Tom Cruise furthers his action-hero status with “Oblivion,” an apocalyptic thriller set in the future.
“Oblivion” (Universal/Blu-ray, 2013, PG-13, two discs, $34.98; Blu-ray, DVD, digital versions; deleted scenes, audio commentary, featurettes, isolated music). Cruise is a security repairman flying around Earth repairing drones, believing there is no longer human life on Earth, when he’s surprised after falling into the hands of a group of refugees led by Morgan Freeman that tell him another story.
And that’s far from the end of the twists and turns taken by this sci-fi mystery, which unfolds with enough action for fans of the genre, but which is also thoughtful and moody enough to satisfy those who like their movies to run a little deeper. Not 100 percent on the mark but entertaining enough to work some movie magic.
“Venus and Serena” (Magnolia, 2013, PG-13, $26.98, deleted scenes, featurettes, trailer). Documentary exploring the amazing professional tennis sister act that is the Williamses interviews the two stars of the court, along with a wide range of observers, including former President Clinton, tennis legend John McEnroe, comic actor Chris Rock, Vogue editor Anna Wintour, etc. (Also on Blu-ray, $29.98)
“Mystery Science theater 3000: XXVII” (Shout!, 1989-97, four discs, $59.97, four episodes, introduction, featurettes, trailers; four mini-posters). Joel, Mike, Tom Servo and Crow comically tear to shreds the cheapjack sci-fi productions “The Slime People” (1963), “Rocket Attack USA” (1961), “Village of the Giants” (1965) and “The Deadly Mantis” (1957). Funny stuff.
“New World” (Well Go, 2013, not rated, $24.98, Korean with English subtitles, featurette, photo gallery, trailer). Korean gangster film follows a deep-cover operative whose long-term activities in a crime syndicate lead to his being put on a path toward becoming a syndicate boss, which the police chief encourages but which tests the undercover detective’s loyalty, especially as he worries about protecting his pregnant wife. (Also on Blu-ray, $29.98)
“The Wedding Chapel” (Vivendi, 2013, not rated, $14.93). Down-on-her-luck painter visits her mother, looking for inspiration, and joins a movement to preserve a local church. Light straight-to-video romantic comedy stars Emmanuelle Vaugier, Mark Deklin and Shelley Long.
“Ginger & Rosa” (Lionsgate, 2013, PG-13, $19.98, deleted scenes, audio commentary, featurettes). Elle Fanning especially shines in this film about two young teen girls being forced to grow up too fast in 1960s London, one eventually entering into an affair with the other’s father. With so many British actors playing Americans these days it’s interesting to see a number of familiar American actors affecting British accents, the most successful being young Fanning. Co-stars include Annette Bening, Christina Hendricks and Oliver Platt.
“Starbuck” (eOne, 2011; R for sex, language, drugs; $24.98, in French with English subtitles, deleted scenes, featurette, bloopers, music video). In this comedy, the French incarnation of a movie man-boy has been a “habitual” sperm donor when he discovers he’s the biological father of 533 children, 142 of whom are looking to identify him. (An American remake starring Vince Vaughn opens in November.)
“A Viking Saga: The Darkest Day” (Lionsgate, 2013; R for violence, nudity, language; $26.98, featurette, trailers). Brutal true story of a novice monk trying to transport a holy book to a distant monastery while being pursued by a Viking death squad.
“How the States Got Their Shapes: Season 2” (Lionsgate, 2013, three discs, $19.98, 19 episodes, deleted scenes). Breezy, surprisingly entertaining History cable channel TV series hosted by humorist Brian Unger that explores the boundaries, natural resources and quirky characteristics of each state under discussion. This season includes red states vs. blue states and the Hatfields & McCoys feud.
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