New to View: Jan. 30

By Bob Bloom
The following titles are being released on Tuesday, Jan. 30, unless otherwise noted:

The Square
Details: 2017, Magnolia Home Entertainment
Rated: R, language, sexual content, violence
The lowdown: This best foreign language film Academy Award-nominee is a maddening movie. It’s one of those artsy films that impresses in parts, but, on the whole, drives you to distraction.
And at nearly 2½ hours, the movie seems to meander about, obscuring at times what it wants to say.
The movie tries to be satiric, but some of the humor fails to connect or have any bite.
It’s difficult to like this movie. Its pace is rather slow, with a couple of subplots that go nowhere. It does pick up in the final act, but by then you probably have lost interest and are just counting down to the finale.
The movie also takes a swipe at political correctness, detailing the hypocrisy that surrounds those who talk the talk, but cannot bring themselves to walk the walk.
“The Square” makes you uncomfortable; it is off-putting, which may be director Ruben Ostlund’s intention.
The problem is he succeeds so well that the point of the movie may simply fly over your head without you even noticing.
Technical aspects: 1.85:1 widescreen picture; Swedish and English 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH, English and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus features include a behind-the-scenes look at the Monkey Man sequence, casting tapes and a photo gallery.

Ray Donovan: Season Five
Details: 2017, CBS DVD-Showtime Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A four-disc set featuring all 12 fifth-season episodes of this hard-hitting Showtime series about a Hollywood fixer who gets the job done at any cost.
While Donovan’s professional life is stable, his personal life is a mess, with emotional trauma that leaves him open and vulnerable.
Live Schreiber gives his usual solid performance as Donovan, aided by Jon Voight as his father.
Susan Sarandon is the season’s major guest star as media mogul Samantha Winslow.
Technical aspects: 16:9 picture; English 5.1 Dolby digital stereo; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include a three-part featurette, “On Death & Dying,” other behind-the-scenes featurettes on the season and the show’s characters and a commentary track on a specific episode.

Westfront 1918: Special Edition (Blu-ray)
Details: 1930, The Criterion Collection
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: This German film was the first sound movie made by famed director G.W. Pabst.
It is a brutal and realistic depiction of the World War I trauma that scarred Germany and, ultimately, led to the rise of fascism and Adolf Hitler.
The film follows four infantrymen stationed in France in the final months of the war. It displays the ordeals of battle they endure as well as how war erodes the mind, body and spirit.
This anti-war feature, which also depicts the disillusionment the soldiers endure on the home front, was made a year before Lewis Milestone’s classic, “All Quiet on the Western Front,” which also showed the war from a German point of view.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.19:1 full-screen picture; German LPCM monaural; English and French subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include an hour-long 1969 French television broadcast of WWI veterans reacting to the movie, a 2016 interview with film scholar Jean-Christopher Horak, a restoration demonstration by two members of the Deutsche Kinemathek, a brief 1988 interview with editor Jean Oser and an essay about the movie.

My Art
Details: 2017, Film Movement
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Ellie, single artist, embarks on a life makeover after being offered the summer house and studio of a famous friend in upstate New York.
Ellie finds unlikely inspiration in three local men, a disillusioned lawyer and two out-of-work actors.
The three help Ellie reinvent her art by taking part in a series of do-it-yourself videos in which they recreate classic Hollywood movies.
This delightful little feature is creative and a bit comical.
Technical aspects: 1.78:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby digital surround and 2.0 stereo; English closed-captioned subtitles.
Don’t miss: A commentary track is the main extra.

Napping Princess (Blu-ray + DVD)
Details: 2017, Shout! Factory
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: This two-disc set sci-fi fantasy is set in 2020, three days before the opening of the Tokyo Olympics.
The story centers on Kokone Morikawa, a young girl who should be studying for her exams. Instead, she often dozes, and when she does, she finds herself in a dream-world called Heartland.
It’s a magical place full of fantastic motorized devices.
When Kokone’s father, a talented, but mysterious mechanic, is kidnapped for stealing technology from a big corporation, Kokone and her friend, Morio, set out to save him.
They soon realize that Kokone’s dream-world holds all the answers to the mystery behind the stolen technology, which leads to clues about her father’s disappearance as well as to wondrous revelations about Kokone’s family.
Anime fans will enjoy this feature by Kenji Kamiyama.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English and Japanese 5.1 DTS-HD and French 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH, English and French subtitles; DVD: 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen picture; English, Japanese and French 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH, English and French subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus materials include an interview with Kamiyama, behind-the-scenes at the Japanese premiere, cast interviews, a greeting at the Japanese release, a special TV program about the movie and a look at Okayama scenery.

