DVD Releases (for week of Jan. 27)

STARTING THIS WEEK (New releases):

Glenn Close in “The Wife”

“THE WIFE”: Though a generation now knows her for “Guardians of the Galaxy,” earthbound parts of dramatic substance are the true sweet spots for Glenn Close – as confirmed by her current run at film awards for this picture, encompassing her Golden Globe win and Oscar nomination. Based on a novel by Meg Wolitzer, the story would seem to be at first about the husband played by Jonathan Pryce … specifically, a newly Nobel Prize-honored author who is so celebrated in the 1990s, he surpasses then-President Bill Clinton as the choice for a magazine cover. The writer’s wife is everything he isn’t: classy, moderate, and a steadying force that he likely would be lost without. However, they have problems that are stoked by the questioning of another writer (Christian Slater) who’s working on a biography of the husband. Sweden’s Bjorn Runge directs from a screenplay by the esteemed Jane Anderson (“The Baby Dance”). DVD extras: “making-of” documentary; Q&A sessions with cast and crew members. *** (R: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS”: The basic elements of the Tchaikovsky-scored ballet get a big expansion in this Disney effort, which certainly is scenic enough, though it’s still highly advisable to check out a production of the original. Here, a Victorian youngster (played by Mackenzie Foy) loses her mother, then goes to a Christmas gala where her toymaker godfather (Morgan Freeman) magically sends her into the other titular realms, where she encounters such “Nutcracker” staples as soldiers and mice … but they’re not quite as simplistic as in the classic presentation. Helen Mirren, Keira Knightley, Richard E. Grant and celebrated dancer Misty Copeland also turn up in the film handled by two accomplished directors, Lasse Hallstrom (“The Cider House Rules”) and Joe Johnston (“Jumanji”). *** (PG: AS) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“BOY ERASED”: In his second feature-directing turn, actor Joel Edgerton (“Red Sparrow”) – who also adapted the screenplay from Garrard Conley’s memoir – draws powerful performances from a cast centered around Lucas Hedges (also noted lately for his work in “Ben Is Back”) as a minister’s (Russell Crowe) son whose lifestyle revelation makes him a subject of a conversion therapy program. Many of the scenes here are unsettling, but the efforts of Hedges, Edgerton and their colleagues are consistently riveting. Nicole Kidman and music star Troye Sivan also have major roles. *** (R: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“HUNTER KILLER”: This adventure wants to be another “Hunt for Red October” – or any Tom Clancy story, for that matter – but despite a good cast, it strays from the necessary course of being tight and tense. It spends considerable time aboard an American submarine commanded by Gerard Butler before we learn what its mission really is: to retrieve and protect the president of Russia, who’s been deposed in a military coup. First, though, Navy SEALS have to reach that leader and extract him. Filmed two years ago, when it clearly thought it was ahead of real-world results, the picture casts Caroline Goodall (“Schindler’s List”) as the U.S. president. Gary Oldman, actor-rapper Common, Toby Stephens (“Black Sails”), Linda Cardellini and the late Michael Nyqvist also star. DVD extras: “making-of” documentary; audio commentary by director Donovan Marsh. *** (R: P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“KIDDING: SEASON ONE”: Long after “The Duck Factory” and “In Living Color,” Jim Carrey has brought his seriocomic knack back to weekly television with this Showtime series. It reteams him with executive producer and director Michel Gondry – who called the shots on one of Carrey’s most acclaimed movies, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” – for the saga of Jeff Pickles, alias popular puppeteer “Mr. Pickles,” whose off-screen concerns penetrate his children’s show. Potential crises result for him and others including his estranged wife (Judy Greer), his executive producer (Frank Langella) and his chief puppet-maker (Catherine Keener). Carrey has scored recent award nominations for the program, created by “Weeds” alum Dave Holstein, which will be back for a second season. *** (Not rated: AS, P)

“SUSPIRIA”: In an update of Dario Argento’s classic thriller, a dancer (Dakota Johnson, of “Fifty Shades” franchise fame) faces danger while working with a celebrated troupe in Berlin. She quickly impresses the company’s choreographer (Oscar winner Tilda Swinton) and advances rapidly to become the lead performer, but her predecessor alleges that the troupe’s leaders are witches – in the most literal sense. Still, the newcomer forms a strong bond with her mentor, even as horrors are discovered beneath the dance studio. Chloe Grace Moretz, who had a previous dose of terror in the title role of a “Carrie” remake, also is featured. DVD extras: three “making-of” documentaries. *** (R: AS, N, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

COMING SOON (Upcoming releases):

“The Cloverfield Paradox”

“THE CLOVERFIELD PARADOX” (Feb. 5): Scientists in outer space experiment with a possible alternate reality; the cast includes Daniel Bruhl and David Oyelowo. (Not rated: AS, P, V)

“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)

“THE GRINCH” (Feb. 5): Benedict Cumberbatch voices the famously green and miserly enemy of Whoville in this latest adaptation of the Dr. Seuss tale. (PG: AS)

“A PRIVATE WAR” (Feb. 5): Rosamund Pike plays a veteran war correspondent who puts her life and relationships in jeopardy through her highly risky assignments. (R: AS, N, P, V)

“THE SISTERS BROTHERS” (Feb. 5): Old West siblings (John C. Reilly, Joaquin Phoenix) are sent to retrieve a formula stolen from their employer; Jake Gyllenhaal also stars. (R: AS, P, V)

“WIDOWS” (Feb. 5): Director Steve McQueen’s drama focuses on several women who assume their late husbands’ illegal activities; stars include Viola Davis and Michelle Rodriguez. (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 1975 posts and counting.See all posts by jbobbin

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