DVD Releases – Week of December 20 2020

STARTING THIS WEEK (New releases):

“The Craft: Legacy”

“THE CRAFT: LEGACY”: A popular horror tale gets a sequel with this “continuation” that retains the premise of the first “Craft,” with several young witches getting true tastes of their powers … which don’t always mesh, though they can do some pretty incredible things when they’re all working in sync. Cailee Spaeny, Gideon Adlon (a daughter of “Better Things” star Pamela Adlon), Lovie Simone and Zoey Luna play the new quartet of teen sorceresses. Actress Zoe Lister-Jones (“Life in Pieces”) wrote and directed the film, which also features Michelle Mainahan and someone who’s quite familiar with dealing in supernatural matters, David Duchovny. Fairuza Balk, from the original picture, also turns up here. Sparse availability of theaters sent this straight to On Demand in America, though it did have some theatrical engagements overseas. *** (PG-13: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“THE 100: THE COMPLETE SERIES”: While never a ratings blockbuster, this CW sci-fi adventure show had a consistent and loyal following that kept it on the air for seven seasons, and those fans likely will be happy to get their hands on this DVD set that compiles all of the episodes. Developed from Kass Morgan’s series of novels, it follows survivors of an apocalypse who are sent down from a space station to determine whether Earth is still inhabitable. They run into various perils, many of them generated by the so-called Mountain Men, who have bad things in mind for the group of returnees. The ensemble cast includes Eliza Taylor, Paige Turco, Thomas McDonell, Bob Morley, Marie Avgeropoulos, Devon Bostick, Christopher Larkin, Lindsey Morgan, Richard Harmon, Isaiah Washington and Henry Ian Cusick. *** (Not rated: AS, P, V)

Since it’s the Christmas holiday week, here are several perennially popular classics that are home-video staples:

“ITʼS A WONDERFUL LIFE”: Upon its release, this Frank Capra-directed 1946 classic (newly available in a Steelbook edition) had a lukewarm box-office performance that gave no indication it would become as popular as it long as it has been … its plentiful television exposure being a huge factor. James Stewart makes the perfect George Bailey, the hapless Bedford Falls citizen whose experience of seeing how life would be without him has been echoed by countless TV-series episodes. Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore and — as wing-earning angel Clarence — Henry Travers lend great support. DVD extras: theatrical trailer; “making-of” documentary. **** (Not rated: AS) (Also on Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD)

“MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET”: Is, or isnʼt, a department-store Santa the real Father Christmas? As others debate the manʼs true identity, Edmund Gwenn gives an Oscar-winning performance opposite a young Natalie Wood, who plays a skeptical youngster eventually on the verge of becoming a true believer. Maureen OʼHara and John Payne also star in director-screenwriter George Seatonʼs fantasy that has charmed generations — and also has inspired several remakes, though those donʼt come close to matching the overall appeal of this 1947 original. DVD extras: audio commentary by OʼHara; 1955 television version; AMC “Backstory” episode; “Movietone News” short subject; poster gallery.*** (Not rated) (Also on Blu-ray)

“WHITE CHRISTMAS”: As comfortable as an active fireplace on a cold winterʼs night, this tuneful 1954 retooling of the 12-years-earlier “Holiday Inn” makes great use of its Irving Berlin score. Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye are an ideal team as military veterans who become successful entertainment partners, then use their talents to help their former commander (Dean Jagger) re-energize his failing resort. Rosemary Clooney — aunt of George — and Vera-Ellen are charmers as the sisters who distract the guys. DVD extras: two theatrical trailers; audio commentary by Clooney; seven “making-of” documentaries; Christmas television-show appearances by Crosby and Kaye; photo galleries. **** (Not rated) (Also on Blu-ray)

“A CHRISTMAS STORY”: Thereʼs never a doubt that this 1983 holiday favorite will come back around, thanks to its annual 24-hour marathon on television. Anyone who ever desired that one special holiday gift can empathize with Ralphie (Peter Billingsley, who grew up to co-produce a stage-musical version of the tale), author-narrator Jean Shepherdʼs young alias who desperately wants a Red Ryder BB gun … the one that his mother (Melinda Dillon) consistently warns will “shoot your eye out.” Always deserving of citing is Darren McGavin as the gruff dad who doesnʼt actually curse, though it sure sounds like it. DVD extras: theatrical trailer; three “making-of” documentaries; audio commentary by Billingsley and director and co-writer Bob Clark. *** (PG: P) (Also on Blu-ray)

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 2549 posts and counting.See all posts by jbobbin

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