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New to View: Dec. 15

by on December 13, 2015
 

By Bob Bloom

The following Blu-rays and DVDs are being released on Tuesday, Dec. 15:
Extant: The Second Season (Blu-ray)
Details: 2015, CBS DVD-Paramount Home Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: This four-disc set features the second season of this CBS science fiction limited series starring Oscar-winner Halle Berry.
During these episodes, Berry’s Molly Woods, a former astronaut, is traumatized by the loss of her husband and humanich godson, Ethan.
Molly is committed to a “rest facility,” which she believes is part of a great conspiracy to keep her silent about the presence of aliens.
She eventually escapes, but is stricken with a mysterious illness that she thinks is related to the space encounter that left her pregnant.
She eventually tracks down Ethan and her hybrid alien son, Adhu, who has produced more of his own kind.
Meanwhile, the government has created humanich robots to combat the aliens, but it turns out the robots have their own agenda.
See how all this coalesces as the episodes advance.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 16×9 full-screen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby Digital 6.1 stereo; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include an overview of the second season, a tour of the sets, a dream sequence with Molly meeting people from her past and present, a look at the relationship between Berry and costar Jeffrey Dean Morgan, a behind-the-scenes look at two different robots, deleted scenes, a gag reel and an on-the-set look at the season finale.

Burroughs: The Movie: Special Edition (Blu-ray)
Details: 1983, The Criterion Collection
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: This documentary, filmed over a five-year period, offers an intimate look at the noted author and poet.
The film by Howard Brookner was rarely seen, and its existence became something of a legend.
But in 2011, Brookner’s nephew, Aaron, discovered a print and led a campaign to have it restored.
The now-restored release is a candid, no-holds-barred look at this singular artist. The movie includes appearances by such fellow artists as Allen Ginsberg and Terry Southern.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.33:1 full-screen picture; English LPCM monaural; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus materials include a commentary track with director Jim Jarmusch, a 1985 interview with Howard Brookner, a new interview with Aaron Brookner, outtakes, footage from the 2014 New York Film Festival premiere of the restoration, a 23-minute experimental edit of the movie from 1981 by inventor and photographer Robert E. Fulton III and an essay with artwork about the movie.

CSI: The Finale
Details: 2015, CBS DVD-Paramount Home Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: The last episode of this long-running procedural crime drama finds a series of bombings creating terror throughout Las Vegas.
Returning to the city to help solve the case is former CSI head Gil Grissom (William Petersen), as well as FBI agent Catherine Willows (Marg Helgenberger) and former LVPD Capt. Jim Ross (Paul Guilfoyle).
They help Ted Danson’s D.B. Russell and his team unravel the evidence and seek clues to the perpetrator.
Also making a return — and final — visit is femme fatale Lady Heather (Melinda Clarke), who holds the key to the deadly outbreaks.
Technical aspects: 16×9 full-screen picture; English and Spanish 5.1 Dolby digital stereo. English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus offerings include a look at the making of the episode, a final farewell from cast members, deleted and extended scenes and a commentary track.

Speedy: Special Edition (Blu-ray)
Release date: Dec. 8
Details: 1928, The Criterion Collection
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Silent clown Harold Lloyd reprises his mild-mannered “Glasses Character” in his last silent film.
In “Speedy,” Lloyd plays a scatter-brained New Yorker who has difficulty keeping a job.
He finally finds his calling when he decides to help save the city’s last horse-drawn streetcar, which is operated by his girlfriend’s grandfather.
Among the movie’s highlights are a trip to Coney Island and a cameo by the immortal Babe Ruth.
Like all Lloyd works, the movie contains some hair-raising stunts that will keep you on the edge of your seats.
The movie contains a score by composer Carl Davis from 1992.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.33:1 full-screen picture; LPCM audio.
Don’t miss: Among the bonus offerings are a commentary track featuring Bruce Goldstein, director of repertory programming at New York’s Film Forum and Scott McGee, director of programming production at Turner Classic Movies; a new documentary about the film’s New York shoot; archival footage of Babe Ruth; a video essay with stills of deleted scenes; a selection of Lloyd’s home movies narrated by his granddaughter, Suzanne Lloyd; a 1919 Lloyd two-reeler; and an essay about Lloyd and the movie.

You Can’t Take It With You (Blu-ray + Ultraviolet)
Release date: Dec. 8
Details: 1938, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Frank Capra’s screwball comedy, based on the hit play by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, won Academy Awards for best picture and best director.
The story centers on the eccentric family of free spirits. Jean Arthur plays the one stable family member. She falls in love with James Stewart, the down-to-earth son of a snobbish and wealthy family.
The film looks at the two different families and how they discover the simple joys of life.
The all-star cast also includes Lionel Barrymore, Edward Arnold, Mischa Auer and Ann Miller.
This new release features Digibook packaging and a restored and remastered 4K version of the film.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.37:1 full-screen picture; English DTS-HD monaural and French, German, Italian and Castilian Spanish monaural; English, Arabic, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Italian, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (Brazilian and Portugal), Spanish (Castilian and Latin American), Swedish and Turkish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus materials include a featurette, “Frank Capra Jr. Remembers … ‘You Can’t Take It With You’,” a commentary track with Capra Jr. and a 24-page booklet about the film.

Jellyfish Eyes: Special Edition (Blu-ray)
Release date: Dec. 8
Details: 2013, The Criterion Collection
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Japanese artist Takashi Murakami’s directorial debut is this animated feature about friendship, loyalty and humanity’s quaint knack for destruction.
This imaginative movie follows a young boy who befriends a flying jellyfish-like sprite. He finds that his schoolmates have similar friends, and that the people and the town in which he lives are not really what they seem to be.
The movie is set in a post-Fukushima world and features captivating and unforgettable creature designs. The film’s message of cooperation will resonate with viewers.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.78:1 widescreen picture; Japanese 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include an interview with Murakami, a featurette on the creation of the film’s creatures, a behind-the-scenes documentary on the making of the movie, a trailer for “Jellyfish Eyes 2” and an essay about the film.

