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New to View: June 15

by on June 11, 2021
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By Bob Bloom
The following titles are being released on Tuesday, June 15, unless otherwise noted:
Godzilla vs. Kong (Blu-ray + DVD + digital)
Details: 2021, Warner Home Entertainment
Rated: PG-13, intense sequences of creature violence & destruction, language
The lowdown: I should have enjoyed this movie, yet, at 113 minutes, I was restless — even bored — at times.
Make no mistake, the two titans are the stars of the movie. But they seem to be playing second fiddle to a group of cardboard, cliched and one-dimensional human characters who — with one major exception — do nothing but spout exclamations and expositions.
These actors are wearisome props who merely divert us from what we really want to see — Godzilla and Kong beating the crap out of each other.
Compounding that problem is a meandering storyline and formulaic plot that includes such standard bogeymen as a nefarious corporation, its megalomaniac leader, a hidden agenda, and a subplot inspired by the writings of Jules Verne and Edgar Rice Burroughs.
The main reason to watch “Godzilla vs. Kong,” of course is to view the clash of these giant creatures. The film contains two well-staged CGI battles — the first at sea, in which a fleet of ships is destroyed, and the second that nearly levels Hong Kong.
Unfortunately, “Godzilla vs. Kong” lacks charm and wonderment. It is visually exciting but emotionally barren.
Technical aspects: Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 2.39:1 widescreen picture; English Dolby Atmos TrueHD, 5.1 Dolby digital and descriptive audio and French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles; DVD: 2.39:1 widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby digital and descriptive audio and French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Bonus features include a commentary track with director Adam Wingard and 10 featurettes, including The Phenomenon of Gojira, King of the Monsters, Kong Discovers Hollow Earth, Kong Leaves Home, a look at the evolution of Kong, looks at their battles, a Titan Tag Team: The God and the King and The Rise of MechaGodzilla.

Voyagers (4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + digital)
Details: 2021, Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Rated: PG-13, bloody images, sexual assault, sexual situations, violence, language
The lowdown: A science-fiction feature that feels partly like “Lord of the Flies” in a spaceship.
A young crew of astronauts are sent on a decades-long mission to populate a new planet. These young people were bred for intelligence and obedience.
But when they discover disturbing secrets about their mission, they toss their training aside and begin to explore their darker urges.
Life on the ship turns to chaos as the young people are consumed by fear, lust and ravenous thirst for power.
The movie’s parable is rather obvious and the cast of young actors, including Tye Sheridan, Lily-Rose Depp, Fionn Whitehead, Chanté Adams and Isaac Hempstead Wright cannot reach the necessary emotional highs to carry the story.
The movie, written and directed by Neil Burger, also features Colin Farrell.
Critics were unimpressed, giving the film a 26 percent fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
Technical aspects: 4K: 2160p Ultra HD, 2.39:1 (16:9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD, English descriptive audio and Spanish 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH, English and Spanish subtitles; Blu-ray: 2.39:1 (16:9 enhanced) widescreen picture; English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD and Spanish 5.1 Dolby digital; English SDH, English and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include featurettes about the cast, the physicality of the movie, the film’s visual style, unlearning human nature and a tour of the “Humanitas.”

Resurrection (Blu-ray)
Details: 2021, Warner Home Entertainment
Rated: PG-13, violent content, bloody images
The lowdown: A faith-based drama that centers on the doubts and fears of Jesus’ followers after he is crucified and before his resurrection.
The film, produced by Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, was adapted from the television miniseries “A.D.: The Bible Continues.”
Jesus’ disciples are afraid and hunted, but when he rises, their doubts vanish triggering a new era of hope and faith.
The movie doesn’t add anything we don’t already know from reading the New Testament. It’s a movie aimed squarely at the devout.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, widescreen picture; English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH subtitles.

One Potato, Two Potato (Blu-ray)
Details: 1964, Scorpion Releasing-Kino Lorber
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A movie that covered a topic that, at the time, was considered controversial — interracial marriage.
Four years before Stanley Kramer’s star-studded “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” Barbara Barrie, in her second feature film after years of work in television dramas, and Bernie Hamilton, who had worked in film and on television for more than a decade, starred in this small, black-and-white feature about Julie, a newly divorced young Midwestern mother, who falls in Frank, who works at the same factory as her former husband, Joe (Richard Mulligan).
Joe takes Julie to court in hopes of gaining custody of their daughter. Frank, advised to flee the state to keep his new family together, refuses. Instead, he confronts a biased legal system.
The movie, which marked the feature film debut of Larry Peerce, received an Academy Award nomination for best original screenplay.
The film’s finale is very sad, but considering the era in which it was set, not totally unexpected. Even today, the ending can bring you to tears.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.66:1 picture; English 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio.
Don’t miss: An interview with Peerce and a commentary track comprise the extras.

