DVD Releases – week of April 26 2020

STARTING THIS WEEK (New releases):

“THE RHYTHM SECTION”: For fans of the James Bond movies, it’s an event when those producers decide to invest — both figuratively and literally — in an outside project, because it doesn’t happen very often. Their somewhat far-fetched but still entertaining adaptation of a novel by Mark Burnell casts Blake Lively as Stephanie Patrick, an assassin-in-training whoʼs out for revenge upon finding out that her parents’ plane-crash deaths were not accidental. Her life takes dark turns in the immediate aftermath of her family tragedy, but after getting relevant information from a reporter (Raza Jaffrey, “Smash”), she pulls herself together and seeks mentoring in the killing game from a CIA veteran (Jude Law) However, Stephanie is not remotely as ready for action as she might think she is, and Lively plays that aspect quite well as her alter ego barely escapes from peril after peril. “This Is Us” Emmy winner Sterling K. Brown also is in the cast assembled for director Reed Morano, who made a mark (and also won an Emmy) by guiding early episodes of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale.” *** (R: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“ARROW: THE EIGHTH AND FINAL SEASON”: One of The CWʼs staple series has ended its run, and this set compiles the stories about DCʼs Green Arrow character that marked its farewell. They open with the heroʼs alter ego Oliver Queen (played by Stephen Amell) bouncing between versions of Earth in pursuit of stolen particles that could wreak massive havoc in the universe if used for the wrong purpose. The adventure continued to move back and forth in time right up to its finale, facilitating the returns of some familiar faces certain to please fans. Series regulars Katie Cassidy and David Ramsey each directed an episode of this final round of the show. A major bonus of this release is the inclusion of the recent “Crisis on Infinite Earths” miniseries that united The CWʼs superhero shows, which have been referred to collectively as the networkʼs “Arrowverse.” A “Complete Series” set of “Arrow” also is newly available. *** (Not rated: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray)

“THE ASSISTANT”: The background of the film industry is explored through the experiences of the title character, played by Julia Garner, in writer-director Kitty Greenʼs drama based on the accounts of some who have come forward during the #MeToo era. The script covers one day in the life of a assistant movie mogulʼs assistant, whose developing concerns about her duties drive her to a human resources officer (Matthew Macfadyen, “Succession”) who proves less than a great resource for her. Kristine Froseth (“Looking for Alaska”) also appears as a newcomer to the taleʼs ethically questionable environment, with Jay O. Sanders supplying the voice of the mogul whoʼs heard but never seen (not unlike the studio- boss title character during the first season of the backstage TV drama “Brackenʼs World”). *** (R: AS, P)

“FRONTLINE: AMAZON EMPIRE — THE RISE AND REIGN OF JEFF BEZOS”: The founder and CEO of the online company — which, with its immediate name recognition, has developed over the past quarter-century into one of the principal suppliers of consumer goods in the world — has become a personality in his own right, yielding this recently televised PBS exploration of him and his shopping firm. Certainly, the huge profits racked up steadily by Amazon are examined, but this profile isnʼt entirely sunny … delving into what the makers of the show term “the darker side” of the operation, and also considering the effects of the power that Bezos has accrued in the course of overseeing such a global success. Others in the business sector offer their views on what he has achieved. *** (Not rated)

“ONLY”: The character played by Freida Pinto (“Slumdog Millionaire”) faces the plight of possibly being the last woman alive in this science-fiction tale that may hit a bit — or much more than a bit — too close to home for some people these days. A virus released by a comet targets female humans specifically, prompting the couple portrayed by Pinto and “Hamilton” Tony Award winner Leslie Odom Jr. to sterilize their apartment as much as possible and quarantine themselves. Eventually, they decide to venture back out into the outside world for what may be their last time together, though bounty hunters are on their trail. One would suspect that writer-director Takashi Doscher couldnʼt have foreseen current world events while making the film, but the result was alarmingly prescient. *** (Not rated: AS, P)

“ROOM 222: SEASON TWO”: Before he became one of the most celebrated makers of television (“The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “Taxiʼ) and movies (“Terms of Endearment,” “Broadcast News”), James L. Brooks created this Emmy-winning high-school comedy-drama that made strides for the entire TV medium by tackling social issues of the time, reflected by the showʼs racially diverse faculty and student body. It also made a major home-screen personality of the era out of Karen Valentine, who earned her own Emmy for playing student teacher Alice Johnson. As a history teacher, a guidance counselor and the school principal respectively, Lloyd Haynes, Denise Nicholas and Michael Constantine also star in the program thatʼs fondly remembered by many who know TV of the late 1960s and early 1970s. *** (Not rated: AS)

FAMILY VIEWING GUIDE KEY: AS, adult situations; N, nudity; P, profanity; V, violence; GV, particularly graphic violence.

COMING SOON (Upcoming releases):

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.

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