DVD Releases (for week of July 21)

STARTING THIS WEEK (New releases):

Rosa Salazar in “Alita: Battle Angel”

“ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL”: With such proven filmmakers as James Cameron and Robert Rodriguez behind it, you’d figure this futuristic adventure would be something unique … and it is that visually, thanks especially to the title character, taken from a manga comic-book. Christoph Waltz plays a doctor who assembles odds and ends into Alita, who has the memory of a fighter and is played via motion-capture by Rosa Salazar. She becomes involved in a brutal contest that can gain you entry into an elite society — if you don’t get killed in the process. As if the game isn’t tough enough, schemers played by Jennifer Connelly and Mahershala Ali are plotting its outcome, which does not spell good things for Alita. Beyond the cast filled with Oscar winners, the style is the biggest selling point here, with bountiful action that’s frantic and CGI-enhanced enough to mirror the Rodriguez-made “Spy Kids” movies. DVD extras: “making-of” documentary; “motion comics.” *** (PG-13: P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“HELLBOY”: Initiated as a sequel but ultimately turned into a full (and not entirely necessary) reboot without the participation of filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro and star Ron Perlman, director Neil Marshall’s frequently violent take on the Dark Horse comic features a heavily made-up David Harbour (“Stranger Things”) in the title role of a decidedly unusual government operative who deals in the paranormal. The trail is quite gruesome as Hellboy tries to negotiate his way across a path lined with enemies and presumed friends who may or may not be traitorous. Milla Jovovich, Ian McShane, Sasha Lane, Daniel Dae Kim and Thomas Haden Church also appear – but, as usual in a case like this, the members of the makeup and art departments also deserve credit as stars. DVD extras: deleted scenes; “previsualizations.” *** (R: AS, P, GV) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“MISSING LINK”: One of numerous animated features of late, this tale is bemusing without being magical – a combination that may satisfy older viewers but leave younger ones wanting. The title character is a Sasquatch literally named Link, and voiced by Zach Galifianakis; he’s found by an explorer who has the voice of Hugh Jackman, and once the two meet up, the two set off on a revised quest together toward the place where the bigfoot ultimately wants to settle. The animation is at once lovely and abstract, and the voice cast is intriguing, with Zoe Saldana, Timothy Olyphant, Emma Thompson and Stephen Fry also heard. As technically fine as it is, connecting with viewers fully on an emotional level is the link this really is missing. Of movie-history note, this picture relaunched a legendary Hollywood brand in its 100th-anniversary year under the slightly augmented name United Artists Releasing. DVD extras: seven “making-of” documentaries; audio commentary by writer-director Chris Butler; photo gallery. *** (PG: AS) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“MANIFEST: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON”: It’s tougher than ever these days for a new television series to launch as an out-of-the-gate hit, but this one did. The NBC drama – which will return at midseason, so it can air without having to be split into two chunks, as this first year did – follows some of those aboard an airliner that mysteriously landed more than five years after it took off, while others had presumed those on board were lost forever. A New York police detective and her brother (Melissa Roxburgh, Josh Dallas) are among those who struggle to assimilate back into their daily lives while trying to figure out the phenomenon that took them off the radar, in every way possible, for such a long time. Filmmaker Robert Zemeckis (“Back to the Future,” “Forrest Gump”) is among the show’s executive producers; cast members also include Athena Karkanis, J.R. Ramirez, Luna Blaise and Jack Messina. *** (Not rated: AS, P, V)

“CRITTERS ATTACK!”: If you remember the original “Critters” horror-comedy movie that dates back more than 30 years, you’ll find that relatively little has changed in this fifth installment in the series – even including the star, since Dee Wallace is back from the first picture. The furry, hungry and lethal aliens known as Krites are back on Earth, generating plenty of mayhem as they pursue new targets including such energetic young people as a babysitter (Tashiana Washington) and her charges (Ava Preston, Jack Fulton, Jaeden Noel) who don’t quite understand what they’re up against. But they’ll learn … oh, they’ll learn. ** (R: P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“THE WEDDING MARCH 1 & 2”: Having recently shown the fifth film in the series, Hallmark Channel has developed a true franchise with the recurring romantic dramas that reteam “Melrose Place” alums Josie Bissett and Jack Wagner. This release pairing the first two stories sets up the premise, with Bissett as an engaged woman who learns the site of her planned nuptials is operated by her college boyfriend (Wagner) … and if you don’t think the feelings they once shared will return, allow us to introduce you to the world of Hallmark Channel movies. The easy-to-take pictures also feature Emily Tennant and Sarah Grey. *** (Not rated: AS)

COMING SOON (Upcoming releases):

“The Good Place: The Complete Third Season”


“LONG SHOT” (July 30)

“UGLYDOLLS” (July 30)


“A DOG’S JOURNEY” (Aug. 20)


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 2095 posts and counting.See all posts by jbobbin

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