Two first-class productions looking at the space program top this week’s DVD selections.
“Hidden Figures” Grade ☆☆☆☆: The film continues the hot Hollywood trend of basing feature films on real stories. It’s a tale of incredible courage and determination that has such a powerful message about the pure absurdity of racism that this movie should be mandatory viewing for every man, woman and child.
Director Theodore Malfi manages to make his points about social injustice with such a steady approach that the significance lands early and continues to grow long after the closing credits. Movies based on real stories tend to focus on heroic events, and “Hidden Figures” is no different.
But the courage shown here takes on a much larger importance.
“Mars” Grade ☆☆☆: The limited series “Mars” is a hybrid of scripted and non-scripted material.
Part of the production is a dramatized story of a handful of Earth astronauts in 2033 who go on the first manned mission to colonize Mars. This story is mixed with current-day interviews with top scientists explaining how each hurdle would be faced and defeated.
The experts are from NASA, JPL and the European Space Agency. It also includes a look at SpaceX, the commercial enterprise that manufactures and launches rockets.
This blend of drama and real interviews makes “Mars” as entertaining as it is informative.
Also new on DVD April 11
▪ “The Bye Bye Man”: Saying his name is a nightmare.
▪ “Lion”: After being separated from his family for 25 years, a young man searches for his home.
▪ “Monster Trucks”: High schooler builds a monster truck as a way of getting out of his hometown.
▪ “Daughters of the Dust”: Julie Dash’s story of the Gullah people is being re-released to mark the film’s 25th anniversary.
▪ “Believe”: Small town business owner struggles with funding for annual Christmas pageant.
▪ “Claire In Motion”: Women begins to find clues three weeks after her husband disappears.
▪ “The Story of God: Season Two”: Morgan Freeman travels the world in search of answers to major religious questions.
▪ “Tangled Ever After”: Rapunzel (Mandy Moore) looks to make up for lost time being locked in the tower.
▪ “Toni Erdmann”: Ambitious corporate consultant pushed to embrace life.
▪ “Caltiki the Immortal Monster”: Riccardo Freda and Mario Bava star in this cult classic.
▪ “Worlds Apart”: Three tales of romance unfold during a time of financial crisis in Europe.
▪ “Lonely Boys”: Two friends make a discovery during a weekend to try to forget their problems.
▪ “War on Everyone”: Two crooked cops get more than they planned for with latest scheme.
▪ “Silicon Valley: The Complete Third Season”: Pied Piper team faces challenges of a new boss.
▪ “Veep: The Complete Fifth Season”: Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) continues to spin her wheels in Washington, D.C.
▪ “Sword Master”: Powerful swordsman is haunted by his past.
▪ “Mad Families”: Three families compete in a series of competitions for the same campsite during Fourth of July weekend.
▪ “Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir: It’s Ladybug!”: Two heroes fight crime in Paris.
▪ “Walking With the Enemy”: Man disguised as Nazi SS officer uncovers big secrets.
▪ “America’s National Parks: Centennial Collection”: Includes Olympic, Yosemite, Everglades, Yellowstone, Saguaro, Grand Canyon and Great Smoky Mountains.
▪ “Django Prepare a Coffin”: Drifter must stop a crooked local politician.
Available on Digital HD on April 11:
▪ “La La Land”: You can now own the movie musical that was almost this year’s Oscar winner for Best Picture.
▪ “Underworld: Blood Wars”: Selene fights to end the eternal war.