Review: New on DVD for October 6 Special

Posted Oct 7, 2015 by Sarah Gopaul
This week’s releases include several movies celebrating anniversaries of 35 years or more; new TV for everyone’s tastes; and a heartwarming documentary that may restore your faith in humanity.
Melissa McCarthy stars in  Spy
Melissa McCarthy stars in 'Spy'
Twentieth Century Fox
Adventure Time: The Enchiridion (DVD)
Cartoon Network & Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
The Enchiridion is an ancient book with codes of conduct, guidelines, and other helpful information for heroes. Watch our hero’s Finn and Jake unlock its secrets.
This is volume 10 in the series’ compilation releases, containing 18 episodes that require a demonstration of bravery of from the show’s protagonists. It begins with Finn saving Princess Bubblegum from a disastrous fall, who in return bestows upon him The Enchiridion. Other stories include Jake stepping up to repair his relationship with his son, Finn trying to save an old man from Marcelline’s indentured servitude, the inept candy people attempting to free Princess Bubblegum and Finn from a closet, and Jake risking his life to get rid of a pestering Ghost Fly. Pulled from various seasons, this is an entertaining way of revisiting some of the previous storylines.
There are no special features. (Cartoon Network & Warner Bros. Home Entertainment)
Batkid Begins (DVD)
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
A five-year-old boy who had fought through leukemia made one small wish: he wanted to be the real Batman. His story transformed a city and transfixed a nation for a day. Thousands of volunteers came from near and far to turn San Francisco to Gotham City, while social media exploded with countless messages (including one from President Barack Obama) cheering him on.
Sometimes a documentary can be less about good filmmaking and more about simply sharing an important narrative. In this case it’s such a feel good story, watching it all unfold turns off the critical brain and replaces it with all the feels. While they do spend some time talking about Miles’ illness, the focus is almost entirely on the fantastic day provided by the Make-a-Wish Foundation and the thousands of people that showed up to lend their support. In addition, the number of companies that also offered their products and services is astounding and puts a bit of faith back into corporate America. Whether you followed the realization of the little boy’s dream live or not, this is a touching movie that doesn’t need to manipulate its audience to create emotion.
There are no special features. (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment)
Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (And Don’t Come Back!) (DVD)
Paramount Home Media Distribution
Charlie Brown, Linus, Peppermint Patty and Marcie are chosen as exchange students, destined to spend two weeks in France. Of course, Snoopy and Woodstock join the French odyssey, which turns out to be a combination of mystery, intrigue and romance coupled with the usual misadventures that seem to follow Charlie Brown wherever he goes.
Even though this feature film based on the renowned comic strip is celebrating its 35th anniversary, it’s as enjoyable now as it was the day it was released. The Peanuts characters and hijinks are timeless, relying on a communal sense of humour to ensure it remains accessible and universal. Yet it’s still created with fans of the characters in mind, playing up particular aspects of their personalities such as Patty’s blind romanticism and Snoopy’s illogical approach to life. However one element that’s different in this telling is the adults have an intelligible voice rather than uttering sounds.
Special features include: making-of featurette. (Paramount Home Media Distribution)
Christine (Blu-ray & Digital copy)
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
She was born in Detroit on an automobile assembly line. But she is no ordinary car. Deep within her chassis lives an unholy presence. She is Christine — a red and white 1958 Plymouth Fury whose unique standard equipment includes an evil, indestructible vengeance that will destroy anyone in her way. She seduces 17-year-old Arnie Cunningham (Keith Gordon), who becomes consumed with passion for her sleek, rounded chrome-laden body. She demands his complete and unquestioned devotion and when outsiders seek to interfere, they become the victims of Christine’s horrifying wrath.
This imagining of Stephen King’s tale of a supernatural car is excellent. Starting on the assembly line as the only red car in a long line of white vehicles, she takes her first victims. Twenty-one years later she doesn’t look like much, but her powers are as strong as ever. While Arnie’s gradual transformation is alarming to his friends, the story doesn’t really come alive until Christine does. Using oldies music on the radio to communicate and dispatching their enemies with reckless abandon, she becomes the most interesting character in the movie. Director John Carpenter once again demonstrates his passion and understanding of the genre, while the special effects remain quite impressive for 1984.
