Two strong musical efforts and a scary tale top the new DVD releases for Sept. 24.
“Pavarotti”; 3 stars: Director Ron Howard’s latest documentary offering takes a traditional approach to storytelling. In a three-act design, Howard shows the life and legend of Luciano Pavarotti, the man dubbed “The People’s Tenor.” Through a mix of interviews and archival footage, Howard tells a warm and inviting story of the singer from his humble beginnings to the almost godlike status he achieved in the opera world.
The way Howard has put the film together, it’s as if Pavarotti had lived a life similar to the tragic characters he sang about with such power and grace. The spiritually unbridled persona Pavarotti showed the world often was a mask to hide the emotional turmoil of his married life and his driving passion to use his fame and fortune to help give the world a voice.
Although the film is a beautiful tribute, Howard’s less-inspired approach and a slower pace (the running time is 114 minutes) compared to his examination of the Beatles makes the project seem like a small step backward.
“Yesterday”; 3.5 stars: Yesterday, all Jack Malik’s (Himesh Patel) problems looked as though they were here to stay. His efforts to make a living as a musician had come to a screeching end when he lands in the hospital after an accident.
But when he wakes up, it appears Jack is the only person who can remember the Beatles. He immediately starts performing their tunes and passing them off as his own. The songs take him from a nowhere man to a star. But he must decide if stardom is worth losing his greatest love.
The romantic comedy from Danny Boyle and screenwriter Richard Curtis blends the superb soundtrack with a sweet love story. Patel plays the role as a man with both a deep sense of honor and a huge need for success.
Toss in a surprise moment that will make your jaw drop and you should pick up “Yesterday” today.
“Skin”; 3 stars: “Skin” is the scariest film of the year.
It doesn’t need creatures from other worlds trying to kill the population or the undead creeping around in search of a brain snack. What makes “Skin” so frightening is it is all based in reality. The evil depicted here roams the planet with such an unbridled hatred it should keep everyone awake at night.
Based on a true story, the film follows Byron (Jamie Bell), a member of a white supremacist group. After years of being a good soldier, Bryon decides he wants to escape to a new life.
Director/writer Guy Nattiv takes an almost documentary approach to the presentation. He knows the tale is so compelling — as brought to life by two Oscar-worthy performances — that he didn’t need to do any more than let the story unfold fluidly.
ALSO AVAILABLE SEPT. 24
“Shaft”: John Shaft Jr. (Jessie T. Usher) turns to his father (Samuel L. Jackson) for help.
“Child’s Play”: Reimagining of the 1988 horror classic about a killer doll.
“Billions: Season Four”: When everyone is out for revenge, no one is safe.
“Kings of Beer”: Group of elite Budweiser Brewmasters battle it out to brew the world’s most iconic American lager.
“8 Days: To the Moon and Back”: A look at the journey of the crew of Apollo 11.
“Pitching In”: Man (Larry Lamb) finds his peace and quiet disrupted when his flighty daughter and grandson move back home.
“DC’s Legends of Tomorrow: The Complete Fourth Season”: The time-traveling team deals with one of their own being taken over by a demon.
“The Tracker”: Former sniper (Dolph Lundgren) looks for the truth behind the murder of his wife and child.
“Madam Secretary: Season Five”: Téa Leoni stars in the CBS series about a determined secretary of state who handles issues at the White House and at home.
“John Carpenter’s Vampires”: Vampire slayer must get back an ancient Catholic relic in this 1998 film starring James Woods.
“The First King”: Romulus and Remus go on a journey that will lead one of them to be the founder of the greatest nation ever seen.
“Dinosaur Train: Dinosaurs Big and Small”: Includes 10 adventures with Buddy, the Tyrannosaurus Rex, his friends and adoptive Pteranodon family.
“A Score to Settle”: Dying convict (Nicolas Cage) looks to reconnect with his son and to deal with his old gang.
“Hypnosis to be Happy”: Ericka Ramírez and Antón Araiza star in this tale that is part romance and part road trip.
“Madness in the Method”: Actor Jason Mewes tracks down a secret acting book to change himself into a serious actor.
“Anna”: Young woman shows she has more skills than just the ability to charm a room. Luke Evans stars.
AVAILABLE ON DIGITAL HD SEPT. 24
“Midsommar”: A trip to a Swedish village becomes more sinister with each passing day. Will be released on DVD and Blu-ray Oct. 8.
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