The real-life story of one working wife and mother who became a hero to hundreds during World War II. In 1939 Poland, Antonina Zabinska (Jessica Chastain) and her husband, Dr. Jan Zabinski (Johan Heldenbergh), have the Warsaw Zoo flourishing under his stewardship
and her care. When their country is invaded by the Nazis, Jan and Antonina are stunned – and forced to report to the Reich’s newly appointed chief zoologist, Lutz Heck (Daniel Brühl. To fight back on their own terms, Antonina and Jan covertly begin working with the
Resistance – and put into action plans to save lives out of what has become the Warsaw Ghetto, with Antonina putting herself and even her children at great risk. Based on The New York Times best seller by Diane Ackerman.
Vitals: Director: Niki Caro. Stars: Jessica Chastain, Johan Heldenbergh, Michael McElhatton, Daniel Brühl, Iddo Goldberg, Efrat Dor.
2017, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 127 min., Drama, Box office gross: $16.839 million, Universal.Extras: Deleted scenes, "The Making of The Zookeeper’s Wife," "The Zabinski Family" A closer look at the selfless family at the center of "The Zookeeper’s Wife," including interviews with Teresa Zabinska and Ryszard Zabinski, the real-life children of Antonina and Jan.
The Fate of the Furious
Now that Dom and Letty are on their honeymoon and Brian and Mia have retired from the game -- and the rest of the crew has been exonerated -- the globetrotting team has found a semblance of a normal life. But when a mysterious woman known as Cipher (Charlize Theron) lures Dom back into the world of crime he can’t seem to escape. Now in the services of the world's greatest cyber criminal, Dom is pitted against his old crew and his friend, DSS Agent Hobbs. When they cannot stop him, they're forced to recruit one of their greatest enemies to take on Dom in a high octane, high stakes battle. From the shores of Cuba and the streets of New York City to the icy plains off the arctic Barents Sea, the elite force crisscrosses the globe to stop an anarchist from unleashing chaos on the world’s stage ... and to bring home the man who made them a family.
Vitals: Director: F. Gary Gray. Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Charlize Theron, Vin Diesel, Jason Statham, Scott Eastwood, Jordana Brewster, Kurt Russell, Helen Mirren, Michelle Rodriguez, Elsa Pataky, Nathalie Emmanuel, Lucas Black, Kristofer Hivju, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris.
2017, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 136 min., Action, Box office gross: $216.032 million, Universal.Extras: "All About the Stunts," extended fight scenes, feature commentary with director F. Gary Gray.Blu-ray adds "The Cuban Spirit": As the first major studio motion picture to shoot in Cuba in decades, the country's effusive spirit permeates the making of the film; "In the Family"; "Car Culture" puts viewers into the driver's seat of the supercharged vehicles showcased in film. Director's extended cut on Digital versions.
The Lost City of Z
Tells the incredible true story of British explorer Percy Fawcett (Charlie Hunnam), who journeys into the Amazon at the dawn of the 20th century and discovers evidence of a previously unknown, advanced civilization. Supported by his devoted wife (Sienna Miller), son (Tom Holland) and aide-de-camp (Robert Pattinson) -- Fawcett returns time and again to his beloved jungle in search of the lost city, culminating in his mysterious disappearance in 1925.
Vitals: Director: James Gray. Stars: Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson, Sienna Miller, Tom Holland, Angus Macfadyen, Ian McDiarmid, Franco Nero..
2016, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 141 min., Action-Adventure, Box office gross: $8.846 million, Broad Green Pictures.Extras: Commentary, three behind-the-scenes featurettes.
Smurfs: The Lost Village
In this fully animated, all-new take on the Smurfs, a mysterious map sets Smurfette and her best friends Brainy, Clumsy and Hefty on a race through the Forbidden Forest filled with magical creatures to find a mysterious lost village before the evil wizard Gargamel does. Embarking on a rollercoaster journey full of action and danger, the Smurfs are on a course that leads to the discovery of the biggest secret in Smurf history.
Vitals: Director: Kelly Asbury. Stars: Voices of Demi Lovato, Rainn Wilson, Joe Manganiello, Jack McBrayer, Danny Pud, Michelle Rodriguez, Ellie Kemper, Ariel Winter, Mandy Patinkin, Julia Roberts..
2016, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 90 min., Family, Box office gross: $44.708 million, Sony.Extras: Filmmaker commentary, Meghan Trainor “I'm A Lady” music video, "The Emoji" movie sneak peek, 11 featurettes. Blu-ray adds deleted scenes and an additional featurette.
