DVD Releases – week of July 26 2020

STARTING THIS WEEK (New releases):

“THE OUTSIDER: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON”: It might seem impossible for someone to be in two places at the same time — including a murder scene — unless Stephen King is involved. One of the horror icon’s novels fuels this engrossing, made-for-HBO melodrama largely adapted by Richard Price (who also co-wrote the cable network’s acclaimed “The Night Of”) and follows a police detective (played by “Bloodline’s” Ben Mendelsohn, the show’s producer as well) who grieves the loss of his son as he investigates another youngster’s vicious death. A teacher-coach (“Ozark” Emmy winner Jason Bateman, also an executive producer here, plus the director of the first two episodes) is a solid suspect, but he has a strong alibi. Two-time Emmy recipient Mare Winningham, Tony winner and “Harriet” Oscar nominee Cynthia Erivo, Paddy Considine, Julianne Nicholson and Yul Vazquez also are in the extremely solid cast. *** (Not rated: AS, N, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray)

“ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK: SEASON SEVEN”: Though binge-watching of streaming series is a common practice now, this prison-set Netflix comedy-drama had a great deal to do with making that a “thing,” since the conversation piece that the show was made it a “must” for water-cooler chatter. This concluding season — which wraps up in a way that should satisfy longtime followers — sees Litchfield inmate Piper (Taylor Schilling) released back into society, but she has a very tough time assimilating. Cast regulars Natasha Lyonne and Laura Prepon each directed an episode here, while actor Andrew McCarthy (“St. Elmo’s Fire”) filled that job on a couple of others. Kate Mulgrew, Uzo Aduba, Danielle Brooks, Taryn Manning, Alysia Reiner and Yael Stone also put final touches on their characters here. DVD extras: two “making-of” documentaries; “A Message to the Fans.” *** (Not rated: AS, N, P, V)

“AN ACCIDENTAL STUDIO”: When he started out as a Beatle, George Harrison might not have entertained becoming a movie producer … but through the firm he co-founded, HandMade Films, he turned out a number of notable and widely praised pictures that are excerpted in this documentary about the so-called “accidental studio.” Among the titles are “Time Bandits,” the Monty Python group’s “Life of Brian,” “The Long Good Friday,” “Mona Lisa” and “Withnail and I.” The late Harrison himself is seen in related interview footage, as are many other talents who were involved in HandMade’s movies including actors Michael Caine, Bob Hoskins and Richard E. Grant, filmmaker Neil Jordan and Monty Python members Michael Palin and Terry Gilliam. *** (Not rated: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray)

“HAWAII FIVE-O: THE FINAL SEASON”: Though it ultimately didn’t match the original version’s 12 seasons, this recently ended CBS reboot of the police drama still had a very healthy run of its own, lasting 10 years. The concluding round ultimately brings the saga of its Steve McGarrett (played by Alex O’Loughin, who also wrote and directed one of the last episodes) full-circle, but before it gets there, it finds danger paying a visit to Five-0 headquarters and Halloween turning lethal (with the latter story featuring the return of former cast regular Masi Oka). One of the tales serves as a crossover with another Hawaii-set CBS series that’s also gotten an update, “Magnum P.I.,” with title star Jay Hernandez among the actors from that show appearing. Founding cast member Scott Caan also saw this program out, with Chuck Norris and Rob Morrow among guest stars, and Christine Lahti reprising the part of McGarrett’s mother. *** (Not rated: AS, P, V)

“THIRTEEN GHOSTS”: Now being offered in a Blu-ray “Collector’s Edition,” this update of a cult classic by horror-movie gimmick master William Castle is a vastly slicker, considerably  more graphic version that does have its moments. A house turns out to be a giant, reconfiguring puzzle for the family that inherits it, thanks to its inhabiting ghosts who only can be seen by the new occupants if they wear special glasses. (That element was a nod to the 1960 original, for which moviegoers had to wear such goggles to see the ghosts in 3-D.)  This edition’s extras include recent interviews with director Steve Beck and cast members Shannon Elizabeth, Matthew Harrison, John DiSantis and Herbert Ducnanson; among additional stars are Tony Shalhoub, Embeth Davidtz, Matthew Lillard and F. Murray Abraham. *** (R: AS, N, P, V)

“WONDER WOMAN: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION”: This Blu-ray release of both incarnations of the 1970s Lynda Carter television series was meant to coordinate with the theatrical debut of Gal Gadot’s “Wonder Woman 1984,” which was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, but this still is a nostalgic blast for fans of the iconic DC Comics character or classic TV in general. Made for ABC, the first version of the show is set during World War II, with Carter’s Diana Prince — alias you-know-who — serving as secretary, and frequent rescuer, to Major Steve Trevor (Lyle Waggoner, who had just wrapped up his tenure on “The Carol Burnett Show”). CBS then picked up the series for its remaining two seasons, requiring the period setting to be jettisoned in favor of a then-contemporary backdrop. Movie-star-to-be Debra Winger was added as Wonder Girl, and among the fun guest casting is the appearance of both Joan Van Ark and Ted Shackelford in an episode before they became spouses Val and Gary on “Knots Landing.” *** (Not rated: V)

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

COMING SOON (Upcoming releases):


(Aug. 4)


“BELGRAVIA” (Aug. 11)

“THE WRETCHED” (Aug. 11)


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 2448 posts and counting.See all posts by jbobbin

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