This Week's DVD, Blu-ray Releases -- OnVideo

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OnVideo's Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases

Tuesday, November 24 -- Monday, November 30

All DVD Releases

  • American Ultra

    photo for American Ultra "American Ultra" is an incredible waste of talent, squandering Kristen Stweart and John Leguizamo in a weak-kneed stoner version of the Jason Bourne series. Small-town nerd Mike Howell (Jesse Eisenberg playing, what else, Jesse Eisenberg) works at a shop 'n' go type market, spending his time getting loaded and writing a graphic novel about a superhero monkey. Like Bourne, he doesn't know that he was trained by the CIA as a lethal killing machine, but when he's targeted for termination, his latent skills come to the fore and he's turned into a deadly weapon. Stewart plays his all-forgiving girlfriend and Leguizamo plays the stoner's best friend. Sounds like fun but the film's a dud. There's too many side trips and distractions -- whole sequences stick out of place like sore thumbs -- and when the film doesn't pander to the stupid obnoxiousness of a CIA uberagent played by Topher Grace, it lingers on the unbelievable romance (sans any chemistry) between Stewart and Eisenberg. Skip it.Vitals: Director: Nima Nourizadeh. Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Topher Grace, Connie Britton, Walton Goggins, John Leguizamo, Bill Pullman, Tony Hale. 2015, CC, MPAA rating: R, 96 min., Action-Comedy, Box office gross: $14.423 million, Lionsgate. Extras: "Activating American Ultra" documentary, "Assassinating on a Budget" featurette, gag reel, commentary with director Nima Nourizadeh. 2 stars


  • Ricki and the Flash

    photo for Ricki and the Flash Meryl Streep stars as Ricki Rendazzo, a guitar heroine who made a world of mistakes as she followed her dreams of rock-and-roll stardom. Returning home, Ricki gets a shot at redemption and a chance to make things right as she faces the music with her family. Vitals: Director: Jonathan Demme. Stars: Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, Mamie Gummer, Sebastian Stan, Rick Springfield. 2015, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 101 min., Comedy-Drama with Music, Box office gross: $26.762 million, Sony. Extras: "Getting Ready for Ricki: The Making of Ricki and the Flash." Blu-ray adds deleted scenes, "Rediscovering Rick Springfield" featurette, cast photo gallery. 2 stars

  • Shaun the Sheep Movie

    photo for Shaun the Sheep Movie Shaun's a little sheep with big dreams, and lately, life on Mossy Bottom Farm has become a bit dull. When Shaun takes the day off for some fun, he gets a lot more action than he bargained for. A mix up with the Farmer, a caravan and a very steep hill lead them all to the Big City. Now Shaun and his flock must use their wits to hatch a baaaa-rilliant plan to get back home in an adventure for the whole family. From Aardman, the producers of "Chicken Run" and "Wallace & Gromit." Vitals: Director: Mark Burton, Richard Starzak. Stars: Voices of Justin Fletcher, John Sparkes, Omid Djalili, Richard Webber, Kate Harbour. 2015, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 85 min., Family Animated, Box office gross: $19.328 million, Lionsgate. Extras: "Making the Shaun Movie" featurette, "Meet the Characters" featurette, "Join Shaun Behind the Scenes" featurette, "Meet the Crew" featurette, parody poster gallery. 2 stars

    Blu-ray Debuts

  • Don't Look Back (1967) (Criterion)
  • Ghost Story (1981)
  • Ikiru (1952) (Criterion)
  • Voo Doo Man (1944)
  • Wake Up and Kill: The Story of Luciano (1966) (Arrow Video)

    Read more.

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All DVD Releases

American Ultra (2015) Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Topher Grace, Connie Britton, Walton Goggins, John Leguizamo, Bill Pullman, Tony Hale. Mike (Eisenberg) shares a small-town life with his girlfriend Phoebe (Stewart). But Mike's sleepy world goes wild after he discovers that he's actually a CIA sleeper agent with lethal fighting skills -- and the target of government hitmen. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo, VOD, Digital, UltraViolet (cloud). Extras: "Activating American Ultra" documentary, "Assassinating on a Budget" featurette, gag reel, commentary with director Nima Nourizadeh. (Lionsgate).

