There’s a long list of new DVD releases to consider when doing your holiday shopping.
“The Secret Life of Pets”: 2.5 our 4 stars. Seeing the new release is like getting a new puppy. It starts out exciting, but it soon settles into a familiar routine.
The film comes from the same team that produced the sweet, funny and memorable “Despicable Me.” That film is almost impossible to follow, especially when there are no breakout characters like the Minions. The characters that come closest to standing out are a spunky poodle named Gidget (Jenny Slate) and a feisty bunny named Snowball (Kevin Hart) who runs the underground animal world. They are good, but they run a distant second to the magical Minions.
“The Hollars”: 3 stars. Certain actors automatically lift the level of a production merely by being part of the cast. Margo Martindale is one such actor. So is Richard Jenkins.
Put those two together, which “The Hollars” does, and there’s a strength despite a script by James Strouse that is little more than cable-movie fodder. The sure-thing actors give the movie a beautiful emotional depth.
It doesn’t stop there. Director John Krasinski has cast himself along with Anna Kendrick and Sharlto Copley to put together a compelling ensemble. Even supporting players Josh Groban, Charlie Day and Mary Kay Place get the most out of their roles.
“For the Love of Spock”: 3.5 stars. Adam Nimoy’s original idea for the documentary “For the Love of Spock” was to take a detailed look at the character that his father, Leonard Nimoy, had created on the original TV series “Star Trek.” Spock is one of the most iconic TV characters of all time, and the film fills in details of how the character came into being and grew into such a beloved figure.
The filmmaker accomplishes this and, in the process, gives “Star Trek” fans a comprehensive story of everything from the struggle to create the right look for Spock’s ears to how Nimoy came up with the idea for the Vulcan greeting of “live long and prosper.” It is a fascinating look at the acting process.
ALSO NEW ON DVD
“LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures”: Family of scavengers collect space junk to build starships.
“Jason Bourne”: The CIA’s most dangerous weapon is pulled back into the line of fire.
“The Unspoken”: Tale of haunting and murder starring Neal McDonough.
“The Great Gilly Hopkins”: Foster child hatches scheme to be reunited with her birth mother.
“Kicks”: Boy and his two friends venture into the tough streets of East Oakland to get back stolen sneakers.
“BrainDead: Season One”: Comic thriller set in Washington, D.C.
“Zoo: The Second Season”: Battle with beasts gets more organized.
“Dead Rising: Endgame”: Investigative journalist is hunted by the military.
“Maximum Ride”: Six DNA-enhanced orphans with the ability to fly look to rescue the youngest of their flock.
“Decommissioned”: Retired CIA agent is kidnapped and tortured.
“Howards End”: The Merchant Ivory classic is being re-released to mark the 25th anniversary.
“Elena of Avalor: Ready to Rule”: The story of how a teen learns how to be a good ruler.
“Scream Queens: Season One”: Network series about a deadly college sorority.
“The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let’s Do the Time Warp Again”: The network version of the classic horror musical stars Laverne Cox.
“Don’t Think Twice”: Six best friend comedians examine their lives.
“Beauty and the Beast: The Final Season”: Detective falls for a doctor hiding a deadly secret.
“Author: The JT Leroy Story”: Documentary on how the prose of JT Leroy was a work of fiction.
“The Possession Experiment”: College project on exorcisms leads to strange events.
“The 2016 World Series”: A look at the how the Chicago Cubs ended their long baseball drought.
“The Quiet Earth”: Project loosely based on Craig Harrison’s novel of the same name.
“Sins of Our Youth”: Lucas Till stars in the story of four teenagers who accidentally kill a younger boy.
“In Order of Disappearance”: Man finds proof his son’s overdose death was really a murder.
“Neither Heaven Nor Earth”: Calm sector between warring parties shaken by mysterious events.
“Frontline: The Choice 2016”: Examination of race for the White House.
“Greenleaf: Season 1”: Family drama starring Merle Dandridge.
“Phantasm: Ravager”: Classic horror film has been re-released.
“Knucklehead”: Mental illness drama starring Gbenga Akinnagbe.
“The Secret Agent”: Thriller based on Joseph Conrad’s novel.
“The Devil’s Dolls”: Serial killer’s curse unleashes a season of slaughter in the Mississippi backwoods.
“Curse of the Man Who Sees UFOs”: Man waging a lonely campaign to prove alien beings are visiting Earth gets extra attention.
AVAILABLE ON DIGITAL HD
“The Magnificent Seven”: Seven gunmen come to the aid of a small village.
“Sully”: Pilot becomes a hero when he is forced to make a water landing in the Hudson River.
“The Monkey King 2”: Soi Cheangoe” directs the sequel set 500 years after the original.
“Storks”: After years of being out of the baby-delivery business, one stork must make a very important delivery.
“All Eyes and Ears”: Mixes stories of U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman, his adopted Chinese daughter and blind legal advocate.