DVD Releases for the week of April 25, 2021



STARTING THIS WEEK (New releases):

Frances McDormand in “Nomadland”

“NOMADLAND”: After just winning Oscars for best picture, director and actress, Chloe Zhao’s excellent drama boasts yet another engrossing performance by Frances McDormand — who claimed her third Academy Awards victory for best actress — as the principal “nomad” the title refers to, a woman who leaves her economically devastated Nevada town to travel the modern American West and experience whatever and whoever comes her way. Some of those she encounters also are nomads,with some of them played by people who actually live that lifestyle. David Strathairn also appears in the picture, of which McDormand is a producer as well. Though its exhibition coincided with the coronavirus pandemic, the picture fared well on the reconfigured film-festival circuit. **** (R: AS, N, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZ4o4jwSaHk

FAMILY VIEWING GUIDE KEY: AS, adult situations; N, nudity; P, profanity; V, violence; GV, particularly graphic violence.

“VANQUISH”: Her run as television’s “Batwoman” may be over, but Ruby Rose still sees more than her fair share of action in this melodrama, playing an ex-drug courier who believes she’s left her former profession behind. She’s pulled back in when a retired police official (Morgan Freeman) forces her into his campaign against mobsters by kidnapping her daughter … and if you don’t think she’ll eventually use the situation to even the score with him, think again. The film was directed and co-written by George Gallo, also the writer of “Midnight Run”; Patrick Muldoon also is featured, *** (R: AS, P, V) (Also o Blu-ray and On Demand)


“DIRTY DANCING”: If you’ve already had the time of your life with this immensely popular musical-drama, here’s a chance to do so for the first time in 4K Ultra HD, as the fim makes its debut in that format in a Steelbook edition. Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey already had paid professional dues for several years when the massive success of this 1987 release shot their careers skyward; he plays Johnny Castle, a dancer of questionable repute at a Catskills resort who finds himself in need of a new performing partner. Enter the thoroughly smitten Baby Houseman (Grey), vacationing at the site with her family when she steps up … and just steps, period, as Johnny teaches her the right moves. (And, of course, no one puts her in a corner.) Cynthia Rhodes, Jerry Orbach (“Law & Order”), Jack Weston and Kelly Bishop (“Gilmore Girls”) are among co-stars. Besides Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes’ Oscar-winning “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life,” the soundtrack also yielded hits in Eric Carmen’s “Hungry Eyes” and Swyze’s “She’s Like the Wind.”  *** (PG-13: AS, P)


“WANTED FOR MURDER/CAST A DARK SHADOW”: Two Brttish melodramas, featuring famous members of England’s acting scene before they attained the height of their fame, are paired in this offering. The first is a 1946 thriller with Eric Portman as a descendant of a serial killer … and unfortunately, certain habits run in the family; Stanley Holloway, later celebrated internationally for “My Fair Lady,” also appears. The second feature — directed by Lewis Gilbert, who would go on to make “Alfie” and several James Bond movies — was released in 1955 and stars Dirk Bogarde as a womanizer who literally has murder in mind for his wealthy wives. Margaret Lockwood plays his latest target, who turns the tables on him. *** (Not rated: AS, V)


“HISTORY KIDS: KAMALA HARRIS — FIRST FEMALE VICE PRESIDENT”: Though this documentary is aimed at a younger audience, its profile of the first woman to be a heartbeat away from the American presidency is good for all ages. Quizzes actually are built into the program, which traces Vice President Harris’ background in California politics and the multiple ways in which she made history upon being inaugurated along with President Joseph Biden last January. Those seeking news footage of the subject may be disappointed here, since more of a classroom approach is taken, but there’s still plenty of interesting information presented. ***  (Not rated)


“SAFER AT HOME”: For some viewers, it might be way too soon for a melodrama about the coronavirus pandemic … but for anyone wanting such a fim, here it is. The plot projects that the health crisis will last at least two years, snice that’s the point at which the tale’s friends unite online for a party that involves some pharmaceutical bolstering, The plan backfires, though, and they end up becoming more frightened within the confines of their own homes than they might be anywhere else. The cast includes Jocelyn Hudon (“When Calls the Heart”), Dan J. Johnson and Adwin Brown. ** (Not rated: AS  P, V)


COMING SOON (Upcoming releases):

“Judas and the Black Messiah”

“JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH” (May 4)

“HEMINGWAY: A FILM BY KEN BURNS & LYNN NOVICK” (May 4)

“THE LITTLE THINGS” (May 4)

“SPEED” (4K Ultra HD) (May 4)

“RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON” (May 18)

“STAR TREK: LOWER DECKS — SEASON ONE” (May 18)

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

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