DVD Releases (for week of Jan. 26)

STARTING THIS WEEK (New releases):

“PARASITE”: Widely considered a game-changer among the movies of 2019, director and co-writer Bong Joon-ho’s (“Snowpiercer”) decidedly dark, Cannes Film Festival-winning South Korean comedy – which ultimately veers into rather violent melodrama — sees several impoverished relatives try to improve their situation by pretending to be others, hoping to land employment with a wealthy family. Complications arise when bad timing reveals some of the rich clan’s secrets, and matters go from merely larcenous to lethal. Included on last year’s 10-best lists of many critics, quite a few of whom placed it in the top spot, the picture is having a good run on the current film-award circuit encompassing its six Oscar nominations that include best picture and best international feature. **** (R: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“TERMINATOR: DARK FATE”: Those who have seen any “Terminator” movies past the first two might greet this one with skepticism, but the pleasant surprise is that it’s actually pretty good. That stems from it going back to the initial story threads and giving them some fresh twists, with a reunion of original stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton included. They’ve come a long way … the former killing machine now fitting in as almost an average Joe, and her Sarah Connor now an expert warrior ready to blow away anyone who earns it. Gabriel Luna evokes “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” by playing a biologically souped-up enemy, with another futuristic traveler (Mackenzie Davis) trying to protect yet another future mom of a revolt-against-the-robots kingpin (Natalia Reyes). That it’s woman defending woman can’t be purely coincidental in this day and age, but it’s really the enjoyment from the Schwarzenegger-Hamilton reunion that gives this picture its biggest charge. James Cameron, the director of the first “Terminator,” is on board as a writer and producer here. *** (R: AS, N, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“HARRIET”: The Harriet in question in director and co-writer Kasi Lemmons’ biographical drama is Harriet Tubman, the legendary freedom fighter whose escape from slavery left her with a strong sense of responsibility to those who remained enslaved – and made her a pivotal figure in the Underground Railroad that helped others become free, but at great risk. Tony Award-winning Broadway veteran Cynthia Erivo – who also will play Aretha Franklin in the next installment of the National Geographic series “Genius” – does strong work as Tubman, supported by a fine cast that also includes fellow Tony recipient Leslie Odom Jr., Joe Alwyn (“The Favourite”), singer-actress Janelle Monae and Vanessa Bell Calloway. DVD extras: two “making-of” documentaries; audio commentary by Lemmons; deleted scenes. *** (PG-13: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN”: Also the producer, director and screenwriter of this ambitious mystery, Edward Norton takes creative license by transferring Jonathan Lethem’s novel into 1950s New York — giving himself a challenging role in the process, a detective trying to cope with Tourette syndrome while probing his mentor’s (Bruce Willis) murder. The setting certainly adds atmosphere as the sleuth combs various parts of the city in search of evidence, and the jazz-influenced portions of the score feature trumpet great Wynton Marsalis. Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Bobby Cannavale, stage veteran Cherry Jones, Leslie Mann, Alec Baldwin and Willem Dafoe also are in the noteworthy cast. DVD extra: “making-of” documentary. *** (R: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“MAKING APES: THE ARTISTS WHO CHANGED FILM”: Fifty-plus years ago, John Chambers and his team revolutionized movie makeup with their honorary-Oscar-winning work on the original “Planet of the Apes” film … turning such actors as Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter and Maurice Evans into believable simians. This involving documentary compiles interviews with many of those who were involved in the process, whether contributing ideas to make the result look realistic – which it surely did, in an era before computer enhancement made achieving such visuals relatively easier – or wearing the prosthetics, which was quite a challenge for some of the performers. (As noted in this film, that was the reason Edward G. Robinson backed out after doing a screen test as ape leader Dr. Zaius.) *** (Not rated: P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“BALLERS: THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON”: With as active as his movie career has been, it’s somewhat amazing that Dwayne Johnson also had time to do a television series. He had a healthy run with this sports-themed HBO comedy, which also is newly available in a complete-series set. In the eight-episode final round of the show, ex-NFL player turned athletes’ financial manager Spencer (Johnson) is retired, but the chance to become a team owner puts him back on the playing field in more ways than one. His ally turned rival Joe (Rob Corddry) poses a potential hurdle, while others in Spencer’s orbit have decisions of their own to make about their respective futures. Russell Brand joins the cast for the concluding season, with John David Washington, Omar Miller and Troy Garity among the other continuing cast members wrapping up their roles. *** (Not rated: AS, N, P)

COMING SOON (Upcoming releases):





“ROMA” (Feb. 11)

“21 BRIDGES” (Feb. 18)


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 2542 posts and counting.See all posts by jbobbin

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