Beautiful Broads On Blu-ray (and DVD)

By Chris Narloch

Five fun films boasting strong female performances arrived on DVD and Blu-ray recently.

Read on for the 411 on why you can’t afford to miss these must-see movies, which include three classic musicals, a Marvel Studios title, and an excellent reboot of a foreign film.

 

Captain Marvel

A terrific female-driven cast that includes Annette Bening, Gemma Chan, and Brie Larson as the title character (a female Avenger) is the best reason to see “Captain Marvel,” an entertaining slice of superhero cinema that gives female movie fans an action heroine to call their own.

The first female-led Marvel movie traces the path of Carol Danvers (Larson) as she becomes one of the most powerful heroes in the universe.

When a galactic war reaches Earth, Danvers meets young agent Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), who helps lead her to her ultimate destiny as an Avenger.

Jackson and Larson have great chemistry, the shape-shifting cat is a hoot, and despite all the online haters who tried to sink it, the film succeeds as a fun popcorn movie.

Gloria Bell

The great Julianne Moore headlines this remake of a wonderful 2014 film (“Gloria”) from Chile about a lonely divorcee who refuses to give up on life and love.

Oftentimes, American remakes can wreck a fine foreign film, but in this case Moore is perfectly cast, and the same director (Sebastian Lelio) is in charge.

Moore never makes a false move in “Gloria Bell,” and the supporting cast, which includes Michael Cera, John Turturro, Holland Taylor, and Rita Wilson, is also first-rate.

Wait for the classic sequence in which the heroine, armed with a paintball gun, gets even with her deadbeat boyfriend.

Summer Stock

The iconic Judy Garland stars in this 1950 musical about a stock theater company who persuade a farm girl (Garland) to let them stage a show in her barn in rural Connecticut. (You’ll never guess who ends up stealing the show.)

The let’s-put-on-a-show plot is endearingly corny, and “Summer Stock” costars the great Gene Kelly, plus Phil Silvers, Eddie Bracken, Marjorie Main, and Gloria De Haven.

The bonus features on this new Blu-ray release include a classic cartoon, a vintage short film, and audio of a song that was cut from the film.

Damn Yankees

If you caught Michelle Williams’ superb performance as Gwen Verdon in the recent FX series “Fosse/Verdon,” you will want to revisit one of Verdon’s most iconic roles as the devilish temptress Lola in “Damn Yankees.”

Bob Fosse did the choreography for the film, and the great Stanley Donen and George Abbott co-directed. The plot is a modern take on the Faust story, involving the New York Yankees and Washington Senators baseball teams.

In this terrific, 1958 movie version of the Broadway musical, handsome Tab Hunter takes over as Joe Hardy, the ball player who sells his soul to the devil.

The timeless score includes the hits “Whatever Lola Wants,” “There’s Something About An Empty Chair,” “Who’s Got The Pain,” and “Shoeless Joe From Hannibal, MO.”

The Pajama Game

The late, great Doris Day stars in this classic movie musical from 1957 about two employees at a pajama factory who fall in love, despite the fact that he is management and she is labor.

Like “Damn Yankees,” “The Pajama Game” was co-directed by Stanley Donen and George Abbott. John Raiit plays Day’s object of affection.

A dispute over an employee wage increase wreaks havoc on the happy couple, and Day even gets fired for monkeying with the factory’s machinery, before the happy ending arrives.

The hit songs featured in the film include “Hey There,” “Steam Heat,” “There Once Was a Man,” and “Hernando’s Hideaway.”

Note: “Summer Stock,” “Pajama Game,” and “Damn Yankees” are all available for purchase at https://www.warnerbros.com/movies.

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