New to View: Sept. 19

By Bob Bloom
The following Blu-rays and DVDs are being released on Tuesday, Sept. 19, unless otherwise noted:
Wonder Woman (Blu-ray + DVD + digital)
Details: 2017, Warner Home Video
Rated: PG-13, action and violence, suggestive content
The lowdown: The DC movie universe finally gets what it needs to boost its superhero franchise — a woman’s touch.
After the deadly serious “Man of Steel,” the lumbering, elephantine “Batman v. Superman: The Dawn of Justice,” and the dark and dreary “Suicide Squad,” “Wonder Woman” lassoes the series, rescuing it from a deep hole of cinematic miscues.
Two women are the saviors — Gal Gadot in front of the camera, and Patty Jenkins behind it.
In this origin story, Gadot plays Princess Diana of Themyscira with a woman-child wonderment and amazement, as she leaves her secluded Amazonian life to rush into a 1918 wracked by World War I.
Jenkins adds a pace and attitude that is closer to a Marvel feature than the ponderous outings the DC-Warner Bros. partnership has foisted upon fans the past few years.
Gadot infuses Diana with curiosity and naiveté that is charming and disarming, yet without diminishing her warrior sense of self.
Jenkins provides an undercurrent of gender politics and a sense of depth that helps raise “Wonder Woman” above previous DC films.
Jenkins generates a sense of individuality and purpose to “Wonder Woman.” It feels like a film made from a singular vision, not by committee or focus group.
Gadot and Jenkins convey a much-needed sense of excitement and adventure to a group of movies that seemed to be suffocating on their own gravitas.
On the home screen, the movie looks and sounds superb, especially in the Blu-ray format that captures every nuance that was projected onto the big screen. The film impressed critics who gave it a 92 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 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, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby digital and English 5.1 descriptive audio; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus materials include a short featurette on Etta Candy reuniting the boys for a secret mission, a featurette on bringing Wonder Woman to the big screen, behind-the-scenes with Jenkins on creating Themyscira, the beach battle, the iconic photograph of Wonder Woman, Diana adjusting to the modern world and Wonder Woman at war, a featurette on the creation of the Amazon army, a look at Wonder Woman and her place in the DC comic universe, a featurette on the women filmmakers, a featurette with poets and public figures revealing the impact of Wonder Woman on them and our culture, extended scenes and a blooper reel.

The Big Sick (Blu-ray + DVD + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2017, Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Rated: R, sexual content, language
The lowdown: Love, as movies have shown us hundreds of times, is oblivious to race, religion, color, gender or nationality.
The romantic comedy, “The Big Sick,” written by actor-comedian Kumail Nanjiani and his wife, Emily V. Gordon, is a semi-autobiographical tale of their relationship.
The movie is no fairy tale; it rings authentic because it shows the warts and blemishes that make perfect love nearly impossible, but allows true love to climb its way to the top of relationship mountain.
Kumail and Emily — a strong, vulnerable performance by Zoe Kazan —  meet at the Chicago comedy club where Kumail performs.
From the outset, you feel the chemistry that is growing between them.
Slowly, they begin dating and becoming a couple. Yet, as in most beginning interactions, they hide secrets from each other.
Much of “The Big Sick’s” appeal rests on its universal familiarity. Though Kumail is Muslim, he is not devout. Like many of us — Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Mormon — he questions the precepts of his faith instead of blindly following them.
Kumail and Emily are going through the usual experiences of dating couples — finding common interests, attending parties and spending time getting to know each other better.
It’s no spoiler that everything works out for Kumail and Emily in the end.
But the journey — that wonderful and delightful voyage — that unites two as one is well worth viewing, not only because it is an enchanting and amusing story, but also because we come to understand how the similarities in people so outweigh the differences that they really are negligible where love is concerned.
Critics were charmed, giving the movie a whopping 98 percent positive rating at Rottentomatoes.com.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and Spanish 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH and Spanish subtitles; DVD: 1.85:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English and Spanish 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Supplemental materials include a making of featurette, a real story featurette, a 2017 SXSW Film Festival panel, deleted scenes, a featurette on additional laughs, a commentary track and other extras.