The Badger Game (2014) Augie Duke, Patrick Cronen, Jillian Leigh, Sam Boxleitner, Sasha Higgins. Twisted thriller. When a young woman discovers that her wealthy boyfriend is married, she and three friends hatch a kidnapping-and-extortion scheme -- known in criminal circles as a "badger game" -- to teach him a lesson and score an easy $2 million. But they soon learn that certain games can quickly spin out of control ... and that one seemingly perfect crime is about to go horribly wrong. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray Disc. Extras: Audio commentary with writer-directors Joshua Wagner and Thomas Zambeck, and composer London May; audio commentary with stars Augie Duke, Jillian Leigh, and Sasha Higgins; cast and crew interviews from the premiere in Downtown L.A. (Intervision Picture Corp/CAV Distributing).

photo for Blood and Lace Blood and Lace (1971) Melody Patterson, Gloria Grahame. After her mother's brutal murder at the hands of a hammer-wielding maniac, teenaged Ellie Masters is suddenly orphaned and is sent to a home for children run by the enigmatic Mrs. Deere, in spite of the concern that Ellie will be the newest target of her mother's killer. But as terror strikes again and again, it becomes unclear who might be the bigger threat to Ellie's life: the mysterious murderer with a hammer ... or her sadistic new caretaker. Formats: Blu-ray/DVD Combo. Extras: New audio commentary by film historian Richard Harland Smith, alternate opening title, original theatrical trailer. (Scream Factory).

Chasing a Star (2012 -- Israel) Moshe Ivgy. Three intertwined stories: Adam, an unemployed actor, tries to score the role of his life when he runs into movie star Moshe Ivgy (as himself). Shir, the regionís best female soccer player, needs to fight through crippling fear in the biggest match of her career. And Victor, finally out of jail, looks for the fortune he stashed so he can disappear with his one true love, Lena. But then something falls from the sky and changes their lives forever ... . Formats: DVD. Extras: Trailer. (SISU Home Entertainment).

photo for A Christmas Horror Story A Christmas Horror Story (2015) William Shatner, George Buza, Rob Archer. Interwoven stories that take place on Christmas Eve, as told by one festive radio host: Last Christmas Eve, two teens came to a grisly end in a school basement. Now, one year later, a new set of horrors has come to town. As three friends explore the site of the massacre, a malevolent spirit is determined to keep them there forever. One of the first cops to the scene of the bloody murders has new complications as his 7-year-old son exhibits terrifying and violent behavior. And when a local family seeks reconciliation with an estranged aunt for the wrong reasons, they suddenly find themselves running in terror from Krampus, the demonic anti-Santa Claus. Not even St. Nick is immune to the terror as he fights back against a horde of zombie elves. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray Disc. (RLJ Entertainment).

The Dinner (2014 -- Italy) Alessandro Gassmann, Luigi Lo Cascio, Giovanna Mezzogiorno, Barbora Bobulova, Rosabell Laurenti Sellers, Jacopo Olmo Antinori. A taut morality play based on Herman Koch's New York Times best-selling novel. Paolo, a kind pediatrician, and his wife Clara, meet his brother Massimo, a gutsy defense attorney, and his second wife Sofia, for dinner once a month at a posh local restaurant. Though the men couldn't be more different, on the surface they seem to have it all, and their dinners, begrudgingly attended by both couples, are peppered with inconsequential conversation and forced familiarity. When Clara sees disturbing security camera footage of a homeless woman being mercilessly beaten, she worries it may be her teenage son Michele and his cousin, Massimo's daughter Benni, who are responsible for the gruesome attack. Their fragile balancing act now shattered, the two families navigate the repercussions of this senseless assault, revealing in the process the skewed priorities and moral shortcomings of their privileged, insulated perspectives. Formats: DVD. Extras: Behind-the-scenes featurette. (Film Movement).

