This week’s releases are about saving people: a Roman soldier must rescue his general; an inspector searches for a serial killer before time runs out for his current captive; and a filmmaker strives to uncover the truth behind America’s downfalls.

Centurion on Blu-rayCenturion (Blu-ray)
Quintus (Michael Fassbender), the sole survivor of a savage raid on a Roman frontier fort, marches north with General Virilus’ (Dominic West) legendary Ninth Legion, under orders to wipe out the terrifying tribes known as the Picts. When the Legion is ambushed on unfamiliar ground, and Virilus seized, Quintus faces a desperate struggle to survive behind enemy lines with a small band of soldiers in a race to save their general and evade capture, torture and certain death.

Special features include: commentary by director Neil Marshall, director of photography Sam McCurdy, production designer Simon Bowles and special make-up effects designer Paul Hyett; “Blood, Fire & Fury,” a behind-the-scenes featurette; Centurion featurette; deleted scenes with commentary by Marshall; interviews with cast and crew; selected clips; a production design photo gallery; outtakes; and B-roll footage. (Entertainment One)

Giallo on DVDGiallo (DVD)
Linda (Emmanuelle Seigner) is a smart, attractive flight attendant, who travels to Torino to spend time with her sister Celine (Elsa Pataky). When Celine doesn’t arrive for their planned meeting, Linda takes her concern to the local police. But they don’t want to be bothered with her, sending her instead to the basement to deal with Inspector Enzo Avolfi (Adrien Brody), an eccentric detective who doesn’t fit in with the department. The details of the case remind him of a strange, sadistic killer he’s been hunting – Yellow (Byron Deidra).

This film’s title is relevant in several ways: first, it means “yellow” in Italian, which is also the name of the serial killer; second, it describes the movie’s genre of crime crossed with horror elements; and third, this style of filmmaking is director Dario Argento’s specialty. When one sees Argento’s name attached to a film, you must expect extended murder sequences involving beautiful women and excessive blood, stylish camerawork and strange musical arrangements. In this case, the film’s title ensures you can expect nothing else and he continues to deliver gut-wrenching horror on a level that he’s nearly perfected. On the other hand, and as is often the case, the script is quite flimsy with a conclusion weakened by its length.

There is currently some controversy regarding Brody’s involvement with the film, but this is one of his more bizarre selections. The Inspector is sleep deprived and all too willing to share his information with anyone who will listen. “Anyone” happens to be the distressed sister of a victim. Conversely, if Brody didn’t have such distinctive facial features, he might have had a better chance of getting away with playing dual roles using a pseudonym (which is actually just a weak acronym). Nonetheless, Yellow is an interesting and disturbing character.

There are no special features. (Entertainment One)

Michael Moore Collection (DVD)
The Big One (1997): Moore travels to America’s heartland in search of an executive – any executive – who will respond to one tough question: “If Fortune 500 companies are posting record-setting profits, why do they continue laying off thousands of workers?”

Bowling for Columbine (2002): In this Oscar-winning documentary, Moore takes aim at America’s love affair with guns and violence. Mixing riveting footage, hilarious animation and candid interviews with everyone from the National Rifle Association’s Charlton Heston to shock-rocker Marilyn Manson.

Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004): Moore presents a searing examination of the role played by money and oil in the wake of the tragic events of September 11th.

Sicko (2007): This film is Moore’s scathing indictment of America’s failing health system. Combing powerful personal testimonies with shocking statistics, he pulls the curtain back on the “greedy HMOs, drug companies and congressmen who keep us ill.” Traveling to Canada, England, France and Cuba, where free universal health care is the norm, forcing the question: Why can’t this happen in the U.S.?

Capitalism: A Love Story (2009): This film examines the impact of corporate dominance on the everyday lives of Americans (and by default, the rest of the world). It explores the question: What is the price that America pays for its love of capitalism? Moore goes into the homes of ordinary people whose lives have been turned upside down; and he looks for explanations in Washington, DC and elsewhere.

There are no special features. (Alliance Films)

Wild Grass on DVDWild Grass (DVD)
A wallet lost and found opens the door to romantic adventure for Georges and Marguerite. After examining the ID papers of its owner, it is not a simple matter for Georges to turn the red wallet he found in to the police. Nor is it that Marguerite can recuperate her wallet without being piqued with curiosity about whom it was who found it. As they navigate the social protocols of giving and acknowledging thanks, turbulence enters their otherwise quotidian lives.

There are no special features. (Entertainment One)

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang on DVDChitty Chitty Bang Bang (DVD + Blu-ray)
Based on the children’s book Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: The Magical Car by Ian Fleming, the film tells the story of an eccentric professor (Dick Van Dyke) who invents wacky machinery, but can’t seem to make ends meet. When he invents a revolutionary car, a foreign government becomes interested in it and resorts to skullduggery to get their hands on it. The all-time family classic evolves from there and viewers are taken on a magical ride with the professor and loveable motorcar.

Special features include: sing-along version of the film; “Toot Sweet Symphony” melody maker – the Toot Sweet Toots Musical Maestro; “Chitty Chitty’s Bang Bang Driving Game”; “Remembering Chitty Chitty Bang Bang with Dick Van Dyke”; “A Fantasmagorical Motorcar” featurette; Sherman Brothers’ rare demos of the film’s most popular songs; vintage featurettes, including “The Ditchling Tinkerer,” “Dick Van Dyke Press Interview,” and “The Potts Children’s Featurette”; photo gallery; vintage advertising gallery; and “Music Machine.” (Fox Home Entertainment)

The Sound of Music on blu-rayThe Sound of Music (Blu-ray)
Baron Von Trapp (Christopher Plummer), a widower, runs his home near Salzburg like the ship he once commanded. That changes when Maria (Julie Andrews) arrives from the convent to be the new governess of his seven children. Their romps through the hills inspire all to sing and to find joy in the smallest things. With a renewed zest for life, the baron hosts a party to introduce his new fiancé, forcing Maria to realize she does not want to be a nun and eventually marry the baron herself. Their happily ever after is threatened, however, when Austria’s new German rulers want the baron back in military service. This release is the 45th anniversary limited edition.

Special features include: commentaries with director Robert Wise, Andrews and Plummer; an optional sing-along track; “Your Favorite Things: An Interactive Celebration,” an immersive viewing experience with behind-the-scenes images, on-screen lyrics, trivia track and location quiz; music machine; “Musical Stages: Creating The Sound of Music,” an interactive “Backlot Tour” with in-depth featurettes on the songs, the stage show and movie, the film and sound restoration, and the real-life von Trapp family; “A City of Song,” a virtual map of filming locations in Salzburg, Austria; vintage Rodgers & Hammerstein and The Sound of Music programs; screen tests; rare treasures; interviews; photo galleries; and “The Sound of Music Tour – A Living Story.” (Fox Home Entertainment)

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