New to DVD and On Demand Releases for May 27 - June 2

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25 May 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:
Annihilation"Annihilation": Director and screenwriter Alex Garland's ("Ex Machina'') adaptation of Jeff VanderMeer's novel sends Natalie Portman into a parallel world fraught with danger. The story plays out as an extended flashback, with the biologist played by Portman being debriefed about what happened in an environment known as the Shimmer. She went there with several other women -- including Gina Rodriguez ("Jane the Virgin'') and Jennifer Jason Leigh -- to determine just what happened to the Portman character's husband (Oscar Isaac), who returned from the Shimmer almost catatonic. Though mutated creatures such as alligators figure in, the hunch that DNA plays a role cleverly lifts the tale out of being driven strictly by physical action and into more cerebral and philosophical considerations. Tessa Thompson also stars. *** (R: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
I'm Dying Up Here"I'm Dying Up Here: Season One": With Jim Carrey among its executive producers, the Showtime series -- which recently started televising its second season -- largely draws its more amusing moments through scenes of stand-up humorists, the principal characters here, in action at a comedy club. Oscar winner Melissa Leo plays the site's owner, who takes a realistic and sometimes harsh approach to guiding the nascent careers of those who perform there. The show also examines the personal lives of the would-be comics, with the circumstances often explaining why they've chosen to go for laughs whenever they can get them. Michael Angarano, Ari Graynor, Clark Duke, Al Madrigal and Jake Lacy also star. *** (Not rated: AS, P)
Frontline: Weinstein"Frontline: Weinstein": This recent episode of the PBS investigative series examines the many accusations of misconduct against Harvey Weinstein, the Oscar-winning movie producer ("Shakespeare in Love'') who ultimately was fired from his own company after numerous women came forth with their stories regarding his alleged behavior with them. A number of high-profile people who were party to the situation are interviewed, as are some of the journalists whose work broke the story. The program also considers the figurative floodgate those allegations opened, with a number of other public figures being accused of similar behavior. *** (Not rated: AS, P)

Also Releasing this Week:

Miss Stevens"Miss Stevens": Lily Rabe -- daughter of Jill Clayburgh and playwright David Rabe -- has the title role in this comedy-drama featuring another cast member who's had quite a career jump lately: Timothee Chalamet, who earned an Oscar nomination as best actor for "Call Me by Your Name.'' Here, he, "Riverdale's'' Lili Reinhart and Anthony Quintal play students escorted by the title teacher (Rabe) to a drama competition ... where all of them have memorable experiences that aren't necessarily part of the contest. Director and co-writer Julia Hart's cast also includes Rob Huebel and "Great News'' creator Tracey Wigfield. *** (Not rated: AS, P) (Also on On Demand)
Jackass Complete Movie and TV Collection"Jackass Complete Movie and TV Collection": How much "Jackass'' can you handle? This 11-disc set should do much to answer that  question, as it combines all the episodes of the MTV television series (but largely around the performing of highly questionable stunts) with the seven feature films it yielded, including "Bad Grandpa.'' The franchise, which has not been without its very vocal critics, made household names -- well, in some households, anyway -- of such personalities as Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera and Steve-O. *** (R and unrated content: AS, P, V)
"Western TV Movie Classics": This collection of 10 tales from the genre largely is comprised of films made for TNT at a time when that cable channel delved heavily into Westerns. Many of the included attractions feature two actors who clearly have enjoyed working on horseback -- Tom Selleck and Sam Elliott -- and they appear together in one of the stories, the miniseries "The Sacketts.'' Also among the titles are "Conagher,'' "The Desperate Trail,'' "You Know My Name,'' "Rough Riders,'' "Last Stand at Saber River,'' Elliott's version of "The Quick and the Dead'' (based on a story by a celebrated author whose work Elliott often filmed, Louis L'Amour) and Selleck's remake of "Monte Walsh.'' *** (Not rated: AS, P, V)

Upcoming Releases:

"A Wrinkle in Time" (June 5): Reese Witherspoon, Oprah Winfrey, Mindy Kaling and Chris Pine are among the stars of director Ava DuVernay's Disney version of the long-beloved Madeleine L'Engle fantasy tale. (PG: AS)
"Thoroughbreds" (June 5): Privileged ex-friends (Olivia Cooke, Anya Taylor-Joy) reunite in their teen years and make a pact to help solve each other's problems, whatever it takes. (R: AS, P, V)
"Death Wish" (June 5): Bruce Willis stars in the remake of the melodrama about a man who turns vigilante to avenge an attack on his wife and daughter. (R: AS, P, GV)
"Orange is the New Black: Season Five" (June 12): The inmates take over at Litchfield as a full-blown riot erupts in this round of the Netflix series; Taylor Schilling, Laura Prepon and Kate Mulgrew star. (Not rated: AS, N, P, V)
"Will & Grace (The Revival): Season One'' (June 12): Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally reprise their Emmy-winning roles in the most recent episodes of the NBC sitcom. (Not rated: AS, P)
"Pacific Rim Uprising" (June 19): A down-and-out pilot (John Boyega) decides to live up to his heritage in battling the literally monstrous Kaiju. (PG-13: P, V)

Oldies But Goodies:

"Man of Steel" (2013): Henry Cavill made his debut as Superman in this adventure, included in a new "DC 5-Film Collection.'' *** (Also on Blu-ray)
"The Reincarnation of Peter Proud" (1975): A college professor's (Michael Sarrazin) visions suggest to him that he's led a previous life; Jennifer O'Neill and Margot Kidder also star. *** (Also on Blu-ray)
"The Two of Us" (1967): Separated from his family during World War II, a Jewish youngster (Alain Cohen) makes a connection with an anti-Semitic senior citizen (Michel Simon) in director and co-writer Claude Berri's much-praised comedy-drama, now available in a newly remastered version. **** (Also on Blu-ray)

TOP 10 DVD & Blu-Ray Rentals
(Week ending May 13, 2018, Courtesy of 

1    "Fifty Shades Freed"
2    "12 Strong"
3    "Peter Rabbit"
4    "Black Panther"
5    "Den of Thieves"
6    "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle"
7    "The Greatest Showman"
8    "The Maze Runner: Death Cure"
9    "The Commuter"
10   "Thor: Ragnarok"

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

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