New to View: May 17
A highly-touted 2021 movie and the third season of an acclaimed HBO series are among new releases for home viewing.
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\The following titles are being released on Tuesday, May 17, unless otherwise noted:
Licorice Pizza (Blu-ray + DVD + digital)
Details: 2021, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
Rated: R, sexual material, language, drug use
The lowdown: “Licorice Pizza” is a joyous, coming-of-age story about two people who, against all odds, come together and form an emotional connection.
Gary Valentine (Cooper Hoffman, son of the late Philip Seymour Hoffman) is a self-assured 15-year-old child actor who, with roles drying up, begins a new career as a con artist.
Alana (Alana Haim) is 25 years old and still lives at home. She is unsure about the future and doesn’t feel truly comfortable in an adult world.
The two meet at Gary’s high school where Alana is helping students line up for their yearly photos.
The self-confident Gary is immediately interested in Alana, asking her out on a date, which she initially refuses.
Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest movie is a love letter to the early 1970s San Fernando Valley. It’s a romantic comedy about two people who, on the surface, have nothing in common and no reason to be together.
And while the movie is a bit episodic as Alana becomes involved in several of Gary’s get-rich-quick schemes, it offers a sweet, nostalgic air that entices you.
The movie, which also features Bradley Cooper and Sean Penn, received three Oscar nominations — best picture, Anderson for directing and original screenplay.
The movie garnered a 90 percent fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 2.39:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, 2.0 DVS and French 5.1 DTS digital surround; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles; DVD: 2.39:1 anamorphic widescreen picture; English and French 5.1 Dolby digital and 2.0 DVS; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus offerings include camera tests and unused takes, a deleted scene, a commercial for Fat Bernie’s shot by Gary Valentine and a behind-the-scenes look at the movie.
Uncharted (Blu-ray + DVD + digital)
Release date: May 10
Details: 2022, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Rated: PG-13, violent action, language
The lowdown: Tom Holland Mark Wahlberg star in this adventure flick about a young thief (Holland) who is recruited by a veteran treasure hunter (Wahlberg) to recover a treasure lost by explorer Ferdinand Magellan 500 years earlier.
This action feature offers some thrills and byplay between Holland and Wahlberg, but it’s overall routine and, at a tad under two hours, too long.
Even the casting as Antonio Banderas as the villain, cannot keep the movie from feeling somewhat bland as well as a “Raiders of the Lost Ark” wannabe.
Even Holland, who is a personable performer, fails to generate any sparks.
Critics were unimpressed, giving the movie a 40 percent fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 2.39:1 widescreen picture; English and French 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and English and Spanish 5.1 Dolby digital audio description track; English SDH, English, French and Spanish subtitles; DVD: 2.39:1 anamorphic widescreen picture; English and French 5.1 Dolby digital and English and Spanish 5.1 audio description track; English SDH, English, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include a series of behind-the-scenes featurettes that look at the actors, characters and the stunts and a commentary track.
Succession: The Complete Third Season (DVD)
Details: 2021, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
Rated: Not rated, language
The lowdown: A three-disc set featuring all nine third-season episodes of this popular HBO series; a family drama about a father and his adult children and their fight for control of one of the biggest media and entertainment conglomerates in the world.
The series stars Brian Cox and patriarch Logan Roy, who must scramble to secure financing and alliances after being ambushed by his son, Kendall (Jeremy Strong), who exposed a scandal involving the family.
The tensions threaten to bring forth a familial civil war, which could hurt, not only the family, but their corporate empire as well.
I am obliged under FTC regulations to alert you that Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of this DVD set, which I have reviewed, and that the opinions I am expressing here are, obviously, my own.
Technical aspects: 16:9 widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Supplemental materials include breakdowns of two episodes, a controlling the narrative featurette and a Roy family food chain featurette.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Blu-ray)
Details: 1941, Warner Archive Collection
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Spencer Tracy picked up the mantle of Robert Louis Stevenson’s doomed Victorian-era researcher whose experiments into the dual nature of man proved fatal.
Unlike Fredric March’s Academy Award-winning performance 10 years earlier, Tracy relied more on characterization than makeup to separate the kindly Dr. Henry Jekyll from the evil Hyde.
The movie, directed by Victor Fleming, took a more Freudian approach, reducing the pre-Code sexual innuendo of March’s 1931 version.
