DVD Releases for the week of June 5, 2022


STARTING THIS WEEK (New releases):

“THE CONTRACTOR”: Though he’s been pretty slick as James Kirk and Jack Ryan, among other characters, Chris Pine plays it a bit shabbier as a discharged Army veteran who picks up other work — to his eventual chagrin — when he loses his pension in this action tale. His character becomes part of a private military force, but he’s set up to take a fall … which he doesn’t take well, setting him on a course of revenge against his betrayers. Completed a couple of years before its recent release (which was in theaters and on Paramount+ simultaneously), the film also stars Kiefer Sutherland, Ben Foster, Gillian Jacobs and “Ray Donovan’s” Eddie Marsan.*** (R: AS, P, 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.

“LAWRENCE OF ARABIA”: On its 60th anniversary, one of the most iconic movies ever made gets a separate 4K Ultra HD release (it was part of a classic-film collection earlier) in a Steelbook edition. Director David Lean made Peter O’Toole a major international star by casting him as T.E. Lawrence, the Army officer who became legendary by uniting various Arab factions into a mighty military force. The many special features include O’Toole’s reflections on making the Oscar-winning picture, and views of it by such filmmakers as Steven Spielberg and Sydney Pollack. Also in the cast are Omar Sharif (who also got a huge career boost here, then became Lean’s “Doctor Zhivago”), Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn, Jack Hawkins, Jose Ferrer, Anthony Quayle and Arthur Kennedy. This was made for viewing on the biggest screen possible, and as the desert scenes particularly underscore, that’s still the case. The famous music is by Maurice Jarre. Also newly available separately on 4K Ultra HD is another Oscar-honored Lean classic, “The Bridge on the River Kwai.” **** (Not rated: V)

“LA BREA: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON”: In a striking sequence, a number of people fall in when a sizable chunk of Los Angeles literally opens up beneath them in this NBC adventure-drama series. Those who are forced to take the plunge find themselves in primeval surroundings, while others who have remained above ground try to determine what happened and how to reunite with those they apparently have lost. Natalie Zea (“Justified”), Eoin Macken (“The Night Shift”), Zyra Gorecki and Jack Martin play members of a family separated by the phenomenon, while “Chicago P.D.” alum Jon Seda portrays an ex-Navy SEAL turned thoracic surgeon who’s thrust into the land beneath L.A. Though the show is set in (and under) California, this initial season was filmed in Australia; that ended fairly early in the 2021-22 television year, but the program will have a Season 2. *** (Not rated: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray)

“ERASER: REBORN”: The plot of this direct-to-video action exercise makes it sound more like “Eraser: Cloned,” since it basically takes the story of the Arnold Schwarzenegger theatrical hit and mildly reworks it with different actors and characters. Dominic Sherwood now plays the expert Witness Protection operative who helps a crime kingpin’s wife (Jacky Lai) with lots of incriminating information fake her death … but someone within his own department reveals the woman is still alive, turning her and her federal-marshal protector into fugitives in South Africa. ** (R: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray)

“GREASE 2”: Over the years, many critics have used this sequel as sort of a punchline — and punching bag — but it retains a soft spot in the hearts of quite a few moviegoers, explaining why it’s finally getting a Blu-ray release to mark its 40th anniversary in a limited-edition Steelbook. In what might seem a bit too convenient, the plot flips the original movie’s premise and genders by making the guy Rydell High’s foreign outsider (as played by Maxwell Caulfield) and the young woman (Michelle Pfeiffer, in one of her first major roles) the literally too-cool-for-school gang member. Veteran choreographer Patricia Birch directed a cast that also included Adrian Zmed, Lorna Luft (a daughter of Judy Garland), Pamela Adlon (“Better Things”), Christopher McDonald and from the first “Grease” picture, Didi Conn, Eve Arden, Sid Caesar and Dody Goodman. *** (PG: AS, P)

“THE BOURNE COMPLETE COLLECTION”: Well, it’s almost complete, since this 4K Ultra HD set doesn’t include the original version of “The Bourne Identity” that was made as a television miniseries with Richard Chamberlain and Jaclyn Smith. (That can be found on home video elsewhere.) However, those seeking the Matt Damon and Jeremy Renner entries inspired by Robert Ludlum’s espionage novels — which redefined the genre with its action-sequence stylings — will find all of those here. Bourne is an amnesiac given up for dead, and as he discovers he has the smarts and physical prowess of a master spy, others become concerned that he’ll remember what they’d prefer to stay forgotten. Other stars of the franchise include Franka Potente, Julia Stiles, Joan Allen, David Strathairn, Brian Cox (“Succession”), Tommy Lee Jones, Alicia Vikander, Scott Glenn and Chris Cooper. *** (PG-13: AS, P, V)

COMING SOON (Upcoming releases):

“MORBIUS” (June 14)

“AMBULANCE” (June 14)

“BILLIONS: SEASON SIX” (June 14)

“CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM: THE COMPLETE ELEVENTH SEASON” (June 14)

“FATHER STU” (June 14)

“THE UNBEARABLE WEIGHT OF MASSIVE TALENT” (June 21)


“Morbius”

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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