Ziegfeld Follies (Blu-ray)
Details: 1946, Warner Archive Collection
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A bevy of MGM stars appear in this musical revue that features, among others, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Judy Garland, Esther Williams, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Fanny Brice, Lucille Bremer, Lena Horne, Kathryn Grayson and William Powell reprising his role as Florenz Ziegfeld from “The Great Ziegfeld.”
The film features Powell’s Ziegfeld musing what it would be like to produce another of his noted extravaganza’s using MGM’s stable of stars.
Thus, we get Astaire and Kelly dancing together for the first time as “The Babbitt and the Bromide,” Skelton performing his “Guzzler’s Gin” skit and Williams swimming.
The movie, directed by Vincente Minnelli and produced by Arthur Freed, is hit and miss, but it does offer an impressive array of MGM talent.
The release is a made-on-demand Blu-ray from the Warner Archive Collection and can be found at www.warnerarchive.com or other online retailers.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.37:1 (16×9 enhanced) full-screen picture; English 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio monaural; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: Extras include a featurette about the movie, a vintage “Crime Does Not Pay” short, a pair of cartoons and audio-only outtakes and rarities.

The Railway Children (Blu-ray)
Details: 1970, Kino Lorber Studio Classics
Rated: G
The lowdown: A British feature based on a beloved English novel set at the turn-of-the-20th century.
Jenny Agutter stars as Roberta “Bobbie” Waterbury who, with her parents, sister and brother, live a perfect upper-class life.
When her father is arrested, Bobbie, her mother and siblings are forced to move to a dusty cottage in the country near a train station and some magical tracks.
Bobbie and her siblings experience adventure, danger and forge new friendships.
The film, nominated for three British Academy Awards, was shot in the Yorkshire countryside. The movie costars Dinah Sheridan, Bernard Cribbins and William Mervyn.
Actor Lionel Jeffries wrote the screenplay, based on the classic by E. Nesbit, and directed>
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 1.66:1 picture; English DTS-HD Master Audio; English subtitles.
Don’t miss: A commentary track is the major extra.

The Great War of Archimedes (Blu-ray)
Details: 2019, Well Go USA Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: Most of this Japanese feature takes place in the offices of high-ranking military officials rather than the battlefield.
The film concerns the debate about Japan’s military future and whether the nation’s war machine should rely on behemoth battleships or aircraft carriers.
While it may sound dull, the movie is rather intriguing as the decision to build the “supership” Yamato comes to fruition.
Budgets and math are emphasized as two schools of military thought compete to create Japan’s seafaring might.
The film definitely is different from your typical military feature.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.39:1 widescreen picture; Japanese and English (dubbed) 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and 2.0 Dolby digital; English subtitles.
Don’t miss: Trailers from other Well Go USA releases comprise the extras.

Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete (4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + digital)
Release date: June 8
Details: 2005, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: After two years of peace, the ruins of Midgar are the monuments for the sacrifices made to achieve victory.
Now, a mysterious illness in linked to an evil plot to resurrect an old enemy. This threat forces Cloud to choose between the life of solitude he desires and to again take up the sword to save his planet.
The movie features an extended director’s cut with 26 minutes of explosive footage as well as more than 1,000 revised scenes.
This CGI science-fiction adventure will please fans of the series.
Technical aspects: 4K Ultra HD: 2160p, 1.78:1 widescreen picture; Japanese and English Dolby Atmos (Dolby 7.1 TrueHD compatible); English SDH, English, French and Spanish subtitles; Blu-ray: 1080p high definition, 1.78:1 widescreen picture; Japanese, English and French 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; English SDH, English, French and Spanish subtitles.
Don’t miss: Supplemental materials include featurettes on the legacy of “Final Fantasy VII,” two reminiscences about “Final Fantasy VII” and an Denzel animated film episode, “On the Way to a Smile.”

