DVD Releases (for week of Oct. 7)


STARTING THIS WEEK (New releases):

Chris Pratt
“Skyscraper”

“SKYSCRAPER”: Though adventure fans likely will – and should – expect another tale in the tradition of ”Die Hard” and “The Towering Inferno,” this Dwayne Johnson vehicle suffers from some truly incredible turns. The star plays a former FBI man turned security expert, which keeps him active though he has a titanium leg to replace the one lost in a mission gone haywire. Don’t think that won’t come in handy as terrorists invade a monstrously tall Hong Kong building that he has been brought in to assess. Compounding our hero’s problems, he also has to get his wife (Neve Campbell) and their children out of the structure safely. Despite some huge leaps (quite literally in certain cases) of credibility, Johnson still delivers his trademark mix of brawn and likability, which helps a lot. Pablo Schreiber (“Orange Is the New Black”) also appears. DVD extras: audio commentary by director Rawson Marshall Thurber; deleted and extended scenes; six “making-of” documentaries.*** (PG-13: P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)


“HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3“: Though it originally had the subtitle ”Summer Vacation,” the timing of this animated “threequel’s” home-video release – combined with the approach of Halloween — likely inspired the dropping of it. Still, it continues to indicate the premise as lonely Dracula (voice of Adam Sandler) is gifted with a sea cruise by his daughter (voice of Selena Gomez). Aboard the ship, he finds the prospect of new romance with the captain (voice of Kathryn Hahn) … not realizing she’s the great-granddaughter of his nemesis Van Helsing (voice of Jim Gaffigan), who intends to get rid of Dracula and other monsters once and for all. Andy Samberg, Kevin James, David Spade, Steve Buscemi, Keegan-Michael Key, Molly Shannon, Fran Drescher and Mel Brooks also reprise their earlier voice roles. DVD extras: two “making-of” documentaries, sing-alongs, dance-along and read-along; two mini-movies; ”Vampire Make Over.” *** (PG: AS) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“EIGHTH GRADE”: Widely praised for its depiction of what it can mean to be an impressionable young student today, writer-director Bo Burnham’s comedy-drama features a star-making performance by Elsie Fisher, who’s just the right age to play the central character … Kayla, who’s struggling to fit in with her peers as she approaches her start in high school. That doesn’t work out very well through a series of social misadventures she has at the end of her middle-school years, a situation she ultimately details in one of the online videos she habitually posts. Emily Robinson, Catherine Oliviere and Jake Ryan play some of the other teens Kayla encounters and is affected by – but there’s no question the film belongs to Fisher. *** (R: AS, P) (Also on On Demand)

“KILLING EVE: SEASON ONE”: Widely praised for its initial round – which earned recent Emmy nominations for star Sandra Oh (“Grey’s Anatomy”) and series developer and writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge – this often-intense drama series (based on novellas by Luke Jennings) focuses on two women who develop an obsession with one another. Sandra Oh plays Eve, a British intelligence agent who works a desk job until she develops a fascination with an international assassin (Jodie Comer) and undertakes an independent pursuit of the killer. Additional cast members include Fiona Shaw and Darren Boyd, but just as intended, it’s Oh and Comer whom you won’t be able to take your eyes off. A second season of the show is due next spring. **** (Not rated: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray)

“DON’T WORRY, HE WON’T GET FAR ON FOOT”: Joaquin Phoenix always can be counted upon for surprising work, and he delivers again by reuniting with his “To Die For” director Gus Van Sant for this true story. The actor plays the late John Callahan, whose drinking left to a devastating car accident that left him a quadriplegic – but his journey to sobriety unlocked his talent for drawing, even in his physical state, eventually making him a celebrated though controversial newspaper cartoonist. Based on Callahan’s memoir and told in a seriocomic style, the film surrounds Phoenix with strong acting support including Jonah Hill, Rooney Mara, Jack Black and Carrie Brownstein (“Portlandia”). DVD extras: two “making-of” documentaries. *** (R: AS, N, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“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"
Maura Tierney, Dominic West, Ruth Wilson, Joshua Jackson in “The Affair: Season Four”

“THE AFFAIR: SEASON FOUR” (Oct. 16): Events leave the Showtime drama’s central quartet (Dominic West, Ruth Wilson, Joshua Jackson, Maura Tierney) forever changed. (Not rated: AS, N, P, V)

“ANT-MAN AND THE WASP” (Oct. 16): Paul Rudd is back as a star and co-writer of this Marvel comedy-adventure sequel; Evangeline Lilly and Michael Douglas also return. (PG-13: AS, P, V)

“BLACK SAILS: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION” (Oct. 16): Toby Stephens stars as Captain Flint as the Starz pirate saga is presented in its four-season entirety in this set. (Not rated: AS, V)

“ELVIS PRESLEY: THE SEARCHER” (Oct. 16): Shown on HBO, this documentary recalls the rise of one of the ultimate pop-culture icons in American history. (Not rated: AS, P)

“WHITNEY” (Oct. 16): With the approval of the late music superstar’s estate, director Kevin Macdonald delves into Whitney Houston’s mystique through rare audio and video clips and new interviews. (R: AS, P)

“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)

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 1669 posts and counting.See all posts by jbobbin

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