Don't Look Back (1967) Bob Dylan is captured on-screen as he never would be again in this groundbreaking film from D. A. Pennebaker. The legendary documentarian finds Dylan in London during his 1965 tour, which would be his last as an acoustic artist and marked a turning point in his career. In this wildly entertaining vision of one of the 20th century's greatest artists thrust into photo for Don't Look Back the spotlight, Dylan is surrounded by teen fans; gets into heated philosophical jousts with journalists; and kicks back with fellow musicians Joan Baez, Donovan and Alan Price. Featuring some of Dylan's most famous songs, including "Subterranean Homesick Blues," "The Times They Are A-Changin'," and "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue," "Dont Look Back" is a radically conceived and shot portrait of an American icon that has influenced decades of verite behind-the-scenes documentaries. New, restored 4K digital transfer, approved by Pennebaker, with newly restored monaural sound from the original quarter-inch magnetic masters, presented uncompressed on the Blu-ray. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray Disc. Extras: Audio commentary from 1999 featuring Pennebaker and tour manager Bob Neuwirth; "65 Revisited," a 2006 documentary directed by Pennebaker and edited by Walker Lamond; audio excerpt from an interview with Bob Dylan in the 2005 documentary "No Direction Home," cut to previously unseen outtakes from "Dont Look Back"; new documentary about the evolution of Pennebaker's filming style, from his 1950s avant-garde work to his '60s musical documentaries, including an excerpt from the filmmaker's footage of Dylan performing "Ballad of a Thin Man" during his 1966 electric tour; "Daybreak Express" (1953), "Baby" (1954), and "Lambert & Co." (1964), three short films by Pennebaker; new conversation between Pennebaker and Neuwirth about their work together, from "Dont Look Back" through "Monterey Pop" (1967) and beyond; "Snapshots From the Tour," a new piece featuring outtakes from "Dont Look Back"; new interview with musician Patti Smith about Dylan and the influence of "Dont Look Back" in her life; conversation between music critic Greil Marcus and Pennebaker from 2010; alternate version of the film's "Subterranean Homesick Blues" cue card sequence; five uncut audio tracks of Dylan songs from the film; trailer; an essay by critic and poet Robert Polito. (The Criterion Collection).

photo for >Ghost Story BLU-RAY DEBUT Ghost Story BLU-RAY DEBUT (1981) Fred Astaire, Melvyn Douglas, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., John Houseman, Craig Wasson, Patricia Neal, Alice Krige. In a peaceful New England town, four lifelong friends who make up the Chowder Society come together each week to regale each other with tales of terror. But when one of the elderly gentlemen experiences a family tragedy, it becomes apparent that a buried secret from their youth has arisen to remind them of the sins of their past. Soon, they will learn they have never been forgiven ... and a supernatural vengeance awaits them all. Extras: New audio commentary by director John Irvin; new interviews with author Peter Straub, actress Alice Krige, screenwriter Lawrence D. Cohen, producer Burt Weissbourd and matte photographer Bill Taylor; vintage theatrical trailer; TV and radio spots; photo gallery. (Scream Factory).

Guidance (2014) Pat Mills, Zahra Bentham, Kevin Hanchard. Comedy follows former child actor David Gold (Mills) as he makes one bad decision after another. Recently unemployed and with nothing left to lose, he fakes his resume and gets a job as a high school guidance counselor. Quickly winning over the students with his bad behavior, David forms a friendship with Jabrielle, a teenage outcast and they hit the road as an unlikely pair of outlaws on the run. Formats: DVD. Extras: Interview with director-star Pat Mills, trailers. (Strand Releasing).

Ikiru (1952) One of the greatest achievements by Akira Kurosawa, "Ikiru" presents the director at his most compassionate -- affirming life through an exploration of death. Takashi Shimura ("Rashomon") beautifully portrays Kanji Watanabe, an aging bureaucrat with stomach cancer who is impelled to find meaning in his final days. Presented in a radically conceived two-part structure and shot with a perceptive, humanistic clarity of vision, "Ikiru" is a multifaceted look at what it means to be alive. New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray Disc. Extras: Audio commentary from 2004 by Stephen Prince, author of "The Warrior's Camera: The Cinema of Akira Kurosawa"; "A Message from Akira Kurosawa" (2000), a 90-minute documentary produced by Kurosawa Productions and featuring interviews with Kurosawa; documentary on "Ikiru" from 2003, created as part of the Toho Masterworks series "Akira Kurosawa: It Is Wonderful to Create," and featuring interviews with Kurosawa, script supervisor Teruyo Nogami, writer Hideo Oguni, actor Takashi Shimura, and others; trailer; essays by critic and travel writer Pico. (The Criterion Collection).

