This week’s releases include a new season from the reigning kings of geeks; a thoughtful and complex chick flick; and the revival of one of film’s most memorable love stories.
6 Bullets (DVD)
Veteran mercenary Samson Gaul (Jean-Claude Van Damme) knows that in the heat of battle, every bullet counts. He retired from combat when his actions resulted in the deaths of helpless victims, but now he's the last hope for a desperate father. Mixed Martial Artist, Andrew Fayden (Joe Flanigan) knows how to fight, but alone he's unprepared to navigate the corrupt streets of a foreign city to find his kidnapped daughter. Together, these warriors will stop at nothing to tear apart a vile network of criminals that prey upon the innocent.
Special features not available. (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Fifth Season (Blu-ray)
With Penny (Kaley Cuoco) and Leonard’s (Johnny Galecki) relationship in uncharted terrain, Sheldon (Jim Parsons), Howard (Simon Helberg), and Raj (Kunal Nayyar) discover that the feminine mystique is something that cannot be easily graphed or calculated. As they muddle through relationship “bugs” and romance re-launches, they also discover it’s nothing a good roll of the D&D dice or a paintball tournament can’t solve.
Having ended the previous season with Penny and Raj's drunken indiscretion, this season began with the consequences of its discovery. But the group eventually manages to get past it, and Penny and Leonard begin "beta testing" taking their relationship to the next level again. In fact, all couples make advancements this season. Howard and Bernadette prepared for their nuptials as he also primed for his first space mission. And the "ShAmy" was born when Sheldon finally agreed to enter a relationship with Amy. Unfortunately for Raj, he remained the odd man out. Concluding with one of the most memorable TV weddings, he may have actually secured an alternate career in wedding planning.
Special features not available. (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment)
Paramount Home Entertainment
Lewis Black: In God We Rust (Blu-ray)
Stark Raving Black Productions presents Lewis Black, live from the Heartland, taking on politicians, phony cell phones, sell-out celebrities and all those things and ideas you thought you could trust. From the historic State Theatre in Minneapolis, the two-time Grammy-winning comedian slays a capacity crowd with his acerbic wit and personal wisecracks.
Many may be familiar with Black's style of comedy from his segments on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, or from seeing parts of his appearances on various comedy tours in television. But as he points out in his introduction, you still have no idea what you're getting into when you tune-in to his personal show. This is Black's opportunity to vent at length about all the things that get under his skin, including Homeland Security and Valentine's Day. There's also a great diatribe about cell phone service that spurns both Apple and Android.
Special features include: “The Walk-out”; audience participation; photo gallery; and promo shoot outtakes. (Paramount Home Media Distribution)
Fox Home Entertainment
Lola Versus (DVD)
Lola (Greta Gerwig) is happy. She's working on her PhD on a subject she is passionate about and blissfully planning her wedding to the man she loves. Astrologists predicted that this perfect existence would fall to ruins after her 29th birthday - they weren't wrong. Lola's tolerance for adversity is tested repeatedly over the course of that year as other people upset the balance in her life and she makes her own questionable choices. Relationships are strained, bonds are broken and repaired, and Lola sometimes drinks to drown her sorrow - but it's all very amusing.
Though no one woman may have experienced all Lola does in one year, they will certainly identify with at least one of the incidents that turn her life upside-down. Gerwig and Hamish Linklater are wonderful together. They feed off of each other's energy, naturally sharing jokes like real-life best friends. He's got that boy next door quality that makes him endlessly charming and sweet. She's eccentric in a way that makes her more interesting than weird, and avoids being pitiful at even her lowest moments. The title refers to the main character Lola being in constant conflict with just about everything: love, sex, the world and inescapably herself. Even though it wavers at the end, this is a solid chick flick that isn’t too melodramatic and remains funny almost all the way through.
Special features include: commentary by co-writer/director Daryl Wein and co-writer Zoe Lister-Jones; outtakes; and theatrical trailer. (Fox Home Entertainment)
The Loved Ones (DVD)
When Brent (Xavier Samuel) rejects his classmate Lola’s (Robin McLeavy) invitation to the prom, he sets off a chain of events that leave him the victim of her twisted revenge. Now he's the only guest at Lola's terrifying and demented prom, and must fight to survive what could be his final dance.
