New DVD releases look at family discord in Iran, Vietnam War, chimps’ fragile existence.
This week, we begin in Iran:
Rated PG-13, 123 minutes.
Available Tuesday on DVD.
This intense Iranian family drama deserved its Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.
Writer-director Asghar Farhadi examines the intricate and often sticky parameters of Iranian divorce laws, focusing his cameras on Simin (Leila Hatami), a strong-willed woman who seeks a divorce because her husband, Nader (Peyman Moadi), neglects her to care for a father falling into dementia. But divorce is not easily accomplished, as laws combine with religion and strict social mores to thwart a separation.
Simin painfully learns from rigid governmental officials how few her options are. Meanwhile, Farhadi creates various other subplots to render a complex narrative.
The disc, in all formats, includes commentary with the director, the 31-minute onstage interview “An Evening With Asghar Farhadi,” and eight minutes with Farhadi in “Birth of a Director.”
Full Metal Jacket — 25th Anniversary (****1/2) Stanley Kubrick’s brilliant anti-war treatise is being released in a special Blu-ray package for its 25th anniversary. The remastered jewel accentuates the bright colors and shimmering interiors of Douglas Milsome’s stunning photography.
Matthew Modine stars as the novice soldier who goes through boot camp and then on to fight in the Vietnam War. The film’s second half takes place more or less on the battlefield as Kubrick delivers a scathing examination of wartime activities.
Rated R, 117 minutes. The new two-disc set comes with a 48-page booklet, complete with several articles. Supplements include commentary from a quartet of participants, the 31-minute featurette “Full Metal Jacket: Between Good and Evil,” and the new-to-DVD, hour-long documentary “Stanley Kubrick’s Boxes.”
Chimpanzee (***1/2) Tim Allen narrates this latest engaging feature from Disneynature. The film crew led by Martyn Colbeck and Bill Wallauer follows the seemingly innocent life of young chimp Oscar as he frolics with his mother and fellow creatures. But tragedy hits in the form of an attack by another group of chimps, leaving Oscar orphaned.
He struggles but eventually survives and then thrives when adopted by another alpha male. Touching but not trite, and expertly assembled by the Disney team.
Rated G, 78 minutes. The DVD, in all formats and various combo packs, offers a variety of materials, including featurettes on the “See Chimpanzees, Save Chimpanzees” conservation program and “Disney’s Friends for Change.” The Blu-ray also offers seven additional “making of” featurettes, such as “30 Years in the Making” (about the famous team of chimp researchers), “The Heart of the Chimpanzee,” and more. Plus: a music video and a “making of” featurette on the music video.
Kids might enjoy something from a flavorful assortment of offerings from Walt Disney Studios this week:
The Rescuers — 35th Anniversary Edition, The Rescuers Down Under Disney has packaged two favorites for their Blu-ray and HD digital debuts. Follow two intrepid mice, Bernard (voiced by Bob Newhart) and Bianca (Eva Gabor), as they embark on two adventures, traversing the Devil’s Bayou and exploring the Australian Outback, all while avoiding chasing hordes.
Both are rated G and run around 78 minutes. The set comes in all formats and various combo packs that include various supplements on each, so check labels. Included are a sing-along feature, a deleted song, an animated short feature, a “making of” featurette, a Disney True Life Adventure documentary and more.
The Tigger Movie Now in a new Blu-ray edition, this film focuses on A.A. Milne’s striped creation in the Hundred Acre Wood. Tigger (voiced by Jim Cummings) attempts to locate other Tiggers in his family, and friends Pooh, Eeyore, Rabbit and Piglet join in the quest.
Rated G, 77 minutes. This new release offers the “Disney Intermission” feature, a featurette with director Jun Falkenstein and others discussing Tigger and his literary legacy, 10 “Winnie the Pooh” shorts, a sing-along segment, a music video and more.
The Aristocats In this Disney classic, featuring songs by the legendary Sherman brothers, Parisian cat Duchess (voiced by Eva Gabor) and her three kittens inherit a fortune only to have a scheming family butler try to steal it. A street-wise tomcat (Phil Harris) saves the day but only after big adventures for everyone.
Rated G, 79 minutes. This new arrival, available in all formats and Blu-ray, includes a deleted song, a segment on the Shermans, additional songs, music videos and more.
The Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp’s Adventure — Special Edition In this Blu-ray debut, that sneaky puppy Scamp (voiced by Scott Wolf) heads off for his own risky venture. He wants to be free of his pesky parents, so he escapes and joins a rough group of junkyard dogs.
Rated G, 69 minutes. The disc, in all formats and combo packs, contains commentary, a “making of” featurette, a sing-along song, Pluto animated shorts, a puppy trivia track and more.
And, finally, from this week’s TV arrivals:
The Closer — The Complete Seventh and Final Season Cable TV’s most popular show arrives on DVD in record time after its Aug. 13 finale. In an eventful ending season, Emmy winner Kyra Sedgwick finishes her stellar run as Detective Brenda Leigh Johnson, the head of the Los Angeles Police Department’s major crimes division.
After dealing with her sick father, as well as battling lawsuits and a particularly annoying suspect who has managed to remain free, Johnson seems to have a chance to settle scores before finally leaving. But maybe not, showing that this series made its departure still filled with surprises.
Not rated, 892 minutes. The collection of 21 episodes on five discs also offers a five-minute gag reel, unaired scenes, two music videos, and an entertaining 44-minute roundtable with cast and crew.
Mike and Molly — Season Two The 23 episodes of the sophomore season of this breakout series feature such highlights as Molly (Emmy winner Melissa McCarthy) making wedding plans while Mike (Billy Gardell) takes a lackadaisical approach to the coming event — the climax of the season. With Reno Wilson, Katy Mixon, Louis Mustillo and Cleo King.
Not rated, 462 minutes. The set, on three discs, also includes a six-minute gag reel and the 13-minute featurette “Mike and Molly’s Wedding,” a behind-the-scenes look at the season’s big finale.
Revenge — The Complete First Season This new ABC hit starred Emily VanCamp as Emily Thorne, a dangerous young woman seeking revenge throughout these initial 22 episodes, now on five discs.
In the luxurious surroundings of the Hamptons, Emily plots against Victoria (a snarling Madeleine Stowe), the woman she believes destroyed her family. But creator Mike Kelley delivered plenty of surprises in this exciting and promising first season.
Rated TV-PG LSV, 946 minutes. The bounteous supplements include commentary, two music videos, three minutes of bloopers and about 30 deleted scenes. Plus: four featurettes totaling around 35 minutes go “behind the scenes,” including a roundtable with cast and crew, a tour of
the Hamptons with Ashley Davenport, and a segment on the show’s glamorous fashions.
Also available Tuesday on DVD: Bernie, The Dictator, Freelancers, Hit and Miss, House — Season Eight.