Wow. That’s the most appropriate word that comes to mind when thinking about the various movies that hit DVD and Blu-ray this week. Leading this off are the latest entry in the Alien saga, but the majority of this week’s choices are grounded right here on Earth — everything from comedic espionage tales to a television re-invention of classic comic book characters. Yes friends, this week’s batch of DVDs and Blu-rays are something special indeed. Check ’em out, won’t you?
Set 10 years after the events of “Prometheus,” director Ridley Scott’s third foray into the “Alien” mythos finds the crew of the colony ship Covenant awakened from stasis after a shipboard accident. A transmission from a nearby planet leads them to a dark and dangerous confrontation with the facehugging, chestbursting extraterrestrial monsters. Michael Fassbender (in a dual role as androids David and Walter), Katherine Waterston, Danny McBride, Billy Crudup star in this sci-fi sequel/prequel.
Hopscotch (The Criterion Collection)
Superior mix of laughs and espionage with Walter Matthau as CIA operative Miles Kendig, who answers his reassignment to desk duty with an abrupt resignation–and heads to Europe to be with former lover and ex-agent Isobel (Glenda Jackson). Kendig decides to stick it to his old bosses by publishing his memoirs, and as the chapters leak, he and Isobel go on the run–and manage to stay one step ahead of his flustered former colleagues. Herbert Lom, Ned Beatty, and Sam Waterston also star.
Matrimony Double Feature: Divorce American Style/How To Save a Marriage and Ruin Your Life
First, in Divorce American Style (1967), Rick and Barbara Harmon (Dick Van Dyke, Debbie Reynolds) decide that their marriage is kaput and, after seeing a counselor, split up. While juggling alimony demands and visits with his kids, Rick befriends Nelson Downes (Jason Robards), a divorcé who’d love to see Rick marry his ex-wife (Jean Simmons). Lee Grant, Martin Gabel co-star; Bud Yorkin directs Norman Lear’s screenplay. Then, in How to Save a Marriage and Ruin Your Life (1968), Confirmed-bachelor attorney David Sloane (Dean Martin) takes it upon himself to rescue the marriage of his best friend, Harry (Eli Wallach), by seducing away Harry’s mistress (Anne Jackson). David’s plan unravels in a hurry when he realizes that he’s targeted the wrong woman (Stella Stevens) for the wooing. Sharp romantic farce co-stars Betty Field, Jack Albertson.
The Villain Kids are back in a high-stakes adventure that’s bigger, bolder and badder than before! When the pressure to be royally perfect becomes too much for Mal (Dove Cameron), she flees Auradon and returns to her roots on the Isle of the Lost. Hoping to retrieve her, Evie (Sofia Carson) and the rest of the gang sneak onto the Isle. But Mal’s former archenemy Uma (China Anne McClain), daughter of Ursula, has seized power. And together with her pirate crew, Uma prepares to unleash havok on the VKs and Auradon! With swashbuckling action, amazing song & dance numbers and must-see bonus features, DESCENDANTS 2 rocks all-new ways to be W-I-C-K-E-D!
In 1975, veteran New Jersey club boxer Chuck Wepner (Liev Schreiber) improbably got a heavyweight championship shot against Muhammad Ali (Pooch Hall)…and just as improbably held his own until a late TKO in the 15th round. The fighter’s odyssey–from the name-making bout to the struggles with celebrity that led to divorce, jail time, and wrangles with Sylvester Stallone (Morgan Spector) over how much his story informed “Rocky”–is richly told. Elisabeth Moss, Naomi Watts, Ron Perlman also star.
Born with an extreme autoimmune deficiency, 17-year-old Maddy Whittier (Amandla Stenberg) had never spent a day beyond the confines of her hermetically sealed Los Angeles home. After cute Olly Bright (Nick Robinson) moves next door, she dreams that the texting relationship they develop will become something more…and the risks she takes to make that happen will have shattering consequences. Compelling take on the hit YA novel co-stars Anika Noni Rose, Ana de la Reguera, Danube R. Hermosillo.
Riverdale: The Complete First Season
The eternal American teenagers of Archie Comics fame received a stylish, strikingly dark, and compelling re-imagining with this hit CW series. The benign little burg of Riverdale, USA, was rocked by a stunning murder…and the web of deceit and old vendettas underlying the small-town facade started enveloping local kids like aspiring musician Archie Andrews (K.J. Apa), school journalist Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart), rich transplant Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes), and cynical outsider Jughead Jones (Cole Spouse). Luke Perry, Mädchen Amick, Marisol Nichols also star. All 15 episodes of the debut season are included in this three-disc set.
Sheena: Queen of the Jungle Collection: The Movie & TV Series
Gena Lee Nolin donned the pelt as comics’ iconic jungle heroine in this adventure series that ran in syndication over 2000-2002. Adding the ability to mystically morph into creatures of the veldt to her honed survival skills, Sheena faced off with an endless stream of encroachers threatening her African homeland. John Allen Nelson, Kevin Quigley, Margo Moorer co-star. Also includes the 1984 feature Sheena. 35 episodes on six discs.
After 25 years of marriage, paunchy ex-gigolo Maximo (Eugenio Derbez) got kicked to the curb by his octogenarian sugar mama (Renée Taylor). Forced to move in with his long-estranged sister (Salma Hayek), the greying girl-toy sets out to prove that he still has his seductive chops, as he sets his sights on a billionaire widow (Raquel Welch). Cheeky comedy co-stars Rob Lowe, Kristen Bell, Michael Cera, Rob Corddry, Rob Riggle.
Iraq, 2007: Charged with determining if a crucial oil pipeline is secure, American sergeants Allen Isaac (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Shane Matthews (John Cena) give a premature all-clear…and find themselves wounded and separated by a notorious Iraqi sniper (Laith Nakli). With no radio contact beyond taunts by their assailant, Isaac is faced a cat and mouse challenge for both soldiers’ survival, in Doug Liman’s spare but stunning combat drama.
Suzanne Dutchman (Demi Moore) was named as an accessory when her broker husband Mark (Dylan McDermott) got sent up for insider trading…and for community service, she was assigned to read to Bill Oakland (Alec Baldwin), a novelist who’d lost his wife and eyesight to a car accident. The tentative relationship slowly builds to something more…and leaves her faced with a wrenching decision after Mark’s unexpected parole. Effective romance co-stars Viva Bianca, James McCaffrey.
Bruce Willis stars in this quirky comedic actioner as Steve Ford, a Venice Beach-based private detective whose beloved dog Buddy is abducted by ruthless gang members. In order to get Buddy back, he has no choice but to retrieve some stolen cocaine for the gang’s dangerous leader (Jason Momoa). Steve finds his outrageous mission bringing him into contact with a series of unsavory characters, each more bizarre than the last. With John Goodman, Famke Janssen, Thomas Middleditch, Adam Goldberg, Kal Penn, Elisabeth Röhm
Missing in Action (Collector’s Edition)
In this classic actioner, Chuck Norris stars as Col. James Braddock, a former Vietnam War POW who returns to Southeast Asia in search of his comrades who are still being held in captivity there. After meeting up with an old Army buddy who now makes a living selling things on the black market, Braddock learns the location of a prison camp and begins a bloody mission of vengeance. With M. Emmet Walsh, James Hong, David Tress.
Which of these are you looking forward to? Let us know!