Leonardo DiCaprio’s take on “The Great Gatsby” leads an eclectic mix of new movies on DVD and Blu-ray this week.
“The Great Gatsby” (Warner/Blu-ray, 2013, PG-13, two discs, $35.99; Blu-ray, DVD, digital versions; deleted scenes, featurettes, trailers). Baz Luhrmann is anything but subtle and his adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel is as hyperkinetic as “Moulin Rouge” or “Romeo + Juliet,” and miles away from earlier film versions starring Alan Ladd and Robert Redford.
Filled with anachronistic music and Luhrmann’s trademark swooping camera and quick-cut edits, this “Gatsby” stars Leonardo DiCaprio, who is perfectly suited to the role, and features a well-chosen supporting cast in all the familiar roles. It’s a lush, some would say headache-inducing effort, but it is undeniably entertaining if you let go of expectations. (Also on 3D/Blu-ray combo, $44.95, and DVD, $28.98)
“At Any Price” (Sony Classics, 2013; R for sex and language; $30.99, DVD and digital versions, audio commentary, featurette, rehearsal footage). Dennis Quaid is excellent in this story of a farmer who sees his life fall apart due to his own hubris. The film is flawed and aloof but Quaid is so good he gives it a lift, along with a strong supporting cast that includes Zac Efron as his estranged son, Kim Dickens as his disappointed wife and Heather Graham as his younger mistress. (Also on Blu-ray, $35.99)
“The Reluctant Fundamentalist” (IFC/Blu-ray, 2013; R for language, violence, sex; $29.98, featurette, trailer). Based on the best-selling novel, this thriller stars Riz Ahmed as a Pakistani professor accused of taking part in a kidnapping. Flashbacks reveal that how he was treated in America after 9/11 altered his views, but does that mean he’s guilty of conspiring with terrorists? Well-constructed entertainment with a political agenda co-stars Liev Schreiber, Kate Hudson and Kiefer Sutherland. (Also on DVD, $24.98)
“No Place On Earth” (Magnolia, 2013, PG-13, $29.98, deleted scenes). NYPD officer Chris Nicola goes cave exploring in Ukraine, stumbles on evidence that people lived underground in the not-too-distant past, and tracks down some still-living World War II survivors who relate their story of escaping the Gestapo by living below the earth for more than 500 days. The story is gripping when director Janet Tobias lets the survivors tell their story, but she too often allows filmmaking techniques to get in the way. (Also on DVD, $26.98)
“Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s” (eOne, 2013, PG-13, $24.98, deleted scenes). Fond documentary look at the iconic store that covers a full city block in Manhattan and caters to the elite, with testimonials from an eclectic roster of celebrities, including Giorgio Armani, Candice Bergen, Isaac Mizrahi, Susan Lucci, Joan Rivers and many more.
“Shadow Dancer” (Magnolia/Blu-ray, 2013, R for language and violence, $29.98, featurettes). Andrea Riseborough stars in this British thriller as a young mother who is part of the IRA, along with her family. When a terrorist act is foiled, she is given a choice by an MI5 agent (Clive Owen) to either become an informant within her family or go to prison. She chooses the former but it isn’t long before her actions give her away. (Also on DVD, $26.98)
“A Company Man” (Well Go, 2013, not rated, $24.98, in Korean with English subtitles, featurette, trailer). This Korean thriller takes a unique approach to the standard killer-for-hire genre, as a white-collar company is actually a front for an organization of suit-and-tie hitmen. Good action and an engaging star in So Ji-sub help make this a worthwhile effort for fans of Asian cinema. (Also on Blu-ray, $29.98)1 comment on this story
“Pain & Gain” (Paramount/Blu-ray, 2013; R for violence, sex, nudity, language, drugs; two discs, $39.99; Blu-ray, DVD, digital versions). Michael Bay directed this bombastic, extremely profane and obnoxious comedic true story of a group of bulked-up personal trainers (Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie) that kidnap and extort a sleazy entrepreneur (Tony Shalhoub), who later hires a private investigator (Ed Harris) to get revenge. (Also on DVD, $29.99)
“Empire State” (Lionsgate, 2013, R for violence and language, $19.98, DVD and digital versions, deleted scenes, audio commentary, feturettes). Dwayne Johnson also stars in this thriller, another true story, as a cop pursuing Liam Hemsworth and Michael Angarano after they rob an armored truck company of the largest cash heist in U.S. history. (Also on Blu-ray, $24.99)
Chris Hicks is the author of "Has Hollywood Lost Its Mind? A Parents Guide to Movie Ratings." His website is www.hicksflicks.com