 

The Hero (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2017, Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Rated: R, language, drug use, sexual content
The lowdown: Sam Elliott shines as Lee Hayden in this drama about a Western icon with a golden voice whose best years are behind him.
He spends most of his time reliving his past successes with his former costar, Jeremy, played by Nick Offerman, until a cancer diagnosis alters his priorities.
Hayden soon begins a contentious relationship with Charlotte (Laura Prepon), a stand-up comedian, while also trying to reconnect with his estranged daughter, Lucy (Krysten Ritter).
In the midst of all this, Hayden is searching for the perfect role to cement his legacy.
Writer-director Brett Haley wrote this movie as a tribute to Elliott. And while the feature may hit upon a few clichés, it remains a strong outing that showcases Elliott’s talents.
A majority of critics also thought so, giving the movie a 77 percent positive rating at Rottentomatoes.com.
Technical aspects: 2.35:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: A commentary track with Haley and Elliott is the major bonus component.

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie: Hero Edition (Blu-ray + DVD + digital HD)
Release date: Sept. 12
Details: 2017, DreamWorks-Fox Home Entertainment
Rated: PG, mild and rude humor
The lowdown: An animated feature in which two fourth-grade best friends, George and Harold, accidentally hypnotize their school principal into believing he’s a hero named Captain Underpants.
Things take a turn toward sinister when the school’s new teacher turns out to be a disgraced scientist bent on ridding the world of laughter, the boys and their hero must unite to defeat his evil agenda.
This is a movie that will appear to younger kids more than teens and adults.
The movie, which features the vocal talents of, among others, Kevin Hart, Nick Kroll, Ed Helms, Jordan Peele and Kristen Schaal, received an 87 percent fresh rating at Rottentomatoes.com.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English 5.1 descriptive audio and Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles; DVD: 1.85:1 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 motion comic, Hart and Helms surprising fans, a featurette on Captain Underpants’ guide to being a hero, the Professor Poopypants guide to being a villain, deleted scenes and two music videos.

Madam Secretary: Season 3
Details: 2016-17, CBS DVD-Paramount Home Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Tea Leoni returns as Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord solving interesting international problems large and small in this six-disc set that contains all 23 third-season episodes.
Besides helping the nation, McCord must deal with issues involving her husband, Henry (Tim Daly), and their three growing children who continue to show streaks of independence.
Among the story arcs are a stalking issue that involves the McCords, Henry’s assignment to destroy a doomsday cult and President Conrad Dalton’s re-election.
The cast also features Keith Carradine, Zeljko Ivanek and Bebe Neuwirth.
Technical aspects: 16:9 full-screen picture; English 5.1 Dolby digital and 2.0 Dolby digital stereo surround; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: An inside look at season three and deleted and extended scenes comprise the bonus features.

Kevin Can Wait: Season One
Release date: Sept. 5
Details: 2016-17, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A three-disc set featuring Kevin James’ return to sitcom TV.
James plays Kevin Gable who has taken early retirement from the police department. Instead of having all the free time he has dreamed of, he learns that family responsibilities consume the latest chapter in his life.
The set features all 24 first-season episodes, as Gable deals with issues surrounding his three children, his wife, Donna, his friends and life in general.
James fans will appreciate and enjoy the series humor.
Technical aspects: 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH and English subtitles.

Code Black: Season 2
Details: 2016-17, CBS DVD-Paramount Home Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A four-disc set that features all 16 second-season episodes of this medical drama that looks at the chaotic work and live-saving measures performed by doctors in the emergency room.
The trauma team includes Marcia Gay Harden, Rob Lowe and Luis Guzman, who deal with a daily influx of patient needing the best and quickest care possible.
The doctors also must learn to deal with hospital politics, including budget cuts and administrative shifts.
Technical aspects: 16:9 full-screen picture; English 5.1 Dolby digital and stereo surround; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Supplemental offerings include a gag reel, deleted and extended scenes, a behind-the-look at the season’s seventh episode, an overview of the second season and a day in the life of a showrunner featurette.

