Barbra Streisand stars in a new comedy, and her first film gets a Blu-ray upgrade.
“The Guilt Trip” (Paramount/Blu-ray, 2012, PG-13, two discs, $39.99, deleted scenes, alternate openings, alternate ending, featurettes, bloopers). Episodic road comedy has a schlub (Seth Rogan) taking his overbearing mother (Barbra Streisand) on a business trip to sell his organic cleaning fluid.
It’s great to see Streisand in a leading role again, and she’s obviously having fun. But despite some warm and amusing moments, this being the 21st century, far too many gags are vulgar and sleazy though nowhere near as raunchy as Rogan’s other comedies. (Also on DVD, $29.99)
“Funny Girl” (Columbia/Blu-ray, 1968, G, $19.99, featurettes). If you want to see Streisand at her best, you can’t go wrong with her movie debut as Fanny Brice in this still wonderfully romantic drama with liberal doses of comedy.
How much of this show-biz biography is true is anyone’s guess (not much, I’m thinking), but as a vehicle to introduce the world to Streisand’s singular talent it’s without peer. (And as entertainment, it puts “The Guilt Trip” to shame.)
“Strictly Ballroom” (Miramax/Lionsgate/Blu-ray, 1991, PG, $14.99, deleted scene, audio commentary, featurettes, design gallery). Cartoony, wacky amalgam of styles, both embracing and lampooning movie clichés, this Australian dance musical is a real crowd-pleaser as a top ballroom dancer goes rogue with a new partner, shocking the community with his “forbidden” dance steps. First film by Baz Luhrmann (“Moulin Rouge,” the upcoming “Great Gatsby”).
“The Notebook” (New Line/Blu-ray, 2004, two discs, $49.99; Blu-ray, DVD, digital versions; deleted scenes, audio commentaries, featurettes, screen test; locket, postcard-photo set, antique-style journal). This sentimental romance based on Nicholas Sparks’ novel has two teens (Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams) from opposite sides of the tracks in the 1940s falling in love, then being kept apart by parental deceit and misinterpretation.
Bookended as a story read by an elderly man (James Garner) to a hospitalized woman with dementia (Gena Rowlands). Sappy but engaging. (This collector’s set for fans is loaded with collectible tchotchkies.)
“Not Fade Away” (Paramount/Blu-ray, 2012; R for language, drugs, sex; $39.99, deleted scenes, featurettes). TV writer David Chase (“The Sopranos”) makes his directing debut with this semi-autobiographical look at the 1960s through the prism of nostalgia and especially rock ’n’ roll. Interesting, even poignant in places, with lots of unique musical riffs, but a bit too fragmented and overstuffed with incomplete plot lines. (Also on DVD, $29.99)
“Wasted on the Young” (Vivendi, 2011; R for violence, language, drugs nudity; $19.97). Social networking is one of the villains in this Australian teen thriller about a pair of stepbrothers in high school at opposite ends of the social spectrum and a girl who is drugged, raped and left for dead.
“Night of the Living Dead: Resurrection” (Lionsgate, 2012; R for violence, language; $26.98, audio commentary, trailers). Unauthorized remake of George Romero’s original zombie classic “Night of the Living Dead,” with the dead rising from their graves to feast on the living.
“Manborg” (MPI, 2011, not rated, $24.98, deleted/alternate scenes, audio commentaries, featurettes, bloopers, short film). Another attempt to make a bad, campy movie on purpose, this grade-Z “Terminator” ripoff has a following but sometimes bad is just bad.