New to View: Jan. 9

By Bob Bloom
The following Blu-rays and DVDs are being released on Tuesday, Jan. 9, unless otherwise noted:
It (Blu-ray + DVD + digital)
Details: 2017, Warner Home Video
Rated: R, graphic violence, language, disturbing and scary and bloody images
The lowdown: It’s no joke that coulrophobia — a fear of clowns — is an actual medical condition.
So, to those filmgoers who suffer from this disorder, I strongly advise you to skip “It.”
This second rendition of the sprawling, 1,100-plus-page Stephen King novel — the first was a 1990 TV miniseries — is a chilling feature that has a few scary moments, but also has warmth and heart — a strange combination for what is purported to be a horror film.
The movie has been updated from the late 1950s to 1989 and focuses on seven young kids on the cusp of puberty, the self-named “Losers’ Club,” who band together to solve the disappearance of several children in their hometown of Derry, Maine.
As those familiar with King’s work know, the culprit is a malevolent entity, Pennywise, a clown who lives in the sewers beneath Derry and returns every 27 years to “feed” on the town’s children.
One of Pennywise’s victims is the younger brother of Bill (Jaeden Lieberher), who is inconsolable over the loss of his sibling.
Together with his friends, Richie (Finn Wolfhard), Beverly (Sophie Lillis), Ben (Jeremy Ray Taylor), Stan (Wyatt Oleff), Eddie (Jack Dylan Grazer) and Mike (Chosen Jacobs), they set out to discover what happened to the missing children and who — or what — is responsible.
“It” succeeds because the kids are relatable and director Andy Muschietti, working from a script by Chase Palmer, Cary Joji Fukunaga and Gary Dauberman, spends as much time in letting us get to know the kids as he does on the terrifying events that propel them to band together and take action.
The kids not only must unravel the mystery, but also deal with bullies and — in some cases — creepy parents, who nearly weird you out as much as Pennywise.
The movie also works because Muschietti and his writing team have basically halved King’s novel. The book spans 27 years with the adult versions of the kids returning to Derry to rid the town of Pennywise once and for all.
So, keep your eyes peeled for a sequel.
The movie had critics enthralled, as they gave the film an 85 percent fresh rating at
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 2.40:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English Dolby Atmos TrueHD, English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, 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 descriptive audio; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus options include a featurette on actor Bill Skarsgard preparing to portray Pennywise, a look at the teen stars of “The Losers’ Club,” a featurette on King revealing the roots of the novel and deleted and extended scenes.

Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House (Blu-ray)
Details: 2017, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Rated: PG-13, language
The lowdown: Those hoping that “Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House” is dominated by scenes of the then-FBI deputy associate director talking in dark garages with an actor portraying “The Washington Post’s” Bob Woodward will be sorely disappointed.
Overall, in fact, the movie is a letdown.
Considering the subject matter — in 2005, Felt revealed that he was the mysterious “Deep Throat” who fed information about the Watergate scandal to Woodward — “Mark Felt” should have been a tension-filled drama.
Instead, it is a tepid retelling of Watergate, as seen through the eyes of an FBI official who was aghast at the way his law-enforcement organization was being politicized by a president for his own protection. (And, yes, that scenario does have familiar and contemporary connotations.)
Writer-director Peter Landesman tells his story in such a bland manner that it plays more like a written high-school history report than a flesh-and-blood movie.
“Mark Felt” basically features characters standing in rooms, sitting behind desks or furtively meeting in out-of-the-way diners or garages, whispering in urgent, and sometimes conspiratorial tones.
The movie lacks intensity while covering one of the most dramatic constitutional crises that befell the nation.
Critics were unimpressed as well, giving the film a 34 percent fresh rating at
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.00:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and English 5.1 Dolby digital audio description track; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus features include extended and deleted scenes, a making of featurette and a commentary track.

From Caligari to Hitler
Details: 2014, Kino Lorber
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: The thesis of this very interesting documentary that looks at the connections between the expressionist silent cinema of Germany and the subsequent rise of Nazism, is that the movies predicted the movement.
The feature looks at such films as “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari,” “Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler,” “The Golem” and “Metropolis.”
Writer-director Rudiger Suchsland’s movie postulates that many of these movies featured charismatic villains who bewitched the people, thus paving the way for Hitler’s rise.
The films were not so much making Hitler’s rise to power more palatable, but, rather, warning people of the danger of such a man taking control of the government.
This is a fascinating movie that history and film buffs alike will want to view.
Technical aspects: 1.78:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; German 2.0 Dolby digital stereo; English subtitles.

Judgment at Nuremberg (Blu-ray)
Details: 1961, Kino Lorber
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A legendary cast headed by Spencer Tracy is featured in this Stanley Kramer produced-and-directed movie that received 11 Academy Award nominations.
The story centers on an American judge, played by Tracy, presiding over the trial of four German judges accused of legalizing Nazi atrocities.
The movie won two Oscars, including best actor for Maximilian Schell, who portrayed the fiery defense counsel for a defendant played by Burt Lancaster.
Others in the cast include Richard Widmark, Montgomery Clift, Judy Garland, Marlene Dietrich and William Shatner.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.66:1 picture; English 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio; English subtitles.
Don’t miss: Supplemental options include a conversation with writer Abby Mann and Schell, a tribute to Kramer and a look back at the movie and its impact.

Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In: The Complete Second Season
Details: 1968-69, Time Life
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: This NBC comedy-sketch series epitomized the short burst of counterculture TV shows that creeped onto the airways in the late 1960s and early ’70s.
Dan Rowan and Dick Martin hosted this wacky show that featured an ensemble cast of zanies including Arte Johnson, Ruth Buzzi, Judy Carne, Gary Owens, Alan Sues and Jo Anne Worley.
A gaggle of guest stars also made cameos to take part in the fun and be seen as hip and with-it. Among those were Kirk Douglas, Sammy Davis Jr., Marcel Marceau, Bob Newhart, Mel Brooks, Tiny Tim, Johnny Carson, Liberace, Rich Little, Phyllis Diller, The Smothers Brothers, Flip Wilson, John Wayne and, most notably, Richard Nixon who uttered the famous question in disbelief, “Sock it to me?”
The series is a time capsule of its era, and while some of the skits may date themselves, the overall laughs remain high — and it also helps to watch it that way.
This seven-disc set features all 26 second-season episodes.
Technical aspects: 1.33:1 full-screen picture; English Dolby digital; English SDH and closed-captioned subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include interviews with Martin, Owens and Buzzi.

The Garden of Allah (Blu-ray)
Details: 1936, Kino Lorber
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: David O. Selznick produced this romantic drama featuring Marlene Dietrich and Charles Boyer as star-crossed lovers who meet under the skies of the Sahara.
This sumptuous Technicolor outing is propelled by a memorable score by the legendary Max Steiner.
A who’s who of great character actors, including Basil Rathbone, C. Aubrey Smith and Joseph Schildkraut, support Dietrich and Boyer.
This is a prime example of early Technicolor as well as all-star casting.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.33:1 full-screen picture; English DTS; English subtitles.

Girlfriends: The Complete Series
Details: 2000-08, CBS DVD
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A 25-disc set spotlighting all 169 episodes of this series centered on four friends, played by Tracee Ellis Ross, Golden Brooks, Persia White and Jill Marie Jones.
The young women navigate life, love and careers with support from each other.
Despite various challenges, their bonds remain strong and unbreakable.
Technical aspects: 4:3 full-screen picture (seasons one & two) and 16:9 widescreen picture (seasons 3-8); English Dolby digital stereo surround (seasons 1-3) and English 5.1 Dolby digital stereo (seasons 4-8); English closed-captioned subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include a look at the creation of the show, a second season episode guide, a featurette on the show’s fashions, a look inside the wedding, a bonus episode of “The Game” and commentaries on select episodes by creator Mara Brock Akil.

The Cat O’ Nine Tails: Limited Edition (Blu-ray)
Details: 1971, Arrow Video
Rated: PG, violence
The lowdown: Dario Argento directed this follow-up to “The Bird with the Crystal Plumage,” that centers on a break-in at a secretive genetics institute.
American actors Karl Malden and James Franciscus star, respectively, as a blind puzzle maker who overheard an attempt to blackmail one of the institute’s scientists before the robbery, and the reporter who teams with Malden’s character to try solving the case.
As bodies begin to fall, the two amateur sleuths find their own lives in danger as they search for the truth.
This movie helped propel Argento’s career and solidify his style of filmmaking.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.35:1 widescreen picture; Italian and English language tracks; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus materials include lost script pages, interviews with Argento, co-writer Dardano Sacchetti, actress Cinzia De Carolis and production manager Angelo Iacono, a commentary track, four lobby cards and a fold-out poster.

Conduct: Every Move Counts
Details: 2016, Film Movement
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A documentary that follows five artists struggling for success and recognition at the International Conductors’ Competition in Frankfurt, Germany.
The competition tests not only their musical skills but their character.
The movie looks at the friendships and opposition, the raw talent and maturity of these five people who strive to reach the pinnacle and become world-renowned maestros.
Technical aspects: 1.78:1 widescreen picture, English and German 2.0 Dolby digital; English closed-captioned subtitles.

Intermezzo (Blu-ray)
Details: 1939, Kino Lorber
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Ingrid Bergman made her English-speaking debut in this remake of a 1936 Swedish film in which she starred.
Bergman plays Anita, the piano teacher of the daughter of famed violinist Holger Brandt (Leslie Howard).
Brandt is captivated by Anita’s playing, so much so that they begin a musical partnership that leads to romance, creating strife in Brandt’s family.
David O. Selznick produced this romantic drama, directed by Gregory Ratoff.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.33:1 full-screen picture; English DTS; English subtitles.
Don’t miss: A commentary track with film historian Kat Ellinger is the main extra.

Scooby-Doo! & Batman: The Brave and the Bold
Details: 2017, Warner Home Video
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Scooby-Doo and the Mystery Inc. gang team with Batman to crack an unsolved case from the Caped Crusader’s past that has come back to haunt him.
They also must deal with a threat by Crimson Cloak to take over Gotham City.
So, can the Dark Knight and the Mystery Inc. team work together to unravel all the clues and save the day?
You will have to watch to see.
Technical aspects: Widescreen picture; English and French 5.1 Dolby digital surround; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include two vintage cartoons, “The Dynamic Scooby-Doo Affair” and “The Caped Crusader Caper.”

Other titles being released on Tuesday, unless otherwise indicated:
68 Kill (Blu-ray + DVD) (IFC Midnight-Scream Factory)
Jesus Meets the Gay Man (Breaking Glass Pictures)
So B. It (Cinedigm-Good Deed Entertainment)

Dare to be Wild (levelFilm)
Goodbye Christopher Robin (Fox Home Entertainment)
Jigsaw (Lionsgate Home Entertainment)
Stopping Traffic: The Movement to End Sex Trafficking (Siddhayatan Tirth)
Abe & Phil’s Last Poker Game (Gravitas Ventures, Jan. 12)
Saturday Church (Samuel Goldwyn Films, Jan. 12)
Tom Segura: Disgraceful (Netflix, Jan. 12)
Detectorists: Series 3 (Acorn TV, Jan. 15)

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