DVD Releases – week of Aug 23 2020

STARTING THIS WEEK (New releases):

“WASHINGTON”: Before he became America’s first president, George Washington built his reputation on the battlefield, and this profile of him — originally televised as a three-part miniseries by History, with noted historian Doris Kearns Goodwin among the project’s executive producers — traces those early years of his growth as a military man and then a politician, Jeff Daniels narrates the profile, which casts Nicholas Rowe (“The Crown”) in the title role as Washington makes a move toward leaving public service for an early retirement and a quiet life as a farmer. Of course, as fate would have it, it didn’t work out that way.  James Robinson (:Outlander”) and Nicholas Audsley (“Masterpiece: Victoria”) co-star respectively as Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson. *** (Not rated: AS. V)

“THE KING OF STATEN ISLAND”: This showcase for “Saturday Night Live’s” Pete Davidson is one of the movies that diverted directly to On Demand, due to the coronavirus pandemic, after being planned for a theatrical release. Directed by Judd Apatow (“The 40-Year-Old Virgin”), the seriocomic tale casts Davidson as a man who’s remained in a childlike state over the many years since his firefighter father’s death. It takes his mother (Marisa Tomei) dating another fireman (Bill Burr) to shake him out of that state and possibly fulfill his dreams … which include becoming a tattoo artist. Steve Buscemi, Maude Apatow (a daughter of the director) and Bel Powley (“The Morning Show”) also appear. DVD extras: theatrical trailer; 14 (yes, 14) “making-of” documentaries; audio commentary by Davidson and Apatow; deleted scenes; outtakes; alternate endings; “Line-O-Rama.” *** (R: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“DEEP BLUE SEA 3”: As with the first sequel to the original shark thriller, this follow-up has bypassed the theatrical market to go straight to home video for its debut. The plot will seem familiar to anyone who knows either of the first two films, since it again deals with genetically enhanced sharks — this time being studied by a scientist (Tania Raymonde, “Lost”) who’s interested in the effects of climate change on them. Her mission is disrupted by the arrival of an ex-flame (Nathaniel Buzolic, “The Originals”), a marine biologist who has his own purpose for surveying the sharks. Emerson Brooks (“The Last Ship”) also stars. ** (R: P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“MASTERPIECE MYSTERY: ENDEAVOUR, SEASON 7”: In the same week that its three-episode run ends on PBS, the latest round of the series about the young Inspector Morse (portrayed by Shaun Evans) arrives on home video. Evans also directed the first episode, which finds Morse in Venice for the New Year’s holiday as 1970 arrives. It’s not long before he returns to Oxford, where he rejoins longtime police-detective colleague Fred Thursday (Roger Allam) on a murder probe. The other cases involve a battle between gangs and a supposed accident at a college. The “Endeavour” tales won’t stop here, since the show has been renewed for an eighth season; Abigail Thaw — whose father, John Thaw, played television’s original Inspector Morse — continues as a regular cast member. *** (Not rated: AS, V) (Also on Blu-ray)

“CHICAGO FIRE: SEASON EIGHT”: Though executive producer Dick Wolf’s NBC drama didn’t get to finish its eighth year fully — three episodes remained to be completed when the coronavirus pandemic shut down on-location production — it still packed a lot, as usual, into the 20 it had. The season begins with the Firehouse 51 crew suffering a tragic loss in the factory blaze that ended the previous year’s stories, and the victim’s replacement (played by Alberto Rosende) stirs mixed emotions with his apparent recklessness. A crossover episode with “Chicago Med” and “Chicago P.D.” involves a disease that ravages the city, and former cast regular Monica Raymund makes a guest appearance as her character Dawson surprises Casey (Jesse Spencer) with her return to Chicago. Taylor Kinney, Eamonn Walker, David Eigenberg, Kara Killmer, Chrotian Stolte, Joe Minoso, Miranda Rae Mayo and (apparently in her farewell round, per reports) Annie Ilonzeh also star. *** (Not rated: AS, P, V)

“GUNSMOKE: THE COMPLETE MOVIE COLLECTION”: After the classic Western ended the 20-year tenure that gave it the record as TV’s longest-running drama series for many years afterward (until “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” surpassed it), James Arness and his iconic Marshal Matt Dillon character were brought back by CBS in three movie sequels, all of which are included here. In “Return to Dodge,” an ex-convict (Steve Forrest) seeks revenge on Dillon and Miss Kitty (Amanda Blake); “The Last Apache,” inspired by an episode of the original series, puts Dillon on a “The Searchers”-like quest to retrieve a friend’s (returning guest star Michael Learned) kidnapped daughter; and “To the Last Man” find Dillon opposing rustlers who unwisely are targeting his cattle. *** (Not rated: AS, V)

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.

jbobbin has 2411 posts and counting.See all posts by jbobbin

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