August 29, 2013

DVD Releases

New on the shelf: 'The Great Gatsby' / 'Pain & Gain'

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Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Great Gatsby.”

Warner Bros.

VIDEOPORT PICKS

"KON-TIKI," starring Pal Sverre Hagen and Odd Magnus Williamson. For starters, how can we NOT recommend a film starring someone named Odd Magnus Williamson. Awesome stage names aside, this Academy Award nominee from Norwegian directors Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg (the upcoming "Pirates of the Caribbean 5") is a marvel, an old-fashioned adventure yarn the likes of which you thought they didn't make anymore, relating the incredible fact-based tale of explorer Thor Heyerdahl (Hagen, "Troubled Water"), who took it upon himself to cross the Pacific Ocean on a balsa wood raft with five other men, all to prove that it would have been possible for South Americans in pre-Columbian times could have settled in Polynesia. With excellent performances and seamless CGI, "Kon-Tiki" is an effective throwback with up-to-the-minute special effects, a feat few filmmakers manage to pull off with quite this level of success. Rated PG-13. Running time: 1:58. Suggested retail price: $24.98; Blu-ray $29.99. 

"THE RELUCTANT FUNDAMENTALIST," starring Riz Ahmed and Kate Hudson. It's never a sure bet as to what type of genre director Mira Nair ("Monsoon Wedding") will take on next, but you can always count on a fresh perspective and absolute respect for the material, and in taking on Mohsin Hamid's controversial novel, Nair presents a compelling tale centered on a protagonist with uncertain loyalties, and Ahmed's ("Four Lions") portrayal of Khan, a Pakistani lecturer from Lahore University being questioned about the kidnapping of an American professor, is a complex study in grey areas. By design, there are more questions than answers raised in this thought-provoking thriller, but Ahmed's award-worthy performance and Nair's sure-handed direction carry the patient viewer through. Rated R. Running time: 2:10. Suggested retail price: $24.98; Blu-ray $29.98.

-- Courtesy of Videoport

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