New to DVD and On Demand Releases for May 5 - 12

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06 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:
12 Strong"Fifty Shades Freed": In the James Foley-directed conclusion of the trilogy based on E.J. James' novels, the passion-driven Christian and Ana (Jamie Dornan, Dakota Johnson) are married, but their happiness is anything but assured. That's particularly due to Ana's ex-boss (Eric Johnson, of "The Knick" and "Rookie Blue," and no relation to Dakota), who seeks revenge by kidnapping Christian's (Rita Ora) sister for ransom. The heavy mystery element makes this play differently from the preceding two films, but there's enough of the original theme to keep this linked in. Other franchise returnees include Eloise Mumford, Jennifer Ehle, Marcia Gay Harden, Victor Rasuk, Luke Grimes and Callum Keith Rennie. Niall Leonard, who happens to be the husband of the book's author James, adapted the script. DVD extras: two "making-of'' documentaries; deleted scene. *** (R: AS, N, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
Dear White People: Season One"Dear White People: Season One": Inspired by the 2014 movie, this largely satirical Netflix series follows a group of university students through often racially tinged misadventures on a predominantly white campus, with each episode focusing on a different character. Filmmaker Justin Simien returns as executive producer of the show, and he also directed the first episode; reprising their roles from the film are Brandon P. Bell, Ashley Blaine Featherson and Marque Richardson. Logan Browning, DeRon Horton, Antoinette Robertson and John Patrick Amedori also star. Giancarlo Esposito narrates. DVD extras: two "making-of'' documentaries; audio commentary by Simien on selected episodes. *** (Not rated: AS, P)
Batman Ninja"Batman Ninja": The Dark Knight takes anime form in this made-for-video adventure that heavily involves time travel ... the travelers being Batman (with Roger Craig Smith reprising the voice role) and some of his most famous nemeses, who are sent to feudal Japan. The Joker (voice of Tony Hale, "Veep'') plays a major part in stoking an ancient war, and without his normal weaponry available to him, Batman has to use his smarts and certain alliances to set history and the villains straight. Also in the voice cast are Will Friedle ("Boy Meets World'') and Tom Kenny ("SpongeBob SquarePants''). *** (PG-13: AS, V) (Also on Blu-ray)

Also Releasing this Week:

"G.I. Jews: Jewish Americans in World War II": Televised recently by PBS to coincide with Holocaust Remembrance Day, producer-director Lisa Ades' documentary delivers on its title's promise by profiling soldiers of the Jewish faith who had deeply personal goals -- to free those they loved -- as well as larger-scaled ones during the Second World War. Among the more than 25 interviewees whose comments largely provide first-person accounts, adding context to the featured wealth of vintage film footage: Mel Brooks and Henry Kissinger, who served in the U.S. Army during that period; and Carl Reiner, who was a member of a touring unit sent to entertain the troops. *** (Not rated: AS, P)
"Remember Sunday": Between her stints in the original "Gilmore Girls'' and "The Handmaid's Tale,'' Alexis Bledel gave an affecting performance in this 2013 "Hallmark Hall of Fame'' drama. She plays a lonely, down-on-her-luck waitress who meets a handsome, quirky jewelry-store clerk ("Chuck'' alum Zachary Levi), and thinks that just maybe, she's finally met the right guy. The situation turns out to have a major catch: Three years ago, he suffered a brain aneurysm, and his memory is virtually nonexistent, making every day brand-new or him, with no recollection of having met her. Merritt Wever ("Nurse Jackie''), Larisa Oleynik and Jerry Adler (''The Good Wife") also star. *** (Not rated: AS)
"Police Woman: the Complete Final Season": Long a staple of movies by the time she started the show, Angie Dickinson had a healthy run in this NBC drama series spun off from the anthology "Police Story.'' In this fourth and last round, her character -- Sgt. Pepper Anderson -- deals with such matters as domestic violence, college drug trafficking and political corruption. Earl Holliman, Charles Dierkop and Ed Bernard play her colleagues, and guest stars include Sandra Dee, Adam West, Danny DeVito, Eartha Kitt, Lloyd Nolan, singer-songwriter Paul Williams, impressionist Rich Little and Harold Sakata ... alias "Goldfinger's'' Oddjob. *** (Not rated: AS, V)

Upcoming Releases:

"Cocaine Godmother" (May 15): Catherine Zeta-Jones stars in this true, made-for-Lifetime drama as  Griselda Blanco, a mother of three who became a murderous Miami cocaine smuggler. (Not rated: AS, P, V)
"Die Hard" (May 15): The Bruce Willis-starring action classic marks its 30th anniversary by making its debut in the 4K Ultra HD format. (R: AS, P, V)
"The Bold Type: Season One" (May 15): Magazine co-workers (Katie Stevens, Meghann Fahy, Aisha Dee) share their lives and loves in the Freeform drama series. (Not rated: AS. P)
"Black Panther" (May 15): The Marvel mega-hit casts Chadwick Boseman as the lead character, the prince of a kingdom that needs defenders from outside invaders. (PG-13: AS, P, V)
"A Fistful of Dollars" (May 22): Director Sergio Leone's Western, which made Clint Eastwood a global superstar, gets a home-video reintroduction in its 4K restoration. (R: P, V)
"Little Women" (May 22): Televised by PBS, the latest version of the Louisa May Alcott classic comes to home video; the cast includes Angela Lansbury and Emily Watson. (Not rated: AS)
"Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Singles Collection" (May 22): The holiday pseudo-classic "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians'' is included in this grouping of several earlier releases. (Not rated)

Oldies But Goodies:

"Hop'' (2011): The Easter Bunny's son (voice of Russell Brand) sets out to attain musical stardom; James Marsden and Kaley Cuoco also star. *** (Also on Blu-ray)
"Saving Private Ryan" (1998): For its 20th anniversary, the World War II drama that earned Steven Spielberg one of his directing Oscars makes its 4K Ultra HD debut; Tom Hanks and Matt Damon are among the stars. ****
"This is Cinerama'' (1952): A "Deluxe Edition'' of the movie that introduced the widescreen (actually, three screens combined) process makes the viewer an active participant on a roller coaster, on water skis, etc. *** (Also on Blu-ray)

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