New to DVD and On Demand Releases for February 3 - 9

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03 February 2019
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 Girl in the Spider's Web"The Girl in the Spider's Web": Lisbeth Salander, of "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo'' fame, gets quite an overhaul in this less-effective tale wrapped around the character. Now played by Emmy winner Claire Foy ("The Crown'') she still has the same neo-Goth appearance and outsider attitude, but much of what makes her tick goes unmentioned as she tries to steal a computer program that a security veteran fears could launch a nuclear war in the wrong hands. Foy gives the part her all -- particularly when it comes to Lisbeth's physicality -- and the principally foreign cast helps add atmosphere, but the touches of Rooney Mara and director David Fincher (the latter still an executive producer here) are sorely missing this time, and it's easy to tell that. DVD extras: audio commentary by director Fede Alvarez and screenwriter Jay Basu; four "making-of'' documentaries; deleted scenes. ** (R: AS, N, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
The Grinch"The Grinch": The classic Dr. Seuss tale has been told in several ways, and this latest adaptation goes back to an animated form, but with modern stylizing. Benedict Cumberbatch furnishes the voice of the famously green and miserly enemy of Whoville, where others' joy -- including that of young Cindy-Lou Who (voice of Cameron Seely) -- makes him increasingly determined to disrupt their holiday. Rashida Jones, "Saturday Night Live's'' Kenan Thompson and (as the town's mayor) the legendary Angela Lansbury also are heard. Pharrell Williams narrates the story. DVD extras: nine "making-of'' documentaries; three "mini-movies''; "I Am the Grinch'' lyric video; "Cindy-Lou's Yule Log.'' *** (PG: AS) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
Widows"Widows": Director Steve McQueen's ("10 Years a Slave'') intense drama, adapted from a British television series, focuses on several women who assume their late husbands' illegal activities. The novice criminals are played by Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki and Tony Award winner Cynthia Erivo, and they don't necessarily realize just how big and potentially violent the stakes are ... but viewers surely will know as the caper unfolds. The lead actresses are backed by a notable and diverse cast that includes Liam Neeson, Brian Tyree Henry ("Atlanta''), Robert Duvall, Daniel Kaluuya ("Get Out''), Colin Farrell, Lukas Haas, Carrie Coon ("The Leftovers''), Garret Dillahunt and Jon Bernthal ("The Walking Dead''). *** (R: AS, N, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
A Private War"A Private War": The true story of war correspondent Marie Colvin is acted out effectively by Rosamund Pike ("Gone Girl''), a recent Golden Globe Award nominee for her performance here, in this involving drama based on a Vanity Fair article. The sacrifices made by Colvin in doing her job in hot spots around the world were many, and one was notably physical in addition to the emotional ones. Jamie Dornan, Tom Hollander and the always excellent Stanley Tucci lend strong support, but the show very clearly belongs to Pike. *** (R: AS, N, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

Also Releasing This Week:

My Dinner with Herve"My Dinner with Herve": Multiple-Emmy-winning "Game of Thrones'' staple Peter Dinklage gives an effective performance as Herve Villechaize ("Fantasy Island,'' "The Man With the Golden Gun'') in this made-for-HBO movie. The project traces the diminutive Villechaize's life and times on the screen and off, as related by him during one pivotal night to a reporter (the "Fifty Shades'' franchise's Jamie Dornan as a surrogate for Sacha Gervasi, the film's director and screenwriter, and an executive producer of it along with Dinklage). Such other well-known figures as Roger Moore (played by Mark Umbers), Ricardo Montalban (Andy Garcia) and producer Aaron Spelling (Wallace Langham) expectedly are represented, but the focus remains on Villechaize and Dinklage's fine work here. Mireille Enos and David Strathairn also appear. *** (Not rated: AS, P)
The Cloverfield Paradox"The Cloverfield Paradox": This J.J. Abrams-produced entry in the "Cloverfield'' suspense-horror franchise has an interesting history, since it didn't start out as part of the series, but eventually was adapted to fit into it. Also, it was shopped to Netflix rather than being released theatrically, though such "movie names'' as David Oyewolo and Daniel Bruhl are featured. They play crew members on a space station that apparently is thrust into an alternate universe, and getting back to the regular one is fraught with dangers of various types. Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Chris O'Dowd ("Get Shorty''), Elizabeth Debicki, John Ortiz and Ziyi Zhang also are in the cast. DVD extras: two "making-of'' documentaries. *** (Not rated: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray)

Upcoming Releases:

"Bohemian Rhapsody" (Feb. 12): Rami Malek ("Mr. Robot'') stars as Freddie Mercury in the story of the iconic singer and the rock band Queen. (PG-13: AS, P)
"American Vandal: Season One" (Feb. 12): With the Funny or Die outlet among its producers, this Netflix series spoofs true-crime shows as it investigates a high-school prank. (Not rated: AS, P)
"The Happy Prince" (Feb. 12): Near the end of his life, Oscar Wilde (Rupert Everett, also the writer and director here) reflects on his experiences. (R: AS, N, P)
"Nobody's Fool" (Feb. 12): An impetuous woman (Tiffany Haddish) seeks her conservative sister's (Tika Sumpter) help in getting her life back on track in writer-director Tyler Perry's comedy-drama. (R: AS, P)
"A Star is Born" (Feb. 19): Bradley Cooper (also making his directing debut here) and Lady Gaga star in the latest version of the romantic drama about two performers at different career stages. (R: AS, N, P)
"The Last Ship: The Complete Series" (March 12): The concluding round of the TNT adventure-drama, on home video for the first time, is included in this set; Eric Dane and Bridget Regan star. (Not rated: AS, P, V)

Oldies But Goodies:

"The Fighter" (2010): A new "Mark Wahlberg 5-Film Collection" features this fact-based drama about a boxer (Wahlberg) and his half-brother (Christian Bale), his trainer. ****
"HUD" (1963): The star's memorable portrayal of "the man with the barbed-wire soul'' is included in a new "Paul Newman 6-Film Collection.'' ***
"Poetic Justice" (1993): Her name is Justice, and she writes poetry ...the Janet Jackson-starring, John Singleton-directed drama makes its Blu-ray debut. ***

TOP 10 DVD & Blu-Ray Rentals
(Week ending January 13, 2019, Courtesy of 
comScore, Inc)

1    'Night School"
2    "Venom"
3    "The House with a Clock in Its Walls"
4    "White Boy Rick"
5    "The Equalizer 2"
6    "The Predator"
7    "Peppermint"
8    "Smallfoot"
9    "A Simple Favor"
10    "Bad Times at the El Royale"

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

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