DVD Releases for the week of Feb. 14 2021



“Lovecraft Country”

“LOVECRAFT COUNTRY: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON”: As suggested by the title, the horror-fantasy writings of H.P. Lovecraft and the locations he used inspired this acclaimed HBO series, which merges harsh social realities of American history with imaginative terrors of a more fictional nature. The adaptation of Matt Ruff’s novel — which counts J.J. Abrams, Jordan Peele and showrunner Misha Green among its executive producers — casts Jonathan Majors as a man crossing America during the racially charged 1950s to locate his missing father. Jurnee Smollett and Courtney B. Vance play his companions on the journey, which proves dangerous in multiple ways at various times. Aunjanue Ellis, Jamie Chung and Tony Goldwyn (“Scandal”) also are featured. *** (Not rated: AS, N, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray)

 


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


STARTING THIS WEEK (New releases):

“HARLEY QUINN: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON”: Kaley Cuoco  has earned raves for her return before the cameras in :”The Flight Attendant,” but she’s also had voice-only work after “The Big Bang Theory” as the title character in this animated, DC Comics-inspired series. Cuoco also is an executive producer as the saga’s sophomore season sees Gotham as a land unto itself, separate from the rest of the United States. The Injustice League takes it over, but without Harley … who’s determined to show them just how wrong they were by dismantling their new power and claiming Gotham for herself. The events also prompt Barbara Gordon’s decision to become Batgirl (voiced by Briana Cuoco, Kaley’s sister). Lake Bell, Alan Tudyk, Tony Hale, Jason Alexander, J,B, Smoove, Diedrich Bader, Sanaa Lathan and Alfred Molina also continue as members of the voice cast. A third season, to be shown by HBO Max, has been ordered. *** (Not rated: AS, P, V)

“MASTERPIECE: THE LONG SONG”: Andrea Levy’s award-winning best seller has yielded this BBC-produced drama, making its home-video debut in the same week it concludes its three-part PBS telecast. Tamara Lawrance plays a woman who grew up as a slave in Jamaica, and as she recalls many of the people who had roles in shaping her destiny, she gives particular attention to the plantation owner’s daughter (Hayley Atwell) who wanted her as a personal servant. The Christmas Rebellion of 1831, an uprising of slaves, is cited as a major turning point in the central character’s history. Jack Lowden, Sharon Duncan-Brewster, Jordan Bolger and the legendary British talent Lenny Henry also are featured. Author Levy gets posthumous credit as one of the executive producers here. *** (Not rated: AS, V)

“HORIZON LINE”: Though this airborne melodrama did have a theatrical release overseas, it’s getting its first major American exhibition via home video. Alexander Dreymon (“The Last Kingdom”) and Allison Williams (“Get Out”) play passengers aboard a Caribbean flight whose pilot (Keith David) suffers a fatal heart attack while in the air, leaving them to pilot the plane to a safe landing. To accomplish that, they must fly through a storm while receiving instructions via shortwave radio … and each eventually must climb out of the vehicle to make repairs to stay aloft. Semi-spoiler alert: Once you think the story is over, it isn’t. Even if this stretches credibility at certain points (you have to wonder when someone opens a window in mid-air and stays in one piece), it remains watchable, thanks especially to Williams. ***  (PG-13: AS, N, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“THE VERY EXCELLENT MR. DUNDEE”: With that last name in the title, it may not come as a surprise that Paul Hogan — who became a major international star in the “Crocodile Dundee” comedies — is the main attraction here. He plays himself, or at least a variation of himself, as he sets out to claim a knighthood offered to him by the Queen of England. En route to get the honor, though, he gets into a series of mishaps that make their way to talk-show monologues and social media, threatening to tarnish his reputation and torpedo his actually receiving the accolade. Chevy Chase, John Cleese and Olivia Newton-John are among the famous faces seen in cameos. *** (PG-13: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“‘90S KID STARS COLLECTION”: Prominent among the titles in this gathering are the two “My Girl” movies, which gave an early showcase to Anna Chlumsky … much later an indispensable member of the cast of the much honored comedy series “Veep,” She plays a youngster whose widower father finds a new love (Jamie Lee Curtis), causing family tension. Macaulay Culkin also stars in the first of those films. Notable as well here is “Troop Beverly Hills,” with Shelley Long as the leader of scouts whose members include Kellie Martin and Carla Gugino (with Tori Spelling also in the cast). The additional titles are “North” (starring Elijah Wood), “Radio Flyer” (also with Wood) and “Wild America” (Devon Sawa). *** (PG or PG-13, depending on the movie: AS, P)


COMING SOON (Upcoming releases):

“Betty White’s Pet Set”

“BETTY WHITE’S PET SET” (Feb. 23)

“INSIDE AMY SCHUMER: THE COMPLETE SERIES” (Feb. 23)

“LADY SINGS THE BLUES” (Blu-ray) (Feb. 23)

“THE LAST VERMEER” (Feb. 23)

“ZAPPA” (March 2)

“THE UNDOING: AN HBO LIMITED SERIES” (March 23)

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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