April 15-- This week's new DVD releases include two productions that take a musical look at high school.
"Zombies"; 3 stars: Following in the steps of the massively popular "Descendants" comes this production from Disney. The music- and dance-filled story looks at a semester at Seabrook High School where students from nearby Zombietown are integrate into the school. Humans and zombies must find a way to get along.
Addison (Meg Donnelly) is a freshman who dreams of being a cheerleader, but that changes when she meets Zed (Milo Manheim), a charismatic zombie determined to play football for the Mighty Shrimp, a team that desperately needs a win. The flak Addison takes for befriending a zombie changes when they start winning games.
The film combines a strong lineup of songs with very impressive dancing. When these two elements have clicked this well in other Disney musicals aimed at younger viewers-such as "High School Musical"-the results have been a hit. It has those elements plus two very likable stars in Donnelly and Manheim.
For a show that deals with the walking dead, there is a lot of life in the production.
"Grease"; 4 stars: It has been 40 years since John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John sang and danced their way through the corridors of Rydell High, but their efforts are as entertaining today as they were four decades ago. There's been plenty of time to second-guess the selection of the film's two stars, but each viewing only fortifies the argument they were the best selections.
Another big reason the production is so strong is the lineup of musical hits that include "Greased Lightnin," "Look At Me, I'm Sandra Dee," "Summer Nights," "Hopelessly Devoted To You," "Beauty School Dropout" and "Grease." One or two hits would be a win for any musical, but this one is loaded.
The film has been available for years and plays on cable regularly. The anniversary edition offers more because both the 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray combo packs also feature more than an hour of previously released bonus material including a sing-along, interviews with the cast, deleted scenes and more. Plus, the Blu-ray combo comes in a collectible packaging with 16 pages of images laid out like a high school yearbook.
If that's not enough, Paramount worked with director Randal Kleiser to restore the film to its original vibrancy with the highest quality sound, picture resolution and color. The original negative was scanned and received extensive cleanup and color correction using previously unavailable digital restoration tools such as high dynamic range technology. In addition, the audio was enhanced from a six-track mix created for an original 70mm release, giving the music more clarity.
ALSO AVAILABLE APRIL 24
"Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Concert": Performers featured include Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Journey, Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ringo Starr and Rush.
"Den of Thieves": Film looks at rivalry between a police unit and a crew of career criminals.
"Cyborg": The 1989 Jean-Claude Van Damme sci-fi thriller is being re-released in a collector's edition.
"Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool": Annette Bening stars in this story of aging Hollywood superstar Gloria Grahame and her younger lover.
"Forever My Girl": Famous country singer tries to win back the love of his life.
"Doctor Detroit": A mild-mannered professor (Dan Aykroyd) must pretend to be a cold-hearted criminal.
"Paddington 2": Paddington must recover a stolen item that is to be a special present.
"Shameless: Season Eight": William H. Macy continues to play Frank Gallagher, an alcoholic single father of six children living in Chicago.
"The Strange Ones": Two young men struggle with their emotions as they look for a new start.
"The Good Fight: Season One": Disgraced lawyer (Christine Baranski) is forced out of her own law firm and joins another distinguished company as a junior partner.
"Maze Runner: The Death Cure": Thomas leads his group of escaped Gladers on their final mission.
"Hostiles": An Army captain (Christian Bale) must safely transport a Cheyenne chief through a contested territory.
"Backstabbing for Beginners": Major scandal rocks one man's faith in diplomacy. Theo James stars.
BEING RELEASED ON DIGITAL HD ON APRIL 24
"Fifty Shades Freed": The third and final film based on E.L. James's best-selling book trilogy. Will be available on DVD and Blu-ray May 8.
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