The Blu-ray and DVD releases are going to be fast and furious between now and the end of the year as the studios release titles that you’ll want to give and get as holiday gifts. There’s some terrific new offerings available that we think you’ll love to take home — from every genre and period of Hollywood history. Why just see for yourself!
Eden (Janelle Monáe) came to understand the worst degradation that a plantation slave in the Confederate South could know. African-American academic Veronica Henley (Monáe, again), on the road in Louisiana to promote her latest book, lived a happy and comfortable modern-day existence. Their fates would indeed prove to be intertwined–but in the last way you’d expect–in this socially charged shocker; Gabourey Sidibe, Marque Richardson, Jena Malone, Jack Huston also star.
The Mortal Storm (1940)
Martin Breitner (James Stewart) is a farmer in mid-’30s Austria who undertakes a dangerous mission to rescue former girlfriend Freya (Margaret Sullavan), whose stepbrothers and fiancé have joined the Nazi party even though her father was sent to a concentration camp. Powerful anti-Nazi drama, which led Hitler to ban all M-G-M films from Germany, co-stars Robert Young, Frank Morgan, and Robert Stack.
Diagnosed with a degenerative disease, Lily (Susan Sarandon) wanted one more weekend family gathering at the house for herself and her doctor husband Paul (Sam Neill)–before she elected euthanasia. Her plans, though, prove difficult to process for her disparate daughters (Kate Winslet, Mia Wasikowska), whose brave faces might yet slip. Moving remake of the 2014 Danish effort “Silent Heart” also stars Rainn Wilson, Bex Taylor-Klaus, Lindsay Duncan, Anson Boon.
Christmas in Montana (2019)
It’s been four years since financial advisor Sara Bradley’s (Kellie Martin) husband passed away, and ever since then, she’s thrown herself into work in order to provide for daughter Chloe (Ava Preston). With Christmas right around the corner, Sara and Chloe must go to Montana where Sara is to help rancher Travis Carson (Colin Ferguson) land a loan. Will she get a second shot at love with her handsome client? Art Hindle, Victoria Snow also star in this heartfelt Hallmark holiday romance.
Seven Sinners (1940)
Marlene Dietrich smolders as a sexy singer named Bijou Blanche, whose stint at the exotic South Seas island cafe Seven Sinners is marked by intrigue, romance, visits from old flames, and the impossible love of handsome Navy lieutenant Dan Brent (John Wayne), whose heart may belong only to the sea. Broderick Crawford, Mischa Auer, Albert Dekker co-star in this engaging romantic drama.
The Shepherd of the Hills (1941)
John Wayne excels in this oft-filmed story, playing Young Matt Matthews, a young Ozark Mountain moonshiner who seeks vengeance on his father for abandoning him and his mother years earlier. When a kindly old man moves to the area, Young Matt befriends him, but soon learns he is, in fact, Old Matt Matthews, and attempts to even the score. Betty Field, Harry Carey, James Barton also star.
Ambitious and acclaimed series from “The Queen” scribe Peter Morgan offers a comprehensive look at the adult life and reign of Elizabeth II over a projected five-season arc. The third season follows Elizabeth (Olivia Colman) from the mid-’60s to the late ‘70s, as she faces the Aberfan disaster, the 1972 Miners’ strike, and the affair between her son Charles (Josh O’Connor) and Camilla Shand (Emerald Fennell), while Philip (Tobias Menzies) makes his peace with his infirm mother (Jane Lapotaire) and Margaret (Helena Bonham Carter) finds her union with Antony Armstrong-Jones (Ben Daniels) disintegrating. Jason Watkins, Michael Maloney, Charles Dance, Erin Doherty also star. All 10 episodes from the third season are included in this three-disc set.
I Am Woman (2019)
In 1972, six years after she had emigrated from Australia as a divorced mom, singer-songwriter Helen Reddy (Tilda Cobham-Hervey) broke out with the single that became the anthem for second-wave feminism. The decade of pop-chart dominance that followed, however, would be accompanied by a rocky union with manager/second husband Jeff Wald (Evan Peters) and a challenging bond with rock journalist Lilian Roxon (Danielle Macdonald). Compelling biopic co-stars Molly Broadstock.
