NEW ON THE SHELF

“BEARS,” documentary. You want bears? “Bears” has bears, in particular a big mama one and her two cubs, all embarking on a dangerous trek to secure dinner for themselves, all the while trying to avoid becoming dinner for other nearby predators, including a stealthy lone wolf and a fellow, much larger bear whose desperation for sustenance has made cannibalism an attractive option. Warm, amusing narration from John C. Reilly helps form a compelling storyline, and gorgeous cinematography throughout makes this Disneynature’s finest effort to date. Rated G. Running time: 1:18.Suggested retail price: $39.99; Blu-ray $39.99.

“MUPPETS MOST WANTED,” Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey. One of the most welcome franchise resurrections in years, the Muppets are in top form in this anything-goes sequel, which mostly abandons the sentimentality of the 2011 reboot in favor of pure, gag-a-minute comic abandon, with an evil Russian dictator and Kermit lookalike sneakily swapping places with everyone’s favorite amphibious master of ceremonies, leading to any number of wacky misunderstandings and outrageous musical numbers. With a wide roster of familiar faces – including Ty Burrell, Danny Trejo, and Lady Gaga, just to name a few – eager to cut up alongside the Muppets, “Most Wanted” is that rare sequel that manages to improve upon the original. Special features include a blooper reel and a special version of the film edited by Statler and Waldorf. Rated PG. Running time: 1:47. Suggested retail price: $29.99; Blu-ray $39.99.

NEW TO DVD

“BATMAN: ASSAULT ON ARKHAM,” animated, with the voices of Kevin Conroy, Neal McDonough. Based on the popular video game series, this entertaining one-off finds Bats with his hands full with the Joker and the Riddler. Solid comics fare, particularly for fans of the games. Rated PG-13. Running time: 1:15. Suggested retail price: $19.98; Blu-ray $24.98.

“THE BLACKLIST: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON,” James Spader, Megan Boone. A dependably, and excellently, oily performance from the great Spader enlivens a derivative plot in this popular series, playing a former government agent turned mastermind criminal who unexpectedly surrenders to the FBI for the purposes of aiding them in capturing a terrorist, under the strict and seemingly inexplicable condition that he speaks only to Liz Keen (Boone, “Law & Order: LA”), a young, wet-behind-the-ears profiler. Not rated. Running time: Suggested retail price: $69.99; Blu-ray $75.99.

“THE RAILWAY MAN,” Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman. Deeply troubling, excellently portrayed fact-based tale of a former WWII POW (Firth) whose horrific wartime experiences come back to haunt him shortly after marrying a fellow passenger (Kidman) on the trains he frequents as a student of railway history, leading him to revisit the Thai prison where he was once held captive as a means of equalizing his PTSD, but also hoping to encounter and kill his former tormentor (Hiroyuki Sanada, “The Twilight Samurai”). Breezy Friday night entertainment this clearly isn’t, but for those in the mood for an intense and skillfully made viewing experience, “The Railway Man” provides it. Rated R. Running time: 1:48. Suggested retail price: $29.98; Blu-ray $34.99.

VIDEOPORT PICKS

“FILTH,” James McAvoy, Jamie Bell. It’s the latest adaptation of a novel by Irvine Welsh (“Trainspotting”), meaning drug-fueled misbehavior reigns supreme. This time around, however, it’s a supposedly respectable member of society perpetrating the madness: one Det. Sergeant Bruce Robinson (McAvoy). Up for a seemingly surefire promotion, Robinson takes on a complex murder case to showcase his mettle, not always easy when under the influence of nearly every narcotic on the market. Though the excess is on full display, writer-director Jon S. Baird (“Cass”) grounds it all with sufficient backstory, finding humor in some of the antics but never in their very real consequences, and McAvoy (“X-Men: First Class”) absolutely tears up the screen. Rated R. Running time: 1:37. Suggested retail price: $26.98; Blu-ray $29.98.

“LOCKE,” Tom Hardy, Olivia Colman. Current Hollywood golden boy Hardy (“The Dark Knight Rises”) mesmerizes in this tense drama from director Steven Knight (“Redemption”), who submits for your viewing pleasure the worst night of a successful businessman’s life. Taking place almost entirely inside his car, “Locke” is observed negotiating, pleading, lashing out, appeasing, and taking control, running a wide gamut of emotions as he navigates of phone calls on the eve of an extremely important building project that happens to coincide with the birth of his illegitimate child. It’s Oscar-worthy, Hardy doing more with a facial expression than many performers could manage with an entire script. Rated R. Running time: 1:25. Suggested retail price: $19.98; Blu-ray $24.99.

– Courtesy of Videoport


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