DVD Releases – Week of November 29 2020

STARTING THIS WEEK (New releases):

“THE RENTAL”: Making his debut as a director, actor Dave Franco (“Now You See Me,” “Scrubs”) goes for the chills in this unsettling tale on which he also was a writer and a producer … and which did relatively well at the box office when few new movies were being released. Dan Stevens (“Downton Abbey”) and Alison Brie play a couple among those who rent a house by the sea to get away for a while, only to be alarmed by a masked intruder and surveillance equipment that has been planted throughout the house — catching the unsuspecting visitors in some intimate moments. Things then continue to escalate in a vicious, violent way. Sheila Vand, Jeremy Allen White and Toby Huss also star. *** (R: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

“PERRY MASON: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON”: The most enduring image of novelist Erle Stanley Gardner’s iconic character surely is the cunning, urbane defense attorney played by Raymond Burr in a 1957-66 television classic that remains a staple of nostalgia-driven networks, but it’s a younger, scrappier Mason who fuels this HBO version. Executive-produced by Robert Downey Jr. and his wife Susan, and set in the Depression era, it casts Emmy winner Matthew Rhys (“The Americans”) in the title role while exploring Mason’s roots as an unconventional detective as much as a nascent lawyer. Such other familiar characters as Della Street (played here by Juliet Rylance) and Paul Drake (Chris Chalk) also are reinvented by the reboot; John Lithgow (as Mason’s mentor in the law), Tatiana Maslany (“Orphan Black”) and Robert Patrick (“Scorpion”) are among the cast members as well. Intended as a limited series, the drama has been renewed for a second season. DVD extras: four “making-of” documentaries. *** (Not rated: AS, N, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray)

“THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE MOTION PICTURE TRILOGY”: For fans who have been waiting for director Peter Jackson’s Oscar-winning adaptations of J.R.R. Tolkien novels to make their debuts in the 4K Ultra HD format, the time has come. The saga of Middle-earth and its dwellers encompasses “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring,” “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” and “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” … all of which were filmed simultaneously over a 14-month period. Among those prominent in the casts of the entire trilogy are Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Bean, Dominic Monaghan, Sean Astin, Orlando Bloom, Ian McKellen and John Rhys-Davies. Other notable stars include Liv Tyler, Ian Holm, Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving and Andy Serkis. Also newly available in 4K Ultra HD is the related “The Hobbit: The Motion Picture Trilogy.” **** (PG-13: AS, P) (Also available on Blu-ray, though an “Ultimate Collectors’ Edition” in that format as well as on 4K Ultra HD is slated for next summer)

“BUGS BUNNY 80TH ANNIVERSARY COLLECTION”: What’s up, Doc? Well, an eight-decade milestone for one of the most popular of all animated characters, that’s what. This Blu-ray set compiles 60 theatrical short subjects spanning the 1940s to the 1990s and starring the carrot-chomping Bugs, who revels in mischief while confounding others. Chuck Jones, Bob Clampett and Tex Avery were some of the veteran cartoonists who worked on the hare’s exploits, some of them spoofing other entertainment projects (as with “The Rabbit of Seville” and “Jack-Wabbit and the Beanstalk”). Among the special features are a new documentary, saluting Bugs’ 80th birthday, and 10 “Looney Tunes” offerings. And yes, that’s all, folks … but at seven hours-plus of material, that’s plenty. **** (Not rated)

“GREEN EGGS AND HAM: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON”: A favorite of several generations, the Dr. Seuss book is the inspiration for this Daytime Emmy Award-winning Netflix series that boasts an all-star voice cast led by Michael Douglas and Adam DeVine as new acquaintances who become partners in trying to protect a creature known as the Chickeraffe. A youngster (voice of Ilana Glazer) has her own intentions for it, though her mother (Diane Keaton) would prefer to have nothing to do with it; a bounty hunter (John Turturro) and several villains (Jeffrey Wright, Jillian Bell, Eddie Izzard) have stakes in the situation, too. Keegan-Michael Key, Tracy Morgan, Daveed Diggs (“Hamilton”) and Billy Eichner also are heard. Ellen DeGeneres is among the executive producers. *** (Not rated)

“BEVERLY HILLS COP”: One of several Eddie Murphy titles to get new 4K Ultra HD releases, this highly entertaining 1984 action-comedy affirmed the “Saturday Night Live” alum’s movie stardom and also launched a franchise for him. He plays Axel Foley, a quick-witted, fast-talking Detroit police detective whose probe of a friend’s murder leads him to the West Coast … where several actual Beverly Hills cops (Judge Reinhold, John Ashton, Ronny Cox) help him, rather begrudgingly. Lisa Eilbacher, Paul Reiser and Jonathan Banks (“Better Call Saul”) also appear, and the music score includes the hits “The Heat Is On” (performed by Glenn Frey) and “Neutron Dance” (by The Pointer Sisters). The other Murphy movies new to the 4K format are “Trading Places,” “Coming to America” and “The Golden Child.” *** (R: AS, P, V) (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):







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 2549 posts and counting.See all posts by jbobbin

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