DVD Releases – Week of November 8 2020

STARTING THIS WEEK (New releases):

“BILL & TED FACE THE MUSIC”: Proving that not even a pandemic can keep a popular franchise down, this much-later “threequel” did moderately good business recently as theaters were reopening in various locales, though it also was available as a direct-to-consumer video offering. Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter are back as the time travelers who are older but not necessarily wiser, a situation that could be problematic for the entire world unless the duo’s music can prevent a forewarned cataclysm. William Sadler also returns as the Grim Reaper, with Kristen Schaal, Samara Weaving, Ernn Hayes, Jayma Mays (“Glee”), Jillian Bell, Holland Taylor and (as himself) Kid Cudi among other cast members, Steven Soderbergh is one of the picture’s executive producers. DVD extra: “making-of” documentary. *** (PG-13: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

”SCHITT’S CREEK: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION”: Following its remarkable sweep of the major comedy categories in the most recent Primetime Emmy Awards comes the home-video debut of this Canadian sitcom, the brainchild of father and son Eugene and Dan Levy. They’re also among the stars of the show, about the boost that a once-wealthy, suddenly broke family is forced to give a town they had bought as a lark. As they try to return to financial health, they see the community rise, giving them an entirely new outlook on that investment. Among the series’ nine Emmy wins, both Levys earned acting Emmys, as did fellow stars Catherine O’Hara and Annie Murphy. Jennifer Robertson,Tim Rozon (“Wynonna Earp”), Emily Hampshire, Dustin Milligan and Chris Elliott also are in the cast. DVD extras: “making-of” documentary; deleted scenes; outtakes; “Inside Schitt’s Creek” featurettes, *** (Not rated: AS, P)

“THE LAST DANCE”: One of television’s most acclaimed documentaries of recent times, this Emmy-winning series — originally made for ESPN, and also televised later by ABC — now becomes available on Blu-ray in a “limited-time gift set” that offers more than four hours of extra content on top of its 10 episodes. The project follows the campaign of basketball icon Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, under head coach Phil Jackson, to score a sixth NBA title within an eight-year span … but factors including tension among team members threatened to derail that quest that began in the fall of 1997. The bonus features draw upon ESPN-originated material substantially, including “SportsCenter” segments and an uncut 1998 interview of Jordan by the late Stuart Scott. **** (Not rated: AS, P)

“THE OFFICE: THE COMPLETE SERIES”: Already available on DVD for some time, the popular American version of the Ricky Gervais-co-created comedy about rather quirky office co-workers — total fiction, right? — gets complete set treatment on Blu-ray, In its initial seasons, Steve Carell heads the ensemble cast as Michael Scott, manager of the Dunder Mifflin company branch in Scranton, Pa. Among his employees are likable Jim (John Krasninski), who has an obvious interest in receptionist Pam (Jenna Fischer), and the somewhat unsettling Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson). Ed Helms, B.J. Novak, Angela Kinsey, Craig Robinson, Kate Flannery, Mindy Kaling and Rashida Jones are among other performers who got major career boosts from the show’s success; James Spader succeeded Carell in its final season (and then went straight into ‘The Blacklist,” on which he still continues). **** (Not rated: AS, P)

“DOWNTON ABBEY: MOVIE & TV COLLECTION”: Any devoted fan of the Julian Fellowes-created saga of the Crawley family and its attending staff may have the drama in a previous home-video incarnation already, but this latest variation adds the 2019 feature film that reunited most of the cast of the internationally acclaimed show (broadcast by PBS in the United States). And this may not be the last DVD set of it, since talk of another movie sequel remains active. Going sequentially through all the material here shows just how faithful the film was to the series, while recapping just enough to bring any newcomers up to speed quickly. The superb ensemble cast includes Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Maggie Smith, Michelle Dockery, Dan Stevens, Joanne Froggatt, Jim Carter, Phyllis Logan and Laura Carmichael. **** (Unrated and — for the movie — PG: AS, P)

“SPONTANEOUS”: Two of today’s most promising young talents, Katherine Langford (“13 Reasons Why”) and Charlie Plummer (“Looking for Alaska”), are teamed in this dark comedy as two high-schoolers who watch as their classmates start exploding … quite literally. The duo starts to get involved romantically as they realize they may become the next victims of the bizarre spontaneous combustion happening around them. Despite the love-story aspect, there’s also graphic imagery to spare here, based on the fate that many of the characters share. Director-screenwriter Brian Duffield (who adapted his script from Aaron Starmer’s novel) also includes Piper Perabo and Rob Huebel in his cast. *** (R: AS, P, V) (Also on On Demand)

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

COMING SOON (Upcoming releases):

“UNHINGED” (Nov. 17)


“SUMMERLAND” (Nov. 17)



“THE IRISHMAN” (Nov. 24)

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 2491 posts and counting.See all posts by jbobbin

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