Special features include: commentary by director John Carpenter and Keith Gordon; deleted scenes; “Christine: Ignition”; “Christine: Fast and Furious”; and “Christine: Finish Line.” (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
Cop Car (Blu-ray)
Anchor Bay Canada
Two typical ten-year-old boys (James Freedson-Jackson and Hays Wellford) stumble across an abandoned police cruiser and summon the nerve to take it for a spin. What starts up as a joyride through empty fields becomes more dangerous as they explore the contents and limits of the car; but things only get worse when the small town sheriff (Kevin Bacon) goes looking for his missing vehicle. The pair find themselves in the centre of a deadly game of cat and mouse they don't understand and the only way out is to go as fast as their cop car can take them.
With a minimal cast and even more modest locations, this movie depends primarily on the script and performances to carry it forward because there’s nowhere to hide if anything is substandard. Luckily, both these aspects are first-rate. While the boys seem a little naïve - even for 10 - they do an exceptional job selling their characters’ personalities so viewers decide maybe they really don’t know any better. This matches the sheriff’s attempts to coax the boys into returning his vehicle and all the incriminating evidence it holds. Bacon is unquestionably the best part of the movie as his character struggles to keep it together even though his life and career are on the line. The surprise appearance by Shea Whigham also brings a lot to the table, matching Bacon’s performance and unpredictability.
Special features include: making-of featurette. (Anchor Bay Canada)
Fresh off the Boat: The Complete First Season (DVD)
Fox Home Entertainment
Twelve-year old hip-hop enthusiast Eddie Huang (Hudson Yang) and his family make their way from D.C.’s Chinatown to Orlando where his dad, Louis (Randall Park) tries to make his new steakhouse a success. His mom, Jessica (Constance Wu) aims to understand the culture clash and dominate suburbia. While his brothers fit right in, Eddie’s still tries to get a seat at the table — any table — in the school cafeteria. Bullies on the bus may get him down, but Eddie can bust a move and wield a fajita like nobody’s business.
It’s not often non-white (or even non-black) characters are at the centre of a sitcom, but this new series centres on a Chinese family in the ‘90s and is based on Chef Eddie Huang’s memoirs. At 12 Eddie wasn’t so much interested in cooking as gangster rap and trying to be like a “G” – to the chagrin of the rest of his family. The show handles being the only Chinese family in a white neighbourhood with great comedy. Some of the funnier moments come from Eddie consistently being paired with the new Chinese kid at his school even though their race is the only thing they have in common; Jessica going overboard when she fears they’re losing their identity; and when Louis accidentally curses his family with bad luck.
Special features include: trivia track; and gag reel. (Fox Home Entertainment)
Homeland: The Complete Fourth Season (Blu-ray)
Fox Home Entertainment
In her new role as a CIA station chief, Carrie (Claire Danes) convinces Saul (Mandy Patinkin) and Quinn (Rupert Friend) to help her hunt down one of the world’s most dangerous terrorists. But when Carrie recruits a young Pakistani as an asset, the lines between right and wrong blur and the operation spins out of control. Facing unclear loyalties at every turn, Carrie must take extreme measures and risk everything to protect her country.
Even though Carrie has climbed the ladder, she’s still part of a bureaucracy. In this context she continues giving and taking orders, and receiving the blame in either case. However with traitors in her midst, doing the right thing is that much more difficult. With another hostage situation and the safety of several of Carrie’s contacts in jeopardy, she’s forced to make some challenging decisions and compromises while being reminded to do what’s strategically necessary rather than follow her emotions. The appearance of a familiar face in the season finale promises to shake things up further and possibly compromise one of Carrie’s most important allies.
Special features include: deleted scenes; “Caught in the Crosshairs”; “Brody’s Return”; “Storming the Embassy”; and character profiles. (Fox Home Entertainment)
I’ll See You in My Dreams (DVD)
Elevation Pictures
Carol (Blythe Danner) finds the everyday activities that have given her life structure — her regular bridge game, gardening, a glass of wine or two — have lost their luster. With the help of her three quirky girlfriends (June Squibb, Rhea Perlman and Mary Kay Place), Carol decides to seek out new experiences and find love in places she never expected.
