DVD Releases (for week of Sept. 30)

STARTING THIS WEEK (New releases):

Chris Pratt
Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin star in “Sicario: Day of the Soldado”

“SICARIO: DAY OF THE SOLDADO”: Though this melodrama resumes the drug-war saga without star Emily Blunt and director Denis Villeneuve from the first film, it does retain Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin – which is no minor thing, since they do much to keep the second round from being easily dismissed. Brolin is back as the government agent who continues his crusade to dismantle the international drug trade by pitting cartels against each other, and stoking that plan is the kidnapping of the young daughter (Isabela Moner) of one of the cartel chiefs. That’s where the mercenary played by Del Toro factors in, but his developing empathy for the girl takes the scheme in unexpected directions. Matthew Modine, Catherine Keener and Jeffrey Donovan (“Burn Notice”) co-star in the tale, which incorporates an illegal-immigration undercurrent that obviously is hugely topical now. DVD extras: three “making-of” documentaries. *** (R: AS, P, GV) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“THE FIRST PURGE”: The current USA Network series version of the franchise would have been made anyway without this latest movie chapter, which repeated its predecessors’ impressive box-office performance, but both incarnations detail the roots of the saga. Just as the title suggests here, the story explains how the first 12-hour period in which lawlessness is permitted came to be, with politicians offering compensation for people to stay at home during that half-day – and also for those who “purge” individuals who don’t follow that advice. Two of the participants (Y’lan Noel, Christian Robinson) are drug dealers whose individual concerns eventually and inevitably bring them into gritty conflict. The cast also includes Lauren Velez (“New York Undercover”), Marisa Tomei and Steve Harris (“The Practice”). *** (R: AS, P, GV) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“BARRY: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON”: A big player in the recent Primetime Emmy Awards with 13 nominations, this HBO comedy series – already renewed for a second round — gives “Saturday Night Live” alum Bill Hader a big creative workout as the title star as well as a writer, director and executive producer. His title character is a hired killer who finds the impetus for a career change when he stumbles into a Los Angeles acting class and becomes the pet project of the teacher (a marvelous Henry Winkler). However, others don’t want Barry to abandon the job he’s so skilled at, particularly the handler (Stephen Root, “NewsRadio”) who cashes in from Barry’s jobs. Sarah Goldberg, Glenn Fleshler and Anthony Carrigan also star. *** (Not rated: AS, P, V)

“SAVED BY THE BELL: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION”: Any fan of the antics of the gang at Bayside High is bound to be satisfied by this all-encompassing set of the youth-oriented school comedy that was a Saturday-morning staple on NBC and opened up a wave of similar programs for several years. Performers including Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Tiffani (then Tiffani-Amber) Thiessen, Mario Lopez, Lark Voorhies and Elizabeth Berkley – and, of course, Dustin Diamond as Screech – got their big career boosts and a sizable fan following by depicting the lives and loves of energetic students, who often got quietly sage advice and plenty of raised eyebrows from dedicated teacher Mr. Belding (Dennis Haskins). This start-to-finish compendium also includes the original, short-lived version (“Good Morning, Miss Bliss,” which starred Hayley Mills) and the primetime “Saved by the Bell: The College Years,” plus the two TV-movie sequels. (Not rated: AS)

“DEATH RACE: BEYOND ANARCHY”: The series continues its direct-to-video chapters with this saga, casting Zach McGowan (“Black Sails”) as the latest person intent on vanquishing the hard-driving racer known as Frankenstein. To do so, he enters a maximum-security prison where rules don’t apply – which could short-circuit his mission before it even really begins. Danny Glover also is a newcomer to the franchise here, joining such returnees as Danny Trejo (“Machete”) and Fred Koehler. DVD extras: three “making-of” documentaries; audio commentary by McGowan and director and co-writer Don Michael Paul. ** (R: AS, N, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“THE RESIDENT: THE COMPLETE SEASON ONE”: Medical series certainly aren’t uncommon, but this Fox drama benefits from both a strong cast and an undercurrent of intrigue. Matt Czuchry (“The Good Wife,” “Gilmore Girls”) plays a rebellious doctor determined to make sure that his hospital’s patients are less economic concerns and more human ones. That becomes even more challenging as he runs up against a senior-ranked peer (Bruce Greenwood, “The Post”) and an esteemed medic (Melina Kanakaredes, as a much different doctor than the one she played on “Providence”) determined to do things her way, regardless of whether the result is harm to others. Emily VanCamp (“Revenge”), Manish Dayal and Shaunette Renee Wilson also star. *** (Not rated: AS, P)

COMING SOON (Upcoming releases):

"Billions: Season Three"
Dwayne Johnson stars in “Skyscraper”

“SKYSCRAPER” (Oct. 9): Dwayne Johnson stars as an FBI veteran and security expert whose Hong Kong inspection of the world’s tallest building coincides with a terrorist group’s invasion of the structure. (PG-13: P, V)

“HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3“ (Oct. 9): Dracula (voice of Adam Sandler) and company take a sea cruise that turns out to be quite eventful in this animated “threequel.” (PG: AS)

“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)

“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)

“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)

“STAR TREK: DISCOVERY — SEASON ONE” (Nov. 13): The latest edition of the sci-fi franchise will be new to those who haven’t watched it on CBS All Access; stars include Sonequa Martin-Green and Jason Isaacs. (Not rated: AS, 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 2357 posts and counting.See all posts by jbobbin

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