Let’s Scare Julie (2020)
Orphaned teen Emma (Troy Leigh-Anne Johnson) had just moved in with her cousin Taylor (Isabel May), and wasn’t going to rock the boat the night Taylor’s clique contrived to scare-prank Julie, the reclusive girl in the creepy house across the street. It was all giggles until some of the girls disappeared…was it an elaborate trick on Emma, or did something go horribly, uncannily wrong? Continuous take, real-time stunner also stars Odessa A’zion, Brooke Sorenson, Jessica Sarah Flaum.
Hard Kill (2020)
Ex-Special Forces Derek Miller (Jesse Metcalfe) thought it would be a by-the-numbers bodyguard job for his crew when he signed on with reclusive tech billionaire Donovan Chalmers (Bruce Willis). Let’s hope he got paid up front, as his team winds up trading fire with the mercenaries of a terrorist (Sergio Rizzutto) who’s got Chalmers’ coder daughter (Lala Kent)…and by extension, the doomsday program she devised. Natalie Eva Marie, Texas Battle, Swen Timmel, Tyler Jon Olson co-star.
A Joyous Christmas (2018)
Private sorrows left self-help doyenne Rachel Kennedy (Natalie Knepp) less than thrilled that her current book tour landed in her home town for the holidays. Rescued by an accident by mysterious samaritan Joy (Bonnie Bedelia), she’s advised to pay it forward at the struggling community center…and her wrangling of local TV producer Jack Nelson (Michael Rady) into her efforts might pay romantic dividends. Sweet seasonal story from Hallmark co-stars Steve Bacic, Marc Senior.
Like Cats & Dogs (2018)
Freewheeling Laura Haley (Cassidy Gifford) packed up her pooch Frank on a needed getaway from her messy love life. Buttoned-down Spencer Hodkins (Wyatt Nash) hit the road with his kitty Mozart so he could finish his dissertation in peace. All well and good, until it turns out they’d been double-booked into the same rental property…and that at least two of them would have to discover some common ground. Perky pet project from Hallmark co-stars Gwynyth Walsh, Jacky Lai, Nelson Wong.
Kurt Sutter’s much-anticipated spin-off/follow-up to “Sons of Anarchy” for FX puts its focus on SAMCRO’s bitterest rivals, the border-riding, cartel muscle-providing Mayans motorcycle club. While prospect ex-con Ezekiel “EZ” Reyes (J.D. Pardo) is vouched for by his full patch brother Angel (Clayton Cardenas), the gang and their cartel allies are leery of his true agenda. Sarah Bolger, Danny Pino, Michael Irby, Edward James Olmos also star. 10 episodes on 3 discs.
You’re invited, come along with the original 1970–1971 cartoon series, based on the Archie Comics series, starring the all-girl rock band–who sport “long tails and ears for hats”–and their pals. Travel the world with Josie, Melody, Valerie, Alan, Alex, and Alexandra as they perform and get mixed up with mad scientists, spies, and other assorted evildoers. Voices by Janet Waldo, Jackie Joseph, Barbara Pariot, Jerry Dexter, Casey Kasem. All 16 song-packed episodes are included in this two-disc set.
Helen Mirren brings the indomitable 18th-century Russian empress to life in this lavish HBO miniseries, which tracks her reign from two years after her ascension via coup through the balance of her life, and juxtaposes her multiple political challenges against her long and turbulent romantic liaison with military advisor Grigory Potemkin (Jason Clarke). Rory Kinnear, Gina McKee, Richard Roxburgh, Clive Russell, Joseph Quinn, Kevin McNally, Paul Kaye also star.
Based on George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Fire and Ice” fantasy novels, this Emmy-winning HBO series follows the machinations of seven noble families vying for the Iron Throne, and with it control of the fictitious continent of Westeros. As old rivalries resurface and new alliances are forged, a growing danger from the wintry northern lands threatens to overwhelm all. Mark Addy, Sean Bean, Amelia Clarke, Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, and Maisie Williams head the ensemble cast. All 73 episodes from the series are included in this 33-disc set.
