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article imageReview: New on DVD for May 7 Special

By Sarah Gopaul     May 7, 2013 in Entertainment
This week’s releases include an out of this world documentary; a nonconformist mystery; a portrait of an American icon; and a romantic mystery that hits all its marks.
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Fox Home Entertainment
Brubaker (Blu-ray)
Posing as a new prisoner, Brubaker (Robert Redford) discovers vast corruption in a state penitentiary before revealing himself to be the new warden. His personal crusade to bring reform puts him in grave danger, especially when he insists on exposing a series of secret murders that took place years earlier.
There are no special features. (Fox Home Entertainment)
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Entertainment One
The Captains: A Film by William Shatner (DVD)
The Captains is a two-hour, multi-million dollar feature documentary that "boldly goes where no man has gone before," giving viewers an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at one of the most durable and profitable franchises in entertainment history and the men and women who made the Star Trek brand an international phenomenon since 1966. Written and directed by William Shatner, the film chronicles the most engaging media personality of our time on his quest to answer one burning question: Why, in spite of his voluminous stage, screen, and television credits, as well as his numerous Emmys and Golden Globe Awards, does one role in his career loom so large that it nearly eclipses all others?
"Trekkies" are die hard Star Trek fans in any of its forms, though most are generally loyal to the first two generations starring Shatner and Patrick Stewart as captains. This documentary is meant for them – but it's not guaranteed they'll get what they're expecting. The introduction to each captain explores their roles at the helm of the Enterprise and what drew them to the character. The remainder of the discussions are more personal, addressing their origins on the stage, long hours and failed marriages. The movie is about the actors behind the captains rather than the players as captains. Unfortunately Shatner is a terrible interviewer, sounding largely confrontational when asking questions instead of just having a conversation with one of his peers. Also, the music is excessive and intrusive throughout. But it is an interesting exercise in showing the men and woman as people, not just characters.
Special features include: a making-of featurette. (Entertainment One)
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Fox Home Entertainment
The Great Escape (Blu-ray)
In 1943, the Germans opened a maximum security prison-of-war camp, designed to hold even the craftiest escape artists. By doing so, they unwittingly assembled the finest escape team in the military, who worked on what became the largest prison breakout ever attempted.
Special features include: commentary by director John Sturges, cast and crew; “The Great Escape: Bringing Fact to Fiction”; “The Great Escape: Preparations for Freedom”; "The Great Escape: The Flight to Freedom”; The Great Escape: A Standing Ovation”; The Great Escape: The Untold Story”; “The Great Escape: The Untold Story – Additional Interviews”; “A Real Virgil Hilts: A Man Called Jones”; Return to The Great Escape”; and theatrical trailer. (Fox Home Entertainment)
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BBC Home Entertainment
The Great Gatsby: Midnight in Madhattan (DVD)
An emblem of the roaring ‘20s, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s personal story is as interesting as his writing. Produced in celebration of the 75th Anniversary of the book for the BBC’s art series Omnibus, it explores the life and dark creative spirit of Fitzgerald. It examines his disappointing college days at Princeton, his difficult relationship with fellow author Ernest Hemingway, and his turbulent last days in Hollywood. It dispels the age-old mythology surrounding Fitzgerald, largely created by himself, which tends to glamorize the Jazz-Age and his alcoholism.
The latest adaptation of Fitzgerald's famous novel by Baz Luhrmann has renewed interest in not only the book, which was initially published in 1925, but the author. As this documentary suggests, Fitzgerald was a fascinating character who received little to no recognition for his writing talent until after his death. The royalties he received at the end of the year generally came from books he bought as gifts for other people. Other authors, including Hunter S. Thompson and George Plimpton, comment on Fitzgerald’s influence on literature and themselves, as well as the cultural significance of The Great Gatsby. In addition to the documentary about the author, the DVD also contains a fictional portrayal of Fitzgerald, his wife Zelda and author Ernest Hemingway. It’s a brief but insightful look into the writer’s domestic life, including his relationships with a mentally ill spouse and literary competitor.
Special features include: “Private Affairs: A Dream of Living,” a play following the lives of F. Scott Fitzgerald, his wife Zelda and Ernest Hemingway in 1925 Paris. (BBC Home Entertainment)
The Henry Fonda Film Collection (DVD)
Known for his natural and sincere portrayals on the silver screen, Academy Award® winner Henry Fonda was equally adept at dramatic, romantic and comedic roles, often playing strong, thoughtful men of integrity. With a career spanning nearly half a century and more than 80 films, he developed a worldwide fan following as one of Hollywood’s most beloved actors and left a legacy of truly memorable motion picture performances.
Includes: Jesse James; Drums Along the Mohawk; The Grapes of Wrath; The Return of Frank James; Immortal Sergeant; The Ox-Bow Incident; My Darling Clementine; Daisy Kenyon; The Longest Day; and The Boston Strangler.
There are no special features. (Fox Home Entertainment)
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Paramount Home Media Distribution
Jack Reacher (DVD, Blu-ray and Digital copy)
When an unspeakable crime is committed, all evidence points to the suspect in custody who offers up a single note in defense: “Get Jack Reacher!” The law has its limits, but ex-military investigator Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise) does not when his fight for the truth pits him against an unexpected enemy with a skill for violence and a secret to keep.
