DVD Releases (for week of March 17)

STARTING THIS WEEK (New releases):

“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”

“SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE”: The saga of the comic-book world’s most famous “web-slinger” gets an effective reboot in this computer-animated adventure, the recent winner of an Oscar for best animated feature, utilizing many of the original characters … but also a teenager (voice by Shameik Moore) who wouldn’t mind being the next Spider-Man. He may get that chance when his hero is killed, but different versions of the Marvel icon enter this dimension from other ones, causing considerable complications as the youth tries to control the powers he has gained from his own encounter with a radioactive spider. Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, Chris Pine, Nicolas Cage, John Mulaney, Liev Schreiber and Lily Tomlin are among others in the interestingly chosen voice cast. Also represented is the late Marvel legend Stan Lee. *** (PG: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“MARY POPPINS RETURNS”: Emily Blunt does a credible job in succeeding Julie Andrews in the title role of this 50-years-plus-later Disney sequel, which is filled with numerous delights including appearances by Meryl Streep, Angela Lansbury and original “Poppins” co-star Dick Van Dyke. As Mary floats back into the lives of the now-grown Jane and Michael Banks (Emily Mortimer, Ben Whishaw) to help save the family home, assisting her is Jack, a character along the lines of Van Dyke’s Bert — played by “Hamilton” wunderkind Lin-Manuel Miranda, whose energy is a very big boost to the proceedings here. The songs have just enough freshness while evoking memories of the earlier tunes composed by the Sherman brothers, and overall, director Rob Marshall (“Chicago”) and screenwriter David Magee retain the spirit that any follow-up to the 1964 classic would need. Colin Firth, Julie Walters and David Warner also are featured. *** (PG: AS) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“NOVA: APOLLO’S DARING MISSION”: Debuting on home video in the year that marks the 50th anniversary of man’s first walk on the lunar surface, this recent episode of the PBS science series recalls the first manned mission to the moon. With the Soviet Union eager to claim victory in achieving that aim first, the pressure was on NASA technicians and engineers, leading to a major change in plans for the Apollo 8 operation – and potential perils in the use of technologies that were so new then, unforeseen dangers to the astronauts were definite possibilities. Some of those directly involved in the mission offer their memories of it. *** (Not rated)

“BECOMING ASTRID”: If you know the long-popular character Pippi Longstocking, you’re familiar with the author who created her. This Swedish-German-Danish co-production about Astrid Lindgren traces her life over a range of years, though she’s principally depicted in her late teens by actress Alba August. The eldest of four siblings, she’s a rebel whose open mind gets her a journalistic internship … and a personal relationship with her editor, resulting in a pregnancy that adds to Lindgren’s experience as someone who lives independently at a time when conventional thinking was much more the norm. Further challenges contribute to the uniqueness of her literary subjects and style. Trine Dyrholm and Bjorn Gustafsson also are in director and co-writer Pernille Fischer Christensen’s cast. *** (Not rated: AS)

“DETOUR”: One of the most renowned film-noir dramas gets Criterion Collection treatment – which will come as a relief to its devotees, since various public-domain editions over the years have offered it in less-than-pristine versions. Released in 1945, directed by Edgar G. Ulmer and adapted by Martin Goldsmith from his own novel, the story plays out as a prolonged flashback reveals how a hitchhiker (played by Tom Neal) assumed the identity of a man who died while giving him a ride … just the start of the traveler’s troubles, thanks to another hitchhiker (Ann Savage) he became involved with. DVD extras: theatrical trailer; interview with author Noah Isenberg; “Edgar G. Ulmer: The Man Off-Screen” documentary; essay by critic and poet Robert Polito. *** (Not rated: AS, V)

“MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000: VOLUME 10.2”: Though it’s a re-release, this collection of four movies featured of the satirical series that mocks allegedly bad films rates mention again – if only for the often-witty wisecracks by a human and his robot sidekicks (typically seen in silhouette) as they watch the pictures. “Giant Gila Monster,” “Swamp Diamonds” and “Teen-age Strangler” are three of the attractions here. The fourth, “The Giant Spider Invasion,” actually boasts some “name” talent among the creatures generated by a fallen meteorite: Barbara Hale (alias “Perry Mason’s” Della Street) and her husband, Bill Williams, are among the human cast members along with Alan Hale Jr. … also legendary to fans of classic television as the Skipper on “Gilligan’s Island.” *** (Not rated: AS, P)

COMING SOON (Upcoming releases):


“AQUAMAN” (March 26)


“SECOND ACT” (March 26)

“BUMBLEBEE” (April 2)

“THE MULE” (April 2)

“VICE” (April 2)

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 1975 posts and counting.See all posts by jbobbin

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