New to DVD and On Demand Releases for April 15 - 21

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15 April 2018
By Jay Bobbin Zap2it
(Ratings for each film begin with a "star'' rating -- one star meaning "poor,'' four meaning "excellent'' -- followed by the Motion Picture Association of America rating, and then by a family-viewing guide, the key for which appears below.)

Releasing this Week:
The Post"The Post": It's no "All the President's Men,'' but this Steven Spielberg-directed, Oscar-nominated drama about The Washington Post in the Pentagon Papers era does fill its entertainment quotient. As the newspaper faces multiple challenges over its possibility of publishing leaked classified documents pertaining to U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War, editor-in-chief Ben Bradlee and publisher Katharine Graham -- played by Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep, in their first screen teaming -- try to determine how to proceed, knowing that printing the resulting story could embroil them and the paper in legal trouble. The excellent cast also includes Sarah Paulson, Bob Odenkirk ("Better Call Saul''), actor-playwright Tracy Letts, Bradley Whitford ("The West Wing''), Bruce Greenwood, Matthew Rhys ("The Americans''), Alison Brie, Carrie Coon ("The Leftovers'') and Michael Stuhlbarg. The score is by frequent Spielberg collaborator John Williams. DVD extras: five "making-of'' documentaries. ***
(PG-13: P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
The Commuter"The Commuter": Liam Neeson maintains his post-"Taken'' reputation as an action star with this thriller, which reunites him with director Jaume Collet-Serra of "Non-Stop'' -- basically the airplane version of this story, which still has its moments despite that familiar feel. The actor plays an ex-cop and just-fired insurance salesman propositioned to place a tracking device on another passenger aboard the train he's taken daily -- for a sizable payment. Danger mounts as he learns the reason for the situation, with everyone else aboard the locomotive eventually imperiled. Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Jonathan Banks, Elizabeth McGovern and young Florence Pugh also are in the strong cast, though the picture's main purpose obviously is to let Neeson play tough again. DVD extras: two "making-of'' documentaries. *** (PG-13: P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
Genius"Genius": Based on Walter Isaacson's book "Einstein: His Life and Universe,'' this drama  -- with executive producers including Oscar winners Ron Howard, who made his scripted-television directorial debut with the first episode, and Brian Grazer -- was National Geographic's first-ever scripted show. Fellow Academy Award recipient Geoffrey Rush ("Shine'') and Johnny Flynn ("Song One'') share the role of Einstein at different ages, with the teleplay first focusing on the physics student's teen years. The start of World War I and Einstein's theory of relativity are destined to have major impacts on his life ... as are his complex personal ties. Emily Watson, Vincent Kartheiser ("Mad Men'') and "Grey's Anatomy'' alum T.R. Knight (as FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover) also star. A second season of the series, with artist Pablo Picasso as its subject, is upcoming. DVD extras: nine "making-of'' documentaries. *** (Not rated: AS)
The Deep Blue Sea 2"The Deep Blue Sea 2": It's been almost 20 years since the original thriller about shark experimentation gone haywire, and this made-for-video sequel continues the theme. Danielle Savre -- also of ABC's new "Grey's Anatomy'' spinoff "Station 19'' -- and Michael Beach head the cast as members of a group of scientists and conservationists whose work with drug-enhanced bull sharks eventually puts them at the mercy of the creatures with very lethal jaws. Expectedly, those in charge of computer-generated effects also have their day here.  *** (R: P, V) (Also on Blu-ray)

Also Releasing this Week:
Claws: The Complete First Season"Claws: The Complete First Season": The sometimes shaky relationships of several Florida manicurists fuel this seriocomic TNT series, which includes Rashida Jones among its executive producers. Niecy Nash plays the owner of the salon, where employees with very colorful backgrounds are portrayed by Judy Reyes ("Scrubs''), Emmy winner Carrie Preston ("The Good Wife''), Jenn Lyon ("Justified'') and Karrueche Tran. The show -- which earned a Season 2 renewal -- also incorporates men pivotally: the pain-clinic operator ("The Strain's'' Jack Kesy) who uses the nail salon for money laundering; the Lyon character's husband (Kevin Rankin), who is struggling to stay sober, just as she is; a drug-clinic doctor (Jason Antoon); and a high-ranking criminal in the so-called Dixie Mafia ("Breaking Bad'' and "Under the Dome'' veteran Dean Norris). *** (Not rated: AS, P, V)
Doris Day: A Sentimental Journey"Doris Day: A Sentimental Journey": One of the most singular and iconic stars of entertainment is profiled in this documentary, which covers the singing career that first brought Day to prominence, as well as her screen work. Though highlights from her movies (which encompassed such hugely popular romantic comedies as "Pillow Talk'') are limited largely to public-domain material such as clips from trailers, the television series that capped the since-retired Day's career gets much more attention, since MPI -- the company distributing this title -- also owns the home-video rights to "The Doris Day Show,'' which aired on CBS from 1968 to 1973. *** (Not rated)

Upcoming Releases:

"Paddington 2" (April 24): The domesticated title bear (voice by Ben Whishaw) tries to recover the stolen gift he bought for his aunt's milestone birthday. (PG: AS)
"Forever My Girl" (April 24): Returning to his hometown, a country-music star (Alex Roe) is reunited with the love (Jessica Rothe) he left behind. (PG: AS, P)
"Grease" (April 24): In its 40th-anniversary year, the musical based on the stage hit gets a relaunch on home video; John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John play young lovers Danny and Sandy. (PG: AS, P)

"Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool" (April 24): Actress Gloria Grahame (Annette Bening) develops a profound relationship with a younger man (Jamie Bell). (R: AS, N, P)
"Hostiles" (April 24): Christian Bale plays an Army captain on a dangerous trek to bring a Cheyenne chief to his intended resting place. (R: P, V)
"Maze Runner: The Death Cure" (April 24): In the final chapter of the trilogy, the young adventurers must navigate a particularly lethal maze; Dylan O'Brien stars. (PG-13: AS, P, V)
"12 Strong'' (May 1): Chris Hemsworth and Michael Shannon star in the true story of the first U.S. soldiers who entered Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks. (R: P, V)
"Fifty Shades Freed" (May 8): In the conclusion of the trilogy, Christian and Ana (Jamie Dornan, Dakota Johnson) are married, but their happiness is anything but assured. (R: AS, N, P)

Oldies But Goodies:

"All the President's Men" (1976): The winner of Oscars for co-star Jason Robards and William Goldman's script, the Watergate drama casts Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman as reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. ****
"The Christmas that Almost Wasn't" (1966): The offbeat holiday attraction starring Rossano Brazzi (also the film's director) as miserly Phineas T. Prune is among the titles in the new "Mystery Science Theater: Season 11'' set. ***
"With Six You Get Eggroll" (1968): Doris Day's last movie, released in close proximity to the same-themed "Yours, Mine and Ours,'' casts her and Brian Keith as the heads of a newly blended family. ***

TOP 10 DVD & Blu-Ray Rentals
(Week ending March 25, 2018, Courtesy of 

1 "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle"
2 "Justice League"
3 "Thor: Ragnarok"
4 "Pitch Perfect 3"
5 "Daddy's Home 2"
6 "Coco"
7 "Ferdinand"
8 "Downsizing"
9 "Murder on the Orient Express"
10 "The Shape of Water"

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

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