A long delayed action film and a sequel that is better than the original are among the new DVD and Blu-ray releases this week.
“The Black Widow” Grade 2 ½ stars”: Events in “Black Widow” take place after “Captain America: Civil War” and before “Avengers: Infinity War.” That means Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) – better known as Black Widow – is on her own and in hiding. Her quiet life is shattered when her past catches up with her.
Romanoff must deal with her own dark past with a little help from her family. The assistance comes from; her father, Alexei/The Red Guardian (David Harbour); her mother, Melina (Rachel Weisz); and her spunky sister, Yelena (Florence Pugh). They join forces to stop the mastermind behind the program that turned Romanoff into a super spy.
The fact so much is known of her fate contributes to how the Black Widow is relegated to a supporting player in her own movie. She gets completely eclipsed by Pugh who hits with the same powerful punches and quips that made Black Widow so intriguing at the start.
Director Cate Shortland – whose background is mainly in TV – handles the action scenes with ease. There are enough explosions, chase scenes and fights to boost the entertainment level. The weakest part of her work are the family scenes.
“The Boss Baby: Family Business” Grade 3 stars: It is rare when a movie sequel is as good as the original production and an even bigger surprise when the sequel is far better. That’s definitely the case when it comes to the new animated offering of “The Boss Baby: Family Business.” Taking the emphasis away from the corporate world that drove the original film and focusing on bickering brothers in the sequel gives the production a sweet and smart emotional core that was previously missing.
Director Tom McGrath manages to deal with all of the family business while keeping the film moving at a near relentless frantic pace. There are a couple of pauses but mostly this new “Baby Boss” movie moves at lighting speed. The fevered pitch of this film and exaggerated action scenes are reminiscent of the prime days of Warner Bros. animation with Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and the Road Runner.
McGrath directed the previous “Baby Boss” film but he got a better script from writer Michael McCullers this time. And the difference is as welcome as a clean diaper.
Also new on DVD and Blu-ray as of Sept. 14
“Mare of Easttown: The Complete Limited Series”: Kate Winslet stars in this exploration into the dark side of a close community and an examination of how family and past tragedies can define our present.
“Straight Outta Nowhere: Scooby-Doo Meets Courage the Cowardly Dog”: The canine colleagues sniff out a strange object in the middle of Nowhere, KS.
“Out of Death”: Hiker must fight to survive after witnessing a crime.
“The Human Factor”: Examination of how the United States came within reach of securing peace between Israel and its neighbors.
“Ema”: Portrait of a heroine’s artistic temperament set at the combustible crossroads of art, desire and the pressure to conform.
“The Shawshank Redemption”: The 1994 prison film is being re-released. Morgan Freeman and Tom Robbins star.
“Dead Pigs”: Lives of five characters with loose connections begin to fatefully intertwine.
“Zola”: Detroit waitress A’Ziah “Zola” King goes on a wild road trip to Florida.
“Perfect Blue”: Rising pop star Mima has quit singing to pursue a career as an actress and model, but her fans aren’t ready to see her go.
“Crazy Fist”: Mixed martial arts champion is forced out of retirement for one last fight in order to unravel a major conspiracy.
Available on digital platforms
“Together”: James McAvoy and Sharon Horgan star in this story of a family, like so many, who found a way to survive – together.
“Giddy Stratospheres”: Two people spiral in the center of the storm that was the 00’s Indie music scene.
“Lady Usher”: It is a modern-day retelling of Edgar Allan Poe’s short story, “The Fall of the House of Usher.”
“The Forever Purge”: Old rules of the Purge are broken as members of an underground movement want the annual night of anarchy and murder to keep going. Will be released on DVD and Blu-ray on Sept. 28.