Ingrid Bergman and Lana Turner were cast against type — Bergman as Hyde’s victimized and abused Cockney mistress, Ivy, and Turner as Jekyll’s pure fiancée.
In some respects, the movie pales in comparison with the earlier film, but in others, mostly the more down-to-earth performance by Tracy, the feature is solid.
The movie, a made-on-demand Blu-ray from the Warner Archive Collection, can be found at the WAC store at Amazon or from other online dealers.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.37:1 (16x9 enhanced) full-screen picture; English 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio monaural; English SDH subtitles.
Outside the Law (Blu-ray)
Details: 2010, Cohen Media Group
Rated: R, violence
The lowdown: This French film, an Academy Award nominee for best foreign language film, follows the fortune of three brothers who fight for Algeria’s independence from France in the years after World War II.
After they lose their home in Algeria, the brothers scatter: Messaoud joins the French army fighting in Indochina; Abdelkader becomes a leader of the Algerian independence movement; and Said moves to Paris where he attempts to get rich in the shady clubs and boxing halls of Pigalle.
As the movie progresses, their intertwining destinies reunite them in Paris, where the fight for freedom continues.
This story about the fight against French colonialism offers more action than historical accuracy.
Still, it earned a 76 percent fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.35:1 widescreen picture; French 5.1 and 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio; English subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus options include a making of featurette, deleted scenes and interviews with cast members and the director.
Violent City (a k a The Family) (Blu-ray)
Details: 1970, 1973, Kino Lorber Studio Classics
Rated: Not rated, R
The lowdown: Charles Bronson stars in this Italian-made gangster thriller as Jeff, a hit man seeking revenge after a bloody double-cross leaves him for dead.
Jeff hunts down the shooter and his mistress, played by Jill Ireland, to New Orleans. But when Jeff takes his revenge and the woman, he finds himself blackmailed by a powerful crime boss, portrayed by Telly Savalas, who wants the independent contractor to join his organization.
When he refuses, Jeff becomes the hunted and finds the Big Easy is a difficult place to hide.
The movie is very violent. It also contains a shocking twist ending.
Believe it or not, the screenplay was cowritten by Lina Wertmuller (“Seven Beauties”) and features a powerful score by the great Ennio Morricone.
The two-disc set features the 109-minute 1970 release of “Violent City,” the Italian titled “Cittá violenta” and the 1973, 96-minute American cut of “The Family.”
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.35:1 widescreen picture; Italian and English DTS-HD Master Audio (“Violent City”), Italian DTS-HD Master Audio (“Cittá violenta”) and DTS-HD Master Audio (“The Family”); English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include a commentary track on “Violent City” was film historian Paul Talbot and an interview with director Sergio Sollima.
Details: 2020, Cohen Media Group
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A French drama about Yuri, a 16-year-old who has lived all his life in Gagarine Towers, a housing project on the outskirts of Paris.
From the heights of his apartment, Yuri has dreamed of becoming an astronaut. But his plans are put on hold when he learns that his community’s home is scheduled for demolition.
Yuri joins a resistance movement and with his friends Diana and Houssam, he undertakes a mission to save Gargarine, transforming it into his own “starship.”
This sweet and melancholy feature was praised by critics who awarded it a 95 percent fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.39:1 widescreen picture; French 5.1 and 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio; English subtitles.
Writing with Fire (DVD)
Release date: April 26
Details: 2021, Music Box Films
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A very interesting documentary about the only women-led news outlet in India.
In Uttar Pradesh in the northern area of the sprawling nation, these women report from a region where the residents are divided by gender and social caste.
At times, they risk their lives to report the news truthfully and unfiltered.
The movie follows the team at Khabar Lahariya (“Waves of News’). The women are from the Dalit caste, the lowest rung of India’s outdated caste system, who are shifting their outlet from print to digital.
The women, armed with smartphones, investigate the most pressing social and political issues in the country. They provide a voice for the millions who, because of their status, have been voiceless for decades.
The movie impressed critics, who gave it a 100 percent fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
Technical aspects: 1.85:1 widescreen picture; Hindi 5.1 Dolby digital; English subtitles.
Don’t miss: A featurette on the making of the movie and a question-and-answer session from the DOC NYC premiere comprise the extras.
Two Men in Town (Blu-ray)
Details: 2014, Cohen Media Group
Rated: R, language
The lowdown: Forest Whitaker and Harvey Keitel star in this drama about William Garnett (Whitaker), an ex-con starting a new life as a recently converted Muslim.
