DVD Releases (for week of Jan. 20)

STARTING THIS WEEK (New releases):

Ryan Gosling in “First Man”

“FIRST MAN”: Reteamed from “La La Land,” Ryan Gosling and director Damien Chazelle prove to be as skilled as partners in telling the true story of astronaut Neil Armstrong – the first man to walk on the moon – as they were on a musical. The flight sequences (which largely are responsible for the four Oscar nominations the film now has) are as realistic as any have been on the screen, even accounting for the things that seem to go wrong, though known fact has established that Armstrong survived all his missions. Gosling also is very credible in the quieter biographical scenes, playing Armstrong as someone who wasn’t always entirely comfortable in the spotlight, if at all. Emmy winner Claire Foy (“The Crown”) is fine as the spaceman’s wife, who shares the fears of those married to people in dangerous occupations – especially since she knew that in its early stages, NASA was flying by the seat of its pants. Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler and Corey Stoll also appear in the drama, which is a touch on the lengthy side, but is everything one could want it to be for the story it tells. *** (PG-13: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“THE HATE U GIVE”: For the many excellent reviews director George Tillman Jr.’s drama received, its release was tinged with tragedy, since its screenwriter – Audrey Wells, who adapted the film from a novel by Angie Thomas – died the day before it opened. Amandla Stenberg (“The Hunger Games”) is excellent as a teenager whose worlds collide as she attends a private school while hailing from an impoverished neighborhood. A racially charged shooting incident makes her a witness, but her identity is kept secret initially – with pressure then mounting steadily on her as she has to decide which aspect of her life, and which people in it, she feels the most loyalty toward. Regina Hall (now in the Showtime series “Black Monday”), Russell Hornsby, KJ Apa (“Riverdale”), Common and Anthony Mackie also are in the first-rate cast. *** (PG-13: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“JOHNNY ENGLISH STRIKES AGAIN”: Rowan Atkinson’s enjoyable rendering of an inept British spy gets another workout, borrowing much of its plot from the James Bond caper “Skyfall” as secret agent English tries to locate the hacker who is revealing the true identities of undercover operatives. English isn’t exactly versed in the cyberworld, so his efforts to find the enemy run into a comical succession of hurdles, as usual. The cast also includes a veteran of the Bond films, Olga Kurylenko (“Quantum of Solace”), as well as Emma Thompson, Jake Lacy and Ben Miller (“Paddington 2”) … but as usual with this franchise, it’s Atkinson’s show. DVD extras: seven “making-of” documentaries; audio commentary by director David Kerr. *** (PG: AS, N, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“FULLER HOUSE: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON”: The misadventures of the Tanner family continue in the Netflix-series sequel to “Full House,” which starts this round with the start of a summer season and the news of an imminent marriage that eventually leads many of the characters to Japan. Other episodes deal with such matters as a holiday barbecue, a final exam, break-ups and make-ups. One of the biggest appeals of this show – which launched its fourth season recently is the continuing presence of cast members from the original series including Candace Cameron Bure, Jodie Sweetin, Andrea Barber, Bob Saget, John Stamos, Dave Coulier and Lori Loughlin. *** (Not rated: AS)

”HERE AND NOW”: An impressive cast fuels director Fabien Constant’s romantic drama, with Sarah Jessica Parker in the central role of a singer whose career is sidetracked by personal matters just as she’s on the verge of giving an important performance. The emotional story follows her through New York as she deals with her mother, ex-husband and manager (Jacqueline Bisset, Simon Baker, Common) in trying to reconcile all of her immediate concerns. Renee Zellweger, Taylor Kinney (“Chicago Fire”), Phillipa Soo (“Hamilton”) and Mary Beth Peil (“Dawson’s Creek”) also appear. *** (R: AS, P)

“KILLJOYS: SEASON FOUR”: With one more year remaining in its Syfy run, the fantasy-adventure series offers the home-video debut of its most recently televised round. It opens with intergalactic bounty hunters Dutch and Johnny (Hannah John-Kamen, Aaron Ashmore) under arrest for having unwittingly transported poison, but they’re able to bargain for their freedom by seeking the killer who wants to use the lethal toxin. Related to the pursuit is a marital law that sees partners able to pursue others after 10 years, when their licenses to stay together expire. Luke Macfarlane (“The Night Shift”) also is featured. *** (Not rated: AS, P)

COMING SOON (Upcoming releases):

Gerard Butler in “Hunter Killer”

“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)

“KIDDING: SEASON ONE” (Jan. 29): Jim Carrey stars in the Showtime series as a children’s-show host whose real life impacts his on-screen persona. (Not rated: AS, P)

“THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS” (Jan. 29): The Tchaikovsky-scored ballet gets a big expansion in this Disney effort; cast members include Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Keira Knightley and dancer Misty Copeland. (PG: AS)

“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)

“THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER’S WEB” (Feb. 5): Lisbeth Salander (Claire Foy) becomes involved in acquiring a computer program that could launch a nuclear war. (R: 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 2362 posts and counting.See all posts by jbobbin

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Pin It on Pinterest