DVD Releases for the week of May 30, 2021

STARTING THIS WEEK (New releases):

Benedict Cumberbatch in “The Courier”

“THE COURIER”: After having had his share of sleuthing as “Sherlock” on television, Benedict Cumberbatch stars as a businessman who becomes enmeshed in espionage during the Cold War in this thriller. With nothing less than a potential nuclear war at stake, he and a Soviet official (played by Merab Ninidze) make a secret pact to furnish intelligence that will prevent that confrontation and also terminate the Cuban Missile Crisis. Rachel Brosnahan makes a big shift from “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” as the female lead here; Jessie Buckley, who starred recently in a PBS “Great Performances” staging of “Romeo & Juliet,” also appears. *** (PG-13: AS, N, P, V) (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.

“BOOGIE”: Arguably best-known as the author, chef and restaurateur on whose life the series “Fresh Off the Boat” was based, Eddie Huang made his feature-directing debut with this drama, which he also wrote by again adapting his own experiences. (He also has a supporting acting role here.) The title character — portrayed by Taylor Takahashi, who was working as Huang’s personal assistant when he landed the role — is a basketball-playing youth who has professional hoop dreams, but his parents (Pamelyn Chee, Perry Yung) want him to keep his mind on winning a scholarship rather than being distracted by the court and courtship, given his new girlfriend (Taylour Paige). The late rap-music star Bashar “Pop Smoke” Jackson also appears, and he contributed songs to the soundtrack as well. DVD extras: theatrical trailer; two “making-of” documentaries. Pop Smoke tribute. *** (R: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray, Digital and On Demand)

“THE VAULT”: Freddie Highmore has had a big television success in recent years with “The Good Doctor,” but he hasn’t left movie work behind completely, as proven by his role in this caper as an engineer who becomes involved in a robbery scheme. While much of Spain’s — and the world’s — attention is focused on the World Cup soccer final being played in that country, the thieves target a literal treasure trove hidden beneath the Bank of Spain. The window they have to commit their plundering is narrow, since it only will be a matter of minutes before security forces determine what they’re up to and close in. Famke Janssen (“X-Men”) and Liam Cunningham (“Game of Thrones”) also appear in the tale. *** (R: AS, P) (Also on Digital and On Demand)

“THE ADVENTURES OF AGATHA CHRISTIE”: In 1979, Vanssa Redgrave played famed mystery writer Agatha Christie in “Agatha,” a movie that posed what might have happened to the author when she suddenly disappeared. As three new stories serve much the same function — though somewhat more fancifully — as they roll out to PBS stations, they’re gathered in this collection. In “Agatha and the Truth of Murder,” with the title role played by Ruth Bradley, she probes the killing of the goddaughter of Florence Nightingale; in “Agatha and the Curse of Ishtar,” as played by Lyndsey Marshal, she participates in a potentially dangerous archeological dig; and “Agatha and the Midnight Murders” finds Christie (portrayed by Helen Baxendale, known to “Friends” fans as Ross’ British girlfriend Emily) deciding to kill off one of her most famous characters, Hercule Poirot, during the London Blitz. *** (Not rated: AS, V)

“SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT”: Reportedly, Universal Pictures didn’t foresee much for this comedy in terms of profits or popularity. Oops! Not only is this car-chase classic one of the most successful movies in the studio’s history, it’s arguably Burt Reynolds’ career-defining film. Now making its debut in the 4K Ultra HD format, it casts the star as the speed-loving Bandit, whose quest to deliver 400 cases of beer across state lines within 28 hours — quite illegally — makes him the target of sassy Sheriff Buford T. Justice (an uproarious Jackie Gleason), whose dim-bulb son’s (Mike Henry) runaway bride (Sally Field) just happens to have caught a ride with Bandit. As directed by stunt veteran and close Reynolds pal Hal Needham, the result is breezy fun, helped immensely by a likable performance by Jerry Reed (who also contributes songs here) as Reynolds’ beer-running accomplice. Also highly amusing, though seen only briefly, are Pat McCormick and Paul Williams as Bandit’s identically dressed father-and-son employers for the mission. The picture inspired two theatrical sequels and a short-lived series of TV movies.*** (AS: P, V)

“MOMMIE DEAREST”: Though some choose to view Faye Dunaway’s performance as Joan Crawford as a prime example of screen camp — particularly when it comes to addressing the subject of wire garment hangers, which prompted a marketing change to try to sell it as a comedy rather than a drama — Dunaway seriously gives the role her all in director Frank Perry’s take on Christina Crawford’s famously scathing memoir about her adoptive mother, being released on Blu-ray for the first time to mark the film’s 40th anniversary. Mara Hobel and Diana Scarwid share the part of Christina, who alleged that Joan was a fearsome tyrant at home while the movie star evoked a public image of being a devoted and caring parent. Steve Forrest plays the man in Joan’s life. Notable among the extra features is an audio commentary by filmmaker John Waters. *** (R: AS, P, V)

COMING SOON (Upcoming releases):

“Indiana Jones”





“VOYAGERS” (June 15)

“YOUR HONOR” (June 15)

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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