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New to View: May 24
The newest, and most tedious, iteration of Batman headlines the newest releases for home viewing. You can check 'em all out at ReelBob.com.
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The following titles are being released on Tuesday, May 24, unless otherwise indicated:
The Batman (Blu-ray + DVD + digital)
Details: 2022, Warner Home Entertainment
Rated: PG-13, violence, language, disturbing images, drug use, suggestive material
The lowdown: Many adjectives have been used over the years to describe movies in the Batman franchise — powerful, intense, compelling, campy, silly and even ridiculous.
One word I have not encountered is tedious. But that is the perfect description of “The Batman,” cowriter-director Matt Reeves’ nearly three-hour take on the nighttime vigilante.
Reeves’ movie plays like a rehash of themes and situations from earlier Batman entries — most notably, those by Christopher Nolan.
And Reeves spends more time on mood and atmosphere than advancing his story.
Another problem is Robert Pattinson’s performance as Batman and as Bruce Wayne. In both personas, he speaks in a hushed monotone, making him indecipherable at times. And as Wayne, Pattinson seems to be acting either as a sulking teenager or as a young man suffering from PTSD.
“The Batman” is an exposition-heavy enterprise; everything is explained to the audience, even what is so obvious that the dimmest filmgoer can understand.
The movie’s major offense is that Reeves, instead of creating his own Bat world, seems to rely on audience members’ memories of the Nolan trilogy to gain acceptance for his creation.
“The Batman” is a major disappointment that will leave fans of the Dark Knight and the entire franchise dissatisfied.
So, we will end on a riddle: What’s dark, dank, long and forgettable. “The Batman.”
I admit, I was in the minority on this feature, as it garnered an 85 percent fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 2.39:1 widescreen picture; English Dolby Atmos TrueHD, English descriptive audio and Brazilian Portuguese, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles; DVD: 2.39:1 widescreen picture; English, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby digital and English descriptive audio; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus materials include a making of featurette, deleted scenes, a behind-the-scenes look at the exciting car chase, “The Batman: Genesis” and Becoming Catwoman featurettes and a look at the new Batmobile.
Mississippi Masala: Special Edition (Blu-ray)
Details: 1991, The Criterion Collection
Rated: R, language, sexual situations
The lowdown: This comedy-drama is a love story that examines the cultures — and wounds — of India, Uganda and the American South.
The movie, directed by Mira Nair, looks at the complexities of romance in the nation’s modern melting pot.
Mina (Sarita Choudhury) works cleaning rooms at an Indian-run motel in Mississippi. Her family was forced to flee their home in Uganda by the dictatorship of Idi Amin.
Mina falls for Demetrius (Denzel Washington), the motel’s charming Black carpet cleaner. But their romance challenges the prejudices of both their families as well as exposing the rifts between the region’s Indian and African American communities.
The script by Sooni Taraporevala and Nair’s direction does not shy away from the tough issues of racism, colorism, cultural clash and displacement. But it covers those topics with warm humor and sharp insight.
The movie is a sweet and satisfying celebration of the power of love.
The film charmed critics who gave it a 91 percent fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English and Swahili 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include a commentary track by Nair, a conversation between Choudhury and film critic Devika Girish, interviews with director of photography Ed Lachman, Taraporevala and production designer-photographer Mitch Epstein, an essay about the movie and excerpts from Nair’s production journal.
Umma (Blu-ray + digital)
Details: 2022, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Rated: PG-13, terror, language, thematic elements
The lowdown: “Umma” is the Korean word for mother, and this inconsistent mystery-chiller offers some scary scenes and insights into the bridge between Asian and Asian-American cultures.
Sandra Oh stars as Amanda, living a quiet life with her daughter, Chris (Fivel Stewart), on an American farm.
Amanda’s world takes a disquieting turn with the arrival of the remains of her estranged mother from Korea. Soon, Amanda becomes obsessed with the fear that she is turning into her mother.
The film, from first-time director Iris K. Shim, who also wrote the script, has some interesting ideas that, overall, fail to solidly coalesce. The movie’s reliance of conventional horror tropes and a failure to sustain any suspense undermine many points of Shim’s story.
Technical aspects: 2.39:1 widescreen picture; English and French 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and English and Spanish 5.1 audio description track; English SDH, English, French and Spanish subtitles.
Ray Donovan: The Movie (DVD)
Details: 2022, Showtime-CBS DVD-Paramount Home Entertainment
Rated: Not rated, graphic violence, adult content
The lowdown: In this Showtime movie that brings the series full circle, the Donovan family returns to Boston to face its past.
Family members must struggle to overcome their dark past and violent upbringing. Their one strength is their love for each other.
Star Liev Schreiber cowrote the movie with series executive producer David Hollander.
Featured along with Schreiber is Jon Voight, Eddie Marsan, Dash Mihok, Kerris Dorsey and Kerry Condon.
