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article imageReview: New on DVD for July 17, 2012 Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Jul 17, 2012 in Entertainment
This week’s releases include many dramatic and thrilling library titles; an unconventional choice about parenting; the latest adventures of a team of supernatural protectors; and a classic musical.
Warner Bros.
A Perfect Murder (Blu-ray)
Wall Street titan Steven Taylor (Michael Douglas) seems like a devoted husband. He isn’t. Beautiful Emily Bradford Taylor (Gwyneth Paltrow) seems like a faithful wife. She isn’t. And when Steven hires Emily’s lover (Viggo Mortensen) to kill her, it seems like a perfect murder. It isn’t. In fact, little is what it seems in this thriller.
Special features not available. (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment)
Altered States (Blu-ray)
A scientist's experiments unlock the horrors of his mind.
Special features not available. (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment)
Brainstorm (Blu-ray)
Research scientists (Louise Fletcher and Christopher Walken) invent a machine that can record sensory experiences only to have devastating results when Fletcher records her own death.
Special features not available. (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment)
Coma (Blu-ray)
Ten cases. Now 12. Why are young, healthy patients admitted for minor surgery at Boston Memorial Hospital ending up on life support? Dr. Susan Wheeler (Genevieve Bujold) wants to know. Somebody else wants her dead. Wheeler spends her time trailing clues, clambering along ductways, hiding among morgue cadavers, infiltrating the eerie Jefferson Institute, and persuading her skeptical boyfriend and fellow doctor Mark (Michael Douglas) that her suspicions are not mere paranoia.
Special features not available. (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment)
Friends with Kids (Blu-ray)
The film follows a close-knit circle of friends at a moment in life when children arrive and everything changes. The last two singles in the group Jason (Adam Scott) and Julie (Jennifer Westfeldt) observe the effect that kids have had on their friends' relationships and wonder if there's a better way. They decide to have a kid together – and date other people.
This is a life choice many people have probably considered. Everyone complains about the quality of fish in the pool and their biological clocks ticking - why not "keep it simple?" Only as Jason and Julie demonstrate, nothing stays that simple. The actors in this picture are top-notch, with Fryman and Keller leading the way. Their connection appears genuine, making their decision one the audience wants to support. The sporadic return of the ensemble cast, which includes Jon Hamm, Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph and Chris O’Dowd, is incorporated perfectly into the narrative. While some of the issues Jason and Julie face are predictable, they're presented so well it's not a detriment to the film.
Special features include: commentary; deleted scenes; and a making of featurette. (VVS Films)
Warner Bros.
Hard to Kill (Blu-ray)
A corrupt California politician and his hitmen have gunned down Los Angeles detective Mason Storm (Steven Segal) and left him for dead. For seven years, Storm’s been in a coma-care unit. Now he’s awake with one goal: revenge. Aided by a devoted nurse (Kelly Le Brock), he retrains to unleash his monumental martial-arts skills with full fury.
There was a period where martial artists turned actors were a popular commodity in Hollywood. Segal was made a star during this era, alongside Jean-Claude Van Damme and Chuck Norris. In this film he portrays a character he played often: a man with a score to settle. Taking on bad guys with terrible aim, Storm neutralizes an almost endless string of stunt extras before, of course, claiming a hard-fought victory over his enemy. If you've seen one, you've seen them all but they're still a good source of high-kicking fun.
Special features not available. (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment)
Just Cause (Blu-ray)
A Harvard law professor (Sean Connery) reopens a murder investigation based on an allegation that a confession was coerced by a maverick lawman (Laurence Fishburne). On the surface, it seems a straight-ahead case of the prisoner’s guilt or innocence. But nothing really lies on the surface of this mystery climaxing in the Florida swamplands.
Special features not available. (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment)
Mean Streets (Blu-ray)
Charlie (Harvey Keitel) is working his way up the ranks of a local mob. Teresa (Amy Robinson) is the girlfriend his family deems unsuitable because of her epilepsy. And Johnny Boy (Robert De Niro) is a small-time gambler in big-time debt to loan sharks.
Special features not available. (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment)
Murder in the First (Blu-ray)
This is the story of the trial that shut down the dungeons of Alcatraz. Based on a true story that occurred in the 1930s, a young, inexperienced public defender is assigned to defend an inmate accused of committing murder while behind bars.
Special features not available. (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment)
Next of Kin (Blu-ray)
A Chicago policeman and his Appalachian kinfolk seek to exact vengeance from the gangsters responsible for murdering his younger brother.
Special features not available. (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment)
Outland (Blu-ray)
A federal marshal on an outer-space mining colony uncovers deadly secrets, triggering a showdown.
Special features not available. (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment)
Entertainment One
Sanctuary – Season 4 (Blu-ray)
The enigmatic Dr. Helen Magnus and the Sanctuary team unlock the mysteries of the strange and sometimes terrifying beings that secretly hide among us.
Special features not available. (Entertainment One)
Warner Bros.
Singin’ in the Rain: 60th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition (Blu-ray)
In 1927, Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly) and Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen) are a famous on-screen romantic pair. Lina, however, mistakes the on-screen romance for real love. Don has worked hard to get where he is today, with his former partner Cosmo (Donald O'Connor). When Don and Lina's latest film is transformed into a musical, Don has the perfect voice for the songs. But Lina - well, even with the best efforts of a diction coach, they still decide to dub over her voice. Kathy Selden (Debbie Reynolds), an aspiring actress, is brought in and while she is working on the movie Don falls in love with her.
This is one of the best musicals from the Golden Age of the genre. Unlike some other films from the era, focus was not placed on the size of the production or an outlandish fantasy sequence; instead it's carried by talented actors, and a few great and memorable musical numbers including the title song. In addition, a lot of humour is gained from a milestone in cinematic history that ended many careers: the introduction of sound (which was also at the core of the narrative in The Artist). The scene in which Sally's costume wreaks havoc with her microphone is hilarious.
Special features include: commentary by Reynolds, Donald O’Connor, Cyd Charisse, Kathleen Freeman, Stanley Donen, Betty Comden, Adolph Green, Baz Luhrmann and Ruby Behlmer; “Singin’ in the Rain: Raining on a new generation” documentary; juke box jump-to-song feature; and theatrical trailer. (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment)
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