Top Gun: Maverick (Paramount, Blu-ray or DVD, PG-13, 130 min.). Tom Cruise is all over this sequel to 1986’s “Top Gun,” directed by the late Tony Scott. Cruise not only plays Pete “Maverick” Mitchell again, but he also choreographed the flying sequences, helped his fellow actors in flying lessons and flies his own P-51 Mustang in the film.

The time is 30 years after the first film, with Maverick still a Navy pilot, but one who has only made captain and is now testing the Darkstar, a new hypersonic aircraft that is supposed to reach Mach 10 (a speed never reached in reality). He gets the call from Rear Adm. Chester “Hammer” Cain (Ed Harris) to report to Adm. Beau “Cyclone” Simpson (Jon Hamm) as he is to become a TOPGUN instructor of a group of 12 pilots, six of whom will be used in a nearly impossible combat mission to destroy a uranium production plant that is nestled in a canyon and surrounded by anti-aircraft rocket launchers – and all to be accomplished in less than three weeks.

Among the pilots to be trained is Lt. Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw (Miles Teller), the son of Maverick’s former flying partner “Goose,” whose death still haunts him. Beyond his father’s death, Rooster has another reason to hate Maverick, who has always tried to be protective of him. Another of the pilots is a cocky Lt. Jake “Hangman” Seresin (Glen Powell), filling the type of role Val Kilmer played as Iceman in the first film.

Actually, Iceman is still around, now an admiral with an apparent fatal disease, but he is the one who insisted that Maverick be the one to train the pilots, much to Cyclone’s dismay. This time, Maverick is more temperate when it comes to women, if not with regards to flying. He does reconnect with barkeep Penny Benjamin (Jennifer Connelly), a new character, but one mentioned in the first film. Other ties to the previous film are the introductory aircraft plane launchings that open the film, the sounds of Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone,” Maverick wearing his famous jacket while riding his motorcycle and many mini flashbacks to Goose’s story. This film substitutes shirtless beach football for the first’s shirtless beach volleyball. Cruise’s physique still holds up.

In some ways, I found the earlier film to be better over the first part, but nothing can top the actual mission flying in this film. With as many as six cameras inside the F-18 cockpits with the actors, the viewer feels like they are along for the ride. The flying is outstanding too, and the mission twists are both exciting and gratifying. All-in-all, Cruise, director Joseph Kosinski (“Tron: Legacy”) and crew, including cinematographer Claudio Miranda, have done an amazing job.

The solid extras include a very interesting look at the actors’ actual pilot training (9:15), a behind-the-scenes look at how the flight photography was accomplished (7:56), a look at Cruise’s passion for aviation and flying his P-51 (4:48) and creating the Darkstar with the Skunk Works division of Lockheed Martine (7:31). There also are two music videos: Lady Gaga’s “Hold My Hand” (3:52) and OneRepublic’s “I Ain’t Worried” (2:37). Grade: film 4 stars; extras 3 stars

Rating guide: 5 stars = classic; 4 stars = excellent; 3 stars = good; 2 stars = fair; dog = skip it

The Bat: Special Edition (1959, The Film Detective, Blu-ray, NR, 80 min.). Despite the film’s name and the presence of Vincent Price in the cast, this is not a horror film, but rather a murder mystery. Agnes Moorehead plays mystery writer Cornelia van Gorder, who rents The Oaks mansion. At the same time, the police are hunting a serial killer they call The Bat, due to how he kills. Additionally, the local bank has been robbed of $1 million in securities, taken, as it turns out, by bank officer John Fleming (Harvey Stephens), who confesses to the crime to Dr. Malcolm Wells (Price) during their hunting trip.

Fleming has the idea that Wells should pretend Fleming died and be paid $500,000, as Wells also is the coroner. Wells decides he would rather have it all but is unsure where Fleming has hidden the securities. Fleming’s son Mark (John Bryant) is the one who rented The Oaks to van Gorder. It is suspected that the securities are hidden in the mansion and Mark knows where the building’s blueprints are.