With the help of his kindly parole officer, played by Brenda Blethyn, he gets a job and meets an interesting woman, all the while keeping his head down and trying to avoid trouble.
But his new outlook is challenged by the town sheriff, Bill Agati (Keitel), who can’t leave Garnett alone since the parolee was responsible for killing his deputy.
The sheriff continues to harass Garnett, while at the same time, a former criminal associate, played by Luis Guzman, does the same.
Garnett tries to control his violent tendencies and make peace with his past, but he may need a gun to achieve his goal.
The film’s acting supersedes the familiar story, which bogs down at times.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.35:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 and 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: A making of documentary is the main extra.
Dark Night of the Scarecrow 2 (Blu-ray)
Release date: May 10
Details: 2022, VCI Entertainment-MVD Visual Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A malevolent presence hangs over the small town in which Chris Rhymer (Amber Wedding) and her young son, Jeremy (Aiden Shurr), have settled.
One day while looking for Jeremy, Chris stumbles upon a weathered old scarecrow and realizing that it is only an inert effigy, tells it her secret for being in the town.
Now, after 40 years, a dark terror arises in the cornfields. Is it seeking revenge or is its mission to protect Chris from outside threats?
This is a direct-to-Blu-ray release that is a sequel to a 1981 made-for-TV movie.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 16:9 widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH subtitles.
Belle (Blu-ray + DVD)
Details: 2021, Shout! Factory-GKids
Rated: PG, thematic content, violence, language, suggestive material
The lowdown: This Japanese animated feature centers on growing up in the age of social media.
Suzu is a shy high school student who lives in a rural village. For many years, she has kept her true self buried.
When Suzu enters “U,” a gigantic virtual world, she escapes into the online persona of Belle, a gorgeous and worldwide-beloved singer.
One day, her concert is interrupted by a monstrous creature chased by vigilantes. As their hunt escalates, Suzu begins an emotional and epic journey to uncover the identity of this mysterious “beast” and to discover her true self in a world where you can be anyone.
This highly-acclaimed feature earned an impressive 95 percent fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes, where it received praise for its emotional depth and its visuals.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 2.39:1 widescreen picture; Japanese and English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and English DVS; English SDH, English and Spanish subtitles; DVD: 2.39:1 anamorphic widescreen picture; Japanese and English 5.1 Dolby digital and English DVS; English SDH, English and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Supplemental materials include a making of featurette, a conversation with director Mamoru Hosoda, a featurette on the movie’s music, a look at Hosoda drawing “Belle,” scene breakdowns, find the voice of “Belle,” Hosoda at Animation is Film and a music video.
Without Warning (Blu-ray)
Details: 1980, Kino Lorber Studio Classics
Rated: R, graphic violence
The lowdown: This science-fiction feature about an alien on Earth hunting humans pre-dates Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “Predator” by seven years and cost much, much less. (For the record, the budget for this movie was about $150,000, while “Predator” cost about $88 million to produce).
Without warning features two future supporting actor Academy Award winners, Jack Palance and Martin Landau. Neither, however, plays the alien. That role falls to Kevin Peter Hall, who later played the hunter alien in “Predator.”
The story centers on an alien that preys on human fear and feeds on human flesh. The alien’s weapon of choice is a flying, bloodsucking jellyfish (you can’t make this stuff up, people!).
A group of teenagers, including a young David Caruso, join forces with a grizzled hunter (Palance) and a crazy war veteran (Landau) to stop the alien.
Considering the movie’s budget, the cast is pretty interesting. It also includes Cameron Mitchell, Larry Storch (“F Troop”), Neville Brand, Ralph Meeker and Sue Ane Langdon. A couple of these characters get killed off pretty quickly.
Another quirky item, Landau’s character is named Fred Dobbs, very similar to Humphrey Bogart’s Fred C. Dobbs from “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.”
The cinematographer was Dean Cundey (“Jurassic Park,” “Apollo 13,” “The Thing” and “Who Framed Roger Rabbit”).
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio monaural; English subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include a commentary track with producer-director Greydon Clark; interviews with cast members Tarah Nutter and Christopher S. Nelson, Cundey, co-producer-co-writer Daniel Grodnik and special make-up effects creator Greg Cannom; and a “Trailer from Hell” episode.
