December 13, 2012

DVD Releases

New on the shelf: 'The Bourne Legacy' / 'Ice Age: Continental Drift' / 'Ted' / 'Futurama: Volume 7'

NEW ON THE SHELF

Film Title: The Bourne Legacy
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Jeremy Renner reboots the Bourne franchise with “The Bourne Legacy.”

Universal Pictures

"THE BOURNE LEGACY," starring Jeremy Renner and Rachel Weisz. Saddled with the unenviable task of replacing Matt Damon's now iconic role as Jason Bourne, the very capable Jeremy Renner fills in as Aaron Cross, a similarly conflicted and efficiently brutal CIA assassin dependent on exclusive pharmaceuticals to stay alive and trying to stay one step ahead of a bloodthirsty military adviser (Edward Norton). It remains to be seen whether or not Renner can spearhead a new era of "Bourne," but director Tony Gilroy ("Michael Clayton") makes a very solid stab (or punch, or kick) at keeping the murderous magic alive. Rated PG-13. Running time: 2:15

Suggested retail price: $29.98; Blu-ray $34.98

"ICE AGE: CONTINENTAL DRIFT," animated with the voices of Ray Romano and Denis Leary. The fourth entry in the popular family comedy series finds the prehistoric pals literally drifting apart from their families when the titular global shift takes place. Thwarting their efforts to return home are a band of pirates led by Captain Gutt (Peter Dinklage) and his band of not-terribly-merry men. A wide-ranging cast of comic talent rounds out the cast, including Aziz Ansari, Joy Behar, Queen Latifah and Nick Frost of "Shaun of the Dead," and this helps immeasurably in staving off the inevitable been-there-done-that aura. Rated PG. Running time: 1:28

Suggested retail price: $29.98; Blu-ray $39.99

"TED," starring Mark Wahlberg and Seth MacFarlane. Having conquered the airwaves with his animated triple threat of "Family Guy," "The Cleveland Show" and "American Dad," Seth MacFarlane went for the big screen with this hilarious yet oddly affecting tale of a man-child (Wahlberg) and his best friend, a talking, hard-partying teddy bear (voiced, of course, by MacFarlane). Fans of the "Family Guy" style of equal-opportunity-offender, reference-heavy humor will find themselves in good company here, but even MacFarlane's detractors are likely to enjoy the always-game Wahlberg's engagingly ridiculous interactions with his hedonistic stuffed-n'-stoned friend. Rated R. Running time: 1:46

Suggested retail price: $29.98; Blu-ray $34.98

"FUTURAMA: VOLUME 7," animated with the voices of Billy West and Katey Segal. "Simpsons" fans tired of that pioneering animated sitcom's endless wheel spinning would do well to migrate over to "Futurama," which shows no signs of slowing down in its seventh season as the fearless if dangerously incompetent Planet Express crew bumbles their way from one galactic disaster to another. Equal parts witty and proudly dumb, "Futurama" remains one of the most purely funny half-hours on television. Not rated; contains mild language, crude humor and cartoon violence. Running time: 4:46

Suggested retail price: $29.98; Blu-ray $39.99

NEW TO BLU-RAY

"DICK TRACY," starring Warren Beatty and Al Pacino. Considered something of a box-office disappointment at the time of its release following an ubiquitous ad campaign, Beatty's 1990 update of Chester Gould's enduring comic seems tailor made for Blu-ray with its vibrantly colorful landscapes and over-the-top makeup. Seen apart from the hype, "Dick Tracy" has aged quite well as an off-kilter throwback with a stellar cast and a kicky sense of humor. Rated PG. Running time: 1:41

Suggested retail price: $26.50

"FOLLOWING," starring Alex Haw and Jeremy Theobald. Writer-director Christopher Nolan's lowest-budgeted feature is also one of his best. This tight 1998 quasi-thriller concerns a writer (Theobald) who derives the brunt of his material from following strangers around on the street and the strange relationship that develops when one of his unwitting subjects catches on to him -- then turns out to be a thief who schools the writer on the art of breaking and entering. Tense and smart, "Following" very clearly foretold bigger and brighter things for its then-unknown helmer. Rated R. Running time: 1:08

Suggested retail price: $39.95

VIDEOPORT PICKS

"GIRLS: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON," starring Lena Dunham and Allison Williams. Sort of a "Sex and the City" for the cynical Internet age, Lena Dunham's darkly wonderful "Girls" is an all-too-realistic look at young women making their way in the big city, salvaging relationships from the emotional wreckage of their day-to-day routine and managing to provide an impressive number of laughs. Proudly displaying perceived physical and social imperfections, Dunham proves herself perhaps the least vain performer on television, unafraid both to bare her body in what have to be the least erotic yet most believable sex scenes in the history of the medium and to portray her character as an oftentimes selfish, hurtful brat. Harsh, hilarious and always relatable, "Girls" gets the twentysomething years right like few (maybe none) before it. Not rated; contains language, nudity and drug content. Running time: 6:30

Suggested retail price: $39.98; Blu-ray $49.99

"THE QATSI TRILOGY," documentary. Director/artist/genius Godfrey Reggio's masterworks aren't mere movies. They're immersive voyages through the mind that will make you re-evaluate just about everything you think you know -- especially about our relationship with technology, which is a more pertinent subject now than perhaps ever before.

Beginning with 1983's "Koyaanisqatsi" (life out of balance), continuing on with 1988's "Powaqqatsi" (life in transformation) and concluding with 2002's "Naqoyqatsi" (life as war), Reggio blows our collective mind via seemingly everyday images, and his quest is heightened immeasurably by the singularly beautiful score by composer Philip Glass. Criterion brings the lucky film buff all three in this handsomely packaged set, replete with several new interviews. Not rated; contains some disturbing imagery. Running time: 4:34

Suggested retail price: $79.95; Blu-ray $79.95

- Courtesy of Videoport

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