DVD Releases (for week of June 23)

STARTING THIS WEEK (New releases):

Danny DeVito, Nico Parker and Colin Farrell (from left) in “Dumbo”

“DUMBO”: The Disney studio has been on a kick of turning some its most popular animated features into live-action attractions, and that might seem especially tricky with a title character such as the one this has … but consider that Tim Burton is the director, and the remake turns out to be its own creature. Digital effects bring the baby elephant separated from its mother to life – and yes, there are still those famous parent-and-child moments that tug hard on your heart, but there also are the famously bizarre Burton touches that keep the result at arm’s length. While Danny DeVito is wonderfully warm as the operator of the circus that becomes the big-eared, flying Dumbo’s new home, Michael Keaton (Burton’s earlier Batman) plays a really sinister rival showman. Colin Farrell, Eva Green and Alan Arkin also are in the esoteric cast of a “Dumbo” that ultimately works a little too hard not to be defined as a kids’ movie. *** (PG: AS) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“THE HUMMINGBIRD PROJECT”: Jesse Eisenberg made technology work for him as Mark Zuckerberg in “The Social Network,” and he tries it again in writer-director Kim Nguyen’s drama by teaming with Alexander Skarsgard to play cousins who aim to get an edge in receiving stock-market information. They strategize the development of a tunnel of fiber-optic cable stretching from Kansas all the way to New York, intending to get a four-second jump on transactions … which would be enough to help them strike it very rich. However, their former boss (Salma Hayek) catches on to their scheme, putting their plan in serious doubt. The film earned Canadian Screen Awards for editing and sound. *** (R: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray)

“CINDERELLA”: One of the screen’s all-time animated classics gets an almost-70th-anniversary tribute with a new “Walt Disney Signature Collection” edition, telling the famous saga of the sweet but emotionally abused title character (voiced by Ilene Woods) who wishes for a better life than the one her nasty stepmother and stepsisters have engineered for her. Her chance finally comes via a fairy godmother (voice of veteran character actress Verna Felton) and a royal ball of which Cinderella becomes the belle, certainly in the eyes of the prince who must use a left-behind glass slipper to trace his new love interest. Also of special note in the voice cast is later talk-show host Mike Douglas, who does the singing for Prince Charming. The Blu-ray version is packed with special features, both new ones and others carried over from previous releases. The live-action 2015 Disney remake starring Cate Blanchett, Lily James and Helena Bonham Carter – and directed by Kenneth Branagh – also receives a same-day home-video relaunch that includes its debut in the 4K Ultra HD format. **** (G) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“POLDARK: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION”: This series set is “complete” if you’re going solely by the original 1970s edition of the drama made for PBS’ “Masterpiece,” and not also by the much more recent update, which isn’t included here. Robin Ellis – who also had a role in the update – plays the title part of Ross Poldark, a British military captain who has a lot to deal with upon returning home from war. The fiancee he left behind (Jill Townsend) has taken up with his cousin (Clive Francis), he has major business concerns, and he has an ever-present enemy in George Warleggan (Ralph Bates). This version was comprised of two seasons, while the current revision will end with the forthcoming fifth season. Angharad Rees and “To Sir, With Love” alum Judy Geeson also are featured. *** (Not rated: AS, V)

“MANHUNT, SEASON 1”: Well-known internationally for his title portrayal in ‘Doc Martin,” British actor Martin Clunes has a much different role in this fact-inspired drama. The brutal murder of a French student in London sets up the first major case for a detective (Clunes) whose hunches worry his superiors, though if they prove accurate, they could help to find and stop a serial killer. The teleplay was inspired by the memoirs of the investigator Clunes portrays, Colin Sutton, and a second season of the show has been ordered. Stephen Wight, Katie Lyons and Claudie Blakley also star. *** (Not rated: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray)

“THE TAMARIND SEED”: Director Blake Edwards engineered a number of projects for his iconic-actress wife Julie Andrews, including this 1974 mix of espionage tale and romantic drama that boasts a superb score by frequent James Bond-series composer John Barry. Edwards also adapted the script from an Evelyn Anthony novel, with Andrews (who made this her first movie after a four-year break from the big screen) playing a British government employee who becomes involved with a Soviet military attache during a Caribbean vacation – attracting the attention of her superiors, who are concerned that the man’s true intention is to persuade her to give up diplomatic secrets. The excellent cast also includes Anthony Quayle, Dan O’Herlihy, Sylvia Syms, Oscar Homolka (in his final film) and Kate O’Mara. *** (PG: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray)

COMING SOON (Upcoming releases):

“Gotham: The Fifth And Final Season”


“LITTLE” (July 9)



“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 2042 posts and counting.See all posts by jbobbin

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