Rather than create a movie that looks at the downfalls of aging, this one illustrates the opportunities still available to vital seniors. Carol was a young widow and after raising her daughter, she became resigned to her everyday routine. Her three friends regularly insist she move into the swanky retirement home with them, but she still prefers just to visit while maintaining her own beautiful home. However they start to notice a change in her demeanour after she meets a young man with whom she has an unlikely connection, followed by a promising encounter with a suave retiree with whom she has more in common. Even though this movie is targeted to an older audience, it has a broader reach thanks to the lively script and wonderful performances by everyone… And it’s hard to believe Sam Elliott is still so attractive at 71.
Special features include: “A Look Inside.” (Elevation Pictures)
Invoking 2 (DVD)
RLJ Entertainment
Although hundreds of disturbing paranormal events occur every year, most of these chilling encounters go unreported… until now. Bear witness as hapless victims experience the unspeakable terror of confronting demonic forces, murderous poltergeists and other evil entities that are dead set on claiming their souls. Descend into an abyss of waking nightmares as these bloodthirsty, malevolent spirits seek to possess their prey and drag them — kicking and screaming — to hell.
This isn’t a traditional horror anthology, as it clumsily transitions from one unrelated story to the next. The only commonality is the presence of a paranormal force, though that turns out to be just enough to link the tales together. There are six narratives from six directors that vary in length and quality, but they fail to order them in a manner that allows the film to finish strong. The first story about a silent hitchhiker is pretty predictable, while the other brief account of a woman calling 911 about an intruder is spoiled by the trailer. Conversely the tale of a filmmaker touring a reportedly haunted asylum — at night — is fairly creepy, and the serial killer who’s approached by a supernatural admirer and possible copycat while hiding in a hotel room is possibly the best chapter of the group.
There are no special features. (RLJ Entertainment)
Magic Mike XXL (Blu-ray, DVD & Digital copy)
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
Three years after he bowed out of the stripper life at the top of the game, Mike (Channing Tatum) finds the remaining Kings of Tampa likewise ready to throw in the towel. But they want to do it their way: burning down the house in one last blowout performance in Myrtle Beach, and with Magic Mike, the legendary headliner, sharing the spotlight with them. On the road to their final show, with whistle stops in Jacksonville and Savannah to renew old acquaintances and make new friends, Mike and the guys learn some new moves and shake off the past in surprising ways.
The predominant criticism of the first film was its attempt to incorporate a serious storyline; the camaraderie between the guys and dance sequences were incredibly enjoyable, but it was bogged down by the unnecessary drama. As a result, the sequel keeps it simple. The film is essentially a road trip movie in which the “male entertainers” bond, flirt and deliver a few impromptu shows before the big finale. The energy goes up and down, and it’s probably still a little too long for a movie about a bunch of guys who take off their clothes for a living; but it’s generally fun and they really step up their game on the routines with the last two sequences definitely topping the list. Unfortunately Matthew McConaughey did not to take his shirt off as Dallas; but his shoes couldn’t be filled by one performer, so his MC duties are assigned to Jada Pinkett Smith and Donald Glover.
Special features include: “The Moves of Magic Mike XXL”; “Georgia”; and extended Malik dance scene. (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment)
Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron (Blu-ray)
Marvel Home Entertainment
Good intentions wreak havoc when Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) unwittingly creates Ultron (voice of James Spader), a terrifying A.I. monster who vows to achieve “world peace” via mass extinction. Now, Iron Man, Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) —alongside Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) — must reassemble to defeat Ultron and save mankind… if they can.
There is a lot going on in this movie, both in terms of character and story development. Before Ultron nearly ends the world, audiences are allowed to see the superheroes relax and jest after completing a difficult mission. In addition, new threats reveal more of their ambitions and secrets. While the machine’s creation does cause some dissension within the group, it’s not exactly a “Civil War” level of conflict so most of that groundwork will definitely be laid in the next Captain America outing. On top of the usual special effects, the rise of Ultron and his army takes it up a notch with swarms of robots accosting the city.
Special features include: commentary by director Joss Whedon; extended and deleted scenes; making-of featurette; “The Infinite Six”; “Global Adventure”; and gag reel. (Marvel Home Entertainment)
Olive Kitteridge (Blu-ray & Digital copy)
HBO Home Entertainment
The story of a seemingly placid New England town wrought with illicit affairs, crime and tragedy is told through the lens of Olive (Frances McDormand), whose wicked wit and harsh demeanor mask a warm but troubled heart and staunch moral centre. The narrative, which spans 25 years, focuses on her relationships with her husband, Henry (Richard Jenkins), the good-hearted and kindly town pharmacist; their son, Christopher (John Gallagher, Jr.), who resents his mother’s approach to parenting; and other members of their community.
