By Harley Lond - 07/04/17 at 01:45 AM CT
FROM THE BIG SCREEN:
"The Zookeeper’s Wife": The real-life story of one working wife and mother who became a hero to hundreds during World War II. In 1939 Poland, Antonina Zabinska (Jessica Chastain) and her husband, Dr. Jan Zabinski (Johan Heldenbergh), have the Warsaw Zoo flourishing under his stewardship and her care. When their country is invaded by the Nazis, Jan and Antonina are stunned – and forced to report to the Reich’s newly appointed chief zoologist, Lutz Heck (Daniel Brühl). To fight back on their own terms, Antonina and Jan covertly begin working with the Resistance -- and put into action plans to save lives out of what has become the Warsaw Ghetto, with Antonina putting herself and even her children at great risk. Based on The New York Times best seller by Diane Ackerman. It's a moving, true story that -- like so many recent WWII-based films (most notably "The Book Thief" and "The Monuments Men") -- unfortunately doesn't live up to the power of its internal movement: The acting and script just don't click together. Extras include deleted scenes, "The Making of The Zookeeper’s Wife" featurette, and "The Zabinski Family," a closer look at the selfless family at the center of "The Zookeeper's Wife," including interviews with Teresa Zabinska and Ryszard Zabinski, the real-life children of Antonina and Jan. From Universal.
THIS WEEK'S HIGHLIGHTS:
There's slim pickings on the home video shelves this week as the studios expect that most people will be in their backyards barbecuing hot dogs and hamburgers and setting off fireworks instead of parking in front of their DVD players. Still, there's one important release this week: "Doberman Cop" (1977 -- Japan) was released just as the popularity of yakuza movies was waning in Japan, and as the country's film industry was undergoing some fundamental shifts. The film is a unique entry in the career of director Kinji Fukasaku ("Battles Without Honor and Humanity," "Cops vs Thugs"), and reunited him with star Shinichi "Sonny" Chiba in an American-style crime movie that mixes gunplay and pulp fiction with martial arts and lowbrow comedy. Based on a popular manga by "Buronson" (creator of "Fist of the North Star"), "Doberman Cop" follows the fish-out-of-water adventures of Joji Kano (Chiba), a tough-as-nails police officer from Okinawa who arrives in Tokyo's Kabuki-cho nightlife district to investigate the savage murder and mutilation of an island girl who had been working as a prostitute. Initially dismissed as a country bumpkin (complete with straw hat and live pig in tow!), Kano soon proves himself a more savvy detective than the local cops, and a tougher customer than anyone expected. As he probes deeper into the sleazy world of flesh-peddling, talent agency corruption and mob influence, Kano uncovers the shocking truth about the girl, her connection to a yakuza-turned-music manager (Hiroki Matsukata), and a savage serial killer who is burning women alive. Made to appeal both to the youth market with its biker gangs and popular music, as well as to old-time yakuza movie fans, "Doberman Cop" is an surprising oddity in Fukasaku's career, his sole film adapted directly from a manga and never before released on video outside of Japan. Featuring Chiba at his charismatic best -- channeling a Japanese Dirty Harry while doing all his own stunts -- and Fukasaku at his most fun, deftly showcasing the combined talents of his "Piranha Army" stock company of actors and other regular players -- "Doberman Cop" is a classic action comedy and a missing link in 1970's Japanese cinema deserving of rediscovery. In a Blu-ray/DVD Combo with high definition digital transfer and original uncompressed mono audio. From Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment.
