By Jay Bobbin Zap2it
"Goosebumps": While there have been other projects based on R.L. Stine's popular book series of thrillers for young readers, this fanciful tale makes Stine himself a character, as played by Jack Black. He becomes involves in the effort to contain monstrous characters he created when they're accidentally released into the world by a town newcomer (Dylan Minnette) who has befriended Stine's daughter (Odeya Rush). The script is by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, who also wrote the imaginative "Big Eyes.'' DVD extras: two "making-of'' documentaries. *** (PG: AS) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
"Downton Abbey: Season 6": Fans of the internationally popular series aren't happy about it, but it's the fact ... this is the final round of the Julian Fellowes-created drama, currently airing on PBS' "Masterpiece Classic,'' but those who get this set can watch many of the episodes before they're televised in America. As the last chapters begin, Mary (Michelle Dockery) worries about a blackmailer's threat and Edith (Laura Carmichael) debates a big move, while Violet and Isobel (Maggie Smith, Penelope Wilton) have opposing ideas about the local hospital. Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern and Joanne Froggatt also star. A half-hour of "bonus video'' is included here. **** (Also on Blu-ray)
"A Brilliant Young Mind": It surely takes what the title indicates to be a math genius, and Asa Butterfield ("Hugo,'' "Ender's Game'') plays such a prodigy in this fact-inspired story. The teen becomes a contestant in an international competition, but his skill with numbers doesn't guarantee his success socially. However, his luck begins to change in that way as the contest proceeds. Rafe Spall, Sally Hawkins ("Blue Jasmine'') and Eddie Marsan ("Ray Donovan'') also star. *** (PG-13: AS) (Also on On Demand)
"Unreal: Season 1": Much conversation, and several recent Golden Globe Award nominations, resulted from the first round of this Lifetime drama series (which will have a Season 2) that seems a satire of such unscripted shows as "The Bachelor'' on the surface ... but that also deals with power struggles between and within genders. Shiri Appleby plays a producer on the fictional "Everlasting,'' and her personal investment in contestants on the program brings her into frequent conflict with its ratings-driven boss (Constance Zimmer). Additional cast members include Craig Bierko, Ashley Scott and Johanna Braddy ("Quantico''). *** (Not rated: AS, P)
Also Releasing this week:
"Burnt'': In dramatic terms, it ultimately collapses like a souffle gone wrong, but fans of Bradley Cooper still may appreciate this seriocomic story as a showcase for him. After imploding while a star of the Paris culinary circuit, the chef played by Cooper resurfaces in London and tries to rebuild his career while trying to overcome his self-destructive ways. Sienna Miller plays a sous-chef who appeals to him personally in a cast that also includes such notables as Uma Thurman, Emma Thompson, Matthew Rhys ("The Americans''), Alicia Vikander, Daniel Bruhl ("Rush'') and Lily James ("Downton Abbey''). DVD extras: "making-of'' documentary; audio commentary by director John Wells and culinary consultant Marcus Wareing; deleted scenes; interview highlights. ** (R: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
"Jesse Stone: Lost in Paradise": Tom Selleck recently moved his TV-movie franchise about Robert B. Parker's troubled small-town-lawman character to Hallmark Channel with this marvelously moody mystery, on which the star also was a writer and executive producer (as he's typically been on the films). The story takes the police chief to Boston to consult on a murder case, and though the presumed perpetrator has been captured, Stone believes there's more to the matter that imperils more lives. Gloria Reuben and William Devane also reprise their parts from earlier "Stone'' tales, with Leslie Hope and Luke Perry as cast additions. Particularly notable is Amelia Rose Blaire, also seen last season with Selleck on his series "Blue Bloods," as a spunky cafe owner. *** (Not rated: AS, P, V)
"Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: The Walt Disney Signature Collection" (Feb. 2): The classic animated feature launches a new series of enhanced releases. (Not rated) (Also on Blu-ray)
"Suffragette" (Feb. 2): The early stages of feminism in England are recalled in director Sarah Gavron's drama; Anne-Marie Duff and Carey Mulligan star. (R: AS, N, P, V)
"Our Brand is Crisis" (Feb. 2): Sandra Bullock plays a strategist who advises a candidate in a Bolivian presidential election. (R: AS, P)
"Truth" (Feb. 2): Anchorman Dan Rather (Robert Redford) and newsmagazine producer Mary Mapes (Cate Blanchett) probe President George W. Bush's military record. (R: N, P)
"Crimson Peak" (Feb. 9): A relationship on an isolated English estate has its perils in Guillermo Del Toro's melodrama; stars include Tom Hiddleston and Jessica Chastain. (R: AS, P, V)
"Black Mass" (Feb. 16): Johnny Depp stars as Boston-mob figure James "Whitey'' Bulger, an informant for an FBI agent and childhood friend (Joel Edgerton). (R: AS, P, GV)
"Steve Jobs" (Feb. 16): Michael Fassbender portrays the Apple co-founder and CEO in director Danny Boyle and writer Aaron Sorkin's drama. (R: AS, P)
TOP 10 DVD RENTALS
(Week ending January 10, 2016, courtesy of Rentrak Corp.)
4) "Mission Impossible - Rogue Nation"
5) "Train Wreck"
6) "The Perfect Guy"
7) "Jurassic World"
10) "Inside Out"
FAMILY VIEWING GUIDE KEY: AS, adult situations; N, nudity; P, profanity; V, violence; GV, particularly graphic violence.