DVD Releases (for week of Sept. 1)

STARTING THIS WEEK (New releases):

Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth star in “Men in Black: International”

“MEN IN BLACK: INTERNATIONAL”: It doesn’t have Will Smith or Tommy Lee Jones, but this effort to continue the action-comedy-fantasy franchise pairs Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson – reteamed from “Thor: Ragnarok” – as two more dark-suited operatives dispatched to protect humanity from alien enemies. There may be an enemy within their own ranks, though, since someone appears to be leaking top-secret information. Directed by F. Gary Gray (“Straight Outta Compton”), the tale is expectedly heavy on effects, but it clearly is at a disadvantage from not having the Smith-and-Jones repartee. Emma Thompson returns to her role from earlier installments, while Liam Neeson, Rebecca Ferguson and Kumail Nanjiani also are series newcomers. *** (PG: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“MA”: Octavia Spencer gets to have a field day with a horror role in this melodrama reuniting her with filmmaker Tate Taylor, who directed her to an Oscar win for “The Help.” She plays a woman initially deemed the coolest person in her neighborhood by the teens she helps with their partying, but they soon have reason to suspect she harbors some sinister secrets … and are they ever right, as is confirmed soon via terrifying circumstances that turn life-threatening. Diana Silvers portrays a town newcomer who ends up in danger; the cast also includes Luke Evans, Juliette Lewis, Missi Pyle and another alum of “The Help” (and another Oscar winner), Allison Janney. DVD extras: theatrical trailer; two “making-of” documentaries; deleted scenes; alternate ending. *** (R: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“BOOKSMART”: Actress Olivia Wilde turned feature-film director – and won wide acclaim for the result – with this comedy, casting Kaitlyn Dever (“Last Man Standing”) and Beanie Feldstein as high-schoolers on the verge of graduating. Sensing they’ve missed out on much of the fun of being teenagers, they set out to make up for lost time, but their efforts to get to a certain party turn into a seemingly endless string of misadventures. The movie’s writers include Emily Halpern and Sarah Haskins, who also created Patricia Heaton’s new CBS sitcom “Carol’s Second Act.” Jessica Williams, Lisa Kudrow, Will Forte, Jason Sudeikis, Billie Lourd and “Ma’s” Diana Silvers also appear … but the key to the picture’s success among the actors rests mainly with Feldstein and Dever, who prove to be extremely well-matched. *** (R: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“TRUE DETECTIVE: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON”: At a time when he also was captivating moviegoers in “Green Book,” with what would become his second Oscar-winning performance, Mahershala Ali was earning raves from many television critics for his work in the most recent season of this HBO drama anthology. The story involves three interconnected timelines as Ali plays a police detective working the case of two missing children – with unsettling discoveries not only at the time of the original investigation, but during the years that would follow. Stephen Dorff plays the cop’s partner in a solid cast that also includes Carmen Ejogo, Scoot McNairy, Ray Fisher, Mamie Gummer, Josh Hopkins, Jon Tenney and Michael Rooker. Series creator Nic Pizzolatto also directed a couple of the episodes. *** (Not rated: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray)

“SCOOBY-DOO, WHERE ARE YOU!: THE COMPLETE SERIES LIMITED EDITION 50TH ANNIVERSARY MYSTERY MANSION”: If you’re a fan of the Mystery Machine crew, it does not get better than this. Marking the series’ golden anniversary, this elaborate set features every episode of the original animated show (for those counting, there were 41) on Blu-ray for the first time, along with fun extras that any devotee of Shaggy, Daphne, Velma and Fred will enjoy … such as an exclusive Funko keychain and a Scooby mini-encyclopedia. Of course, Scooby-Doo is the Hanna-Barbera-developed canine who finds his way into bizarre mysteries along with his teenage pals, though courage is a trait that’s often in short supply for him. If the voice of Shaggy seems especially familiar, it belonged to the late Casey Kasem, the longtime host of radio’s “American Top 40.” (Not rated: V)

“THE JACK LALANNE SHOW: COLLECTORS’ EDITION, VOLUMES 1 AND 2”: Back at a time when fitness series were relatively rare on television, the phenomenally fit LaLanne had a 34-year run (1951-85) with this program that started as a local show in his native San Francisco, then got national distribution via ABC. If there was one thing the host would not do, it was to let viewers give up on themselves, and his encouragement was limitless as he used various household items as props in showing them how to take literal steps to good health. His dog Happy became an on-air sidekick of sorts, helping to draw in young viewers … who, in turn, drew their parents to the screen. Lest you wonder how well LaLanne’s advice worked for him himself, he lived to be 96 (passing away in 2011). *** (Not rated)

COMING SOON (Upcoming releases):


“ALADDIN” (Sept. 10)

“THE ALIENIST” (Sept. 10)

“THE DEAD DON’T DIE” (Sept. 10)



“DARK PHOENIX” (Sept. 17)

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 2007 posts and counting.See all posts by jbobbin

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