DVD Releases – week of May 24 2020

STARTING THIS WEEK (New releases):

“THE INVISIBLE MAN”: It can be dicey to update a horror classic, and that fact is what makes this effort such a modest triumph. While fully acknowledging the original H.G. Wells story and earlier screen versions, it modernizes the tale in an extremely effective way … thanks in no small part to a superb performance by Elisabeth Moss (“The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Mad Men”) as a victim of an abusive relationship. She deals with a mad man of a different kind here, since her character continues to be victimized after her abuser apparently is gone. He’s a scientific genius (Oliver Jackson-Cohen, “The Haunting of Hill House”) she leaves at the start of the film, and he has the technical know-how to keep an eye on her even when she can’t see him vengefully doing it — but she knows he’s there. It’s not fair to spoil the twists here, but as he’s done with the “Saw” and “Insidious” series, writer-director Leigh Whannell takes conventions of the genre and gives them fresh spins. And in this #MeToo era, the approach is especially relevant and unnerving. Aldis Hodge, Storm Reid (“Don’t Let Go”) and Harriet Dyer also appear. DVD extras: four “making-of” documentaries; audio commentary by Whannell; deleted scenes. *** (R: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray, 4K Ultra HD and On Demand)

“THE DEER HUNTER: COLLECTOR’S EDITION”: One of the most acclaimed contemporary war dramas, Oscar’s best picture of 1978 gets a home-video relaunch — during the week of Memorial Day — in a release that includes the film’s debut in the 4K Ultra HD format. Robert De Niro, John Savage and (in a performance that earned him his own Oscar) Christpher Walken play close pals from a Pennsylvania steel town who fight together in the Vietnam conflict, enduring capture and harrowing, forced sessions of Russian roulette. Director Michael Cimino’s saga also provided Meryl Streep with a major step toward movie stardom, and the Stanley Myers music score is deeply affecting. The many extras include new interviews with Savage and producer Michael Deeley, and an audio commentary featuring an indispensable member of the creative team here, cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond. **** (R: AS, P, V)

“SCORSESE SHORTS”: Everyone starts somewhere, and that also goes for one of the most esteemed filmmakers still working. This Criterion Collection offering compiles five early projects of Martin Scorsese, dating back to his time as a New York University student up to the mid-1970s, when he was making his professional breakthrough. “Italianamerican” is a profile of his parents … and it wouldn’t be the last time he worked with his mother Catherine, who would make a memorable appearance years later in his classic “Goodfellas.” The other attractions here are “American Boy,” “The Big Shave,” “It’s Not Just You, Murray!” and “What’s a Nice Girl Like You Doing in a Place Like This?,” and all of them reflect themes that would become familiar elements of better-known Scorsese ventures. The extras include then-and-now interviews with the director. *** (Not rated: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray)

“ESCAPE FROM L.A.: COLLECTOR’S EDITION”: Having a bigger budget for this 1996 sequel took director John Carpenter away a bit from the ragtag fun of “Escape From New York,” but a new Blu-ray edition of the further adventure of antihero Snake Plissken (again played by a dialogue-hissing Kurt Russell) still has its moments. After a massive earthquake devastates Los Angeles — leaving it walled off, just as Manhattan was in the first movie — Snake is sent into the ruins to recover a potentially destructive device that’s in the custody of the president’s (Cliff Robertson) rebellious daughter (A.J. Langer, “My So-Called Life”) and her co-conspirator (Georges Corraface). New interviews with co-stars including Stacy Keach, Bruce Campbell and Peter Jason are among the extras here; the cast also boasts Steve Buscemi, Peter Fonda, Valeria Golino (“Rain Man”) and Pam Grier. *** (R: AS, P, V)

“A BEAUTIFUL PLACE TO DIE: A MARTHA’S VINEYARD MYSTERY”: Hallmark Movies & Mysteries recently launched a franchise with this light suspense tale, which is helped greatly by the playfulness of the teamwork between stars Jesse Metcalfe (“Chesapeake Shores,” “Dallas”) and Sarah Lind (“Fargo”). Also an executive producer here, Metcalfe plays an ex-police detective who finds a worthy verbal sparring partner — as well as a valuable resource and a potential romantic partner — in a local doctor (Lind) as he investigates a murder, having returned to the title New England locale upon taking a very early retirement. Despite the alleged setting, the picture actually was made in and around Vancouver, which doubles for “the Vineyard” effectively. Eric Keenleyside plays the doctor’s father, who’s (somewhat conveniently) the chief of police. *** (Not rated: AS, V)

“OLD BOYFRIENDS”: A rare dramatic turn by John Belushi is a highlight of this 1979 drama, in which he plays one of the title ex-beaus sought out by a woman (played by Talia Shire) as she grapples with her troubled marriage. Keith Carradine — whose role in “Nashville” was written by this picture’s director, Joan Tewkesbury — and Richard Jordan portray the other former flames as the protagonist seeks answers about those relationships that she hopes will help her improve her current one. Shire’s then-husband David composed the score for the film, which has a script by brothers Paul and Leonard Schrader. John Houseman and Buck Henry also are featured. *** (R: AS, P) (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):




“THE HUNT” (June 9)

(June 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.

jbobbin has 2357 posts and counting.See all posts by jbobbin

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Pin It on Pinterest