New to View: Nov. 14
By Bob Bloom
The following Blu-rays and DVDs are being released on Tuesday, Nov. 14, unless otherwise noted:
Atomic Blonde (Blu-ray + DVD + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2017, Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Rated: R, strong and graphic violence, language, nudity, sexual content
The lowdown: The action sequences and fight choreography are what keep “Atomic Blonde” afloat.
But the film’s spy-craft plotline does not coagulate with the Jason Bourne-John Wick-inspired fight scenes.
The movie takes place mostly in East and West Berlin on the eve of the collapse of the Wall and the beginning of the end of the Cold War.
“Atomic Blonde” is helmed by David Leitch, who was an uncredited director on “John Wick” and has worked as a second unit director, action choreographer, stunt coordinator and fight designer on dozens of films including “Captain America: Civil War,” “Jurassic World,” “The Bourne Legacy” and “The Mechanic.”
“Atomic Blonde” is more about style than substance. The emphasis is on camera angles and costumes over character and story.
The film is very physical with great hand-to-hand fight sequences that may make you wince.
The movie belongs to star Charlize Theron who showcases her moves as a bona fide action star.
She impressed critics, who gave the movie a 76 percent fresh rating at Rottentomatoes.com.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 2.40:1 widescreen picture; English DTS-X immersive audio and Spanish and French 5.1 DTS digital surround; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles; DVD: 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen picture; English, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus materials include a behind-the-scenes look at filming in Berlin, deleted and extended scenes, a look at Theron’s transformation into badass spy Lorraine Broughton, a featurette about director David Leitch, a behind-the-scenes look at the long-take stairwell fight sequence, a look at Broughton in motion storyboards, a chase storyboard and a commentary track.
Wind River (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2017, Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Rated: R, strong violence, rape, disturbing images, language
The lowdown: Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olson star in this thriller written and directed by Taylor Sheridan, who wrote last year’s highly acclaimed “Hell or High Water.”
“Wind River,” set on a Native American reservation, centers on the death of a local girl, and the subsequent investigation by a rookie FBI agent (Olson) and a veteran game tracker (Renner), who knows the people, community and landscape better than anyone else.
The crime is not the focus as is the overall despair and hopelessness of those living on the reservation and the cold and forbidding region that freezes their souls.
The movie was a hit with critics who gave it an 87 percent fresh rating at Rottentomatoes.com.
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: Supplemental offerings include a behind-the-scenes video gallery and deleted scenes.
Details: 2017, Magnolia Home Entertainment
Rated: R, language
The lowdown: This documentary looks at the demonstrations and protests in Ferguson, Mo., after the death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown by police.
Brown was left lying in the streets for hours after being shot, which ignited residents to take to the streets and demand justice.
The movie is told by the activists and leaders who sought answers for Brown’s death as well as the actions of police.
The teenager’s death revealed longstanding racial tensions between the city’s predominately black residents and the mostly white police department.
People from around the country were moved by Brown’s death and came to Ferguson to stand and march in solidarity with its citizens.
The crisis reached the point where the National Guard, armed with military-grade weapons, had to be called in to help restore order in the city.
The movie received an impressive 99 percent positive rating at Rottentomatoes.com.
Technical aspects: 1.78:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include deleted scenes, additional interviews and a commentary track.
Patti Cake$ (Blu-ray + DVD + digital HD)
Release date: Nov. 7
Details: 2017, Fox Home Entertainment
Rated: R, language, sexual references, drug use, brief nudity
The lowdown: Danielle MacDonald gives a strong performance as Patti in this inspirational story about a young white woman who seeks fame and glory as a rapper and lets nothing deter her from her dream.
The movie marks the feature film debut of music video director Geremy Jasper, who captures the milieu of the gritty and grimy strip mall world of Jersey without stooping to condensation.
The movie features strong performances, humor and some decent music as well as infectious energy that will have you rooting for Patti.
The movie impressed critics who gave it an 83 percent fresh rating at Rottentomatoes.com.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English 5.1 descriptive audio and Spanish 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles; DVD: 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby digital and descriptive audio and Spanish 2.0 Dolby digital; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus options include “A Slice of Cake$” featurette, a commentary track, a look at the making of the music, a music video, a featurette on MacDonald as Patti, a look at the director and a featurette on Jersey women.
Unlocked (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Details: 2017, Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Rated: R, violence, language
The lowdown: Considering the talent in front of and behind the camera, it is surprising that this movie did not do better.
The film had a limited release and earned a paltry 25 percent fresh rating at Rottentomatoes.com.
The thriller stars Noomi Rapace as a top CIA interrogator whose career is sidelined after she fails to unlock a prisoner in time to prevent a deadly terrorist attack in Paris.
Later, working as a caseworker in London, she is called back into action when the CIA captures a suspect believed to have information on an imminent attack in London.
The movie costars Michael Douglas, John Malkovich, Toni Collette and Orlando Bloom. Michael Apted was the director.
Why it did not succeed is a question you may be able to answer after watching it at home.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.40:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH, English and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: A making of featurette is the major bonus offering.
The Philadelphia Story: Special Edition (Blu-ray)
Release date: Nov. 7
Details: 1940, The Criterion Collection
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: The backstory about this movie has become Hollywood lore.
Labeled box office poison in the late 1930s, Katharine Hepburn returned to New York, where her career was revitalized by her performance in this play by her friend, Philip Barry.
Hepburn smartly acquired the screen rights to “The Philadelphia Story,” enabling her to select her director and costars.
Hepburn stars with Cary Grant and James Stewart in this comedy about headstrong Philadelphia socialite Tracy Lord who is on the verge of remarriage when her ex-husband (Grant) shows up.
Also making an appearance is a tabloid reporter (Stewart), who is assigned to cover “the wedding of the year.”
