DVD Releases (for week of Oct. 14)

STARTING THIS WEEK (New releases):

Chris Pratt
Evangeline Lilly and Paul Rudd star in “Ant-Man and the Wasp”

“ANT-MAN AND THE WASP”: He may be small in size, but Ant-Man is big on entertainment – as proven by this sequel, actually more enjoyable than the first film in certain ways. Though it lets the Marvel Universe take a breath from the relentless action of most other movies in the franchise, there’s sufficient mayhem in the Marvel tradition, but also a very welcome and substantial dose of humor. Paul Rudd is back as a star and co-writer as Ant-Man’s mission involves something else of changeable size … a whole building, namely the lab of scientist Hank Pym (again played by Michael Douglas). Bad guys want that lab, and also involved in making sure they don’t get it is Pym’s daughter, who becomes the new Wasp as played by Evangeline Lilly. Michelle Pfeiffer plays her mother, the original Wasp. *** (PG-13: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“WHITNEY”: With the approval of the late music superstar’s estate, director Kevin Macdonald (“The Last King of Scotland”) delves into Whitney Houston’s mystique through rare audio and video clips and new interviews. Expectedly, the content follows her road to becoming one of the most successful and legendary female performers in music history, scoring a record – in the broader sense of the term – by having seven number-one singles in a row on the U.S. charts. The film also follows Houston’s move into movies, leading to an enormous hit with “The Bodyguard” (co-star Kevin Costner is among the interviewees here), but it also examines her tumultuous personal life. Her relationships with husband and fellow music star Bobby Brown and daughter Bobbi Kristina are examined, as is the tragic and very premature end of Houston’s life. Her mother Cissy also supplies telling comments. *** (R: AS, P) (Also on On Demand)

“ELVIS PRESLEY: THE SEARCHER”: Shown on HBO, this extensive documentary recalls the rise of one of the ultimate pop-culture icons in American history. Through fresh interviews with many people who were associated with him – including ex-wife Priscilla, guitarist Scotty Moore, close friend Red West and such peers and admirers as Bruce Springsteen and (in one his last appearances on film) Tom Petty – the path taken by Presley is traced from his early days with Sun Records through his sometimes controversial television appearances (that pelvis, don’t you know) and into the 1960s, when his music and movies combined to make him a legend destined to endure to this day and beyond. Rare photographs and film footage underscore the comments from those who observed both the image and the man firsthand. The program also is available in a “Limited Collector’s Edition” with added features. *** (Not rated: AS, P)

“THE AFFAIR: SEASON FOUR”: It’s no understatement to say that shocking developments occur in this round of the Showtime drama series, with Noah (Dominic West) relocating to the West Coast and taking an interest in a brilliant but combative student, while Helen (Maura Tierney) has a difficult time dealing with Vic’s (Omar Metwally) illness. Alison (Ruth Wilson) remains at loose ends about – well, you name it – and Cole experiences stress in his marriage to Luisa (Catalina Sandino Moreno),who challenges his loyalty to her. Other members of the excellent acting ensemble during this season include Sanaa Lathan, Emily Browning, Mare Winningham, Tim Matheson and Dina Meyer. A fifth and final season of the show is coming. *** (Not rated: AS, N, P, V)

“ARIZONA”: An impressive cast populates director Jonathan Watson’s “Fargo”-like comedy-drama about a woman (played by independent-film favorite Rosemarie DeWitt) whose life and work problems increase significantly when she’s taken captive by a lethal fellow (Danny McBride, also a producer of the picture) who blames her and her real-estate firm for his woes during the 2009 housing crisis. Another hostage (Kaitlin Olson, “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”) soon gets tied into the situation – literally – while the realtor’s ex-husband (Luke Wilson) and his girlfriend (Elizabeth Gillies, “Dynasty”) try to find and help the prisoners. *** (Not rated: AS, P, V)

“TELEVISION’S LOST CLASSICS, VOLUME 2: RARE PILOTS”: “Rare” is right, since this collection compiles tryouts for several shows that eventually would have weekly runs in different forms. Arguably the most stunning example is “The Life of Riley,” a comedy staple of early TV … though the version presented here starred horror icon Lon Chaney Jr. (who would be succeeded first by Jackie Gleason, then by William Bendix, both of whom had played Riley earlier on radio). Also included is the mystery “Nero Wolfe,” with familiar character actor Kurt Kasznar (“Land of the Giants”) as the title sleuth, and a young William Shatner in support. Also here is “Case of the Sure Thing,” which set up the show “Racket Squad” and featured Milburn Stone, who would go on to a long run as Doc on “Gunsmoke.” (Not rated: V)

COMING SOON (Upcoming releases):

"Billions: Season Three"
Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell in “The Americans: The Complete Final Season”

“THE AMERICANS: THE COMPLETE FINAL SEASON” (Oct. 23): Russian spies Elizabeth and Philip (Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys) put the coda on their espionage adventures while posing as U.S. citizens. (Not rated: AS, P, V)

“MAMMA MIA! HERE WE GO AGAIN” (Oct. 23): Much of the original movie musical’s cast reunites – including Meryl Streep, though her appearance is limited this time – with Cher and Lily James as notable additions. Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and Amanda Seyfried also return. (PG-13: AS, P)

“THE SPY WHO DUMPED ME” (Oct. 30): Two friends (Mila Kunis, Kate McKinnon) leave Los Angeles and race across Europe to stop a plot that threatens the world. (R: AS, N, P, V)

“2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY” (Oct. 30): In its 50th-anniversary year, director Stanley Kubrick’s sci-fi classic makes its debut in the Ultra HD format; Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood star. (G)

“INCREDIBLES 2” (Nov. 6): In the animated Disney-Pixar sequel, Elastigirl (voice of Holly Hunter) is called back into action while her husband (voice of Craig T. Nelson) plays “Mr. Mom” at home. (PG: P)

“THE SHIELD: THE COMPLETE SERIES” (Nov. 6): Michael Chiklis’ image-changing, Emmy-winning portrayal of renegade cop Vic Mackey is showcased as the landmark FX drama makes its Blu-ray debut. (Not rated: AS, N, 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.

jbobbin has 2362 posts and counting.See all posts by jbobbin

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