Elements of fire, water in new DVD releases

Rick's Reviews

“Luca” leads the way for weekend entertainment options. (Photo courtesy of Disney)

Options for new DVD and Blu-ray releases this week include a movie that has no heat and one that makes a big splash.

“Luca” Grade 3 stars: The new Pixar offering is a colorful summer romp that examines the importance of family, friendship and a good bowl of pasta. Its message of hope comes at a time when we can appreciate it the most.

Luca is what is being described as a 13-year-old sea who longs to know what life is like above the water. He gets drawn to dry land by another teen-age sea monster in Alberto who seems to be an expert on the land above the sea. The two bond and eventually put together a plot to get a Vespa so they can see the world.

This leads the pair to several encounters including meeting a spunky Italian girl who gives them a place to stay and enlists them in a local race where they think they can win enough money to buy the Vespa.

This coming-of-age story about two friends who end up having a summer of unforgettable fun unfolds in a little Italian village in the late ‘50s or early ‘60s. It is the kind of setting that creates an automatic feeling of nostalgia. It’s a different enough world where it is easier to believe sea creatures can exist.

“Those Who Wish Me Dead” Grade2 ½ stars: Angelina Jolie returns to her “Tomb Raider” action ways playing Hannah, a smoke jumper who is dealing with a failed effort to save the lives of three people during a massive fire. Instead of sidelining her, the Forest Service opts to station her in a lonely fire tower where she has endless hours to dwell on her failed past.

That painful pondering is interrupted when 12-year-old Connor (Finn Little) wanders into her life. He has escaped from an attack by two hired assassins – played by Aidan Gillen and Nicholas Hoult.  They have killed Connor’s father (Jake Weber) to keep him from revealing forensic accounting discoveries that will bring down some powerful people.

Hannah must conquer her own self-doubts and depend on a few friends to keep Connor safe from the hired killers and a huge fire that is coming their way. It is a chance for some redemption.

Jolie does a good job handling both the physical and emotional elements of playing Hannah. Part of the ease comes from how “Those Who Wish Me Dead” is neither the most physically demanding nor emotionally compelling project Jolie has ever faced.

The entire movie comes across as a lite version of an action movie from only having two killers as the antagonists to the limited action scenes.

Available on DVD and Blu-ray as of Aug. 3

“Here Today”: Two people from very different generations discover age doesn’t matter when it comes to friendship. Billy Crystal and Tiffany Haddish stars.

 “The Unthinkable”: Man must find out the reason for a series of mysterious attacks.

“Tailgate”: Efforts to get a slow moving car to speed up leads to mayhem.

“Séance”: Late-night ritual leaves one girl dead.

“The Transformers – The Movies”: Animated film is being released to mark the 35th anniversary.

“Righteous Blood”: Gun-for-hire (Michael Pare) with a bounty on his head gets an unexpected chance for redemption.

Now available through digital platforms

“Pooling Paradise”: A rideshare turns into an unexpected road trip to Paradise, NV.

“Pig”: Truffle hunter tries to find his kidnapped pig. Nicolas Cage stars.

“About Endlessness”: A look at what it means to be human through an examination of the day-to-day lives of everyday people.

“On the Trail of UFOs: Dark Sky”: Traces decades of reports of mysterious objects, creatures and enigmatic beings seemingly not of this earth. 

“Mondo Hollywoodland”:  Mushroom dealer and a man from the 5th dimension look for all things groovy and the meaning of “mondo” in Los Angeles.

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