This week’s releases include: a re-release of an acclaimed, inspiring classic; a computer-animated video game tie-in; a ghost story driven by love and loyalty; the final chapter in a thrilling trilogy; the second instalment of a music sensation; a French-Canadian lycan period piece; the reunion of a retired group of special agents; and an impressive display of skill in a dance competition.

The Color Purple on Blu-rayThe Color Purple (Blu-ray)
At the story’s centre is Celie (Whoopi Goldberg in her debut movie), whose search for fulfillment in a world closed to her becomes a triumph of cruelty overcome by love. Celie is a young black girl growing up in the early 1900’s. The first time we see her, she is 14 and pregnant by her father. We stay with her for the next 30 years of her challenging life.

Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize novel of the same name is a classic on the syllabus of many high school English courses. Director Steven Spielberg brings this tragic and inspiring story to life in a film that has become a classic in itself. It’s impossible not to be swept up in the narrative’s emotions and Goldberg delivers an exceptional performance in her first screen appearance.

Special features include: “Conversations with the Ancestors: The Color Purple from book to screen”; “A Collaboration of Spirits: Casting and Acting The Color Purple”; “The Color Purple: The Musical”; “Cultivating a Classic: The Making of The Color Purple”; behind-the-scenes and cast-focused featurette galleries; theatrical trailers; and a 40-page book. (Warner Home Video)

Dead Space: Aftermath on Blu-rayDead Space: Aftermath (Blu-ray)
The year is 2509. The first-responder ship USG O’Bannon has arrived at Aegis VII, attempting to hold the planet together in the wake of the catastrophe that destroyed the USG Ishimura. Only four crew members of the O’Bannon have survived, but no one knows what happened to the rest of the crew, what they were doing, or what secrets they may be holding. The story is told through the perspective of the four survivors by several renowned international directors, with each vision unique and bold in its own way.

Special features include: “Dead Space 2” game trailer, which is also available today. (Anchor Bay Entertainment)

Enter the Void on DVDEnter the Void (DVD)
Oscar and his sister Linda are recent arrivals in Tokyo. Oscar’s a small time drug dealer, and Linda works as a nightclub stripper. One night, Oscar is caught up in a police bust and shot. As he lies dying, his spirit, faithful to the promise he made his sister – that he would never abandon her – refuses to abandon the world of the living. It wanders through the city, his visions growing evermore distorted, evermore nightmarish. Past, present and future merge in a hallucinatory maelstrom.

Special features include: deleted scenes; a variety of trailers; “VFX,” shows digital rods and cones behind some of the effects; “Vortex” and “DMT” display the film’s chaotic imagery; and posters. (Entertainment One)

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest on Blu-rayThe Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest (DVD and Blu-ray combo)
Under police guard in hospital, Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) is charged with the attempted murder of her father and awaits the trial that has the country gripped. Cut off from all communication with the outside world, she must rely on journalist and former lover, Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) to prove her innocence and expose the political cover up that threatens to destroy her freedom. In his way stands a mysterious group who will go to any length to keep the shocking truth of their actions a secret. Meanwhile, Ronald Neidermann (Micke Spreitz) continues his killing spree as he awaits an opportunity to finish off Lisbeth.

This film picks up exactly where the last one left off. While Lisbeth has established herself as the ultimate loner, in this final chapter she is forced to allow people to help her. Rapace continues to be astounding. Her ability to convey so much emotion through one meaningful smile is remarkable. In addition, she is able to look entirely blank during scenes in which she is rebelling through silence. The other actors are also brilliant, but the trilogy rests on Rapace’s shoulders and she continues to carry it with skill and grace.

Special features include: interviews with Rapace and Nyqvist; and the theatrical trailer. (Alliance Films)

Glee: Season 2, Volume 1 on DVDGlee: Season 2, Volume 1 (DVD)
Despite school budget cuts and a setback at regionals, New Directions is more energized than ever. As fresh romances develop and old ones are tested, the club embraces an exciting new year of challenges. This volume includes the memorable performances Britney/Brittany and The Rocky Horror “Glee” Show.

Special features include: “Glee Music Jukebox”; bonus song from ‘The Rocky Horror “Glee” Show’ recorded exclusively for the DVD; “The Making of the Rocky Horror Glee Show”; “Getting Waxed with Jane Lynch,” Sue Sylvester Madame Tussaud’s wax figure from modeling to ceremony; “The Wit of Brittany,” Brittany’s most “profound” moments from season 1 and the first half of season 2; and Glee at Comic-Con 2010. (Fox Home Entertainment)

The Hair of the Beast on DVDThe Hair of the Beast (DVD)
In New France in 1665, Joseph Côté escapes from prison to avoid death by hanging. On the run from colonial soldiers, Joseph takes the identity of a Jesuit and hides in the seigneury of Beaufort where he discovers men waiting for “daughters of the king” – French women sent to Canada to find a husband. After discovering that the village he is hiding in is terrorized by werewolves at night, things are further complicated when Joseph falls in love with Marie Labotte, a “daughter of the king.”

Special features include (French only): “Documentaire du tournage: Les coulisses du fantasique” and trailers. (Entertainment One)

Red on Blu-rayRed (Blu-ray)
Frank (Bruce Willis), Joe (Morgan Freeman), Marvin (John Malkovich) and Victoria (Helen Mirren) used to be the CIA’s top agents – but the secrets they know just made them and Frank’s crush Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker) the Agency’s top targets. Now on the run from constant attack, they must use all of their collective cunning, experience and teamwork to stay one step ahead of their deadly pursuers and stay alive. To stop the operation, the team embarks on an impossible, cross-country mission to break into the top-secret CIA headquarters, where they uncover one of the biggest conspiracies and cover-ups in government history.

Special features include: commentary with retired CIA field officer Robert Baer; deleted and extended scenes; “Cast Insights” interviews; “CIA Expose” and “Access: RED” trivia track, where you can activate scene specific features including interviews with cast members, real-life CIA expert commentary, animated documentary shorts on controversial CIA operations and more. (Entertainment One)

Street Dance on DVDStreet Dance (DVD)
Things couldn’t be going better for street dancer Carly (Nichola Burley) – she’s in love with her charismatic boyfriend Jay (Ukweli Roach) and their dance crew is going to the UK Street Dance Championship finals. However, everything changes when Jay walks out on Carly and the crew. Thrown into the deep end, Carly struggles to prove to the crew – and herself – that she can lead them to victory. But a series of setbacks, including losing their rehearsal space, causes her to seriously doubt her leadership skills. Fate shines on Carly when Helena (Charlotte Rampling), a ballet schoolmistress, is impressed with the troupe’s skill and enthusiasm. As a result, Helena offers practice space at the Ballet Academy in exchange for including her ballet dancers in the group, in hopes of injecting some passion into them before their audition for The Royal Ballet. The clash of cultures eventually develops into a mutual respect, as well as a budding relationship between Carly and Tomas (Richard Winsor), a handsome ballet dancer.

The film opens with the preliminary competition, so audiences get to immediately see what this group is capable of as well as their chief opponents. From there the narrative takes a step to the forefront, but dance – and the music that accompanies it – are still the driving force of the picture. The film relies so heavily on the physical delivery of the narrative, the dancing had to be top-notch. Burley and Winsor are excellent dancers and convincing actors, making them entirely suitable to lead the picture. As a dance film, Street Dance is a success because it doesn’t attempt to present a complicated story – it employs a simple narrative to connect impressive dance sequences.

Special features include: a behind-the-scenes featurette; a making-of featurette; and “The Winning Choreographies.” (Alliance Films)

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