Look, we get it. You are overwhelmed by holiday shopping and obligations right now. So why not let us lighten your load a bit by presenting this week’s new releases — a diverse range of titles that you either enjoy yourself or give as gifts for those on your shopping list. (After all, who doesn’t love movies?) This week we’ve got movies fresh off their theatrical run, Hollywood classics making their home video debut, special editions of timeless classics, some seasonally appropriate viewing, and so much more. We are excited about these new DVD and Blu-ray releases, and we think you will be too!
Now working as a Lyft driver, former government agent Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) still finds time to put his expertise to use helping those who can’t always help themselves. But he’s about to embark on his most personal mission yet after an old friend and colleague is brutally murdered and McCall must not only track down the killer, but do it before he becomes the next target on the hit list. Pedro Pascal, Bill Pullman, and Melissa Leo also star in director Antoine Fuqua’s thrill-a-minute sequel.
In his mountaintop civilization, amiable young Yeti Migo (voiced by Channing Tatum) enjoyed his life, or did at least, until he discovered a crashed human pilot, and got banished for insisting that he’d seen the mythical “Smallfoot.” Determined to find proof in the world below, he meets a struggling wildlife expert (James Corden) looking for a career-saving find–but will the new partnership end in disaster? Animated charmer also features the voices of Common, Zendaya, Danny DeVito, Gina Rodriguez, LeBron James.
When the U.S. Army seeks to send a gunrunning and surveying expedition into the disputed Texas Territory, grizzled engineer Killian (Hugh O’Brian) comes up with the mission’s cover…by outfitting the soldiers as settlers, and recruiting five hardcase female stockade prisoners (Anne Francis, Marie Windsor, Marilyn Maxwell, Sherry Jackson, Cynthia Hull) to pose as their “wives”! Long-remembered made-for-TV sagebrush saga co-stars Richard Kelton, Robert F. Simon.
A Dry White Season (Criterion Collection)
Powerful drama set in racially segregated South Africa stars Donald Sutherland as a privileged Afrikaner teacher whose eyes are opened to his country’s brutal regime when his black gardener (Winston Ntshona)–who wanted answers about his son’s unexplained disappearance–dies in police custody. Susan Sarandon, Zakes Mokae, Janet Suzman, Jurgen Prochnow and, as an anti-apartheid lawyer, Marlon Brando co-star; co-written and directed by Euzhan Palcy (“Sugar Cane Alley”).
This 1967-71 NBC western series from “Bonanza” creator David Dortort was set on a ranch called the High Chaparral located in the Arizona Territory in the 1870s. His wife killed in an Apache attack, High Chaparral owner “Big John” Cannon (Leif Erickson) marries neighboring rancher’s daughter Victoria Montoya (Linda Cristal) to solidify an alliance between their families, causing tension between John and his son (Mark Slade). With Cameron Mitchell, Henry Darrow. All 26 episodes from the second season are included in this six-disc set.
Ricky Caldwell (Eric Freeman), the younger brother of the first film’s Santa suit-clad killer, sets out to spread more “Christmas fear” to unsuspecting victims in this scare-packed sequel. After escaping from a mental hospital, Ricky plots bloody revenge on Mother Superior (Jean Miller), the woman he blames for stopping his slasher sibling’s reign of terror. Elizabeth Kaitan, James Newman also star.
A car accident on the night of their senior prom leads Jenny (Renée Zellweger) and three of her friends into an evening of horror when a sadistic recluse (Matthew McConaughey) with a remote-controlled leg arrives to “help” them. Soon, Jenny encounters Leatherface (Robert Jacks) and his family of cannibalistic crazies. Can she escape before the chainsaw-loving lunatic uses her face to make himself a new mask? With Tonie Perensky, Joe Stevens.
Sterling Hayden stars as frontiersman Jim Bowie in this exciting retelling of the Battle of the Alamo. Becoming one of the leaders in the fight for Texas’ independence, Bowie is forced to choose freedom over friendship as he and a band of hopelessly outnumbered soldiers must take up arms against his old comrade, Mexican president General Santa Anna (J. Carrol Naish). With Anna Maria Alberghetti, Richard Carlson, Arthur Hunnicutt, and Ernest Borgnine.
