DVD Releases (for week of May 12)

STARTING THIS WEEK (New releases):

Liam Neeson in “Cold Pursuit”

“COLD PURSUIT”: “Taken” redefined Liam Neeson’s screen image as that of a human vengeance machine, and in this variation on the theme, he uses another machine – a snowplow – to get the job done. His character makes a living driving that vehicle, but he finds other uses for it after his son dies, with a drug kingpin (Tom Bateman) responsible for the tragedy. The grieving father then goes after the criminal and his minions, bent on eliminating them one by one – and trust us, that plow does a lot more than just move snow in this case. Norwegian director Hans Petter Moland adapted an earlier film of his own for this version. Emmy Rossum (“Shameless”) plays a detective, with Laura Dern, William Forsythe and Benjamin Hollingsworth (“Code Black”) also in the cast. DVD extra: “making-of” documentary. (R: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“HAPPY DEATH DAY 2U”: The original “Happy Death Day” thriller – in which a sorority member relived the day she met her fate over and over – returned a huge profit on a relatively small budget, so this sequel was inevitable. Jessica Rothe returns as the sassy heroine as a manufactured time loop catches others in a day-repeating phenomenon similar to the one she experienced earlier, with people (including her) apparently dying, yet coming back to life when the same day starts over again. She works against the continually ticking clock to try to restore things to normal … or, in the case of this tale, relative normal. Director Christopher Landon, a son of actor Michael Landon, also is back from the first film; co-stars include Suraj Sharma (“God Friended Me”) and Steve Zissis (“Togetherness”). *** (PG-13: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“APOLLO 11”: Even if you think you know all there is to know about the American space mission that first put men on the moon, the stunning footage included in director Todd Douglas Miller’s documentary – appropriately timed for the historic event’s 50th anniversary – is bound to make it seem fresh to you all over again. Recently discovered 65mm film footage provides a breathtaking view of the flight … not only from the perspectives of astronauts Neil Armstrong, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin and Michael Collins, but also from those of the NASA engineers and technicians involved, and the many spectators who watched around the world as the lunar landing unfolded. DVD extras: theatrical trailer; “making-of” documentary. **** (G) (Also on Blu-ray)

“FIGHTING WITH MY FAMILY”: Dwayne Johnson is a producer and (playing himself) a star of this fact-inspired comedy-drama featuring Florence Pugh (“The Little Drummer Girl”) as Paige, the British WWE wrestler who initially pursues her career in the ring in tandem with her brother (Jack Lowden, of “Mary Queen of Scots”). He doesn’t make the cut, though, so she has to proceed into rigorous training largely on her own … though she develops doubts about continuing. Expectedly, a lot of the film gets very physical, with writer-director Stephen Merchant (“The Office”) giving the result much of its somewhat bemused tone. Lena Headey (“Game of Thrones”), Nick Frost and Vince Vaughn also appear. DVD extras: two “making-of” documentaries; audio commentary by Merchant; deleted and extended scenes; outtakes. *** (PG-13: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“BACKDRAFT 2”: It’s “only” taken about three decades, but there’s now a sequel to the well-regarded drama saga of Chicago firefighters. Director Ron Howard isn’t involved again in this direct-to-video drama, but star William Baldwin is, with his Brian McCaffrey blamed by his nephew (Joe Anderson) for the death of the latter’s father. The plot gets more complicated as bad guys with their minds on missile theft set fires to cover their tracks and distract those who might catch them. Donald Sutherland also reprises his original role as an arsonist whose expertise may or may not be helpful in resolving the situation. The new film also is available with the first “Backdraft” in a two-film pack. ** (R: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray)

“THE DONNA REED SHOW: SEASONS 1-5”: Still shown often on nostalgia-themed networks, this pleasant sitcom of the late 1950s and early 1960s became popular (and sometimes satirized) for its highly idealized portrait of American family life. Reed – who was an Oscar winner, for “From Here to Eternity,” by the time she did the series – plays the happily domesticated Donna Stone, who makes a comfortable home for her pediatric-doctor husband (Carl Betz) and their children (Shelley Fabares and Paul Petersen, who both scored musical hits off the show with their respective tunes “Johnny Angel” and “She Can’t Find Her Keys”). Reed also was a producer of the program, though her then-husband Tony Owen had that nominal on-screen credit. *** (Not rated)

COMING SOON (Upcoming releases):

“How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World”



“THE UPSIDE” (May 21)




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 2289 posts and counting.See all posts by jbobbin

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