From the Big Screen:
"Mad Max: Fury Road" and "I'll See You in My Dreams." For more information on these and other releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.
This Week's Best Bets:
Comedy meets horror when the screen's funniest duo, Bud Abbott and Lou Costello, encounter Universal's classic monsters in "Abbott and Costello Meet the Monsters Collection." In 1948, Universal Pictures paired its most popular comedy team with its hugely successful monsters, launching an entirely new genre. These four outrageously funny films find Bud and Lou meeting Dracula, Frankenstein, the Wolf Man, the Invisible Man, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and the Mummy. Co-starring horror legends Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff and Lon Chaney Jr., this timeless collection continues to scare up laughs for audiences of all ages. The titles: "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein," "Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man," "Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" and "Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy." A two-disc DVD set, $19.98 from Universal … With the release this week of the slam-bam-full-speed-ahead reimagining of "Mad Max," Warner has taken the opportunity to reissue the three previous films in a bundle with the new "Mad Max" in Blu-ray: the "Mad Max 4-Film Blu-ray Anthology" includes "Mad Max" (1979), "The Road Warrior" (1981), "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome" (1985) and "Mad Max: Fury Road" as well as the documentary "Madness of Max" on DVD along with "Mad Max Anthology" trading cards; $89.98 … Queen Latifah stars as legendary blues singer Bessie Smith in "Bessie," the HBO Films presentation that shows the struggles and successes of the singer who came to be known as "The Empress of the Blues." The film focuses on Smith's rise from a naive young singer to one of the most successful recording artists of the 1920s. It's an intimate look at the determined woman whose immense talent and love for music took her from anonymity in the rough and tumble world of vaudeville in the 1920s blues scene to international fame. Despite her demons, Smith became a celebrated legend whose albums — almost a century later — still sell. Queen Latifah (who is seriously underused in Hollywood) puts in a strong performance, but the film unfolds as a typical TV biopic and tends to drag after the first hour. Still, it's an important document about an important woman. Co-stars Michael Kenneth Williams, Bryan Greenberg, Oliver Platt, Khandi Alexander, Mike Epps and Mo'Nique … "Francesco" (1989) is a biodrama of the life of St. Francis by acclaimed Italian auteur Liliana Cavani ("The Night Porter"), in a new 2K digital restoration supervised by Cavani, who was nominated for a Palme d'Or at the 1989 Cannes Film Festival for the film. "Francesco" was also included as one of 15 "Religion" movies in Pope John Paul II's Pontifical Council for Social Communications list of "Some Important Films" — better known as the Vatican Film List — created in 1995 for the 100th Anniversary of Cinema. Based on Herman Hesse's" Francis of Assisi," the film depicts the life of the iconic and influential Saint Francis, played by Mickey Rourke, and the rise of the Franciscan order that he founded. Mourning his death, Francis' devoted followers recall episodes from the saint's life and charts his transformation from the pampered son of an aristocrat into a selfless man of faith devoted wholly to a life of apostolic poverty. Helena Bonham Carter co-stars as Saint Clare, Francis' spiritual inspiration and disciple. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Film Movement Classics.
From TV to DVD:
"Castle: The Complete Seventh Season" (2014-15) is a five-disc set with 23 episodes from ABC/Disney … "Chicago Fire: Season Three" (2014-15) is a six-disc set with 23 episodes. This season has the firefighters facing new challenges: a determined arsonist, the complications of staff romance and tension inside the house with shocking results. From Universal … "Chicago PD: Season Two" (2014-15) is a six-disc set with 23 episodes. This season follows Sergeant Hank Voight and his team of detectives, including former military man Jay Halstead and Erin Lindsay , in their battles against the Windy City's most ruthless criminals. Turf wars, a brutal home invasion, a violent heroin operation and a massive drug cartel all figure into this season. From Universal … In "Cracked: The Darkness Within" (2013) Canadian detective Aidan Black (David Sutcliffe) and psychiatrist Dr. Daniella Ridley (Stephanie von Pfetten) return to take on another caseload of bizarre and emotionally explosive criminals, victims, and witnesses. The mismatched duo tackle a former professional hockey player with a violent streak, a fellow police officer grappling with the mysterious suicide of her daughter, and a big-time diamond heist at a small jewelry store that reveals shocking surveillance video footage. In a two-disc DVD from BBC Home Entertainment … "Hawaii Five-O: The Fifth Season" (2014) is a six-disc set with 25 episodes. In the fifth season, McGarrett continues to try to bring closure to his father's last, unsolved case and closure to his mother's past, while the state's brash Five-O unit, who may spar and jest among themselves, remain determined to eliminate the seedy elements from the 50th state. There's kidnappings, hostages, the black market world of priceless art, and an errant nuclear bomb. From CBS/Paramount … "Madam Secretary: Season 1" (2014-15) is a six-disc set with 22 episodes. In the first season of this gripping political thriller Dr. Elizabeth McCord (Tea Leoni) navigates the maze of politics to protect America and affect global issues. When the current Secretary of State is killed in a mysterious airplane accident, the White House turns to McCord to take over the job. As a former CIA analyst, she understands the risks of the world … but she's far less prepared for the treachery of politics. From CBS/Paramount … "Midnight Masquerade" (2014), starring Autumn Reeser, Christopher Russell and Richard Burgi, is another Hallmark Channel real-life fairy tale. Elyse, a rich heiress, meets Rob, a bullied lawyer, and the two fall in love during a costume ball. From Cinedigm … "Nashville: The Complete Third Season" (2014-15) is a five-disc set with 22 episodes from ABC/Disney … "The Originals: The Complete Second Season" (2014-15) is a five-disc DVD and three-disc Blu-ray with all 22 episodes about a family of power-hungry thousand-year-old vampires who look to take back the city — New Orleans — that they built and dominate all those who have done them wrong. From Warner … In "Scorpion: Season One" (2014-15), Elyes Gabel stars as Walter, the eccentric leader of a team of brilliant misfits: a psychiatrist with a gambling addition, a mechanical prodigy with anger issues, and a "human calculator" with social anxiety — who save the world from problems only a genius could solve. Also in the cast are Robert Patrick as tough-as-nails security agent Cabo Gallo and Katherine McPhee as Paige, a former waitress who translates the "normal" world for the geniuses. Scorpion is Homeland Security's last line of defense against the complex, high-tech threats of the modern age. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from CBS/Paramount … "Texas Rising" (2015) is the eight-hour History Channel miniseries that tells the story of legendary hero Sam Houston and the Republic of Texas's intense struggle for independence against the forces of fierce Mexican General Santa Anna. Directed by Roland Joffe and starring Bill Paxton, Brendan Fraser, Ray Liotta, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Thomas Jane, Olivier Martinez, Addai-Robinson, Chad Michael Murray, and Max Thieirot. From Lionsgate … "The Vampire Diaries: The Complete Sixth Season" (2014-15) is a five-disc DVD and four-disc Blu-ray with all 22 episodes, from Warner.