New to DVD and On Demand Releases for October 11 - 17
Releasing this week:
"San Andreas": Disaster movies still have an audience, as proven by the success of this adventure that impacts the title fault line and wreaks havoc on California. Thus, the special-effects wizards are as much stars of the film as Dwayne Johnson, playing a rescue helicopter pilot who saves his estranged wife (Carla Gugino, "Wayward Pines''), then heads off with her to try to save their daughter (Alexandra Daddario). The film boasts an extremely strong supporting cast for a picture of its type, including Paul Giamatti ("Sideways''), Archie Panjabi ("The Good Wife'') and Ioan Gruffudd ("Forever''). Noted television producer Carlton Cuse ("Lost,'' "Bates Motel'') wrote the screenplay. DVD extras: three "making-of'' documentaries; audio commentary by director Brad Peyton; deleted scenes; outtakes; stunt reel. (PG-13: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
"Mad Men: The Final Season, Part 2": One of the most acclaimed series in television history to date came to the end of its run with these episodes, more or less spelling out what becomes of 1960s advertising man Don Draper (Jon Hamm, who recently won an Emmy for his acting here) -- working his way back into his firm after a spectacular flameout, personally and professionally -- and his colleagues. Appropriately, the series ends by invoking one of its era's most successful advertising campaigns. Among others finishing their characters for creator-producer Matthew Weiner are John Slattery, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser, Christina Hendricks and January Jones. DVD extras: four "making-of'' documentaries; audio commentary by cast and crew members; advertising timeline. (Not rated: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray)
"Tomorrowland": Ambitious but ultimately mired by its mythology, this effort by Disney to turn one of its most famous theme-park attractions into a film story -- directed by Brad Bird ("Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol,'' "The Incredibles''), who wrote the screenplay with Damon Lindelof ("Lost'') -- casts George Clooney as a grown-cynical inventor who shares visions of another, much-more-hopeful world with the teen (Britt Robertson, "The Longest Ride'') who seeks him out, intending to find the place. For the plot hurdles it runs into, the movie offers some stunning visuals (to be expected from a Bird project) and a captivating performance by co-star Raffey Cassidy; Hugh Laurie, Tim McGraw, Kathryn Hahn, comedian Keegan-Michael Key and Pierce Gagnon ("Extant'') also appear. DVD extra: "Brad Bird Production Diaries.'' (PG: P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
Also Releasing this week:
"Dope": Counting Forest Whitaker (who narrates the film), Pharrell Williams and Sean Combs among its producers, this comedy-drama -- which has made the film-festival rounds and successfully updates, though it's not strictly based on, the premise of "Risky Business''-- follows a high-school senior (Shameik Moore) whose dreams of attending Harvard University take a sharp turn via his experiences at an underground party and their aftermath. He ends up entangled with a drug dealer (ASAP Rocky) en route to an important school interview. Tony Revolori, Kiersey Clemons ("Extant''), Kimberly Elise, Zoe Kravitz and Rick Fox contribute to the fresh approach as members of writer-director cast Rick Famuyiwa's cast. (R: AS, N, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
"The Civil War: 25th Anniversary Commemorative Edition": The widely acclaimed PBS project that cemented the career of documentary maker Ken Burns returns to home video in the newly remastered version that was broadcast last month. Recounting many key points in the battle between the North and the South, the program established the Burns technique of enhancing the archival visuals with a large voice cast as pivotal players in the events. Sam Waterston and Jason Robards are heard as Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant respectively, with Julie Harris, Morgan Freeman, Garrison Keillor, Jeremy Irons, Colleen Dewhurst, Derek Jacobi, Studs Terkel, Arthur Miller, Kurt Vonnegut and Horton Foote among other notables who lent their vocal talents to the landmark project. (Not rated: AS, V) (Also on Blu-ray)
"The Gallows": Arriving on home video in time for the Halloween season, this familiar-feeling scare show has an "I Know What You Did Last Summer'' sensibility as a high-school actor's death is commemorated in an ultimately unwise way. To mark the 20th anniversary of the accident that took his life, current students at the school decide to stage the play again. In a word: Uh-oh. Cast members include Reese Mishler and Cassidy Gifford. DVD extras: "making-of'' documentary; deleted scenes; outtakes. (R: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
"Jurassic World" (Oct. 20): Trouble hits the expanded resort anew, thanks to a genetically altered breed of dinosaur; Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard star.
"Paper Towns": A smitten teen (Nat Wolff) seeks his suddenly absent neighbor (Cara Delevingne) in this tale from "The Fault in Our Stars'' author John Green. (PG-13: AS, P)
"Max'' (Oct. 27): A military dog is adopted by the family of his handler, who was wounded in Afghanistan; Josh Wiggins, Lauren Graham and Thomas Haden Church star. (PG: P, V)
"Inside Out" (Nov. 3): A youngster's emotions take over, quite literally, when she moves to a new town in this animated Disney-Pixar tale; voices include Amy Poehler and Bill Hader. (PG: AS)
"Mr.Holmes" (Nov. 10): The retired Sherlock Holmes (Ian McKellen) is determined to solve one last mystery; Laura Linney also stars. (PG: AS, V)
"Terminator Genisys" (Nov.10): He'll be back, all right: Arnold Schwarzenegger returns in a reboot of the sci-fi saga. (PG-13: N, P, V)
TOP 10 DVD RENTALS (week ending ending September 6, courtesy of Rentrak Corp.)
1) "Hot Pursuit"
4) "Get Hard"
5) "The Divergent Series: Insurgent"
6) "The Longest Ride"
7) "Lila and Eve"
9) "Mad Max: Fury Road"
10) "Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2"
FAMILY VIEWING GUIDE KEY: AS, adult situations; N, nudity; P, profanity; V, violence; GV, particularly graphic violence.
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