DVD Releases – Week of February 7 2021

STARTING THIS WEEK (New releases):

Pyotr Fyodorov and Oksana Akinshina in “Sputnik”

“SPUTNIK”: Though director Egor Abramenko’s acclaimed Russian thriller — which has definite echoes of “Alien” — involves that country’s titular space program, much of it unfolds on Earth after a mid-1980s intergalactic mission goes wrong. Only one of the two cosmonauts on board (played by Pyotr Fyodorov) survives, but something definitely is not right with him upon his return … and if you are indeed familiar with “Alien,” you might be able to guess the problem before it reveals itself here. A psychiatrist (Oksana Akinshina) uses all of her professional wiles to solve the situation, which relies on matters of the mind as much as anything physical. Veteran actor-director Fyodor Bonardchuk also stars. *** (Not rated: AS, N, GV) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“LOVE STORY”: Some movies transcend being films to become genuine pop-culture events, as was the case with this romantic classic, marking its 50th anniversary (actually, just past it) with a newly restored “Paramount Presents” Blu-ray edition. Ryan O’Neal plays wealthy Harvard hockey player Oliver, who falls for “poor but smart” Radcliffe music student Jenny (Ali MacGraw) while grappling with his father’s (Ray Milland) high expectations for him. John Marley also does excellent, Oscar-nominated work as Jenny’s father in the script by Erich Segal, which Paramount bought and first had him turn into a novel that became a bestseller — cleverly fueling the public’s desire for the movie. And look closely at the fleeting shots of Oliver’s roommates: One of them is Tommy Lee Jones. The memorable music score is by Francis Lai. Bonus features include an audio commentary by director Arthur Hiller and an introduction by Turner Classic Movies’ Ben Mankiewicz. *** (PG: AS, N, P)

“MASTERPIECE: ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL”: One of the most beloved dramas in the history of public television is getting a remake on the PBS anthology series now marking its 50th anniversary, and while it’s still airing on PBS, the new version makes its home-video debut … enabling those who get it early to see the concluding episodes before they’re broadcast. In his TV debut, Nicholas Ralph assumes the role of James Herriot )the pen name of James Alfred Wight), the British veterinarian whose 1930s experiences with animals and their owners in the Yorkshire Dales — where this edition was filmed on location — inspired the simultaneously amusing and sentimental best seller that the screen retellings have been based upon. A particularly notable cast member here is Diana Rigg, who had what turned out to be one of her final roles as a Herriot client. Samuel West plays Herriot’s boss, with Anna Madeley, Callum Woodhouse, Rachel Shenton and Matthew Lewis also in the cast. *** (Not rated: AS) (Also on Blu-ray)

“MARGARET ATWOOD: A WORD AFTER A WORD AFTER A WORD IS POWER”: With a long-standing fan base that only has grown with the success of the streaming-series version of her book “The Handmaid’s Tale,” the Canadian author is profiled this documentary. She and others discuss her personal history, in which writing and activism have not been mutually exclusive, as any “Handmaid’s” devotee likely has determined. Atwood reflects on what the popularity of that story in particular has meant to her, especially as it relates to very current social issues. Several of the people pivotal to the Hulu run of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” star Elisabeth Moss and executive producers Warren Littlefield and Bruce Miller, are among those commenting here. *** (Not rated: AS, P)

“WETWARE”: Since this science-fiction tale takes its title from a word that means “human brain cells,” and also refers to thought processes ascribed to computers, it shouldn’t be hard to determine writer-director Jay Craven’s subject here. Cameron Scoggins (“Shades of Blue”) plays a programmer who finds himself falling in love with one of his creations, which he has augmented with special traits. When it goes on the run with another human-like machine, things get complicated particularly when surprising discoveries are made about the entire project. Jerry O’Connell — who also has delved into the genre lately as one of the voices on the animated series “Star Trek: Lower Decks” — also appears, as do Gordon Clapp (“NYPD Blue”), Nicole Shalhoub and Matt Salinger. *** (Not rated: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray)

“AURORA TEAGARDEN 6-MOVIE COLLECTION”: “Full House” alum Candace Cameron Bure has become one of the staples of Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, with projects including this franchise — based on books by Charlaine Harris, whose works alo inspired “True Blood” — that casts the actress as a librarian whose literary knowledge comes in handy as she plays amateur sleuth. She gets help from the Real Murders Club, a crime-buff group whose collective experience often proves beneficial to Aurora. Because this is a Hallmark venture, the cases are presented on a “Murder, She Wrote” level, with only scant violence shown. Marilu Henner also stars as Aurora’s real-estate-agent mother; new entries in the series already have started running this year. (Not rated: AS)

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

COMING SOON (Upcoming releases):

“Harley Quinn”





“LADY SINGS THE BLUES” (Blu-ray) (Feb. 23)


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.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Pin It on Pinterest