BUZZIN' THE 'B'S:
"Song to Song" (2016), directed by Terrence Malick and starring Michael Fassbender, Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara and Natalie Portman, is a modern love story set against the Austin, Texas music scene. Two entangled couples -- struggling songwriters Faye (Mara) and BV (Gosling), and music mogul Cook (Fassbender) and the waitress whom he ensnares (Portman) -- chase success through a rock ‘n’ roll landscape of seduction and betrayal. Features performances by Iggy Pop, Johnny Rotten, Patti Smith, Lykke Li, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Big Freedia, Diplo, Alan Palomo of Neon Indian, Spank Rock, Dana Falconberry, Black Joe Lewis and the Honey Bears and The Black Lips. On DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo from Broad Green Pictures ... In "Bitcoin Heist" (2016 -- Vietnam), starring Kate Nhung, Thanh Pham and Petey Majik Nguyen, hackers have become the bank robbers in the new world of crypto-currency. In order to catch the most wanted hacker, The Ghost, an Interpol special agent assembles a team of thieves to plan the ultimate heist. But as any good criminal knows, there is no honor among thieves. In a Blu-ray/DVD Combo from Well Go USA ... In "Drone" (2017), starring Sean Bean, Patrick Sabongui, Joel David Moore and Mary McCormack, drone pilot and family man Neil (Bean) has spent his career conducting deadly, covert missions overseas all from the comfort of his suburban hometown. When an enigmatic, Pakistani businessman (Sabongui) shows up at his home seeking revenge, Neil must confront the consequences of his actions.On DVD, Blu-ray from Screen Media Films.
Bob Hope, the greatest entertainer of the 20th century, spent nearly half of his 100 Christmases heading up USO shows as a globetrotting Santa Claus with a golf club, a sackful of jokes, and an airplane filled with stars. Armed with a lifelong dedication to America's troops and a star-studded crew of performers, he performed on battleships and battlefields, sometimes accompanied by the sound of fighter jets overhead. The missions were often dangerous, and their schedule brutal, yet for thousands of servicemen and women far from home there was no one like Hope for the holidays. Bob Hope's legendary NBC-TV comedy and Christmas specials -- some of the most-watched programs in television history -- spanned five decades, from President Truman to Clinton. The three-disc "Bob Hope Salutes the Troops" collects some of the legendary performer's greatest and most patriotic holiday specials, including seven classic shows from the '60s to the '90s, re-mastered from original broadcast elements for optimal viewing: Bob Hope's Christmas Cheer in Saudi Arabia (Original Airdate: 1/12/91), The Bob Hope Christmas Special: Around the World with the USO (Original Airdate: 1/16/69), Bob Hope: Memories of WWII, The Bob Hope Christmas Special (Original Airdate: 1/15/65), The Bob Hope Christmas Show (1/16/63), The Bob Hope Christmas Special: Around the Globe with the U.S.O. (Original Airdate: 1/17/72), The Bob Hope Christmas Special (Original Airdate: 1/17/73). From Time Life.
FROM TV TO DVD:
"Homicide: Life On The Street" (1993-1999) is a 35-disc box set with all 122 episodes. A critical smash and a three-time Peabody Award winner, the series presented viewers with a gritty and realistic examination of detectives working the homicide division in Baltimore and remains one of television's finest hours about one of America's toughest jobs. Based on the book "Homicide: A Year On The Killing Streets" by David Simon, the critically acclaimed series became one of the most seminal drama series of all time by virtue of its powerful writing, gritty realism, emotionally charged storylines and outstanding ensemble cast, including Richard Belzer, Andre Braugher, Yaphet Kotto, Melissa Leo and Ned Beatty. From Shout! Factory ... "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson: Johnny and Friends Featuring Steve Martin, Robin Williams & Eddie Murphy" contains nine new-to retail shows from the '70s, '80s and '90s featuring three of the most loved guests from "The Tonight Show" -- Steve Martin, Robin Williams and Eddie Murphy. Each DVD contains complete, unedited shows -- including vintage commercials -- highlighting some of the most cherished moments from 30 years of "The Tonight Show." Disc 1: Steve Martin (original air dates: July 21, 1976: Steve Martin, Jimmy Stewart, Karen Black, and more; May 21, 1982: Steve Martin, Sylvester Stallone; December 19, 1991: Steve Martin, Cathy Ladman, Leon Redbone). Disc 2: Robin Williams (original air dates: April 3, 1984: Robin Williams, Phyllis Newman; January 10, 1991: Robin Williams, Steve Lawrence; September 19, 1991: Robin Williams, Jonathan Winters, Park Overall). Disc 3: Eddie Murphy (original air dates: January 1, 1982: Eddie Murphy, McLean Stevenson; February 10, 1982: Eddie Murphy, Wayne Rogers, Albert Hague; July 30, 1982: Eddie Murphy, Randall "Tex" Cobb, Angela Bofill. From Time Life.
Check out other July 4-July 10 DVD/Blu-ray releases and reviews at OnVideo.