The dog days of summer have yet to give way to the rich fall home entertainment harvest, but there are some offerings of interest including a kid-friendly, animated Batman Unlimited feature, plus the first wave of releases from major TV shows like the fantasy series Once Upon a Time and Atlantis, plus The Blacklist, and a trio of NCIS offerings, as well as a new consolidated edition of the compelling Future Diary anime series with its intriguing teenage battle royale that puts The Hunger Games to shame.
Otherwise there is a real dearth of interesting releases. Little Boy (Universal, PG-13, 100 min., $29.98, BD $34.98), is a heartwarming World War II film about a little boy who will do anything to see his father return home from the conflict. This faith-based fable was way too treacly for the critics who gave it only an 18% positive rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.
For those who enjoy flagrant exhibitions of class privilege there is The Riot Club (MPI, “R,” 107 min., $24.98), an over-the-top expose of the excesses of a bunch of privileged English toffs, who are so far beyond “spoiled” that it makes one suspect the whole thing is a bit overdone.
But perhaps the best bet for foreign film fans is the Swedish movie The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared (Music Box, “R,” 115 min., $29.98, BD $34.98), a zany Zelig-like movie whose protagonist blows things up as he makes his way through the violent 20th Century in this black comedy in which the contemporary sequences with the hero in his dotage are even better than the flashbacks.
This week’s other movie release of interest is the dramedy 5-7 (MPI, “R,” 97 min., $24.98), which follows the romantic misadventures of a young man (Anton Yelchin from Star Trek), who falls in love with a beautiful married French Woman (Berenice Marlohe), who can only meet with him from five to seven in the afternoon. Though 5-7 doesn’t manage to avoid all the romcom clichés, it did earn a strong 67% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the same score earned by The 100-Year-Old Man.
TV on DVD
Other contemporary series out this week include the James Spader-starring NBC crime drama The Blacklist: The Complete 2nd Season (Sony, $65.99, BD $75.99), the long-running medical soaper Grey’s Anatomy: The Complete 11th Season (Disney, 1032 min., $45.99), the CBS sitcom Mike & Molly: The Complete 5th Season (Warner Bros., $39.98), the popular CBS procedural starring Mark Harmon NCIS: The Complete 12th Season (Paramount, 1030 min., $55.98), its spin-off NCIS: Los Angeles-The Complete 6th Season (Paramount, 1027 min., $55.98), and the inaugural season of its other spin-off NCIS: New Orleans (Paramount, 959 min., $55.98—no word yet on when the long-gestating NCIS: Loganville will debut), the E Network drama The Royals: Season 1 (Lionsgate, $39.98), and the Canadian-produced police drama Rookie Blue: Season 5-Vol.1 (eOne, 473 min., $39.98).
This week’s only animated offering is a good one if you like the hyperactive, anime-influenced Teen Titans Go! Season 2, Part 2 (Warner Bros., 286 min., $19.97).
There are a few vintage TV releases with serious geek cred including the sampler volumes, Dark Shadows: The Best of Angelique (MPI, 200 min., $14.98) and Dark Shadows: The Best of Quentin (MPI, 210 min., $14.98), plus the Nick Adams-starring 1950s “Reconstruction Era Beatnik Western” The Rebel: The Complete Series (Shout Factory, 1950 min., $59.97), and the final season of the classic 1970s sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter: The Complete 4th Season (Shout Factory, 540 min., $29.93).
There is nothing new to North America this week, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t releases of interest. The Future Diary Complete Collection (Funimation, 650 min., BD/DVD Combo $69.98) collects all 26 episodes of the interesting techno/battle royale anime produced by Asread in 2011-2012 and previously released here in 2013 in two parts, each one of which had an MSRP close to that of the new Complete Collection. Part 2 of the original Future Diary release is selling for well above list on Amazon ($299), so there is interest in this adaptation of the manga series by Sakae Esuno about a teen who is forced into a battle royale with 11 other people, each of whom has a diary that predicts certain aspects of the future. Each contestant has 90 days to find and kill the other 11 so that the last one standing can prevent the Apocalypse.
Of equal interest is the Hayate the Combat Butler: Season 1 (Sentai Filmworks, 1300 min., Subtitles Only, $79.98, BD $99.98), which contains all 52-episodes of the 2007-2008 series based on the bestselling comedy manga series by Kenjiro Hata. Bandai released this series back in the day, but now the entire 52 episodes are available in this convenient format.