New to DVD and On Demand Releases for April 29 - May 4

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29 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:
12 Strong"12 Strong": Chris Hemsworth and Michael Shannon star in the true story of the first U.S. soldiers who entered Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks. Though the tale is well-known now, at the time, the officers faced much uncertainty as they tried to sway foreign troops to join their effort against the Taliban and al-Qaeda. A big divide was created by the quality of the respective forces' armaments, merging the most current instruments of warfare with the somewhat primitive firepower of overseas allies. Thad Luckinbill, Austin Stowell, William Fichtner and Rob Riggle also are featured. *** (R: P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
Peter Rabbit"Peter Rabbit": The suitably impish James Corden supplies the voice of the title character, who takes computer-animated form in an otherwise live-action comedy directed and co-written by Will Gluck ("Friends With Benefits''). In England, Peter takes joy in annoying a vegetable garden's owner (Sam Neill), whose death brings his nephew (Domhnall Gleeson) to the house to refurbish it -- much to the dismay of Peter and his rascally relatives (voices of Daisy Ridley, Margot Robbie, Elizabeth Debicki and Colin Moody). Rose Byrne plays a compassionate painter who watches out for the bunnies, and Marianne Jean-Baptiste ("Without a Trace'') also appears. *** (PG: AS) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
Winchester"Winchester": Helen Mirren stars in this early-19th-century melodrama that's ultimately more talky than scary, though the Oscar-winning actress inevitably puts her stamp on it. She plays the widow of the man who helped bring the Winchester rifle to market, and the film combines that background with a ghost story ... the ghosts being of people who were killed by the rifles. Those poltergeists have taken refuge in her mansion, but she can't convince others of that. In fact, the board members of the rifle company think she's lost her mind, so they enlist a doctor (Jason Clarke) to go to the mansion and determine her level of sanity. Sarah Snook ("Steve Jobs'') also appears in the film, directed by the Spierig Brothers, who also handled the recent "Saw'' chapter "Jigsaw.'' DVD extra: "making-of'' documentary. *** (PG-13: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

Also Releasing this Week:

Royal Wedding Triple Feature"Royal Wedding Triple Feature": Though all the stories in this collection aren't about the nuptials of high-ranking foreigners, it takes its name from the fact that the attractions star someone who's about to be very involved in such a ceremony: Meghan Markle. Originally made for Hallmark Channel, the titles include "When Sparks Fly'' -- about a reporter whose return home reunites her with an old boyfriend -- and "Dater's Handbook,'' casting Markle as a romantically confused businesswoman who decides to follow the rules in a book in sorting out her love life. *** (Not rated: AS)
Tremors: A Cold Day in Hell"Tremors: A Cold Day in Hell": The horror-with-humor franchise that home video has kept alive keeps going with this newest entry, returning Michael Gross ("Family Ties'') to the role of Burt Gummer, the survivalist who heads to the coldest reaches of Canada with his son (fellow returnee Jamie Kennedy) to track more giant worms. When Burt is affected by the venom of one of them, the mission takes on added urgency. Action specialist (and sometimes actor) Don Michael Paul directed the tale. DVD extras: three "making-of'' documentaries. *** (PG-13: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
Nature: Sex, Lies and Butterflies"Nature: Sex, Lies and Butterflies": Televised recently by the PBS series, this hour details a big portion of a butterfly's life span, from inception to maturity ... with an emphasis on the unique traits that enable it to survive. Among those is vision that allows it to see 360 degrees, its built-in camouflaging technique, and its flight ability that enables it to cross vast distances. Monarchs, Painted Ladies and Pipevine Swallowtails are among the species showcased here. The familiar voice narrating the program belongs to Paul Giamatti (:Billions''). *** (Not rated)

Upcoming Releases:

"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)
"Cocaine Godmother" (May 15): Catherine Zeta-Jones stars in this true, made-for-Lifetime drama as  Griselda Blanco, a mother of three who became a murderous Miami cocaine smuggler. (Not rated: AS, P, V)
"Die Hard" (May 15): The Bruce Willis-starring action classic marks its 30th anniversary by making its debut in the 4K Ultra HD format. (R: AS, P, V)
"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 Princess Diaries" (2001): A seemingly ordinary teen (Anne Hathaway) is shocked to discover her true heritage in this Disney comedy. *** (Also on Blu-ray)
"The Queen" (2006): Helen Mirren earned an Oscar and many other awards for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II in the aftermath of Princess Diana's death. *** (Also on Blu-ray)
"Thor" (2011): Chris Hemsworth first portrayed the Norse god in this adventure directed by Kenneth Branagh; Natalie Portman and Anthony Hopkins also star. (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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