DVD Releases for the week of July 11, 2021


STARTING THIS WEEK (New releases):

“Mortal Kombat”

“MORTAL KOMBAT”: The long-popular action franchise got a major reboot with this recent release, which debuted on HBO Max at the same time it did in theaters. A fighter (played by Lewis Tan, previously of television’s “Into the Badlands”) worries not only for himself but his family when an enemy Cryomancer (Joe Taslim) is sent after him by a sorcerer (Shin Han), putting the hero on the trail of a mysterious woman (Jessica McNamee, “The Meg”) who may share the same heritage with him. Others soon join the quest, which amounts to nothing less than saving the entire universe … but then again, what would you expect from a “Mortal Kombat” project? Josh Lawson, Mehcad Brooks (“Supergirl”), Tadanobu Asano, Ludi Lin and Max Huang are among other cast members — but as usual in a case like this, the members of the special-effects team also are among the true stars here. DVD extras: deleted scenes. *** (R: AS, P, GV) (Also on Blu-ray, Digital and On Demand)

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


“THE SPONGEBOB MOVIE: SPONGE ON THE RUN”: The many fans who already are in the Kamp Koral camp don’t have to be told that this computer-generated-animation feature will be right up their alley. Pet snail Gary vanishes, alarming SpongeBob (voiced, as usual, by Tom Kenny) and sending him and Patrick Star (voice of Bill Fagerbakke) to unravel the mystery by quizzing King Poseidon (voice of Matt Berry) — who is keeping Gary prisoner in the Lost City of Atlantic City. Of course, a rescue mission is mounted, with lessons taught to the characters as well as viewers along the way. With Clancy Brown, Tiffany Haddish, Awkwafina, Keanu Reeves, Snoop Dogg and Danny Trejo among voice-cast members as well, the film also is available as part of a “SpongeBob 3-Movie Collection.” DVD extras: deleted storyboards; music videos; “Camp Arts and Crafts”; “I’m Urchin to Leave You” mini-movie.  *** (PG: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“WRATH OF MAN”: A moderate success at the box office as theaters were starting to reopen, this action tale directed and co-written by Guy Ritchie (“Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.” “Sherlock Holmes”) is tailor-made for a frequent collaborator of his, genre staple Jason Statham. Using the smooth physical agility well-known to anyone familiar with him from “The Transporter,” the actor plays a Los Angeles security guard who soon proves his special worth to his new colleagues. They’re intrigued by the mystery surrounding him, which turns out to be connected to a questionable past and his very personal quest for revenge. Scott Eastwood, Andy Garcia, Holt McCallany, Josh Hartnett, Jeffrey Donovan (“Burn Notice”), Laz Alonso, Eddie Marsan (“Ray Donovan”) and music’s Post Malone also are on hand, but this very clearly is Statham’s show. *** (R: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray, Digital and On Demand)

“ALMOST FAMOUS”: One of the most popular and acclaimed movies about the music world makes its special-feature-loaded debut in the 4K Ultra HD format, with the transfer personally supervised by writer-director Cameron Crowe, who won an Oscar for his script. To a degree, the 2000 film tells Crowe’s own story … since, like protagonist William Miller (played by Patrick Fugit), he became a journalist for the magazine Rolling Stone at a very young age. Through a series of crafty moves, William ends up being assigned to go on the road with a band called Stillwater, and he’s particularly influenced by a groupie named Penny Lane (Kate Hudson, who earned an Oscar nomination for her performance — as did Frances McDormand as William’s mother). The excellent cast also includes Billy Crudup, Jason Lee, Zooey Deschanel, Anna Paquin, Fairuza Balk, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jay Baruchel, Rainn Wilson, Jimmy Fallon and actual rocker Peter Frampton. Heart’s Nancy Wilson, who was married to Crowe at the time, composed the score; a new Blu-ray edition of the film also is available as part of the “Paramount Presents” series. **** (R: AS, N, P)

“I DREAM OF JEANNIE: THE COMPLETE SERIES”: Barbara Eden’s appearance in the genie-themed movie comedy “The Brass Bottle” reputedly was the impetus for casting her in this popular, Sidney Sheldon-created mid-1960 sitcom. She’s the lady in the bottle — which happened to be the title of the pilot episode — discovered by astronaut Tony Nelson (Larry Hagman) after his capsule lands on an island, then trails him home and becomes a permanent part of his life. That gives him a whole lot of explaining to do, particularly to the fiancee he has when the show begins. (She did not stay around very long, as the program’s five-season run suggests.) Eden also tackled the roles of Jeannie’s mother and scheming twin sister as the series progressed; other principal cast members include Bill Daily as Tony’s military pal and Hayden Rorke as an Air Force psychiatrist who has his doubts about Nelson. Over the years, Eden has told some amusing stories about the concerns of NBC censors over how revealing her genie attire could (or couldn’t) be. *** (Not rated: AS)

“A CINDERELLA STORY: STARSTRUCK”: As Warner Bros. continues to mine some of its popular franchises for made-for-video sequels, “Good Witch” and “Once Upon a Time” alum Bailee Madison stars as a small-town teen with dreams of becoming a star. That makes it natural for her to want to be involved when the cast and crew of a major movie arrive to do some filming, but her audition doesn’t go well, forcing her to get inventive to make her way onto the set. In the tradition of “Tootsie,” she disguises herself as a member of the opposite gender, and her charade is only too successful — which could thwart her budding relationship with the movie’s star (Michael Evans Behling), if her mean stepmother and step-siblings don’t thwart her first. *** (PG: AS) (Also on Blu-ray, Digital and On Demand)

COMING SOON (Upcoming releases):

“Shameless”

“SHAMELESS: THE ELEVENTH AND FINAL SEASON” (July 20)

“THE SPANISH PRINCESS PART 2” (July 20)

“SPIRAL: FROM THE BOOK OF SAW” (July 20)

“STAR TREK: DISCOVERY — SEASON THREE” (July 20)

“THE WALKING DEAD: SEASON 10” (July 20)

“FRIDAY THE 13th — 8-MOVIE COLLECTION” (Aug. 10)

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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