The home video offerings are plentiful this holiday season including special version and gift set releases (Note: check for release dates, which are always subject to change, as well as different available versions (standard, collector’s, etc.) and formats (e.g. DVD, Blu-ray, digital, etc.).
Looking for films everyone can watch? The family drama Miracles From Heaven strikes a nice balance using a simple format in character dialogue and storyline amid strong casting, themes, and filmmaking that handles the medical subject matter very well. This quality film provides a solid narrative for all ages based on Christy Beam’s 2015 memoir of the same name about her family specifically her daughter Annabel.
The Biblical drama Risen stars Joseph Fiennes (Shakespeare in Love) and Tom Felton (Harry Potter) as two Roman officers tasked with investigating Jesus’ resurrection after His crucifixion. Look for the epic Ben-Hur remake starring Jack Huston, Morgan Freeman, and Rodrigo Santoro as Jesus while Timor Bekmambetov (Wanted) directs.
God’s Not Dead 2 centers on a teacher, played by Melissa Joan Hart (TV’s Sabrina the Teenage Witch), who must contend with challenges to her faith after a school incident. This drama also stars Robin Givens, Ernie Hudson, David A.R. White, Pat Boone, and Fred Thompson (The Hunt For Red October) in one of his last roles.
Bill Gaither’s Homecoming Hymns is a collector set featuring a 150 inspirational life performances plus a 20 song CD, 48 page hymnbook and extensive bonus content. There are extended conversations with Bill and Gloria Gaither. The behind-the-scenes featurettes including “Amazing Grace” and “How Great Thou Art” and a new interview with Bill Gaither talking about hymns.
Make the holidays special with Bob Hope: Hope For the Holidays, which includes several monologues from USO holiday tours and clips from hilarious Christmas sketches. Thanks For The Memories: The Bob Hope Specials features 13 digitally restored and unedited specials from Bob’s stellar career.
Look for The Marx Brothers Silver Screen Collection – a recently restored edition featuring The Cocoanuts, Animal Crackers, Monkey Business, Horse Feathers and Duck Soup.
Walt Disney Pictures offers their animated classic Beauty and the Beast just in time for the film’s 25th anniversary. This Oscar nominated classic captures the magical journey of Belle, voiced by Paige O’Hara, an independent and intelligent, modern-day heroine who’s taken prisoner by a beast, voiced of Robby Benson, in an enchanted castle where his staff is now a teapot, a candelabra, and a mantel clock and other objects.
Zootopia features an animated universe where animals act like humans as Jason Bateman voices fox Nick Wilde; Idris Elba voices yak police Chief Bogo and Ginnifer Goodwin (TV’s Once Upon a Time) plays officer Judy Hopps, a rabbit eager to do some good in this world. Also currently showing on the video streaming service Netflix.
Other new animated features include Elena of Avalor: Ready to Rule, The Little Prince (currently a Netflix exclusive), Thomas & Friends: Tinsel on the Tracks, Star Wars Rebels: The Complete Season 2, LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures Season One and The Lion Guard: Unleash the Power.
Finding Dory continues the animated series with another fish tale focusing on a blue tang named Dory, voiced by Ellen DeGeneres, who discovers memories of her parents. Marlin, voiced by Albert Brooks, and his son Nemo accompany their friend as they all meet new friends including the octopus Hank, voiced by Ed O’Neill, whale Destiny, voiced by Kaitlin Olson, and, echo whale Bailey, voiced by Ty Burrell.
The Secret Life of Pets is set in Manhattan and follows several pets featuring the voice talents of Louis C.K., Eric Stonestreet, Kevin Hart, Ellie Kemper, Jenny Slate, and Albert Brooks (Finding Dory).
Check out some amazing bonus features on Marvel Studios’ mega hit Captain America: Civil War where Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. square off as Captain America and Iron Man amid a myriad of powerful characters including Spider-Man played by young British actor Tom Holland.
Netflix’s Daredevil Season 1 also gets a home release along with the animated Marvel’s Hulk: Where Monsters Dwell.
The 3D versions of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and The Jungle Book will be available in special editions.
