DVD Releases (for week of March 24)

STARTING THIS WEEK (New releases):

Jason Momoa in “Aquaman”

“AQUAMAN”: A gigantic performer at the box office, this DC Comics saga of the water-based hero casts muscular Jason Momoa as a self-exile from Atlantis, where he returns to try to avert a war that’s brewing between the worlds above and beneath the sea. The impressive cast also includes Nicole Kidman as Arthur “Aquaman” Curry’s mother, Amber Heard as his true love Mera and Patrick Wilson as his battle-minded half-brother, with Willem Dafoe and Dolph Lundgren also featured. James Wan (“Saw”) directed the film, which was made principally in Australia and stands out among other superhero movies for its surplus of special-effects sequences set in moist – if not fully drenched – surroundings. DVD extras: 11 “making-of” documentaries; “scene study breakdowns.” *** (PG-13: P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK”: Regina King, who had a great season on the movie-award trail that included an Oscar win, is an absolute standout in director Barry Jenkins’ (“Moonlight”) adaptation of the James Baldwin novel, which jumps back and forth in time as it revolves around a young 1970s-Harlem couple whose future may be derailed when the groom-to-be (played by Stephan James) is wrongfully arrested for sexual assault. His pregnant fiancee (KiKi Layne) leads the effort to clear him, helped by her mother (King). The solid cast also includes Michael Beach, Aunjanue Ellis, Diego Luna, Finn Wittrock, Emily Rios and Brian Tyree Henry (“Atlanta”). DVD extras: “making-of” documentary; audio commentary by Jenkins; deleted scenes. **** (R: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“SECOND ACT”: Earlier in her movie career, Jennifer Lopez had a good run in romantic comedies, and she returns to that genre in this easygoing tale that’s sparked by a case of mistaken identity. Believed to be a top consultant rather than the big-box-store manager she actually is, she’s enlisted to help advise an elite cosmetics firm. Vanessa Hudgens co-stars as a new colleague determined to come up with a winning formula first, with Milo Ventimiglia (“This Is Us”) as the Lopez character’s boyfriend, who has doubts about the charade she’s suddenly living. Leah Remini and Treat Williams also are in director Peter Segal’s up-to-par cast. DVD extras: four “making-of” documentaries. *** (PG-13: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“STAN & OLLIE”: As any devotee of classic screen comedy can guess from the title, Laurel and Hardy are the subjects of this involving, seriocomic profile that focuses on the duo’s later years after they’d reached the peak of their tandem success. They stage live performances in England and Ireland while trying to mount another movie for themselves, with pressures building on Stan Laurel (Steve Coogan) and Oliver Hardy (John C. Reilly, who has earned some awards from critics’ organizations for his work here) to the point where their friendship and teamwork begin to buckle under their professional problems. Danny Huston co-stars as the duo’s longtime boss, producer Hal Roach, with Nina Arianda and Shirley Henderson as the respective wives of Laurel and Hardy. DVD extras: three “making-of” documentaries; deleted scenes; cast and crew Q&A. *** (PG: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“VICTORIA & ALBERT: THE WEDDING”: It’s impossible to be at the actual nuptials of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, which occurred in the mid-19th century, but this recent PBS miniseries – made in association with England’s BBC – stands as the next best thing. Royal historian Lucy Worsley serves as guide to a re-creation of various aspects of the event, from the food and the wardrobe to the pageantry of the occasion overall. An actual restaging of the wedding is included in the program, which had an influence on British history that still is reflected by the monarchy in the present day. *** (Not rated)

“LIFE AFTER FLASH”: The “Flash” referenced by the title of this documentary is Flash Gordon, the space hero played in a 1980 movie by Sam J. Jones – who is the subject of this film. He became a pop-culture icon of sorts in the years afterward, and here, writer-director Lisa Downs examines such aspects as the clash Jones had with powerful “Flash Gordon” producer Dino De Laurentiis – whose alleged failure to pay Jones his weekly salary while shooting the movie led Jones to stage his own walkout, causing the picture’s budget to balloon and having a definite impact on Jones’ career. Other “Flash” actors appearing here include Melody Anderson, Brian Blessed, Topol and Peter Wyngarde – and also commenting is Brian May of rock music’s Queen, which supplied much of the “Flash” score. *** (Not rated: P) (Also on Blu-ray)

COMING SOON (Upcoming releases):


“BUMBLEBEE” (April 2)

“THE MULE” (April 2)

“VICE” (April 2)

“HOLMES & WATSON” (April 9)



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 1900 posts and counting.See all posts by jbobbin

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