NEW ON DVD AND BLU-RAY

“COLOMBIANA,” starring Zoe Saldana and Michael Vartan. Love him or hate him, Luc Besson knows how to entertain, and his name in the production credits of this slam-bang, none-too-intelligent actioner benefits from a brisk pace, a fair share of oddball setpieces, and an engaging and even, dare we say, sensitive performance from Saldana as a lithe and lovely killing machine spurred on by childhood remembrances of her parents’ horrific murder. Special features include a making-of featurettes. Rated PG-13. Running time: 1:48

Suggested retail price: $30.99; $35.99 

“DOLPHIN TALE,” starring Harry Connick Jr. and Ashley Judd. Almost criminally uplifting, director Charles Martin Smith’s (“Air Bud”) fact-based tale of a maimed dolphin who brings together a wide range of emotionally wounded individuals pours on the schmaltz pretty thick, but the talented cast (which also includes redoubtable veterans Morgan Freeman and Kris Kristofferson) keeps things from getting too unbearable. Rated PG. Running time: 1:53

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

“MIDNIGHT IN PARIS,” starring Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams. Charming surprise from writer-director Woody Allen whisks Allen surrogate Wilson away to 1920s-era France while on a modern-day pre-wedding vacation with his fiancee (McAdams), where he inexplicably finds himself canoodling with the likes of Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein and Salvador Dali, among other icons of the time. Wisely, Allen declines to explain how any of this is happening and simply sweeps us along in the fantasy. Special features include a Cannes featurette. Rated PG-13. Running time: 1:34

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

“STRAW DOGS,” starring James Marsden and Kate Bosworth. Needless but technically well-made remake of the controversial 1971 Sam Peckinpah classic from director Rod Lurie finds Marsden as unassuming screenwriter David Sumner, whose manliness is repeatedly called into question when a few good old boys start making unwelcome advances towards his wife upon relocating to her former hometown in the deep South. Rated R. Running time: 1:50

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

“FUTURAMA 6,” animated with the voices of Billy West and Katey Sagal. Still pound for pound the funniest and far and away the smartest animated comedy on TV, Matt Groening’s frequently brilliant sci-fi send-up continues the adventures of unfrozen pizza boy Fry, femme fatale Cyclops Leela, foul-mouthed robot Bender and the rest of the Planet Express crew as they encounter one insane situation after another. Not rated; contains mild language and crude humor. Running time: 5:35

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

“THE TEMPEST,” starring Helen Mirren and Russell Brand. Director Julie Taymor brings the kinetic bombast and theatrical flair she showcased so well in 1998’s “Titus” to another Shakespearean standby, the less violent but even more surreal “Tempest.” She retains the island-based power struggle and magical elements but changes traditionally male protagonist Prospero to Prospera, a role Mirren runs with in her unfailingly classy and commanding style. Special features include an interview with Shakespeare (sort of). Rated PG-13. Running time: 1:50

Suggested retail price: $29.99; Blu-ray $39.99 

NEW TO BLU-RAY

“A FAREWELL TO ARMS,” starring Helen Hayes and Gary Cooper. Beloved 1932 adaptation of Ernest Hemingway’s classic novel features one of the most intense and tragic love stories of our time. Screen icons Cooper and Hayes fall deeply in love while both serving during the height of World War I, certainly not one of the more convenient courtship arenas. The constant fear for the lives of the characters increases the stakes well beyond what one would find in the majority of Hollywood romances then or now, and Hemingway’s enduring, deceptively terse ruminations on love and war ring truer than ever. Not rated; contains violence. Running time: 1:20

Suggested retail price: $29.95 

VIDEOPORT PICKS

“MARGIN CALL,” starring Kevin Spacey and Paul Bettany. Horror icons and elements come and go, but few could hope to compare to the dread and panic evoked by the financial crisis our country currently finds itself struggling to crawl out from under. This well-realized drama-thriller succeeds more than any similarly themed film to date at conveying the very particular brand of sickening fear that accompanies the realization that one is about to lose everything they’ve worked so hard to attain. Rated R. Running time: 1:47

Suggested retail price: $19.98; Blu-ray $29.99 

“TOAST,” starring Helena Bonham Carter and Freddie Highmore. Based on food writer Nigel Slater’s memoir, this delightful comedy of sorts can be added to the small but stately genre of films especially geared toward foodies, alongside such similarly mouthwatering cinematic gems as “Eat Drink Man Woman” and “Big Night.”

Here, aspiring young foodie Nigel (Highmore, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”) must contend with his mother’s nonexistent cooking skills, his father’s growing impatience and the general derision of his classmates while attempting to become a master in the kitchen via a high school home economics class. If you don’t mind wanting to eat everything in the house after viewing it, “Toast” is a winning and delectable way to spend an hour and a half. Not rated; contains language and sexual content. Running time: 1:36

Suggested retail price: $27.97

– Courtesy of Videoport

 

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