DVD Releases (for week of Nov. 19)


STARTING THIS WEEK (New releases):


"The Hitman's Bodyguard"
Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson star in “The Hitman’s Bodyguard”

“THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD”: In an enjoyable variation on the “buddy movie,” Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds play natural enemies who must rely on each other to survive in a tale packed with action and wisecracks. Jackson plays a professional killer who knows too much for others’ comfort, so he becomes a target – with Reynolds, with whom he has a definitely checkered past, as a shamed security man who becomes (all together, now) the hitman’s bodyguard. They make escapes through such locales as London and Amsterdam via speedboat, motorcycle and various other means, which keeps the story’s pace lively. Speaking of lively, Salma Hayek also is that in her scenes as Jackson’s wife. DVD extras: “making-of” documentary; audio commentary by director Patrick Hughes. *** (R: P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)



“VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS”: Director Luc Besson has ventured into far-out fantasy before with “The Fifth Element” and “Lucy,” and in this ambitious and visually stunning adaptation of a French comic-book series, he comes up with mixed results in weaving a tale of futuristic law enforcers (played by Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne) seeking an alien that can duplicate anything … including the energy source that an endangered species needs to survive. The story’s effort to create its own universe smacks of “Star Wars,” but ultimately less effectively; Clive Owen and music superstar Rihanna also appear, and John Goodman voices the cops’ Jabba the Hutt-like main contact. DVD extras: “making-of” documentary; photo gallery. *** (PG-13: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“LEAP!”: Ballet is the main subject in this animated story, featuring the voice of Elle Fanning (“The Beguiled”) as an orphan who heads for Paris with her best friend (voice of Nat Wolff, “The Fault in Our Stars”) to fulfill her dream of dancing professionally. She has lots of hurdles to leap over upon her arrival, including having to assume a different identity to gain admission to a prestigious ballet school, then dealing with intensely competitive classmates. The voice cast also includes comedy legend Mel Brooks, “Saturday Night Live” Emmy winner Kate McKinnon, “Call Me Maybe” singer Carly Rae Jepsen and “Dance Moms” alum Maddie Ziegler. DVD extras: “making-of” documentary; behind-the-scenes videos. *** (PG: AS) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“CSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION – THE COMPLETE SERIES”: Expectations were modest at best when CBS debuted this show, but as is now known, the Las Vegas-set drama became internationally popular and ultimately racked up a 16-season run and endured some major cast changes. The show begins with William Petersen (also an executive producer of the series) as the leader of a forensic crime lab —a position that later would go to succeeding “CSI” stars Laurence Fishburne and Ted Danson – that applies the most current scientific techniques to probes that largely involve murders. The program would yield spinoffs based in Miami and New York, and crossover episodes with those shows are included here; the cast also includes Marg Helgenberger, George Eads (who’s now on CBS’ reboot of “MacGyver”), Jorja Fox, Paul Guilfoyle, Gary Dourdan, Wallace Langham and Elisabeth Shue. *** (Not rated: AS, P, V)

“A YEAR IN SPACE AND BEYOND A YEAR IN SPACE”: Combining two PBS documentaries that were telecast more a year apart, this release begins with a profile of astronaut brothers Scott and Mark Kelly – among the most famous symbols of NASA in recent times – and their experiences, both in space and at home on Earth. Scott is seen training for the 12 months he spent aboard the International Space Station, with his identical twin Mark used as a basis for gauging any physical or mental changes in Scott during his time in orbit. Then, Scott’s participation back on Earth in post-mission medical tests helps NASA determine the effects of long-duration space travel. *** (Not rated)

“GOOD TIME”: The title is meant to be ironic in the case of this action tale, casting barely recognizable “Twilight” alum Robert Pattinson as a man whose dedication to his brother (played by Benny Safdie, also the co-director here) could get him into big trouble with New York mobsters. In spending a night coming up with schemes to get his sibling out of jail, he crosses paths with – and risks angering – some dangerous characters. Jennifer Jason Leigh also is featured. DVD extras: “making-of” documentary; audio commentary by directors Josh and Benny Safdie, producer Sebastian Bear-McClard and co-stars Taliah Lennice Webster and Buddy Duress; music video. *** (R: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)


COMING SOON (Upcoming releases):

Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine in “The Defiant Ones”

“THE DEFIANT ONES” (Nov. 28): The Allen Hughes-directed HBO documentary miniseries traces the work, separately and together, of music-industry icons Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine. (Not rated: AS, P)

“GILMORE GIRLS: A YEAR IN THE LIFE” (Nov. 28): Changes in seasons mean changes for Lorelai and Rory (Lauren Graham, Alexis Bledel) in this sequel miniseries. (Not rated: AS, P)

“LOGAN LUCKY” (Nov. 28): Brothers (Channing Tatum, Adam Driver) break a convict (Daniel Craig) out of prison to help in their planned speedway heist. (PG-13: AS, P)

“DESPICABLE ME 3” (Dec. 5): A gone-soft Gru (voice of Steve Carell) gets his “despicable” mojo back thanks to the twin he didn’t know he had. (PG: AS)

“ONE DAY AT A TIME: THE COMPLETE SERIES” (Dec. 5): A divorcee (Bonnie Franklin) raises her two daughters (Mackenzie Phillips, Valerie Bertinelli) in the original version of the Norman Lear-produced sitcom. (Not rated: AS, P)

“TWIN PEAKS: THE THIRD SEASON” (Dec. 5): Many of the original cast members return in David Lynch’s recent Showtime continuation of the unique drama. (Not rated: AS, P, V)

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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