DVD Releases for the week of January 9, 2021


STARTING THIS WEEK (New releases):

“Dune”

 

“DUNE”: Almost 40 years after David Lynch made his screen version of the iconic Frank Herbert fantasy novel, and more than 20 years after a miniseries of it, director Denis Villeneuve (“Arrival”) made a run at it – and earned generally positive reviews – for this edition that was shown on HBO Max while it was in the early stage of its theatrical release. Villeneuve also co-wrote the screenplay, centering on futuristic young hero Paul Atreides (played by Timothee Chalamet), who tries to preserve his family and civilization by traveling to a desert-like planet where a very special and powerful resource known as “spice” prompts a battle among those who want to possess it and its effects. The large and impressive cast also includes Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Stellan Skarsgard, Zendaya, Dave Bautista, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Charlotte Rampling and Javier Bardem. A sequel is being planned for release in the fall of 2023. DVD extra: “making-of” documentary. *** (PG-13: AS, 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.

“HALLOWEEN KILLS”: The latest reboot of the enduring horror franchise continues with this chapter, which was a sizable box-office hit though it was streaming on Peacock simultaneously. Jamie Lee Curtis again reprises her role from the very first film as Laurie Strode, who’s admitted to a hospital after supposedly eliminating murderous Michael Myers once and for all. Of course, as anyone who knows this series realizes, Michael never says “die” … and soon, Laurie must try to vanquish him yet again, along with her daughter and granddaughter (Judy Greer, Andi Matichak) and others who survived his initial rampage through the town of Haddonfield. Will Patton and Anthony Michael Hall also appear, and director and co-writer David Gordon Green and co-writer Danny McBride return from the previous “Halloween.” John Carpenter, maker of the first “Halloween,” is an executive producer here; that picture’s co-stars Kyle Richards, Charles Cyphers and Nancy Stephens also return. *** (R: AS, P, GV) (Also on Blu-ray, 4K Ultra HD, Digital and On Demand)


“SPENCER”: Kristen Stewart earned wide praise (and, lately, a number of award nominations) for her portrayal of Princess Diana in this drama, projecting what might have happened in the last days of Diana’s waning marriage to Prince Charles (played by Jack Farthing) during a Christmas gathering of the royal family. On the surface, holiday activities might seem normal for England’s first clan, but Diana is at the end of her rope with feelings of oppression and exclusion that she’s been dealing with for some time. Her only real confidante is her official dresser (Sally Hawkins), who encourages her to follow her inner voice in doing what she feels she must … even if that means prompting the open wrath of the senior royals. Stella Gonet portrays Queen Elizabeth II in a cast that also includes Timothy Spall, Sean Harris and – as Princes William and Harry – Jack Nielen and Freddie Spry. *** (R: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray, Digital and On Demand)


“BILLIONS: SEASON FIVE”: One of the Showtime drama series’ most surprising twists to date caps this set of episodes, which was interrupted midway through by the coronavirus pandemic … resulting in suspensions of production and telecasts for roughly a year. After their alliance that was shaky at best, the struggle between hedge-fund king Axe (Damian Lewis) and federal prosecutor Chuck (Paul Giamatti) is back at full steam, with Taylor Mason (Asia Kate Dillon) trying to play both ends against the middle – and Axe rival Mike Prince (Corey Stoll) entering the battle in a major way. Separated from Chuck, Wendy (Maggie Siff) becomes involved with a moody artist (Frank Grillo) who’s been commissioned by Axe. Season 6 of the show is slated to begin Jan. 23. *** (Not rated: AS, N, P)


“COBRA KAI: SEASON 3”: The saga of “The Karate Kid” – who definitely is no kid anymore – continues in this streaming series, now seen on Netflix, with Ralph Macchio and William Zabka back as longtime rivals Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence. Following a huge battle between dojos at the students’ high school, everyone concerned has to gauge how they want to proceed … which could mean big life changes for some, and recommitments of how others always have been, Kreese (Martin Kove) being a major example of the latter. Courtney Henggeler, Mary Mouser, Jacob Bertrand and Peyton List also are featured. Guest stars include the late Ed Asner and Elisabeth Shue, reprising her role from the original “Karate Kid” film. The fourth season of this show began streaming recently. DVD extras: deleted scenes; outtakes. *** (Not rated: AS, P, V)


“JUICE”: To mark its 30th anniversary, director and co-writer Ernest K. Dickerson’s memorably gritty drama gets its debut in the 4K Ultra HD format. Several urban friends try to determine how to gain the respect of others, with a couple of the pals going about it in very different ways … one doing so by becoming a disc jockey, while the other turns to crime. Rap icon Tupac Shakur, Omar Epps, Jermaine Hopkins and Khalil Kain have the central roles, with Samuel L. Jackson and Queen Latifah also notable in the cast. Among the special features are an archival interview with Shakur and extensive commentary by Dickerson, who explains why the original ending was changed before the film was released. Considerable behind-the-scenes footage recorded on the set also is included. *** (R: AS, P, V)

COMING SOON (Upcoming releases):

“A HARD DAY’S NIGHT” (4K Ultra HD) (Jan. 18)

“THE ADDAMS FAMILY 2” (Jan. 18)

“LAST NIGHT IN SOHO” (Jan. 18)

“CLIFFORD THE BIG RED DOG” (Feb. 1)

“ENCANTO” (Feb. 8)

“ETERNALS” (Feb. 15)


“A Hard Day’s Night”

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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