DVD Releases (for week of Jan. 7)


STARTING THIS WEEK (New releases):


“IT”: For a while, it seemed as if a movie based on a Stephen King story was released almost every month … and though it had been some time since then, the response to this adaptation of one of his most popular novels has proven he’s still a major force at the box office. Several young Maine friends are pitted against the sinister clown Pennywise (played by Bill Skarsgard), who preys upon their deepest fears as they try to locate other youths who have disappeared, evidently under vicious circumstances. Though the film’s younger stars generally are relative unknowns, two of them are Finn Wolfhard (“Stranger Things”) and Jaeden Lieberher (“Masters of Sex”). DVD extras: three “making-of” documentaries; deleted scenes. *** (R: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

Jaeden Lieberher and Sophia Lillis in “It”


“THE FOREIGNER”: In this first movie since receiving an honorary Oscar, Jackie Chan meets – or, perhaps more accurately, collides – with another action star, Pierce Brosnan, in this revenge tale. Chan plays a grieving and very resourceful businessman determined to even the score for his daughter’s death in a terrorist bombing. His main target becomes a politician (Brosnan) with ties to the IRA and a vast network of resources of his own. Notably, the movie reunites Brosnan with the director who introduced him as James Bond in “GoldenEye” (and also set Daniel Craig on his 007 start in “Casino Royale”), Martin Campbell. Orla Brady also appears. *** (R: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“MARSHALL”: The title refers to Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American member of the U.S Supreme Court, in director Reginald Hudlin’s fine biographical drama. Chadwick Boseman (“42”) has the title role as the script focuses on Marshall’s earlier years as an attorney dedicated to fighting racial injustice – and experiencing some of it himself, particularly while handling the case of a chauffeur (“This Is Us” Emmy winner Sterling K. Brown) accused of assault by his employer (Kate Hudson). Josh Gad plays Marshall’s courtroom colleague, with Dan Stevens (“Downton Abbey”), James Cromwell, Keesha Sharp (“Lethal Weapon”), Sophia Bush, Jussie Smollett (“Empire”) and singer Rozonda “Chili” Thomas also in the noteworthy cast. *** (PG-13: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“AMERICAN MASTERS: THIS IS BOB HOPE”: The PBS series’ recent profile of one of the top entertainers of the 20th century covers the breadth of his careers in vaudeville, radio, movies and television. Though Hope mostly speaks for himself in the wealth of archival material included, some of his writings are voiced by Billy Crystal. Expectedly included are clips from Hope’s television specials, Oscars-hosting stints, USO tours and screen teamings with Bing Crosby. Hope’s daughter Linda is among those interviewed, along with Conan O’Brien, Tom Selleck, Brooke Shields, Kermit the Frog (really), Dick Cavett, Connie Stevens and film critic and historian Leonard Maltin. *** (Not rated)

“MARK FELT: THE MAN WHO BROUGHT DOWN THE WHITE HOUSE”: If you’re not familiar with all the details of the 1970s Watergate scandal, you may not recognize Felt’s name – but if you are, you’ll know that he was the informant commonly referred to as “Deep Throat.” Hal Holbrook played him in “All the President’s Men,” but here, the role goes to Liam Neeson as writer-director Peter Landesman traces the risks Felt took in steering Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein in the right direction – and the price he paid in keeping his identity concealed for more than three decades. Stars also include Diane Lane, Tony Goldwyn (“Scandal”), Josh Lucas, Wendi McLendon-Covey (“The Goldbergs”), Michael C. Hall (“Dexter”), Bruce Greenwood, Noah Wyle and Kate Walsh. DVD extras: “making-of” documentary; audio commentary by Landesman; deleted and extended scenes. *** (PG-13: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“NOVEMBER CRIMINALS”: Two young friends, en route to college, end up united by more than their mutual romantic interest in this drama. Chloe Grace Moretz (“If I Stay”) and Ansel Elgort (“Baby Driver”) have the central roles as the characters become determined to solve the murder of a classmate (Jared Kemp) in the nation’s capital, even if that means going against the police investigation and putting their own lives at risk. Based on a Sam Munson novel, director and co-screenwriter Sacha Gervasi’s (“Hitchcock”) film also features Catherine Keener, David Strathairn and Terry Kinney. DVD extra: “making-of” documentary. *** (PG-13: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)


COMING SOON (Upcoming releases):


“BLADE RUNNER 2049” (Jan. 16): The 35-years-later sequel finds another futuristic police detective (Ryan Gosling) questioning his existence; Harrison Ford returns. (R: AS, N, P, V)

“HAPPY DEATH DAY” (Jan. 16): On her birthday, a slain college student (Jessica Rothe) relives her murder again and again until she determines the killer’s identity. (PG-13: AS, N, P, V)

“THE SNOWMAN” (Jan. 16): The title character provides clues as a detective (Michael Fassbender) seeks a serial killer in this version of the Jo Nesbo novel. (R: AS, N, 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)

“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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