From the Big Screen:
“American Sniper,” “Leviathan” and “Hot Tub Time Machine 2.” For more information on these and other releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.
This Week’s Highlights:
Two films about the perils of stardom arrive this week from the folks at The Criterion Collection on DVD and Blu-ray. First up is Charlie Chaplin’s “Limelight” (1952), the director’s masterful drama about the twilight of a former vaudeville star, a once beloved musical-comedy performer now a washed-up alcoholic living in a small London flat. A glimmer of hope arrives in the persona of a beautiful but melancholy ballerina (Claire Bloom) who lives downstairs. Made at a time when Chaplin was under attack by the American press and far right, “Limelight” was barely distributed in the United States upon its initial release, but it is now considered one of his essential and most personal works. In a New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray … Bette Midler exploded onto the screen with her ferocious performance in director Mark Rydell’s 1979 take on fame and addiction, “The Rose.” Midler plays famous rock ‘n’ roll performer The Rose whose search for happiness in the present (and past) is hindered by the demands of the road and her addictions. Beautifully shot by “Blow Out’s” Vilmos Zsigmond (with assistance on the dazzling concert scenes by a host of other world-class cinematographers, including Conrad L. Hall, Laszlo Kovacs, Owen Roizman, and Haskell Wexler). In a new 4K digital restoration, supervised by director of photography Vilmos Zsigmond, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD master audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray.
“Boardwalk Empire: The Complete Series” (2010-14) is a 20-disc set with all 56 episodes in a collector’s box. Throughout its five-season run, the hit HBO series garnered 18 Emmy Awards and critical accolades for its superb cast and its unfaltering attention to 1920s period detail. From Academy Award nominee and Emmy Award winner Terence Winter and Academy Award-winning director Martin Scorsese, the series chronicles the life and times of Enoch “Nucky” Thompson (Golden Globe winner Steve Buscemi) as he undergoes vicious power struggles and deals with opportunistic rivals — including Arnold Rothstein, Lucky Luciano and Al Capone — at a time when Prohibition proved to be a major catalyst in the rise of organized crime in America. On DVD for $199.99 and Blu-ray for $239.99. In addition to the bonus features previously included on individual season releases, “Boardwalk Empire: The Complete Series” includes an exclusive bonus disc containing never-before-seen content, including: “Building The Boardwalk” in which executive producer/director Tim Van Patten and crew discuss how the Atlantic City boardwalk was brought to life; “Shooting the Series” that shows how the look of the series was developed through conversations with directors of photography Jonathan Freeman and Bill Coleman; “Designing the Series” in which production designer Bill Groom and set decorator Carol Silverman discuss their process and the challenges faced in creating the authentic look of the series; “Visual Effects” in which visual effects supervisor Lesley Robson-Foster illustrates the creation of some of the show’s award-winning visual effects; “The Final Shot: A Farewell to Boardwalk Empire” look back with the cast and crew; “Anatomy of a Hit” in which creator/executive producer/writer Terence Winter, executive producer/director Tim Van Patten and executive producer/writer Howard Korder discuss the choreography for some of the series’ most murderous hits. From HBO.
From TV to DVD:
“Beauty & the Beast: Season Two” (2013-14) is a six-disc set with 22 episodes, $54.99. Homicide detective Catherine “Cat” Chandler teams with the mysterious Dr. Vincent Keller — an ex-soldier who goes into hiding from the secret government organization that turned him into a mechanically charged being — who saved her life years earlier and who, when he is enraged, becomes a terrifying beast, unable to control his super-strength and heightened senses. In the second season, Cat works to recover the parts of Vincent that have been lost, stopping at nothing to save the man she loves. From CBS/Paramount … Previously unavailable on any format, the 70s-era sitcom “CPO Sharkey: The Complete First Season” (1976-77) was a showcase for iconic comedian Don Rickles, who played U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Otto Sharkey, an abrasive, sharp-tongued veteran in charge of a company of new seaman recruits on a San Diego naval base. After serving in the Navy during WWII in real life, the legendary Rickles found a perfect vehicle for his inimitable brand of comedy with “CPO Sharkey”, a satirical look at Navy life that ran on NBC for two seasons and 37 episodes (1976-78). In a three-disc set with all 15 30-minute long episodes, $29.95 from Time Life … “Duck Dynasty: Season 7” (2014-15) is a two-disc set with 10 episodes, $19.98 from Lionsgate … “Glee — The Final Season” (2015) is a four-disc set with all 13 episodes, $29.98 from Fox … “Glee — The Complete Series “ (2009-15) is a 34 disc set, $99.98 from Fox … “Orange Is the New Black – Season Two” (2014) is a four-disc DVD and three-disc Blu-ray with all 13 episodes. Based on the best-selling memoir by Piper Kerman, the hugely popular dark comedy from “Weeds” creator Jenji Kohanis is a fierce and funny series that follows Piper Chapman when a crime she committed in her past sends her to an all-women’s prison with an unforgettable and irreverent group of fellow inmates. Shocking revelations and new arrivals shake up the lives and relationships of Litchfield’s prisoners in this highly anticipated second season. From Lionsgate … “Rogue: The Complete Second Season” (2014) is a three-disc set with 10 episodes. Undercover detective Grace Travis (Thandie Newton) crossed the line between right and wrong and her involvement with the city’s most powerful and dangerous crime family caused her to pay the ultimate price — the loss of her son. This season, she’s left undercover life behind to be a better mother to her daughter. She also has a new job as a handler for an FBI task force investigating corporate espionage in San Francisco. When her undercover operative goes missing, Grace is forced back into a world of lies and deceit, following a trail of dirty money and investigating four soldiers at the center of the drama. $29.98 from Entertainment One … “Welcome to Sweden: The Complete First Season” (2014) is a two-disc set with all 10 episodes, $34.98. Based on Greg Poehler’s true life story, the series follows a successful New York money manager to the stars, Bruce (Poehler) who falls in love with a Swedish girl, Emma (Josephine Bornebusch), and follows her back to her native Stockholm when she returns for a job. He gives up his clients and his lucrative career and wants to find some work he loves, even if he can’t earn what he did in the States, causing conflicts with Emma’s parents, who see him as a slacker. There’s plenty of culture-clash situations, misunderstandings, and mild satire as Bruce acclimates himself to a strange country, making for enjoyable if not laugh-out-loud viewing. It’s pleasant and charming but oh so predictable in its TV sit-com world of a “bumbling” male, hot girlfriend and overbearing mother-in-law-to-be; it’s kind of “Everybody Loves Raymond” transposed to Scandinavia. Still, it outshines most other network sitcoms in its honesty. Best part of the show — the lovely and talented Lena Olin as Emma’s mom. Guest stars include Amy Poehler, Will Ferrell, Aubrey Plaza and Gene Simmons. From Entertainment One.