New to DVD and On Demand Releases for July 23 - 29

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23 July 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:
Ghost in the Shell"Ghost in the Shell": While it definitely will stand scrutiny from the many fans of the initial incarnation, the live-action version of the Japanese manga series casts Scarlett Johansson -- surely no stranger to very physical adventure roles -- as a rebelling uber-soldier. She plays Major, the prototype for a corporation that wants to turn out many more of her kind, but a hacker played by Michael Pitt has found a way to infiltrate her thoughts. That's obviously a problem for her and those who oversee her, including the scientist played by Juliette Binoche. The visuals are quite striking here, as they would have to be by definition, and they help to pave (at least temporarily) over some of the plot gaps ... but the original Far East existentialism is watered down somewhat for Hollywood's take here. *** (PG-13: AS, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
The Boss Baby"The Boss Baby": Alec Baldwin certainly has been busy lately, and he has one of his most entertaining roles by being heard but not seen in this animated comedy. He supplies the voice of an infant whose arrival means less attention to his older sibling (voice of Miles Bakshi). They have to put rivalry aside, though, to team up and stop the sinister intentions of a company that intends to use pets to rule the world. Steve Buscemi, Jimmy Kimmel, Lisa Kudrow and Tobey Maguire also are in the voice cast. DVD extras: six "making-of'' documentaries; "The Boss Baby and Tim's Treasure Hunt Through Time'' short subject. *** (PG: AS) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
Unforgettable"Unforgettable": Sort of a revisiting of "Fatal Attraction,'' this melodrama -- directed by longtime movie producer Denise Di Novi ("Heathers'') -- has its strongest suit in an effectively chilling turn by Katherine Heigl, on the heels of her latest television-series attempt in "Doubt,'' as a woman who's determined to get her ex-husband's (Geoff Stults) new love (Rosario Dawson) out of his life ... forever. She goes to the extent of drawing a past abusive relationship the other woman had into the present, and she gets support for her questionable actions from her similarly dicey mother (Cheryl Ladd, also in a noteworthy performance). Comedian Whitney Cummings also appears. DVD extra: audio commentary by Di Novi. *** (R: AS, N, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
Gifted"Gifted": Chris Evans makes a change from his norm -- which often is driven by physical action -- in this thoughtful drama from director Marc Webb, also turning from such big-budget fare as "The Amazing Spider-Man'' back to the quieter approach of his projects like "(500) Days of Summer.'' Evans plays the uncle of a young math prodigy (Mckenna Grace, "Once Upon a Time''), and his raising of her lands him in a struggle with her ambitious grandmother (Lindsay Duncan) over her future. Octavia Spencer, Jenny Slate, Glenn Plummer and Elizabeth Marvel ("Homeland'') also are featured. DVD extras: five "making-of'' documentaries; deleted scenes; photo gallery. *** (PG-13: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)

Also Releasing this Week:
"Girls: The Complete Sixth Season": Lena Dunham's frequently discussed -- and debated -- HBO series ended with this round of episodes. The stories see Hannah (Dunham) able to enjoy the fruition of her writing efforts, Marnie (Allison Williams) debating how she wants her personal life to be following her divorce, Jessa (Jemima Kirke) having mixed feelings about collaborating professionally with her love Adam (Adam Driver), and Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) wondering if she needs to let some friendships go. DVD extras: ``Inside the Episodes'' featurettes; "A Goodbye to Girls'' retrospective. *** (Not rated: AS, N, P) (Also on Blu-ray)
"Pretty Little Liars: The Seventh and Final Season": A favorite show of young adult viewers and some older ones as well, the Freeform suspense series reached its conclusion recently, and this volume (being released the same day as a complete-series set) features all the trademark twists and turns that informed the last round. One huge twist is that the plot flashes forward five years as the young women -- played by Troian Bellisario, Ashley Benson, Lucy Hale, Shay Mitchell, Janel Parrish and Sasha Pieterse -- are reunited to solve a final mystery involving, of course, an unknown tormentor. DVD extras: nine "making-of'' documentaries; deleted scenes; "Pretty Little Liars: A-List Wrap Party'' special. *** (Not rated: AS, P, V)

Upcoming Releases:
"Big Little Lies" (Aug. 1): Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman and Shailene Woodley star in the HBO drama about secrets among women in a coastal California town. (Not rated: AS, N, P, V)
"The Circle" (Aug. 1): A new employee (Emma Watson) of a social-media company starts to question its practices; Tom Hanks and Patton Oswalt also star. (PG-13: AS, P)
"Going in Style" (Aug. 1): Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Alan Arkin -- Oscar winners all -- star in the remake of the comedy about senior-citizen bank robbers. (PG-13: AS, P) 
"The Lovers" (Aug. 1): Both involved with other people, spouses (Debra Winger, Tracy Letts) consider ending their long marriage. (R: AS, P)
"Snatched" (Aug. 8): Goldie Hawn and Amy Schumer play a mother and daughter who end up being kidnapped while on a vacation together. (R: AS, N, P)
"Billions: Season Two" (Aug. 15): Federal prosecutor Chuck and hedge-fund king Axe (Paul Giamatti, Damian Lewis) both face major personal and professional challenges. (Not rated: AS, P)

Oldies But Goodies:
"Billy Jack" (1971): This lone-avenger hit starring Tom Laughlin was preceded by "Born Losers,'' which also is included in a new "Billy Jack: The Complete Collection'' set on Blu-ray. *** 
"Prizzi's Honor" (1985): Directed by her father John, Anjelica Huston won an Oscar for this assassins-in-love tale also starring Jack Nicholson and Kathleen Turner, and making its Blu-ray debut. *** 
"Silkwood" (1983): On Blu-ray for the first time, director Mike Nichols' true drama about a nuclear-plant whistleblower stars Meryl Streep, Kurt Russell and Cher. ****

TOP 10 DVD & Blu-Ray Rentals
(Week ending July 9, 2017, Courtesy of 

1)  "Logan"
2)  "Saban's Power Rangers"
3)  "John Wick: Chapter 2"
4)  "Beauty and the Beast"
5)  "The LEGO Batman Movie"
6)  "Get Out"
7)  "Fist Fight"
8)  "CHiP"
9)  "Life"
10)  "A Dog's Purpose"

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