New to DVD and On Demand Releases for March 18 - 24

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18 March 2018
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:
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle"Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle": In one of the most financially successful movie reboots of recent times, four high-school students (Alex Wolff, Ser'Darius Blain, Madison Iseman, Morgan Turner) discover the game that fueled the original story ... and, like the earlier characters, they're literally drawn into it and have to find their way back out. This group has the advantage of a brawny archaeologist (Dwayne Johnson, obviously fitting the bill) helping them out of tight scrapes with rampaging animals as they fight to free themselves from the game's grip. Kevin Hart and Jack Black provide frequent comic relief in an effects-crammed tale that also features Karen Gillan ("Guardians of the Galaxy''), Bobby Cannavale and Nick Jonas. *** (PG-13: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
Pitch Perfect 3"Pitch Perfect 3": Though this latest edition of the tuneful comedy series was envisioned as the last of a trilogy, its box-office success may extend the franchise's life. The singing Bellas have disbanded and generally have found life unsatisfying following their days as a cappella wonders, but they seize the chance to reunite and reclaim their glory by joining a USO tour that doubles as an international competition. The criminally inclined father (John Lithgow) of Fat Amy (returnee Rebel Wilson) eventually factors in. Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow, Anna Camp, Alexis Knapp, Hailee Steinfeld and -- as the amusing contest commentators -- Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins ("Great News'') also are back. DJ Khaled appears as himself. DVD extras: four "making-of'' documentaries; deleted scene; outtakes; added and extended musical performances. *** (PG-13: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
Downsizing"Downsizing": Size matters in director and -- with frequent collaborator Jim Taylor -- co-writer Alexander Payne's ("Election'') satire, casting Matt Damon as a man who opts to undergo a revolutionary procedure that reduces a person to just a few inches in height. The result also seems to have economic benefits, but there are unforeseen drawbacks as well, which it doesn't take the newly small man long to discover. Kristen Wiig plays his wife, with Christoph Waltz, Jason Sudeikis, Laura Dern, Neil Patrick Harris, Udo Kier, Margo Martindale and James Van Der Beek also in the cast. Additional "stars'' of the film are the special effects team, whose work in creating the sized-down Leisureland is invaluable here. *** (R: AS, N, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
Small Town Crime"Small Town Crime": Involving himself in the probe of a young woman's death causes more problems for a troubled ex-cop (John Hawkes, "Deadwood'') than he anticipates in this mystery. He thinks he can make up for past wrongs by solving the crime, but he ends up unwittingly positioning his loved ones as targets. The notable supporting cast includes Oscar winner Octavia Spencer, Anthony Anderson, Michael Vartan ("The Arrangement''), Caity Lotz ("DC's Legends of Tomorrow''), James Lafferty ("One Tree Hill'') and veteran actor Robert Forster. *** (R: AS, P, V)

Also Releasing this Week:

The Rachels"The Rachels": Originally a Lifetime Movie Network offering, this melodrama is sort of a mini-"Mean Girls'' that focuses on two popular students both named Rachel (played by Madison Iseman, of the aforementioned "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,'' and Caitlin Carver) -- and supposedly close friends, though they actually are bitter rivals for attention. That competition turns lethal when one of them dies in a fall, inspiring another pupil (Daniela Bobadilla, "The Middle'') to investigate their relationship and the truth behind its tragic result. Mark Derwin ("The Secret Life of the American Teenager'') also stars. *** (Not rated: AS, P, V)
NOVA: The Day the Dinosaurs Died"NOVA: The Day the Dinosaurs Died": Thanks to the soon-to-continue "Jurassic Park'' movie franchise, this recent episode of the venerable PBS science series is somewhat timely ... though the time it deals with is, obviously, the prehistoric era. The program examines how the collision of an asteroid into Earth ended the existences of many creatures 66 million years ago, depicting the event through a re-creation of what happened immediately before -- and for some time -- after the impact.  Scientists examine the resulting crater. *** (Not rated)

Upcoming Releases:

"Legion: The Complete Season One" (March 27): In the FX fantasy-drama series, Dan Stevens ("Downton Abbey'') plays a man who may be a mutant. (Not rated: AS, P, V)
"Mr. Robot: Season 3.0" (March 27): The discord between the title character (Christian Slater) and cyber-engineer Elliot (Emmy winner Rami Malek) deepens. (Not rated: AS, P, V)
"The Outer Limits: Season One" (March 27): The classic science-fiction series comes to Blu-ray for the first time. (Not rated: AS, V)
"Star Wars: The Last Jedi" (March 27): The most recent installment of the enduring sci-fi franchise marks the final appearance by Carrie Fisher as Leia; Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac return from "The Force Awakens.'' (PG-13: V)
"Phantom Thread" (April 10): Oscar nominees Daniel Day-Lewis and Lesley Manville star in writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson's drama about the life and loves of a dressmaker. (R: AS, P)"Molly's Game" (April 10): Oscar-winning writer Aaron Sorkin's directorial debut casts Jessica Chastain in the true story of a woman who ran an exclusive poker game. (R: AS, P, V)

Oldies But Goodies:

"Jumanji" (1995): A man (Robin Williams) who's been trapped inside a game for many years finally is released, but has to return to finish it. *** (Also on Blu-ray)
"The Incredible Shrinking Man" (1957): After being exposed to a strange mist during a vacation, a man (Grant Williams) finds his size steadily lessening. ***
"Pitch Perfect" (2012): The original comedy-with-music gave star Anna Kendrick a hit on the charts with her version of the tune "Cups.'' *** (Also on Blu-ray)

TOP 10 DVD & Blu-Ray Rentals
(Week ending March 4, 2018, Courtesy of 

1)   "Daddy's Home 2"
2)   "Wonder"
3)   "A Bad Moms' Christmas"
4)   "Darkest Hour" 
5)   "Coco"   
6)   "Only the Brave"  
7)   "Just Getting Started"
8)   "Geostorm"
9)   "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"    
10)   "Murder on the Orient Express"

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

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