NEW ON DVD AND BLU-RAY:

“CATS & DOGS: THE REVENGE OF KITTY GALORE.” Animated with the voices of Bette Midler and Neil Patrick Harris. Proudly unnecessary talking-animal sequel is actually a bit of an improvement over the first, with Midler hamming it up as only she can in the role of Kitty Galore, a megalomaniacal feline bent on taking over the world. Looking to prevent her from doing just that are the always welcome Harris as the head of a dog intelligence agency, James Marsden as a conflicted police dog and Katt Williams as a helpful pigeon. Pixar needn’t worry about the competition, but the goings-on are inoffensive enough, and the cast is willing and able. Special features include a Looney Tunes short and a sneak peek at the upcoming “Yogi Bear” movie. Rated PG. Running time: 1:22.

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

“DISNEY’S A CHRISTMAS CAROL.” Animated with the voices of Jim Carrey and Gary Oldman. Director Robert Zemeckis improves greatly on his first motion-capture CGI Christmas film (2004’s well-meaning but creepy-looking “The Polar Express”) with this excellent adaptation of the Dickens classic, with eye-popping visuals that re-create Victorian England to a staggering degree, and Carrey dialing down his usual wackiness as soon-to-be-reformed miser Ebenezer Scrooge. One of the better versions of an oft-adapted classic. Special features include deleted scenes and a digital advent calendar. Rated PG. Running time: 1:38.

Suggested retail price: $39.99 for Blu-ray/DVD combo.

“LOTTERY TICKET,” starring Bow Wow and Brandon T. Jackson. A young shoe store employee (Bow Wow, “Roll Bounce”) begins to question the very concept of luck when his multimillion-dollar lottery ticket brings him arguably more trouble than it’s worth, thanks to a neighborhood full of people eager to get a piece of the winnings. Good-natured and consistently funny, “Ticket” wants nothing more than to crack up the audience, and both the enjoyably bickering leads as well as the talented supporting cast (which includes Charlie Murphy, Terry Crews and a hilarious Mike Epps as an out-of-control Baptist minister) ensure that this happens more often than not. An overlooked comedy that deserves a much wider audience. Rated PG-13. Running time: 1:39.

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

“THE COMPLETE METROPOLIS,” starring Alfred Abel and Brigitte Helm. “Metropolis,” a silent sci-fi classic from 1927, is a cinematic wonder that everyone ought to see at least once, and “The Complete Metropolis” is by far the version to go with, handily trumping the many grainy and edited public-domain versions that have cluttered classics shelves over the years. Director Fritz Lang’s elaborate sets and prescient outlook are more impressive now, and with the original Gottfried Huppertz score and 25 minutes of lost footage added, a masterpiece has officially been improved upon. Running time: 2:27.

Suggested retail price: DVD $29.95; Blu-ray $39.95.

“THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER,” starring Robert Mitchum and Shelly Winters. Widely regarded by critics as one of the best films ever made, this near-unclassifiable masterwork from director Charles Laughton (who, lamentably, never made another movie) gives Mitchum his signature role in Harry Powell, a deeply unhinged man of the cloth who will stop at nothing — and we do mean nothing — to get his hands on the $10,000 left behind by his late cellmate, going so far as to marry the man’s widow and threaten his children. One of the least dated classic films you’ll ever encounter, “Hunter” has no use for the wide-eyed optimism found in much of the cinema of yesteryear. It’s out for blood. Special features in this Criterion release include an interview with cinematographer Stanley Cortez and more than two hours of outtakes. Not rated, contains violence and disturbing images. Running time: 1:32.

Suggested retail price: DVD $39.95; Blu-ray $49.95.

NEW ON BLU-RAY:

“MODERN TIMES,” starring Charles Chaplin and Paulette Goddard. Chaplin’s enduring 1936 send-up of workplace ennui and the Machine Age still rings true, and when he’s not dazzling the audience with complex sight gags, he’s charming them with his attempts to woo a young homeless girl (Goddard, his wife at the time). Defiantly silent during a time when everyone in Hollywood was clamoring to make “talkies,” “Times” is thusly both a celebration of and a rally against industrialization. It’s also really funny. Special features include a new commentary from Chaplin biographer David Robinson and deleted scenes. Not rated, nothing objectionable. Running time: 1:27.

Suggested retail price: $39.95.

“MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY,” starring Charles Laughton and Clark Gable. Tense adventure drama features one of the great cinematic standoffs of the ages, with Laughton’s (who directed “The Night of the Hunter,” mentioned above) unforgettably evil Captain Bligh squaring off against the crew that he’s mistreated beyond their breaking point. A grueling but fantastic sea adventure, featuring one of the great (but rarely mentioned) villains of the screen. Special features include an Academy Awards newsreel. Not rated, contains violence. Running time: 2:12.

Suggested retail price: $34.99.

VIDEOPORT PICKS:

“BEST WORST MOVIE.” Documentary. A direct-to-video sequel to the critically reviled 1980s sci-fi flick “Troll 2,” this documentary didn’t create much of a stir when it was originally and unceremoniously dumped onto video-store shelves back in 1992. Since then, its guilty pleasure virtues — which include appallingly bad acting, plot points that involve bologna sandwiches and urinating on food, and the fact that the film doesn’t actually contain any trolls — have garnered the surreal turkey an ever-growing stable of fans, a la “The Room.” This affectionate and amusing documentary from director Michael Stephenson details both the troubled, hilariously misbegotten production and the rise to cult-classic status of this accidentally popular oddity. Having played the young protagonist in “Troll 2,” Stephenson’s familiarity with the film and the performers in question lends the project an intimacy it may not have achieved had it been helmed by someone who was simply a fan. The results are by turns funny, a bit sad, and above all, fascinating. Not rated, contains rough language. Running time: 1:33.

Suggested retail price: $19.95.

“THE EXTRA MAN,” starring Paul Dano and Kevin Kline. Writer Jonathan Ames (“Bored to Death”) has mastered a particular brand of chilly whimsy, offset by just enough self-deprecation that his style remains readable, relatable and always funny. This adaptation of his acclaimed novel retains that aloof vulnerability, and it also provides Kline with his best role in ages as Henry, a would-be socialite who ekes out a meager living as an escort accompanying older women to swanky functions and basking in the high life for a few hours before returning to abject poverty in his NYC apartment. Taking a somber playwright (Dano, who seems to specialize in somber) under his wing, Henry schools his squire in the ways of remaining classy in the direst of environments, and their exchanges and facades are absurdly hilarious. Rated R for some sexual content. Running time: 1:45.

Suggested retail price: DVD $26.98; Blu-ray $29.98. 

— Courtesy of Videoport

 

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