Even though the narrative is seen through Olive’s eyes, audiences are not necessarily meant to empathize with her. In spite of her occasional demonstrations of kindness, she is generally cold, judgemental and often times harsh. She cares, but her way of showing it is less than desirable. Henry is Olive’s complete opposite; he’s warm and insists on helping everyone regardless of their demeanour. They have some difficult times, but eventually they’re all the other has at the end of the day. It’s not until Christopher is an adult that his relationship with his mother takes on meaning; though it’s never really the healthy connection either could have wanted. McDormand and Jenkins are incredibly genuine, especially in their strained interactions with each other.
There are no special features. (HBO Home Entertainment)
Penny Dreadful: The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray)
Paramount Home Media Distribution
As Vanessa Ives’ (Eva Green) strange powers grow, she struggles to control her personal demons while devious forces cast spells on those closest to her — African explorer Sir Malcolm Murray (Timothy Dalton), trouble American Ethan Chandler (Josh Hartnett), the reckless Dorian Gray (Reeve Carney), loyal Sambene (Danny Sapani), the anguished Creature (Rory Kinnear), tender-hearted Victor Frankenstein (Harry Treadaway) and the beautiful Lily (Billie Piper). And in this unnerving world where literature’s most iconic and terrifying characters roam the streets, unlikely alliances form to battle unimaginable temptations.
Even though the season picks up more or less where the last left off, it still begins with some dangerous mysteries. For instance, in the first episode Vanessa’s coach is attacked by three hairless, demonic creatures who clearly mean her harm, though their origin is not revealed for several chapters. In the meantime, Ethan is trying to manage his own monstrous desires while avoiding possible extradition. Victor and his Creature, John, both set themselves up for heartbreak, though neither could have expected it would be so complete. In the meantime, Dorian flaunts his unusual tastes unknowingly attracting the attentions of the newly awakened Lily. The supernatural presence in this season ramps up as it nears the finale, which scatters its characters and leaves most of their fates unknown for next season.
Special features include: “History of the Occult”; video production blogs; Reeve Carney round table; and character profiles. (Paramount Home Media Distribution)
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (Blu-ray & Digital copy)
Fox Home Entertainment
Sweethearts Brad (Barry Bostwick) and Janet (Susan Sarandon) are stuck with a flat tire during a storm and discover the eerie mansion of Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry), a sweet transvestite scientist. As their innocence is lost, Brad and Janet meet a houseful of wild characters, including a rocking biker (Meat Loaf) and a creepy butler (Richard O'Brien). Through elaborate dances and rock songs, Frank-N-Furter unveils his latest creation: a muscular man named "Rocky."
This timeless stage-play-turned-cult-classic-movie is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a new Blu-ray release, just in time for people to brush up for local Halloween quote-alongs, shout outs and shadow productions. Few films can claim the dedicated following of this midnight attraction or the consistent revitalization it experiences with every new generation that becomes enamoured with the quirky characters and catchy tunes. Curry’s depiction of the doctor remains the quintessential interpretation, sweeping Brad and Janet — and audiences — up into his disturbingly wonderful world of outcasts. In addition, the abundance of bonus features contained in this release, including both versions of the film, vintage featurettes and several ways to interact with the picture, will make fans shiver with antici…. pation.
Special features include: U.S. and U.K. versions of the film; commentary by Richard O'Brien and Patricia Quinn (Magenta); deleted musical scenes; “Rocky-oke: Sing It!”; “Don’t Dream It, Be It: The Search for the 35th Anniversary Shadowcast, Part I”; “An-tic-i-pation: The Search for the 35th Anniversary Shadowcast, Part II”; “Mick Rock (A Photographer)”; “Mick Rock's Picture Show (A Gallery); “A Few From The Vault”; alternate B&W opening; alternate credit and misprint ending; "Rocky Horror Double Feature Video Show" (1995); Beacon Theater, New York City (10th Anniversary); “Time Warp” music video; “The Midnight Experience”; pressbook and poster gallery; and outtakes. (Fox Home Entertainment)
South Park: The Complete Eighteenth Season (Blu-ray)
Paramount Home Media Distribution
Join Cartman, Kenny, Stan and Kyle as they get lost in virtual reality, go underground with Cock Magic, uncover the shocking truth about a music superstar and reach transcendence with “CARTMAN BRAAAH!”
