick Wayne, Christopher Mitchum (son of Robert), Bruce Cabot and Harry Carey Jr.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.78:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture (“Rio Lobo”) and 2.35:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture (“Big Jake”); English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English Dolby digital stereo surround, French, German and Spanish Dolby digital monaural, Japanese Dolby digital monaural (“Rio Lobo”) and Brazilian Portuguese Dolby digital monaural (“Big Jake”); English SDH subtitles.
Re-Animator: Limited Edition (Blu-ray)
Details: 1985, Arrow Video
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: This cult favorite horror feature from Stuart Gordon is compelling, a bit funny, and gross.
The two-disc set features the 86-minute unrated and 105-minute integral versions of this splatter movie.
Jeffrey Combs gives an outlandish over-the-top performance as the maniacal Dr. Herbert West, whose theories about re-animating the dead lead to very bloody and gory consequences.
The movie is based on a story by H.P. Lovecraft.
The digital transfers of the two versions of the movie are very solid and won’t disappoint fans of the film.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 and 2.0 Dolby digital; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include commentaries on both versions of the movie, a featurette about various adaptations of Lovecraft works, deleted and extended scenes, interviews with former “Fangoria” editor Tony Timpone, writer Dennis Paoli, Gordon and producer Brian Yuzna, a conversation with co-star Barbara Crampton, a discussion with composer Richard Band, a documentary on the making of the movie, a reprint of the 1991 comic book adaptation and a booklet with essays about the film.
Master of the Drunken Fist: Beggar So (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Master of the Shadowless Kick: Wong Kei-ying (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2016, HBO Home Entertainment
The lowdown: These are the first two films released as part of HBO’s Asia Original Film program.
The movies, filmed in China, tell the stories of two members of the “Ten Tigers of Canton,” each a master of a unique martial arts style.
In “Master of the Drunken Fist: Beggar So,” So Chan, a pampered, smart and ambitious martial arts warrior who was about to become the emperor’s top fighter, when he becomes unwittingly involved in a conspiracy between two political powers in the imperial court.
He soon loses everything, including his family.
But with the help of the beggar clan chief and his daughter, Chan so learns to understand, appreciate and use the long-lost martial art skill of the drunken fist. He becomes Beggar So and uses his new talent to exact revenge.
In “Master of the Shadowless Kick: Wong Kei-ying,” an honest doctor is tricked into assisting the ruthless new governor of Canton, who wants to wrest the opium business from a local gang.
Wong soon masters the legendary martial art of the Shadowless Kick to help take down the corruption governor.
Both movies have enough action to satisfy any martial arts fan.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.78:1 widescreen picture, Mandarin and English 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio, Cantonese, Thai, Bahasa Indonesia and Bahasa Malaysian 2.0 DTS digital surround; English SDH, simplified and complex Chinese, Thai, Bahasa Indonesian, Bahasa Malaysian, French and Vietnamese subtitles.
Teen Wolf: Collector’s Edition (Blu-ray)
Teen Wolf Too: Collector’s Edition (Blu-ray)
Details: 1985, 1987, Scream Factory
The lowdown: Scott Howard (Michael J. Fox) is a decent guy who, like most teenagers, is going through some changes.
But his are much more different than his peers. It includes growing long hair that covers his body, claw-like fingernails, fangs, an increased sense of smell, superhuman strength and the ability to play basketball better than Michael Jordan. Scott is transformed into “Teen Wolf.”
This metamorphosis turns the former loser into the most popular kid in school. But conflict arises when Scott embraces his new personality and forgets who he really is.
In 1987’s “Teen Wolf Too,” Jason Bateman plays Todd Howard, who is on full athletic scholarship at Hamilton University.
Todd, however, is confused, since he does not have an athletic muscle in his body and is more interested in veterinary medicine.
But the university’s boxing coach knows the Howard family secret and his hoping to use it to his advantage.
Todd — and the entire school — soon discover his werewolf persona, making him big man on campus. But the sudden fame creates problems as it gets in the way of the relationships he values the most.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English DTS-HD Master Audio monaural; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras on “Teen Wolf” include a documentary on the making of the film and its legacy and interviews with cast and crew members. “Teen Wolf Too’s” features include interviews with the director and cast and crew members.
“Seijun Suzuki’s The Taisho Trilogy: Limited Edition” (Blu-ray)
Details: 1980-91, Arrow Academy
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A trio of films by director Seijun Suzuki that are dramatically cryptic with a touch of supernatural intervention.
The movies are “Zigeunerweisen” (1980), in which two in intellectuals and from colleagues from a military academy involve their wives in a series of dangerous sexual games; “Kageroza” (1981), in which is playwright becomes obsessed with a mysterious beautiful woman who may be a ghost; and “Yumeji” (1991), focuses on real-life painter-poet Takehisa Yumeji’s interactions with a beautiful widow who as a mysterious and dark past.
These surrealistic psychological features are presented on Blu-ray for the first time outside of Japan.
They focus on an era in which Western ideas were invading the nation and fusing with values in daily Japanese life.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.66:1 picture; Japanese audio; English subtitles.
Don’t miss: Supplemental materials include a making of featurette, a vintage interview with Suzuki and an introduction by film critic Tony Rayns.
Other Blu-rays and DVDs being released on Tuesday, unless otherwise indicated:
Cinematic Titanic: The Complete Collection (Shout! Factory)
Saxophone Colossus (Blu-ray) (Mug-Shot Productions, Aug. 4)
My Little Pony Equestria Girls — Magical Movie Night (Shout! Kids)
DIGITAL DOWNLOADS and STREAMING
Burden (Magnolia Home Entertainment)
Cezanne et Moi (Magnolia Home Entertainment)
Fallen (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (Marvel Studios-Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment)
Tour de Pharmacy (HBO Home Entertainment)
Hunt for the KGB Killers (Acorn TV, Aug. 14)
Coming next week: Everything Everything
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.