DVD Releases – Week of January 31 2021

STARTING THIS WEEK (New releases):

Ethan Hawke and Eve Hewson in “Tesla”

“TESLA”: The title name can apply to a number of things, but in the case of writer-director Michael Almereyda’s biographical drama, the subject is the electrical genius (played by Ethan Hawke) who started out as an employee of Thomas Edison (Kyle MacLachlan) and eventually became his professional rival. Nikolas Tesla then went to work for George Westinghouse (Jim Gaffigan), and though he made great strides with his work, funding concerns threatened to derail it at any number of points. Eve Hewson plays the narrator of the film, which had its debut at the Sundance Festival last winter, with its major exhibition coming last summer via On Demand, once the coronavirus pandemic had promoted the closings of numerous theaters. Ebon-Moss Bachrach, Hannah Gross, Josh Hamilton and Peter Greene also appear. *** (PG-13: AS, N) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“LET HIM GO”: One of the rare movies to have relative success in theaters during the coronavirus pandemic, this 1960s-set Western reteams Kevin Costner and Diane Lane — who were Pa and Ma Kent in “Man of Steel” — as an ex-lawman and his wife, who grieve for their late son while attempting to retrieve their young grandson from a family that has taken custody of him, under the leadership of a tough matriarch (Lesley Manville, “Phantom Thread”). Jeffrey Donovan (“Burn Notice”), Will Brittain, Kayli Carter and Booboo Stewart also are in the cast guided by writer-director Thomas Bezucha (‘The Family Stone”), who based his script on a novel by Larry Watson. DVD extras: three “making-of” documentaries. *** (R: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“WILD MOUNTAIN THYME”: Coming to home video shortly after the theatrical run it was able to have, this drama from the acclaimed Pulitzer Prize, Oscar and Tony winner John Patrick Shanley — the writer of “Moonstruck” — involves an Irish family at odds over the patriarch’s (Christopher Walken) plans for their business, which he plans to give to an American nephew (Jon Hamm) rather than letting his own son (Jamie Dornan, “Fifty Shades of Grey”) succeed him. Adapted and directed by Shanley from his play “Outside Mullingar,” the film was made on location and also features Emily Blunt and (reprising her role from the stage version) Dearbhla Molloy. *** (PG-13: AS, P) (Also on On Demand)

“DO THE RIGHT THING”: Though Spike Lee’s 1989 comedy-drama has been relevant ever since its release, it has enhanced meaning now as it makes its debut in the  4K Ultra HD format. A Bedford-Stuyvesant pizzeria becomes the setting for racial unrest prompted largely by the “Wall of Fame” maintained at the site by the owner (a superb Danny Aiello). Writer-producer-director Lee also has one of the central acting roles in the film, whose stunning cast also includes spouses Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, Giancarlo Esposito, Bill Nunn, Rosie Perez, Martin Lawrence, Samuel L. Jackson, John Turturro and John Savage. The movie was named the best of its year by a number of critics’ organizations. Extra features include a retrospective documentary, plus deleted and extended scenes. **** (R: AS, P, V)

”LOVE, WEDDINGS & OTHER DISASTERS”: Already familiar with making comedies centered around weddings, Oscar winner Diane Keaton is back on that territory with this entry, though she plays someone who’s just long for the ride this time. The woman is linked to a caterer (fellow Academy Award owner Jeremy Irons) who’s involved in a couple’s forthcoming nuptials, as is a wedding planner (Maggie Grace, “Taken”) who hasn’t had much practice at her job. Andrew Bachelor, Jesse McCartney and Chandra West also appear in the story — and so does its screenwriter and director, frequent Adam Sandler collaborator Dennis Dugan (“Happy Gilmore”). DVD extras: “making-of” documentary; audio commentary by Dugan; descriptive audio commentary. ***  (PG-13: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“BREACH”: Through his largely action-driven movie career, Bruce Willis has ventured into sci-fi on occasion (“The Fifth Element,” “Armageddon”), and he does so again in this tale with a theme that may hit a bit too close to home for some now … a plague that devastates Earth. That sends survivors into the cosmos aboard an enormous spacecraft, but the passengers may be able to stay safe for only so long, since an alien being that can change shape invades the vessel. Thomas Jane, Rachel Nichols (“P2”), Cody Kearsley and Johnny Messner (who has worked with Willis several times) also appear. *** (R: AS, P, V) (Also on On Demand)

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

COMING SOON (Upcoming releases):

“Love Story”

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


“SPUTNIK” (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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