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

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25 October 2015
By Jay Bobbin 
Releasing this week:

Pixels"Pixels": Fans of video games of the 1980s are likely to get the biggest kick out of this effects-crammed fantasy directed by Chris Columbus ... no slouch in the fantasy department, as the first two "Harry Potter'' movies proved. Adam Sandler plays a champ of such games, summoned to help his childhood friend -- the U.S. president (Kevin James ... yes, the "King of Queens'' as president) -- counter an attack by aliens that take the form of the games' characters. Michelle Monaghan, Peter Dinklage ("Game of Thrones''), Josh Gad and Sean Bean also appear, but the top stars here clearly are the visual wizards behind the scenes. DVD extras: two "making-of'' documentaries; music video. (PG-13: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
Southpaw"Southpaw": Written by "Sons of Anarchy'' mentor Kurt Sutter, this expectedly gritty drama -- directed by Antoine Fuqua ("Training Day'') -- draws a fine performance from Jake Gyllenhaal, playing a boxer who struggles to overcome an injury and a personal tragedy to defend his title against  a cocky rival (Miguel Gomez). Forest Whitaker plays the hero`s new trainer in a solid cast that also includes Rachel McAdams, Naomie Harris ("Skyfall''), Curtis "50 Cent'' Jackson, singer Rita Ora and actual boxer Victor Ortiz. (R: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
The Gift"The Gift": Currently co-starring in "Black Mass,'' Joel Edgerton wrote and directed this thriller, in which he also plays the bearer of many presents to two spouses (Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall) ... much to the recipients' eventual discomfort. Their benefactor knew the husband in high school, and the men share a secret from their past that ultimately could destroy the marriage once it's revealed. Co-stars include Busy Philipps, Alison Tolman ("Fargo'') and Katie Aselton ("The League''). (R: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
Downton Abbey Seasons 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5"Downton Abbey Seasons 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5'': As any fan of the globally popular, much-honored television phenomenon created by Julian Fellowes will recognize immediately, here's a great way to get ready for its concluding round that begins its American run in January. All of the preceding episodes are here, presented as originally shown in England, as the lives of the privileged Crawley family and their servants unfold during the era of World War I. Cast members include Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Michelle Dockery, Dan Stevens, Joanne Froggatt and Shirley MacLaine. (Not rated: AS)


Also Releasing this week:

"Max": With an appeal similar to that of "Dolphin Tale'' and "Big Miracle,'' the heartwarming story of a military dog is told in this good-for-all-ages drama, Max being the title canine sent home from Afghanistan after his Marine handler (Robbie Amell, "The Flash'') is wounded. The soldier's troubled teen brother (Josh Wiggins) is the only person Max warms to, and the two end up being each other's potential saviors. Lauren Graham ("Gilmore Girls,'' "Parenthood'') and Thomas Haden Church also star. DVD extra: "making-of'' documentary. (PG: P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
"Masterpiece: Home Fires": Two residents of a World War II-era English village vie for control of a service organization known as the Women's Institute in this drama, which offers its final two episodes on home video before PBS broadcasts them. Samantha Bond -- who was Miss Moneypenny to Pierce Brosnan's incarnation of Agent 007 -- and Francesca Annis ("Cranford'') star as the rivals for leadership. The saga opens with the Institute facing an uncertain-at-best future as the outbreak of war looms in August 1939. Ruth Gemmell, Claire Rushbrook and Rachel Hurd-Wood also appear. (Not rated: AS) (Also on Blu-ray)


Upcoming Releases:
"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)
"Vacation" (Nov. 3): All grown up now, Rusty Griswold (Ed Helms) follows his father's path by taking his own family on an eventful trek to Walley World. (R: AS, N, P)
"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)
"Trainwreck" (Nov. 10): A sports doctor (Bill Hader) prompts a free-spirited journalist (Amy Schumer) to consider commitment. (R and unrated versions: AS, N, P)
"Zoo: Season One" (Dec. 1): CBS' miniseries, based on a novel co-written by James Patterson, puts animals on the warpath around the world; James Wolk and Kristen Connolly star. (Not rated: AS, P, V)


TOP 10 DVD RENTALS (week ending ending September 20, courtesy of Rentrak Corp.)
1) "Age of Adaline"
2) "Hot Pursuit"
3) "Home"
4) "Aloha"
5) "Unfriended"
6) "Get Hard"
6) "The Divergent Series: Insurgent"
8) "Cinderella"

9) "True Story"
10) "Furious 7"


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