Monday, March 10, 2014
NEW ON THE SHELF
Hugh Jackman in “The Wolverine.”
20th Century Fox
“THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS: CITY OF BONES,” Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell. The mad dash to fill the void left by “Harry Potter” and “Twilight” continues with “The Mortal Instruments,” a promising would-be fantasy saga from hopeful next big thing author Cassandra Clare, featuring average teenagers struggling to balance their already complex social lives with newfound magical powers, in the case the ability to both see and slaughter otherworldly demons. Fans of the series will be pleasantly surprised at the ultra-faithful adaptation from director Harold Zwart (“The Karate Kid”), but newbies may need to have a savvy tween on hand to help them keep up with the overstuffed plot. Rated PG-13. Running time: 2:10. Suggested retail price: $30.99; Blu-ray $40.99.
“THE WOLVERINE,” Hugh Jackman, Will Yun Lee. Another go-round for Jackman as everybody’s favorite ornery razor-clawed mutant, relocating to Japan for this entry at the behest of an old friend, a move that mainly exists to give “Wolverine” the opportunity to fight ninjas. Director James Mangold (“Walk the Line”) tends to favor atmosphere over action, a decision that may disappoint some fans of the franchise but which does take our hero in a much-needed fresh direction. Special features include an alternate ending. Rated PG-13. Running time: 2:06. Suggested retail price: $29.98; Blu-ray $39.99.
NEW TO DVD
“ALL THE BOYS LOVE MANDY LANE,” Amber Heard, Anson Mount. Long-shelved2006 thriller is now seeing the light of day thanks to recent successes for both star Heard (“Drive Angry”) and director Jonathan Levin (“Warm Bodies”), detailing a high school gathering gone horribly awry. Special features include a commentary from Levin. Rated R. Running time: 1:30. Suggested retail price: $24.98; Blu-ray $29.99.
“THE SIMPSONS: SEASON 16,” Animated. With the voices of Dan Castanella, Julie Kavner. The longest running show on TV and perennially one of the most acclaimed, “The Simpsons” shows no signs of mellowing with age, as Homer teams with Grandpa to smuggle prescription drugs out of Canada and Bart gets sent to Catholic school, all with the usual hilariously disastrous results. Guest voices this season include Jason Bateman, Amy Poehler, Liam Neeson, and many more. Not rated. Running time: 8:03. Suggested retail price: $49.98; Blu-ray $59.99.
NEW TO BLU-RAY
“SATURN 3,” Kirk Douglas, Farrah Fawcett. Sci-fi fans still reeling from “Star Wars” came to “Saturn 3” in 1983 hoping for more fast-paced space action, but what they got was a bit more disturbing and cerebral than many were hoping for, and much like the similarly downbeat (and later beloved) “Blade Runner,” box office returns were not high. Time has been kind, however, to this tense and difficult-to-categorize tale, in which lovers and fellow scientists Douglas and Fawcett stationed on Saturn find their idyllic working situation seriously intruded upon with the arrival of humorless technocrat Benson (Harvey Keitel) and his robot, a machine with designs on killing Douglas and getting freaky with Fawcett. As scripted by revered author Martin Amis, “Saturn 3” is far from your average sci-fi adventure, and in retrospect that’s a good thing. Rated R. Running time: 1:28. Suggested retail price: $26.99.
“SERPICO,” Al Pacino, John Randolph. His high profile work in “The Godfather” series and “Dog Day Afternoon” tends to get more attention, but “Serpico” is Pacino’s most purely engaging role of the 70’s, his gruff goof humor a perfect match for the raggedy but effective cop who refuses to fall in line with the corrupt tactics of his co-workers, finding himself very low on friends in short order. Always at his best when playing the underdog, Pacino is impossible not to root for in this fact-based crime-drama. Rated R. Running time: 1:30. Suggested retail price: $19.98.
“DRINKING BUDDIES,” Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson. Relying on improvisation to shape a film isn’t exactly a rare conceit these days, but what IS rare is when it works exceptionally well, and director Joe Swanberg’s (“24 Exposures”) relationship dramedy carries it off better than most in recent memory. Concerning a pair of mismatched couples and their stumbling, haltingly incremental attempts to improve their respective situations, “Buddies” is never less than thoroughly believable, approaching documentary-like realism as the camera observes familiar conversation and all-too-human behavior. And drinking. Lots of drinking. Viewers of a certain age will feel as those they’re watching footage of last night’s bar run, while for others it may have a time-machine effect. In any event, “Buddies” knows what it’s like to be young, confused, and half in the bag. Rated R. Running time: 1:30. Suggested retail price: $26.98; Blu-ray $29.98.
“GOOD OL’ FREDA,” Documentary. Just when you thought there couldn’t possibly be any information left to share about The Beatles, here comes “Good Ol’ Freda,” an affectionate and occasionally eye-opening doc that introduces us to Freda Kelly, their biggest fan and longtime secretary, responsible for such tasks as retrieving locks of hair left behind from the Fab Four’s barber visits to mail to rabid fans. As might be expected, the anecdotes are plentiful and fascinating, but in the end it’s Freda’s unassuming likability that stays with the viewer: a genuinely nice, average person who held a position millions would have killed for. Rated PG. Running time: 1:26. Suggested retail price: $26.98; Blu-ray $29.98.
– Courtesy of Videoport