New releases on DVD, Blu-ray
Updated: October 1, 2012 11:02AM
NEW THIS WEEK
“The Avengers” ★★★½
Rated: PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence throughout, and a mild drug reference
Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Samuel L. Jackson, Tom Hiddleston
Writer/director Joss Whedon (TV’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) delivers all the spectacular action an audience could possibly hope for with this Marvel superhero extravaganza — and he does it with intelligence and humor to spare. The comic book dream team of Thor, Iron Man, Captain America and the Incredible Hulk are called upon to save the world, not unsurprisingly, from an alien invasion led by Thor’s petulant half-brother Loki (Hiddleston). The only really surprising thing is how funny things get from time to time — with the biggest yuks provided by Big Mean Green. Extras include commentary by Whedon, a gag reel and deleted scenes.
“The War Of The Roses” Blu-ray Debut ★★★½
Stars: Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, Danny DeVito
Director DeVito plays a divorce lawyer relating this bitterly funny and occasionally more-than-a-little disturbing nightmare of marital mayhem as a cautionary tale to a prospective client. Seventeen years after beginning their marriage as the perfect couple, Oliver and Barbara Rose (Douglas and Turner) have nothing left for each other but spite and an equally hell-bent determination to become soul owner of their dream house. DeVito orchestrates the tension masterfully as each tries to drive the other away with increasingly outrageous attacks, and he doesn’t back away when the battle seems to be escalating out of control. The film’s final, bitter gesture is one that’s likely to linger. Extras include commentary by DeVito, deleted scenes and a production gallery.
ALSO NEW THIS WEEK
“Alfred Hitchcock Masterpiece Collection”
Fifteen films by Alfred Hitchcock (13 making Blu-ray debuts) are collected in this box set. More than 15 hours of bonus features are included including a new documentary on “The Birds.”
This golden-anniversary Blu-ray box set collects all 22 of the 007 films in one release for the first time — including nine films making Blu-ray debuts. More than 122 hours of bonus material is featured including an additional bonus disc with two new Bond documentaries.
“The Carol Burnett Show Ultimate Collection”
Time/Life will release four different packages of episodes selected by Carol Burnett from her classic ‘60s sitcom including the “Ultimate Collection,” a 22-disc collection of 50 episodes. The collectible box includes a 20-page handbook and more than 20 hours of new bonus materials.
Director Paul Bartel’s 1982 cult hit, about a prudish married couple (Bartel and Mary Woronov) who decide to kill off their apartment building’s swinging singles and use the bodies to open a cute little restaurant, gets the Criterion Treatment. In addition to a newly restored digital transfer, extras include a documentary on the making of the film, an archival interview with Bartel and Woronov and a gag reel.
“Midsomer Murders: Mayhem & Mystery Files”
This 15-disc collector’s edition of the long-running British mystery series about a small-town inspector (John Nettles) features 15 stand-alone mysteries from season 10 and 11 in broadcast order.
“Rescue Me: The Complete Series”
This 26-disc set includes all seven seasons of the FX series chronicling the adventures and misadventures of a group of New York City firemen featuring Dennis Leary. Extras include gag reels, 90 deleted scenes and commentaries.
Christopher Plummer plays Prospero in this production of the drama performed at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. Extras include a Q&A with Plummer.
In this family adventure, a boy inherits the pet of his Transylvanian grandfather and discovers the dog is a 600-year-old vampire canine that speaks English. Together, they attempt to outwit a scientist attempting to steal the dog’s DNA for an anti-aging drug.
Three feature-length BBC Masterpiece episodes based on the dark, quirky Swedish TV series starring Kenneth Branagh as Detective Kurt Wallander: “An Evening in Autumn,” “The Dogs of Riga” and “Before the Frost.”
“The Cabin In The Woods” ★★★½
Rated: R for strong bloody horror violence and gore, language, drug use and some sexuality/nudity
Stars: Anna Hutchison, Chris Hemsworth, Kristen Connolly
This knowing, frequently brilliant, thoroughly entertaining meta-parody of the horror-movie genre from debut director Drew Goddard and co-writer Joss Whedon dazzles with the sheer ambition of its conceit. Five teens visit a spooky cabin in the woods for a little illicit fun — and run into something far, far worse than just your run-of-the-mill dismembering monsters. A must-see for genre fans with strong stomachs who appreciate a good, deconstructive laugh. Extras include audio commentary with writer/director Goddard and writer/producer Whedon.
Rated: R for sexual content
Stars: Maggie Gyllenhaal, Hugh Dancy, Jonathan Pryce
Tanya Wexler’s delightful (and often very, very funny) romantic comedy gets considerable mileage from the exquisitely ironic historical fact that the personal vibrating massager was invented in Victorian England. Dancy and Gyllenhaal are nicely matched as a progressive, yet somewhat priggish, young doctor and an outrageously outspoken suffragette (also the daughter of our hero’s employer, a physician who treats unhappy, well-to-do ladies with a highly specialized and minutely focused form of massage). As charming as it is hysterical (literally and figuratively), “Hysteria” toys with the early days of a risqué revolution. Extras include deleted scenes and commentary with Wexler.
AVAILABLE NEXT WEEK
“Downton Abbey” whets appetites for its return with a limited-edition release of the first two seasons, “The Princess Bride” turns 25 with a Blu-ray release and “Singin’ in the Rain” celebrates its golden years with a 60th-anniversary special edition.