It’s very easy to make a case for renting ‘Just Mercy’

Rick's Reviews

Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Fox star in “Just Mercy.” (Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.)

One great way to pass the time while at home is by watching  movies and TV shows on DVD, Blu-ray or digital platforms. Here are a few new releases for your consideration.

“Just Mercy” Grade 3 stars: Standout performances by Michael B. Jordan (“Black Panther”) and Jamie Foxx (“Django: Unchained”) give this legal drama a deep emotional edge. At the same time, the film serves to shine a light on major problems with the judicial system.

The production from director Destin Daniel Cretton is based on the true story of young lawyer Bryan Stevenson (Jordan) who wages a history-making battle for justice. Stevenson had his pick of lucrative jobs after graduating from Harvard but opted to go to Alabama to defend those wrongly condemned or who were not afforded proper representation. He is aided in his quest by local advocate Eva Ansley (Brie Larson).

One of his first cases is that of Walter McMillian (Foxx) who was sentenced in 1987 to die for the murder of an 18-year-old girl despite overwhelming evidence proving his innocence. The long legal journey for justice finally brings Stevenson and McMillian together.

This is a quiet film as it generally deals with two very different men working on the same legal path. There is strength in that quiet as the film is both heartbreaking in its revelations about those who have been falsely imprisoned while also being uplifting when justice finally is done.

Also new on DVD and Blu-ray as of April 14

“Criminal Minds: The Final Season”: The Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) goes on an epic manhunt for a serial killer that escaped and nearly killed David Rossi (Joe Mantegna, The Godfather III) again.

“Goldie”: Young woman (Slick Woods) must find a way to hold her family together while chasing her dream of stardom.

“Underwater”: Kristen Stewart stars in this tale of a crew in an undersea mining rig who face a life-or-death situation.

“The Righteous Gemstones: Season 1”: Cable series that follows a celebrity televangelist family who have turned their popular megachurch into a major money-making enterprise.

“Agent Toby Barks”: Siblings learn their pet dog Toby (voiced by Jon Lovitz) is a secret agent working for the U.S. government.

“Police Squad: The Complete Series”: Leslie Nielsen stars in this TV series that was the inspiration for the “Naked Gun” movies.

New on digital platforms as of April 14

“Wendy”: The classic story of Peter Pan is reimagined in by director Benh Zeitlin.

“Fantasy Island”: Visitors to a mysterious island soon learn their fantasy wishes have become nightmares. Lucy Hale stars. Will be released on DVD and Blu-ray on May 12.

“A Dog’s Courage”: Playful dog abandoned by his owners joins a pack of strays and comes to terms with his unwanted and abrupt freedom. Look for it on DVD and Blu-ray on May 5.

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