Phil Villarreal's novel, Zeta Male, is available at Amazon.
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Here are the best recent home video releases:
Aliens: 30th Anniversary Edition
James Cameron's 1986 sci-fi epic -- one of the greatest sequels ever made -- gets a lavish Blu-ray set treatment, complete with a digital copy, set of production stills, deleted and extended scenes and a new featurette on the inspiration and design of the film. Sigourney Weaver delivers a commanding perofrmance as Ellen Ripley, the only person who wakes up after half a century of hypersleep to help a team of marines battle the alien menace.
Captain America: Civil War
A "Captain America" movie in name only, this is actually more of a third "Avengers" movie. Most of the roster -- sans Thor and Hulk -- return for a massive, exuberant throwdown. Extras include deleted and extended scenes, a gag reel, filmmaker commentary, a 46-minute making-of documentary and several background featurettes. Stunning special effects bolster passionate performances from Chis Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson and Paul Rudd. For my full review of the film, click here. If you want a digital copy of the movie you have to spring for the 3D combo pack rather than the basic Blu-ray.
The Conjuring 2
Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga star as Ed and Lorraine Warren, a ghostbusting married couple who travel to London to investigate and eradicate spirits in a haunted house. While the movie includes some satisfying jump scares, it's way too long and filled with sappy moments. For my full review of the film, click here. Extras in the Blu-ray/digital copy combo include a look at the real-life story that inspired the film, deleted scenes and multiple background featurettes that explore the sets, costumes and atmosphere.
The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum (Criterion)
Set in the mysterious world of 19th century Japanes kabuki theater, this dark, brooding tale from master filmmaker Kenji Mizoguchi tells the 1939 tale of a self-obsessed performer who enlists his wet nurse to his side as he navigates the politics and pitfalls of striving for stardom. The knockout Criterion Blu-ray adaptation makes the film shimmer with a fresh 4K transfer, and is bolstered by a tribute booklet with an essay from a film scholar, as well as an interview with a film critic about Mizoguchi's style. The subtitles also receive an updated translation to make the dialogue more conversational and authentic.
Night Train to Munich (Criterion)
This 1940 spy film is a breathless sprint through Prague, England and the Swiss Alps, as Nazi forces chase a Czech scientist and his daughter who seek to aid the Allies. Director Carol Reed employs elements that Alfred Hitchcock would later co-op, as he spins a masterful tale of suspense. Extras in the gorgeous Criterion Blu-ray set -- bolstered with a new 4K transfer -- include a conversation about Reed, his collaborators and the political climate in which the film was born, as well as a tribute booklet with a film scholar essay.
Transformers: The Movie: 30th Anniversary Edition
Making its Blu-ray debut, this choppy but nostalgia-drenched 1986 animated classic is still the "Transformers" flick of choice for many fans in their 30s and 40s. The likes of Leonard Nimoy, Judd Nelson, Peter Cullen and Casey Kasem lend their voice talents to tell the tale of a brutal war between the Autobots and Decepticons. Extras include a digital copy, filmmaker commentary and a making-of documentary.
Studios provided screeners for review.