DVD Releases for the week of August 01, 2021

STARTING THIS WEEK (New releases):

Angelina Jolie in “Those Who Wish Me Dead”

“THOSE WHO WISH ME DEAD”: Angelina Jolie is back in action mode in this melodrama based on Michael Koryta’s novel, one of the Warner Bros. movies shown recently on HBO Max while getting a simultaneous theatrical run. Jolie plays a Montana smokejumper, plagued by a tragic past, who becomes the self-appointed protector of a youngster (Finn Little) after he witnesses the death of his forensic-accountant father (Jake Weber) at the hands of killers (Nicholas Hoult, Aiden Gillen) working for a mob kingpin (Tyler Perry). The youngster holds enough evidence to bring down the crime boss, prompting an intense and often brutal chase through woodlands. The stunt players surely share star billing with the actors here; Jon Bernthal and Medina Senghore also are in the cast for director and co-screenwriter Taylor Sheridan, the creator of television’s “Yellowstone.” DVD extra: “making-of” documentary. *** (R: AS, P, V)  (Also on Blu-ray, Digital and On Demand)

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

“HERE TODAY”: Two proven talents from very different schools of comedy — Billy Crystal and Tiffany Haddish — make an unexpected and entertaining duo in this affecting tale, on which Crystal also was the director, a writer (along with Alan Zweibel, whose short story “The Prize” inspired the film) and a producer. The script makes a surprising match between the famous humor writer played by Crystal and a singer (Haddish) who meets him by filling in for her ex, who won a lunch with him through an auction. Their new connection takes many turns from there, some more serious than others … giving Crystal in particular a major chance to exercise his acting muscles. Co-stars include Penn Badgley (“You”), Laura Benanti, Anna Deavere Smith and Nyambi Nyambi; Sharon Stone, Kevin Kline, Bob Costas and filmmaker Barry Levinson have cameos as themselves. DVD extras: audio commentary by Crystal, Haddish and Zweibel; interviews with cast members and filmmakers. *** (PG-13: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray, Digital and On Demand)

“NOVA: THE GREAT ELECTRIC AIRPLANE RACE”: Will concerns about the environment alter ways in which aircraft are designed and mass-produced? It’s not out of the realm of possibility, as confirmed by this recent episode of the PBS science series that surveys several electricity-based models that are being developed. While engineers discuss the climate-related impact of takeoffs and landings at sites such as Boston’s Logan Airport, a single-seat plane is shown to maintain traditional air speeds vertically as well as horizontally, and a prototype air taxi suggests that transportation in general could be revolutionized. Veteran aviation reporter and CNN alum Miles O’Brien narrates the program. *** (Not rated)

“UNDER THE STADIUM LIGHTS”: Milo Gibson — son of actor-director Mel Gibson, and the physical resemblance is pretty clear — stars in this fact-inspired drama as an Abilene, Texas, high-school football team’s chaplain who tries to inspire the players toward capturing a state championship after a tragedy derailed their previous season. Laurence Fishburne also appears as a strong supporter of the athletes, with “Blue Bloods” regular Abigail Hawk and familiar character actor Glenn Morshower (“The Resident”) in the cast as well. Lending authenticity to the tale, the movie was made on location in Abilene. *** (PG-13: AS, P, V) (Also on On Demand)

“THE TRANSFORMERS: THE MOVIE”: Before the franchise was relaunched as a big-budget live-action (with computer-generated images) venture, the popular, warring Autobots and Decepticons got big-screen treatment in this animated feature. Now marking its 35th anniversary with its first release in the 4K Ultra HD format (in a limited Steelbook edition), the saga follows the toy-inspired characters as they battle for control of their planet … which ultimately could see it destroyed if the forces of good don’t win out. The impressive voice cast includes Orson Welles (in one of his final film credits), Robert Stack, Leonard Nimoy, Casey Kasem, Judd Nelson and Eric Idle. The bonus content includes extended, alternate and deleted scenes newly released for home video. New DVD and Blu-ray editions of the film are expected to be available in September. *** (PG: V)

“THE VALDEZ HORSES”: If you’re a Charles Bronson aficionado and don’t recognize this 1973 film of his (which also was the title of the novel it was adapted from), it was released theatrically in America as “Chino.” That’s also the name of the star’s character, a horse breeder whose isolated existence is changed by the sudden appearance of a young runaway (Vincent Van Patten) who wants to work with him. Chino’s life expands even more when he finds a love interest (Jill Ireland, Bronson’s wife and frequent co-star) whose brother (Marcel Bozzuffi) definitely is not a fan of Chino. The film was one of the last projects of veteran director John Sturges, who had worked with Bronson earlier on the adventure classics “The Magnificent Seven” and “The Great Escape,” and the screenplay was by Western staple Clair Huffaker (“The War Wagon”). *** (PG: AS, P, V)

COMING SOON (Upcoming releases):

“FINDING YOU” (Aug. 10)


“THE MISFITS” (Aug. 10)

“NASHVILLE” (Blu-ray) (Aug. 10)

“LABYRINTH” (4K Ultra HD) (Aug. 17)


“Finding You”

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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