NEW ON THE SHELF

“DALLAS BUYERS CLUB,” Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto. Easily one of the most acclaimed films of this past year and based on an amazing true story, McConaughey continues his seemingly unstoppable hot streak in an Oscar-worthy performance as Ron Woodroof. He’s a hard-living good ol’ boy, circa 1985, whose tastes for drugs and easy women lead to an AIDS diagnosis in an era when the disease carried cruel stigmas and few readily available treatments. Ron learns this hard fact upon trying to obtain the drug AZT from a doctor (Jennifer Garner) who won’t prescribe it because it’s still in the testing phase. Not one to take no for an answer, particularly when his life hangs in the balance, Ron takes it upon himself to travel to Mexico to develop an underground market for the drug, with the help of an informative doctor (Griffin Dunne, “After Hours”) and Rayon (Leto, in an incredible, career-revitalizing performance), a transgender ally who challenges Ron’s rampant homophobia at every turn. Rated R. Running time: 1:57. Suggested retail price: $29.99; Blu-ray $34.99.

“ABOUT TIME,” Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams. This utterly charming and rare mixture of sci-fi and rom-com from writer-director Richard Curtis (“Love Actually”) finds young Tim (Gleeson, “True Grit”) sitting down on his 21st birthday with his dad (Bill Nighy) to learn a surprising bit of information regarding his family: They’re capable of time travel. Rather than embarking on a heroic quest to right history’s wrongs, Tim does what any red-blooded 21-year-old male might do and goes back in time to win the currently unrequited love of his longtime crush, Charlotte (Margot Robbie, “The Wolf of Wall Street”), but in the process he meets Mary (McAdams, “Morning Glory”), a gorgeous monkey wrench thrown into an already complex system. Of course Tim manages to dramatically alter history without intending to, and his quest for love in the face of irreparable harm to the Earth’s timeline makes for near-perfect entertainment. Curtis isn’t one to shy away from sentimentality, but his way with a line and ability to find the perfect cast has proven a winning formula once again. Rated R. Running time: 2:04. Suggested retail price: $29.99; Blu-ray $34.99.

“BAGGAGE CLAIM,” Paula Patton, Taye Diggs. A lovelorn flight attendant (Patton, “Precious”), further stressed by her sister’s newly announced engagement, conspires with her coworkers to slow down holiday travel plans for her ex-boyfriends (played by Diggs, Trey Songz and Djimon Hounsou) in the hopes of landing a wedding date and/or a life partner. Adapting his own novel for the screen, writer-director David E. Talbert (“First Sunday”) delivers an extremely good-natured comedy, with a cast that’s clearly having a great time. Special features include a commentary from Talbert. Rated PG-13. Running time: 1:36. Suggested retail price: $29.99; Blu-ray $39.99.

“ESCAPE PLAN,” Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger. A prison escape artist (Stallone) must team up with a possibly insane fellow inmate (Schwarzenegger) when his latest assignment goes horribly wrong, thanks to a megalomaniacal warden (Jim Caviezel). Not quite as much bang for your buck as one might expect from a team-up of such influential action icons, but the two do share an amusing chemistry, and Schwarzenegger is looser and funnier than he’s been in years, clearly relishing the opportunity to play an unbalanced character. Suffice it to say that if you grew up on “Rambo” and “Commando,” you should have a lot of fun with “Escape Plan.” Rated R. Running time: 1:55. Suggested retail price: $29.99; Blu-ray $39.99. 

“FREE BIRDS,” animated. With the voices of Owen Wilson, Woody Harrelson. Pleasant unambitious CGI tomfoolery follows presidentially pardoned turkey Reggie (Wilson) as he warily teams up with dumb but determined turkey Jake (Harrelson) on a mission to go back in time to put an end to the Thanksgiving tradition that has been plaguing their species since 1621. Certainly not on a par with even lesser Pixar and Dreamworks offerings, but the goofy slapstick should win over the younger set, and memorable support from Amy Poehler and George Takei helps considerably. Rated PG. Running time: 1:31. Suggested retail price: $29.99; Blu-ray $39.99.

NEW TO DVD

“ROMEO & JULIET,” Douglas Booth, Hailee Steinfeld. Yet another reworking of the Bard’s timeless tale of doomed young love, with screenwriting duties taken over by Julian Fellowes, the man behind “Downton Abbey,” whose less-than-faithful rendering may frustrate purists. Otherwise, it’s a handsome, well-realized take, with familiar faces such as Paul Giamatti and Stellan Skarsgard rounding out the cast nicely. Rated PG-13. Running time: 1:59. Suggested retail price: $22.98; Blu-ray $29.99. 

“THE WHITE QUEEN: SEASON ONE,” Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret Beaufort. Inspired by the novels of Philippa Gregory, this lavish adaptation adeptly retells the Wars of the Roses from the wildly disparate perspectives of Queen Elizabeth (Rebecca Ferguson, “Drowning Ghost”), Lady Margaret Beaufort (Amanda Hale, “Bright Star”), and Anne Neville (Faye Marsay, “The Bletchley Circle”). A relentless, lavish and entertaining history lesson, amped up with sex and violence. Not rated. Running time: 9:40. Suggested retail price: $49.99; Blu-ray $59.99.

NEW TO BLU-RAY

“DEATH WISH,” Charles Bronson, Vincent Gardenia. In commemoration of its 40th (!) anniversary, Warner Brothers has dusted off this 1974 action classic, which finds Charles Bronson cleaning up the streets vigilante-style after some low-down punks (including a very young Jeff Goldblum in his film debut) attack his wife and daughter. Still controversial today, “Death Wish” disgusted many critics but struck a chord with its audience, and Bronson’s star-making performance remains powerful, and impressively understated. Rated R. Running time: 1:33. Suggested retail price: $19.99. 

VIDEOPORT PICKS

“BLOOD BROTHER,” documentary. Feeling good about all of the charitable donations and volunteer work you’ve done over the course of your life? Get ready to feel real inadequate. This almost impossibly moving documentary from director Steve Hoover follows one Rocky Braat, a young graphic designer with no real family ties and a growing disillusionment with his career of choice, whose life does a complete 180 after an impulsive trip to India, where a visit to an orphanage shows Braat his true calling: doing anything he can to help these abandoned, often sick children. It’s difficult to imagine anyone not being inspired by this young man’s story, and scene after poignant scene hits home, practically forcing you to rethink your daily choices. Not rated. Running time: 1:32. Suggested retail price: $29.99. 

“CUTIE AND THE BOXER,” documentary. Unconventional relationships are always a fascinating subject for a documentary, and this alternately humorous and angering look at what happens when struggling artists fall in love is about as entertainingly warts-and-all as its gets. It follows once-prosperous artist Ushio Shinohara (who attaches paint-covered sponges to boxing gloves and punches canvases) and his perhaps more talented wife Noriko, whose aspirations have been overshadowed and even squelched by her husband, a recovered alcoholic whose emotions often get the better of him. Director Zachary Heinzerling tends to side with Noriko, allowing her the voice she seems to have been denied these many years, but the genius driving the work of both artists is made apparent, and their affection for one another, however fractured and fractious, is clear and affecting. Rated R. Running time: 1:22. Suggested retail price: $24.99; Blu-ray $29.99.

– Courtesy of Videoport