DVD Releases – week of July 19 2020

STARTING THIS WEEK (New releases):

“MARRIAGE STORY”: One of the very few Netflix movies released on home video to date, this widely praised drama from writer-director Noah Baumbach — being issued as part of The Criterion Collection — earned an Oscar for Laura Dern’s supporting performance. Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson play a married director and actress whose bicoastal union disintegrates, with their lawyers (Dern, Alan Alda, Ray Liotta) trying to negotiate some sort of accord as the couple moves toward a divorce. The fine cast also includes Julie Hagerty. Merritt Wever, Wallace Shawn and Kyle Bornheimer, but it’s very easy to see that Dern qualified for the many accolades she received on the most recent film-award circuit. DVD extras: trailers; four “making-of” documentaries; interview with Baumbach and composer Randy Newman. **** (R: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray)

“SCOOB!”: One of the movies that shifted from a theatrical run to an On Demand at-home premiere earlier than planned after the coronavirus pandemic hit, this animated tale traces the roots of Scooby-Doo’s involvement with such fellow mystery-lovers as Shaggy, Daphne and Velma. That set-up leads into the story of their latest case, involving a threat that could set a ghost dog loose on the world. Frank Welker voices the canine nicknamed “Scoob,” and among the many other notables supplying characters’ vocals are Will Forte, Gina Rodriguez, Zac Efron, Amanda Seyfried, Mark Wahlberg, Ken Jeong, Tracy Morgan, Henry Winkler, Christina Hendricks and (as his animated self) Simon Cowell. DVD extra: “How to Draw Scooby-Doo” feature. *** (PG: AS) (Also on Blu-ray, 4K Ultra HD and On Demand)

“AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: GEORGE W. BUSH”: Expectedly, since they were committed during the then-president’s tenure in the White House, the 9/11 terrorist attacks inform much of this profile recently televised by PBS (as the latest entry in the continuing “American Experience” collection of presidential portraits). Other domestic and international matters faced by the Bush administration are considered as well, such as Hurricane Katrina and one of the worst financial crises in U.S. history, but the program starts with the events of Sept. 11, 2001 — and many of those who were in the chief executive’s closest circle at the time, including Chief of Staff Andrew Card and Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, offer their perspectives on how he handled what arose (encompassing the American military response). So do a number of prominent journalists, Peter Baker and Eugene Robinson among them. *** (Not rated: P, V)

“AIRPLANE!”: “And don’t call me Shirley!” One of the funniest spoof movies ever gets a Blu-ray relaunch for its 40th anniversary, with the Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker creative team basing the humor largely on the “Airport” series … though some of the elements actually came from another story by novelist Arthur Hailey that fueled the 1957 film “Zero Hour!”. Robert Hays plays a pilot whse past experiences make him reluctant to take the controls when the flight crew on a passenger plane is felled, with his stewardess ex-girlfriend (Julie Hagerty) among those dependent on his getting and keeping it together. Leslie Nielsen, Peter Graves, Lloyd Bridges and Robert Stack and even Kareem Abdul-Jabbar earned big laughs by parodying their usual images — and among the other memorably funny performances is Jill Whelan’s (“The Love Boat”) spin on Linda Blair’s “Airport 1975” character. Even “Leave It to Beaver” mom Barbara Billingsley gets a riotous cameo. The special features include an interview session with the writer-directors taped earlier this year. *** (PG: AS, P, V)

“CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM: THE COMPLETE TENTH SEASON”: Larry David has been known lately for his portrayal of senator and former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on “Saturday Night Live,” but he continued his own showcase with this most recent round of the acclaimed, largely improvised HBO comedy series. Also the show’s creator, he plays a fictionalized version of himself as he faces life’s various foibles. The season’s overarching story finds Larry dealing with the #MeToo era when his assistant (Megan Ferguson) accuses him of sexual harassment. Cheryl Hines (who also directed an episode here), Sean Penn, Jonah Hill, Laverne Cox, Vince Vaughn, Clive Owen, Ted Danson and Isla Fisher are among guest stars. Jeff Garlin (“The Goldbergs”), Susie Essman, Richard Lewis and JB Smoove also are cast regulars. *** (Not rated: AS, P)

“GHOST”: What might have seemed like an incompatible assortment of elements came together for this enduringly affecting fantasy-drama, marking its 30th anniversary with a new Blu-ray edition. After being murdered during a robbery attempt, a man (Patrick Swayze) contacts a psychic (Whoopi Goldberg, who won an Oscar here) from the afterlife to help protect his true love (Demi Moore) from others who meant him harm. The iconic – and very romantic — pottery-making scene gave new life to the Righteous Brothers’ version of “Unchained Melody.” Tony Goldwyn (“Scandal”) also is prominent in the cast directed by Jerry Zucker, whose background largely had been in comedy (“Airplane!”), and who is showcased in a new special feature. Bruce Joel Rubin’s script also earned an Academy Award. *** (PG-13: AS, P, V)

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 2362 posts and counting.See all posts by jbobbin

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