NEW ON DVD AND BLU-RAY

“DAYBREAKERS,” starring Ethan Hawke and Willem Dafoe. Co-opting the current bloodsucker craze to make a statement on our ongoing oil crisis, directors Michael and Peter Spierig (the less dour “Undead”) introduce a not-too-distant future wherein humankind has been transformed into vampires due to one of those apocalyptic plagues we keep hearing about. All goes as well as can be expected until a blood shortage begins to rear its head, and now it’s up to superhematologist Hawke to save the world. It may have benefited from a little humor here and there, but “Daybreakers” plays a silly premise straight, to uncertain effect. It’s salvaged considerably by the talents of both the brothers Spierig and the lead performances of Hawke, Dafoe and newcomer Harriet Minto-Day — plus, the monsters themselves look great. Special features include a making-of featurette and a commentary from the Spierigs and creature designer Steve Boyle (“Black Sheep”). Rated R for strong bloody violence, language and brief nudity. Running time: 1:38.

Suggested retail price: DVD $29.95; Blu-ray $39.99.

 

“EDGE OF DARKNESS,” starring Mel Gibson and Ray Winstone. Returning to the screen after a protracted and controversial hiatus, Gibson proves he hasn’t lost his leading man “Edge” as Thomas Craven, a homicide detective whose mission of vengeance following the murder of his daughter (Bojana Novakovic, “Drag Me to Hell”) uncovers a far deeper conspiracy. Compressing his own six-part British miniseries from 1985 into a two-hour movie proves to be a bit much for director Martin Campell to fully undertake, but Gibson’s typically compelling performance, as well as a fiery supporting turn from the ever-dependable Winstone (“Sexy Beast”), ensure a solid night of entertainment for fans of such revenge thrillers as “Death Wish” and “Law Abiding Citizen.” Special features include additional scenes. Rated R for strong bloody violence and language. Running time: 1:57.

Suggested retail price: DVD $28.98; Blu-ray $35.99.

 

“LEGION,” starring Dennis Quaid and Paul Bettany. Pure B-movie fun without a brain in its head, “Legion” relays the tale of a downtrodden diner owner (Quaid) who receives some much-needed help from a renegade angel (Bettany, making the most of it) when his greasy spoon and the customers (who include Lucas Black, Charles S. Dutton and Jon Tenney) are suddenly beset upon by the wrath of God (!). An array of CGI creatures are unleashed upon the establishment in the hopes of killing a pregnant waitress (Adrianne Palicki, “Friday Night Lights”), who happens to be carrying the savior of humankind. Clearly not one for the arthouse crowd, but ideal Friday-night six-pack entertainment. Special features include several making-of featurettes. Running time: 1:40.

Suggested retail price: DVD $28.95; Blu-ray $34.95.

 

NEW ON DVD

“LARRY MCMURTRY’S DEAD MAN’S WALK,” starring Jonny Lee Miller and David Arquette. Prequel to “Lonesome Dove” (arguably the greatest TV miniseries ever produced and one of the best Westerns besides), “Walk” introduces us to Texas Rangers Woodrow (Miller, “Eli Stone”) and Gus (Arquette, “Scream”), both embroiled in a war to wrest New Mexico from Mexico. Often squirreled away in smaller parts such as “Mindhunters” and “Hamlet 2,” Miller and Arquette are both terrific here, but they’re helped immeasurably by such character actor stalwarts as Harry Dean Stanton (“Big Love”) and Keith Carradine (“Deadwood”). Rated PG-13 for violence and thematic elements involving the frontier experience. Running time: 4:30.

Suggested retail price: $14.98

 

“MALICE IN WONDERLAND,” starring Maggie Grace and Danny Dyer. Agreeably disjointed contender in the ever-growing canon of adaptations of the Lewis Carroll classic finds law student Grace (“Taken”) being whisked away to a mysterious and dangerous underworld after being hit by a cab driven by the enigmatic Whitey (Dyer, “Human Traffic”). An interesting if not always coherent take on the oft-adapted tale, with Dyer a standout in a solid cast. Rated R for language, some sexual content, drug use and brief violence. Running time: 1:27.

Suggested retail price: $26.98.

 

NEW ON BLU-RAY

“HANG ‘EM HIGH,” starring Clint Eastwood and Inger Stevens. A 1968 Western classic concerning the disastrous results inherent in failing to successfully hang Clint Eastwood looks awesome in hi-def and has held up extremely well, with scenes that are surprisingly violent even by today’s standards. Rated PG-13 for language and bloody violence. Running time: 1:54.

Suggested retail price: $24.99.

 

“ROCK ‘N’ ROLL HIGH SCHOOL,” starring P.J. Soles and Mary Woronov. Hellzapoppin’ cult classic from 1979 focuses on the chaos created in a typical high school by the impending arrival of punk-pop legends the Ramones. An hour and a half of fun that doesn’t let plot get in the way of a good time. Special features include cast and crew interviews. Rated PG for language and drug content. Running time: 1:33.

Suggested retail price: $26.97.

 

VIDEOPORT PICKS

“DARIA: THE COMPLETE ANIMATED SERIES,” animated with the voices of Tracey Grandstaff and Wendy Hoopes. MTV spinoff of “Beavis & Butthead” proved nearly as popular but with an entirely different audience, with the deadpan cynicism of the title character (memorably voiced by Grandstaff), a seen-it-all high-schooler taking over for the vulgar antics of her boneheaded predecessors. Never one of MTV’s flashier offerings (and therein lies much of its charm), “Daria” is a sly ode to the smarter end of the outcast spectrum. A long-awaited DVD release with some nice extras, including interviews and making-of featurettes. Not rated, contains mild language and sexual content. Running time: 26.46.

Suggested retail price: $72.99.

 

“NORTH FACE (NORDWAND),” starring Benno Furrman and Florian Lukas. We would submit that mountain climbing is stressful enough without having to turn it into a race with Nazis, but this fact-based import from director Phillipp Stolz (“Goethe!”) presents just such a undesirable situation, bringing the tale to life with one jaw-dropping sequence after another.

Named after and situated on the most dangerous rock face in the Alps, “North Face” follows a group of Austrian climbers who find themselves climbing a bit faster than planned when Nazi propaganda encourages followers to beat them to the top. Alternately breathless and breathtaking, “North Face” is thrilling historical entertainment. Not rated, contains language and violence. Running time: 2:01.

Suggested retail price: DVD $29.95; Blu-ray $40.98

 

— Courtesy of Videoport