Technical aspects: 16:9 widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH subtitles.
Candyman: Collector’s Edition (4K UHD + Blu-ray)
Details: 1992, Scream Factory
Rated: R, not rated, violence, gore
The lowdown: A three-disc set featuring the theatrical and unrated cuts of the original urban legend horror feature.
Tony Todd stars as the slave spirit with a hook hand who haunts a notorious housing project.
Virginia Madsen portrays Helen Lyle, a graduate student whose research — and refusal to heed the warnings about Candyman — causes his return and the beginning of a string of brutal killings, for which Helen is blamed.
It's Todd’s memorable performance that carries the movie, which is as cerebral as it is scary.
The movie, written and directed by Bernard Rose, who adapted Clive Barker’s short story for the screen, is gory, but does not cop out from its main premise.
The movie was praised by critics, who gave it a 78 percent fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes. The 2021 remake, which garnered an 85 percent fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes, was more political and touched on more contemporary issues about race, including police violence.
Still, the original version maintains its power to hold you in it spell.
Technical aspects: 4K UHD: 2160p ultra high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English Dolby Atmos and 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Hours of bonus options include commentary tracks on the 4K and Blu-ray discs with Rose and Todd and authors-film historians Stephen Jones and Kim Newman on the theatrical cut; commentary tracks with Rose, Barker, producer Alan Poul, Todd, Madsen and costar Kasi Lemmons; another with Rose, from “The Movie Crypt Podcast,” hosted by filmmakers Adam Green and Joe Lynch; a featurette, “Sweets to the Sweet: The Candyman Mythos,” featuring interviews with Rose, Poul, Barker, Todd, Madsen and Lemmons; other interviews with Barker and Todd; Rose’s storyboards; interviews with Madsen, Lemmons, costars Vanessa Williams and DeJuan Guy, production designer Jane Ann Stewart, the special effects team; a look at Barker’s original short story; and a critical analysis of the movie.
Wild Things: Limited Edition (4K UHD + Blu-ray)
Details: 1998, Arrow Video
Rated: Not rated, nudity, language, sexual content, violence
The lowdown: This sleazy story centers on a spoiled rich kid, a troubled teen, a high school guidance counselor who gets too close to some of his female students and a dogged detective.
The movie, set in a moneyed area of Florida, features Denise Richards as sultry rich girl Kelly Van Ryan and Neve Campbell as “bad” girl Suzie Toller who accuse guidance counselor Sam Lombardo (Matt Dillon) of rape.
The case is investigated by Detective Ray Duquette (Kevin Bacon) and his partner, Gloria Perez (Daphne Rubin-Vega).
Lombardo is arrested, tried and, with the help of his lawyer, played by Bill Murray, acquitted. But that is just the start of this very twisted feature.
The cast also features Robert Wagner and Carrie Snodgress.
This set features the original theatrical version and an extended “Unrated Edition” of the movie, which features a winding plot that you have to follow closely to pick up all the little breadcrumbs dropped throughout.
Technical aspects: 4K UHD: 2160p ultra high definition, 2.39:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH subtitles; Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 2.39:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Supplemental offerings include two commentary tracks, interviews with Richards, director John McNaughton, archival on-set interviews, a making of documentary, a short outtake and a collectible booklet.
Flower Drum Song (Blu-ray)
Details: 1961, Kino Lorber Studio Classics
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: This Rodgers & Hammerstein film adaptation of their Broadway musical, is usually touted as the first major Hollywood film to feature a mostly Asian-American cast in a contemporary Asian-American story.
Times have changed in the 60-plus years since the movie’s release, and some Asian-Americans have found the film offensive because of common-held Asian stereotypes.
Taken in context of when it was released, the musical is bouncy and fun. It features a strong cast, including Miyoshi Umeki, who won a supporting actress Academy Award for her performance in “Sayonara”; James Shigeta, Nancy Kwan, Jack Soo, Benson Fong and Juanita Hall.
The movie was directed by Henry Koster and produced by Ross Hunter, neither of whom had much experience with musicals.
Still, it is a colorful and entertaining movie that you can enjoy, especially in this upgraded new 2K master release.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition 2.35:1 widescreen picture; English 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio; English subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include a look at the story’s evolution from novel to Broadway musical to film; a look back at the movie’s casting and characters; a featurette on the Rodgers & Hammerstein songs; a behind-the-scenes look at the sets and costumes; a “Legacy of Rodgers & Hammerstein” featurette; and a commentary track with Kwan and film historian Nick Redman.
Details: 1996, Scorpion Releasing-Kino Lorber
Rated: R, sexual situations
The lowdown: Michael Winterbottom directed this adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s novel, “Jude the Obscure,” with a cast that included Christopher Eccleston as Jude; Rachel Griffiths as Arabella, his wife; and Kate Winslet as his cousin, Sue Bridehead.
