DVD Releases – week of Aug 2 2020

STARTING THIS WEEK (New releases):

“DISPATCHES FROM ELSEWHERE: SEASON 1”: With star Jason Segel (“How I Met Your Mother”) among its executive producers, this AMC series also features him in other capacities, including as writer and director of the first episode … setting up the premise of an institute that lures dissatisfied people of various backgrounds, only to find themselves unable to escape its influence if they decide to leave it. Segel’s streaming-service-worker character is among those who become caught up in a massive game that may transform their lives, for better or worse, if they complete the challenges posed to them. Sally Field, Andre Benjamin and Eve Lindley appear as the other players, who aren’t quite sure what to make of seemingly sinister developments as the game progresses. Segel also wrote several other episodes of the show, which he has said will offer a different story if it’s given another season. The cast also includes Richard E. Grant. *** (Not rated: AS, P)

“TOM CLANCY’S JACK RYAN: SEASON TWO”: John Krasinski’s interpretation of novelist Clancy’s CIA-analyst character entered its sophomore round as an Amazon streaming attraction with Ryan in the thick of the action again by heading to South America, where an illegal arms cache signals the possibility of a global conspiracy in which Venezuela’s president (Jordi Molla) — who is seeking not necessarily assured re-election — may play a major role. Wendell Pierce also reprises his role from Season 1 as James Greer, with Michael Kelly (“House of Cards”), Noomi Rapace and Jordi Molla among others joining the cast. Guest stars include William Jackson Harper (“The Good Place”) and Michael O’Neill (“Council of Dads”). Amazon has renewed the show for a third round. *** (Not rated: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray)

“HIS DARK MATERIALS: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON”: An orphaned young woman’s (Dafne Keen) quest becomes much bigger than she initially anticipates in this HBO series adaptation — produced by England’s BBC as well — of novelist Philip Pullman’s celebrated fantasy trilogy. Looking for an abducted friend, she stumbles onto a scheme involving stolen children, immediately intensifying her personal mission. Immediately notable among other cast members is “Hamilton” mentor Lin-Manuel Miranda, and additional stars include Ruth Wilson (“The Affair”), James McAvoy (“Glass”) and Clarke Peters (“The Wire”). Actors cotrbutiihg their voice talents here include David Suchet, Helen McCrory and Cristela Alonso. Author Pullman got to have a hand in this version of his work as one of its executive producers. The series has been renewed for a Season 2. *** (Not rated: AS, V) (Also on Blu-ray)

“THE FLINTSTONES: 2 MOVIES & 5 SPECIALS”: The Hanna-Barbera animation shop’s Stone Age characters have endured for 60 years, not only in their original series that continues to repeat today, but also in spinoff projects — several of which are compiled here. Arguably the centerpiece is “The Man Called Flintstone,” a 1966 theatrical release playing off the James Bond craze that was at its peak then. Fred Flintstone (voiced here by both original portrayer Alan Reed and his successor, Henry Corden) is enlisted to stand in for a look-alike spy in a plot that loosely mirrors the Bond story “From Russia With Love.” Mel Blanc (alias Barney Rubble) and Jean Vander Pyl (Wilma Flintstone) also reprised their parts from television, with later “Carol Burnett Show” staple Harvey Korman heard as an espionage chief. And for those keeping track of the 007 links, there’s an operative named Triple X, which also would be Anya Amasova’s designation in “The Spy Who Loved Me.” *** (Not rated)

“THE GOOD DOCTOR: SEASON THREE”: The ABC medical drama’s third round sees some changes at St Bonaventure, notably the absence of Dr. Glassman (Richard Schiff) as the hospital’s chief … but this being a television series, don’t expect that necessarily to remain the case. Shaun (Freddie Highmore, who also directed an episode here) continues to rattle the facility’s hierarchy by proposing relatively radical procedures, but eventually, various people become unlikely partners in survival — and in using their professional skills to help others to survive — after a massive earthquake hits. Nicholas Gonzalez, Antonia Thomas, Hill Harper, Will Yun Lee, Christina Chang and Fiona Gubelmann also star. Guest stars include Robert Sean Leonard (who also worked for executive producer David Shore as a “House” regular), Sheila Kelley (Schiff’s real-life wife), Annette O’Toole and former “ER” regular Sharif Atkins. *** (Not rated: AS, P, V)

“HALLMARK 2-MOVIE COLLECTION: YOU’RE BACON ME CRAZY/THE SECRET INGREDIENT”: Though food is a major factor in these two recent cable movies packaged together on DVD, so is romance, probably not a shock since they’re Hallmark Channel projects. The first casts “UnREAL” alums Natalie Hall and Michael Rady as rivals in a food-truck competition; his dishes involve bacon-based variations — which, yes, makes her as crazy as her attraction to him does. Then, Erin Cahill portrays a baker who gets a shot at winning a televised culinary contest … and wouldn’t you just know that one of the others vying for the victory is her ex-fiance (Brendan Penny, “Chesapeake Shores”). Neither film has any plot twists that will knock you out of your chair, but they’re both played with a certain charm. *** (Not rated)

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

COMING SOON (Upcoming releases):

“BELGRAVIA” (Aug. 11)


“THE WRETCHED” (Aug. 11)




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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