DVD Releases (for week of April 15)

STARTING THIS WEEK (New releases):

Tom Hanks and Sarah Paulson in "The Post"
Tom Hanks and Sarah Paulson in “The Post”

“THE POST”: It’s no “All the President’s Men,” but this Steven Spielberg-directed, Oscar-nominated drama about The Washington Post in the Pentagon Papers era does fill its entertainment quotient. As the newspaper faces multiple challenges over its possibility of publishing leaked classified documents pertaining to U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War, editor-in-chief Ben Bradlee and publisher Katharine Graham – played by Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep, in their first screen teaming – try to determine how to proceed, knowing that printing the resulting story could embroil them and the paper in legal trouble. The excellent cast also includes Sarah Paulson, Bob Odenkirk (“Better Call Saul”), actor-playwright Tracy Letts, Bradley Whitford (“The West Wing”), Bruce Greenwood, Matthew Rhys (“The Americans”), Alison Brie, Carrie Coon (“The Leftovers’’) and Michael Stuhlbarg. The score is by frequent Spielberg collaborator John Williams. DVD extras: five “making-of” documentaries. *** (PG-13: P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“THE COMMUTER”: Liam Neeson maintains his post-“Taken” reputation as an action star with this thriller, which reunites him with director Jaume Collet-Serra of “Non-Stop” – basically the airplane version of this story, which still has its moments despite that familiar feel. The actor plays an ex-cop and just-fired insurance salesman propositioned to place a tracking device on another passenger aboard the train he’s taken daily – for a sizable payment. Danger mounts as he learns the reason for the situation, with everyone else aboard the locomotive eventually imperiled. Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Jonathan Banks, Elizabeth McGovern and young Florence Pugh also are in the strong cast, though the picture’s main purpose obviously is to let Neeson play tough again. DVD extras: two “making-of” documentaries. *** (PG-13: P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“GENIUS”: Based on Walter Isaacson’s book “Einstein: His Life and Universe,” this drama  – with executive producers including Oscar winners Ron Howard, who made his scripted-television directorial debut with the first episode, and Brian Grazer – was National Geographic’s first-ever scripted show. Fellow Academy Award recipient Geoffrey Rush (“Shine”) and Johnny Flynn (“Song One”) share the role of Einstein at different ages, with the teleplay first focusing on the physics student’s teen years. The start of World War I and Einstein’s theory of relativity are destined to have major impacts on his life … as are his complex personal ties. Emily Watson, Vincent Kartheiser (“Mad Men”) and “Grey’s Anatomy” alum T.R. Knight (as FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover) also star. A second season of the series, with artist Pablo Picasso as its subject, is upcoming. DVD extras: nine “making-of” documentaries. *** (Not rated: AS)

“DEEP BLUE SEA 2”: It’s been almost 20 years since the original thriller about shark experimentation gone haywire, and this made-for-video sequel continues the theme. Danielle Savre – also of ABC’s new “Grey’s Anatomy” spinoff “Station 19” – and Michael Beach head the cast as members of a group of scientists and conservationists whose work with drug-enhanced bull sharks eventually puts them at the mercy of the creatures with very lethal jaws. Expectedly, those in charge of computer-generated effects also have their day here.  *** (R: P, V) (Also on Blu-ray)

“CLAWS: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON”: The sometimes shaky relationships of several Florida manicurists fuel this seriocomic TNT series, which includes Rashida Jones among its executive producers. Niecy Nash plays the owner of the salon, where employees with very colorful backgrounds are portrayed by Judy Reyes (“Scrubs”), Emmy winner Carrie Preston (“The Good Wife”), Jenn Lyon (“Justified”) and Karrueche Tran. The show – which earned a Season 2 renewal – also incorporates men pivotally: the pain-clinic operator (“The Strain’s” Jack Kesy) who uses the nail salon for money laundering; the Lyon character’s husband (Kevin Rankin), who is struggling to stay sober, just as she is; a drug-clinic doctor (Jason Antoon); and a high-ranking criminal in the so-called Dixie Mafia (“Breaking Bad” and “Under the Dome” veteran Dean Norris). *** (Not rated: AS, P, V)

“DORIS DAY: A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY”: One of the most singular and iconic stars of entertainment is profiled in this documentary, which covers the singing career that first brought Day to prominence, as well as her screen work. Though highlights from her movies (which encompassed such hugely popular romantic comedies as “Pillow Talk”) are limited largely to public-domain material such as clips from trailers, the television series that capped the since-retired Day’s career gets much more attention, since MPI – the company distributing this title – also owns the home-video rights to “The Doris Day Show,” which aired on CBS from 1968 to 1973. *** (Not rated)

COMING SOON (Upcoming releases):

"Paddington 2"
“Paddington 2”

“PADDINGTON 2” (April 24): The domesticated title bear (voice by Ben Whishaw) tries to recover the stolen gift he bought for his aunt’s milestone birthday. (PG: AS)

“FILM STARS DON’T DIE IN LIVERPOOL” (April 24): Actress Gloria Grahame (Annette Bening) develops a profound relationship with a younger man (Jamie Bell). (R: AS, N, P)

“HOSTILES” (April 24): Christian Bale plays an Army captain on a dangerous trek to bring a Cheyenne chief to his intended resting place. (R: P, V)

“MAZE RUNNER: THE DEATH CURE” (April 24): In the final chapter of the trilogy, the young adventurers must navigate a particularly lethal maze; Dylan O’Brien stars. (PG-13: AS, P, V)

“12 STRONG” (May 1): Chris Hemsworth and Michael Shannon star in the true story of the first U.S. soldiers who entered Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks. (R: P, V)

“FIFTY SHADES FREED” (May 8): In the conclusion of the trilogy, Christian and Ana (Jamie Dornan, Dakota Johnson) are married, but their happiness is anything but assured. (R: AS, N, P)

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.

jbobbin has 1719 posts and counting.See all posts by jbobbin

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