DVD Releases – week of May 31 2020

STARTING THIS WEEK (New releases):

“WATCHMEN: AN HBO LIMITED SERIES”: After the success of the graphic novel and a live-action movie, the saga of vigilantes operating in an alternate world got weekly-show treatment in this well-received version executive-produced by Damon Lindelof (“Lost,” “The Leftovers”). It’s actually a sequel to the comic book, moved ahead to the present day with Oscar winner Regina King leading the notable acting ensemble as a Tulsa police detective trying to balance her obligation to protect the city with her home life as a married mother of three. If that sounds like a fairly standard setup, the result is anything but that, thanks to the premise — which strongly factors in a racial undercurrent — and the other characters who populate the series. Also in the cast are Jeremy Irons, Don Johnson, Jean Smart, Louis Gossett Jr., Frances Fisher and James Wolk. Though this was planned as a one-shot limited series, the possibility of a continuation remains, dependent on Lindelof’s willingness to stay with the project. *** (Not rated: AS, P, V)

“JAWS: 45TH ANNIVERSARY LIMITED EDITION”: Hard as it might be to believe, it was almost 50 years ago that a Great White shark first attacked fun-seekers at Amity Island … and put Steven Spielberg on the map as a major filmmaker. This latest home-video release of the suspense classic marks the picture’s debut in the 4K Ultra HD format, as it adapts Peter Benchley’s novel that sends a sheriff (played by Roy Scheider), a shark expert (Richard Dreyfuss) and a crusty shark hunter (Robert Shaw) out to sea on the trail of the very hungry creature. John Williams’ Oscar-winning score is enduringly famous for its simple but hugely effective combination of notes warning that the enemy is coming. Co-stars include Lorraine Gary (then the wife of the head of Universal Pictures) as Scheider’s spouse, and Murray Hamilton as arguably the most ineffective and oddly attired mayor in movie history. The many extras include several “making-of” documentaries carried over from earlier video editions of the film. *** (PG: AS, N, P, V)

“STAR TREK: SHORT TREKS”: The title is quite self-explanatory in the case of this collection of entries in the short-subject series that was launched by CBS All Access to coincide with — and expand upon — “Star Trek: Discovery.” Cast members including Anson Mount, Ethan Peck, Rebecca Romijn, Doug Jones and Rainn Wilson appear in their roles from the main show (for Peck, that part being the iconic Spock), diving deeper into their respective characters than “Discovery” sometimes has been able to. Each of the standalone stories has a correlating and new “making-of” documentary here, featuring such talents as executive producers Alex Kurtzman and Jenny Lumet, writer Michael Chabon and composer Michael Giacchino. *** (Not rated: AS) (Also on Blu-ray)

“HARLEY QUINN: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON”: The title DC Comics character has had a big workout lately, thanks to two movies in which she was played by Margot Robbie, and also to this decidedly adult animated series made for the DC Universe streaming service. In what was her first major project after “The Big Bang Theory,” Kaley Cuoco supplies the voice for the dangerously independent Harley, who assembles her own crew of questionable purpose after she separates from The Joker. Diedrich Bader (“American Housewife”) and James Wolk (“Zoo”) are heard as Batman and Superman respectively, and additional members of the impressive voice cast include Lake Bell (“Bless This Mess”), Jason Alexander, Tony Hale (“Veep”), Alan Tudyk, J.B. Smoove, Giancarlo Esposito, Rhea Perlman, Sean Giambrone (“The Goldbergs”), Sanaa Lathan, Wanda Sykes and Alfred Molina. *** (Not rated: AS, P, V)

“EXPEDITION WITH STEVE BACKSHALL: SEASON ONE”: Dangerous treks are all in a day’s work for adventurer Backshall, who’s more or less England’s answer to Bear Grylls, in this PBS series that comes to home video just after finishing its broadcast run. Backshall manages to make his way out of some harrowing situations … and very particularly in the case of a subterranean cavern rapidly filling with water, which makes for some extremely tense and intense footage. The aim is to explore areas of the world that remained untouched by people until Backshall and his associates ventured there, with the Himalayas and the arctic among the destinations. The indigenous people and wildlife of the showcased regions are featured. *** (Not rated)

“URBAN COWBOY”: Marking its 40th anniversary with its debut on Blu-ray, director and co-screenwriter James Bridges’ drama was one of the films that cemented John Travolta’s movie stardom. The actor plays new-to-Houston oil-refinery worker Bud, whose relationship with the willful Sissy (Debra Winger) has more than its share of ups and downs. Madolyn Smith and Scott Glenn portray others the two respectively become involved with. Among the extras here are a retrospective documentary and an interview with country-music veteran Mickey Gilley, whose famed honky-tonk club — with its mechanical bull — basically is a character in the story. The score was an enormous success of its own, doing much for the country genre in general and spawning hits for Gilley, Johnny Lee, Anne Murray, Kenny Rogers and Boz Scaggs. Notably, this was the first movie choreographed by Patsy Swayze, Patrick’s mother. *** (PG: AS, N, P, V)

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)



“EVIL: SEASON ONE” (June 30)




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.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Pin It on Pinterest