Inside Amy Schumer: Season 3 (2015) Two-disc set with all 10 episodes, $22.98. Amy's making it a threesome -- of seasons, that is -- as her smash hit series returns for a third round of the kind of taboo-smashing, Internet-breaking, wildly original comedy that can only be found "Inside Amy Schumer." It features scripted vignettes, stand-up comedy, and man-on-the-street interviews; Schumer explores topics revolving around sex, relationships, and whether or not it's the year of the photo for Jim Henson's Turkey Hollow ass. Formats: DVD. Extras: Outtakes, deleted scenes, an unaired sketch, unaired "Amy Goes Deep" interviews. (Paramount).

Jim Henson's Turkey Hollow (2015) Mary Steenburgen, Jay Harrington, Chris "Ludacris" Bridges. Live action and state-of-the-art puppet effects from the Jim Henson Co., based on a story and characters originally conceived by Henson. The story follows a recently divorced dad (Harrington) and his two kids as they travel to celebrate Thanksgiving with their eccentric Aunt Cly (Steenburgen) in the rustic town of Turkey Hollow. Exploring the mysterious surrounding woods leads the kids to discover the secret of the legendary Howling Hoodoo. When a scheming neighbor threatens to take Aunt Cly's farm, the family enlists surprising new friends to help save the farm.Formats: DVD, Digital. (Lionsgate).

The Last House (2015) Jason Mewes, Ezra Buzzington, Felissa Rose. After his escort girlfriend is kidnapped photo for The Last House by a trio of escaped mental patients, a young man attempts to find her before their sadistic game plan can be realized. Formats: DVD, VOD. Extras: Director's commentary, deleted scenes, interviews, trailers. (Wild Eye Releasing).

photo for Nightmare Code Nightmare Code (2015) Andrew J. West, Mei Melancon, Googy Gress, Ivan Shaw, Bret Roberts. An independent sci-fi thriller about behavior recognition technology, behavior modification, 24/7 surveillance and artificial intelligence. Brett Desmond, a brilliant young programmer with a troubled past, is brought to a tech start-up where the previous lead programmer went on a workplace murder/suicide rampage. With just a month to finish ROPER, the highly advanced behavior recognition program, and only a small testing crew remaining, Brett works and sleeps in the semi-abandoned office. But the deeper Brett delves into the code, the more his personality starts to warp like that of the dead programmer ... and the more the code takes on a life of its own. Using surveillance cameras, PC cams, videochat and eyeglasscam -- for more than half the movie -- the viewer watches four images on the screen at once, like a surveillance monitor, but not always in sync, as if ROPER itself was telling us the story. Formats: DVD. (Indie Rights).

Ricki and the Flash (2015) Dir.: Jonathan Demme; Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, Mamie Gummer, Sebastian Stan, Rick Springfield. Meryl Streep stars as Ricki Rendazzo, a guitar heroine who made a world of mistakes as she followed her dreams of rock-and-roll stardom. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray Disc, VOD, Digital, UltraViolet (cloud). Extras: "Getting Ready for Ricki: The Making of Ricki and the Flash." Blu-ray adds deleted scenes, "Rediscovering Rick Springfield" featurette, cast photo gallery. (Sony).

Shaun the Sheep Movie (2015) Voices of Justin Fletcher, John Sparkes, Omid Djalili, Richard Webber, Kate Harbour. When Shaun decides to take the day off and have some fun, he gets a little more action than he bargained for. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray Disc, VOD, Digital, UltraViolet (cloud). Extras: "Making the Shaun Movie" featurette, "Meet the Characters" featurette, "Join Shaun Behind the Scenes" featurette, "Meet the Crew" featurette, parody poster gallery. (Lionsgate).