There Was a Crooked Man (Blu-ray)
Details: 1970, Warner Archive Collection
Rated: R, violence, language
The lowdown: Kirk Douglas and Henry Fonda head the cast of this cynical Western about an inmate at the Arizona Territorial Prison who is a schemer and a charmer.
He also has $500,000 in stolen money hidden away and uses the greed of his fellow inmates and guards alike to try buying his way out of prison.
But the new warden has other ideas by making sure his guards remain honest.
With no other recourse the prisoner, Paris Pitman Jr. (Douglas) plans an escape. A game of cat-and-mouse between Pitman and warden Woodward Lopeman (Fonda) ensues, with each man continually turning the tables on the other.
The strong supporting cast includes Hume Cronyn, Warren Oates, Burgess Meredith and John Randolph. The script was by David Newman and Robert Benton (“Bonnie and Clyde”) with Joseph L. Mankiewicz (“All About Eve”) directing.
The release is a made-on-demand Blu-ray from the Warner Archive Collection and can be found at www.warnerarchive.com or at other online dealers.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.35:1 widescreen picture; English 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio monaural; English SDH subtitles.
Don’t miss: The main extra is a vintage on-location featurette.

Undercover Punch & Gun (Blu-ray)
Release date: June 8
Details: 2019, Well Go USA Entertainment
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A thriller about an undercover cop who is so deep into his assignment that he is considered like family by the boss of the drug-running ring he was assigned to infiltrate.
On top of that, he is dating the boss’ daughter.
The feature deals with, of course, drug dealing, new and stronger variants of product and, for good measure, a bit of human trafficking.
The fight choreography is well done and will satisfy fans of the genre.
Technical aspects: 1080p high definition, 2.31:1 widescreen picture; Mandarin and English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and 2.0 Dolby digital; English subtitles.

Salvador Dali: In Search of Immortality (DVD)
Details: 2018, Film Movement
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A three-part documentary that examines the life and art of Salvador Dali, including his relationship with his wife, Gala and his surrealist life philosophies.
Part one: “The Youth Diaries” covers 1904 to 1929, from his birth to his joining the surrealist movement; part two, “The Secret Life of Portlligat,” covers 1929 to 1982 looks at his work in relation to his longtime and only stable residence and workshop; and part three, “The Refuge of the Visible Woman,” covers 1982 until his death in 1989, revealing the unknown facts about his final years.
For people interested in Dali and his work, this movie may suffice, but even at 174 minutes, it seems it could have told us so much more about the man.
Technical aspects: 1.78:1 widescreen picture; English 2.0 Dolby digital; English closed-captioned subtitles.

Beate (DVD)
Details: 2018, Corinth Films
Rated: Not rated
The lowdown: A working-class comedy about the inequities faced by women in the workplace and how they retaliate.
The female employees at the Veronica garment factory receive word — via text — that they are being laid off.
The women “borrow” some of the factory’s equipment to begin producing their own line of lingerie, led by the factory forewoman, Armida.
The women are determined to succeed despite a lack of resources, and no matter what the odds. Armida enlists help from the nuns at a nearby convent, which is sought by a greedy developer — male, of course — who wants to turn the convent into a resort.
When word of their operation leaks out, the workers and the nuns come under attack by Veronica’s owner, the developer and the nuns’ Mother Superior.
At times, the comedy is rather broad, but “Beate” remains a feel-good experience.
Technical aspects: 1.85:1 widescreen picture; Italian 5.1 Dolby digital; English subtitles.

Other titles being released on Tuesday, unless otherwise indicated:
Anything for Jackson (Blu-ray & DVD & digital & VOD) (RLJE Films-Shudder)
Enforcement (DV & VOD) (Magnet Releasing-Magnolia Home Entertainment)
Fear (DVD & digital) (New Era Entertainment)
H.P. Lovecraft’s The Deep Ones (DVD & digital & VOD) (Lionsgate Home Entertainment)
Half Brother (DVD & digital) (Breaking Glass Pictures)
Night Walk (DVD) (Lionsgate Home Entertainment)
Tina Barney: Social Studies (DVD) (IndiePix Films)
The Walking Dead: World Beyond: Season 1 (DVD) (RLJE Films)
Woe (DVD & VOD) (Gravitas Ventures)

DIGITAL DOWNLOAD, STREAMING or VOD
Enfant Terrible
(Dark Star Pictures)
Les Notres (Oscilloscope Laboratories, June 18)
Physical (Apple TV+, June 18)
Take Back (Shout! Studios, April 18)
Under the Grapefruit Tree: The CC Sabathia Story (HBO Home Entertainment, June 20)

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 bobbloomjc@gmail.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.

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