DVD Releases (for week of July 30)

 

STARTING THIS WEEK (New releases):


Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley and Reese Witherspoon star in “Big Little Lies”

“BIG LITTLE LIES”: Surely one of television’s prestige projects of the year, this engrossing HBO version of the Liane Moriarty novel – adapted by David E. Kelley (“The Practice”) – examines the lives of, and connections between, several women and mothers living supposedly ideal lives in scenic Monterey, Calif. Played by Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman and Shailene Woodley (“Divergent”), they also have deep secrets that risk exposure after a death at an elementary school. Witherspoon and Kidman also were executive producers of the project, reuniting Witherspoon and co-star Laura Dern with “Wild” director Jean-Marc Vallee and boasting a solid cast that also includes Alexander Skarsgard (“True Blood”), Adam Scott (“Parks and Recreation”), Zoe Kravitz and James Tupper. **** (Not rated: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray)


“GOING IN STYLE”: The premise is the same, so the true pleasure is in the acting, with another trio of senior-citizen stars – Oscar winners Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Alan Arkin succeeding the earlier version’s George Burns, Art Carney and Lee Strasberg – in this comedy remake. They play former co-workers, each of whom has his own reason for wanting to turn to bank robbery as a twilight-years hobby. The clear focus is on them, but director Zach Braff (“Garden State”)( also enlists such other familiar faces as Ann-Margret, Matt Dillon, Christopher Lloyd and “Saturday Night Live’s” Kenan Thompson. DVD extra: audio commentary by Braff. *** (PG-13: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“THE CIRCLE“: Emma Watson gets top billing in this maybe-a-little-too-late cautionary tale adapted from Dave Eggers’ novel about social media, but Tom Hanks and Patton Oswalt do much with their customary energy as the owners of such a company. Watson plays their newest hire, and her ambition to prove herself leads her to volunteer for a project that displays subjects’ lives on view 24/7. Expectedly, she soon starts questioning what she’s gotten herself into – and, on a bigger scale, what the firm’s true intentions are. John Boyega (“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”) co-stars as a colleague who gives our heroine some insight, and director and co-screenwriter James Ponsoldt’s (“The Spectaciular Now”) cast also includes two recently deceased talents, Bill Paxton and Glenne Headly. DVD extras: three “making-of” documentaries. *** (PG-13: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“THE LOVERS”: Can this marriage be saved? It’s a popular question, and it’s the be-all and end-all of writer-director Azazel Jacobs’ seriocomic tale that gives Debra Winger one of her most sizable screen roles in years. She and actor-playwright Tracy Letts (whose works include “August: Osage County” and “Superior Donuts”) play a couple whose relationship seems all but finished, especially since each is romantically involved with someone else. However, there’s still a spark between them, and it could grow into full-fledged love for them again. Aiden Gillen (“Game of Thrones”) also appears. DVD extras: two “making-of” documentaries; audio commentary by Jacobs. *** (R: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“REMEMBER ME”: Though he’s best-known for comedy, Monty Python veteran Michael Palin makes a sharp turn into drama in this three-episode suspense tale, being released on home video in the same week it ends its PBS debut (a couple of years after its initial run on England’s BBC). Palin plays a senior citizen who gets himself into an assisted-living program by faking a fall, but he ends up in a very real mystery when he witnesses a social worker’s death. Others seem relatively unconcerned, with the exception of a young health-care assistant (Jodie Comer). Mark Addy and Julia Sawalha also star. *** (Not rated: AS, P)

“PURE COUNTRY: PURE HEART”: The third drama in the country-music-infused franchise – and the second to be made directly for the home-video market – this tale offers authentic country talents in co-stars Willie Nelson and Laura Bell Bundy. However, the thrust of the story is on two teen sisters who suddenly learn things they didn’t know about their father, a Marine who was killed while serving in Iraq. They take a road trip to discover more about his own musical aspirations, eventually setting them on a course for their own lives. Kaitlyn Bausch and Cozi Zuehlsdorff play the siblings, and the cast also includes Amanda Detmer, the WWE’s Shawn Michaels and veteran actor Ronny Cox, who wrote and performs one of the songs on the soundtrack. DVD extras: “making-of” documentary; music video. *** (Not rated: AS) (Also on Blu-ray)


COMING SOON (Upcoming releases):

Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn stars in “Snatched”

“SNATCHED” (Aug. 8): Goldie Hawn and Amy Schumer play a mother and daughter who end up being kidnapped while on a vacation together. (R: AS, N, P)

“THE DINNER” (Aug. 8): A restaurant gathering among relatives proves unsettling in a drama that reteams “Primal Fear” stars Richard Gere and Laura Linney. (R: AS, P, V)

“KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD” (Aug. 8): Charlie Hunnam has the title role in director Guy Ritchie’s retelling of the monarch’s story. (PG-13: AS, P, V)

“BILLIONS: SEASON TWO” (Aug. 15): Federal prosecutor Chuck and hedge-fund king Axe (Paul Giamatti, Damian Lewis) both face major personal and professional challenges. (Not rated: AS, P)

“CHUCK” (Aug. 15): Liev Schreiber (“Ray Donovan”) plays Chuck Wepner, the real-life boxer whose underdog story inspired “Rocky.” (R: AS, P, V)

“HOW TO BE A LATIN LOVER” (Aug. 15): Eugenio Derbez (“Instructions Not Included”) is backed by a notable cast, including Salma Hayek and Rob Lowe, in this comedy about a dethroned ladies’ man, (PG-13: AS, N, P)

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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