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‘Transformers,’ ’47 Meters Down’ are on Blu-ray, DVD, streaming sites

POSTED: September 30, 2017 10:20 a.m.
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New movies released on Blu-ray, DVD and the usual streaming sites this week include the latest Transformers flick, a new killer-shark thriller and the true story of early 20th-century adventurer Gertrude Bell.

“Transformers: The Last Knight” (Paramount, 2017, PG-13, featurettes). Believe it or not, this entry in the popular film series begins with a sequence in A.D. 484 that has King Arthur in battle and Merlin calling upon Transformers for help, which leads to an alien staff that will later figure in the modern-day robot wars. Or something like that.

Michael Bay is once again behind the camera for this jittery second effort in the sequel trilogy of this franchise (the fifth film overall), with Mark Wahlberg, Josh Duhamel and John Turturro returning, and Anthony Hopkins coming onboard. Despite low marks from critics and a contingent of fans, this entry was another worldwide box-office smash.

“47 Meters Down” (Anchor Bay, 2017, PG-13, audio commentary, featurette). Two vacationing sisters (Mandy Moore, Claire Holt) pay to observe sharks while locked in an underwater cage, but when the winch breaks and they drop to the ocean floor, one shark decides it’s feeding time. It includes lots of screaming and crying and an unsatisfying twist ending. Former Utahn Matthew Modine co-stars.

“Queen of the Desert” (Shout!, 2017, PG-13). Filmmaker Werner Herzog (“Nosferatu, the Vampyre,” “Fitzcarraldo”) departs from the documentary field for this epic adventure based on the true story of Gertrude Bell (Nicole Kidman, who is excellent), who leaves 1890s England for Tehran and becomes a sort of female “Lawrence of Arabia” figure as an explorer, archaeologist, cartographer and writer. But the film is a bit of slog and isn’t helped by James Franco’s affected performance. Robert Pattinson and Damian Lewis fare better.

“Heritage Falls” (Monarch, 2017, not rated/probable PG). This easygoing, straight-to-video, family-friendly comedy-drama is about a retiring basketball coach (David Keith) who is closer to the high school kids he has trained than his bookish, aspiring-writer adult son, whose own son is also blazing his own trail in music. So the coach takes both to his remote cabin to bond, the same place where he has put his teams through some grueling paces.

“Mune: Guardian of the Moon” (Universal, 2017, PG, in French with English subtitles or dubbed in English, featurettes, trailer). This French animated fantasy tells of a world where harmony is preserved and the sun and moon only shine through the efforts of creatures called the Guardians. But Little Mune, who is chosen as the new Guardian of the Moon, faces a serious challenge when a former Guardian steals the sun. The English-language voice cast includes Rob Lowe, Christian Slater, Patton Oswalt, Ed Helms and Jeff Dunham.

“3 Idiotas (3 Idiots)” (Lionsgate, 2017, PG-13, in Spanish with English subtitles). Three nerds, fast friends on track to earn engineering degrees in college, gain a reputation as troublemaking clowns. When one of them disappears on graduation day, the other two go on a road trip to find him. This Mexican coming-of-age comedy, which is laced with vulgar gags, is a remake of a 2009 Indian film.

“2:22” (Magnet, 2017, PG-13, featurettes, trailer). This one’s a muddled sci-fi thriller about an air-traffic controller who is nearly responsible for a midair collision due to something that happened at 2:22 p.m. on that fateful day. Over the next week, he begins to see repetitious patterns, always at the same time of day. What does it all mean? Michiel Huisman and Teresa Palmer star.

“L.O.R.D.: Legend of Ravaging Dynasties” (Lionsgate, 2017, not rated/probable PG-13). Motion-capture, computer-animated Chinese martial-arts fantasy set in an ancient world of magic and monsters, where mystical lords strive to save their kingdom, which is under attack by supernatural warriors.

“Bite Size” (Film Movement, 2017, not rated, featurettes).

“Documented” (Film Movement, 2017, not rated, featurettes).

“In Country” (Film Movement, 2017, not rated).

“Sign Painters” (Film Movement, 2017, not rated). These four features (the first in a partnership between the releasing agency Film Movement and the documentary-production company Bond/360) offer a range of subjects for documentary fans: “Bite Size” is a family-friendly investigation of childhood obesity in America; “Documented” follows Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, an undocumented immigrant and activist for immigration reform; “In Country” is about a group of combat enthusiasts who re-enact the Vietnam War in the woods of Oregon; and “Sign Painters” looks at counter-cultural painters creating signs for businesses in the face of a changing economic model.

“Encirclement” (IndiePix, 2008, not rated, b/w, in French with English subtitles).

“Oncle Bernard” (IndiePix, 2015, not rated, b/w, in French with English subtitles). These two documentaries come from Canadian filmmaker Richard Brouillete, who filmed “Encirclement” over 12 years to better understand the spread of neo-liberalism throughout the world, from privatization to deregulation. “Oncle Bernard,” which Brouillete describes as a “counter lesson in economics,” was conceived after one of his “Encirclement” subjects, economist Bernard Maris, was killed in the Charlie Hebdo shooting in 2015, prompting the filmmaker to revisit an interview he recorded in 2000.
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