DVD Releases (for week of Jan. 14)

STARTING THIS WEEK (New releases):


Ryan Gosling in “Blade Runner 2049”

“BLADE RUNNER 2049”: Directed by Denis Villeneuve (“Arrival”), the three-decades-later sequel to one of the all-time sci-fi and fantasy classics – visually arresting in the same manner as the first film — finds another futuristic police detective (Ryan Gosling) questioning his existence and his work as a replicant assigned to track others of his kind who have gone rogue. Suspecting that one of them has given birth, his boss (Robin Wright) assigns him to locate and destroy the child, fearing that a war between humans and replicants may result otherwise. His quest eventually leads him to “blade-running” forerunner (Harrison Ford, a welcome presence as he reprises his role from the original film). Edward James Olmos also makes a return in a supporting cast that includes Jared Leto, Dave Bautista (“Guardians of the Galaxy”), Ana de Armas and Lennie James. Original screenwriter Hampton Fancher also co-wrote this script. DVD extras: six “making-of” documentaries. *** (R: AS, N, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“THE SNOWMAN”: Based on one of the mystery novels of internationally popular author Jo Nesbo, this intense thriller casts Michael Fassbender as his series-fueling detective character Harry Hole, whose search for a missing person eventually suggests that a serial killer – who makes a snowman a motif for his crimes — may be active again. The sleuth teams with another investigator (Rebecca Ferguson) as the pursuit forces the reopening of long-dormant cases that could be linked to the current one. Also featured are Charlotte Gainsbourg, Val Kilmer, J.K. Simmons, Chloe Sevigny and Toby Jones. Of note behind the scenes are the film’s editors, Oscar-winning veterans Claire Simpson (“Platoon”) and Thelma Schoonmaker (“Raging Bull”). *** (R: AS, N, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“HAPPY DEATH DAY”: The premise of “Groundhog Day” – which is referenced very directly in the course of this film — gets a melodramatic spin as a self-involved college student (Jessica Rothe, “La La Land”) ends her birthday by being murdered, only to find herself reliving the day again … and again and again, as she gets closer each time to determining the identity of her killer. A classmate (Israel Broussard) tries to help her solve the mystery, but he also makes himself a target, causing the heroine to alter her approach as the investigation continues. Ruby Modine (the daughter of actor Matthew Modine), Rachel Matthews and Charles Aitken also appear. *** (PG-13: AS, N, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“BETTER CALL SAUL: SEASON THREE”: One of the most acclaimed series currently on television, AMC’s “Breaking Bad” prequel brings its latest round – which earned 10 Emmy nominations — to home video. Chuck’s (Michael McKean) efforts to elicit a confession covertly pose potential problems for the professional image and duties of Jimmy and Kim (Bob Odenkirk, Rhea Seehorn), while Mike’s (Jonathan Banks) hunt for a nemesis could have big repercussions. Giancarlo Esposito, Patrick Fabian and Michael Mando also star. DVD extras: two “making-of” documentaries; audio commentary by cast and crew members; outtakes; “Los Pollos Hermanos” training videos. *** (Not rated: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray)

“CROOKED HOUSE”: The mystery novels of Agatha Christie have been ideal inspirations to gather all-star casts in their screen incarnations – as proven again recently by “Murder on the Orient Express” – and this Christie adaptation also provides evidence. After a rich family’s patriarch is killed, one of its members asks her detective ex-beau (Max Irons) to determine who the culprit is before Scotland Yard gets involved. Glenn Close, Gillian Anderson (“The X-Files”), Terence Stamp and Christina Hendricks (“Mad Men”), Julian Sands and Stefanie Martini (“Prime Suspect: Tennison”) are in the cast of presumed “suspects.” The screenplay was co-written by “Downton Abbey” mentor Julian Fellowes. DVD extras: two “making-of” documentaries. *** (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand) (PG-13: AS) (Also on Blu-ray)

“LOVING VINCENT”: A unique animation technique, executed in the style of oil paintings, is used by this story that involves Vincent Van Gogh a year after the legendary artist’s death in the late 19th century. An undelivered letter written by him to his late brother is taken by the relatively unconcerned son of a postman (Douglas Booth, in what effectively is a motion-capture performance of sorts) to the village of a doctor who supposedly knew the painter well. There, the visitor becomes much more invested Van Gogh’s history upon meeting people who inspired his work. Saoirse Ronan (“Lady Bird”), Helen McCrory (“Skyfall”) and Chris O’Dowd (“Get Shorty”) and “Poldark” stars Aidan Turner and Eleanor Tomlinson are among other actors represented by the illustrations that make up the film. *** (PG-13: AS, V) (Also on Blu-ray)

COMING SOON (Upcoming releases):

“GEOSTORM” (Jan. 23): The scientist (Gerard Butler) who developed a weather-controlling satellite system tries to correct its errors that are threatening the world. (PG-13: P, V)

“GOODBYE CHRISTOPHER ROBIN” (Jan. 23): Domhnall Gleeson plays “Winnie-the-Pooh” creator A.A. Milne, whose son (Will Tilston) was the real Christopher Robin. (PG: AS, P)

“JIGSAW” (Jan. 23): Gruesome death traps abound again in the eighth chapter of the “Saw” horror franchise; cast member Tobin Bell returns. (R: AS. P, GV)

“THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE” (Jan. 23): Several veterans of the Iraq War try to assimilate back into their daily lives; stars include Miles Teller and Amy Schumer. (R: AS, N, P, V)

”RAY DONOVAN: THE FIFTH SEASON” (Jan. 30): A round of the Showtime series that features Susan Sarandon in a major guest role also sets up the Liev Schreiber-starring drama’s forthcoming sixth year. (Not rated: AS, N, P, V)

“TYLER PERRY’S BOO 2! A MADEA HALLOWEEN” (Jan. 30): Perry’s ever-sassy alter ego and others enter a haunted campground to retrieve a young partygoer. (PG-13: 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.

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