The Moderns: Collector’s Edition (Blu-ray)
Details: 1988, Shout! Factory
Rated: R, language, sexual content
The lowdown: The latest offering in the Shout Select series is writer-director Alan Rudolph’s historical drama set in 1926 Paris.
The story is set in the city’s café society where Nick Hart (Keith Carradine) is a struggling painter who makes a living by drawing caricatures of the patrons at his favorite café.
Hart finds a patron in a wealthy divorcee, played by Geraldine Chaplin. But his heart belongs to Rachel (Linda Fiorentino), the wife of a dangerous and jealous businessman, played by John Lone.
The movie also features Wallace Shawn and Genevieve Bujold.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and stereo; English subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include interviews with Rudolph, Carradine and other filmmakers.

The Goldbergs: The Complete Third Season
The Goldbergs: The Complete Fourth Season
Release date:
Sept. 12
Details: 2015-16, 2016-17, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: The 1980s were never funnier than in this ABC sitcom starring Jeff Garlin, Wendi McLeondon-Covey and George Segal as a typical family from that decade.
The two sets, both comprised of three discs, feature all 25 third-season and all 24 fourth-season episodes, that touch on such cultural milestones as “Dirty Dancing,” “The Karate Kid” and “Weird Al” Yankovic.
These are very funny wonder years that will keep you engaged for hours on end.
Technical aspects: 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen picture; English and French 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH, English and French subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras on both seasons include commentaries and gag reels, plus deleted scenes on season four.

Phantasm: 5 Movie DVD Collection
Release date: Sept. 12
Details: 1978-2016, Well Go USA Entertainment
Rated: R, graphic violence, language, nudity; not rated
The lowdown: A five-disc set featuring the quintet of Don Coscarelli’s horror franchise that features Mike (Michael Baldwin) squaring off against a sinister grave robber known as the Tall Man (Angus Scrimm) and his arsenal of fatal weapons.
The movies in the set are “Phantasm: Remastered” (R, 1979), “Phantasm II” (R, 1988), “Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead” (R, 1994), “Phantasm IV: Oblivion” (R, 1998) and “Phantasm: Ravager” (not rated, 2016).
Fans of the franchise will enjoy the continual encounters and battles between good and evil created by Coscarelli.
Technical aspects: 1.78:1 and 1.85:1 widescreen pictures; English 5.1 Dolby digital.
Don’t miss: Extras include commentary tracks on all five movies, as well as behind-the-scenes featurettes, deleted scenes, bloopers and outtakes.

The Prison (Blu-ray)
Details: 2017, Well Go USA Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A Korean thriller about a former police inspector sentenced to hard time in prison after a fatal accident.
Once there, he discovers that a vicious crime syndicate runs the prison. They break out at night and use their incarceration as the perfect alibi to commit various heists.
Seeking revenge on the system that put him behind bars, the ex-cop joins the crooks in their illicit endeavors.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.35:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; Korean 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English subtitles.

Other Blu-rays and DVDs being released on Tuesday, unless otherwise indicated:
Road Less Traveled (Shout! Factory)
Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)

FOR KIDS
Blaze and the Monster Machines: Wild Wheels Escape to Animal Island (Nickelodeon-Paramount Home Entertainment)

DIGITAL DOWNLOADS and STREAMING
Footnotes
(Monument Releasing)
Jerry Before Seinfeld (Netflix)
Jesus (Breaking Glass Pictures)
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment)
Second Nature (Mirror Images Ltd.)
Doc Martin: Series 8 (Acorn TV, Sept. 21)
19-2: Season 4 (Acorn TV, Sept. 22)
Grandma’s House: Series 1 & 2 (Acorn TV, Sept. 25)

I am a member of the Indiana Film Journalists Association. I review movies, Blu-rays and DVDs for ReelBob (ReelBob.com), The Film Yap and other print and online publications. I can be reached by email at bobbloomjc@gmail.com. You also can follow me on Twitter @ReelBobBloom and on Facebook. My movie reviews also can be found at Rottentomatoes: www.rottentomatoes.com.

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