New to DVD and On Demand Releases for April 22 - 28

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22 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:
Paddington 2"Paddington 2": More family fun is in store as the domesticated title bear (voice by Ben Whishaw) returns to the screen, as he tries to recover the stolen gift he bought for his aunt's milestone birthday. He worked various jobs to afford it, so it's even more understandable that he's eager to find it ... and he gets help from his adoptive Brown family in the search, with Hugh Bonneville ("Downton Abbey'') and Sally Hawkins ("The Shape of Water'') back as the heads of that British clan. New cast member Hugh Grant does an amusingly self-aware turn as a self-assured actor whose career has fallen on hard times. Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent and (in voice only) Imelda Staunton and Michael Gambon are among other returnees in what amounts to a who's-who of English talents. DVD extra: "making-of'' documentary. *** (PG: AS) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
Maze Runner: The Death Cure"Maze Runner: The Death Cure": In the final chapter of the trilogy -- whose fate was in question for a while, given an on-set injury that star Dylan O'Brien sustained (shutting down filming for a year) -- the young adventurers played by him, Thomas Brodie-Sangster and Dexter Darden must navigate a particularly lethal maze. Their aim is to generate a cure for the virus that has affected most of the rest of the world, but as fans of the series are certain to suspect, enemies make sure that quest is far from easy for the trio to complete ...and not everyone is destined to survive it. The cast also includes fellow returnee Kaya Scodelario, Giancarlo Esposito, Aiden Gillen ("Game of Thrones''), Walton Goggins, Katherine McNamara ("Shadowhunters'') and Patricia Clarkson. *** (PG-13: AS, P, V)
Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool"Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool": Annette Bening gives a superb performance as another actress -- Gloria Grahame, who won an Oscar for "The Bad and the Beautiful'' -- in this drama about the latter thespian's profound relationship with a younger man (Jamie Bell, playing Peter Turner, upon whose memoir the film is based) in 1970s England. Their passionate affair eventually took a desperate turn because of her health concerns. Directed by Paul McGuigan ("Lucky Number Slevin''), the movie also is of note as one of relatively few productions tackled by James Bond franchise staples Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson outside that immensely popular series. Vanessa Redgrave and Julie Walters also appear. DVD extras: four "making-of'' documentaries; audio commentary by Turner, McGuigan and Broccoli; music video ("You Shouldn't Look at Me That Way'' by Elvis Costello). *** (R: AS, N, P)
Hostiles"Hostiles": In screenwriter-director Scott Cooper's ("Crazy Heart'') now-rare attempt at a movie Western, Christian Bale plays an Army captain toward the end of the 19th century. He reluctantly agrees to take an Indian chief (Wes Studi) back to his intended resting place -- and the trail is tough, eventually bringing them into contact with a woman (Rosamund Pike) whose family has been massacred by Apaches. Others, including a criminal (Ben Foster), also are along as the group makes its way onto the turf of Comanches, and in the tradition of the genre's stories, they must put aside their differences and unite to survive. Another notable star of the visually impressive drama is Timothee Chalamet, who went from relative unknown to recent Oscar nominee (and Film Independent Spirit Award winner) for his work in "Call Me by Your Name.'' DVD extra: "making-of'' documentary. *** (R: P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

Also Releasing this Week:

Forever My Girl"Forever My Girl": Returning to his hometown, a country-music star (Alex Roe, "Rings'') is reunited with the love (Jessica Rothe, "La La Land'') he left behind in this drama that was sold as being in the vein of Nicholas Sparks stories -- but that actually sprang from the work of another author, Heidi McLaughlin. The tale certainly feels familiar, particularly as the singer debates how to reconcile his personal and professional lives, but it's to the credit of the stars' sincere performances that it still works. Co-stars include John Benjamin Hickey ("The Good Wife'') and Gillian Vigman ("Life Sentence''). The score includes songs produced by "Nashville'' alum Brett Boyett, and actual country veteran Travis Tritt also has a supporting role. DVD extra: photo gallery. *** (PG: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
Masterpiece Mystery! Unforgotten"Masterpiece Mystery! Unforgotten - Season 1": A television series that ran for a number of years focused on police cold cases, and that's also the theme of this British drama, which is new to America as it currently runs on PBS ... though it first aired overseas in 2015. Nicola Walker ("Last Tango in Halifax'') and Sanjeev Bhaskar ("Indian Summers'') star as detectives who specialize in investigating long-unsolved murders. Their first case involves a skeleton found in a cellar, and they must determine the time of death -- which could be as much as 40 years earlier. Veteran actor Tom Courtenay ("Doctor Zhivago'') also stars, with Gemma Jones, Trevor Eve, Cherie Lunghi and Bernard Hill also featured. The series' second season will be available on home video in mid-May. *** (Not rated: AS, V) (Also on Blu-ray)

Upcoming Releases:

"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)
"Winchester" (May 1): Claiming ghosts inhabit her house, the rifle-company heiress (Helen Mirren) is investigated by a doctor (Jason Clarke). (PG-13: AS, 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)
"Saving Private Ryan" (May 8): For its 20th anniversary, the World War II drama that earned Steven Spielberg one of his directing Oscars makes its 4K Ultra HD debut; Tom Hanks and Matt Damon are among the stars. (R: AS, P, GV)
"This is Cinerama" (May 8): A "Deluxe Edition'' of the movie that introduced the widescreen (actually, three screens combined) process makes the viewer an active participant. (G)
"Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Singles Collection" (May 22): The holiday pseudo-classic "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians'' is included in this grouping of several earlier releases. (Not rated)

Oldies But Goodies:

"The American President" (1995): Annette Bening gives one of her most engaging performances as a Washington lobbyist who becomes involved with the chief executive (Michael Douglas). *** (Also on Blu-ray)
"Doctor Detroit" (1983): The Dan Aykroyd comedy, about a professor who becomes a patsy by posing as a crime boss, makes its Blu-ray debut; co-stars include Donna Dixon, Aykroyd's real-life wife. ***
"Grease" (1978): In its 40th-anniversary year, the musical based on the stage hit gets a relaunch on home video with a newly restored version; John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John play young lovers Danny and Sandy. *** (PG: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray)

TOP 10 DVD & Blu-Ray Rentals
(Week ending April 15, 2018, Courtesy of 

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

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