DVD Releases for the week of October 10, 2021

STARTING THIS WEEK (New releases):

“Free Guy”


“FREE GUY”: In a time when movies released only theatrically have faced challenges at the box office, the success of director and co-writer Shawn Levy’s comedy-fantasy — which literally creates a world of its own — proved theatergoers still will turn out in force for something they want to see if they deem it safe to do so. Ryan Reynolds plays a bank teller who doesn’t realize he’s actually a character in a video game, until his interactions with others including “Molotov Girl” (“Killing Eve’s” Jodie Comer) reveal his circumstances to him … prompting him to try to inspire others around him to break free of their pre-programmed existences. Lil Rel Howery, actor-filmmaker Taika Waititi (“What We Do in the Shadows”) and Camille Kostek (“Wipeout”) also appear, with “Jeopardy!” icon Alex Trebek among those seen in cameos. Additionally, the voice cast includes Dwayne Johnson, Hugh Jackman, Tina Fey and John Krasinski. A sequel is in the works. *** (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.

“THE HAUNTING OF BLY MANOR”: After the success it had with “The Haunting of Hill House,” Netflix commissioned another chiller from creator and director Mike Flanagan with this limited series, which incorporates aspects of novels by Henry James (very notably “The Turn of the Screw”). Victoria Pedretti (“You”) plays the new nanny to two youngsters (Amelie Bea Smith, Benjamin Evan Ainsworth), and despite the seemingly tranquil life at the manor where the children reside with the staff, dark and dangerous secrets lie beneath the surface. As with Pedretti, Henry Thomas, Carla Gugino and Oliver Jackson-Cohen (“The Invisible Man”) return from the “Hill House” cast; Rahul Kohli also appears. DVD extras: two “making-of” documentaries; audio commentaries by episode directors Flanagan, Liam Gavin and Axelle Carolyn. *** (Not rated: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray)

“COLUMBIA CLASSICS 4K ULTRA HD COLLECTION VOLUME 2”: After an earlier set that combined several of the best-known titles in the Columbia Pictures and TriStar Pictures catalogs in their 4K Ultra HD debuts, this second edition does the same with six more legendary films. Included this time: director Otto Preminger’s law drama “Anatomy of a Murder,” starring James Stewart and Lee Remick; the Oscar-winning musical “Oliver!,” with Mark Lester in the title role and Ron Moody as Fagin; Robert De Niro in Martin Scorsese’s iconic melodrama “Taxi Driver”; Bill Murray’s military comedy “Stripes,” also starring John Candy; “Sense and Sensibility,” starring Emma Thompson, who also adapted the script from Jane Austen’s novel; and “The Social Network,” the saga of how Facebook came to be, with Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg. Also in the package is a disc of Columbia short subjects, ranging from cartoons to a Three Stooges comedy. **** (G, PG, R and unrated, varying by title)

“CRIME STORY”: At one time one of the busiest actors in Hollywood (see: the mid-1970s, with “Jaws,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” “The Goodbye Girl,” etc.), Richard Dreyfuss gets a leading role again in this drama as an illness-stricken ex-mobster who becomes the object of a home invasion. The criminals clearly don’t know who they’re dealing with, since their victim then embarks on a relentless campaign to get even … but his family may end up paying the ultimate price for his taste for vengeance. Fellow Oscar winner Mira Sorvino also is in the cast, as are Pruitt Taylor Vince, Cress Williams (“Back Lightning”) and D.W. Moffett. *** (R: AS, P, V) (Also on Digital and On Demand)

“THE GREEN KNIGHT”: The title character is the opponent of King Arthur’s rather impulsive nephew Sir Gawain — played by Dev Patel, of “Slumdog Millionaire” fame — in writer-director David Lowery’s (“Pete’s Dragon”) special-effects-laden, rather adult medieval fantasy. The so-called Green Knight literally is that color, but he’s only one of the hurdles faced by the hero, with ghosts also among his enemies. The film boasts an impressive cast that also includes Alicia Vikander, Joel Edgerton, Sarita Choudhury and Sean Harris. DVD extras: theatrical trailer; three “making-of” documentaries. *** (R: AS, N, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray, 4K Ultra HD, Digital and On Demand)

“HAWTHORNE: THE COMPLETE SERIES”: Though it ended with a cliffhanger that never was resolved, since the show didn’t get a fourth season, this 2009-11 TNT medical drama boasted compelling stories and a strong acting ensemble led by Jada Pinkett Smith (also an executive producer of the series) as the chief of nurses at a hospital — and, when that facility closes, at another when the staff is transferred. She deals not only with professional changes but also a big switch in her personal status, as she becomes involved with the head of surgery (played by Michael Vartan). Vanessa Lengies, singer-actor Marc Anthony, Anne Ramsay (“Mad About You”), James Morrison  (“24”) and Vanessa Bell Calloway also are among the cast members, and episode directors include Tony Goldwyn (“Scandal”) and Roxann Dawson. *** (Not rated: AS, P)

COMING SOON (Upcoming releases):

“JOE BELL” (Oct. 19)

“OLD” (Oct. 19)





“Joe Bell”

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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