DVD Releases (for week of Jan. 13)

STARTING THIS WEEK (New releases):


“HALLOWEEN”: What if the original thriller “Halloween” hadn’t yielded several decades of follow-ups and only had a direct, decades-later sequel? That’s the refreshing conceit of this marvelously effective latest edition, which basically erases all those other movies and plugs right into the very first one. Franchise-keepers David Gordon Green and Danny McBride clearly are huge fans of that film, and they hold very true to it as murderous Michael Myers (played partially by the original actor, Nick Castle) wreaks havoc on the small Illinois town of Haddonfield again. You just know former babysitter Laurie Strode still has to be around, and Jamie Lee Curtis returns to the part with new reasons for the character to be wary of the newly escaped Myers … namely, her daughter and granddaughter, played by Judy Greer and Andi Matichak. Series originator John Carpenter is an executive producer here. DVD extras: five “making-of” documentaries; deleted and extended scenes. *** (R: AS, N, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“THE OLD MAN & THE GUN”: This fact-inspired portrait of a career criminal who just can’t give up robbery, though time clearly is working against him, suits Robert Redford ideally. Besides being his own character, the crook folds in many reminders of other Redford alter egos – very particularly, the Sundance Kid, who also charmed his victims while letting them know exactly what he was up to. Director-screenwriter David Lowery (who also made the remake of Disney’s “Pete’s Dragon” with Redford) casts very well around the star, with Danny Glover and Tom Waits as felonious associates, Casey Affleck as a cop on the robbers’ trail, and a wonderful Sissy Spacek as a woman Redford’s alter ego encounters while he’s on the run. Though Redford had said this would be his last acting project, he’s since dialed that statement back. DVD extras: five “making-of” documentaries; audio commentary by Lowery; photo gallery. *** (PG-13: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“GOOSEBUMPS 2”: Originally subtitled “Haunted Halloween” to coincide with the season of its theatrical release, this edition of the R.L. Stine-inspired franchise finds two youngsters (Jeremy Ray Taylor, Caleel Harris) unwittingly unleashing ventriloquist dummy Slappy (who’s given voice by Mick Wingert) … and causing a whole bunch of horrifying trouble by doing so. Author Stine himself becomes part of the action, as personified by Jack Black, who reprises the role from the preceding “Goosebumps” movie – though the actual Stine also makes an appearance here as the principal at the boys’ school. Wendi McLendon-Covey (“The Goldbergs”), Madison Iseman, “Saturday Night Live” alum Chris Parnell and Ken Jeong also are featured. DVD extras: five “making-of” documentaries; deleted scenes; outtakes; sing-alongs. *** (PG: AS) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“SPEED KILLS”: John Travolta plays several characters rolled into one in this fact-inspired action tale, casting him as a vastly wealthy man who also happens to be a speedboat-racing champion … a trait that may be an asset as his covert dealings in the drug trade position him very uneasily between DEA agents and mobsters. Travolta always seems to take particular glee in playing characters who flirt with the wrong side of the law, and that’s the case again here, giving the film its biggest lure. Katheryn Winnick (“Vikings”), Jennifer Esposito, Matthew Modine, James Remar and Kellan Lutz also are in the cast. *** (R: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“LEGO JURASSIC WORLD: THE SECRET EXHIBIT”: Shown by NBC and Syfy during the recent holiday season, this animated adventure plays off the video game inspired in turn by the enormously successful movie series. The plot here – which is set between the “Jurassic Park” and ”Jurassic World” film sagas – involves the effort to move several cloned dinosaurs in time to enhance the top-secret exhibit suggested by the title, but that mission proves to be quite complicated. Owen and Claire, the characters played by Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard on theater screens, are represented in Lego form. DVD extra: bonus content. *** (Not rated)

“THE PINK PANTHER CARTOON COLLECTION: VOLUME 4”: Though the character originally was conceived for the opening credits of the first comedy to star Peter Sellers as inspector Jacques Clouseau, the animated Panther took on a life and popularity of his own that enabled this group of short subjects initially released between 1971 and 1975. Some of the tales attempted to factor in topics that were becoming prominent at the time, such as preserving the environment and advocating for animal rights. Of course, the Panther approached those with his typically bouncy spirit, thanks to those who were at the literal drawing board. *** (Not rated) (Also on Blu-ray)

COMING SOON (Upcoming releases):

Ryan Gosling in “First Man”

“FIRST MAN” (Jan. 22): Ryan Gosling reunites with “La La Land” director Damien Chazelle to play astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon; Claire Foy also stars. (PG-13: AS, P)

“THE HATE U GIVE” (Jan. 22): A young woman’s (Amandla Stenberg) clashing worlds between home and school become even more divided after she witnesses a tragedy. (PG-13: AS, P, V)

“JOHNNY ENGLISH STRIKES AGAIN” (Jan. 22): Rowan Atkinson returns as the inept British spy, who seeks the hacker responsible for revealing the true identities of other secret agents. (PG: AS, N, P, V)

“HUNTER KILLER” (Jan. 29): An American submarine crew tries to ensure the safety of Russia’s kidnapped president; Gerard Butler and Gary Oldman star. (R: P, V)

“SUSPIRIA” (Jan. 29): In an update of Dario Argento’s classic thriller, a dancer (Dakota Johnson) faces danger while working with a celebrated troupe. (R: AS, N, P, V)

“THE WIFE” (Jan. 29): A couple’s (Glenn Close, Jonathan Pryce) marriage may not survive the writer-husband’s receipt of a Nobel Prize. (R: AS, 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 1900 posts and counting.See all posts by jbobbin

Tell us what you think

Notify of

Pin It on Pinterest