DVD Releases for the week of August 22, 2021

STARTING THIS WEEK (New releases):

Vera Farmiga in “The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It”

“THE CONJURING: THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT”: The horror franchise continues, with Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga reprising the roles of Ed and Lorraine Warren, the real-life paranormal sleuths who become party to the first U.S. murder trial ever to claim demonic possession as a defense. A man (Ruairi O’Connor) who fatally stabbed his landlord maintains that he was under a satanic influence at the time of the killing, leading the Warrens to investigate a similar murder — and putting themselves in a position for a related tragedy possibly to happen to them. Other veterans of the “Conjuring” creative team, including co-star Sterling Jerins and “The Curse of La Llorona” director Michael Chaves, also returned for this chapter; John Noble (“Fringe”) and Sarah Catherine Hook also appear. DVD extra: “making-of” documentary. *** (R: AS,P, V) (Also on Blu-ray, 4K Ultra HD, Digital and On Demand)

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

“PETER RABBIT 2: THE RUNAWAY”: Voiced again by James Corden, Beatrix Potter’s long-familiar title character returns in computer-animated form in this enjoyable sequel that merges that technique with live action. Peter isn’t happy with the way his trademark mischief will be depicted in a strategy to market Bea’s (Rose Byrne, also back from the first film) storybooks that feature him, but he has bigger problems when runs into trouble after — as the title suggests — running away. Fellow returnees Domnhall Gleeson and Sam Neill are members of the human cast as well as David Oyelowo, with Margot Robbie, Elizabeth Debicki, Lennie James, Hayley Atwell and singer Sia also supplying voices. DVD extras: “making-of” documentary; “Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle’s Wee Little Kitchen”; two “Bea’s Crafting Corner” featurettes. *** (PG: AS) (Also on Blu-ray, 4K Ultra HD, Digital and On Demand)

“LANSKY”: Those versed in the history of mobsters likely will recognize the name that gives this drama its title. Harvey Keitel stars as Meyer Lansky, who reflects on his life in the underworld through flashbacks (with John Magaro as a younger incarnation of Lansky) while federal agents grill him about the fortune they believe he hid away during his years of criminal activity. Murder, Inc. — the criminal organization Lansky is believed to have founded with Bugsy Siegel (played by David Cade) — is among the aspects considered here. The picture’s tight schedule enabled the filming to be finished last year just before the coronavirus pandemic shut down virtually all production; the cast also includes Sam Worthington, AnnaSophia Robb, Jackie Cruz (“Orange Is the New Black”), Minka Kelly and David James Elliott (“JAG”). *** (R: AS, P, GV) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“THE OH, GOD! COLLECTION”: Comedy icon George Burns had made the occasional movie appearance over a  career largely based in radio, television and nightclub work, but it took getting to his twilight years for him to become a genuine film star … winning an Oscar for the screen version of Neil Simon’s “The Sunshine Boys,” then appearing as an unlikely representation of the Deity in the three films gathered here on Blu-ray. Directed by Carl Reiner, the first definitely is the best, as John Denver also stars as a grocery-store manager selected to be God’s messenger to the world … but he can’t even convince his own family of his situation, “Oh. God! Book II” and “Oh, God! You Devil” also are included, and of the extra features, fans of TV nostalgia are likely to have special appreciation of an “Oh, God!”-promoting broadcast of “The Tonight Show” guest-hosted by Denver and an episode of “The Jack Benny Program” featuring Burns. Among other stars of the pictures are Teri Garr, Donald Pleasence, Suzanne Pleshette and Ron Silver. *** (PG: AS, P)

“CHICAGO FIRE: SEASON NINE”: Though the filmed-on-location, Dick Wolf-produced NBC drama had its most recent year compressed because of the coronavirus pandemic, it still managed to pack in a lot of developments for its regular characters. As Casey (Jesse Spencer) tries to cope with the effects of a head injury that might prove career-ending, the mutually deepening attraction between him and Brett (Kara Killmer) causes some workplace strife. Kidd (Miranda Rae Mayo) fears losing Severide’s (Taylor Kinney) support as she pursues a promotion, and in a particularly intense episode, Herrmann and Cruz (David Eigenberg, Joe Minoso) are among those trapped in a freight elevator as a blaze rages around them. As traditionally does, the show crossed over with “Chicago Med” and “Chicago P.D.” during the season; Eamonn Walker and Christian Stolte also star. *** (Not rated: AS, P, V)

“NCIS: LOS ANGELES: THE TWELFTH SEASON”: As it turned out, this round of the CBS drama series offered the final looks (at least on a regular basis) at two longtime characters — Eric Beale and Nell Jones, since portrayers Barrett Foa and Renee Felice Smith left the show with the concluding episode. Conversely, the stories set up television veteran Gerald McRaney to become a full-fledged cast member next season via his guest appearances here. Daniela Ruah, alias the show’s Kensi Blye, made her directorial debut with a story that sees Callen (Chris O’Donnell) suspected of being a Russian operative … and speaking of foreign agents, the season also features the return of Bar Paly as Callen’s ex-girlfriend Anna, whose presence almost always ensures trouble for him. LL Cool J and Eric Christian Olsen also star, and while Linda Hunt’s Hetty still factors in here, it’s expected that she’ll have a bigger presence in the show next season. *** (Not rated: AS, P, V)

COMING SOON (Upcoming releases):

“IN THE HEIGHTS” (Aug. 31)




“BLACK WIDOW” (Sept. 14)


“In the Heights”

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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