NEW ON THE SHELF
“56 UP,” documentary. Director Michael Apted’s pioneering documentary series has been following a group of everyday British citizens since they were 7 years old, and has checked in with a new film every seven years to note their progress. While one can jump right into the series at any point with relative ease, it’s recommended that viewers start from “7 Up” to reap the full power of this groundbreaking series. Not rated. Running time: 2:24
Suggested retail price: $29.95
“INESCAPABLE,” starring Alexander Siddig and Marisa Tomei. A former CIA agent (Siddig, “Clash of the Titans”) must put aside his caginess about his past when the kidnapping of his daughter forces him to dust off his ingrained skills and come to her rescue. Sound familiar?
While comparisons to “Taken” are all but unavoidable, writer-director Ruba Nadda is a bit more concerned with politics than action, and focuses on the difficulties of navigating such a situation in Syria, where nobody seems to know who the proper authorities are given the supposed 15 sets of competing secret police forces within the country. Special features include deleted scenes and behind-the-scenes footage. Rated R. Running time: 1:33
Suggested retail price: $24.98; Blu-ray $29.98
“6 SOULS,” starring Julianne Moore and Jonathan Rhys Meyers. Thought-provoking fright flick introduces Dr. Cara Harding (Moore), a forensic psychiatrist and staunch atheist with an unshakable scientific explanation for everything. That is, until she meets Adam (Rhys Meyers), a young man with multiple personalities who actually takes on different physical qualities with each personality.
Upon learning that Adam’s personalities were actually murder victims, she becomes embroiled in a situation with implications that become more staggering and dangerous with each new discovery. Rated R. Running time: 1:52
Suggested retail price: $29.98; Blu-ray $24.98
NEW TO BLU-RAY
“KENTUCKY FRIED MOVIE,” starring Evan C. Kim and Bill Bixby. This 1977 cult comedy classic jump-started the iconic careers of the Zucker brothers, who brought their anarchic, anything-goes comedy style to such later hits as “Airplane!” and “The Naked Gun”; and director John Landis, a then-unknown who went on to break box-office records with such favorites as “Animal House” and “The Blues Brothers.”
A string of random, bawdy and always hilarious sketches — ranging from a spot-on “Enter the Dragon” parody to news send-ups and fake ’50s-era educational films — “Kentucky Fried Movie” practically invented an art form, and for the most part holds up extremely well. Special features include an interview with David and Jerry Zucker. Rated R. Running time: 1:23
Suggested retail price: $19.97
“THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY,” starring John Forsythe and Shirley MacLaine. A rare box-office failure for Hitchcock during its initial release, it’s clear that 1955-era audiences weren’t ready for a comedy as delightfully pitch-black as “Harry,” the tragically hilarious tale of a well-dressed corpse and three people having a very difficult time disposing of it.
Undoubtedly the inspiration for 1989’s “Weekend at Bernie’s” (which sadly made a lot more money than “Harry”), this largely forgotten classic is a perfect reminder that as grisly as the Master of Suspense could get, he was a bit of a demented comedian at heart. Rated PG. Running time: 1:39
Suggested retail price: $29.98
“THE HOUSE I LIVE IN,” documentary. Viewers irritated by the overbearing (if often effective), look-at-me tactics of Michael Moore are advised to take note of the name Eugene Jarecki (“Why We Fight”). Controlled yet empathetic, well-informed but not overwhelming, probing but never hectoring, Jarecki takes on wide-ranging, controversial subjects that most filmmakers wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole.
He tackles the war on drugs in “House” with ease and elan, presenting his sobering information via interviews with experts and ex-cons alike, archival footage and onscreen graphics, delivering a case sure to stir up more than a few heated debates. Required viewing for anyone with even a passing interest in the subject. Not rated. Running time: 1:48
Suggested retail price: $14.99
“VENUS & SERENA,” documentary. A rare all-access look at two of sports’ most iconic figures, this doc from directors Maiken Baird and Michelle Major sheds a more personal light on “Venus & Serena” than any articles or programs have to date.
The Williams sisters are as mysterious as they are celebrated, but here, captured during a particularly tumultuous nine-month period that finds Serena defending her oft-unsportsmanlike behavior on the court and Venus battling an unexpected illness, they’re as close to flesh-and-blood human as they’ve ever been. Special features include deleted scenes and interviews with the directors. Rated PG-13. Running time: 1:40
Suggested retail price: $26.98; Blu-ray $29.98
– Courtesy of Videoport