This week’s home entertainment releases include the biggest release of 2017 so far, plus the latest season of Doctor Who, the first season of SyFy’s Van Helsing, a thriller from the director of the best Pirates of the Caribbean movies, and a new edition of Katsuhiro Otomo’s science fiction anime classic Akira.

Theatrical Movies

The biggest release this week is Bill Condon’s Beauty and the Beast (Disney, PG-13, $29.98, BD $39.98), a live-action musical fantasy/romance based on the 1991 Disney animated feature.  So far Beauty and the Beast has earned $1.2 billion globally and a 2017-leading $501 million here in North America.  Those who enjoyed the 1991 Disney animated version will also enjoy the 2017 “live-action” version (though fans remained divided about which film is the better).  Those who don’t like musicals (or the Disney version thereof) should steer clear.

Also out this week is Gore Verbinski’s psychological thriller A Cure for Wellness (Fox, “R,” 146 min., $29.98, BD $39.99), which bombed at the box office in spite of good production values and an excellent cast that includes Oscar Isaacs, Dane DeHaan, and Mia Goth.  A Cure for Wellness looks good, but never quite jells narratively—and though the film never caught on with either critics or audiences, there are much worse things to watch on a long flight.

Other films due on disc this week include the indie dramedy The Last Word (Universal, “R,” $22.98, BD $29.98), which stars Shirley MacLaine as a cantankerous retired PR person and total control freak, who hires a young writer (played by Amanda Seyfried) to pen her obituary; and the least successful (at the box office) and  yet most praised (by the critics who gave it a 73% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes) film out this week, The Sense of an Ending (Lionsgate, “PG-13,” 108 min., $19.98), an adaptation of Julian Barnes’ Man Booker Prize-winning novel, which should please those who enjoy “literary films,” though it is hard to capture the subtle time-warping tricks of the novelist on the screen where Proustian moments are apparently harder to create than they are on the page.


This week’s top “geek” TV release is Doctor Who: The Tenth Series—Part 1 (BBC, 300 min., $24.98, BD $29.98), the latest collection of the revived Doctor Who series featuring Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor and brings back Matt Lucas as Nardole, who despite his normal appearance and stay-at-home demeanor, is actually an alien from the 54th Century, and one of the Doctor’s most interesting allies.  Series 10 episodes began airing in April of 2017, so these episodes are about as fresh as “TV on DVD” releases get.

Also of interest is the near future vampire thriller Van Helsing: Season 1 (Universal, 559 min., $39.98, BD $44.98), the post-apocalyptic  Syfy series that was inspired by Xenescape Entertainment’s comic book Helsing, and stars Kelly Overton as the resurrected leader of the resistance to vampire rule.

The only other new series is the Italian/American co-production The Young Pope (HBO, $49.99, BD $59.99), which stars Jude Law as the first American Pontiff and Diane Keaton as a nun who serves as the Pope’s secretary.  The Young Pope lays bare the vicious struggle within the church between “liberals” and “conservatives.”

Animated TV on DVD releases this week include a new edition of Archie’s Weird Mysteries: The Complete Series (Mill Creek, 892 min., $19.98), which collects the 40-episode 1999-2000 Archie Comics-based series that was syndicated and used primarily by stations to fulfill their obligation to provide programming for kids; plus the Bugs Bunny/Looney Tunes Super Stars, Vol. 2 (Warner Bros., $19.94); and the PBS series Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego: The Complete Series (Mill Creek, 860 min., $19.98).

Vintage TV releases include the 1998 Merlin: The Complete Miniseries Event (Mill Creek, 182 min., $14.98), which stars Sam Neill as the Arthurian sorcerer; the 1977-1983 action crime dramedy CHiPs: The Complete Series (Warner Bros., $129.95); a ten-disc collection of the Tom Bosley-starring Father Dowling Mysteries: The Complete Series (Paradox, $29.98); the inspirational Michael Landon-produced Highway to Heaven: Messages From Above—The 2-Part Episode Collection (Mill Creek, 387 min., $14.98); the 17-episode 1967 western series based on a John Wayne movie, Hondo: The Complete Series (Warner Bros., 834 min., $39.99); the 2003-2005 religiously-themed family series Joan of Arcadia: The Complete Series (Paramount, 1800 min., $36.98); the 2005-2010 police procedural NUMB3RS: The Complete Series (Paramount, 4,800 min., $89.98); and the EC Comics-based Tales From the Crypt: The Complete Series (Warner Bros., $169.99).

The lone series from overseas this week (not counting The Young Pope) is the Australian women’s prison drama Wentworth: Series 3 (Acorn Media, 580 min., $59.99), a series that has been referred to as “the Australian Orange Is the New Black” more than once.


This week’s anime releases have all been released here before, some in many different formats.  That is especially true for Katsuhiro Otomo’s classic anime science fiction movie Akira (Funimation, 124 min., BD/DVD Combo $39.95), which is now available in a new Steelbook edition that comes with a 32-page full color booklet. 

An even earlier anime classic (in the popular mecha genre) is the Mobile Suit Gundam Movie Trilogy (Right Stuf, 420 min., Subtitles Only, $59.99), a collection of three compilation films created out of the classic 43-episode 1979-1981 TV series. 

Also in the “subtitles only” category is the Sound of the Sky: Complete Collection (Right Stuf, 325 min., Subtitles Only, $49.99), the comedy/slice-of-love/science fiction anime TV series from A-1 Pictures that was released here by Right Stuf back in 2011.

Another re-release this week is the Kino’s Journey: Complete Collection (Sentai Filmworks, 325 min., $29.98), which collects a 13-episode series from 2003 that was originally released here by ADV.  With a new Kino’s Journey anime announced this year, fans might want to check out the original version at a very reasonable price.