October 17, 2013

DVD Releases

New on the shelf: ‘The Heat’ / ‘Pacific Rim’


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Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy in “The Heat.”

20th Century Fox

“THE HEAT,” starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy. Riotous nod to the buddy cop action-comedies of the ’80s a la “48 HRS” and “Red Heat,” “The Heat” successfully pairs straight-arrow Bullock with rule-disregarding loose cannon McCarthy in an effort to bring down a Boston-area drug kingpin. Not all audiences may be prepared for the wide tonal shifts between improv-heavy comedy and surprisingly graphic shootouts, but viewers up for anything should appreciate this faithful and very funny throwback. Rated R. Running time: 1:57. Suggested retail price: $29.98; Blu-ray $39.99.

“PACIFIC RIM,” starring Charlie Hunnam and Idris Elba. Massive aliens facing off against massive robots: What’s not to like? Fan-favorite director Guillermo del Toro (“Pan’s Labyrinth”) lets his considerable imagination run wild in this anything-goes sci-fi actioner, finding Earth beset by Kaiju (big aliens), and relying on Jaegers (big robots) to stave off the wanton destruction. Unabashedly loud and silly, “Pacific Rim” is a rock ’em sock ’em good time, a tailor-made summer blockbuster that a thousand “Transformers” sequels couldn’t hope to live up to. Special features include a blooper reel and a commentary from del Toro. Rated PG-13. Running time: 2:11.

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


“THE FALL: SERIES ONE,” starring Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan. Her iconic performance as Detective Scully on “The X-Files” long behind her, Anderson makes a long overdue return to television in this compelling offering from BBC Two, resurrecting her long dormant British accent as Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson, relocated to Belfast for the purposes of catching a particularly brutal serial killer (Dornan, “Once Upon a Time”) who has managed to completely elude the local police force. Not rated. Running time: 5:00. Suggested retail price: $39.99.

“GRAVITY FALLS: SIX STRANGE TALES,” animated. With the voices of Kristen Schaal and Jason Ritter. More than enough (admittedly deserved) praises have been sung about the genius of “Adventure Time” and “Regular Show.” It’s time to show some love to “Gravity Falls,” an unfailingly delightful Disney channel offering that pits 12-year-old twins Dipper and Mabel Pines (perfectly voiced by Schaal and Ritter) against the various creatures and weirdos attracted to the titular locale, where their crotchety “Grunkle” Stan runs a dilapidated tourist trap. A nice little collection to tide one over until the complete seasons are finally released. Not rated. Running time: 2:09.

Suggested retail price: $19.99.

“VIKINGS: SEASON ONE” starring Travis Fimmel and Katheryn Winnick. Having scored a success with the miniseries “Hatfields & McCoys,” The History Channel takes another foray into scripted adaptation with this effective period piece, which follows Ragnar (Fimmel), an aspiring Viking chieftain, on his bloody, arduous battle to fulfill his destiny. True to its time, the gore flies fast and furious, and fans of such well-realized fare as “Game of Thrones” are apt to find this much to their liking. Not rated. Running time: 6:38.

Suggested retail price: $49.98; Blu-ray $59.99.


“THE HAUNTING,” starring Julie Harris and Claire Bloom. Director Robert Wise’s (“West Side Story”) 1963 classic fright flick remains remarkably effective even today. It ratchets up unbearable tension and maintains a deeply unsettling mood as a quartet of already troubled guests (led by a memorable Harris as the least stable of the lot) attempt to debunk the terrifying legacy of Hill House, a New England mansion rumored to be riddled with ghosts and various things that go bump in the night, something “The Haunting” has no shortage of thanks to brilliant sound design that the new Blu-ray brings to vivid life. Not rated. Running time: 1:52. Suggested retail price: $19.98.

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