Red Trees (Blu-ray)
Release date: Jan. 23
Details: 2017, Cohen Media Group-Entertainment One
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Filmmaker Marina Willer’s documentary looks at the journey of her father’s family from Czechoslovakia to Brazil.
The family of Willer’s father, Alfred, was just one of 12 that survived the Nazi occupation of Prague during World War II.
The film moves from war-torn Eastern Europe to South America, as narrated by Tim Pigott-Smith, who speaks for Alfred Willer.
Willer recounts the bureaucratic red tape, transportations and suicides that permeated Prague during the war.
He tells of his survival and of building a new life as an architect in Brazil.
The movie resonates with today’s climate because of the global refugee crisis that is enveloping many nations.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: An interview with Marina Willer is the major bonus component.

The Sword and the Claw (Blu-ray)
Release date: Jan. 23
Details: 1975, AFGA Entertainment-MVD Visual Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: This action-thriller stars Turkish genre legend Cuneyt Arkin in a movie that is part “Conan the Barbarian” with low-brow comedic elements.
The English dubbing of this Turkish feature is bizarre, to say the least.
The story centers on the son of a slain king. As a baby, the son is hidden in the forest where he is kidnapped and raised by a pride of lions.
As an adult, he uses his animal strength and claw-like hands to avenge his father.
This is one strange feature filled with bloody images and oddball visuals.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: The major extra is a bonus film, 1981’s “Brawl Buster.”

Rendel: Dark Vengeance (Blu-ray)
Details: 2017, Shout! Factory
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A Finnish thriller about a dark avenger born when a worldwide corporation launches an unknown vaccine into the market through bribery, threats or murder.
The avenger, Rendel, battles the corporation, known as VALA, in order to put an end to the distribution of the vaccine.
There’s plenty of blood and action in this feature, especially as VALA-recruited mercenaries are no match for Rendel.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.40:1 widescreen picture; Finnish and English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: A behind-the-scenes featurette and an interview with the film’s director comprise the major bonus materials.

Viva L’Italia (Blu-ray)
Details: 1961, Arrow Academy
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Filmmaker Robert Rossellini was commissioned to make this movie about Giuseppe Garibaldi, one of the founders of modern Italy, who helped unify the nation.
The film was meant to celebrate Italy’s centennial.
Rossellini, however, made the movie on his own terms, presenting Garibaldi in a neo-realist mode, as if he were filming a documentary.
This restored version of the movie marks the American home video release of the film.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.66:1 picture; Italian stereo; English subtitles.

Steven Universe: The Complete First Season
Details: 2017, Cartoon Network-Warner Home Video
Rated: TV-PG
The lowdown: A four-disc set containing all 52 first-season episodes of this Cartoon Network series about Steven, a boy whose enthusiasm literally lights up everything around him.
The episodes follow Steven discovering his powers and the secrets of his past.
You also meet the folks who live in Beach City and Steven’s friends.
The series features adventures and song as more and more people begin to believe in Steven.
Technical aspects: Widescreen picture; English 2.0 Dolby digital; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include musical performances, song demos and animatics.

Other titles being released on Tuesday, unless otherwise indicated:
Just Charlie (DVD + digital) (Wolfe Video)
Static Shock: The Complete Third Season (Warner Archive Collection)
The Sunshine Makers (FilmRise-MVD Visual Entertainment, Jan. 23)

Nella the Princess Knight (Nickelodeon-Paramount Home Entertainment)

Harold Buttleman — Daredevil Stuntman (Leomark Studios) (digital download + VOD)
Roman J. Israel, Esq. (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
Wonder (Lionsgate Home Entertainment)
Doctor Finlay: Series 1 (Acorn TV, Feb. 5)
Girlfriends: Episode 2 (Acorn TV, Feb. 5)
The Heart Guy: Series 2, Episodes 1 & 2 (Acorn TV, Feb. 5)
Murdoch Mysteries: Season 11, Episode 7 (Acorn TV, Feb. 5)

Coming next week: A Bad Mom’s Christmas

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: