- The Washington Times - Monday, June 13, 2016

Guilt alert to all, Father’s Day is this Sunday and here are a few last-minute gift suggestions for the dad who loves watching movies in his luxurious man cave.

American Sniper: The Chris Kyle Commemorative Edition (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, Rated R, $24.98, 133 minutes) — Director Clint Eastwood’s cinematic tribute to the life of the deadliest marksman in the history of American warfare returns to Blu-ray offering a bonus disc of content that further explores the man, his legacy and those who fight to keep the world safe.

Actor Bradley Cooper played Chris Kyle, who protected U.S. soldiers during four tours of duty during the Iraq war and managed to kill 255 enemies. Kyle then permanently returned home and tried to adjust to a life of simply being a husband and father.

He later was killed at a Texas shooting range while helping a veteran who was dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The multiple Academy Award-winning film features an excellent digital transfer (2.40:1-aspect ratio) highlighted by a firefight in a sandstorm, while the Dolby Atmos sound mix brings the sounds of war to life in an almost too-real way.

Best extras: In addition to the roughly hour’s worth of extras covering the making of the movie (found on the first disc), viewers get three additional featurettes on the second disc, for another 80 minutes of exposition on Kyle and the American soldier.

The first, narrated by Mr. Cooper, offers memories from Kyle’s friends, fellow warriors and his wife Tara to create a biographical portrait of a man nicknamed “The Legend.”

The next two pieces focus on the rousing history and importance of the Navy SEALS (narrated by Mr. Cooper) and a sobering look (narrated by Mr. Eastwood) at the soldiers returning home from battle and dealing with PTSD.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan – The Directors Cut (Paramount Home Entertainment, Not Rated, $22.98) — Arguably the best of the “Star Trek” movies starring the original crew of the Starship Enterprise, this high-def version offers director Nicholas Meyer’s vision of the film. He adds roughly 4 minutes, and it is beautifully remastered using a new 4K scan of the source material.

The machismo-loaded effort finds an older Capt. Kirk (William Shatner) and his Enterprise crew playing a cat-and-mouse game with archenemy Khan Noonien Singh (Ricardo Montalban) after he escapes with his team from Set Alpha 5 and commandeers a Federation starship.

The truly enjoyable digital transfer (2.39:1-aspect ratio) shines especially during the duel within the Mutara Nebula.

The story also features one of the most-famous, anguished screams in the history of cinema since Marlin Brando yelled “Stella.”

Best extras: An exhaustive collection of bonus content culled from the original Blu-ray release combines with a new, 28-minute retrospective of the film to give plenty of reasons to enjoy hours of additional viewing of the disc.

Older features include: a pair of optional commentary tracks with Mr. Meyer; a text track with Trek historians Michael and Denise Okuda; a look at “Star Trek” movie memorabilia; a dozen storyboarded sequences to peruse; and vintage interviews with Mr. Shatner, the late Montalban and the late Leonard Nimoy,

Also, the purest of geeks will love a visit to the Library Computer, shown while the film plays. It displays a seemingly endless list of facts onscreen culled from the Trek universe with entries covering everything from the planet Altair VI to the Vulcan “nerve pinch.”

By the way, for dads that have embraced the latest innovations in digital home theater experience, Paramount Home Entertainment also offers a pair of movies that are required viewing for any adopters of the 4K Ultra-High Definition format.

Specifically, director/producer J.J. Abrams’ fun and action-packed reboot of Gene Roddenberry’s science-fiction universe with “Star Trek” and “Star Trek: Into The Darkness” ($47.99 each, rated PG-13).

Both releases boast an absolutely eye-popping, too life-like digital transfer with 2160p resolution (8,294,400 pixels on screen at once) and a Dolby Atmos sound mix to aurally envelope home entertainment rooms.

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi (Paramount Home Entertainment, Rated R, $39.99, 144 minutes) – Director and producer Michael Bay took a break from blowing up Transformers to explore the tragic attack that took the life of J. Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, and three others on Sept. 11, 2012, by waves of inhuman Islamic militants.

A team primarily composed of six private military contractors, (former military special operations soldiers code-named Global Response Staff), were tasked with not only attempting to rescue Stevens and his staff at his compound in the middle of a firefight but return to their CIA base (nicknamed the Annex) to protect personnel from waves of subsequent attacks until help could arrive.

No matter a viewer’s politics on the current administration’s response to Benghazi, the movie is action-packed and will thrill as well as infuriate while watching the Herculean effort of soldiers responding to an impossible situation.

The digital transfer (2.40:1-aspect ratio) really impresses during the battle scenes. Especially noteworthy are the multiple nighttime assaults taking place across a fog-covered field called zombieland. As the soldiers sit perched atop roofs in the compound shooting, it’s like watching a first-person video game as they mow the enemy down.

“13 Hours” really delivers an intense tribute to these unsung heroes with nerves of steel who went beyond collecting a paycheck to save American lives.

Best extras: A 27-minute look at the real men of the GRS team and the actors playing them. Loaded with interviews, its focus eventually features a trio of the soldiers walking through the sets, reminiscing about their work and pinpointing the accuracy or inaccuracy of the production design.


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