The Car (Blu-ray)
Details: 1977, Scream Factory
Rated: PG
The lowdown: James Brolin stars in this guilty-pleasure horror excursion about a car from hell with a mind of its own.
The car visciously mows down innocent people, creating havoc in a small Western town. The town’s new sheriff, played by Brolin, is the only one who can stop the vehicular murder spree.
The car, of course is no ordinary vehicle. It is powered by pure evil.
The cast also includes John Marley, Ronny Cox, Kathleen Lloyd, R.G. Armstrong, Melody Thomas Scott, Kim Richards and Kyle Richards.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.35:1 widescreen picture; English DTS-HD Master Audio stereo.
Don’t miss: The major bonus features include interviews with director Elliot Silverstein, Scott and actor Geraldine Keams.

Hitler’s Children
Release date: Dec. 1
Details: 1943, Warner Home Video
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Another World War II propaganda piece from a major American studio produced to stoke the home fires and bolster the war effort.
The feature deals with the insidious indoctrination of German children, who are taught that the state comes first and that they must eradicate or inform on all enemies of the Reich, including their parents.
Tim Holt and Bonita Granville play a young couple caught up in the maelstrom. Granville is a German-American arrested by the Nazis and thrown into a labor camp for refusing to bear babies for the state.
Holt rises to become a lieutenant in the SS and when his childhood friend escapes, he must decide whether to help his longtime friend or follow the dictates of the Fuhrer.
You can guess which side he chooses in this video-on-demand DVD-R release from the Warner Archive Collection. “Hilter’s Children” can be found at www.warnerarchive.com or other online dealers.
Technical aspects: 1.37:1 (4×3 full-screen picture): English Dolby Digital monaural.

Hitler’s Madman
Release date: Dec. 1
Details: 1943, Warner Home Video
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Like Fritz Lang’s “Hangmen Also Die,” also made in 1943, this movie deals with the Czech resistance and the assassination of Reich Protector Reinhard Heydrich, here played by John Carradine.
German expatriates, including director Douglas Sirk making his American debut, originally produced the film. The feature was one of the rare outside projects acquired by MGM, quite a feat for what was considered a B-movie.
This propaganda piece includes all sorts of Nazi atrocities and cruelties, including the murder of priests, the closing of schools and forcing female students to “entertain” German soldiers.
The movie also looks at the events in the town of Lidice, which was leveled by the Nazis in retaliation for Heydrich’s murder, and in which all the men were executed.
The movie is a video-on-demand DVD-R from the Warner Archive Collection and can be found at www.warnerarchive.com or other online retailers.
Technical aspects: 1.37:1 (4×3) full-screen picture; English Dolby Digital monaural.

Best of HISTORY Gift Set
Details: 2009-14, Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A 17-disc collection featuring such programs as “The Men Who Built America,” “America: The Story of Us,” “WWII in HD,” “Mankind: The Story of All of Us,” “Vietnam in HD” and “The World Wars.”
History buffs will enjoy this wonderful set that explores significant events that shaped the world and mankind as well as some of the people who made it possible.
The DVDs look at history’s heroes as well as its most infamous villains.
Technical aspects: Widescreen and full-screen pictures; English Dolby Digital.

War Collection
Details: 2009-14, Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Military buffs will enjoy this 17-disc collection that features HISTORY episodes about the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, the Civil War, Vietnam, World Wars I and II and the Korean War.
The disc looks at famous and decisive battles, the generals and soldiers, fights on land, sea and in the air and the various weapons of war.
Technical aspects: Widescreen and full-screen pictures; English Dolby Digital.

Bible Collection
Details: 1994-2013, Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A 16-disc collection that features the HISTORY series that looks at the texts that serve as the foundations for Judaism and Christianity.
The set also looks at chapters and verses that were omitted from the Old and New Testaments as well as comments from various biblical scholars.
The set features episodes on the Bible’s greatest heroes, its mysteries and secrets.
This is an interesting set for lay people as well as those who have a deeper interest in the Scriptures.
Technical aspects: Widescreen and full-screen formats; English Dolby Digital.

Duck Dynasty: Seasons 1-8
Details: 2012-15, Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: An 18-disc set featuring all 89 episodes from the first eight season of this popular TV show about the bayou-dwelling Robertsons and their extended families.
The family has built a multi-million dollar business making duck calls. The series showcases all the fun and turmoil in the business and personal lives of the family and their friends and neighbors.
Technical aspects: 1.78:1 (16×9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 2.0 Dolby Digital; English SDH and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: More than 150 minutes of bonus materials gathered from all eight seasons, including deleted scenes and behind-the-scenes featurettes.

Other Blu-rays and DVDs being released on Tuesday, unless otherwise indicated:
The Surface (Aimes Media-Ariztical Entertainment)
Zombie High (Blu-ray + DVD) (Scream Factory)
Hawaiian Rainbow & Kumu Hula: Keepers of a Culture (MVD Visual, Dec. 11)
Jaco (Blu-ray) (MVD Visual, Nov. 27)

Coming next week: Pan

Bob Bloom is a member of the Indiana Film Journalists Association. He reviews movies, Blu-rays and DVDs for ReelBob (ReelBob.com), The Film Yap and other print and online publications. He can be reached by email at bobbloomjc@gmail.com. You also can follow Bloom on Twitter @ReelBobBloom and on Facebook. Movie reviews by Bloom also can be found at Rottentomatoes: www.rottentomatoes.com.

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