DVD Releases for the week of March 14, 2021



“PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN”: The chameleon-like Carey Mulligan earned recent, well-earned raves and one of the movie’s five Oscar nominations for her performance in debuting director Emerald Fennell’s dark comedy, which Fennell also wrote. Mulligan’s central character copes with an earlier tragedy by seeking out men at night and, while feigning being drunk, luring them into compromising situations. When she learns of the impending marriage of someone who sparked her modus operandi, her revenge scheme becomes much more targeted. The fabulous supporting cast includes Bo Burnham, Alison Brie, Clancy Brown, Jennifer Coolidge, Laverne Cox, Connie Britton, Adam Brody, Alfred Molina and Molly Shannon — but there’s little question that Mulligan takes the top acting honors here. Filmmaker Fennell (also Oscar-nominated now, as is the overall picture itself) makes a cameo appearance, and Margot Robbie is among the producers. *** (R: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray 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):

“RUNAWAY TRAIN“: While the title of director Andrei Konchalovsky’s gritty 1985 action tale (based on a screenplay by filmmaking icon Akira Kurosawa) makes the premise quite clear, there’s more to it, as a new Blu-ray “Special Edition” reaffirms. Jon Voight is excellent as an escaped convict who furiously refuses to be recaptured … a determination that could be helped when he and a fellow fugitive (Eric Roberts) board what turns out to be the wrong locomotive, and along with a worker they encounter (Rebecca De Mornay), they’re challenged to survive as the train goes out of control and plows through Alaska while the prison’s warden (John P. Ryan) plots to catch up to the escapees. The cinematography by James Bond-series veteran Alan Hume is frequently stunning, and Voight and Roberts (the latter contributing an audio commentary here) both earned Oscar nominations for their physically demanding work here; Kenneth McMillan and (in his on-screen debut) Danny Trejo also appear. *** (R: AS, P, V)


“DON’T TELL A SOUL”: A security man’s (Rainn Wilson, “The Office”) pursuit of sibling thieves (Fionn Whitehead of “Dunkirk” and Jack Dylan Grazer of “It”) ends up putting him in a dire situation in this twisty-turny melodrama. The teenage brothers commit the crime to help their ailing mother (Mena Suvari), and chasing them ultimately lands the officer in a well, setting the stage for an unexpected bond to develop between one brother (Grazer) and the trapped man over the course of several days. The movie was a Tribeca Film Festival selection DVD extra: “making-of” documentary. *** (R: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)


“AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: THE CODEBREAKER”: The episode that launched the current season of the long-running PBS series details the ultimately successful efforts of Elizebeth Smith Friedman, whose decrypting skills used on behalf of the U.S. government uncovered scores of secret messages sent by 1920s mobsters and World War II-era Nazi spies. Her true story is the stuff of many fictional espionage tales, since she seemed on the surface simply to be a relatively ordinary family woman, yet her secret life prevented the course of history from being altered. Her professional success would become known only long after her death, when related government files were unsealed. The documentary is based on the Jason Fagone book “The Woman Who Smashed Codes: A True Story of Love, Spies and the Unlikely Heroine Who Outwitted America’s Enemies.” *** (Not rated: AS)


“ABANDONED: ANGELIQUE’S ISLE”: Shades of “The Revenant” and numerous other survival stories are evident in this fact-inspired tale, about a newlywed couple — played by Julia Jones (“Westworld”) and Charlie Carrick (“The Borgias”) — caught up in the mid-19th-century copper rush. They end up being left stranded in Lake Superior’s wilderness, and with winter coming 0n, they have to use all of their wits and stamina to stay alive and well. Veteran Canadian talents Stephen McHattie and Tantoo Cardinal also star. *** (Not rated: AS)


“MONEY PLANE”: Well, if there could be a “Money Train” why not this? The vehicle in question is an airborne casino with a highly exclusive clientele, and it’s infiltrated by a veteran thief (Adam Copeland, alias WWE star Edge) and his associates (Katrina Norman, Patrick Lamont Jr.), who intend to loot it of both its physical cash and its cybercurrency. Expectedly, things don’t go as planned with the scheme in the air and on the ground. Thomas Jane, Kelsey Grammer and Denise Richards also star in the tale, directed and co-written by actor Andrew Lawtence — who also cast his fellow-performer brothers Joey and Matthew in it. *** (Not rated: AS, P, V) (Also on On Demand)


COMING SOON (Upcoming releases):

“Soul”

“SOUL” (March 23)

“NEWS OF THE WORLD” (March 23)

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

“THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH” (Blu-ray) (March 30)

“KINGSGLAIVE: FINAL FANTASY XV” (March 30)

“THE TEN COMMANDMENTS” (4K Ultra HD) (March 30)

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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