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New on DVD and Blu-ray Week of September 19 - September 25

View Harley Lond's Profile

By Harley Lond - 09/20/17 at 12:59 PM CT

"Wonder Woman": I'm in love with Gal Gadot. From the moment she first appeared in the "Fast and the Furious" films, my heart skipped a beat. Warm, loving, strong and gorgeous to boot. Now that she's Wonder Woman, there's even more to love. And while I don't have a hot spot for comic book hero movies, I must admit that I now have a soft spot for the standalone "Wonder Woman." Though she's been in previous DC comics movies, this one centers on Wonder Woman and her "origin" story. Before she was Wonder Woman, she was Gal Gadot brings a breath of fresh air to the superhero genre in the top action film of 2017, Wonder Woman. Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained to be an unconquerable warrior and raised on a sheltered island paradise. When an American pilot crashes on their shores and Diana rescues him, she learns that World War I is engulfing the planet, and vows to use her superpowers to restore peace. And so it begins. ("Wonder Woman 2" has been announced for 2019). Directed by Patty Jenkins and co-starring Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Connie Nielsen, Elena Anaya, Ewen Bremner, Lucy Davis, Lisa Loven Kongsli, Eugene Brave Rock and Saïd Taghmaoui. The impressive extras include "Crafting the Wonder" behind-the-scenes production featurette; "A Director’s Vision: Themyscira: The Hidden Island"; "A Director’s Vision: Beach Battle"; "A Director’s Vision: A Photograph Through Time"; "A Director’s Vision: Diana in the Modern World"; "A Director’s Vision: Wonder Woman at War"; "Warriors of Wonder Woman" featurette on the creation of the Amazon army as the women of “Wonder Woman” transform emotionally and physically into the world’s most powerful and heroic warriors; "The Trinity" in which filmmakers and comic book creators explore the legend of Wonder Woman and how she stands shoulder to shoulder with Superman and Batman to create the pillars of the DC Universe; "The Wonder Behind the Camera": the women behind the wonder; "Finding the Wonder Woman Within": award-winning poets and inspiring public figures reveal the impact and importance of DC’s heroine; extended scenes; blooper reel. From Warner.

"The Big Sick" is an unconventional rom-com, not in it's traditional filmic subject matter storyline -- boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy wins girl back -- but in the way this romance is handled, with most romantic expectations subverted, comic punchlines delayed, and unexpected results going against predictability. Based on the real-life courtship between Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, "The Big Sick" tells the story of Pakistan-born aspiring comedian Kumail (Kumail Nanjiani), who connects with grad student Emily (Zoe Kazan) after one of his stand-up sets. However, what they thought would be just a one-night stand blossoms into the real thing, which complicates the life that is expected of Kumail by his traditional Muslim parents. When Emily is beset with a mystery illness, it forces Kumail to navigate the medical crisis with her parents, Beth and Terry (Holly Hunter and Ray Romano) who he's never met, while dealing with the emotional tug-of-war between his family and his heart. It's a very funny, solid, well-directed and well-acted outing. Highly recommended. Extras include “A Personal Journey: The Making of The Big Sick” featurette; “The Real Story” featurette; cast and filmmaker commentary with actor-writer Kumail Nanjiani, writer Emily V. Gordon, producer Barry Mendel and director Michael Showalter; "The Big Sick: The Other Stuff," deleted scenes, "The Bigger Sick: Stick Around for More Laughs." From Lionsgate.

