DVD Releases (for week of July 8)

STARTING THIS WEEK (New releases):

"A Quiet Place"
Emily Blunt and John Krasinski in “A Quiet Place”

“A QUIET PLACE”: Familiar for his acting, “The Office” alum John Krasinski – who will spend the next couple of years playing novelist Tom Clancy’s CIA hero Jack Ryan in a streaming series – earned raves for directing, co-writing and starring in this supremely tense, highly effective thriller. He and real-life spouse Emily Blunt play a couple trying, after a family tragedy, to protect their children in a near-future world where creatures that can’t see depend on sound to find their targets. Sign language plays an extremely big part in the proceedings, with non-hearing actress Millicent Simmonds playing one of the youngsters. Justifiably a commercial hit, the film reportedly is in line for a sequel … but for now, the original gets its job done, and then some. *** (PG-13: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“CHAPPAQUIDDICK”: The tragic and true story of the 1969 car accident that resulted in the drowning death of political campaign worker Mary Jo Kopechne (played here by Kate Mara), while she was in the company of Sen. Edward “Ted” Kennedy (Jason Clarke), is recounted in director John Curran’s commendably non-sensational drama. The script traces the events in the lives of the Kennedys and their associates during the week after the vehicle went off a Massachusetts island bridge, with iron-willed patriarch Joseph (a very notable Bruce Dern) doing as much damage control as possible for a family that already had its share of crisis and sorrow during the 1960s. Ed Helms, Jim Gaffigan, Olivia Thirlby and Clancy Brown (“Billions”) also star. DVD extras: two “making-of” documentaries. *** (PG-13: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“THE LEISURE SEEKER”: An Oscar winner and a recent recipient of an honorary Academy Award are teamed in this drama, as Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland play a couple who head out on one last road trip in the RV in which they’ve taken many family vacations. Age is catching up to them, so while they still have enough independence to do so, they venture from Boston to Florida in the Winnebago they’ve been able to depend upon for several decades. The tale, the first English-language film by Italian director Paolo Virzì (“Like Crazy”), also features Christian McKay (“Florence Foster Jenkins”) and Janel Moloney (“The West Wing”) as the couple’s children, plus Dana Ivey and – in his last screen appearance – celebrated comedian and activist Dick Gregory. DVD extras: two “making-of” documentaries. *** (R: AS, P) (Also on On Demand)

“MOSAIC”: What’s real and what isn’t? That’s a major question in this made-for-HBO mystery miniseries from someone famous for testing the supposed limits of genres, Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh (“Traffic,” “Ocean’s Eleven”), Also released originally in the form of an online app, the saga involves a cross-section of people in a small town as a murder is investigated anew four years later … and given the drama’s structure, its title is quite significant. The ensemble cast includes Sharon Stone, Garrett Hedlund, Beau Bridges, Frederick Weller, Jennifer Ferrin, Maya Kazan (granddaughter of the legendary filmmaker Elia Kazan) and “Pee-wee Herman” himself, Paul Reubens. *** (Not rated: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray)

“I AM ELIZABETH SMART”: The true story of a 2002 kidnapping that made its victim a household name is dramatized in this made-for-Lifetime movie, with Alana Boden in the title role. Elizabeth was taken from her home by a religious fanatic and his accomplice (Skeet Ulrich, Deirdre Lovejoy), then spent nine months being subjected to all sorts of hardships until she was able to facilitate her own rescue. The film’s authenticity is guaranteed by the involvement of the real-life Elizabeth as both a producer and the on-screen narrator, letting her present firsthand recollections of her ordeal … which, much to her credit, she has overcome to live her adult life as a clearly centered individual. **** (Not rated: AS, P, V)

“IT’S ALWAYS ABOUT THE STORY: CONVERSATIONS WITH ALAN LADD, JR.”: Anyone who loves Hollywood history is sure to be engrossed in this documentary – which Turner Classic Movies has televised – about the son of legendary actor Alan Ladd who became the chief of 20th Century Fox in the era of the original “Star Wars” and “Alien.” He oversaw many other modern classics before leaving to become the head of The Ladd Company, which turned out such films as “Blade Runner,” “The Right Stuff,” “Chariots of Fire” and “Braveheart.” Among the stories told here by Ladd is how he provided the springboard to stardom for Michael Keaton in “Night Shift,” largely because director Ron Howard vouched so strongly for the then-“Batman”-to-be. Mel Brooks also appears, to discuss his mutually beneficial relationship with Ladd during the Fox years. *** (Not rated: P)

COMING SOON (Upcoming releases):

Amy Schumer
Amy Schumer in “I Feel Pretty”

“I FEEL PRETTY” (July 17): Amy Schumer plays a cosmetics-company employee who sees herself differently after she has an accident. (PG-13: AS, N, P)

“RAMPAGE” (July 17): A primatologist (Dwayne Johnson) faces a dilemma when his gorilla friend is among animals genetically altered and turned lethal. (PG-13: AS, P, V)

“TRUTH OR DARE” (July 17): Several young friends are drawn into a dangerous game while traveling in Mexico; Lucy Hale and Tyler Posey star. (PG-13: A, P, V)

“READY PLAYER ONE” (July 24): The Steven Spielberg-directed fantasy casts Tye Sheridan as a youth vying to win a virtual-reality game for multiple reasons. (PG-13: N, P, V)

“COUNTERPART: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON” (July 31): Oscar winner J.K. Simmons has dual roles, as an intelligence-agency drone and his much more adventurous doppelganger, in the Starz series. (Not rated: AS, P, V)

“HERE AND NOW” (Aug. 7): Holly Hunter and Tim Robbins play the heads of a very diverse family in this HBO drama series from producer Alan Ball (“True Blood”). (Not rated: 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.

jbobbin has 1765 posts and counting.See all posts by jbobbin

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