Jude is a stonemason, but he dreams of becoming an academic. His passion is learning.
After his wife leaves him, Jude moves to Christminster to be nearer to the scholars he admires. It’s there that he meets, and falls in love, with his cousin, whose wit and beauty captivate him.
Though Sue is married, she and Jude flout society and begin an illicit affair that thumbs its nose at the conventions of society. Unfortunately, fate takes a tragic turn.
The movie, which received an 82 percent fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes, explores themes of class, education, religion, marriage and morality in Victorian England.
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: The major bonus offering is a commentary track with film historian-filmmaker Daniel Kremer and film critic Scout Tafoya.
One-Armed Boxer (Blu-ray)
Details: 1972, Arrow Video
Rated: Not rated, violence
The lowdown: This martial-arts feature was produced by former Shaw Brothers executive Raymond Chow, who founded his Golden Harvest studio in 1970.
Chow soon teamed with “Jimmy” Wang Yu, who was Hong Kong’s first kung fu superstar, and was known for his talent of taking on all rivals with one hand tied behind his back.
The story of “One-Armed Boxer” is the familiar theme of rival schools — one good, one bad — and seeking revenge after the teachers and students at the good school are killed.
Wang plays a student at the good school who survives, but whose right arm is cut off. His character, Yu Tian Long, is gifted with a powerful potion that promises to give him strength so he can avenge the massacre.
The odd thing about the movie is that it Yu does not lose his arm until about an hour into the film, which runs 93 minutes.
Still, genre fans will enjoy the action and mayhem the movie provides. The disc features Mandarin and English dubbed tracks. Personally, on any foreign-language film, I enjoy it more with the original language track instead of the distracting voices used in dubbed versions.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.39:1 widescreen picture; Mandarin and English (dubbed) 2.0 LPCM monaural; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Supplemental options include a commentary track, an interview with Wang and alternate English credits.
A Dangerous Man (Blu-ray)
Details: 2019, Liberation Hall
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Another formulaic action thriller starring Steven Seagal features the star’s usual amount of martial arts combat.
Seagal is Shane Daniels, a former Special Forces operative released from prison after serving six years for a murder he did not commit.
During that time, he lost his wife, so he is understandably angry when he returns to the streets.
Now free, he comes to the rescue of a young woman stashed in a car trunk with millions of dollars in cash.
Daniels wields his street-fighting smarts and martial arts expertise in a deadly showdown with an international drug ring and local corrupt cops.
This action thriller really does not vary from the storyline of many other Seagal movies — one man battling overwhelming odds — and vanquishing all foes.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 (16x9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 2.0 LPCM stereo.
Don’t miss: A behind-the-scenes featurette with cast interviews is the main extra.
Teen Titans Go! & DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem in the Multiverse (Blu-ray + DVD + digital)
Details: 2021, Warner Home Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: In this animated feature, Lex Luthor uses an amulet from Krypton to unite a group of super villains to capture all of Earth’s super heroes.
That only leaves the DC Super Hero Girls to stop the infamous Legion of Doom.
The girls must cross multiple dimensions to rescue the heroes from the Phantom Zone. However, a mix-up leads them to the wrong universe, where they find allies in the Teen Titans.
The young superheroes discover that cooperation and unity give them the strength they need to complete their mission.
Along the way, a lot of wisecracks and humor are exchanged. The movie seems to be aimed for a younger audience who will enjoy the action and the hijinks.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 1.78:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles; DVD: 1.78:1 widescreen picture; English, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include two “Teen Titans Go! and one “DC Super Hero Girls” episodes.
Other titles being released on Tuesday, unless otherwise indicated:
The Burning Sea (4K UHD & Blu-ray & DVD & VOD) (Magnolia Home Entertainment)
The Eden Theory (DVD) (Indican Pictures)
Moonshot (DVD) (Warner Home Entertainment)
Presagio (DVD) (IndiePix Films)
The Rose Maker (DVD) (Music Box Films)
DIGITAL DOWNLOAD, STREAMING or VOD
Captors (Lionsgate Home Entertainment)
Human Factors (Dark Star Pictures)
Keeper of the Ashes: The Oklahoma Girl Scout Murders (Hulu)
Loot (Apple TV+)
The Quest (Gravitas Ventures)
Trip (Terror Films)
Look at Me: XXXTENTACION (Hulu)
A Taste of Whale (Amazon & Apple TV+)
Carpool Karaoke: The Series: Season 5 (Apple TV+)
Emergency (Amazon Prime)
Helpsters: Season 3 (Apple TV+)
Now & Then: Episode 4 (Apple TV+)
Stranger Things: Season 4 (www.netflix.com/StrangerThings) (Netflix)
Tehran: Season 2, Episode 5 (Apple TV+)
There Are No Saints (Saban Films)
Zero Contact (Lionsgate Home Entertainment)
Sunken Roads (First Run Features)
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 email@example.com. 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.