With England’s morale at stake in 1940 during The Blitz, Catrin (Arterton), an untried screenwriter, works under fire with a makeshift cast and crew to make a film to lift the nation’s flagging spirits, and inspire America to join the war. Catrin and a fellow writer, Buckley (Claflin), reluctantly joins forces with a fading matinee idol, Ambrose Hilliard (Nighy), on a movie to warm the hearts of the nation and capture the imagination of the American public. Based on the best-selling novel by Lissa Evans.
Vitals: Director: Lone Scherfig. Stars: Gemma Arterton, Sam Claflin, Jack Huston, Helen McCrory, Eddie Marsan, Richard E. Grant, Bill Nighy.
2016, CC, MPAA rating: R, 117 min., Drama, Box office gross: $3.603 million, Lionsgate.Extras: “Flickers of Hope: The Making of Their Finest” featurette, commentary with director Lone Scherfig.
Kong: Skull Island
This is not your daddy's King Kong. There's no boat ride to New York, no Empire State Building, no "Beauty and the Beast" love story. But there's plenty of pesky, buzzing helicopters to annoy Kong, plenty of hideous, oversize creatures for Kong to battle, plenty of human deaths. This is the fourth version of "King Kong," and it's by far the most sophisticated in its use of special effects, if nothing else. Set in 1973, as the Vietnam War is winding down and American soldiers are being recalled stateside, a quasi-government organization named Monarch -- with ulterior motives -- marshals a diverse team of scientists, Vietnam helicopter crews, and adventurers to explore a mythical, uncharted island in the Pacific, as dangerous as it is beautiful. Unknown to everyone is that the island is the home of Kong, who definitely doesn't want to be bothered by humans buzzing him in their puny helicopters. After the opening salvo of man vs. ape, the devastated team of adventurers and soldiers has to cross Skull Island to rendezvous with their rescuers -- but first they have to fend off all manner of horrendous monsters, as well as Kong himself. As you might expect, despite a great cast -- Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, Brie Larson and John C. Reilly -- the star here is the special effects. There's breathtaking action and creature sequences, but the storyline falters when it focuses on the humans -- in particular the motivations of the leader of the helicopter Sky Devils (Jackson) and the head of Monarch (Goodman). And poor Hiddleston -- coming off acclaim for his bravura roles in "The Night Manager" and "High-Rise" -- has little to do with his one-dimensional role as a skilled tracker/British Special Air Service member -- and the film's nominal hero (after Kong). Still, its a fun thrill ride that clocks in at just under two hours.Vitals: Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts. Stars: Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, Brie Larson, John C. Reilly, Corey Hawkins, John Ortiz.
2017, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 118 min., Action Adventure, Box office gross: $167.051 million, Warner.Extras: Director’s commentary, "Creating a King: Realizing an Icon," "Creating a King: Summoning a God," "Monarch Files 2.0," "Tom Hiddleston: The Intrepid Traveler," "Through the Lens: Brie Larson’s Photography," "On
Location: Vietnam," deleted scenes.
Empires fall, love survives. When Michael (Oscar Isaac), a brilliant medical student, meets Ana (Charlotte Le Bon), their shared Armenian heritage sparks an attraction that explodes into a romantic rivalry between Michael and Ana’s boyfriend Chris (Christian Bale), a famous American photojournalist dedicated to exposing political truth. As the Ottoman Empire crumbles into war-torn chaos, their conflicting passions must be deferred while they join forces to get their people to safety and survive themselves. Set during the last days of the Ottoman Empire (1918-1920).
Vitals: Director:. Stars: Charlotte Le Bon, Oscar Isaac, Christian Bale, Angela Sarafyan, Shohreh Aghdashloo, James Cromwell, Jean Reno, Rade Serbedzija.
2016, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 133 min., Drama, Box office gross: $8.224 million, Universal.Extras: Deleted scenes, "The Love Story" featurette, "War and Struggle" featurette (in which the filmmakers balanced the historical responsibility of conveying the plight of Armenians during WWI accurately with the creative responsibility of developing relatable characters), "A Cause" featurette (in which director Terry George and the cast discuss why the theme of hope is so crucial to understanding Armenian resilience in the face of the wartime atrocities), commentary with director Terry George and producer Eric Esrailian.