"Certain Women" is a knock-out of a film. Bleak, unyielding in its exploration of the darker side of life, depressing at times in its look at blue-collar life, it nevertheless is a revelation that, despite its painfulness, ends up as an uplifting slice of Americana. One of America’s foremost filmmakers, Kelly Reichardt ("Wendy and Lucy," "Meek’s Cutoff") directs a remarkable ensemble cast led by Michelle Williams, Kristen Stewart, and Laura Dern in a stirring look at three women striving to forge their own paths amidst the wide-open plains of the American Northwest: a lawyer (Dern) who finds herself contending with both office sexism and a hostage situation; a wife and mother (Williams) whose determination to build her dream home puts her at odds with the men in her life; and a young law student (Stewart) who forms an ambiguous bond with a lonely ranch hand (radiant newcomer Lily Gladstone). As their stories intersect in subtle but powerful ways, a portrait emerges of flawed, but strong-willed individuals in the process of defining themselves. Highly recommended. From The Criterion Collection.

Also due this week: "The Hero", starring Sam Elliott, Laura Prepon, Krysten Ritter, Katharine Ross, Nick Offerman and Katharine Ross, about a former Western icon who re-evaluates his life, his image and more importantly his heart after a surprise cancer diagnosis. From Lionsgate.


Our top pick for the week is a foreign gem -- Bulgaria's submission for Best Foreign Language Film at the 90th Academy Awards -- and a "social-realist parable exploring the themes of corruption, class differences, and the rural-urban divide, in contemporary Bulgarian society." Frank Capra by way of Bulgaria, "Glory" (2016 -- Bulgaria), the third collaboration between directors Kristina Grozeva and Petar Valchanov ("Jump," "The Lesson"), starts with a simple premise, but deepens into a portrait of a photo for Glory bureaucracy riven with cynicism, and a government happy to swallow its most idealistic citizens whole. When Tsanko Petrov (Stefan Denolyubov), a stuttering, scraggle-bearded railroad linesman discovers millions of dollars on some rural train tracks, he decides to turn the entire amount over to the police. The authorities, ever grateful, reward him with a televised ceremony and a new wristwatch. But when the glitzy new watch stops working, Julia Staikova (Margita Gosheva), the workaholic PR head of the corrupt Ministry of Transport, can't seem to find Petrov's old watch, a family heirloom. And, as Tsanko's humble reality collides with a bureaucracy determined to use his "heroism" to distract the public from an emerging scandal, he desperately struggles to recover both his old watch and his dignity. Funny and sad at the same time, bursting with life, with superb direction and acting. A must see. From Film Movement ... next up photo for Hana-Bi is "Hana-Bi (Fireworks)" (1997 -- Japan), considered writer-director-actor and cult hero Takeshi Kitano's first true cinematic masterpiece. Former police officer Nishi feels responsible for the shattered lives of his loved ones. His partner Horibe has been crippled in a disastrous stakeout, a colleague is shot dead by the same villain, and his own wife has a terminal illness. In debt to a yakuza loanshark, Nishi conceives a bank robbery to provide for his partner, help the dead cop's widow, and take one last holiday throughout Japan with his wife and share a final taste of happiness. The yakuza, however, are not so easily bought off, sending Nishi down a road paved with nihilism and violence. Restored in HD. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Film Movement Classics.

Next up is "Close Encounters of the Third Kind 40th Anniversary Edition" (1977) New 4K restoration available on three-disc 4K Ultra HD, a Limited Edition three-disc 4K Ultra HD "Light and Sound" Gift Set, and in high-def on two-disc remastered Blu-ray. The highly collectible Limited Edition Gift Set features illuminated packaging that plays the iconic 5-tone motif. Also included is an expanded booklet with rare archival photos. Both Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD releases include all three restored versions of the film, including the 1977 theatrical version, the 1980 Special Edition and the 1997 Director's Cut. In addition to the legacy bonus materials, the "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" Blu-ray comes with new bonus content, including rare, never-before-seen home movies and gags from the set, and the all-new featurette "Three Kinds of Close Encounters." This featurette includes a new interview with director Steven Spielberg on the legacy of the film, as well as new interviews with directors J.J. Abrams and Denis Villeneuve on the impact of Close Encounters. From Sony.


