DVD Releases for the week of November 7, 2021

STARTING THIS WEEK (New releases):

Hugh Jackman in “Reminiscence”

“REMINISCENCE”: One of those twisty-turny thrillers that demands an audience pay full attention to it, this melodrama — which had an HBO Max debut simultaneous with its theatrical premiere — casts Hugh Jackman as a Miami-based private detective who plays mind games more literally than many in his field. He actually delves into clients’ brainwaves to help them recover memories they’ve lost, but a case becomes more complicated than usual when the person he’s trying to help (Rebecca Ferguson) disappears. The conspiracy he uncovers while trying to locate her puts his life in dire peril. Written and directed by Lisa Joy (“Westworld”), the film also features Thandiwe Newton, Cliff Curtis, Marina de Tavira (“Roma”), Daniel Wu, Natalie Martinez (“Ordinary Joe”) and Brett Cullen. DVD extra:”making-of” documentary.  *** (PG-13: 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.

“RESPECT”: While the story of music icon Aretha Franklin fueled an installment of the National Geographic “Genius” series fairly recently, it’s also the basis of this biography that offers a dynamic performance by Jennifer Hudson as Franklin, who rose from beginnings in a church choir to earn still-enduring renown as the “Queen of Soul” … and who selected Hudson for this project herself before she passed away. The fine cast also includes Forest Whitaker, Mary J. Blige, Marlon Wayans, Marc Maron, Audra McDonald and Tituss Burgess, but there’s no doubt that this is Hudson’s show. The soundtrack includes 17 Franklin songs as well as the original tune “Here I Am (Singing My Way Home),” written by Hudson, another music legend — Carole King — and Jamie Hartman. Oscar winner Callie Khouri (“Thelma & Louise”) developed the story the script was based on. DVD extras: five “making-of” documentaries. *** (PG-13: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray, Digital and On Demand)

“MUHAMMAD ALI”: Long renowned for the exhaustive attention he gives to the subjects of his PBS documentaries, Ken Burns — collaborating again with Sarah Burns (his daughter) and David McMahon (her husband) — turns his attention to one of the greatest and most controversial boxers of all time in this profile that was televised in September. Fortunately for them as well as for viewers, the filmmakers had extensive footage of the former Cassius Clay to draw upon in charting his history, which also was very much about the race and culture of the time when he reigned supreme in the ring. Highlights include segments on several of his most famous bouts … “The Fight of the Century” and “The Thrilla in Manila,” both against Joe Frazier, and “The Rumble in the Jungle” vs. George Foreman. Ali’s daughters Hana and Rasheda, his second wife Khalilah and his brother Rahaman are among those offering comments, as are Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, such boxing-world figures as Larry Holmes, Don King and Bob Arum, and writers Walter Mosley and Gay Talese. **** (Not rated: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray)

“EMILY IN PARIS: SEASON ONE”: Warmly received by many viewers and critics alike, executive producer Darren Star’s (“Sex and the City,” “Younger,” “Beverly Hills 90210”) saga of a Chicago woman who moves her life and career to the City of Lights casts Lily Collins in the title role. Emily experiences many of the rites of young-womanhood, romantically as well as professionally, but having them play out in Paris heightens their effect on her considerably. Filmed on location, the show also features Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu, Ashley Park, Lucas Bravo, with Kate Walsh recurring as Emily’s boss in America. The series — which was developed for Paramount Network but wound up on Netflix — is slated to start streaming its second season just before Christmas. DVD extras: three “making-of” documentaries; deleted scenes. *** (Not rated: AS, P)

“FOUR GOOD DAYS”: Mila Kunis raises her acting game substantially — possibly because she has quite an acting partner in Glenn Close, who also worked for director Rodrigo Garcia in “Albert Nobbs” (earning an Oscar nomination for that performance) — in this drama about the strained relationship between a mother and daughter. The latter is a drug addict who tries to make amends before entering detox, but the several days she spends with her mom form a rollercoaster of emotions for both women and others in their spheres, Garcia and co-writer Eli Saslow based their script on a newspaper article Saslow wrote about a very similar true-life situation. Stephen Root, Joshua Leonard, Rebecca Field and Chad Lindberg also are cast members, and Reba McEntire performs the Diane Warren-written theme song (“Somehow You Do”). *** (R: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“SAVED BY THE BELL: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON”: One of the most popular of all youth comedies got a revival last year as one of the first original series offered by the Peacock streaming service (where Season 2 starts Nov. 24), and that set of episodes comprises this collection. In the tradition of many revivals, familiar faces from the first show — including Mario Lopez, Elizabeth Berkley Lauren and (more as guest stars than cast regulars) Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Tiffani Thiessen and Lark Voorhies — merge with fresh ones in this trip back to Bayside High, with Zach Morris (Gosselaar) now California’s budget-crunched governor. He tries to make up for having had to close many high schools by sending the impacted students to Bayside High, where the well-to-do pupils get frequent culture shocks from their newly imported peers. Two of the newer characters have direct ties to earlier ones, with Mitchell Hoog playing the son of Zach and Kelly (Thiessen), and Belmont Carneli as Jessie’s (Berkley Lauren) offspring. John Michael Higgins portrays the principal; earlier executive producers Peter Engel and Franco Bario also are back. *** (Not rated: AS)

COMING SOON (Upcoming releases):



“IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE” (75th Anniversary Blu-ray) (Nov. 16)

“RAGTIME” (Blu-ray) (Nov. 16)

“MALIGNANT” (Nov. 30)


“Jungle Cruise”

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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