Peter Jackson’s already overlong “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” is even longer on a new extended DVD and Blu-ray edition.
“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: ” (MGM/Warner/Blu-ray 3D, 2012, five discs, PG-13, $54.98; Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray and digital versions; three featurettes). Whether you are a fanatical enough fan to be happy with the prospect of seeing a version of the nearly three-hour film with yet another 13 minutes embedded into it is entirely a matter of perspective. And, of course, the elasticity of your pocketbook. Especially if you spring for the 3D version (which also includes a 2D Blu-ray disc).
Those who love the film will probably welcome the additions, but those of us who felt it was already overextended may not be up for this. I found the movie entertaining for the most part, but there is little question that it is padded to achieve its behemoth length.
There’s lots of traveling and battles and not a lot of story progression. But Martin Freeman is perfect as hobbit Bilbo Baggins, who is coerced into heading out with a band of dwarves to reclaim a kingdom. The rest of the cast is also very good, and, of course, Peter Jackson’s direction and special effects are fine. There’s just so much of it. (Also on Blu-ray, $35.99, and DVD, $34.99)
“Baby Peggy: Elephant in the Room” (Milestone, 2013, not rated, $24.95, feature film: “Captain January,” short films: “Carmen Jr., Peg O’ the Mounted,” “Such Is Life,” song performance). Captivating documentary about silent film child actress Baby Peggy and her rapid rise as a million-dollar star and equally rapid descent after her father had a contract dispute with the studio.
The film is narrated and there is an interviewer asking questions, but what gives this film its juice is the vital and vibrant Diana Serra Carey, who just turned 95, relating her own story, supplemented with clips and photos from the films she made as a toddler in the 1920s. Interesting as both a window to an unusual life and as a show-biz cautionary tale.
“The Greatest Ears in Town: The Arif Mardin Story” (Shelter Island, 2013, not rated, $24.98, featurettes). Here’s another well-produced show-biz biography, this one about the music producer of the title whose resume includes 50 gold and platinum records, and the music stars interviewed include Quincy Jones, George Martin, Aretha Franklin, Bette Midler, Norah Jones, Chaka Khan, Willie Nelson, Jewel, Phil Collins, etc. Lots of enjoyable anecdotes for music fans.
“White House Down” (Sony, 2013, PG-13, $30.99, featurettes). Channing Tatum is the heroic Secret Service wannabe who happens to be at the White House when it is attacked, and Jamie Foxx is the president he rescues, and who also shows some muscle. In fact, we haven’t seen a president this handy with his fists and firepower since Harrison Ford in “Air Force One.” A silly disaster picture set in and around the Oval Office with lots of stuff going boom and a huge body count. (Also on Blu-ray, $40.99)
“Girl Most Likely” (Lionsgate, 2013, PG-13, $19.98, DVD and digital versions, deleted scenes, featurettes, bloopers). Fairly typical independent comedy-drama about a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown having to move in with her even more dysfunctional mother, along with various other eccentrics. A nice showcase for the appealing Kristin Wiig, and Annette Bening is great as her mother. The script lets them down, but they often shine through anyway. (Also on Blu-ray, $24.99)
“Passion” (eOne/Blu-ray, 2013; R for sex, language, violence; $29.98, featurette). Brian De Palma co-wrote and directed this remake of a French thriller (“Love Crime”) with all the flourish and lack of subtlety he brought to “Dressed to Kill” and “Carrie.” Rachel McAdams and Noomie Rapace play very different personalities who become enmeshed in a deadly game of corporate one-upmanship with perhaps too many implausible twists in the final reel. (Also on DVD, $24.98)
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