DVD Releases (for week of June 30)

STARTING THIS WEEK (New releases):

Taraji P. Henson in “The Best of Enemies”

“THE BEST OF ENEMIES”: Taraji P. Henson (“Empire”) and Oscar winner Sam Rockwell (“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”) make a strong acting match in debuting director and screenwriter Robin Bissell’s fact-inspired drama that lives up to its title, taken from the Osha Gray Davidson book the film is based on. The stars play civil-rights activist Ann Atwater and Ku Klux Klan leader C.P. Ellis, who opposed each other for a decade before becoming tenuous partners presiding over a meeting on school desegregation in North Carolina. The two-week session ultimately had a profound effect on both of them and the views they long had held. The excellent cast also includes Wes Bentley, Anne Heche, Babou Cessay, Bruce McGill, John Gallagher Jr. (“The Newsroom”) and Nick Searcy. Tobey Maguire was among the movie’s producers. *** (PG-13: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“ESCAPE PLAN: THE EXTRACTORS”: Following “Rocky,” “Rambo” and “The Expendables,” Sylvester Stallone has managed to build another franchise out of his adventures about an expert in breaking in and out of prisons. Here, his character Ray Breslin has a personal investment in the mission, since his girlfriend (Jaime King) is being detained in a veritable fortress in Latvia … and take a wild guess at who the only person who can extract her is. The daughter of a tech-world kingpin also is being held; Dave Bautista (“Guardians of the Galaxy”) and Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson play Breslin’s cohorts in trying to extract them. Devon Sawa (“Final Destination”) also is in director and co-writer John Herzfeld’s (“Reach Me”) cast. DVD extras: “making-of” documentary; audio commentary by Stallone, Sawa, Herzfeld and co-star Daniel Bernhardt. *** (R: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“THE PUBLIC”: Emilio Estevez handles many of the major jobs on this intense drama, serving as writer and director as well as a producer and star of this tale of a crisis that evolves into a bigger one when a group of homeless people refuses to leave the Cincinnati Public Library during a severe cold snap. The presence of riot police – with Alec Baldwin playing a negotiator — prompts the escalation of the situation from a nonviolent matter to something potentially more tragic, something that two librarians caught in the middle (Estevez, Jena Malone) hope to avoid. Christian Slater, Taylor Schilling (“Orange Is the New Black”), Gabrielle Union, Richard T. Jones and “Boardwalk Empire” alums Jeffrey Wright and Michael Kenneth Williams also star. *** (PG-13: AS, N, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“AN ACCEPTABLE LOSS”: A veteran of American politics, played by Tika Sumpter (“Ride Along”), finds herself with multiple concerns in writer-director Joe Chappelle’s (“The Wire”) well-acted drama. Though the lead character isn’t specifically meant to be Condoleezza Rice, it wouldn’t be too hard to make the leap that she was an inspiration here, since the woman in the tale is a college professor and former national security adviser. Figures from her past – especially the current U.S. president, played by an excellent Jamie Lee Curtis – give her present-day worries, as does a particularly curious graduate student (Ben Tavassoli). Jeff Hephner, Clarke Peters, Rex Linn (“CSI: Miami”) and David Eigenberg (of “Chicago Fire,” which Chappelle often directs) also appear. *** (R: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THE CASTLE”: Based on a novel by Shirley Jackson, whose “The Haunting of Hill House:” has yielded multiple screen versions, this moody thriller casts Taissa Farmiga (“American Horror Story”) as a young woman whose fear of others in her village – who are wary of her troubled family history — has led her to place allegedly magical objects around her home to ward off evil. A cousin’s (Sebastian Stan) visit coincides with the disappearance of those items, also impacting the teenage girl’s sister (Alexandra Daddario), who has been a virtual recluse since being acquitted of their parents’ deaths. Expectedly, things only get more dangerous from that point. Filmed in Ireland, the melodrama also features Crispin Glover and Paula Malcomson (“Deadwood,” “Ray Donovan”). *** (Not rated: AS, P, V)

“A SUMMER TO REMEMBER”: Seen recently in a reprise of her “JAG” role as “Mac” MacKenzie on “NCIS: Los Angeles,” Catherine Bell has been spending a lot of time on Hallmark Channel lately … in her “Good Witch” series, and also in movies such as this one. Here, she plays a widowed doctor who takes a professional break by visiting Fiji with her daughter (Samantha MacGillivray). The owner of the resort where they stay happens to be an appealing hunk – gee, what are the odds? – played by Cameron Mathison, also a Hallmark fixture through moves and his co-hosting of the weekday show “Home & Family.” Their blossoming relationship make the medic have doubts about the major hospital promotion she’s up for back home. *** (Not rated: AS)

COMING SOON (Upcoming releases):

“Pet Sematary”



“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.

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