DVD Releases – week of Aug 9 2020

STARTING THIS WEEK (New releases):

“THE WRETCHED”: One of very few movies to get a theatrical release during the coronavirus pandemic, this independently made thriller fared well at the box office … relatively speaking, given the limited number of theaters that were open to be able to show it, but it still placed at No. 1 for its first several weeks. Written and directed by siblings Brett Pierce and Drew T. Pierce, it casts John-Paul Howard as a young man drawn into supernatural doings when he goes to live with his divorcing father. A literal witch ultimately is revealed as part of the mayhem, which involves such trademarks of the genre as possession and strange disappearances. Disney Channel veteran Piper Curda (“I Didn’t Do It”) plays the young hero’s new friend, who also is given a personal reason to get to the bottom of the mystery. *** (Not rated: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“THE HIGH NOTE”: Released to home viewers vis On Demand at the same time it opened in whatever theaters were available for it then, this comedy drama gives Tracee Ellis Ross (“black-ish”) a showcase that has the subtext of letting her pay homage to her music-icon mother, Diana Ross. She plays a veteran singer who’s been coasting on her past hits for a long time, until her personal assistant (Dakota Johnson) — an aspiring music producer — inspires her to start working on new material, something their record label is skeptical about. Plenty of personal and professional complications arise for the women; Kelvin Harrison Jr. portrays a would-be musician who factors into their dealings; Bill Pullman, Ice Cube, Eddie Izzard and Melanie Griffith also are featured. *** (PG-13: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“BELGRAVIA”: “Downton Abbey” mentor Julian Fellowes adapted his novel also titled “Belgravia” into this Epix series, writing all six of the episodes of another period piece that weaves many characters into a backdrop drawn from history … specifically, the Battle of Quatre Bras, which preceded Waterloo. That conflict has results that play out over many years for figures including an arms dealer and his wife (played by Philip Genister and Tamsin Grieg), who eventually relocate to the privileged London area known as Belgravia. There, their earlier dealings have unexpected aftereffects, some of which set the stage for major emotional complications for others as well. Alice Eve, Tom Wilkinson, Harriet Walter, James Fleet (“Four Weddings and a Funeral”) and Tara Fitgerald also are in the impressive cast. *** (Not rated: AS, V)

“AMERICAN MASTERS — MAE WEST: DIRTY BLONDE”: “Come up and see me sometime” isn’t the typical line you hear on public television, but then again, Mae West hardly was a typical celebrity. The famously salty talent didn’t hesitate to play up her sex appeal, from her time as one of the raciest movie stars of the 1930s to her tenure as an icon seen in such later films as the controversial “Myra Breckinridge.” Her decidedly colorful life and times are recalled in this tellingly titled profile recently broadcast by PBS, detailing how her independent approach to her career made censors and even powerful publisher William Randolph Hearst nemeses of hers. Still, she counted such popular actors as Cary Grant and James Stewart among her leading men. Executive-produced by someone else who’s famously done things her way, Bette Midler, the program includes comments from Ringo Starr, Candice Bergen and actress-comedian Margaret Cho. *** (Not rated: AS)

“THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA”: There certainly has been no shortage of screen versions of Gaston Leroux’s classic tale of a disfigured man who dwells in the bowels of an opera house. This 1962 retelling produced by the renowned Hammer Films company — and newly offered in a “Collector’s Edition” on Blu-ray —  casts Herbert Lom, arguably best-known as Inspector Clouseau’s ill-tempered boss Dreyfus in the “Pink Panther” comedies — as the Phantom, whose worshipping of a performer (Heather Sears, dubbed by Patricia Clark in the singing sequences) leads to suspense and tragedy. Michael Gough and Patrick Troughton also are in the cast. Among the special features are a longer version of the movie that was prepared for television showings, and a featurette on the horror-oriented Hammer studio’s history. *** (Not rated: AS, P)

“THE BRITISH INVASION”: Those who know the music of a certain era — and a certain country — likely will recognize the theme of this set of five documentaries. Several of them are separate profiles of three of the most prominent rock bands to hail from England during the 1960s, The Rolling Stones, The Who and (of course) The Beatles. The legend of the latter group also yields separate documentaries here on John Lennon and the Fab Four’s manager, Brian Epstein. Naturally, there’s plenty of musical evidence presented that attests to why the showcased acts have continued to endure in popularity over the succeeding decades. Mick Jagger and Roger Daltrey are among the other iconic talents seen in performance and interview clips. *** (Not rated)

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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