New to DVD and On Demand Releases for March 25 - 31

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25 March 2018
VIEW FROM THE COUCH
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:
 
Star Wars: The Last Jedi"Star Wars: The Last Jedi": Many fans need not be told that this will top their list for home viewing this week. Guided by writer-director Rian Johnson, the most recent installment of the enduring sci-fi franchise incorporates cherished "Star Wars'' themes while beefing up newer characters that were introduced by "The Force Awakens.''  Rey -- played again by Daisy Ridley -- wants to learn the Jedi ways from the rediscovered Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill, of course), just as he did from Yoda. That's the story that really has the most impact here, though John Boyega as Finn and Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron also are back, and largely get their own tales. The appearance by Carrie Fisher is bittersweet, given that this was the last of her performances as princess-turned-general Leia. Laura Dern, Benicio Del Toro and creatures called Porgs are among the newcomers. DVD extras: six "making-of'' documentaries; audio commentary by Johnson; deleted scenes. *** (PG-13: V) (Also on Blu-ray and OnDemand)
Acts of Violence"Acts of Violence": With a title that also describes his current role in the remake of "Death Wish,'' this melodrama casts Bruce Willis as a police detective who works with the fiance (Ashton Holmes) of a kidnapping victim. The woman has been taken for purposes of human trafficking, and her would-be brothers-in-law (Cole Hauser, Shawn Ashmore) -- both military veterans -- also try to find her and bring her back. Also playing a cop here is Sophia Bush, who has experience in the role from the seasons she spent on NBC's "Chicago P.D.'' Actor-comedian Mike Epps appears as well. DVD extras: "making-of'' documentary; audio commentary by director Brett Donowho; cast and crew interviews, *** (R: AS, N, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
The Americans: The Complete Fifth Season"The Americans: The Complete Fifth Season": With the final round of the widely acclaimed FX drama series about to begin, this penultimate season -- set in 1984 -- makes a major plot point of Paige's (Holly Taylor) new awareness of her Russian-spy parents' (Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys) double lives. The threat of biological warfare also is a big factor. Emmy winner Margo Martindale, Frank Langella and Alison Wright reprise their recurring roles, with "The Walking Dead'' alum Laurie Holden featured as a new love interest for FBI man Stan (Noah Emmerich). DVD extras: deleted scenes; outtakes. *** (Not rated: AS, N, P, V)
Mr. Robot: Season_3.0"Mr. Robot: Season_3.0": The cyber-intrigue continues for Elliot (Emmy winner Rami Malek) in a big, expectedly complicated way as he gets second thoughts about all he's done to stop E Corp in this edition of the USA Network drama. He makes his way back inside the company and tries a new approach to his effort involving them and Mr. Robot (Christian Slater). Bobby Cannavale joins the cast here, and Carly Chaikin, Portia Doubleday and BD Wong also continue their roles. Series creator Sam Esmail directed all of the season's episodes, and he also wrote just under half of them. *** (Not rated: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray)


Also Releasing this Week:

Legion: The Complete Season One"Legion: The Complete Season One": Some of the actors in this Marvel-inspired FX fantasy-drama series -- from "Fargo'' television mentor Noah Hawley -- recently admitted they don't always understand what's going on in the show, so if you want confirmation of its complexity, there you go. Dan Stevens ("Downton Abbey'') plays the psychically gifted son of Charles Xavier, of "X-Men'' fame, whose trek through psychiatric hospitals may be linked to much more than the schizophrenia he's been diagnosed with. Rachel Keller, Aubrey Plaza, Bill Irwin, Katie Aselton and Jean Smart also are in the cast; Season 2 starts in early April. *** (Not rated: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray)
Legion: The Complete Season One"Mister Rogers' Neighborhood: It's a Beautiful Day Collection": The 50th anniversary of one of the most iconic programs in public-television history is marked by this compilation of 32 episodes, all featuring the gentle approach and quiet wisdom of Fred Rogers -- who genuinely became a friend to untold numbers of young viewers. The wide range of subjects covers friendship, animals, food, music, reading and individualism, all covered in the trademark "Mister Rogers'' way. While the target audience here is children, it wouldn't be a surprise if older viewers also look in and realize how much they miss Rogers' presence. *** (Not rated)

 
Upcoming Releases:

"Father Figures" (April 3): Two siblings (Owen Wilson, Ed Helms) set out to find their father, whom their mother (Glenn Close) claimed was deceased. (R: AS, P) "ProudMary" (April 3): Taraji P. Henson (``Empire'') plays a hit woman whose maternal instincts surface when she encounters a youngster in the course of one of her intended kills. (R: AS, P, 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)
"Forever My Girl" (April 24): Returning to his hometown, a country-music star (Alex Roe) is reunited with the love (Jessica Rothe) he left behind. (PG: AS, P)
"Grease" (April 24): In its 40th-anniversary year, the musical based on the stage hit gets a relaunch on home video; John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John play young lovers Danny and Sandy. (PG: AS, P)


Oldies But Goodies:

"Die Hard" (1988): Bruce Willis cemented his movie stardom in the original thriller about a New York cop trying to stop terrorists who have overtaken a Los Angeles skyscraper. **** (Also on Blu-ray)
"Love Story" (1970): The spirited, ultimately doomed romance of Oliver and Jenny (Ryan O'Neal, Ali MacGraw) remains one of the screen's most popular romances. *** (Also on Blu-ray)
"The Sandlot" (1993): A new 25th-anniversary edition of the comedy-drama about a youth baseball team includes a set of customized trading cards. *** (Also on Blu-ray)


TOP 10 DVD & Blu-Ray Rentals
(Week ending March 11, 2018, Courtesy of 
comScore)


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


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


 
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