DVD Releases for the week of December 5, 2021

STARTING THIS WEEK (New releases):

Clint Eastwood in “Cry Macho”

“CRY MACHO”: Still going strong on both sides of the camera, Clint Eastwood is director and star of this drama that merges themes from a number of his earlier films, though it’s based on a novel by N. Richard Nash (who is credited with co-writing the screenplay, though he died in 2000). Set in the late 1970s, the tale casts the screen icon as a former rodeo star who agrees to retrieve a former employer’s (Dwight Yoakam) son (Eduardo Minett) and bring the youngster back to Texas from Mexico. The trek has some unforeseen twists that ultimately bring the elder man a reckoning with his past as well as his present. The picture’s release this year has extra significance since it marks the 50th anniversary of Eastwood’s association with Warner Bros., which basically has been his home studio since “Dirty Harry.” DVD extra: “making-of” documentary. *** (PG-13: AS, P) (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.

“DEAR EVAN HANSEN”: The Tony Award-winning stage musical — which is about to return to Broadway — is brought to film, with Ben Platt (whose father Marc is one of the picture’s producers) reprising the title role of a student desperate to find his place in contemporary society … prompting his therapist to advise him to write letters to himself that address his anxieties. He doesn’t foresee the results of that exercise, which ultimately have impacts on many other people as well. The fine cast also includes Julianne Moore, Amy Adams, Kaitlyn Dever, Amandla Stenberg, Colton Ryan and Danny Pino. The music and lyrics are by the award-winning team of Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (“La La Land”), who made some changes to the song lineup for this version, and Steven Levenson adapted his own book of the play for the script. DVD extras: three “making-of” documentaries. *** (PG-13: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray, Digital and On Demand)

“WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT”: A long-prized merging of live-action and animation makes its way to the 4K Ultra HD format, as this Robert Zemeckis-directed Disney-Amblin classic (and technical wonder) takes a shabby 1940s private eye (played by Bob Hoskins) into Toontown, where he investigates the murder of a corporate titan … allegedly by cartoon star Roger Rabbit (voiced by Charles Fleischer, who also contributes several other character voices here), whose alluring wife Jessica (speaking voice of Kathleen Turner, singing voice of Amy Irving) supposedly had been dallying with the victim. Christopher Lloyd — who also worked with Zemeckis on the “Back to the Future” series — portrays the appropriately named villain Judge Doom, with Stubby Kaye and Joanna Cassidy also in the human cast. Cartoon-voice veterans Mel Blanc, June Foray and (as Betty Boop) Mae Questel also are heard. The bonus features include the several “Roger Rabbit” short subjects that were made after this film became one of the box-office blockbusters of 1988. **** (PG: AS, V)

“THE KARATE KID COLLECTION”: Ralph Macchio had a fairly solid acting resume, encompassing television’s “Eight is Enough” and the movie “The Outsiders,” before he started the franchise that made him a genuine star. This set offers his three films in the series in 4K Ultra HD for the first time as he plays Daniel, a newcomer to a California town where the only way to deal with those bullying him is to learn martial arts and meet them on their own turf. His mentor is his apartment building’s handyman, Mr. Miyagi (an excellent Noriyuki “Pat” Morita, who earned an Oscar nomination for the first movie). Elisabeth Shue plays Daniel’s school crush in the original movie, and co-stars William Zabka and Martin Kove have accompanied Macchio into the current streaming series that serves as a sequel to the films, “Cobra Kai.” Among new special features are deleted scenes from the first two pictures. (Though there also was “The Next Karate Kid” with Morita and Hilary Swank, that isn’t included here.) *** (PG: AS, P, V) 

“HAROLD AND MAUDE”: In its 50th-anniversary year, one of the most unconventional romances in movie history gets a newly remastered Blu-ray edition (as part of the “Paramount Presents” series) as Bud Cort and Ruth Gordon depict a genuine May-December romance in the title roles of director Hal Ashby’s comedy. Harold is a young man obsessed with death, and his unexpected relationship with senior citizen Maude teaches him many valuable lessons, arguably the most valuable ones being about living life to its fullest. Written by Colin Higgins (“Nine to Five”), the film also features Vivian Pickles, Cyril Cusack, Ellen Geer, Charles Tyner and Tom Skerritt. Yusuf/Cat Stevens, who provided the film’s songs, talks about his work in the picture in a new documentary that’s included here … as is an audio commentary by filmmakers Cameron Crowe and Larry Karaszewski. The striking cinematography was done by John Alonzo. **** (PG: AS, P)

“CALL THE MIDWIFE: SEASON TEN”: The setting is the mid-1960s as creator and executive producer Heidi Thomas’ popular British drama series, a PBS staple in America, marks a decade of existence. The strengthening of the women’s-rights movement is a major theme as Nonnatus House gains several new midwives, but Sister Julienne’s (Jenny Agutter) attention also is on financial troubles that could affect the site’s effectiveness in helping residents of London’s East End. Cases also prove to be challenging for other staff members including Dr. Turner (Stephen McGann, who is married to series mentor Thomas). Judy Parfitt, Helen George and Linda Bassett also continue as cast regulars. McGann wrote a recently published retrospective book to correspond with the show’s 10th anniversary. *** (Not rated: AS)

COMING SOON (Upcoming releases):


“THE LAST DUEL” (Dec. 14)





“Venom: Let There Be Carnage”

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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