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article imageReview: New on DVD for December 3 Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Dec 6, 2013 in Entertainment
This week’s releases include special treatment for a classy news anchor; a man rediscovers his humanity; a multi-faceted, blue family drama; and the many incarnations of a suspense star.
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy – The “Rich Mahogany” Edition (Blu-ray)
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Paramount Home Media Distribution
Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) is a top-rated 1970's San Diego anchorman who believes women have a place in the newsroom – as long as they stick to covering fashion shows or late-breaking cooking stories. So when Ron is told he'll be working with a bright young newswoman (Christina Applegate) who's beautiful, ambitious and smart enough to be more than eye candy, it's not just a clash of two TV people with really great hair – it's war!
Nearly a decade ago, Ferrell brought life to the titular newscaster and created a movie legend that has traversed mediums and reality with countless appearances on late night talk shows and actual news and sports casts. Now the movie that started it all is getting a special release just in time to get in a refresher viewing (if you don’t already have a regularly scheduled annual viewing) before the release of the much anticipated sequel. Diving deeper into what makes San Diego’s #1 news anchor tick, “The Many Months of Burgundy” records his inner most thoughts. It contains gems such as alternative sign-off lines, a note about annoying calls from a “Deep Throat”, women’s phone numbers and doodles of his arch nemesis Wes Mantooth. This exceptional cast that parodies 1970s pop culture and the action news format is also captured in trading card format just to add a new facet to the ever popular franchise.
Special features include: commentary by Adam McKay, Will Ferrell, Lou Rawls, Andy Richter, Kyle Gass, Paul Rudd, David Koechner and Christina Applegate; deleted and extended scenes; “Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie”; feature introduction by Will Ferrell and Aaron Zimmerman; Public Service Announcements; award speech; raw footage “Good Takes”; “Afternoon Delight” recording session and music video; “Happy Birthday AMC Loews”; interviews with Rebecca Romijn, Jim Caviezel and Burt Reynolds; “Cinemax: The Making of Ron Burgundy”; “Reel Comedy: Anchorman”; “A Conversation with Ron Burgundy”; “ESPN Sports Center Audition – Ron Burgundy”; cast auditions; table read; rehearsals; playback video; commercial break; bloopers; trailers; “The Many Months Of Burgundy Diary”; and Collectible Trading Cards. (Paramount Home Media Distribution)
Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United (Blu-ray & DVD)
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Marvel Home Entertainment
Hulk’s brute strength and Tony Stark’s high-tech intellect come together to create a powerful duo necessary to face off against one of their most dangerous enemies. When “Zzzax,” a seemingly invincible, energy devouring monster threatens to destroy the planet, these two Avengers are mankind’s only hope. Alone, neither can defeat the awesome power of Zzzax. As a team, they just might have a chance – if they can find a way to work together without smashing heads before time runs out!
With the popularity of the Avengers, superheroes teaming up to defeat a powerful foe is not new to audiences. But it's also shown there are some pretty significant personality clashes within the group that without the calming effect of additional team members makes working together near impossible. Therefore the pairing of Iron Man and Hulk is a predictably volatile combination. The first act is somewhat dull, until Zzzax reveals itself and the real mission begins. The dialogue and insults are not as witty as those in the film, but they're passable. And the Marvel mash-ups in the bonus features, particularly the Hulk ones, are an extra bit of amusement.
Special features include: “Marvel team-up with Ryan Penagos and Joe Q”; “Marvel Mash-Ups”; and Marvel “Inter-Missions,” a new twist when you press the pause button. (Marvel Home Entertainment)
The Jack Ryan Collection (Blu-ray)
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Paramount Home Media Distribution
This exceptional set includes four classic films featuring the legendary CIA analyst created by author Tom Clancy together for the first time on Blu-ray:
The Hunt for Red October: A new, technologically superior Soviet nuclear sub, the Red October, is heading for the U.S. coast under the command of Captain Marko Ramus (Sean Connery). The American government thinks Ramus is planning to attack, but a lone CIA analyst, Jack Ryan (Alec Baldwin) has a different belief: Ramus is planning to defect. But Ryan has only a few precious hours to locate him and prove it – because the entire Russian Naval and Air Commands are trying to find him too.