Cruise is no stranger to the action mystery, but this character is different from many of those he's played – though he does get to utilize his years of screen fighting experience. Reacher is a straight talker who doesn't hold back, particularly when he's trying to get under someone's skin. He doesn't care if he's liked, just that he gets the job done. Many of the things Reacher says or does is meant to be shocking or aggravating, reminiscent of ‘80s antiheros. While Cruise's good-guy history wouldn't make him the first choice for the role, he makes it work. Casting Werner Herzog, on the other hand, is unexpected but cool. The mystery is typical of quality entries into the genre, though it's a little drawn out.
Special features include: commentary by director Christopher McQuarrie and Cruise; “When the Man Comes Around”; “You Do Not Mess with Jack Reacher: Combat & Weapons”; and “The Reacher Phenomenon.” (Paramount Home Media Distribution)
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Fox Home Entertainment
One Hour Photo (Blu-ray)
Sy “the photo guy” Parrish (Robin Williams) has lovingly developed photos for the Yorkin family since their son was a baby. But as the Yorkins’ lives become fuller, Sy’s only seems lonelier, until he eventually believes he’s part of their family. Eventually “Uncle” Sy’s picture-perfect fantasy collides with an ugly dose of reality.
Special features include: commentary by director Mark Romanek and Robin Williams; cast rehearsals; “ Lensing One Hour Photo”; main title test; “ Sy’s Nightmare Elements”; storyboards; poster explorations; “The Charlie Rose Show”; Sundance: Anatomy of a Scene; Cinemax featurette; and trailer and TV spots. (Fox Home Entertainment)
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Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Revenge for Jolly (DVD)
Harry (Brian Petsos) is having a very, very bad day. He returns home from an all-night drinking binge with his cousin Cecil (Oscar Isaac) to discover that his little dog Jolly—Harry's one true love and the source of light in his dark, solitary life—has been murdered. Broken-hearted and beyond consolation, he vows to track down the dog's murderer at any cost. Armed with a stockpile of firepower in the trunk of his car, he and Cecil embark on a frenzied, alcohol-fueled wild-goose chase, leaving a bloody path of destruction in their wake.
This dark tale of murderous vengeance is too absurd to be enjoyable. Harry's attachment to his furry best friend is at times questionable as she seemingly replaced human female companionship in his life. No amount of star-studded cameos could make this picture better, though they include Elijah Wood, Ryan Phillippe, Kristen Wiig, Adam Brody and Kevin Corrigan. The familiar faces aren't the problem; it's the script. What sounded like an interesting concept is wasted on poor execution. Harry's trigger happy hunt for Jolly's killer overrides any possibility of a coherent or engaging narrative. Moreover, Petsos’ Harry sounds a lot like a depressed version of Christian Bale's Batman.
There are no special features. (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
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Entertainment One
Rookie Blue – The Complete Third Season (DVD)
Last season, these rookies hit the streets for the first time with their training officers – and learned how to walk the thin blue line. Now, the training wheels are off; they're more experienced and ready to kick some serious butt. But these rookies are just beginning to realize that when it comes to getting good at this job, there are no shortcuts. And when you're a rookie officer, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
Another Canadian cop series that has done well over the border, this is the opportunity to catch up with the last season before the new one premieres in the summer. Fresh from her three-month suspension, Officer Andy McNally (Missy Peregrym) returns to the force with the challenge of repairing her career and possibly her relationship with fellow cop Sam Swarek (Ben Bass). Traci Nash (Enuka Okuma) realizes her dream of detective, but it’s not everything she hoped for; while Dov Epstein (Gregory Smith) puts the brakes on his recklessness after a chilling job experience gives him some perspective. Like other shows in the genre, each episode consists of one or more cases to solve juxtaposed with character development and their evolving relationships, both personal and professional.
Special features include: seven making-of featurettes; behind-the-scenes featurette; and on-set cast interviews. (Entertainment One)
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Entertainment One
Safe Haven (Blu-ray and Digital copy)
After a mysterious woman (Julianne Hough) moves to a small town and falls in love with a handsome widower (Josh Duhamel), a dark secret from her past threatens their happiness.
Author Nicholas Sparks' latest romantic tale is just the right balance of love, drama and adversity, mixing in a little mystery to keep the narrative interesting – though audiences could probably have done without the supernatural element. If you've seen more than one of the adaptations of Sparks' novels, then you may have noticed some similarities in the stories' structure. The narrative is not overly or overtly contrived, though the added layer to their love story lays it on a little too thick. Katie's story has been seen before. But she doesn't view Alex as her savior or hero; she's not a helpless victim that needs saving. Katie proves to be a strong, resourceful young woman. The chemistry between Hough and Duhamel doesn't equal fireworks, but they fit together well enough. The sparks are pre-built into the script; they just needed to make them seem believable.
Special features include: deleted and extended scenes; alternate ending; “Igniting the Romance in Safe Haven”; “Josh Duhamel’s Lessons in Crabbing”; and a set tour. (Entertainment One)
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Fox Home Entertainment
The Verdict (Blu-ray)
Frank Galvin (Paul Newman) is a boozy washed-up attorney with a losing streak a mile long. So when he’s handed a lucrative out-of-court settlement, everyone expects him to take the money and run. But Frank is tired of running. In a desperate bid to reclaim his self-respect, he recklessly brings the case to court – only to discover that if finding the whole truth is a little like trial and error, then finding real justice is a lot like trial by fire.
Special features include: commentary by director Sidney Lumet and actor Paul Newman; “Paul Newman: The Craft of Acting”; “Milestones in Cinema History: The Verdict”; and “Sidney Lumet: The Craft of Directing.” (Fox Home Entertainment)
Viva Zapata! (Blu-ray)
The life and times of the legendary Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata.
There are no special features. (Fox Home Entertainment)
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