DVD Releases for the week of Feb. 21 2021


“THE CROODS: A NEW AGE”: Of the movies that have had simultaneous debuts in theaters and on On Demand during the coronavirus pandemic, this is one of the biggest success stories to date. The animated sequel finds the prehistoric Croods encountering another, more privileged family, and it doesn’t take long for the two clans to find numerous problems with each other. However, they ultimately find they must get along in order to survive, very literally. The notable voice cast includes returnees Ryan Reynolds, Emma Stone and Nicolas Cage, plus additions Peter Dinklage (“Game of Thrones”) and Leslie Mann. DVD extras: five “making-of” documentaries; audio commentary by crew members; deleted scenes; outtakes; three short subjects. *** (PG: AS) (Also on Blu-ray, 4K Ultra HD and On Demand)


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

STARTING THIS WEEK (New releases):

“THE LAST VERMEER”: Art thefts and related sales were big business during the World War II era, and this fact-inspired drama delves into such a situation that might not turn out as anticipated. Claes Bang (“The Affair”) plays a former Dutch Resistance fighter turned sleuth dedicated to tracking down stolen works, a trail that leads him to an art expert (Guy Pearce) who apparently has made such deals with Nazis … a crime so serious at the time, a death sentence was among the possible penalties. However, the detective comes to believe the suspect may be innocent, altering the probe considerably. Ridley Scott (“Gladiator”) is among the executive producers of the film directed by Dan Friedkin; Vicky Krieps also stars. *** (R: AS, N, P, V) (Aso on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“INSIDE AMY SCHUMER: THE COMPLETE SERIES”: A big element of Schumer’s rise to bawdy-humor stardom was this Emmy- and Peabody-honored, four-season Comedy Central show, praised regularly during its run for its inventiveness. In each episode, Schumer appears in several segments, principally as a fictionalized version of herself as she deals with (and frequently breaks) social boundaries. Dating and relationships are big topics here, and the structure of the vignettes allowed for a parade of guest stars to pass through. The many familiar faces featured include Lena Dunham, Tina Fey, America Ferrera, Paul Giamatti (“Billions”), Jeff Goldblum, siblings Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal, Bill Hader, Jennifer Hudson, Laura Linney, Liam Neeson, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Julianne Moore, “Science Guy” Bill Nye, Dennis Quaid, Jerry Seinfeld, Michael Strahan and Chrissy Teigen. *** (Not rated: AS, N, P)

“LADY SINGS THE BLUES”: In a role ideally suited to her, music superstar Diana Ross made a dynamic acting debut — and earned an Oscar nomination — in this compelling biography of singer Billie Holiday, making its debut on Blu-ray a year short of its 50th anniversary. As legendary as her vocal talent has remained, Holliday had a famously troubled personal life encompassing prosttution and drug abuse … and the depth of Ross’ portrayal is all the more impressive when one considers she hadn’t really acted before. Billy Dee Williams (with whom Ross would reteam on “Mahogany”), Richard Pryor and Scatman Crothers are among other notable cast members; the Holiday song standards re-created by Ross include “My Man,” “Good Morning Heartache” and “God Bless the Child.” Deleted scenes and an audio commentary featuring Motown Records founder (and Ross mentor) Berry Gordy Jr. — who enjoyed a huge success with the film’s soundtrack album — are included. **** (R: AS, P)

“BETTY WHITE’S PET SET”: One of the most beloved personalities in entertainment history is well-known for her animal advocacy, and the syndicated television series she built around it is compiled in a home-video release timed to its 50th anniversary. White’s game-show-host husband Allen Ludden (“Password”) served as her announcer on the project, on which she showcased a variety of creatures — from traditional household pets such as dogs and cats, to more exotic species like cheetahs and kangaroos — with many of her celebrity friends stopping by with their own animals and stories about them. Guests include the similarly inclined Doris Day, White’s sitcom comrade Mary Tyler Moore, Carol Burnett, James Stewart, Burt Reynolds, Michael Landon, Vincent Price, Shirley Jones and Barbara Eden. Included featurettes highlight other aspects of White’s life and career, such as her reign as a panelist on TV games.*** (Not rated)

“SCOOBY-DOO: THE SWORD AND THE SCOOB”: The mystery-solving cartoon canine and his friends have found themselves in all sorts of situations over the years, and in this tale, they’re sent back to the time of King Arthur and Camelot.. The adventure starts with Shaggy (voiced again by Matthew Lillard) tracing his family roots — who knew those would lead him to England? — and ends up making the Mystery Machine gang accomplices in trying to prevent a sinister takeover of the royal throne. Jason Isaacs and Nick Frost are additions to the voice cast for this story, with Frank Welker back as both Scooby-Doo and Fred. The film runs well under 90 minutes, so the kids shouldn’t squirm too much while getting a dose of history Scooby-style. *** (Not rated)

COMING SOON (Upcoming releases):


“FATALE” (March 2)

“ZAPPA” (March 2)





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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