Special features include: commentary; and “Beneath the Surface: Cast and Crew Interviews.”
Patriot Games: His days as an intelligence agent behind him, former CIA analyst Jack Ryan (Harrison Ford) has travelled to London to vacation with his wife (Anne Archer) and child (Thora Birch). Meeting his family outside of Buckingham Palace, Ryan is caught in the middle of a terrorist attack on Lord Holmes (James Fox), a member of the Royal Family. Ryan helps to thwart Holmes’ assailants and becomes a local hero. But Ryan’s courageous act marks him as a target in the sights of the terrorist (Sean Bean), whose brother he killed. Now Ryan must return to action for the most vital assignment of his life: to save his family.
Special features include: cast and crew interviews.
Clear and Present Danger: When his mentor Admiral James Greer (James Earl Jones) becomes gravely ill, Jack Ryan (Harrison Ford) is appointed acting CIA Deputy Director of Intelligence. His first assignment: investigate the murder of one of the president’s friends, a prominent U.S. businessman with secret ties to Columbian drug cartels. Unbeknownst to Ryan, the CIA has already dispatched a deadly field operative (William Dafoe) to lead paramilitary force against the Columbian drug lords. Caught in the crossfire, Ryan takes matters into his own hands, risking his career and life for the only cause he still believes in – the truth.
Special features include: cast and crew interviews.
The Sum of All Fears: America’s Cold War fears are rekindled after the President of Russia dies and is succeeded by a man with a cryptic past. But East-West tensions erupt when the CIA suspects that renegade Russian scientists are developing more nuclear weapons. Mobilized into action by CIA Director William Cabot (Morgan Freeman). Jack Ryan (Ben Affleck) follows a danger-ridden trail to a shocking conclusion: terrorists plan to provoke a war between the U.S. and Russia – by detonating a nuclear bomb at a championship football game.
Special features include: commentaries; a making-of featurette; and “Creating Reality: The Visual Effects of The Sum of All Fears.”
Clancy's action hero has had several incarnations since his first more than two decades ago. Baldwin was the young, enthusiastic analyst determined to ensure his government does the right thing by everyone. Connery is both formidable as his sub's captain and vulnerable as a man at the mercy of his enemy. When Baldwin was unavailable and Ford stepped into Ryan's shoes, he brought to it a different perspective because of the age difference. Ford portrays a family man complacent with a quiet life in academia. He reluctantly becomes involved in the conflicts around which each film revolves, but his dedication to truth and justice repeatedly lead him into dangerous situations. Bean is excellent as the angry IRA mercenary and Dafoe stands out as the special ops leader. When the character is revisited eight years later, filmmakers return to the younger, ambitious Ryan by casting Affleck; and Freeman is selected to succeed Jones in the role of Ryan's boss. Not that a reason for the high-definition release of a group of thrillers of this calibre is necessary, but it is a precursor to the release of Ryan's next adventure starring Chris Pine. (Paramount Home Media Distribution)
JOBS (Blu-ray & DVD)
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Remstar and Universal Studios Home Entertainment
The film chronicles Steve Jobs’ (Ashton Kutcher) transformation of character from the enthusiasm and self-discovery of his youth, to the personal demons that clouded his vision, and finally to the ultimate triumphs of his later life. Jobs changed the way we see the world today through his relentless drive, passion, persistence, and the force of his will.
No biopic can be truly complete, but this film attempts to capture the many faces of Jobs. In the end, for better or worse, he comes off as a genius and a jerk; and Kutcher portrays the Apple mogul to a tee. Beginning with the unveiling of the iPod, the film then rewinds to an aimless Jobs wandering college campus. Tracking his early career accomplishments and associations, the picture traces his career trajectory as well as the paths of his personal relationships. While the former flourishes, the latter suffers until Jobs finds himself entirely alone. To fit such an extensive list of world changing achievements into the film, the narrative skips over large chunks of time. While this maintains an acceptable pace, it does leave some holes in the story. The eclectic cast of recognizable faces surprisingly does not detract from the film, but rather gives it a higher quality and more credibility.
