DVD Releases (for week of Feb. 9)

STARTING THIS WEEK (New releases):

“ROMA”: The subject of much conversation during last year’s film-awards season, since its being a Netflix-backed project limited its theatrical run before it began streaming, writer-director Alfonso Cuaron’s engrossing drama channels events of his own youth in Mexico City. It tells the story of a housekeeper (played by Oscar nominee Yalitza Aparicio, in what amazingly was her debut performance) who learns more than she wished she knew about her employers, as she tries to deal with her own concerns involving a boyfriend of questionable repute and her possible pregnancy. The first Mexican film to win the Academy Award for best foreign language film, the picture brought Oscars to Cuaron for directing and cinematography. It also becomes the first Netflix movie not only to be issued by The Criterion Collection – which typically deals with classics from many years ago — but the first to be released on home video, period. DVD extras: theatrical trailers; five “making-of” documentaries. **** (R: AS, N, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray)

“FORD V FERRARI”: A movie with a title like this had better be built for speed, and happily, it is – despite the fact that it’s around 2-1/2 hours long. The title characters aren’t really the main ones in the film, though their rivalry hangs over it. Henry Ford II (played by actor-playwright Tracy Letts) isn’t happy when sportscar tycoon Enzo Ferrari pulls out of a deal to help build a hyper-modern car for its time … but Ford proceeds on his own, hiring driver turned designer Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) and British racer Ken Miles (Christian Bale). They don’t always see eye-to-eye, but with what each brings to their shared task, they ultimately make quite a team; that’s also true of the two actors, who are major fun to watch playing off each other. Any racing movie worth its gearshift has to include exciting footage on the track, and director James Mangold delivers on that count here. The bigger the screen you see this on, the likelier several key moments will put your heart in your mouth, helping to result in a slick, fun piece of entertainment that was an Oscar nominee for best picture and won in two other categories (film editing and sound editing). Caitronia Balfe (“Outlander”), Jon Bernthal and Josh Lucas also appear. *** (PG-13: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“I GOT YOU BABE: THE BEST OF SONNY & CHER”: One of the top music duos of the 1960s became a top television attraction of the 1970s, thanks to a hit comedy-variety series that was ended by the couple’s divorce … though they would reunite on camera several years later for another, very similar show. Episodes from those, as well as the solo program that Cher did in-between, are compiled by this set that demonstrates how much mileage she got out of her humorous putdowns of Sonny Bono, Of course, they also put forth a wealth of songs while also introducing guests ranging from Bob Hope and Tony Curtis to the Jacksons and Elton John. The result is a tremendous time capsule offering a solid reminder of the unique entertainment force the title stars were, though the still-performing Cher continues to do that now. *** (Not rated: AS)

“WILD NIGHTS WITH EMILY”: Poetry icon Emily Dickinson has had quite a resurgence in popular culture lately, fueling one of the first series offered by Apple TV+ as well as this seriocomic film casting “Saturday Night Live” alum Molly Shannon in the title role. However, it’s not a satire under the approach of writer-director Madeleine Olnek, but an examination of the secret romantic relationship Dickinson had with another woman (Susan Ziegler). Each woman has other personal ties that complicate their relationship over the long haul, with Amy Seimetz as a woman who gains knowledge of the affair by accident. Those who know Shannon largely for her brand of ironic humor are likely to be surprised and quite impressed by her work here; Brett Gelman (“Stranger Things”) also appears. *** (PG-13: AS)

“THE GREAT WAR”: The legendary Buffalo Soldiers are at the heart of writer-director Steven Luke’s drama, tracing a struggle for survival at the end of World War I. A group of those African-American servicemen is trapped behind enemy lines, but one (played by Hiram A. Murray) manages to escape – and he then must collaborate with a detachment of white officers to go back and save his comrades. Racial matters come into play as the would-be rescuers gradually develop mutual trust. Ron Perlman portrays the real-life Gen. John J. Pershing, with Billy Zane as a fictional colonel; Bates Wilder and Aaron Courteau are among other stars. *** (R: AS, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“GUNSMOKE: THE COMPLETE EIGHTEENTH SEASON AND THE COMPLETE NINETEENTH SEASON”: Since the Western classic made TV history for a drama series with a 20-year run (now being surpassed by “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”), its DVD releases are nearing their end with the separate releases of these two seasons, each set consisting of 24 episodes. Marshal Matt Dillon (James Arness) continues to keep the peace in and around Dodge City, though that typically comes at great risk to him – as in the Season 18 opener, which sees him pursued down an Oregon river by bad guys, and in the Season 19 premiere that finds him confronting the issue of white slavery. The adventures also involve Dillon’s comrades Miss Kitty (Amanda Blake), Doc (Milburn Stone), Festus (Ken Curtis) and Newly (Buck Taylor). Guest stars include Ruchard Kiley, Katherine Helmond, Anne Francis, Tom Skerritt, Steve Forrest, Michael Learned (“The Waltons”) and Ron Moody (“Oliver!”). *** (Not rated: AS, V)

COMING SOON (Upcoming releases):


“JOJO RABBIT” (Feb. 18)

“MIDWAY” (Feb. 18)

“SNATCHERS” (Feb. 18)

“21 BRIDGES” (Feb. 18)

“KNIVES OUT’ (Feb. 25)

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 2448 posts and counting.See all posts by jbobbin

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