The oft-told saga of Lizzie Borden receives a singular recounting in this speculative shocker starring Chloë Sevigny as the Massachusetts spinster accused in the 1892 axe murders of her father (Jamey Sheridan) and stepmother (Fiona Shaw). Had Lizzie found a lover–and ultimately, a willing accomplice–in family maid Bridget Sullivan (Kristen Stewart)? Had the slayings been precipitated by her father’s abuse of them both? Denis O’Hare, Kim Dickens, Jeff Perry, Jay Huguley also star.
Movie star Jessica McEllis (Taylor Cole) was all jitters about her first producing credit–a seasonal rom-com shot in the small Iowa town of Homestead. Local mayor, innkeep, and widowed dad Matt Larson (Michael Rady) wanted nothing to do with the buzz and bother that the production generated. Once they clash, is there any doubt there’ll be romance by the wrap party? Hallmark charmer also stars Brooklyn Rae Silzer, Jeff Branson, Brandhyze Stanley, Katrina Norman.
In late 19th century France, country girl Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (Keira Knightley) came to Paris as the protégé and wife of author/libertine Henry-Gauthier “Willy” Villars (Dominic West). In the decade that followed, she crafted the scandalous and successful “Claudine” novels–and watched her husband take credit–until taking a defiant and revolutionary stand for her own career recognition. Wash Westmoreland’s stylish biopic co-stars Denise Gough, Fiona Shaw, Eleanor Tomlinson.
Forty Guns (Criterion Collection)
Written and directed by Samuel Fuller (“Pickup on South Street”), this stunning western follows tough rancher Jessica Drummond (Barbara Stanwyck) as she rules over a small Arizona town with the help of 40 hired gunmen. After U.S. marshal Griff Bonnell (Barry Sullivan) and his two brothers arrive to bring order to the community, Drummond finds herself falling for the avowedly non-violent lawman–which leads to a dramatic confrontation. With Dean Jagger, John Ericson, Gene Barry, Robert Dix.
In his first action role in several years, Burt Reynolds plays Jerome “Raven” Katz, a soldier-of-fortune whose crack mercenary squad is hired to “procure” a decoder for still-active Soviet defense satellites. But when corrupt government and security officials lead to the mission’s downfall, Raven escapes to deliver his own brand of justice. With Matt Battaglia, Krista Allen, Richard Gant, David Ackroyd.
Blending audacious farce with affectionate homage, Seth MacFarlane’s sci-fi series from Fox follows the galactic adventures of Capt. Ed Mercer (MacFarlane), whose promising career foundered after his marriage collapsed…and who settled for the less than prestigious command of the mid-level exploratory spaceship Orville. Worse still, his new first officer turned out to be Kelly Grayson (Adrianne Palicki)–his unfaithful ex. Penny Johnson Jerald, Scott Grimes, Peter Macon, Halston Sage, J. Lee co-star.
This Is Elvis (Special Edition)
Entertaining and informative, this documentary on “the King of Rock and Roll” features home movies, rare concert footage, newsreels, and dramatic re-enactments. Told in a unique fashion by Elvis himself (through use of an impressionist), the film traces his life from boyhood to his sad, untimely death. Songs include “His Latest Flame,” “That’s All Right,” “Hound Dog,” “Love Me Tender,” more.
An ex-showgirl and recent widow (Joan Crawford) decides to put the past behind her and moves into a newly available, secluded beach house. Its availability, unfortunately, stems from the fact that the prior tenant fell to her death…and the shady realtor (Jan Sterling), as well as an aggressive local beach bum (Jeff Chandler), seem to know more than they’re telling. Suspenser co-stars Cecil Kellaway, Natalie Schafer, Charles Drake.
Perry Como journeyed across the pond for this delightful holiday special that’s as warming as a wassail, joined in London by recording stars Petula Clark and Leo Sayer, actress Gemma Craven, and ice dancer John Curry. Among the memorable performances offered by Como and crew are “Silent Night,” “Joy to the World,” “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” “O Come All Ye Faithful,” “Ave Maria,” “There’s a Kind of Hush,” “When I Need You,” many, many more.
Hang ‘Em High (50th Anniversary Edition)
After his “Dollars” trilogy made him an international star, Clint Eastwood returned to America to portray Jed Cooper, a cattleman who is falsely accused of murdering a local rancher. His innocence established, Cooper takes a job as a marshal and sets out to bring to justice the members of a lynch mob who tried to string him up. Americanized “spaghetti” western co-stars Inger Stevens, Ed Begley, Pat Hingle, and Bruce Dern.