Naturally, more deaths follow, and the film does an equal job of casting suspicion on Wells and Police Lt. Andy Anderson (Gavin Gordon), although van Gorder’s chauffeur/butler Warner (John Sutton) may have a sketchy past.

The film is based on a 1900 play and is the fourth version to reach the screen. Extras include audio commentary and a companion essay on original author Mary Roberts Rinehart by film scholar Jason A. Ney; a featurette on director-writer Crane Wilbur’s career, who also was a silent film star and appeared in “The Perils of Pauline” (22:24); and nine classic radio episodes from 1943 to 1956, featuring Price, including one with his alternate take on “Cinderella” (29 min. each). Grade: film 3 stars; extras 3.5 stars

Monsieur Hire (France, 1989, Cohen Film Collection, Blu-ray, PG-13, 79 min.). This the first of three films by director Patrice Leconte released by Cohen. In this film, the title man (Michel Blanc) is cold, unliked by his neighbors and therefore the prime suspect when a young woman is found murdered near his apartment and someone was seen running afterwards towards his building. Hire is not the killer, but he has a kind of creepy fascination with a younger neighbor woman (Sandrine Bonnaire as Alice), whose apartment is opposite his and whom he often watches, even when she is with her fiancé Emile (Luk Thuillier). The investigating officer is played by Andre Wilms.

During a lightning storm, Alice finally discovers Hire staring at her, but unexpectedly she becomes the aggressor in their new quasi-relationship, which becomes very erotic at times, magnified by Hire’s controlled desire and sparking while both are attending a boxing match, the same match Emile attends with a buddy.

The film, based on the Georges Simenon book “Mr. Hire’s Engagement,” has quite the ending. There is some sense of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rear Window” to it, as mentions Bonnaire in her new interview, comingled with Leconte’s new interview (38:41). Leconte said he always wanted to remake “Panique” (1946), not realizing it was based on Simenon’s novel. There also is audio commentary by critic Wade Major. Grade: film 3.5 stars; extras 2.75 stars

Felix and Lola/Love Street (France, 2001/2002, Cohen Film Collection, NR, 92/90 min.). This release contains two more of Patrice Leconte’s films. In the first film, Felix (Philippe Torreton) is a carnival bumper car operator, who one day falls under the spell of an apparently lonely rider (Charlotte Gainsbourg as Lola). He hires her to help out and they soon are having an affair. Lola acknowledges that people say she looks sad. A couple of times, Lola receives a gift of a harmonica from a singer (Alain Bashung), with whom she claims to have had a daughter that he is now preventing her from seeing.

The film opens with a scene involving the singer and Felix, which halfway through the film you realize was meant to be a flashforward. At one point, the film goes back and forth many times between Felix and Lola when they are separate. A nicely filmed scene shows the two together on a rollercoaster and gives the viewer the sense of being on the ride too.

The even better “Love Street” is the story of Petit Louis (Patrick Timsit) and Marion (Laetitia Casta), as told by a trio of prostitutes as they wait on the street under umbrellas during a rainstorm. The story takes place a short time earlier in 1945 Paris, when the brothels were ordered shut by the government. Louis was born and raised in the Oriental Palace brothel, where he became the handyman. He always felt there would be one special woman he would take care of, and that becomes Marion, whom he absolutely loves but does not expect his love to be returned. So, for Marion’s happiness, he tries to find her the perfect man. Unfortunately, he decides that is Dimitri (Vincent Elbaz), who turns out to be a gambler, a black-market dabbler and a target of The Romanian.

The film, with cinematography by Eduardo Serra, makes wonderful use of lighting, such as on the Palace’s women when all are gathered around, and in the orange-tinged forest scenes when the black marketeers meet.

Both films have an audio commentary by critic Wade Major. Grade: Felix and Lola 3 stars; Love Street 3.5 stars; extras 2.5 stars

Tom Von Malder of Owls Head has reviewed music since 1972, just after graduation from Northwest-ern University’s Medill School of Journalism. He has reviewed videos/DVDs since 1988.

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