The movie revitalized Hepburn’s career, gave Grant another strong performance to add to his resume and earned Stewart a best actor Academy Award — though many believe it was a consolation prize for not winning the year before for “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.”
This is a timeless comedy that, under the direction of the great George Cukor, remains a vibrant and charming romance.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.37:1 full-screen picture; English LPCM monaural; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus features include a commentary track with famed film historian and author Jeanine Basinger, a featurette on the origins of the Tracy Lord character and her environment, a look at Hepburn’s role in the development of the movie, two episodes of “The Dick Cavett Show” from 1973 that featured interviews with Hepburn, an excerpt from a 1978 interview with Cukor from the Cavett show, a 1943 Lux Radio Theatre adaptation of the movie, a look at the restoration of the film and an essay about the movie.
The Incredible Shrinking Woman: Collector’s Edition (Blu-ray)
Details: 1981, Shout! Factory
The lowdown: Lily Tomlin stars in this sci-fi satire, a take-off of “The Incredible Shrinking Man,” as a housewife who, after exposure to a concoction of household chemicals, begins to diminish in size.
Her condition stymies doctors and frustrates Tomlin’s Pat Kramer until her story goes worldwide and becomes a media sensation.
The plot gets a bit silly as it involves a group of sinister scientists bent on world domination.
On the other hand, you have makeup legend Rick Baker portraying Sidney the gorilla, so that’s something, at least.
The movie, written by Tomlin’s partner, Jane Wagner, marks the directorial debut of Joel Schumacher. Hmm, since Wagner also was the film’s executive producer, does that mean we can blame her for Schumacher foisting so many bad films on us?
The release is part of Shout’s Shout Select series of features.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English DTS-HD Master Audio monaural; English subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include a conversation with Tomlin and Wagner, interviews with Schumacher and cinematographer-special effects supervisor Bruce Logan, an audio interview with composer Suzanne Ciani, a deleted “Edith Ann” scene and an “On Location: Now and Then” featurette.
Afterimage (Blu-ray + DVD)
Details: 2017, Film Movement
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: The final film by acclaimed director Andrej Wajda is a portrait of famed avant-garde artist Wladyslaw Strzeminski, who challenged Stalinist orthodoxy in post-World War II Poland, when most of Eastern Europe was under the domination of the Soviet Union.
Strzeminski is a professor at the National School of Fine Arts in Lodz, where he is beloved by his students, but disliked by university officials and the Ministry of Culture.
He is soon expelled for not following the party line and also is booted from the artists’ union.
Despite constant harassment from Communist authorities, Strzeminski remains adamant in his political and artistic convictions.
The movie is Poland’s submission for best foreign film for the 89th Academy Awards.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 2.35:1 widescreen picture; Polish DTS-HD Master Audio; English subtitles; DVD: 2.35:1 widescreen picture; Polish 5.1 Dolby digital; English subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include a documentary about Wajda by Wajda and a commentary track.
In This Corner of the World (Blu-ray + DVD + digital)
Details: 2017, Shout! Factory
Rated: PG-13, mature themes, war-related images
The lowdown: This animated feature is based on the award-winning manga by Fumiyo Kouno, and tells the story of Suzu, a young girl from Hiroshima, who’s just been married in the nearby city of Kure during World War II.
Now living with her husband’s family, Suzu must adjust to a new life, which is constantly being interrupted by air raids.
With the help of her new family and neighbors, Suzu begins discovering the joys of her new life.
The film touches upon the atomic bomb devastation of Hiroshima, but does not directly show it.
This is a fine animated feature, adapted and directed by Sunao Katabuchi.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English and Japanese 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH subtitles; DVD: 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen picture; English and Japanese 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Supplemental materials include interviews with Katabuchi and the movie’s producer, a “Hiroshima & Kure: Then & Now” featurette and highlights from the movie’s U.S. tour.
Preacher: Season Two
Details: 2016, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A three-disc set offering all 13 second-season episodes of this AMC series about West Texas preacher Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper) who sets out to find God upon learning He is absent from Heaven.
Helping him on his odyssey are his former girlfriend, Tulip (Academy Award-nominee Ruth Negga), and Irish vampire Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun).
Their quest takes them to New Orleans where they have run-ins with local gangsters, secret agents and a murderous cowboy from Hell.
Technical aspects: 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen picture; English and French 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH, English and French subtitles.
Don’t miss: A featurette looking at the action on the set as well as a gag reel.
J.D.’s Revenge (Blu-ray)
Details: 1976, Arrow Video
Rated: R, violence, language
The lowdown: Blaxploitation and horror collide in this feature about a vengeful spirit who usurps the body of an innocent man to exact retribution on those who wronged him.
The feature stars Glynn Thurman, Lou Gossett and Joan Pringle. It is a rather solid offering that mixes mobsters and monsters.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, anamorphic widescreen picture; English LPCM monaural; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include an interview with producer-director Arthur Marx and a collector’s booklet.
Other Blu-rays and DVDs being released on Tuesday, unless otherwise indicated:
CSI: Miami: The Complete Series (CBS DVD-Paramount Home Entertainment)
Zoology (Blu-ray) (Arrow Academy)
Albert: A Small Tree with a Big Dream (Nickelodeon-Paramount Home Entertainment)
DIGITAL DOWNLOAD and STREAMING
Logan Lucky (Universal Studios Home Entertainment)
The Core (Shudder, Nov. 16)
Attack of the Killer Donuts (Level 33, Nov. 17)
The Trouble with Apu (TruTV, Nov. 19)
The Defiant Ones (Universal Studios Home Entertainment, Nov. 20)
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can follow me on Twitter @ReelBobBloom and on Facebook. My movie reviews also can be found at Rottentomatoes: www.rottentomatoes.com.