New to DVD and On Demand Releases for June 4 - 10

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04 June 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:
Beauty and the Beast
"Beauty and the Beast":  After scoring one of its all-time animated classics with the familiar "tale as old as time,'' the Disney studio went back to the story with this live-action version, which has made movie box-office history as the highest-grossing PG-rated film ever released. Emma Watson moves beyond her "Harry Potter'' tenure as Hermione to play Belle, the apple of the eye of a prince ("Downton Abbey'' alum Dan Stevens) cursed to live as the title beast. Director Bill Condon's ("Dreamgirls'') impressive cast -- appearing either in the flesh or as character voices -- also includes Ewan McGregor, Emma Thompson, Kevin Kline, Josh Gad, Luke Evans, Stanley Tucci, Ian McKellen and Audra McDonald. DVD extras: deleted scenes; cast table read. *** (PG: V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
A Cure for Wellness"A Cure for Wellness": A self-reputed wellness center in the Swiss Alps isn't what it seems in this melodrama from director Gore Verbinski, who's closer to his work on "The Ring'' than on the "Pirates of the Caribbean'' sequels here. Dane DeHaan ("The Place Beyond the Pines'') heads to the site to retrieve his boss (Harry Groener) and discovers its secrets -- thus placing his own life in peril. Though the film easily is overlong by about a fifth, it gets credit for good casting and trying something different within the suspense genre. Jason Isaacs and Mia Goth also star. DVD extras: theatrical trailers; deleted scene; "meditations.'' *** (R: AS, N, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
A United Kingdom"A United Kingdom": The king of Botswana (David Oyelowo, "Selma'') risks his throne when he marries a British woman (Rosamund Pike, "Gone Girl'') in this true story set in the late 1940s. Prince Seretse Khama meets his bride-to-be while a law student in England, but his fellow citizens have big problems accepting her as their potential queen ... and her own countrymen also have objections to the relationship in terms of international diplomacy. Oyelowo's wife Jessica is among the co-stars, as are Tom Felton, Jack Davenport and Laura Carmichael. *** (PG-13: AS)
The Assignment"The Assignment": Michelle Rodriguez, of the "Fast and the Furious'' franchise, is assigned quite an acting challenge in this melodrama from director Walter Hill ("48 Hrs.''). She plays a "he'' who's now a "she'' ... a male assassin who's undergone forced surgery that has transformed him into a woman. Determined to get revenge, the killer pursues the doctor (Sigourney Weaver) who performed the transformation. Tony Shalhoub ("Monk'') and Anthony LaPaglia also are featured. DVD extra: "making-of'' documentary. *** (R: AS, N, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray)

Also Releasing this Week:
"Becker:The Complete Series":
After his success with "Cheers,'' Ted Danson had another healthy sitcom run with this CBS show about a perpetually cranky Bronx doctor who luckily has enough medical skill to make up for his very evident lack of bedside manner. In the first four of the series' six seasons, Terry Farrell ("Star Trek: Deep Space Nine'') co-stars as a diner owner who's both a frequent sounding board and a constant challenge for Becker. Nancy Travis ("Last Man Standing'') comes in later as her surrogate, Becker's new neighbor. The regular cast also includes Shawnee Smith, Hattie Winston, Alex Desert and Saverio Guerra. *** (Not rated: AS, P)
"Joan of Arcadia: The Complete Series": Still one of the most unique dramas that a broadcast network has attempted, this 2003-05 CBS show casts Amber Tamblyn in the title role of a teen who moves with her family to a new town and experiences the usual rites of someone in that age group, with one very big addition ... the fact that she channels messages from the Deity, who adopts a variety of personalities to deliver them. Joe Mantegna (who would join "Criminal Minds'' after making this series) and Oscar winner Mary Steenburgen also star as Joan's parents, two of the people she decides to keep her situation a secret from. *** (Not rated: AS)

Upcoming Releases:
"The Borgias: The Complete Series" (June 13): Jeremy Irons stars as the ruler of 15th-century Italy who also has frequent family crises to contend with. (Not rated: AS, N, V)
"John Wick: Chapter 2" (June 13): The ex-assassin (Keanu Reeves) goes to Italy when another killer wants his own sister eliminated; Reeves' "Matrix'' colleague Laurence Fishburne co-stars. (R: AS, N, P, V)
"Table 19" (June 13): Attending a wedding under strange circumstances, a woman (Anna Kendrick) trades stories with her reception tablemates. (PG-13: AS, P)
"T.J. Hooker: The Complete Series" (July 18): William Shatner plays the veteran police officer, with Adrian Zmed and Heather Locklear as the rookies he's teamed with. (Not rated: V)
"Billy Jack: The Complete Collection" (July 25): Even the pre-"Billy Jack'' drama "Born Losers'' is included in this set; Tom Laughlin plays the maverick hero. (PG: AS, P, V)

Oldies But Goodies:
"Escape from Alcatraz" (1979): One of the notorious prison's inmates (Clint Eastwood) plots his getaway in this true story. *** (PG: AS, P)
"48 Hrs.'' (1982): A weary police detective (Nick Nolte) springs a convict (Eddie Murphy) from jail to help him find killers. *** (Also on Blu-ray)
"Juice" (1992): Tupac Shakur is among the stars of this urban melodrama, now in a new 25th-anniversary Blu-ray edition. ***

TOP 10 DVD & Blu-Ray Rentals
(Week ending May 21, 2017, Courtesy of

1)  'Hidden Figures"
2)  "XXX: Return of Xander Cage"
3)  "Split"
4)  "Why Him?"
5)  "Fantastic Beasts and Where to FindThem"
6)  "Gold"
7)  "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story"
5)  "Sing"
9)  "La La Land"
10)  "Sleepless"

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

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