February 28, 2013

DVD Releases

New on the shelf: 'The Master' / 'The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part Two' / 'Africa' / 'Chasing Mavericks'

NEW ON THE SHELF

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Joaquin Phoenix in “The Master.”

The Weinstein Company

"THE MASTER," starring Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix. Critically acclaimed, controversial, polarizing: These are all terms that tend to apply to the works of writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson ("There Will Be Blood"). And they certainly pertain to this singular character study, the exploration of the complex relationship between a troubled veteran (Phoenix, pulling out all the stops to mostly positive effect) and the leader (Hoffman, nominated for an Oscar) of a burgeoning cult known as The Cause.

One of those difficult to categorize films that's likely to be even better appreciated in retrospect, "The Master" is a challenging drama that further cements Anderson as one of his generation's premier filmmakers. Rated R. Running time: 2:24

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

"THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN -- PART TWO," starring Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson. "Part Two" is reason for both fans and detractors of the "Twilight" series to rejoice, as it not only proves a worthy adaptation of the notoriously huge third installment of the saga, it marks the official end of the long-running teenage vampire love story that swept the nation to widely disparate worldwide reaction.

Fans have no doubt already caught "Part Two" during its original theatrical release, so this week's release will most likely be a rewatching or purchasing type of retail experience. Why not pick up a copy for the histrionic, morbid romantic in your life? We know you've got one. Special features include a seven-part making-of documentary. Rated PG-13. Running time: 1:55

Suggested retail price: $30.98; Blu-ray $39.99

"AFRICA," documentary. Nobody gets up close and personal with nature these days like the BBC, and this follow up to such dazzling series as "Planet Earth" and "Frozen Planet" turns its cameras on the mysterious and dangerous wilds of Africa. This doc reveals astounding scenes that will leave viewers wondering not how the filmmakers managed to get the shots, but why they don't seem to have any regard for their personal safety. Amazing stuff as always. Not rated; contains some violence. Running time: 6:00

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

"CHASING MAVERICKS," starring Gerard Butler and Jonny Weston. Fact-based tale unites up-and-coming surfer Jay (Weston) with local legend Frosty (Butler) as they attempt to ride a notoriously impossible wave: The Mavericks surf break. There's plenty of excitingly shot surfing action for the beach bum crowd, but it's the believable and compelling relationship between the two leads that keeps this modest but affecting drama afloat. Rated PG. Running time: 1:56

Suggested retail price: $22.98; Blu-ray $29.99

NEW TO BLU-RAY

"THE HUDSUCKER PROXY," starring Tim Robbins and Jennifer Jason Leigh. Not a big hit for the Coen brothers from either a critical or box-office standpoint, this 1994 throwback comedy has nonetheless earned a devoted cult following over the years, much like the equally slow-to-start Coen comedy "The Big Lebowski" (though admittedly on a much smaller scale).

A young and fresh-faced Robbins headlines as Norville Barnes, a naive recent business graduate hired as president of a manufacturing company as part of a stock scam, a plan that backfires when Barnes comes up with the Next Big Thing: The hula hoop. A quirkily funny and breezy ride of a comedy with a game cast eager to bring back the screwball style of the '40s and '50s. Rated PG. Running time: 1:51

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