Alice Through the Looking Glass features Johnny Depp in his memorable Mad Hatter role along with stars Anne Hathaway (White Queen), Helena Bonham Carter (Red Queen), Mia Wasikowska (Alice Kingsleigh), Stephen Fry (Cheshire Cat) and the late Alan Rickman (voice of the Blue Caterpillar) plus Sasha Baron Cohen as a new character called Time.
Pete’s Dragon blends special effects with live action as character in a small town discover a mysterious boy, well played by the young Oakes Fegley, and his “friend in the forest.” Based on Disney’s original 1977 film, this adventure drama stars Robert Redford, Bryce Dallas Howard (Jurassic World), and Karl Urban (Star Trek).
Steven Spielberg directs family fantasy film The BFG (Big Friendly Giant), which is adapted from the classic book by Roald Dahl. Recent Oscar® winner Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies) stars with Ruby Barnhill, Penelope Wilton and comedian Bill Hader with a screenplay written by Melissa Mathison (E.T.: the Extra-Terrestrial).
The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson – The Vault Series is a hilarious DVD set featuring 12 full classic late night shows with the original commercials.
These classic Vault versions include single disc releases (containing two shows), a 3-disc collector’s set (6 shows + nearly an hour of bonus features), a 6-disc collector’s set (12 shows + two hours of exclusive extras) and a 12-disc deluxe edition collector’s set (24 shows + over 4 hours of exclusive extras).
Relive the sensational 1983 Motown 25: Yesterday · Today · Forever television special, which originally aired on NBC on May 16, 1983. This new-to-retail set includes an extended version of the Motown 25 concert with over 20 additional minutes not seen in the original broadcast, brand-new 5.1 surround sound, over 14 hours of specially-produced bonus features, and an exclusive 48-page collector’s booklet.
The Beach Boys Pet Sounds Classic Album DVD-Audio disc set takes viewers behind the scenes during the creation of this classic album (late 1965 and early 1966), which celebrates its 50th anniversary. Viewers also get over 30 minutes of additional interviews not included in the broadcast version. This DVD set does not play on regular CD players. Also available on Blu-ray.
The Frank Sinatra Collection features three new DVDs including a special 1957 holiday event that includes classic performances with Bing Crosby as well as performances at Madison Square Garden and Japan where he was introduced by Princess Grace of Monaco (High Society).
Get the ultimate collection of live Grand Ole Opry country music performances ever on the 16-disc DVD set of Opry Video Classics Collector’s set, which features 240 amazing, vintage performances from legendary Country Music Hall of Fame stars from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s.
Enjoy some classic country comedy with Hee-Haw: The Collector’s Edition that features HEE-larious discs featuring some of the best sketches and brightest stars from the series’ impressive 23-year history. The 1969 arrival of this classic show was a summer replacement series for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.
The documentary Being Canadian explorers the culture of our neighbors up north with huge amount of celebrities including Mike Myers, Dan Ackroyd, Michael J Fox, Alanis set, Seth Rogen, Martin short, Eugene Levy, William Shatner, Alex Trebek, and Cobie Smulders.
Enjoy more music with the Scorpions Live in Munich 2012, Motley Crue’s farewell – The End: Live in Los Angeles and Fall Out Boys: The Boys of Zummer Tour Live in Chicago, which features their latest 39-city tour ending with a homecoming show in Chicago. A 17 song set plus three bonus music videos.
The Golden Age of Television 11-Disc set features classic shows like The Carol Burnett Show, The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson, The Bob Hope Specials, The Ed Sullivan Show and The Andy Williams Show.
Special television show sets include The Wonders Years: Complete Series (also available in each season), Once Upon a Time: The Complete Fifth Season, Castle: The Complete Eighth Season, Scandal: The Complete Fifth Season, Grey’s Anatomy: The Complete Twelfth Season and Quantico: The Complete First Season.
The Star Trek film series will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the franchise with Star Trek Beyond, the third installment of the modern film series. Stars Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, Karl Urban, John Cho and the recently deceased Anton Yelchin all return in their famous roles as Capt. James T. Kirk, Spock, Uhura, Scotty, Bones, Sulu, and Chekov with Pegg also co-writing the screenplay. Idris Elba (Zootopia), Sofia Boutella (The Kingsmen: Secret Service) and Shohreh Aghdashloo also co-star.
