Here’s a sneak peek at what’s new in theaters and on DVD and Blu-ray this month. Note that release dates are subject to change.
AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON
This epic follow-up to the biggest superhero movie of all time finds Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) trying to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program.
But things go awry and Earth’s mightiest heroes, including Iron Man, Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), The Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), are put to the ultimate test as the fate of the planet hangs in the balance.
When the villainous Ultron (James Spader) emerges, it’s up to The Avengers to stop him, as uneasy alliances form. Along with Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Cobie Smulders (Agent Maria Hill), the team reassemble to defeat the terrifying techno-villain. Along the way, they encounter two powerful newcomers, Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Pietro Maximoff (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), and meet an old friend in a new form known as Vision (Paul Bettany).
FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD
Based on the literary classic by Thomas Hardy, this romantic drama is directed by Thomas Vinterberg and follows the story of independent, beautiful and headstrong Bathsheba Everdene (Carey Mulligan), who attracts three very different suitors: Gabriel Oak (Matthias Schoenaerts), a sheep farmer, captivated by her fetching willfulness; Frank Troy (Tom Sturridge), a handsome and reckless Sergeant; and William Boldwood (Michael Sheen), a prosperous and mature bachelor.
This timeless story of Bathsheba’s choices and passions explores the nature of relationships and love – as well as the ability to overcome hardships through resilience and perseverance.
PITCH PERFECT 2
The Barden Bellas are back in this follow-up to 2012’s smash hit. This time, the collegiate a cappella group is singing in an international competition that no American team has ever won.
Directed by Elizabeth Banks, co-star and producer of “Pitch Perfect,” the movie stars Brittany Snow, Anna Kendrick, Katey Sagal, Anna Camp, Rebel Wilson, Alexis Knaff, Adam DeVine and Hailee Steinfeld.
From Disney comes two-time Oscar winner Brad Bird’s riveting adventure starring Academy Award winner George Clooney. Bound by a shared destiny, former boy-genius Frank (Clooney), jaded by disillusionment, and Casey (Britt Robertson), a bright, optimistic teen bursting with scientific curiosity, embark on a danger-filled mission to unearth the secrets of an enigmatic place somewhere in time and space known only as “Tomorrowland.”
What they must do there changes the world – and them – forever. Also stars Judy Greer, Tim McGraw, Hugh Laurie, and Kathryn Hahn.
It’s been a while since we’ve had a good disaster movie, and I love disaster movies! Especially starring Dwayne Johnson!
After the infamous San Andreas Fault finally gives, triggering a magnitude 9 earthquake in California, a search and rescue helicopter pilot (Johnson) and his estranged wife (Carla Gugino) make their way together from Los Angeles to San Francisco to save their only daughter (Alexandra Daddario).
But their treacherous journey north is only the beginning. Directed by Brad Peyton (“Journey 2: The Mysterious Island”), this action thriller also stars Kylie Minogue, Ioan Gruffudd, Archie Panjabi and Paul Giamatti.
NEW ON DVD/BLU-RAY:
SCOOBY-DOO: 13 SPOOKY TALES – SURF’S UP SCOOBY-DOO!
Not Rated | On DVD 5/5 | Ok for Kids 4+ | Reel Review: 3.5 of 5 Reels | Buy on Amazon
For Scooby-Doo, Shaggy and the rest of the crime-busting crew, life is never a day at the beach. So when the gang go to a Florida resort for a much-needed vacation, they kick back and enjoy some sun, sand and … a sea monster! When a weird water creature causes trouble in paradise by stealing precious jewels, the Scooby Gang will either sink or swim to solve the case. Also, Scooby makes a splash in 12 more fun-filled summertime episodes full of oceanic oddities, aquatic apparitions and haunted lighthouses.
SESAME STREET: ELMO THE MUSICAL, VOL. 2 – LEARN & IMAGINE
Not Rated | On DVD 5/5 | Ok for Kids 5+ | Reel Review: 4 of 5 Reels | Buy on Amazon
Volume 2 of Elmo’s math-filled musicals is packed with seven all-new to DVD episodes. Elmo is “The Count-by-Two Kid” in his own cowboy musical. Will he be able to escort six kitty-cows through a canyon to the Double Double Dude Dude Ranch Ranch? (No, that’s not a typo!) Then Elmo dons a detective hat to investigate the secret behind all the sneezing. With more than two hours of music, adventure, math, friendship and fun, little learners will love to sing along. Includes the bonus full-length video, “Play With Me Sesame: Imagine With Me.”
MICKEY MOUSE CLUBHOUSE: MINNIE’S PET SALON
Not Rated | On DVD 5/19 | Ok for Kids 3+ | Reel Review: 3 of 5 Reels | Buy on Amazon
This sweet DVD from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse includes five episodes from the Disney Jr. cartoon: 1) Minnie’s Pet Salon – The friends prepare for Pluto’s All-Star Pet Show; 2) Daisy’s Pet Project – Daisy must choose a pet for the Pet Parade; 3) Pluto’s Puppy-Sitting Adventure – Clarabelle’s puppy, Bella, gets a sitter; 4) Donald’s Ducks – Donald helps some ducks get to the beach; and 5) Pluto Lends a Paw – Minnie’s cat Figaro is missing and Mickey and Pluto help find him.
Rated G | On DVD & Blu-ray 5/19 | Ok for Kids 4+ | Reel Review: 4.5 of 5 Reels | Buy on Amazon
From the awesome folks at Shout! Factory comes freshly hatched bee Maya (voiced by Coco Jack Gillies), a little whirlwind who simply won’t follow the rules of the hive, including never trust the hornets who live beyond the meadow.
When the Royal Jelly is stolen, the hornets are the prime suspects and Maya is thought to be their accomplice. Now, it’s up to Maya and her good-natured best friend Willy (Kodi Smit-McPhee) to prove her innocence and find the missing Royal Jelly! Also features the voices of Jackie Weaver, Noah Taylor and Richard Roxburgh.
LOONEY TUNES: MUSICAL MASTERPIECES
Not Rated | On DVD 5/26 | Ok for Kids 3+ | Reel Review: 4 of 5 Reels | Buy on Amazon
No one does cartoon music better than Looney Tunes, and this DVD includes 18 music-themed “Looney Tunes” shorts, including “A Corny Concerto,” “Rabbit Of Seville,” “What’s Opera, Doc?,” “Katnip Kollege,” “Pigs In A Polka,” and more from stars Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, and others. Bonus features include “It Hopped One Night: The Story Behind One Froggy Evening” and Wagnerian Rabbit: The Making of What’s Opera, Doc?” Classic stuff for kids to enjoy with the grownups in their lives.
JANE’S REEL RATING SYSTEM
One Reel – Even the Force can’t save it.
Two Reels – Coulda been a contender
Three Reels – Something to talk about.
Four Reels – You want the truth? Great flick!
Five Reels – Wow! The stuff dreams are made of.
Images used with permission of the studios and distributors.