January 24, 2013

DVD Releases

New on the shelf: 'End of Watch' / 'The Paperboy' / 'The Men Who Built America' / 'The Quiet Man'

NEW ON THE SHELF

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Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena in “End of Watch.”

Courtesy Open Road Films

"END OF WATCH," starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena. "Riveting" barely begins to describe the action on display in this hard-hitting police procedural from current master of the form, David Ayer ("Street Kings"). He takes the found-footage approach with this tense tale of officers Brian (Gyllenhaal) and Mike (Pena), partners tasked with recording their daily, often harrowing, exploits with a camera. In the course of this project, the officers stumble upon a human trafficking ring, a situation far beyond the scope of their normal routine and one they enthusiastically pursue and document. Rated R. Running time: 1:49

Suggested retail price: $24.98; Blu-ray $34.98

"THE PAPERBOY," starring Matthew McConaughey and Nicole Kidman. It's a safe bet you've never seen anything like "The Paperboy," a proudly insane adaptation of Pete Dexter's novel helmed by Lee Daniels. The universal acclaim Daniels received for "Precious" failed to rematerialize for this Southern gothic tale of a reporter (McConaughey), the murderer whose case he's investigating (John Cusack), the convict's pen pal/main squeeze Charlotte (Kidman) and the reporter's kid brother (Zac Efron). It's Kidman who received most of the press here, and deservedly so, delivering a fearless, 110-percent committed performance as a shameless seductress, letting it all hang out in more ways than one. Rated R. Running time: 1:47

Suggested retail price: $28.99; Blu-ray $29.99

"THE MEN WHO BUILT AMERICA," starring Justin Morck and Eric Rolland. Key moments in the lives and storied careers of Cornelius Vanderbilt, John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan and Henry Ford, as skillfully dramatized by the History Channel. Special features include additional scenes. Not rated. Running time: 6:00

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

"THE QUIET MAN," starring John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara. Practically a chick flick by the Duke's standards, this gorgeously shot 1952 romantic comedy of sorts finds Wayne's retired boxer returned to his Irish homeland of Innisfree, where he in short order falls for the fiery sister (O'Hara) of the even fierier Will Danagher (Victor McLaglen). He meets considerable resistance from both when he makes his intentions plain to marry O'Hara, eventually leading to one of the most epic (and funniest, for that matter) fist fights in the history of film. Running time: 2:09

Suggested retail price: $24.95; Blu-ray $29.95

NEW TO BLU-RAY

"IVAN'S CHILDHOOD," starring Nikolay Burlyaev and Valentin Zubkov. Strikingly beautiful if bleak 1962 masterpiece from Andrei Tarkovsky accompanies young Ivan on top-secret missions to collect information across the German lines in WWII, reporting back to Soviet officers who he looks up to as parental figures. As ever, Tarkovsky is able to find beauty within moments and locales that would yield only despair in less capable hands, and gets a terrific performance from young Burlyaev in the title role as well. Not rated; contains some disturbing imagery. Running time: 1:35

Suggested retail price: $39.95

"THE SEVEN-PER-CENT SOLUTION," starring Alan Arkin and Vanessa Redgrave. Probably one of the least typical entries in the Sherlock Holmes canon, "Solution" does eventually reveal a mystery that must be solved. But this 1976 flick primarily focuses on Holmes' (Nicol Williamson) cocaine addiction, a habit that isn't doing his relationship with Watson (Robert Duvall) or his business in general any favors. Enter legendary psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud (Arkin), contacted by Watson to meet with Holmes and hopefully help cure him of his addiction. Rated PG. Running time: 1:53

Suggested retail price: $26.99

VIDEOPORT PICKS

"PINA," documentary. In this collaboration between two masters of the visual form, director Wim Wenders ("Wings of Desire") salutes the mind-blowing (and here three-dimensional) choreography of the late, great Pina Bausch, who unfortunately passed away a mere two days before Wenders began his project.

Left to translate her works to the big screen is a fascinating and hugely talented troupe of dancers, all of whom share their memories of the artist when they're not bringing them to vivid life for the lucky viewer. A beautiful celebration of a remarkable life and an art form all too infrequently showcased on the big screen. Rated PG. Running time: 1:43

Suggested retail price: $29.95; Blu-ray $49.95

"SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN," documentary. One of the best rock docs in ages, this thoroughly captivating study of a near-mythic musician traces the filmmakers' attempts to track down the back story and whatever became of Rodriguez, a Detroit-based folk singer whose 1970 debut record was predicted to be the next big thing. When this completely failed to be the case, Rodriguez faded into obscurity for all but a fiercely devoted group of fans in South Africa, who somehow got their hands on bootlegged copies of the forgotten album and before long were hailing Rodriguez as the second coming of Elvis -- a fact that proves to be a big surprise to the musician himself. By turns sad, thrilling and triumphant, "Sugar Man" puts you through the wringer and then some, introducing audiences to a singular talent. Rated PG-13. Running time: 1:26

Suggested retail price: $30.99; Blu-ray $35.99

- Courtesy of Videoport

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