New to DVD and On Demand Releases for December 31 - January 6

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31 December 2017
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:
American Made"American Made": After their work together on "Edge of Tomorrow,'' Tom Cruise and director Doug Liman reteamed on this fact-inspired story of Barry Seal, a former airline pilot who used his aerial skills to become a covert operative for the CIA. However, he also played the other side by running drugs for the Medellin cartel, then getting involved with Nicaragua's Contras -- attracting the attention of the FBI and the DEA to his activities. Clearly, the film offers some international history of relatively recent decades, but its mind largely is on action; tragically, a plane crash during the production in Colombia killed two people and seriously injured a third. The cast also includes Sarah Wright, Domhnall Gleeson, Jayma Mays ("Glee'') and Jesse Plemons ("Friday Night Lights''). *** (R: AS, N, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
Battle of the Sexes"Battle of the Sexes": Easily one of the most promoted events of its time, the 1973 tennis match between Bobby Riggs and Billie Jean King is re-created by stars Steve Carell and Emma Stone -- reunited from "Crazy, Stupid, Love.'' -- in this entertaining retelling of the game and its circumstances. The gambling-troubled Riggs issues the challenge of the between-two-genders match, which King initially rejects, though she eventually feels she has to step up after he defeats Margaret Court (Jessica McNamee) on the court. Directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris ("Little Miss Sunshine'') and written by Simon Beaufoy ("Slumdog Millionaire''), the film also features Sarah Silverman, Bill Pullman, Alan Cumming and Elisabeth Shue in its impressive cast. *** (PG-13: AS, N, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
Brad's Status"Brad's Status": Ben Stiller commendably eschews many overt laughs in writer-director Mike White's seriocomic story of a man who takes his son (Austin Abrams) on a tour of colleges. The elder man's encounter with an acquaintance, and his observations of others he's known, prompt him to have a midlife crisis of sorts about the choices he's made -- and whether he could have made better ones. Michael Sheen, Jenna Fischer ("The Office'') and Luke Wilson also appear in the film, which was co-produced by the streaming service Amazon. Jimmy Kimmel has a cameo role as...himself. *** (R: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray)

Also Releasing this Week:

Ten Days in the Valley"Ten Days in the Valley": As it has turned out, those who purchase this home-video set as soon as it's released will get to see the story's final chapter before it's televised, since it's slated to air on ABC on Saturday, Jan. 6. (At this writing, no official determination had been made about the series' future.) Kyra Sedgwick has made her first starring return to television acting since her Emmy-honored work on "The Closer'' with the drama from former ''Rookie Blue'' showrunner Tassie Cameron. Also an executive producer here, Sedgwick plays an ex-documentary maker turned crime-show producer who is thrust into a real-life case -- and one that's way too personal -- when her young daughter (Abigail Pniowsky) disappears. Erika Christensen ("Parenthood''), Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Francois Battiste and Josh Randall also star. *** (Not rated: AS, P, V( (Also on Blu-ray)
Lucky"Lucky": The late Harry Dean Stanton worked in a wide variety of projects over the course of his career, and his next-to-last movie is his own showcase, casting him in the title role of an aged atheist who becomes distressed when his independent lifestyle in a desert town is threatened by his failing health. Directed by actor John Carroll Lynch ("American Horror Story''), the film also features "Twin Peaks'' mentor David Lynch (no relation), Ed Begley Jr., Tom Skerritt and Beth Grant ...  but there's no doubt that it was designed principally for Stanton. *** (Not rated: AS, P)
A Question of Faith"A Question of Faith": Several families are united by shared tragedies in this drama, sparked by the outcome of a car accident and the questionable health of an aspiring singer (Amber Thompson). They seek spiritual guidance to determine which way to turn when several of life's biggest questions -- with no easy answers -- present themselves. Richard T. Jones ("Wisdom of the Crowd''), Kim Fields, C. Thomas Howell and Renee O'Connor ("Xena: Warrior Princess'') also star. *** (PG: AS) (Also on Blu-ray)

Upcoming Releases:

"The Foreigner" (Jan. 9): Determined to avenge his daughter's death, a businessman (Jackie Chan) targets a former IRA member turned politician (Pierce Brosnan). (R: AS, P, V)
"It" (Jan. 9): Extremely potent at the box office, Stephen King's chiller pits several Maine youngsters against the sinister clown Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard). (R: AS, P, V)
"Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House" (Jan. 9): Liam Neeson plays the informant who was known as ``Deep Throat'' during the Watergate investigation. (PG-13: AS, P)
"Goodbye Christopher Robin" (Jan. 23): Domhnall Gleeson plays "Winnie-the-Pooh'' creator A.A. Milne, whose son (Will Tilston) was the real Christopher Robin. (PG: AS, P)
"Ray Donovan: The Fifth Season" (Jan. 30): A round of the Showtime series that features Susan Sarandon in a major guest role also sets up the Liev Schreiber-starring drama's forthcoming sixth year. (Not rated: AS, N, P, V)
"The Deuce: The Complete First Season" (Feb. 13): James Franco plays dual roles in the HBO drama series about the birth of the pornography business in early-1970s New York. (Not rated: AS, N, P, V)

Oldies But Goodies:

"The Apartment" (1960): The end-of-year holidays play a big role in director Billy Wilder's Oscar-winning seriocomic classic starring Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine. ***** (Also on Blu-ray)
"New Year's Eve" (2011): Director Garry Marshall's all-star cast -- including Oscar winners Halle Berry, Robert De Niro and Hilary Swank -- acts out a cross-section of stories set on Dec. 31. *** (Also on Blu-ray)
"The Poseidon Adventure" (1972): New Year's Eve revelers fight for their lives when their ocean liner capsizes in producer Irwin Allen's disaster classic; Gene Hackman, Ernest Borgnine and Shelley Winters star. *** (Also on Blu-ray)

TOP 10 DVD & Blu-Ray Rentals
(Week ending December 17, 2017, Courtesy of 

1)  American Assassin
2)  "The Hitman's Bodyguard"
"Atomic Blonde"

4)  "Kidnap"
5)  "
Logan Lucky"
6)  "Valerian and the City of a Thousand PlanetsThe Dark Tower"
7)  "
Girls Trip"
8)  "
Kingsman: The Golden Circle"

9)  "Dark Tower"
10)  "Cars 3"

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