Shaun the Sheep Season 1 (2010) From the Oscar-winning studio behind "Wallace & Gromit," the "Shaun the Sheep" series follows the adventures of Shaun and the flock down on Mossy Bottom Farm. The two-disc set includes 40 episodes loaded with mischief and mayhem. Every day brings a new adventure -- a stray cabbage bouncing into the field turns into a soccer feud with the infamous Naughty Pigs, and a freezing cold sheep dip sends him on a commando raid to get hot water from the Farmer's bathroom.Formats: DVD: $14.98, Digital. Extras: "The Mini Making of Shaun" featurette, "Meet the Animals" featurette, "How to Build a Pig" featurette, "Sing-Along With Shaun" featurettes, "Life's a Treat" official music video. (Lionsgate).

The Square (2013 -- Egypt) Oscar nominated documentary on the Egyptian revolution. One of the most honored documentaries of 2013, "The Square" depicts the ongoing Egyptian revolution of 2011 from its roots in Tahrir Square. It's an intimate observational documentary that tells the real story of the ongoing struggle of the Egyptian Revolution through the eyes of six very different protesters. Starting in the tents of Tahrir in the days leading up to the fall of Mubarak, we follow our characters on a life-changing journey through the euphoria of victory into the uncertainties and dangers of the current 'transitional period' under military rule, where everything they fought for is now under threat or in balance. Includes over 90 minutes of exclusive never-before-seen footage and scenes. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray Disc, Digital. Extras: (City Drive Films/MVD Entertainment).

Voo Doo Man (1944) Bela Lugosi, John Carradine, Ellen Hall. A mad scientist (Lugosi) is intent on bringing his late wife Evelyn (Hall) back from the dead using voodoo magic to transfer the life essences from several hapless young girls he has kidnapped and imprisoned in the dungeon beneath his mansion. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray Disc. (Olive Films).

Wake Up and Kill: The Story of Luciano (1966) Dir.: Carlo Lizzani; Robert Hoffman, Lisa Gastoni, Gian Maria Volonte. During the 1960s Luciano Lutring committed more than one hundred armed robberies in Italy and on the French Riviera. To the media he was the "machine gun soloist," a name he'd earned as he kept his weapon in a violin case. To the public he was a Robin Hood figure, one who only targeted the wealthy, stealing more than 35 billion lire during his criminal career." Wake Up and Kill" was the logical extension of such fame. It became the first feature to commit Lutring's story to celluloid, shooting having begun mere months after his eventual arrest. Capitalising on the breakthrough success of his performance in French television's "The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe," Robert Hoffmann is perfect as Lutring, bringing just the right amount of charisma and youthful exuberance to his first major big screen role. Directed by Carlo Lizzani ("Requiescant"), scored by Ennio Morricone, penned by the future screenwriter of "Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion," and featuring that film's star, Gian Maria Volonte, in a key supporting role," Wake Up and Kill's" true-crime thrills serve as an enthralling dry run for the poliziotteschi movies that would follow a few years later. In a new 2K restoration of the film from the original camera negative. Formats: Blu-ray/DVD Combo. Extras: Optional English and Italian soundtracks presented in their original mono audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-rays), theatrical trailer, reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Reinhard Kleist. (Arrow Video/MVD)

White Panther (2013 -- Israel) Ze'ev Revach, Yevgeny Orlov, Meytal Gal, Zura Vulkan Kartvelishvily, Natasha Manor. The story of Alex, a young Russian immigrant who joins a skinheads gang led by his older brother. An unexpected meeting with David, a religious Moroccan Jew, gives Alex a chance to pursue his longtime dream of becoming a boxer like his father, and he finds himself torn between his two father figures -- his violent older brother and his new Jewish trainer. Formats: DVD. Extras: Making-of featurette, trailer. (SISU Home Entertainment).

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November 22, 2015
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Last Week's Releases: Tuesday, November 17 -- Monday, November 23