DVD Releases (for week of July 7)

STARTING THIS WEEK (New releases):

Jason Clarke and John Lithgow in “Pet Sematary”

“PET SEMATARY”: The success of a remake of Stephen King’s “It” has inspired other filmmakers to take a fresh look at the novelist’s catalog – which, for a while, seemed to yield a movie a month – and this effective update of another of his thrillers is among the results. The author’s beloved Maine is the setting as a Boston doctor (played by Jason Clarke) moves his family there, and their new home promises tranquility … but with King’s imprint attached, you just know that is not to be. The most obvious sign of that: the backyard that long has been used as a makeshift cemetery for family pets by area residents, particularly younger ones who have some bizarre burial rites. The newcomers have brought along their own pet, a beloved cat, which automatically stacks the deck … and makes a certain plot turn entirely foreseeable. It also puts a welcome spotlight on the ever-great John Lithgow, portraying a neighbor whose knowledge of the territory and its secrets ultimately leads to considerable terror for all concerned. Amy Seimetz also fares well as Clarke’s wife. *** (R: AS, P, V) (also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“LITTLE”: Much has been made of the fact that 14-year-old “blackish” co-star Marsai Martin became the youngest movie executive producer in history with this enjoyable comedy-fantasy, which reverses the “Big” and “13 Going in 30” premise to make an adult younger. Regina Hall (also an executive producer here) plays the older incarnation of the central character, a demanding tech-firm boss who is sent back to her childlike self – and portrayed at that point by Martin – and gets all too clear a picture of how miserably she has treated others. She then sets out to right her past wrongs, aiming to return to her grown state. Co-stars include Issa Rae (“Insecure’), Justin Hartley (“This Is Us”), Tone Bell and past and present “Saturday Night Live” players Rachel Dratch and Mikey Day. *** (PG-13: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“GOTHAM: THE FIFTH AND FINAL SEASON”: Since this Fox series largely was about Bruce Wayne’s (David Mazouz) journey toward becoming Batman, the ending shouldn’t come as a shock in this last round of the thematically and literally dark drama, for which Ben McKenzie – alias the show’s Jim Gordon – directed and wrote episodes. Though the Gotham City Police Department does its best to maintain law and order, such famously villainous figures as the Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) and the Riddler (Cory Michael Smith) do their best to see that anarchy and larceny reign. Donal Logue, Morena Baccarin (who married McKenzie during the show’s run), Sean Pertwee, Erin Richards and Camren Bicondova also wrap up their roles, with Shane West joining the cast for the concluding season as nemesis Bane. A “Complete Series” set also is newly available. DVD extras: “making-of” documentary; deleted scenes; 2018 New York Comic-Con highlights. *** (Not rated: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray)

“AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: CHASING THE MOON”: Television programs tied to the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing are plentiful right now, and debuting on home video the same week PBS televises it, this three-episode documentary traces the so-called “space race” from its inception up to the Apollo 11 mission that saw Neil Armstrong set foot on the lunar surface. While the program deals with the literal nuts and bolts that got rockets ready to fly, it also considers the personal stories of those who occupied the ships and oversaw the technology that put them aloft. It also looks at the genuine media circus that transpired, as enterprising reporters tried to delve beyond the talking points that NASA officials would have preferred they stuck to. *** (Not rated: P) (Also on Blu-ray)

“BROAD CITY: SEASON 5”: Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer recently wrapped up their Comedy Central show, and this set compiles the final 10 episodes of their misadventures as friends and twentysomething New Yorkers, in some way a contemporary Lucy Ricardo and Ethel Mertz. The finale does have the feeling of an ending, though it also indicates that the women’s connection doesn’t stop where the series does. Glazer and Jacobson wrote that concluding tale as well as others, and they also directed episodes here, as they also did in earlier seasons. Hannibal Buress, John Gemberling. Susie Essman and Bob Balaban reprise their recurring roles, and guest stars include Alan Cumming and D’Arcy Carden (“The Good Place”). “Broad City: The Complete Series” also is being released. DVD extras: “making-of” documentary; deleted scenes; outtakes. *** (Not rated: AS, P)

“PETER PAN”: Before there was the animated Disney classic – or any other screen version of James M. Barrie’s much-beloved story of the Never-Never Land resident who never grew up – this silent 1924 treatment started an unspoken tradition of women playing the title role by casting Betty Bronson (who would appear a year later in the first “Ben-Hur” movie) in the part. The familiar elements are all here, including Captain Hook, the Darling children (who end up needing Peter’s rescue efforts) and Tinker Bell. Anna May Wong, who went on to much film and television work after this, plays Tiger Lily. *** (Not rated) (Also on Blu-ray)

COMING SOON (Upcoming releases):



“SHAZAM!” (July 16)





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 2289 posts and counting.See all posts by jbobbin

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