DVD Releases for the week of March 21, 2021



“Soul”

“SOUL”: Intended for theaters but redirected in the U.S. to Disney+ because of the coronavirus pandemic, this latest Disney-Pixar animation effort is a current Oscar nominee for best animated feature. It attempts quite creatively to put body and soul back together — literally — for a music teacher (voiced by Jamie Foxx) after an accident separates them, just as he’s on the verge of his big break as a jazz artist. As he tries to correct the situation, his body ends up being occupied by another soul (voice of Tina Fey) that has a little too much fun with its new physique and life. Jon Batiste, bandleader for Stephen Colbert’s late-night show, is a major contributor to the music score along with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross of Nine Inch Nails. Also notable in the voice cast are Batiste’s late-night rival Questlove (Jimmy Fallon’s bandleader), British talk-show host Graham Norton, Phylicia Rashad, Angela Bassett, Daveed Diggs and Fortune Feimster. *** (PG: AS, P) (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):

“NEWS OF THE WORLD”: Tom Hanks — in his second movie in a row that, after “Greyhound,” largely “opened” on a direct-to-consumer basis — already had made a movie about delivering the news with “The Post,” but given the title of this project that reunites him with “Captain Phillips” director Paul Greengrass, some people may be surprised by the picture’s overall theme. The actor plays a Civil War veteran who’s a traveling newsman of sorts, reading published stories to anyone who will pay him to do so; his mission changes when he becomes the reluctant escort and guardian of a girl (impressive newcomer Helena Zengel) in need of being returned to her family. They face perils together along the way, reflecting familiar elements of the American West of the time. Notable in the supporting cast is Mare Winningham, who also worried with Hanks many years before in “Turner and Hooch.” The film currently has Oscar nominations for cinematography and sound. *** (PG-13: AS, P,V) (Also on Blu-ray, 4K Ultra HD and On Demand)


“THE UNDOING: AN HBO LIMITED SERIES”: Widely praised during its recent cable run, this drama — written for television by David E. Kelley (“Ally McBeal,” “Big Sky”) — reunites him with “Big Little Lies” star Nicole Kidman, playing a psychologist whose recurring encounters with a mysterious woman have a tragic outcome. The therapist then starts to worry that her oncologist husband (Hugh Grant, far-removed from his popular rom-com work here) might be a factor in the situation, especially when he disappears. The twisty-turny tale also features Donald Sutherland, Edgar Ramirez, Lily Rabe, Annaleigh Ashford (“B Positive”), veteran stage and screen actress Rosemary Harris, Janel Moloney (“The West Wing”) and as herself, TV-news staple Connie Chung. DVD extras: three “making-of” documentaries. *** (Not rated: AS, N, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray)


“BREAKING NEWS IN YUBA COUNTY”: The supposedly breaking news is a man’s disappearance in this dark comedy, which recently gave renewed theatrical life — in whatever theaters were open and available — to the banner of American International Pictures, a frequent supplier of teen comedies and horror movies during the ‘60s and ‘70s. Oscar and Emmy winner Allison Janney reunites with director Tate Taylor (“The Help,” “The Girl on the Train”) by starring as the wife of the missing person, and her search for him brings her into contact with a variety of people including her half-sister (Mila Kunis), an eager reporter who wants to turn the situation into a major story. Regina Hall, Awkwafina, Jimmi Simpson, Juliette Lewis, Wanda Sykes, Ellen Barkin, Matthew Modine and “The Handmaid’s Tale’s” Samira Wiley also are featured. *** (R: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)


“SUPER BOWL LV’: The most recent football championship game offered plenty of intrigue on multiple counts, with the match-up between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (the latter playing hosts at their home stadium) a contest of two of the NFL’s major quarterback talents … rising star Patrick Mahomes against veteran Tom Brady, who had won six Super Bowls as a New England Patriot previously. Also, the game was played before a limited on-site audience, given the necessities generated by the coronavirus pandemic; watch for the cardboard cutouts that served as seat fillers. We won’t give away here who won, but unless you’ve been stranded on Mars for the past six weeks (and even if you have been), you probably know already. *** (Not rated: V) (Also on Blu-ray)


“AMERICAN MASTERS: HOW IT FEELS TO BE FREE”: This recent PBS documentary, executive-produced by musician Alicia Keys and profiling several notable female African-American entertainers, aired just before the passing of one of its subjects … Emmy-winning actress Cicely Tyson. She is featured in interview segments, some of them archival, as are the other five women saluted here: actresses Diahann Carroll and Pam Grier, singer-songwriter Nina Simone, and singer-actresses Lena Horne and Abbey Lincoln. Among those commenting on their trailblazing achievements and enduring influence are Halle Berry, Lena Waithe, Meagan Good and Samuel L. Jackson. **** (Not rated: AS. P)


COMING SOON (Upcoming releases):

“Wonder Woman 1984”

“WONDER WOMAN 1984” (March 30)

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

“KINGSGLAIVE: FINAL FANTASY XV” (March 30)

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

“THE ALIENIST: ANGEL OF DARKNESS” (May 18)

“SUPERNATURAL: THE FIFTEENTH AND FINAL SEASON” (May 25)

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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