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Spielbergs Bridge of Spies on Blu-ray and DVD this week
Jack Black plays R.L. Stine in the horror-comedy "Goosebumps," now on Blu-ray and DVD. - photo by Chris Hicks
Steven Spielbergs excellent true-story thriller Bridge of Spies is on Blu-ray and DVD this week.

Bridge of Spies (Touchstone, 2015, PG-13, featurettes). Tom Hanks stars as James Donovan, a Brooklyn insurance lawyer who becomes embroiled in controversy in the late 1950s when he is tapped by the government to defend Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance), on trial as an accused Soviet spy and later to negotiate an exchange of Abel for Francis Gary Powers (Austin Stowell), a U-2 pilot shot down over the Soviet Union.

Its the height of the Cold War and Donovan must tread lightly with the Soviets while navigating unfriendly public opinion in his own country, a balancing act that director Steven Spielberg conveys perfectly. Hanks is solid, of course, and Rylances performance is wonderfully understated (and earned him an Oscar nomination). Amy Ryan and Alan Alda co-star.

Goosebumps (Columbia, 2015, PG, deleted scenes, alternate opening/ending, featurettes, bloopers). This very silly horror-comedy for kids has Jack Black as author R.L. Stine, whose books contain the monsters he writes about. Before you can say Jumanji, the monsters are loose and need to be corralled. Amy Ryan co-stars.

Extraordinary Tales (GKids/Cinedigm, 2015, color and b/w, not rated, audio commentary, featurettes, trailer). Light, offbeat anthological tribute to Edgar Allan Poe includes The Tell-Tale Heart, The Fall of the House of Usher, The Masque of the Red Death, The Pit and the Pendulum and The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar animated in various styles and narrated by Julian Sands, Roger Corman, Guillermo del Toro, Christopher Lee and, from a 1940s recording, Bela Lugosi.

The Land Before Time: Journey of the Brave (Universal, 2016, G, sing-alongs). Don Bluth directed the first in this animated-musical franchise about dinosaur Littlefoot and his friends way back in 1988, with Steven Spielberg and George Lucas executive producing. But they havent been involved in any of the sequels. This one is believe it or not No. 14 in the series! Reba McEntire sings a new song. (Exclusively at Wal-Mart.)

Kahlil Gibrans The Prophet (GKids/Universal, 2015, PG, featurettes). This is a lush animated adaptation (by Lion King co-director Roger Allers) of Lebanese artist/philosopher Gibrans wildly popular 1923 collection of 26 poetic essays. Theres also a political edge to this story of artist/poet Mustafa (voiced by Liam Neeson) taking his housekeeper (Salma Hayek) and her daughter (Quvenzhane Wallis) on a journey to elude oppressive authorities. John Krasinski, Alfred Molina and Frank Langella also provide voices.

Suffragette (Universal, 2015, PG-13, audio commentary, featurettes). This enjoyable, albeit flawed historical period piece tells a compelling story of oppressed women in 1912 London fighting for their rights, with a put-upon workingwoman (Carey Mulligan) as our point of view. Co-stars include Helena Bonham Carter, Brendan Gleeson and, in a cameo, Meryl Streep as real-life suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst.

Truth (Sony Classics, 2015, R for language and nudity, deleted scenes, audio commentary, featurettes). Robert Redford is good as TV journalist/anchor Dan Rather, if not utterly convincing to those of us who regularly watched Rather on TV. But this film about investigative journalism gone wrong belongs to Cate Blanchett, excellent as his CBS producer when they break a 2004 story that proves to be false. Co-stars include Topher Grace, Dennis Quaid, Elisabeth Moss and Stacy Keach.

Freeheld (Summit, 2015, PG-13, audio commentary, featurettes). Another true story, this one is about a police detective (Julianne Moore) with cancer who mounts a battle with government officials that refuse to allow her gay partner (Ellen Page) to be eligible for her pension benefits. Good performances, particularly from Michael Shannon as Moores cop partner. Steve Carell co-stars.

Big Stone Gap (Universal, 2015, PG-13, featuretes). Quirky (and choppy and uneven) romantic comedy, circa 1978, set and filmed in the small Virginia town of the title. Ashley Judd is a pharmacist in love from afar since high school with a local miner (Patrick Wilson), and surrounded by kibitzing friends and family. Large cast includes Whoopi Goldberg, Jane Krakowski and Anthony LaPaglia, but Jenna Elfman is the scene-stealer.

The Last Witch Hunter (Summit, 2015, PG-13, deleted scenes, audio commentary, featurettes, animated shorts). Vin Diesel stars as the 800-year-old title character, tasked with taking down villains that practice the dark arts. Now, in 21st century Manhattan, he discovers his old nemesis the Witch Queen is about to be resurrected. Co-stars include Elijah Wood and Michael Caine.

Rock the Kasbah (Universal, 2015; R for language, drugs, violence; deleted scenes, featurettes). Bill Murray stars in this disappointing comedy about a rock manager whose singer (Zooey Deschanel) leaves him stranded in war-torn Kabul. So he sets out to find a new discovery. Co-stars include Kate Hudson, Bruce Willis, Scott Caan and Danny McBride.

Our Brand Is Crisis (Warner, 2015, R for language, featurette). This political satire is another disappointment, though stars Sandra Bullock and Billy Bob Thornton work hard as head-butting strategists on opposite sides of the 2002 Bolivian presidential election. Fictionalized events co-star Anthony Mackie, Scoot McNairy and Joaquim de Almeida.
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