In "The Prison" (2017 -- South Korea), starring Kim Rae-won and Han Suk-kyu, a troubled former police inspector is sentenced to prison for a hit-and-run accident, placing him with other inmates that he had put behind bars. While inside, he discovers photo for The Prison the entire penitentiary is controlled by an inmate who is running a crime syndicate with the help of the warden and guards, which provides them the perfect alibi. Looking for revenge against the system that placed him inside, he joins the syndicate. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Well Go USA ... In "Cartels" (2017), starring Steven Seagal, Luke Goss and Georges St-Pierre, a team of DEA agents get a special assignment -- shadow a drug kingpin-turned informant to keep him safe from harm -- but the tables are turned when the drug lord's former gang decides to try to take him out. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc, from Lionsgate ... "One Last Heist" (2017), starring Matthew Goode, Phil Daniels, Joely Richardson and Stephen Moyer, is based on the thrilling true story of the largest burglary in British history, which took place over the 2015 Easter weekend. After being approached by a seductive Hungarian countess, an ex-con partners with four aging thieves to rob the vaults beneath London's diamond district. Available at Walmart only from Lionsgate ... photo for Road Less Traveled In "Road Less Traveled" (2017), starring Lauren Alaina, Charlene Tilton, Jason Burkey and Donny Boaz, Alaina -- fresh off a Country hit with her single "Road Less Traveled," from her hit album of the same name in early 2017 -- plays country music artist Charlotte, who comes back home to Tennessee a week before she's set to get married, hoping to borrow her late mother's wedding dress from her grandmother. But when she runs into her high school sweetheart, Ray, sparks begin to fly. As emotions with Ray get complicated and her record label pressures her to write a new hit song, Charlotte questions if she ever should have left Tennessee in the first place and if she's even marrying the right man. From Shout! Factory.


In "The Treasure" (2015 - Romania), a hunt for buried treasure sends two men on a surprising comic caper in this Cannes prize-winning charmer from acclaimed director Corneliu Porumboiu ("Police, Adjective," "12:08 East of Bucharest"). Costi (Cuzin Toma) is a workaday family man whose cash-strapped next-door neighbor (Adrian Purcarescu) makes him an intriguing proposition: help him find the fortune reportedly buried somewhere on the grounds of his family's country home and split the profits. But as the two men dig, they unearth more than they bargained for, excavating not only dirt, but photo for Body of Deceit traces of Romania's often tumultuous history. Part modern-day fable, part profound social commentary. From IFC Films ... With the inviting, seductive Mediterranean Sea as its backdrop, the psychological thriller "Body of Deceit" (2015 -- Italy), starring Kristanna Loken, Antonio Cupo, Saria Givaty and Guilio Berruti, begins as Alice (Loken) -- a ghostwriter for a famous novelist -- tries to put the pieces of her life back together after being in a coma for two weeks after a fatal car accident. She now suffers from amnesia and must complete the novel she began for her best-selling author client prior to her accident. However, with her depression and recurrent, cryptic nightmares, she can't focus and is having difficulty completing the novel. Her husband and agent, Max, takes her from their home in Los Angeles to their private villa in Malta to finish the book. But Malta is where Alice's car accident took place, and Max hopes this will unblock her mind so she can start working again to meet the publisher's deadline. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from FilmRise ... "By the Time It Gets Dark" (2016 -- Thailand), winner of Thailand National Film Association (Thai Oscars)'s Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Edit; it weaves together multiple photo for Cinema Novo stories and characters to create a portrait of a beautiful country haunted by the lingering trauma of the 1976 government-sanctioned massacre of student demonstrators in Bangkok. A shape-shifting narrative, the film delves into the intersection of memory, politics, and cinema. From Icarus Films ... Winner of the 2016 Cannes International Film Festival's Best Documentary, "Cinema Novo" (2016 -- Brazil) is a film essay that poetically investigates the eponymous Brazilian film movement, the most prominent in Latin America in the past century, through the analysis of its main auteurs: Nelson Pereira do Santos, Glauber Rocha, Leon Hirszman, Joaquim Pedro de Andrade, Ruy Guerra, Cacá Diegue, Walter Lima Jr, Paulo César Saraceni, among others. From Icarus Films ... Based on true events, the drama "Jesús" (2016 -- Spain) follows 18-year-old Jesús, trapped in a dead-end cycle of drugs, sex, apathy, and an obsession with violence. Living in a small flat with his widower father, Hector, where the TV covers up their inability to communicate, is not helping matters. After his band loses a competition, Jesús and his friends get drunk and head out, looking for a thrill. They finally find it in a cemetery: a young defenseless boy crosses their path, and violence ensues. Soon, the attack is national news, and the police are searching for those responsible. Desperate to avoid the authorities as well as his friends, Jesús has no choice but to turn to his father for help. But, when the flesh of your flesh is rotten, will you go to any extent to protect it, or will you cut it loose? From Breaking Glass Pictures.