Once again Trey Parker and Matt Stone attack trends, celebrities and social issues with vigour and ruthlessness in 10 witty and sometimes offensive episodes. This season they take aim at online fundraising platforms, Go Fund Me and Kickstarter (one of the season’s best episodes); gluten-free diets; transgender identities; Uber; drones; freemium games and addiction (which introduces the Canadian devil); virtual reality; trading card games; YouTube video game commentaries; and celebrity holograms. There’s also a multi-episode story arc involving Lorde and Stan’s dad. Their commentary and parodies are entertainingly biting because they’re mostly based in reality. This is definitely one of the series’ most comically apt seasons, taking aim at some of our most ridiculous fads.
Special features include: #SocialCommentary on all episodes; mini-commentaries by creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone on all episodes; and deleted scenes. (Paramount Home Media Distribution)
Spy (Blu-ray & Digital copy)
Fox Home Entertainment
Deskbound CIA analyst Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy) is about to become the world’s newest — and unlikeliest — secret weapon. When her partner (Jude Law) falls off the grid and another top agent (Jason Statham) is compromised, Susan volunteers to go deep undercover and bring down a deadly arms dealer.
Writer/director Paul Feig has repeatedly demonstrated a partiality for strong, leading female characters. Another key aspect of these pictures is casting women in traditionally male roles. In this case, most of the men are relegated to sidekick status as the very capable and funny ladies lead the charge. One of the main concerns going into this movie was its depiction of McCarthy. While Susan is somewhat unrefined, she’s very intelligent, adept in physical and mental strategies, and quick on her feet. The humour is seamless and natural, developing organically from any given scene. It’s almost never forced or inappropriate. Although Statham is not known for comedic performances, he is excellent as the less-than-smooth secret agent consistently requiring a bailout via his female rival. And McCarthy is brilliant in whatever role she’s required to play throughout the narrative, from lonely cat lady to kickass bodyguard.
Special features include: commentary with Jessie Henderson, John Vecchio, Paul Feig, Robert Yeoman and Walter Garcia; three redacted scenes; 15 classified alternate scenes; “Director of Intelligence Feig Makes the Cast Do His Bidding”; “Susan and Her Men”; “Super Villain Rayna Can’t Keep it Together”; “Super Vermin”; “The Many Deaths of Anton”; “The Trouble With Covers”; “The Great Rick Ford”; “For Your Eyes Only: Jokes-A-Plenty”; “The Handsy World of Spies”; “Speaking is an Art Form”; “Super Villains of the Animal World”; eight behind-the-scenes featurettes; gallery; “Top Secret Gag Reel”; and “Extra Top Secret Behind-the-Scenes Gag Reel.” (Fox Home Entertainment)
When Marnie Was There (Blu-ray & DVD)
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
When shy, artistic Anna travels to the seaside to stay with relatives, she stumbles upon an old mansion surrounded by marshes and the mysterious young girl, Marnie, who lives there. The two girls instantly form a unique connection and a friendship that blurs the lines between fantasy and reality. As the days go by, a nearly magnetic pull draws Anna back to the Marsh House again and again, and she begins to piece together the truth surrounding her strange new friend.
As if to reassure those that doubted whether Studio Ghibli would be able to maintain its high standards of art and storytelling following Hiyao Miyazaki’s retirement, they released this film. Like many of the studio’s protagonists, Anna is somewhat of an outcast — a label that follows her on summer vacation. But she’s also curious and kind, which leads her to Marnie. Though it’s obvious there’s something supernatural about the girl from the abandoned house, they form an intense bond. On the other hand, Anna’s behaviour is generally peculiar (she falls asleep outside a lot) so it’s not surprising her best friend would be as well. The imagery is lovely, resembling a beautiful storybook, and matches the tone of the story perfectly.
Special features include: making-of featurette; “Yohei Taneda Creates the Art of When Marnie Was There”; feature-length storyboards; behind the scenes with the voice talent; and trailers and TV spots. (Universal Pictures Home Entertainment)