DVD Releases (for week of Aug. 5)

STARTING THIS WEEK (New releases):

Melissa McCarthy in “Life of the Party”

“LIFE OF THE PARTY”: Melissa McCarthy is sort of a female Rodney Dangerfield as she also goes back to school in this comedy directed by her husband, Ben Falcone, with whom she also wrote the script. Her character’s husband (Matt Walsh) announces he’s leaving her for “Modern Family’s” Julie Bowen), and that prompts her to finish pursuing the degree she left behind 20 years earlier – at the same school where her daughter (Molly Gordon) happens to be a student now. Though the tale turns more than a bit awkward when Mom connects with a much younger man (Luke Benward), the story generously builds in solid material for other comedic performers, notably Maya Rudolph and Gillian Jacobs. DVD extra: “making-of” documentary. *** (PG-13: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“BREAKING IN”: Gabrielle Union is fierce, to say the least, in this effective melodrama about a woman who forcibly turns very resourceful to save her children. The family is targeted at a vacation home with a hidden safe that a gang of thieves wants. When they invade and capture the youngsters (Ajoina Alexis, Seth Carr), it’s up to the mother to save the day. Billy Burke (“Twilight”), Jason George (“Station 19”) and Christa Miller (“The Drew Carey Show”) also are featured in the no-frills thriller. DVD extras: four “making-of” documentaries; audio commentary by director James McTeigue and writer Ryan Engle; deleted and extended scenes; alternate opening.  *** (PG-13 and unrated versions: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“THE GOOD DOCTOR: SEASON ONE”: One of the past television season’s demonstrable new hits, this ABC drama stars Freddie Highmore – who had just come off “Bates Motel” when he tackled this — as Shaun Murphy, a skilled young surgeon who has autism and a new job at a major hospital. Colleagues are unsettled by their inability to connect with him on an enduring level, but the hospital’s chief (Richard Schiff) defends and lobbies for him – which doesn’t help when Shaun goes AWOL at the season’s midpoint. Former “Hawaii Five-0” co-star Daniel Dae Kim is an executive producer here, along with “House” veteran David Shore. Cast regulars also include Hill Harper, Nicholas Gonzales, Beau Garrett and Tamlyn Tomita. DVD extras: two “making-of” documentaries; deleted scenes; outtakes. *** (Not rated: AS, P)

“THE DEATH OF SUPERMAN”: As it was when a similarly themed story played out in comic books, the title is a traffic-stopper in the case of this animated feature. The terrifying Doomsday is on a rampage that includes the planned decimation of the Justice League, prompting the Man of Steel (voice by Jerry O’Connell) to make a stand that could result in his ultimate sacrifice. The impressive voice cast also includes Rebecca Romijn (O’Connell’s wife) as Lois Lane, Rainn Wilson as Lex Luthor, Jason O’Mara as Batman, Rosario Dawson as Wonder Woman, Shemar Moore (“S.W.A.T.”) as Cyborg, Nathan Fillion as Green Lantern and Christopher Gorham (“Covert Affairs”) as The Flash. *** (PG-13: V) (Also on Blu-ray)

“HERE AND NOW”: Producing-directing-writing “Six Feet Under” and “True Blood” mentor Alan Ball returned to HBO with this drama series that lasted only a single season, but returned Oscar winner Holly Hunter to series television. She plays Audrey, a lively attorney who’s also the matriarch of a very blended family, as she and her professor husband (fellow Academy Award recipient Tim Robbins) deal with their biological daughter (Sosie Bacon, whose parents are Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick) as well as adoptees from Somalia, Vietnam and Colombia (Jerrika Hinton, Raymond Lee, Daniel Zovatto). All of their experiences lead to much conversation among them about today’s society. Filmmaker Lisa Cholodenko (“The Kids Are All Right’’) directed a couple of the episodes. *** (Not rated: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray)

”THE BEACH HOUSE”: One of the more affecting “Hallmark Hall of Fame’’ movies of late, this drama – based on the book by Mary Alice Monroe, and directed by Roger Spottiswoode (“Tomorrow Never Dies”) — casts Andie MacDowell (also an executive producer of the film) as a woman who doesn’t want a secret she’s been keeping known to her daughter (Minka Kelly, “Friday Night Lights”), who has returned to her Southern home after losing her Chicago job. Chad Michael Murray (“One Tree Hill”) plays an ex-flame the returnee reunites with, and Makenzie Vega (“The Good Wife”) also stars as a pregnant friend of the women. *** (Not rated: AS)

COMING SOON (Upcoming releases):

“AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR” (Aug. 14): The Marvel superheroes unite again to oppose a galaxy-targeting villain (Josh Brolin); Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth and Scarlett Johansson also star. (PG-13: AS, P, V)

“HOW TO TALK TO GIRLS AT PARTIES” (Aug. 14): A young Englishman (Alex Sharp) discovers that the person he’s fallen for (Elle Fanning) is an alien; Nicole Kidman also stars. (R: AS, N, P)

“SHOCK AND AWE” (Aug. 14): Director (and co-star) Rob Reiner’s drama focuses on reporters in the aftermath of 9/11; James Marsden, Woody Harrelson and Jessica Biel are featured. (R: AS, P)

“BLUE BLOODS: THE EIGHTH SEASON” (Aug. 21): A shocking revelation that has a major impact on the entire Reagan family starts this round of the Tom Selleck-starring CBS police drama. (Not rated: AS, P, V)

“NCIS: THE FIFTEENTH SEASON” (Aug. 21): An arrival (Maria Bello) and a departure (Pauley Perrette) mark this year of the globally popular CBS adventure-drama. (Not rated: AS, 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.

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