DVD Releases (for week of April 21)

STARTING THIS WEEK (New releases):

Nicole Kidman in “Destroyer”

“DESTROYER”: Nicole Kidman undertakes one of the most drastic image changes of her career by playing it tough – so tough, her husband Keith Urban told us he was somewhat afraid of her during the filming — in director Karyn Kusama’s (“Girlfight”) effective, underrated melodrama. The actress portrays a Los Angeles police detective struggling to overcome her tragic personal and professional pasts as they play into her current case. Sebastian Stan, Toby Kebbell, Tatiana Maslany (“Orphan Black”), Bradley Whitford and Scoot McNairy also appear, but this absolutely is the impressively hard-edged Kidman’s show. DVD extras: “making-of” documentary; audio commentary by Kusama and writer-producers Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi; photo gallery. *** (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“ESCAPE ROOM”: The title pretty much describes the theme of this suspense tale, which draws several people together to vie for $10,000 by successfully navigating a series of rooms from which – you guessed it – they must escape. Lethal traps await them, and the group’s number of members steadily dwindles as most of them meet unfortunate fates. Included in the ensemble cast are Taylor Russell (“Lost in Space”), Logan Miller (“The Walking Dead”), Deborah Ann Woll (“The Punisher”), Tyler Labine (“New Amsterdam”), Jay Ellis (“Insecure”) and Nik Dodani (“Murphy Brown”). The film made such a big profit on a modest budget, a sequel is now in the works. DVD extras: three “making-of” documentaries; deleted scenes; alternate opening and ending. *** (PG-13: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“CHARM CITY”: Making its home-video debut the same week PBS airs it as an “Independent Lens” offering, director Marilyn Ness’ acclaimed documentary spans three years in the life – and lives – of Baltimore, when violence had a particular grip on the city, encompassing the controversial death of suspect Freddie Gray while he was in police custody. Nevertheless, public officials and community leaders resolved to change the local climate, with young and energetic councilman Brandon Scott among the most prominent individuals leading that charge. Community-center operator Clayton “Mr. C” Guyton, whose illness had an effect on the balance of peace in the area, and several Baltimore police officers also are among major figures in the film. **** (Not rated: AS, P)

“ALIEN”: One of the all-time-great science-fiction thrillers gets a new Blu-ray edition on the occasion of its 40th anniversary, in a package that also features the film’s first 4K Ultra HD version. Director Ridley Scott sends the varied members of a spaceship crew to a planet where they pick up an unwanted passenger – if you know the term “face-hugger,” you know who (or what) we’re talking about – and the eerie chills unfold from there. Very early in her screen career, Sigourney Weaver played destined-to-be-iconic astronaut Ripley in a solid cast that also includes Tom Skerritt, Yaphet Kotto, John Hurt, Ian Holm, Veronica Cartwright and Harry Dean Stanton. Scott’s audio commentary on both the 1979 and 2003 cuts of the movie are among the special features, along with veteran composer Jerry Goldsmith’s isolated music score and deleted scenes. **** (R: AS, P, GV)

“SHAMELESS: THE COMPLETE NINTH SEASON”: Notable as the last round of the Showtime comedy-drama series to feature Emmy Rossum, who leaves the show (at least as a regular cast member) in the season finale, this collection of stories finds the Chicago-based Gallaghers trying to improve their respective lots. Fiona (Rossum) and Frank (William H. Macy, who also directed one of the episodes here) particularly venture outside their comfort zones, but as so often has been the case, unexpected circumstances threaten to get in the way of their plans. Guests include Courteney Cox, Bob Saget, Sharon Lawrence (“NYPD Blue”) and Dan Lauria (“The Wonder Years”). Cameron Monaghan, Emma Kennedy, Steve Howey and Jeremy Allen White also are among the show’s stars. *** (R: AS, N, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray)

“I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE: DEJA VU”: Other actresses have starred in a remake (and its sequels) of the famously graphic, low-budget 1978 revenge drama “I Spit on Your Grave,” but this edition is a direct follow-up to the original. It returns star Camille Keaton — directed again here by the first film’s Meir Zarchi — to the role of an assault victim who distinctively evened the score with her attackers, but those she killed have been waiting to avenge the deaths of their relatives for a very long time. They kidnap her and her daughter (Jamie Bernadette), and what transpires will seem awfully familiar to anyone even mildly familiar with the franchise. Filmmaker Zarchi also has a co-starring role. *** (Not rated: AS, N, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray)

COMING SOON (Upcoming releases):

“Miss Bala”

“MISS BALA” (April 30)

”SERENITY” (April 30)




“THE UPSIDE” (May 21)

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 2280 posts and counting.See all posts by jbobbin

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