"Odd Squad Villains: Best of the Worst" (2017) features three stories from the multiple Emmy-winning live-action PBS KIDS show. Join the agents of Odd Squad as they use their math and problem-solving skills to defeat evil villains and set things right. From trying to stop Odd Todd from turning townspeople and the agents invisible, to preventing Fladam from destroying the city's cubes, to recovering Ms. O's very important briefcase from the Shape Shifter, Odd Squad is always there to save the day. From PBS Distribution.


"The Vietnam War" (2017): Directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, the lavish documentary is an immersive narrative that tells the epic story of the Vietnam War as it has never before been told on film. "The Vietnam War" features testimony from nearly 100 witnesses, including many Americans who fought in the war and others who opposed it, as well as Vietnamese combatants and civilians from both the winning and losing sides. Ten photo for The Vietnam War years in the making, the series brings the war and the chaotic epoch it encompassed viscerally to life. Written by Geoffrey C. Ward, produced by Sarah Botstein, Novick and Burns, it includes rarely seen, digitally re-mastered archival footage from sources around the globe, photographs taken by some of the most celebrated photojournalists of the 20th century, historic television broadcasts, evocative home movies, and revelatory audio recordings from inside the Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon administrations. Features new, original music written and recorded by Academy Award-winning composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. The film also features new music arranged and performed by Grammy Award-winning cellist Yo-Yo Ma and The Silk Road Ensemble. The series also features more than 120 popular songs that define the era, including tracks from The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Simon & Garfunkel, Janis Joplin, Ben E. King, Phil Ochs, Donovan, Johnny Cash, Barry McGuire, Buffalo Springfield, The Byrds, Otis Redding, Santana, Joni Mitchell, Nina Simone, The Temptations, Booker T. and the M.G.s, Pete Seeger and more. 10-disc set comprising nine hours. The series airs on PBS September 17--September 21 and September 24--September 28. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from PBS Distribution.


