DVD Releases – Week of October 25 2020

STARTING THIS WEEK (New releases):

“PARASITE”: The darling of the most recent movie-award season, this feature made major strides for the South Korean film industry, earning many honors including the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or and four Oscars that encompassed best picture and best director (for Bong Joon-ho). Making its home-video debut as a Criterion Collection offering, the tale follows several relatives who face financial struggles and try to better their lot in life by posing as more-qualified help in order to be hired by a wealthy family. The movie’s tone changes radically as it unfolds, a major factor in gaining it the major international attention it received. Song Kang-ho and Lee Sun-kyun portray the patriarchs of the two central families. DVD extras: theatrical trailers; audio commentary by Joon-ho and critic Tony Rayns; black-and-white version of the film; interviews with crew members; Cannes Film Festival press conference; Joon-ho “Master Class”; storyboards. **** (R: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray)

“THE FLINTSTONES: THE COMPLETE SERIES”: The “modern Stone Age family” has been a staple of animation ever since the Hanna-Barbera show premiered in primetime 60 years ago, earning an Emmy nomination for outstanding comedy series along the way. As it makes its Blu-ray debut, this set compiles all of the original program’s episodes (166 of them), tracing the misadventures of prehistoric pals and co-workers Fred Fiintstone and Barney Rubble and their household members in the town of Bedrock … and even their pets, including dinosaur Dino. Interestingly, the hugely familiar theme song “Meet the Flintstones” wasn’t added until the third of the six seasons. Tony Curtis and Ann-Margret were among the guests who voiced characters inspired by their images. A very notable extra here is “The Man Called Flintstone,” a 1966 theatrical feature that cashed in on the spy craze of the time by taking Fred (voiced by the TV show’s Alan Reed, with his singing done by Henry Corden, who succeeded Red on television) into the world of espionage. *** (Not rated)

“A CHRISTMAS LOVE STORY”: One of the most promoted holiday movies on cable last year also was one of the most engaging, thanks to winning performances by stars Kristin Chenoweth and Scott Wolf. The “Hallmark Hall of Fame” drama logically makes Chenoweth’s character musically inclined; she’s a youth choir director whose desire to use a talented substitute (Kevin Quinn) in a Christmas Eve show is challenged by his father (Wolf), a widower who wants his son focused on getting into college. Things change as the two adults become mutually attracted, but something they don’t know could impact their budding romance. Actor Eric Close (“Without a Trace”) directed the film, on which Chenoweth’s former “GCB” co-star Jennifer Aspen was a producer. Chenoweth and Chely Wright wrote the picture’s theme song. *** (Not rated: AS)

“RAMBO: THE COMPLETE STEELBOOK COLLECTION”: For a solid dose of machismo, it’s hard to beat this 4K Ultra HD set of all five adventures in the movie franchise casting Sylvester Stallone as John Rambo, the troubled Vietnam War veteran whose pent-up rage comes in handy in quests to right wrongs. However, in the first and arguably best of the pictures — “First Blood” — Rambo becomes a vengeance machine when provoked by a suspicious Northwestern sheriff (Brian Dennehy), prompting his former commanding officer (Richard Crenna, who became a “Rambo” regular) to come to the scene in a bid to defuse the situation. Stallone contributed to that film’s script, and he’d have an expanded role behind the scenes as the series progressed. *** (R: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray)

“THE IPCRESS FILE”: The peak of the James Bond spy-story craze in the 1960s yielded many other espionage tales, one of the best being this 1965 adaptation of Len Deighton’s novel that first gave Michael Caine the screen role of Harry Palmer, a cynical British government agent assigned to retrieve a kidnapped scientist. The mission becomes quite complicated, involving not only known enemies, but supposed allies who turn out to be enemies. The memorable score by John Barry is one of the elements here that involve Bond-movie staples, who also include executive producer Harry Saltzman and editor Peter R. Hunt. Co-star Guy Doleman appeared the same year in the 007 caper “Thunderball.” Caine reprised the Palmer part several times in later theatrical films and cable movies. *** (Not rated: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray)

“BONANZA: THE OFFICIAL ELEVENTH SEASON, VOLUMES ONE AND TWO”: The iconic Western series was starting to near the end of its 14-season run when these episodes first appeared on NBC during the 1969-70 season. Preparing to take a larger creative role in his later projects, co-star Michael Landon directed several of the stories, including one with a memorable guest turn by Michael Dunn (alias “The Wild, Wild West’s” Dr. Loveless). The problems hit very close to home in the opening tale, since Ben (Lorne Greene) may be forced to give up the Ponderosa. Dan Blocker and David Canary also continue their regular roles, with Sally Kellerman (in a role first played by Yvonne DeCarlo in the series pilot), Tom Bosley, Mariette Hartley, Dean Stockwell and a young David Cassidy among other guest stars. *** (Not rated: AS, V)

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

COMING SOON (Upcoming releases):



“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.

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