New to View: Feb. 27
By Bob Bloom
The following titles are being released on Tuesday, Feb. 27, unless otherwise noted:
Coco (Blu-ray + DVD + digital)
Details: 2017, Pixar-Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Rated: PG, thematic elements
The lowdown: Pixar’s latest feature, is a lively concoction of music, mirth and mariachi, told against the colorful backdrop of Mexican family traditions.
Like most of Pixar’s output, the movie is up for a best animated feature Academy Award
Young Miguel loves music; it’s in his genes. But for a reason unknown to the boy, his family has banned music for generations — instead, concentrating on their profession as shoemakers.
But Miguel would rather cobble out songs than shoes. He dreams of becoming a great performer like his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz.
A family curse lands Miguel in the Land of the Dead, where his deceased ancestors work to get him back to the land of the living, as well as unlock the truth behind the boy’s family history.
Along the way, Miguel is helped by Hector, who also has a personal reason for seeing that Miguel succeeds in his journey.
Because the film is centered on Miguel, you may ask why it is titled “Coco.” You’ll have to see it, to understand the significance of that decision.
As with the majority of Pixar movies, “Coco” centers on an individual who must overcome many obstacles to fulfill his quest and heal his family’s wounds
“Coco,” which earned an impressive 97 percent positive rating at Rottentomatoes.com, is made for home entertainment. The transfer to the home screen captures the vibrant colors and great sound that helped make the film such a delight.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 2.39:1 widescreen picture; English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and 2.0 descriptive audio track and Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles; DVD: 2.39:1 widescreen picture; English and Spanish 5.1 Dolby digital and English 2.0 descriptive audio track; English SDH and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: More than two hours of bonus materials including deleted scenes, a commentary track, a featurette on the crews’ personal stories and how they resonated in the movie, a featurette on the movie’s music, a musical exploration of the skeletons who inhabit the Land of the Dead, a look at how to draw a skeleton, a behind-the-scenes journey to Mexico with the film crew, a featurette on developing the Rivera family, a behind-the-scenes of the artists bringing the Land of the Dead to life, a look at the movie’s costumes and their places in Mexican history, a look at the movie’s famed guitar, a featurette on the dog that inspired the film’s Dante, a montage used to promote “Coco” and a featurette on how papel picado is traditionally made.
Darkest Hour (Blu-ray + DVD + digital)
Details: 2017, Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Rated: PG-13, mature themes
The lowdown: This David-and-Goliath historical drama finds the British government as Goliath and a force-of-nature Winston Churchill as a take-no-prisoners David.
Academy Award best actor-nominee Gary Oldman gives one of the finest performances of his long and colorful career as the blood-and-thunder master politician, reluctantly appointed Great Britain’s prime minister in the early days of World War II, when the island nation virtually stood alone against the onslaught of a massive German army that was easily crushing the European mainland.
The movie, directed by Joe Wright from a screenplay by Anthony McCarten, covers the early days of Churchill’s time in office, from his appointment in early May 1940 to the “miracle of Dunkirk” in early June.
The movie’s major premise is Churchill’s adamant refusal of any peace negotiations with Hitler’s Nazi Germany, despite pressure from his own party to do so, and the threat of an imminent invasion by the armies of the Third Reich.
Churchill was one of the few who saw Hitler for what he was: a madman who could not be trusted to honor any treaty and who was a threat to all of mankind.
The strength of Oldman’s performance is in his displaying the doubts and vulnerability of Churchill, who knew from the outset that the leaders of his own party and even his king, George VI, did not want him in office.
By showing Churchill’s fears and anxieties, Oldman elevates the man from a two-dimensional historical figure to a flawed human being, who mustered the courage to meet a great and grave challenge that could alter the course of history.
The film garnered an 86 percent fresh rating at Rottentomatoes.com.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English Dolby Atmos, French 5.1 Dolby digital and Spanish 7.1 Dolby digital plus; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles; DVD: 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen picture; English, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include a look into the making of the movie, a behind-the-scenes featurette on Oldman’s transformation into Churchill and a commentary track with Wright.
Lady and the Tramp: The Signature Collection (Blu-ray + DVD + digital)
Details: 1955, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
The lowdown: This beloved animated Disney classic gets a new release as part of the studio’s “Signature Collection.”
The story of the pampered pet, Lady, and the free-running Tramp has entertained audiences for generations.
The movie features some colorful characters, memorable moments and music memories that has captured hearts and elicited tears.
This newest release offers three ways to enjoy the film including the original theatrical version and a sing-along version.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 2.55:1 widescreen picture; English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles; DVD: 2.55:1 widescreen picture; English, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Supplemental materials include featurettes about Walt Disney through his trinkets and treasures, a featurette on Disney and his dogs, a featurette on how to make a meatball, classic bonus features, deleted scenes and songs from the movies.
Jean-Luc Godard + Jean-Pierre Gorin: Five Films, 1968-71 (Blu-ray + DVD)
Details: 1968-71, Arrow Academy
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A six-disc set featuring five movies, originally shot in 16mm, by filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard and critic and journalist Jean-Pierre Gorin.
Their relationship created a new framework for cinema and the use of image and sound.
