DVD Releases (for week of Nov. 24)

STARTING THIS WEEK (New releases):

Gerard Butler in “Angel Has Fallen”

“ANGEL HAS FALLEN”: The reason the original adventure in this franchise — “Olympus Has Fallen” — worked wasn’t just Gerard Butler as a Secret Service veteran, but his teamwork with Aaron Eckhart as the president he had to protect from White House-invading terrorists. “London Has Fallen” largely repeated the same plot overseas, and in this second sequel, it’s the Butler character who’s the suspected terrorist. He’s alleged to have launched a drone attack on the chief executive … now played by Morgan Freeman, who’s gotten government job promotions from movie to movie in the series. You just know the accused man is going to go after the real perps, so this largely is an exercise in watching him escape custody, then go on the lam while evading every branch of the law. Fortunately, Butler makes an appealing hero once again; there’s also another solid supporting cast that includes the particularly entertaining Nick Nolte (as Butler’s father), Jada Pinkett Smith, Piper Perabo, Tim Blake Nelson and Danny Huston. *** (R: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“DON’T LET GO”: Since it’s thematically similar to a movie turned television series called “Frequency,” in which a radio signal enabled someone to communicate across time with their late father, this melodrama may seem awfully familiar to some viewers. A detective (David Oyelowo, “Selma”) is grieving over the murders of several of his relatives, so imagine his surprise when he gets a cell-phone call from a person who apparently is his recently slain niece (Storm Reid, “A Wrinkle in Time”). If it’s really her, has time somehow bridged itself for the two of them? And can he prevent her from being killed again. That set-up leaves the potential for a lot of loopholes in the plot, so the best thing is to have good actors who sell the premise hard enough for the audience not to think much about those holes – and luckily, Oyelowo and Reid are two such performers, giving the tale from screenwriter-director Jacob Estes the level of urgency it needs. Mykelti Williamson and Brian Tyree Henry (“Atlanta”) also are featured. *** (R: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“MASTERPIECE: THE CHAPERONE”: Elizabeth McGovern already has a wide following among public-television viewers for her work on “Downton Abbey,” and she reunites with writer Julian Fellowes and director Michael Engler on this drama based on Laura Moriarty’s best seller, and released on home video in the same week it’s televised. The tale traces the relationship between then-celebrity -to-be Louise Brooks (played by Haley Lu Richardson, of “Split”) and the by-the-book society staple and family woman (McGovern) who accompanies her through a New York summer in the early 1920s. Despite the differences in their ages and backgrounds, the two women end up having a profound effect on each other. Victoria Hill (a producer of the project as well, as is McGovern), Campbell Scott, Blythe Danner and Miranda Otto also star. The movie launches a new Masterpiece Films division spun off from the long-running PBS anthology series. *** (Not rated: AS)

“WHERE’D YOU GO, BERNADETTE”: Though she’s renowned for her regal and classic roles, Cate Blanchett gets a contemporary showcase in director Richard Linklater’s (“Boyhood”) take on the best seller by Maria Semple. The title question pretty much fuels the plot, with Blanchett playing the Bernadette who disappears … something quite unusual for her, since she can’t stand even to leave the house. Her school-age daughter (Emma Nelson) spearheads the search for her, and that hunt eventually yields some big surprises as to where Bernadette went and why. The notable cast also includes Billy Crudup, Kristen Wiig, Judy Greer, Troian Bellisario (“Pretty Little Liars”), Laurence Fishburne, Steve Zahn and Megan Mullally. DVD extras: two “making-of” documentaries; photo gallery. *** (PG-13: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000: SEASON 12 — THE GAUNTLET”: Netflix gave renewed life to the popular premise that sees, to put it charitably, less-than-great movies openly mocked by a silhouetted cast of wiseacres as the pictures unspool. In this latest round, satellite occupant Jonah Heston (played by Jonah Ray) and his robot companions are challenged to sit through six such films in a row … their snarky remarks getting ever more rapid and intense. Among the attractions this time: “Killer Fish,” with Lee Majors and Karen Black fighting – well, you can guess – and “Mac and Me,” the saga of a youngster (played by Jade Calegory) and the extraterrestrial he discovers. (If that sounds just like another, much more famous movie, it’s not a coincidence.) Felicia Day and Patton Oswalt also appear in the newly produced segments. *** (Not rated: AS, V) (Also on Blu-ray)

“OFFICIAL SECRETS”: Political espionage fuels this true drama set in 2003, when the question of sanctioning an invasion of Iraq was faced by the United Nations. Keira Knightley plays an expert on British intelligence operations who debates whether to carry out orders to find information with which U.N. Security Council members can be blackmailed unless they approve the invasion. Instead, she endangers herself by deciding to leak the plan to the media, which sparks alarm in both the British and American governments – and leads to her arrest. Ralph Fiennes plays the attorney who represents her in director and co-screenwriter Gavin Hood’s (“Ender’s Game”) cast, which also includes former “Doctor Who” Matt Smith, Matthew Goode and Rhys Ifans. *** (R: AS, P) (Also on On Demand)

COMING SOON (Upcoming releases):

“City on a Hill: Season One”




“HUSTLERS” (Dec. 10)



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 2327 posts and counting.See all posts by jbobbin

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