Prom is typically a stressful occasion to begin with, but this film takes that anxiety to a whole new level. Lola appears crazier with every passing minute, and her capacity for inflicting pain becomes less predictable. The role reversal in this picture is noteworthy as the female becomes the psychotic captor and the young male is left to rescue himself from her sadistic grasp. Otherwise, the other elements of the "final girl" subgenre remain intact: crazy family, heinous torture methods and ineffective police. Though it does make a greater effort to chronicle what is happening beyond the main character's situation, slowly building connections between the past and present. Boy and Girl are excellent in these limit-pushing roles, achieving opposite extremes in an insane situation.
Special features include: cast and crew interviews. (Paramount Home Media Distributation)
Spartacus: Vengeance – The Complete Second Season (Blu-ray)
This chapter begins on the heels of the violent escape from the House of Batiatus that concluded Spartacus: Blood and Sand, the gladiator rebellion continues and begins to strike fear into the heart of the Roman Republic. Gaius Claudius Glaber and his Roman troops are sent to Capua to crush the growing band of freed slaves that Spartacus leads before it can inflict further damage. Spartacus (Liam McIntyre) is presented the choice of satisfying his personal need for vengeance against the man who condemned his wife to slavery and eventual death or making the larger sacrifices necessary to keep his budding army from breaking apart.
Special features include: nine extended episodes and commentaries; “Starz Studios: Spartacus: Vengeance”; a making of featurette; “Behind the Camera: Directing the Rebellion”; “On Set with Liam McIntyre”; “The Legend of Spartacus”; “Famous Last Words”; and bloopers. (Anchor Bay Entertainment)
Paramount Home Entertainment
Titanic (DVD & Blu-ray combo pack)
American Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio) wins the trip of a lifetime on the maiden voyage of the most luxurious ship to take to the seas. Fates plans for Jack send him straight to Rose (Kate Winslet), a socialite promised to a stuck-up snob. Love at first sight sweeps them both off their feet in a whirlwind romance that is cut short when the ship hits an iceberg. Almost 80 years later, Rose recounts the story for her granddaughter and a deep sea explorer searching the wreckage for a valuable diamond: ‘The Heart of the Ocean.’
Originally released 15 years ago, this was a previous generation's "The Notebook." Jack and Rose's devotion to one another inspired lovers to stand with their arms outstretched at the front of boats of any size and made Canadian songstress Celine Dion an international sensation (or annoyance, depending on who you ask). Though it suffered from over saturation, revisiting the film after a long absence provides a fresh perspective. Viewers tend to gravitate to the narrative before or after the crash, but overall it is a well-written (though often predictable) love story portrayed by two actors with tangible chemistry.
Special features include: commentary by director James Cameron; cast and crew commentary; historical commentary by Don Lynch and Ken Marschall; deleted scenes with optional commentary by Cameron; “Reflection on Titanic” documentary; “Titanic: the final word with James Cameron”; behind-the-scenes featurettes; construction timelapse with commentary by Ed Marsh; deep dive presentation narrated by Cameron; “$200,000,001: A Ship’s Odyssey”; videomatics and visual effects; Celine Dion’s music video “My Heart Will Go On”; still galleries; trailers; Titanic parodies; and digital copy. (Paramount Home Media Distribution)
The Vampire Diaries: The Complete Third Season (DVD & Blu-ray combo pack)
As Stefan succumbs to Klaus, Damon and Elena join forces to try to save him, rekindling their long-repressed emotions. Meanwhile the door to the other side opens wide, allowing spirits to invade and come between Jeremy and Bonnie. Caroline and Tyler grow closer, pushing their families farther apart. But when the original vampire hunter and his kin arise from their caskets after 1,000 years, every hybrid, ghost, witch, vampire and werewolf of Mystic Falls had better beware.
With Klaus (Joseph Morgan) believing he completed the ritual at the end of last season, this season begins with his new mission: to build a hybrid army. With Stefan (Paul Wesley) at his side, he searches the country for a pack to make his own, but Elena's (Nina Dobrev) still beating heart puts a hitch in his plans. In the meantime Damon (Ian Somerhalder) continues to watch closely over the human doppelganger, causing a few raised eyebrows among Elena's friends. Together, with Rick's (Matthew Davis) help, they try to track and recover Stefan. Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen) is also feeling the effects of last season's resurrection as he begins to get regular visits from his dead girlfriends. If Klaus figures out the missing ingredient, Stefan (a.k.a. Ripper) may be forced to reveal his true loyalties - and someone is going to be disappointed.
Special features not available. (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment)