This week’s releases centre on violence and fear: a Holocaust-era drama; a test of power and control; a getaway after a fatal accident; and a gladiator who takes on challenges outside the arena.

Good on DVDGood (DVD)
John Halder (Viggo Mortensen) is the “good” German: a shy, but decent retiring professor of literature who has just published a novel advocating compassionate euthanasia. It is not long before John’s thesis arouses the interest of the Nazis and he finds himself summoned to an interview with the local Gauleiter. The times are uncertain, and John quickly realizes that even small choices can have devastating consequences.

Special features include: a behind-the-scenes featurette and cast interviews, including Mortensen, Jason Isaacs, Jodie Whitaker and Mark Strong. (Entertainment One)

The Experiment on DVDThe Experiment (DVD)
A group of ordinary men get recruited to take on the roles of guards and prisoners in an experiment and research study. The experiment is designed to see how power and control effects the participants. Travis (Adrien Brody) plays the de facto leader of the prisoners, where Barris (Forest Whitaker) is a guard corrupted by the power he’s been given. The film is a remake of the German psychological thriller Das Experiment.

Special features include: soundbites; B-roll selects; film clips; and the creation of The Experiment, a microcosm featurette. (Entertainment One)

Perrier's Bounty on DVDPerrier’s Bounty (DVD)
Michael (Cillian Murphy) owes money to Dublin’s meanest gangster, Darren Perrier (Brendan Gleeson). When the debt is called in, Brenda (Jodie Whittaker), Michael’s recently dumped and neurotic best friend, accidentally shoots dead one of his goons. To make matters worse, Michael’s estranged father, Jim (Jim Broadbent), arrives just in time to witness the scene. With a bounty on their heads, Michael, Jim and Brenda flee to the mountains.

Special features include: a making-of featurette. (Entertainment One)

Spartacus: Blood and Gold - Season 1 on DVDSpartacus: Blood and Sand – The Complete First Season (DVD)
The series was inspired by an actual slave of the Roman Republic, who in 73 BC led a slave revolt that grew to more than 120,000 fighters. Torn from his homeland and the woman he loves, Spartacus (Andy Whitfield), a Thracian warrior captured by Romans, is enslaved into a gladiator training school owned by Batiatus (John Hannah) and his wife Lucretia (Lucy Lawless). He is forced to fight daily for his life against deadly foes, under the brutal whip of trainer Doctore (Peter Mensah). He is condemned to the brutal world of the arena where blood and death are primetime entertainment. But not all battles are fought upon the sands. Treachery, corruption and the allure of sensual pleasures will constantly test him and his masters. Against all odds, Spartacus’ rebellious instincts, his intense love for his wife Sura (Erin Cummings) and his powerful fighting skills drive him to win a series of near-impossible battles, setting in motion a revolution against the tyranny of Rome.

It can be a little difficult at first to get past the slow motion violence and blood spray, but if you can stick with the series it eventually presents an intriguing story with heart. It’s still no Gladiator, but it is offering something worthy of a look.

Special features include: 13 episodes on four discs; episode commentary; a behind-the-scenes featurette; episodes with enhanced digital effects; “Spartacus: Battle Royale”; “Gladiator Boot Camp”; “Grime and Punishment”; “Andy Gets Plastered”; “Legend Re-imagined”; “Oh, Those Randy Romans”; “Shooting Green: The Shadow of Death”; “Exposing Your Ludus”; bloopers; and trailers. (Anchor Bay Entertainment)

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