The Hobbit trilogy as well as some special lead-in to the following The Lord of the Rings trilogy. If you enjoyed both trilogies then be sure to grab the very reasonably priced middle-earth Theatrical Collection (available on DVD and Blu-ray).
The star-filled Call of Heroes features wuxia and other martial arts styles set in a 1914 story following the collapse of the Qing dynasty where villagers must rise up against a cruel young warlord. Call of Heroes stars Sean Lau, Louis Koo, Eddie Peng, and Wu Jing. Award winner Benny Chan directs while legendary Sammo Hung is the action director.
Martial art fans can find the foreign version of the sequel Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny on home video. The English (dubbed) version is currently showing on Netflix. This epic stars Donnie Yen and Michelle Yoeh and is directed by Yuen Woo Ping (The Matrix films).
The western Hell or High Water stars Ben Foster and Chris Pine as brothers who desperately turn to crime to save their family’s ranch. Jeff Bridges (Iron Man, TRON: Legacy)
X-Men Apocalypse expands a large character universe based in stalwart characters played by James McAvoy (Charles Xavier), Michael Fassbender (Magneto), Nicholas Hoult (Beast), Jennifer Lawrence (Raven/Mystique), Evan Peters (Quicksilver) and Rose Byrne as U.S. government agent Moira MacTaggert with rebooted appearances of characters played by Sophie Turner (Jean Grey), Tye Sheridan (Scott Summers/Cyclops), Alexandra Shipp (Ororo Munroe/Storm), and Kodi Smit-McPhee (Nightcrawler). Oscar Isaac (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) co-stars as very powerful antagonist Apocalypse while Olivia Munn debuts Betsy Braddock/Psylocke. Look for a Wolverine appearance as well by Hugh Jackman as well as the standard Stan Lee cameo.
The Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice home video release is also available in an ultimate edition with about 30 minutes of extended footage not shown during the original theatrical release of the film plus numerous bonus features. DC fans will really love the limited edition collector’s gift set also includes the ultimate edition with Man of Steel, collectible figurines, comic books, trading cards, and special packaging.
Suicide Squad: Extended Cut features more action with 13 more minutes of footage not previously seen in cinemas. The 4K, 3D and Blu-ray will include the extended version of the film on the Blu-ray disc.
The action adventure film The Legend of Tarzan, based on the Tarzan stories created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, stars Alexander Skarsgård, Margot Robbie, Christoph Waltz (Spectre), and Samuel L. Jackson.
Set in the 1930s, the romantic comedy/drama Café Society, directed by Woody Allen, stars Jesse Eisenberg, Steve Carell, Jeannie Berlin, Blake Lively, Parker Posey, Corey Stoll, Kristen Stewart, and Sheryl Lee.
Jason Bourne is the fifth installment in one of the most successful worldwide film series ever, which are based on the Robert Ludlum novels. Matt Damon returns in the title role along with Julia Stiles as Nicky while rising star Alicia Vikander, Vincent Cassel (Ocean’s 13), and Tommy Lee Jones (The Fugitive) co-star. Written and directed by the returning Paul Greengrass (Captain Phillips).
Kate Beckinsale stars as Lady Susan Vernon in the comedy drama Love & Friendship, which is set in the 1790s and is based on the Jane Austin novella. Her co-stars include Chloe Sevigny, Xavier Samuel, and Morfydd Clark who plays Lady Susan’s daughter. Also currently streaming on the Amazon Prime Video service.
Now You See Me 2 is a magic-filled mystery/thriller (also internationally known with the improved title Now You See Me: The Second Act) where a formidable magician team exposes baddies for the greater good. Jeese Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, Lizzy Caplan, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, and Daniel Radcliffe star.
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has the Mad Max High Octane Collection featuring immense special features from all four Mad Max films as well as the Fury Road Black and Chrome Edition (presented in black-and-white; also available separately).
The Ghostbusters extended edition has plenty of sci-fi action and comedy with two gag reels, four deleted scenes, five featurettes, and a large amount of extended/alternate scene content.