DVDs featuring new twists on iconic characters will be released March 19.
"Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse"; 4 stars: Loyal Marvel Comics readers will know the "Spider-Verse" is a storyline that examines what happens when a collection of Spider characters from alternate universes come together. For those who are not up on the Marvel lore, the film does a masterful job of quickly providing origin stories while making fun of how Spider-Man movies always have to have an origin story.
In many ways, the astounding cinematography is enough to recommend seeing the movie. But, what is equally as brilliant is the script by Phil Lord ("Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs") and Rodney Rothman ("22 Jump Street"). The smart dialogue harkens back to the beginnings of Marvel Comics. At the same time, the writing pair have filled the movie with hilarious moments that keep reminding the audience that movies based on comic books don't have to be somber and at their heart should be fun.
The bonus for seeing the film on DVD or Blu-ray is there are so many Easter eggs that a single viewing will not be enough. Those elements range from names of some of those who have been responsible for the Spider-Man comics hiding in plain sight to a direct punch in the face to the franchise history.
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"Mary Poppins Returns"; 3 stars: Emily Blunt accomplishes the nearly impossible by taking on the iconic role of the mysterious British nanny that was played so well by Julie Andrews in 1964 and making it work. She brings the same charm and wonder to the character in a tale that unfolds years after the original tale by P.L. Travers.
Michael Banks (Ben Whishaw) was just a child when Mary Poppins first visited 17 Cherry Tree Lane. He's now grown, and with manhood comes serious financial problems that are compounded by having to raise his children Annabel (Pixie Davies), John (Nathanael Saleh) and Georgie (Joel Dawson) with help from his sister Jane (Emily Mortimer). All seems lost until Mary Poppins returns.
Rob Marshall's direction of David Magee's script comes up a little short because too many scenes look like reimaginings of moments from the original movie. There needed to be some mile markers that were similar, but there are too many. It would have helped if at least 30 minutes had been cut, as the movie does tend to drag.
ALSO NEW ON DVD AND BLU-RAY MARCH 19
"The Quake": The Eikjord family faces another natural disaster three years after surviving a 262-foot tsunami in Geiranger, Norway.
"Cradle of Champions": Documentary follows three individuals on an odyssey through a 10-week boxing tournament.
"Smaller and Smaller Circles": Two Jesuit priests use forensics to solve the mystery behind the murders of young boys in one of Manila's biggest slums.
"Accident": What starts as a wild joy ride turns into a nightmare for four people who borrow the wrong car.
"The Final Wish": Young man returns home to face his past after the death of his father. Lin Shaye stars.
"PawParazzi": Cushy life of a Hollywood dog is turned upside down when her owner heads to the country to make a new film.
"NOVA: Apollo's Daring Mission": Apollo astronauts and engineers tell the inside story of Apollo 8, the first manned mission to the moon in 1968.
"Big Kill": Two misfit gamblers and a deadly preacher have a date with destiny in the town of Big Kill.
"Born in East L.A.": The 1987 tale of an American citizen (Cheech Marin) who gets caught up in an immigration raid is being rereleased.
"She Wolf": Female serial killer stalks the streets and underground subways of Buenos Aires.
"The Deadly Mantis": The 1957 film about a menacing insect that kills everything in its path is being rereleased.
"Craig of the Creek: Itch to Explore": Includes 13 episodes of the Cartoon Network series about how Craig and his friends explore the wilderness of the creek.
"Lord of War": Nicolas Cage stars in the 2005 film based on the true story of a gunrunner who supplied dictators and outran the law for nearly 20 years.
BEING RELEASED ON DIGITAL HD MARCH 19
"Bumblebee": Optimus Prime sends Bumblebee to defend Earth. Will be available on DVD and Blu-ray on April 2.
"The Mule": Clint Eastwood plays a man in his 80s who becomes a drug runner. Look for it on DVD and Blu-ray April 2.