New to DVD and On Demand Releases for July 26 - August 1

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26 July 2015
By Jay Bobbin
Releasing this week:

The Water Diviner"The Water Diviner": Russell Crowe tries his hand at directing for the first time -- and directing himself as well -- with this drama in which he stars as an Australian farmer who sets out across Turkey to find his sons, all of whom fought in the famed Gallipoli battle. He encounters many other people impacted by that conflict, including a woman (Olga Kurylenko, "Quantum of Solace'') whose child (Dylan Georgiades) he befriends. Ultimately, one of his sons' battlefield enemies becomes his best hope of locating them. Jai Courtney ("Divergent'') and Isabel Lucas also appear. (R: AS, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
Descendants"Descendants": "Classic Disney Characters: The Next Generation'' also would be a suitable title for this tale, arriving on home video just before its Disney Channel debut and seeing the son of now-royals Belle and Adam -- of "Beauty and the Beast'' fame -- try to be a positive influence on the troublesome teen children of several of the most famous villains in the Disney canon, namely Maleficent, Cruella De Vil, Jafar and Snow White's opponent, the Evil Queen. Kristin Chenoweth gets to inherit the part of Maleficent, with Kathy Najimy as the sinister queen; Sarah Jeffery ("Wayward Pines''), Stephanie Bennett ("UnREAL'') and -- as Belle -- Keegan Connor Tracy ("Once Upon a Time'') also appear in the film guided by veteran director-choreographer Kenny Ortega ("High School Musical''). (Not rated)
Justice League: Gods and Monsters"Justice League: Gods and Monsters": Take everything you know about DC Comics characters and turn it inside out. That's pretty much the approach of this animated feature, which takes some big liberties with the histories of some famous figures. For instance, in what seems like a parallel to Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, Superman's (voice of Benjamin Bratt) father here is General Zod. Wonder Woman (voice of Tamara Taylor, "Bones'') also is in on the topsy-turvy action, since she's posited as the daughter of a warlord. Michael C. Hall ("Dexter'') is the voice of Batman, and Paget Brewster ("Criminal Minds'') is heard as Lois Lane ... and for evidence of just how different a take on the superheroes is, note that nudity is involved. (PG-13: AS, N, V) (Also on Blu-ray)

Also Releasing this week:
Home"Home": Another extraterrestrial has thoughts of home -- his new one, also known as Earth -- in this animated fantasy. Voiced by multiple Emmy winner Jim Parsons, he makes a new friend in a teen (voice of music star Rihanna) who embarks with him on a major trip around the globe. Paris and Australia are on their itinerary as each traveler gets lessons from the other one being comfortable with themselves wherever they are; Jennifer Lopez and Steve Martin also are in the voice cast. DVD extras: two music videos; interactive jukebox; party-planning tips. (PG: AS) (Also on Blu-ray)

Helix: The Complete Second Season"Helix: The Complete Second Season": You can run, but you can't hide from a virus ... that's pretty much the byword for the final round of this Syfy series that counted Ronald D. Moore, one of the architects of the rebooted "Battlestar Galactica,'' among its executive producers. After the Arctic BioSystems crisis, those who made it out alive find themselves plunged unto further peril on a remote island. The timeline moves back and forth as Billy Campbell and Kyra Zagorsky continue as stars, joined by Matt Long ("Mad Men''). DVD extras: deleted scenes; outtakes. (Not rated: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray)
"The Homefront": It's a given that while members of the military are performing their duties, others are affected -- very particularly, the loved ones they leave to serve America. This recently televised PBS special profiles a number of families connected to the various branches of the Armed Forces, with enlisted men and women talking about finding and keeping the balance between the patriotic and the personal. Spouses and children are among others who also give their perspectives. ABC newsman Bob Woodruff is the host. (Not rated)

Upcoming Releases:
"Far from the Maddening Crowd" (Aug. 4): Carey Mulligan plays the much-pursued Bathsheba Everdene in this version of the classic Thomas Hardy novel. (PG-13: AS, P, V)
"Every Secret Thing" (Aug. 4): A detective (Elizabeth Banks) suspects two young women (Dakota Fanning, Danielle Macdonald) of involvement in a child's disappearance.  (R: AS, P, V)
"The Comeback" (Aug. 4): All of the original and more recent episodes of Lisa Kudrow's HBO comedy series are combined in this set. (Not rated: AS, P)
"Insurgent" (Aug. 4): The "Divergent'' sequel finds Tris (Shailene Woodley) trying to find respite while being hunted by enemies, physically and psychically. (PG-13: AS, P, V)
"True Story" (Aug. 4): A reporter (Jonah Hill) seeks a career rebirth by interviewing a jailed killer (James Franco) who has been posing as him. (R: AS, P)
"Unfriended" (Aug. 11): Chat-room members are alarmed to receive a message from a classmate who committed suicide; cast members include Heather Sossaman. (R: AS, P, V)
"The Blacklist: The Complete Second Season'' (Aug. 18): FBI agent Liz (Megan Boone) needs informant Red's (James Spader) help when some of her actions catch up to her. (Not rated: AS, P, V)
"Aloha" (Aug. 25): While on a mission in Hawaii, a military contractor (Bradley Cooper) gets involved with his professional liaison (Emma Stone) and an old flame (Rachel McAdams). (PG-13: AS, P)
"The Walking Dead: The Complete Fifth Season" (Aug. 25): The entire population of Earth faces a new threat in this latest round of the AMC hit. (Not rated: AS, P, GV)
"Gotham: The Complete First Season" (Sept. 8): Police detective Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) tries to keep the habitat of Batman-to-be Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) safe in The CW series. (Not rated: AS, P, V)

TOP 10 DVD RENTALS (week ending ending June 21, courtesy of Rentrak)
1) "American Sniper"
2) "Fifty Shades of Grey"
3) "Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water"
4) "Project Almanac"
5) "Chappie"
6) "The Duff"
7) "The Boy Next Door"
8) "Taken 3"
9) "The Wedding Ringer"
10) "The Seventh Son"

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