DVD Releases – Week of January 24 2021

STARTING THIS WEEK (New releases):

Jennifer Connelly in “Snowpiercer”

“SNOWPIERCER: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON”: Inspired largely by the 2013 action movie directed by “Parasite” Oscar winner Bong Joon-Ho (who serves as an executive producer here), this TNT series — set in what was the near future when it was televised, but now in sync with 2021 — focuses on a massively long train that runs around the world continually with the last traces of mankind on board. Social class determined who is stationed where, and which amenities and privileges they are entitled to … sowing the seeds of a potential uprising. Jennifer Connelly plays the chief authority on the locomotive, with Daveed Diggs (“Hamilton”) as the possible leader of the brewing revolution; the large cast also includes Mickey Sumner, Alison Wright, Lena Hall, Mike O’Malley and Rowan Blanchard. This release coincides with the Season 2 premiere of the show Jan. 25 on TNT, which adds Sean Bean as a prominent full-time star. DVD extras: five “making-of” documentaries. *** (Not rated: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray)

“FATMAN”: Though he has stayed in action mode in many of his recent projects, Mel Gibson has offered offbeat characters within that context — not unlike his Martin Riggs in the “Lethal Weapon” series — and he does so again in this dark comedy that still has a very strong action quotient. Gibson plays a financially ailing Alaskan businessman named Chris Cringle (care to guess his nickname, which is where the “Fatman” reference comes from?) whose situation leads him to make a deal with the government to furnish jet-fighter parts. At the same time, he’s pursued by a professional assassin (Walton Goggins, “The Unicorn”) hired by a wealthy youngster (Chance Hurstfield) who’s been wronged by Chris. Marianne Jean-Baptiste (“Without a Trace”) also stars as Chris’ wife in the film, which had a very recent run in theaters that were open and available. *** (R: AS, P, GV) (Also on On Demand)

“DOOM PATROL: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON”: After spending its first season exclusively on the DC Universe service, this superhero saga also was shown on HBO Max for this sophomore round. The members of the title group — who include Robotman (played by Brendan Fraser), Negative Man (Matt Bomer), Elasti-Girl (April Bowlby), Crazy Jane (Diane Guerrero) and Cyborg (Joivan Wade) — use the powers they inherited in various accidents to overcome their outcast status and help defend the world from supernatural threats. They also have to protect their newest member (Abigail Shapiro), the daughter of the man who brought them together (Timothy Dalton). The series has been renewed for a Season 3 that will run only on HBO Max. *** (Not rated: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray)

“THE COURT JESTER”: This Danny Kaye comedy classic makes its Blu-ray debut as part of the “Paramount Presents” series. Presented in a new 6K scan, the 1955 tale casts him as an entertainer whose ruse to position himself as the best in his field eventually puts him up against a medieval villain (a properly sinister Basil Rathbone). Also in the great supporting cast are Abgela Lansbury, Giynis Johns, John Carradine, Mildred Natwick and Alan Napier (alias manservant Alfred on television’s “Batman”) — but even with all that additional talent, the enormously and uniquely talented Kaye expectedly is the one who chiefly makes the show here. This edition includes a Leonard Maltin-hosted “Filmmaker Focus” feature highlighting longtime creative team Melvin Frank and Norman Panama, who also worked with Kaye on “White Christmas.” *** (Not rated)

“SYNCHRONIC”: A series of strange “accidents” in New Orleans clues two paramedics and longtime friends, played by Anthony Mackie (“The Hurt Locker”) and Jamie Dornan (“Fifty Shades of Grey”), into the existence of a bizarre drug that turns fantasy into apparent reality for the user in this melodrama from “The Endless” filmmakers Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead. For any worries they have initially, they become more dire when the Dornan character’s eldest daughter vanishes, prompting them to step up their efforts to determine exactly what’s going on. Katie Aselton also stars. DVD extras: three “making-of” documentaries; audio commentary by filmmakers; deleted scene; alternate ending. *** (R: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“THE ADVENTURES OF THOMAS AND FELIX”: Also known by the title “Into the Who Knows!,” this family-oriented fantasy finds young Thomas (played by Bryce Gheisar) going AWOL from summer camp … but he isn’t alone, at least as far as he can see. Felix (portrayed by Delaney Wingrove) is a fox that resides in Thomas’ imagination), and that also is the reason Thomas’ concerned parents sent him to camp in the first place, to make actual flesh-and-blood friends. Nevertheless, Felix turns out to be a highly valuable ally as Thomas makes his getaway. *** (Not rated) (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):

“Do the Right Thing”

“DO THE RIGHT THING” (4K Ultra HD) (Feb. 2)

“BREACH” (Feb. 2)

“LOVE STORY” (50th-anniversary edition) (Feb. 9)




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.

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