Phil Villarreal's novel, Zeta Male, is available at Amazon.
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Here are the best recent home video releases:
Alice: Through the Looking Glass
Director James Bobin takes the series over from Tim Burton, with most of the cast from the 2010 movie returning. Bobin maintains Burton's wildly creative vision of the Lewis Carroll fiction, sending Alice (Mia Wasikowska) on a breathless adventure through time, as she seeks to lift the spirits of the wily Mad Hatter (Johny Depp), the cantankerous Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter) and the ethereal White Queen (Anne Hathaway), as she takes tangles with the villainous Time (Sacha Baron Cohen). The out-there story isn't as easy to connect with as the original, but still provides thrills for children and adults alike. The Blu-ray/DVD/digital copy combo includes a wonderland of extras, including background featurettes, deleted scenes and Bobin's commentary.
Doc McStuffins: Toy Hospital
This 142-minute anthology packs in several episodes of the popular Disney Jr. show about the creative daughter of a doctor who operates a clinic for her toys. The connecting theme through several episodes is the way Doc (voiced by Laya DeLeon Hayes) adapts to her family's adoption of a new baby. Subtly educational while whimsically entertaining, the show is an apt fit for early elementary school kids.
Ice Age: Collision Course
Rounding up the voice cast of Ray Romano, Denis Leary, John Leguizamo and Wanda Sykes, the series maintains its momentum by pitting the band of prehistoric creatures against an asteroid capable of wiping out life on the planet. The gang's ludicrous antics are as entertaining as ever, showing that "Ice Age" films show no sign of slowing down. Extras in the Blu-ray/DVD/digital combo include several making-of featurettes, a concept art gallery and a short film starring fan favorite Scrat.
The Night Of
HBO's intense limited series is a deep dive into a muddy New York City murder case. Riz Ahmed stars as a man whose hookup ends with him waking up covered in blood, seemingly having stabbed a woman to death. John Leguizamo plays his dogged, emotionally troubled lawyer who is obsessed with proving he was framed. Creatively shot and written with blazing intensity, the drama is one of the premium network's many 2016 high points. The Blu-ray includes a digital copy.
Pan's Labyrinth: The Criterion Collection
Visionary director Guillermo del Toro reached his defining moment in this 2006 fable, which recalls the likes of "Labyrinth" and "The Dark Crystal." A girl struggling through life with a cruel stepfather and ailing mother turns to a fantasy world to cope, following advice from a fawn who tells her she is really a princess who must complete several tasks to fulfill her destiny. Dark and visually resplendent, the film is haunting on many levels. Extras include a tribute booklet, motion comics, interactive storyboards and making-of featurettes.
Short Cuts: The Criterion Collection
For my money, this was Robert Altman's greatest film. A superb ensemble cast (Tim Robbins, Julianne Moore, Robert Downey, Jr. and Jennifer Jason Leigh) collaborates to tell a tale of loosely related characters struggling to make their way through life in Los Angeles. Masterfully restoring the original 1993 print to look better than it ever has on home video, the film is buttressed with a tribute booklet, archival interviews with Altman, a feature-length documentary on the making of the film, deleted scenes and a PBS bipoic on author Raymond Carver, whose writing inspired the movie.
Maintaining the franchise's renaissance after the 2011 reboot "X-Men: First Class," the setting moves to the 1980s, when Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) begins to collaborate and clash with his fated nemesis, Magneto (Michael Fassbender), recruiting and training other mutants to face down a megalomaniacal villain obsessed with taking over the world. Dazzling action scenes, a strong cast and a show-stopping time-freezing sequence distinguish the movie. Extras in the Blu-ray/DVD/digital copy combo include filmmaker commentary, deleted and extended scenes, a photo gallery and gag reel.