New DVD, Blu-ray and Instant Video releases this week include the classic TV series “Maude,” a cute retelling of “Annie,” the touching animated film “Song of the Sea” and more. Here’s a sneak peek.
MAUDE: THE COMPLETE SERIES
Not rated. Shout! Factory. Buy on Amazon.
Emmy Award-winner Bea Arthur stars in this beloved, groundbreaking sitcom created by Norman Lear. First introduced as Edith Bunker’s outspoken, liberal cousin on the classic TV show “All in the Family,” Maude’s spinoff, set in Tuckahoe, New York, focuses on her daily adventures at home with fourth husband Walter (Bill Macy), divorced daughter Carol (Adrienne Barbeau), and Carol’s son Phillip.
Joining in the fun is housekeeper Florida (Esther Rolle, “Good Times”) and conservative next-door neighbor Arthur (Conrad Bain, “Diff’rent Strokes”). The parade of guest stars includes Rue McClanahan (“The Golden Girls”), John Amos (“Good Times”), Tom Bosley (“Happy Days”) and lots more. Blessed with some of the best comedy writing in TV history (not to mention controversial plotlines), “Maude” is just as funny and surprising today as it was when it debuted in the top ten in the early 1970s.
Rated PG for some mild language and rude humor. Sony Pictures. Buy/Watch on Amazon.
Oscar nominee Quvenzhané Wallis (“Beasts of the Southern Wild”) stars as Annie, a happy young foster kid who’s also tough enough to make her way on the streets of New York in 2014. Left by her parents as a baby with the promise that they’d be back for her some day, it’s been a “hard knock life” ever since with her mean foster mom Miss Hannigan (Cameron Diaz).
But everything changes when hard-nosed tycoon and New York mayoral candidate Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx) – advised by his brilliant VP, Grace (Rose Byrne) and scheming campaign advisor, Guy (Bobby Cannavale) – makes a thinly-veiled campaign move and takes her in. Stacks believes he’s her guardian angel, but Annie’s self-assured nature and bright, sun-will-come-out-tomorrow outlook on life just might mean it’s the other way around. A solid 3.5 of 5 Reels from me – read my full review here.
THE BERENSTAIN BEARS: GET READY FOR SPRING – 3 DVD PACK
Not rated. Phase 4 Films. Buy on Amazon.
Little ones can enjoy three hours with their favorite bear family. When a store window full of colorful novelty kites gets the cubs excited about entering a kite-flying contest, Brother and Sister are surprised when Papa suggests they build their own kite instead of buying one.
So Papa and the cubs build a huge kite (which is too big to fly without an equally big wind). As luck would have it, the wind picks up and when the store-bought kites crash to the ground, everyone joins in to fly “Big Red.” Episodes also include the bears training for the big race and learning how to take care of their new puppy.
BOB ROSS: THE JOY OF PAINTING – SPRING COLLECTION
Not rated. Bayview Entertainment. Buy on Amazon.
Paint happy little clouds! It’s your own private class with the legendary Bob Ross, host of TV’s favorite art show “The Joy of Painting.” This 3-DVD set includes 6.5 hours of Bob bringing you cool lemony breezes, baby green foliage and lots more. Across 13 detailed segments, Bob patiently teaches you his world famous technique for painting your very own relaxing springtime scenes. Also released on DVD this week: Bob Ross: The Joy of Painting – Summer Collection.
DIVE OLLY DIVE & THE PIRATE TREASURE
Not Rated. Universal. Buy on Amazon.
Join Olly, the young submarine-in-training, and his undersea friends as they discover fun, laughter and amazing pirate surprises in this full-length family movie featuring the voices of Mario Lopez and Courtney Lopez.
When Olly and his best friend Beth find a magical compass and a map on an old shipwreck, they soon set sail on an incredible adventure to find a legendary “Pie-Rat” treasure that reflects the beautiful rainbows in the sky. With danger lurking above and below, they’re in the race of their lives to get to the glittery goods before a sneaky shark and his seahorse cronies find it. Youngsters will love this bright, colorful movie.
Rated PG-13 for violence, including battle sequences and intense images. Fox. Buy on Amazon.
From acclaimed director Ridley Scott comes the epic story of one man’s daring courage to take on the might of an empire. Using state of the art visual effects and 3D immersion, Scott brings new life to the story of the defiant leader Moses (Christian Bale) as he rises up against the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses (Joel Edgerton), setting 600,000 slaves on a monumental journey of escape from Egypt and its terrifying cycle of deadly plagues. A solid 4 of 5 Reels from me – read my full review here.
GHOST WHISPERER: THE COMPLETE SERIES
Not Rated. Paramount. Buy on Amazon.