Special features include: a making-of featurette. (Remstar and Universal Studios Home Entertainment)
Smurfs 2 (Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray & DVD)
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Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Evil wizard Gargamel (Hank Azaria) creates Hackus (J.B. Smoove) and Vexy (Christina Ricci), a pair of mischievous Smurf‑like creatures, hoping they will let him harness the magical Smurf‑essence. However, he soon discovers that he needs the help of Smurfette (Katy Perry), who knows the secret to turning the pair into real Smurfs. When Gargamel, Hackus and Vexy kidnap Smurfette from Smurf Village and bring her to Paris, it’s up to Papa (Jonathan Winters), Clumsy (Anton Yelchin), Grouchy (George Lopez) and Vanity (John Oliver) to reunite with their human friends, Patrick (Neil Patrick Harris) and Grace Winslow (Jayma Mays), to rescue her.
The less-than-thinly veiled parallel stories unfolding is a pretty modern view of families. While Patrick rides the waves of fatherhood, he must confront his own daddy issues involving the biological father that abandoned him and the stepfather (Brendan Gleeson) who raised him. This is juxtaposed with Smurfette's dilemma when she's forced to choose between Gargamel, her creator, and Papa Smurf, her adopted father. By the end, it's pretty heavy-handed about the moral of the story; but it's a narrative not told often enough so it's mostly acceptable. The best part about the first film is it didn't stray far from the source in character rationale or story structure. Gargamel and Azrael's appearances were welcome comic relief; however the studio seems to have embraced this favour a little too heartily, amplifying elements that were once charming to levels of annoyance. As the dialogue and characters are simplified to accommodate humor for younger viewers, it essentially alienates older members of the audience. Moreover, even though the animated nature of the characters lends itself to the 3D format, it does not enhance the viewing experience enough to warrant wearing the glasses for the length of the film.
Special features include: deleted scenes; “Daddy’s Little Girl: The Journey of Smurfette”; “Animating Azrael”; “The Puurrfect Companion: Azreal’s Tail”; “Evolution of the Naughties”; “The Naughties! The Tale of Hackus and Vexy”; and “The Legend of Smurfy Hollow” mini-movie. (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
The Wolverine (Blu-ray, DVD & Digital copy)
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Fox Home Entertainment
Vulnerable for the first-time and pushed to his limits, Logan (Hugh Jackman) confronts not only lethal samurai steel but also his inner struggle against his own immortality; an epic fight that will leave him forever changed.
Branching off from the collective story of the X-Men team, this tale follows Logan on a personal journey of self-discovery and recovery. Beginning in the familiar territory of Northern Canada, he embraces the animal within and lives in the wilderness. Transferring the narrative to the far more vibrant Japan is a significant visual change that eventually seeps into other parts of the story. Logan's narrative is dark and complicated as he confronts the ghosts of his past and attempts to move into the present. The action sequences are spectacular, ranging from the usual thuggery to chases through crowded streets to a battle with an army of ninjas to hand-to-hand combat with an indestructible robot. In addition to the captivating physical element, this film tells a fantastic story based on the graphic novel of the same name composed by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller. Director James Mangold uses his dramatic expertise to dive deeper into Logan's internal conflicts and address the pitfalls of his pseudo immortality.
Special features include: alternate ending; “The Path of a Ronin,” five featurettes; X-Men: Days of Future Past set tour; and second screen app. (Fox Home Entertainment)
Digital Download
Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters
The magical, mythical adventures of teenager Percy Jackson — son of the Greek god Poseidon — continue in this heroic, action-packed thrill ride! Out to prove he’s not just a “one-quest wonder,” Percy and his demigod friends embark on an epic, cross-country journey into the treacherous Sea of Monsters, where they battle terrifying creatures, an army of zombies, and the ultimate evil. With time running out, Percy must find and bring home the fabled Golden Fleece, which has the power to save his world...and save us all! (Fox Home Entertainment)
More about anchorman, Iron Man & Hulk Heroes United, Jack Ryan Collection, The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games
 
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