"Arrow: The Complete Fifth Season" (2016-17) is a five-disc DVD, four-disc Blu-ray set with all 23 episodes. In Season Five, newly appointed Mayor Oliver Queen finds himself challenged as he fights on two fronts for the future of Star City. With his right hand, John Diggle, back in the military and his sister Thea adamant about hanging up her vigilante hood as Speedy, Team Green Arrow is down to just Oliver and Felicity -- but they're no longer the only vigilantes in town. Green Arrow's public defeat of Damien Darhk at the end of Season Four has inspired a new crop of masked heroes to step up and defend the city, though their painful inexperience makes them obstacles rather than allies in the field. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Warner ... photo for Code Black: Season Two "Code Black: Season Two" (2016-17) is a four-disc set with all 16 episodes of the series that takes place in the busiest, most notorious ER in the nation, where the influx of patients can outweigh the limited resources available to the extraordinary doctors and nurses whose job is to treat them all -- creating a condition called "Code Black." At the heart of the ER is Dr. Leanne Rorish (Marcia Gay Harden), a residency director whose job is to save lives in an often impossible environment, and who is known to the group of residents as "Daddy." From CBS/Paramount ... "Lethal Weapon: The Complete First Season" (2016-17) is a four-disc DVD, three-disc Blu-ray set with all 18 episodes. Based on the hit movie franchise, Lethal Weapon, tells the story of a slightly unbalanced former Navy SEAL joining forces with a veteran detective as partners on the Los Angeles police force. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc, from Warner ... "Madam Secretary: Season Three" (2016-17) is a six-disc set with all 23 episodes of the series that stars Tea Leoni as Elizabeth McCord, the Secretary of State who drives international diplomacy, battles office politics and circumvents protocol as she negotiates global and domestic issues, both at the White House and at home. A college professor and former CIA analyst, Elizabeth returned to public life at the request of President Conrad Dalton photo for Madam Secretary: Season Three (Keith Carradine), who values McCord's apolitical leanings, deep knowledge of the Middle East, flair for languages and ability to not just think outside the box, but to not even acknowledge there is a box. McCord's team includes chief of staff Nadine Tolliver (Bebe Neuwirth); policy advisor Jay Whitman (Sebastian Arcelus); speechwriter Matt Mahoney (Geoffrey Arend); press coordinator Daisy Grant (Patina Miller); and charming assistant, Blake Moran (Erich Bergen). McCord's debates on third world problems at work and her battles with the president's combative chief of staff, Russell Jackson (Zeljko Ivanek), are just a warm-up for when she goes to where "politics" and "compromise" take on new meaning, home to her husband, theology professor turned intelligence operative Henry (Tim Daly), and their three children. From CBS/Paramount ... "Timeless: Season One" (2016-17) is a four-disc set with all 16 episodes. A history professor (Abigail Spencer), a soldier (Matt Lanter) and a scientist (Malcolm Barrett), chase a dangerous fugitive (Goran Višnjic) with plans to re-write American history after he steals a secret experimental time machine. Running with the likes of Bonnie and Clyde, Ian Fleming and Al Capone, the team -- using the photo for The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson: Johnny and Friends: The Complete Collection machine's prototype -- must make every effort not to affect the past themselves as they jump through time in this unique historical fiction/sci-fi series. From Sony ... "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson: Johnny and Friends: The Complete Collection" is a 10-disc set with 27+ hours of the best episodes from the '70s, '80s and '90s -- including original commercials -- bringing together Carson's greatest guests: Robin Williams, David Letterman, Jerry Seinfeld, Burt Reynolds, Rodney Dangerfield, Bob Hope, Don Rickles, Dolly Parton, Eddie Murphy, Bob Newhart, Tony Bennett and many, many more. Carefully selected from the vaults by Carson archivists. The set is comprised of three distinct collections: "Johnny and Friends" (six discs; some previously available at retail); "The Ultimate Carson Collection" (three discs -- never before available at retail) with "The Best of the '60s and '70s," "The Best of the '70s and '80s" and "The Best of the '80s and '90s"; "Three Decades of Christmas on the Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" (single disc -- never before available at retail). Also included is a specially-produced 28-page memory book filled with rare archival photos and nearly two hours of bonus features. From Time Life ... photo for The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson: The Vault Series, Volumes 1-6 "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson: The Vault Series, Volumes 1-6" is a six-disc set of comedy and unforgettable moments from 12 complete, unedited shows (with commercials). Includes some of the most requested shows ever: Carson's 10th and 11th anniversary shows, Johnny's birthday episodes, and others, with an incredible collection of guests, including Dean Martin, Jack Benny, Jerry Lewis, Don Rickles, Bob Hope, Dom DeLuise, John Denver, Peter Fonda, Michael Caine, Charlton Heston, Michael Landon, Billy Crystal, Paul McCartney, Orson Welles, Muhammad Ali and many, many more. From Time Life.

Check out other September 19-September 25 DVD/Blu-ray releases and reviews at OnVideo.


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