DVD Releases (for week of Aug. 12)

STARTING THIS WEEK (New releases):

"Avengers: Infinity War"
Josh Brolin supplies the voice of Thanos in “Avengers: Infinity War”

“AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR”: As “Black Panther” recently proved, a film about one Marvel character still can be potent – but the all-star gatherings of many of them have spoiled audiences, who should be delighted with this one. There’s barely a Marvel hero or heroine who isn’t on hand here, and the mission at hand justifies their presence, with Josh Brolin in a motion-capture performance as a villain who wants to wipe out half the galaxy. That’s enough to regroup Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Tom Holland as the latest incarnation of Spider-Man, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow and Chris Pratt and the whole “Guardians of the Galaxy” team … among many others. Particularly good here: Downey and Benedict Cumberbatch, who’s back as Doctor Strange, since those two volley one-liners back and forth furiously enough to inspire whiplash. *** (PG-13: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“HOW TO TALK TO GIRLS AT PARTIES”: The title of this comedy disguises a big part of what it is, especially since it comes from director John Cameron Mitchell, who gave the world the cult classic “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.” Some of the youthful characters happen to be aliens – visitors to England in the late 1970s, when the Silver Jubilee of the queen is on the minds of many of the countrymen, exceptions being the group of carousing fellows from the city’s punk scene. One of those young men (played by Alex Sharp) takes an interest – and vice versa – in a particular visitor to England and to Earth (Elle Fanning, who manages to convey an otherworldly allure). Together, they see the sights, though the locations they choose aren’t exactly the most colorful. Also notable in the cast: a very atypical Nicole Kidman as a performer in an underground music den. *** (R: AS, N, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“SHOCK AND AWE”: Anyone who reads Rob Reiner’s social-media posts is aware that he’s not shy about political matters, and the actor-filmmaker channels some of that passion into his drama of reporters probing whether Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. The Bush administration made that claim in the aftermath of 9/11, basing the military invasion of Iraq on it. Director Reiner gives himself a prominent acting role in the movie, in which he works with a cast of notables including James Marsden, Woody Harrelson, Jessica Biel, Tommy Lee Jones, Milla Jovovich and Richard Schiff (“The Good Doctor”). *** (R: AS, N, P) (Also on Blu-ray)

“SEAL TEAM: SEASON ONE”: David Boreanaz didn’t wait long at all for his next television job after his long run on “Bones,” since he jumped right back into series work with this CBS drama about the elite military unit that the title suggests. Virtually all of the members have personal dilemmas – including Boreanaz’s Jason, whose standing with his estranged wife (Michaela McManus) is complicated. “Mad Men” alum Jessica Pare plays the team’s CIA overseer, with Max Thieriot, Neil Brown Jr., A.J. Buckley and Toni Trucks also in the regular cast. *** (Not rated: AS, P, V)

“10 THAT CHANGED AMERICA, SEASON 2”: PBS’ recently aired second edition of the miniseries, hosted by Geoffrey Baer, focuses on more iconic sites across the United States. “10 Monuments That Changed America” features the Statue of Liberty, Mount Rushmore and St. Louis’ Gateway Arch, along with the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the AIDS Memorial Quilt. “10 Streets That Changed America” covers New York’s ever-fascinating Broadway and Los Angeles’ perpetually busy Wilshire Boulevard, with Boston and New Orleans also considered. And “10 Modern Marvels That Changed America” involves structures that meant great innovation for different regions of the country when they initially were instituted, such as the Erie Canal and the Hoover Dam. *** (Not rated)

“THE BLACKLIST: SEASON FIVE”: A literal bag of bones figures into this round of the NBC drama series in a big way. Liz (Megan Boone) is convinced that it holds the secret to a personal loss she suffers, while Red (James Spader) wants the bag and its contents for his own purposes. Other Task Force operatives find their lives imperiled as the season proceeds. Harry Lennix, Diego Klattenhoff, Amir Arison and Mozhan Marno also star. DVD extras: “making-of” documentary; audio commentary by production personnel; outtakes; deleted scenes. *** (Not rated: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray)

COMING SOON (Upcoming releases):

"Deadpool 2"
Ryan Reynolds stars in “Deadpool 2”

“DEADPOOL 2” (Aug. 21): Ryan Reynolds returns as the very offbeat – and very profane – superhero, with a “Super Duper Cut” of the sequel adding 15 minutes of new material. (R and unrated versions: AS, P, V)

“GOTHAM: THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON” (Aug. 21): Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) makes major strides toward becoming Batman in this round of the Fox drama series. (Not rated: AS, P, V)

“THE WALKING DEAD: THE COMPLETE EIGHTH SEASON” (Aug. 21): Rick (Andrew Lincoln) leads an alliance in a major offensive against Negan’s (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) followers. (Not rated: AS, P, V)

“BOOK CLUB” (Aug. 28): Four friends (Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, Mary Steenburgen) delve into racier reading that ends up inspiring their lives. (PG-13: AS, P)

“WOMAN WALKS AHEAD” (Aug. 28): A widowed artist (Jessica Chastain) meets with opposition when she travels to late 19th-century North Dakota to do a portrait of Chief Sitting Bull. (R: P, V)

“ADRIFT” (Sept. 4): Their new romance takes two young people (Shailene Woodley, Sam Claflin) on a quest to return a boat – which turns into a fight to survive. (PG-13: AS, N, P, V)

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 1792 posts and counting.See all posts by jbobbin

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