De Sade (Blu-ray)
Details: 1969, Scorpion Releasing-Kino Lorber
Rated: Not rated, sexual content
The lowdown: This “Caligula”-lite stars Keir Dullea (“2001: A Space Odyssey”) who seems to have gone from the heights of Kubrick to the depths of depravity in this largely fictionalized biopic of the nobleman infamous for sexual depravity and corruption.
The movie, written by horror-fantasy author Richard Matheson, is a story of innocence lost — of a young boy who becomes the target of another’s perverse brutality.
The film’s credited director is Cy Enfield (“Zulu”), who reportedly was replaced by Roger Corman.
The movie, which costars John Huston, Senta Berger, Lilli Palmer and Anna Massey, is rather tame by today’s standards.
Thankfully, Dullea does not overact and tries to be as normal as the script allows.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio monaural; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus components include a commentary track by novelist-critic Tim Lucas and an interview with Matheson.
A.K. Tolstoy’s A Taste of Blood (Blu-ray + CD)
Release date: May 10
Details: 2020, Cleopatra Entertainment-MVD Visual Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: This movie, based on Alexsey Tolstoy’s short story, “The Family of the Vourdalak,” was filmed as part of Mario Bava’s memorable horror anthology, “Black Sabbath,” in 1963, with Boris Karloff as the vampire hunter who, himself, is transformed into a vourdalak.
This movie is more atmospheric, as the family of a man who went out to kill a vampire, awaits his return. The hunter returns home at the magic hour between night and day, creating doubt within his family if he is still human or whether he has been bitten by the undead being he was seeking.
The hunter’s teenage daughter is determined to defend him, but as darkness approaches, the family’s doubts and fears continue to grow.
Will sentiment make them easy targets for a supernatural predator? You will have to watch to find out.
The Blu-ray features the original Spanish language track as well as an English dubbed audio.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, widescreen picture; Spanish and English (dubbed) 5.1 Dolby digital.
Don’t miss: A soundtrack CD bonus disc and an image slideshow comprise the bonus materials.
Mutant Blast (Blu-ray)
Release date: May 10
Details: 2018, Troma
Rated: Not rated, graphic and bloody violence
The lowdown: This crazy Troma production is set in a future in which Maria, a fearless soldier, and TS-347, a man with superhuman strength, are on the run from a military cell responsible for scientific experiments that have resulted in a zombie apocalypse — like they all do these days.
They soon meet Pedro, who suffers from a big hangover. Together, they will try to reach a safe place, but complications arise, including a nuclear bomb.
How far out is this movie? How about a duel between a human-sized lobster and a dolphin with a katana. If that doesn’t pique your curiosity, nothing ever will.
The movie actually earned a 100 percent fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes — but only six reviews were posted.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.35:1 widescreen picture; English, Brazilian Portuguese, French, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish audio.
Don’t miss: Extras include a rat pre-production test, making of “Lobsterman Caws,” a “Mutant Blast” goes to Korea short, Portugal gets hit with a “Mutant Blast” featurette, a look at the special effects, a blooper reel, bottlecap challenge and a look at how Lloyd Kaufman became a Portuguese zombie.
Other titles being released on Tuesday, unless otherwise indicated:
Death Valley (Blu-ray & DVD & digital & VOD) (RLJE Films)
Slasher: Flesh & Blood (Blu-ray & DVD & digital & VOD) (RLJE Films)
Straight to VHS (DVD) (IndiePix Films)
Sunken Roads (Blu-ray & DVD) (First Run Features)
DIGITAL DOWNLOAD, STREAMING or VOD
Morbius (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
Poupelle of Chimney Town (Shout! Factory)
Love on the Spectrum — U.S. (Netflix)
The Boss Baby: Back in the Crib (www.netflix.com/bossbabybackinthecrib) (Netflix)
Hold Your Fire (IFC Films)
Love, Death + Robots: Volume 3 (Netflix)
Machination (Nexus Production Group)
Now & Then: Episodes 1-3 (Apple TV+)
Tehran: Season 2, Episode 4 (Apple TV+)
Torn Hearts (Paramount Home Entertainment)
Trip (Terror Films)
The Valet (Hulu)
I am a founding member of the Indiana Film Journalists Association. I review movies, 4K UHD, 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 at ReelBob or the Indiana Film Journalists Association. My movie reviews also can be found at Rotten Tomatoes: www.rottentomatoes.com.