Ghost in the Shell
The long-awaited big-screen live-action adaptation of the internationally acclaimed Japanese Manga “The Ghost in the Shell” was, unfortunately, not greater than the sum of its parts. Set in the mid-21st century in Japan, at a time when cyber-technology has advanced to the point that humans can augment their bodies with cybernetic parts and appendages -- blurring the line between humans and robots -- the story follows Major Killian (Scarlett Johansson), supposedly the first of her kind, a human saved from a terrible crash, who is cyber-enhanced (her brain is placed in a synthetic shell) to be a perfect soldier devoted to stopping the world’s most dangerous cyber-criminals. When terrorists hack into the minds of several scientists working for the world's foremost cyber company, and then kill them, Major is called upon to lead her Section 9 cyber security force to track down the villains. Along the way she discovers that she's been lied to: her life was not saved, it was stolen as part of a longtime set of experiments to create the perfect android. Now she'll stop at nothing to recover her past, find out who did this to her and stop them before they continue to do it to others. The technical aspects of "Ghost" is astounding, ratcheting up computer special effects to create a believable future world in which holographic ads dominate cityscapes (imagine "Blade Runner's Los Angeles times 10), people exist with various cyber-heightened strengths, and brain-hacking is the latest in computer crimes. The visuals and action sequences are, at times astounding. But, unfortunately, the acting and story leave much to be desired. In particular, character development takes a backseat to the demands of quick action and stereotypes, and the story plods along from one set piece to another. Scarlett Johansson is fairly low-key as Major Killian (she must be getting tired of playing super-spies, aliens, and super-charged humanoids by now), Juliette Binoche is way too staid as the Major's creator, and the great "Beat" Takeshi Kitano ("Battle Royale" and "Zatoichi") almost fades into the background. Still, the astounding visuals and action sequences are worth the price of admission. Just have microwave popcorn handy for the lulls.
Vitals: Director: Rupert Sanders. Stars: Scarlett Johansson, Michael Pitt, Juliette Binoche, Takeshi Kitano, Michael Wincott, Pilou Asbaek, Rila Fukushima.
2017, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 107 min., Action, Box office gross: $40.563 million, Paramount.Extras: "Hard-Wired Humanity: Making Ghost in the Shell," "Section 9: Cyber Defenders," "Man & Machine: The Ghost Philosophy."
The Boss Baby
Seven-year-old Tim Templeton suddenly finds his share of parental love plummeting when his new baby brother (Alec Baldwin) arrives -- wearing a suit and toting a briefcase -- and makes it clear to everyone that he’s in charge. But when Tim discovers that Boss Baby is on a secret mission, he reluctantly agrees to team up with his pint sized sibling for an epic adventure that might just change the world.
Vitals: Director: Tom McGrath. Stars: Voices of Alec Baldwin, Steve Buscemi, Jimmy Kimmel, Lisa Kudrow, Tobey Maguire, Miles Bakshi.
2017, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 97 min., Family Animated, Box office gross: $172.169 million, Fox.Extras: New mini adventure: "The Boss Baby and Tim’s Treasure Hunt Through Time," "The Forever Puppy Infomercial," "BabyCorp and You" featurette, "Babies vs. Puppies: Who Do YOU Love?" featurette, "The Boss Baby's Undercover Team," "Cookies Are for Closers: Inside BabyCorp" behind the scenes with director Tom McGrath, "The Great Sibling Competition."
Frank Adler (Chris Evans) is a single man raising a child prodigy -- his spirited young niece Mary (Mckenna Grace) -- in a coastal town in Florida. Frank's plans for a normal school life for Mary are foiled when the seven-year-old’s mathematical abilities come to the attention of Frank’s formidable mother Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan) whose plans for her granddaughter threaten to separate Frank and Mary.
Vitals: Director: Marc Webb. Stars: Chris Evans, McKenna Grace, Lindsay Duncan, Jenny Slate, Octavia Spencer, Julie Ann Emery.
2017, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 101 min., Drama, Box office gross: $24.282 million, Fox.Extras: Deleted scenes, five feturettes, "On Location: Gifted," gallery.
Tessa Connover (Katherine Heigl) is barely coping with the end of her marriage when her ex-husband, David (Geoff Stults), becomes happily engaged to Julia Banks (Rosario Dawson) -- not only bringing Julia into the home they once shared but also into the life of their
daughter, Lily. Trying to settle into her new life, Julia believes she has finally met the man of her dreams, the man who can help her put her own troubled past behind her. But Tessa’s jealousy soon takes a pathological turn until she will stop at nothing to turn Julia’s dream into her ultimate nightmare.
Vitals: Director: Denise Di Novi. Stars: Katherine Heigl, Rosario Dawson, Geoff Stults, Cheryl Ladd, Sarah Burns, Whitney Cummings, Simon Kassianides, Isabella Kai Rice, Robert Ray Wisdom.
2017, CC, MPAA rating: R, 100 min., Drama, Box office gross: $11.374 million, Warner.Extras: Director's commentary. Blu-ray adds "Reclaiming What's Yours: Making Unforgettable" featurette, deleted scene.
All DVDs are screened on a reference system consisting of a
Oppo BDP-83 Blu-ray Disc Player w/SACD & DVD-Audio, a
Rotel RSX-972 Surround Sound Receiver, and Phase Technology 1.1 (front), 33.1 (center),
and 50 (rear) speakers and Power 10 subwoofer.