Every soul has something to say, and no one knows this better than Melinda Gordon (Jennifer Love Hewitt), a woman who’s inherited a unique gift from her grandmother: the ability to communicate with the spirits of people who’ve died, but have unfinished business here on Earth.
Over five moving seasons, Melinda navigates between this life and the next one, with help from her husband Jim (David Conrad) and devoted friends Delia (Camryn Manheim), Andrea (Aisha Tyler), Rick (Jay Mohr), Ned (Christoph Sanders) and Eli (Jamie Kennedy), whose near-death experience left him with the ability to hear ghosts. This 29-disc set contains all 107 episodes of the touching series.
LITTLEST PET SHOP: PET SHOP PALS
Not Rated. Shout! Factory. Buy on Amazon.
Blythe and her best friends — Zoe the spaniel; Pepper the skunk; Sunil the mongoose; Russell the hedgehog; Penny the panda; Minka the monkey and Buttercream the bunny — are back for five fun and exciting episodes. Young viewers will also meet new friends like a shy tortoise, a spying cat, a famous comedian orangutan, and Pepper’s new crush. Who could it be? Find out with Blythe and the gang in this sweet series. Episodes Include: Books And Covers, Helicopter Dad, Lotsa Luck, The Nest Hats Craze and Sweet Pepper.
Rated PG for mild action and some rude humor. Fox/Dreamworks. Buy on Amazon.
This cute offshoot of the “Madagascar” franchise finds those crazy penguins smack dab in the middle of a global espionage caper. Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private must join forces with the chic spy organization, the North Wind, led by Agent Classified (I’d tell you his name, but then … you know) to stop the villainous Dr. Octavius Brine from taking over the world. A solid 3.5 of 5 Reels from me – read my full review here.
Not rated. A&E. Buy on Amazon.
What if the apocalyptic prophecies of the Book of Revelation were to unfold today? That’s the terrifying question posed in this thrilling new film from the History Channel. When the Wailing Wall comes down in a series of bomb attacks that rock Jerusalem, the event kick-starts seven years of torment that test the limits of mankind.
Monster storms ravage the coasts, a horrible virus kills millions, and children mysteriously vanish into thin air. Humanity’s only salvation lies in the hands of a TV reporter and his cameraman who embark on an epic journey to decode the secrets of Revelation and identify the Antichrist. If they survive, they stand a chance of witnessing the most extraordinary event of all: The Second Coming of Christ.
Rated R for violence, language throughout, some sexuality. A24 Films. Buy on Amazon.
After breaking out of a maximum-security prison, Brendan Lynch (Ewan McGregor), Australia’s most notorious criminal, enlists 19-year-old JR (Brenton Thwaites) to accompany him and his crew on a gold heist that promises to deliver millions. However, as things start to go wrong, a deadly game of cat and mouse ensues. Directed by Julius Avery, this is the Australian version of the 2009 French film “A Prophet.”
Rated PG for some mild peril, language and pipe smoking images. Universal. Buy/Watch on Amazon.
From Tomm Moore, writer/director of the Oscar-nominated “The Secret of Kells,” comes an enchanting fable of loss, magic and the love of family. When Saoirse and Ben’s mother mysteriously disappears into the ocean, the two children go on an epic journey to find out the truth about her, and in the process, discover mystical secrets about both their mother and Saoirse herself. This lovely animated film features the voices of Brendan Gleeson, Fionnula Flanagan, Pat Shortt, Jon Kenny, Lisa Hannigan and David Rawle.
STAR TREK: THE ORIGINAL SERIES – CAPTAIN KIRK’S BOLDEST MISSIONS
Not Rated. Paramount. Buy on Amazon.
We can never get enough of Captain James Tiberius Kirk, can we? Here, the veteran captain of the Starship Enterprise (William Shatner) steps into the spotlight in this collection of his greatest interstellar adventures. From an encounter with the mysterious Balok in “The Corbomite Maneuver” to rescuing survivors from a planet-killing machine in “The Doomsday Machine” to the critically acclaimed, Hugo Award-winning “The City on the Edge of Forever,” this collection of eight thrill-packed adventures from the original Star Trek series will have you joining Captain Kirk and the Enterprise crew as they boldly go where no man has gone before.
Rated R for violence, language and some sexual content/nudity. Lionsgate. Buy/Watch on Amazon.
Julian Michaels (Bruce Willis) has designed the ultimate resort: VICE, where anything goes and the customers can play out their wildest fantasies with artificial inhabitants who look, think and feel like humans. But when an artificial (Ambyr Childers) becomes self-aware and escapes, she finds herself caught in the crossfire between Julian’s mercenaries and a cop (Thomas Jane) who is determined to shut down Vice and stop the violence once and for all. This is one of those films that’s so bad it’s good. A futuristic escapist story that ventures into cult-film territory.
Images in this feature used courtesy of the studios and distributors.