Movie News & Reviews

Space is this week’s vast frontier for new DVD releases

Two first-class productions looking at the space program top this week’s DVD selections.

‘Hidden Figures’

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’

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 out this week

“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.

“Toni Erdmann”: Ambitious corporate consultant pushed to embrace life.

Fresno Bee

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