London, 1970: As Miss Grenada Jennifer Hosten (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) was about to become the first black woman crowned Miss World, Sally Alexander (Keira Knightley) and several fellow members of the Women’s Liberation Movement protested the pageant’s patriarchal practices by hurling flour bombs at host Bob Hope (Greg Kinnear) for all the world to see. Based on a true story, this quirky blend of drama and comedy co-stars Jessie Buckley, Keeley Hawes, Lesley Manville, Rhys Ifans.
Spun out of a “When Calls the Heart” holiday episode, this inaugural Hallmark Movies Now series offering starred Morgan Kohan and Jocelyn Hudon as Lillian Walsh and Grace Bennett, orphaned siblings separated as children–and, having reunited, resolving to operate a small-town orphanage in the 1910s Canadian West. Among the community’s few welcoming faces were constable Gabe Kinslow (RJ Hatanaka) and rancher/veterinarian Chuck Stewart (Greg Hovanessian); Wendy Crewson co-stars. 10 episodes on 2 discs.
Snowbound for Christmas (2020)
Marketing whiz Rachel (Zarrin Darnell-Martin) probably felt like a third wheel accompanying handsome boss Adrian (Henderson Wade) and his former flame/current employee Diane (Josephine Buettner) on a work trip to a picturesque resort. But when Diane has to leave and a snowstorm strands Rachel and Adrian alone at the hotel, the stage is set for a little holiday romance. Scott Thompson, Franco Lo Presti also star.
The Veil (2016)
Thirty years ago, the members of a bizarre religious cult called Heaven’s Veil shocked the world by taking part in a mass suicide. Now, a filmmaker (Jessica Alba) and her crew, accompanied by a woman (Lily Rabe) who was the tragedy’s sole survivor, journey to the remote compound for a documentary project. The site’s legacy of madness and death, however, is ready to strike again in this nerve-numbing shocker. Thomas Jane, Shannon Woodward also star.
A nearly forgotten aspect of the Jimmy Carter presidency is how he became America’s first chief executive to actively and earnestly embrace the soundtrack of the counterculture–rock music. Archival footage from the diverse South Lawn concerts thrown during the late ‘70s is complemented by contemporary interviews with Carter himself, as well as artists he’d personally come to know including Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Gregg Allman, Jimmy Buffett, Bono, Garth Brooks, many more.
Premiering in 2016 as part of PBS’ “Masterpiece” anthology series, this involving British drama series stars Jenna Coleman as Queen Victoria. Ascending to the throne in 1838, the young Victoria spends the early years of her reign struggling with her duties as monarch, harboring a romantic interest in Prime Minister Lord Melbourne (Rufus Sewell) before eventually marrying Prince Albert (Tom Hughes). Peter Bowles, Catherine Flemming, Daniela Holtz, Nell Hudson also star. 24 episodes on 9 discs.
Based on Kerry Greenwood’s popular historical mystery novels, this stylish detective series from Australia follows smart and sassy sleuth Phryne Fisher (Essie Davis) as she solves crimes on the mean streets and jazz clubs of 1920s Melbourne. Haunted by the kidnapping and murder of her younger sister when they were children, Phryne uses her traumatic past as motivation to fight injustice. Nathan Page, Hugo Johnstone-Burt, Ashleigh Cummings also star. 34 episodes on 12 discs.
A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
Charles Schulz’s “Peanuts” made its first leap from funny pages to the small screen with this time-honored animated Christmas classic. The normally dispirited Charlie Brown gets even more gloomy with the onset of a case of the holiday blahs. Can directing a neighborhood Christmas play lift his spirits…or will the kids greet him with jeers instead of cheers for his best efforts? Features the voices of Peter Robbins, Chris Shea, Tracy Stratford; directed by Bill Melendez.
For a complete overview of all of this week’s new releases, click here