The movies in the set are “British Sounds” (aka “See You at Mao”), “Un Film Comme les Autres” (“A Film Like Any Other”), “Vent d’est” (“Wind from the East”), “Lotte in Italia” (“Struggles in Italy”) and “Vladimir et Rosa” (“Vladimir and Rosa”).
Film buffs will find these movies an interesting experience.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 1.37:1 full-screen picture; French LPCM monaural; English subtitles; DVD: 1.37:1 full-screen picture; French LPCM monaural; English subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include a 2010 interview with Godard and a 100-page book with writings by and interviews with Godard and Gorin.
The Sect (Blu-ray)
Details: 1991, Scorpion Releasing
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Kelly Curtis (sister of scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis) stars in this horror thriller as an American teacher who relocates to a town in Germany that has been plagued by a satanic cult.
Curtis’ Miriam accidentally hits an elderly pedestrian, Moebius (Herbert Lom) standing in the middle of the road, and brings him to her home to recuperate.
The devilish Moebius secretly drugs Miriam, which begins a series of dark and sinister events that involves nightmare, a dark well filled with mystical water and a diabolical cult leader named Damon (Tomas Arana).
This is a spooky ride, filled with scares and goose bumps.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.78:1 widescreen picture; English stereo; English subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include interviews with Arana and director Michele Soavi.
Gate II (Blu-ray)
Details: 1990, Scream Factory
Rated: R, violence, drug use
The lowdown: This sequel picks up with teen sorcerer Terry, who summons beings from the other side who have powers that grant wishes.
Trouble brews when a minion — a tiny disciple of Satan — comes through the Gate before it closes.
When the critter is kidnapped, all hell breaks loose and Terry and his pals must rectify the situation.
The movie is about on par with the original, as more most sequels in this genre.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.85:1 widescreen picture; English DTS-HD Master Audio stereo.
Don’t miss: Crew interviews and a video promo are the major bonus offerings.
Black Eagle: 2-Disc Special Collector’s Edition (Blu-ray + DVD)
Details: 1998, MVD Rewind
Rated: R, violence, language
The lowdown: An action-thriller that begins after an F-11 fighter jet is shot down over the Mediterranean Sea.
The jet was carrying a top-secret laser tracking device that the U.S. government badly wants to recover.
However, a KGB team headed by the infamous Andrei (Jean-Claude Van Damme) also is racing to get the device.
To beat Andrei and his team, the CIA send in their best man, martial arts master Ken Tani (Sho Kosugi), whose code name is Black Eagle.
Fists and feet fly as Andrei and Ken match blow for blow.
Martial arts fans will enjoy all the fights in this set that includes the 93-minute theatrical and 104-minute uncut extended versions of the movie.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 1.78:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH subtitles; DVD: 1.78:1 widescreen picture; English LPCM; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Among the supplemental materials are interviews with Sho and Shane Kosugi, a making of featurette that includes cast and filmmaker interviews, cast and filmmakers discussing working with Van Damme, deleted scenes and a featurette on the script. A collectible poster also is included.
Copyright Criminals: The Funky Drummer Edition
Details: 2009, IndiePix Films
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: This documentary, which originally aired on PBS’ “Independent Lens,” focuses on the creative and commercial value of musical sampling.
The feature traces the rise of hip-hop from the streets of New York to its explosion as a multibillion-dollar industry.
Innovative hip-hop performers and producers have been reusing portions of previously recorded music in new and original compositions for more than 30 years.
But as the industry grew — and lawyers and record companies became involved — what was originally referred to as “borrowed melody” morphed into “copyright infringement.”
Basically, what this documentary asks is, can you own a sound?
That is the crux and fascinating aspect of this film.
Technical aspects: 1.78:1 widescreen picture; English 2.0 Dolby digital stereo.
Don’t miss: Bonus offerings include “The Art of Sampling with Cee-Lo Green,” “The Funky Drummer in the Studio with Chuck D,” extended interviews, 15-plus song, an explanation of fair use, four short films by the Center for Social Media, 15 video remixes, 24 downloadable tracks and two remix videos.
Other titles being released on Tuesday, unless otherwise indicated:
DIGITAL DOWNLOAD, STREAMING and VOD
Call Me by Your Name (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
Cruel Summer (Wild Eye Releasing)
Ferdinand (Fox Home Entertainment)
The Shape of Water (Fox Home Entertainment)
Pitch Perfect 3 (Universal Studios Home Entertainment, March 1)
Dance Academy: The Comeback (Cinedigm, March 2)
DreamWorks Voltron Legendary Defender: Season 5 (Netflix, March 2)
I, Tonya (Universal Studios Home Entertainment, March 2)
The Lullaby (Uncorkd’ Entertainment, March 2)
Midnighters (IFC Midnight, March 2)
Delicious, Series 2 (Acorn TV, March 5)
Girlfriends: Episode 6 (Acorn TV, March 5)
The Heart Guy: Series 2, Episodes 8 & 9 (Acorn TV, March 5)
Mosaic (Home Box Office Entertainment, March 5)
Murdoch Mysteries: Season 11, Episode 11 (March 5)
Coming next week: Thor: Ragnarok
I am a member of the Indiana Film Journalists Association. I review movies, 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. My movie reviews also can be found at Rottentomatoes: www.rottentomatoes.com.