This week’s releases include: the tale of upwardly mobile young man; a stunning but draining picture; an action-adventure that takes you from hell and back; a sci-fi series based on a master’s work; and the most recent happenings in Bon Temps.

Barry Lyndon on blu-rayBarry Lyndon (Blu-ray)
Redmond Barry (Ryan O’Neal) is an Irish country boy who falls in love with his cousin (Gay Hamilton) and is subsequently tricked by her family into leaving town. Disillusioned with love, the broken hearted youngster then embarks on an adventure which sees him serve in the Seven Years War, earn a living as a professional gambler, and eventually move into the higher ranks of society when he meets and marries the beautiful Lady Lyndon. However, despite the luck which has brought him such riches, it is this final move, the cynical choice to marry for social advancement rather than love, which brings about Barry’s downfall.

There are no special features. (Warner Home Entertainment)

Biutiful on blu-rayBiutiful (Blu-ray)
This film is a love story between a father and his children. This is the journey of Uxbal (Javier Bardem), a conflicted man who struggles to reconcile fatherhood, love, spirituality, crime, guilt and mortality amidst the dangerous underworld of modern Barcelona. His livelihood is earned out of bounds, while his sacrifices for his children know no bounds. Like life itself, this is a circular tale that ends where it begins.

The narrative is incredibly powerful as we watch Uxbal’s many interactions with his community. Despite the illegalness of most of his transactions, he appears to genuinely care about the people around him and is trying to do the best he can by them. Bardem is exceptional, so it’s not surprising he was nominated for an Oscar. His struggles as a father, middle man and spiritualist are deeply felt throughout the film. The cinematography is outstanding, capturing the minimalist lives of the characters and their environment. In addition, the film looks like the colours have been bled out, now just a dull imitation of what it could be or once was, matching the helplessness of the characters.

Special features include: “Behind Biutiful: Director’s flip notes”; “Biutiful crew”; interviews with the cast and crew; and the theatrical trailer. (Maple Pictures)

Drive Angry on blu-rayDrive Angry (Blu-ray 3D)
Milton (Nicolas Cage) is an undead felon who breaks out of hell to avenge his murdered daughter and rescue her kidnapped baby from a cult of savages. Joined by tough as nails Piper (Amber Heard), the two set off on a rampage of redemption while being pursued by a killer (William Fichtner) who’s been sent by the Devil to retrieve Milton and deliver him back to hell.

Most of Cage’s pictures of late have been off kilter in some way or another. In some cases, it can be difficult to watch; but in this case, it’s non-stop, high-octane fun all the way through the movie. There are some thrilling fights and four-wheel mayhem evenly distributed throughout the narrative, which remains as uncomplicated as it is unbelievable. Moreover, the designated 3D moments are cool looking.

Special features include: commentary by co-writer /director Patrick Lussier and co-writer Todd Farmer; deleted scenes with filmmaker commentary; and “Access: Drive Angry,” including interviews with the cast and filmmakers and a body counter. (Maple Pictures)

Kaboom on blu-rayKaboom (Blu-ray)
Smith’s (Thomas Dekker) everyday life in the dorm – hanging out with his arty, sarcastic best friend Stella (Haley Bennett), hooking up with a beautiful free spirit named London (Juno Temple), lusting for his gorgeous but dim surfer roommate Thor (Chris Zylka) — all gets turned upside-down after one fateful, terrifying night.

Special features unknown. (Entertainment One)

Passion Play on blu-rayPassion Play (Blu-ray)
The last thing washed-up jazz musician Nate Pool (Mickey Rourke) wanted to do was betray sinister gangster Happy Shannon (Bill Murray). But it may be the last thing he does unless he can deliver Lily (Megan Fox), a beautiful and mysterious carnival sideshow attraction. The stakes can’t get any higher for the two lovers as they try to elude the merciless killer who will stop at nothing to keep Lily for himself.

Special features include the theatrical trailer. (Entertainment One)

Prey on blu-rayPrey (DVD)
In his stepfamily’s countryside retreat, as Nathan knew that the traditional autumn family reunion was going to be particularly stormy. Claire, his wife, had to announce her recent pregnancy, and tough decisions would need to be made to prevent the family’s pesticides business from closing down. But on the first night a terrorized deer mysteriously attacks Claire’s father. The men decide to venture into the surrounding forest to find the reasons of the animal’s odd behaviour. Carrying a shotgun for the first time in his life and witnessing the growing tensions between the father and his sons, Nathan soon discovers that the hunting season is not over yet … Now they’ve become the prey.

Special features unknown. (Entertainment One)

Ray Bradbury Theater on DVDThe Ray Bradbury Theater – The Complete Collection (DVD)
Entranced by magicians, comic strips, and science-fiction magazines, Ray Bradbury began “educating” himself at the Los Angeles Library three to five times a week. By twenty-seven years, he “graduated,” having written over several million words. In his early twenties, he supported himself by selling newspapers on street corners and writing for radio programs such as Suspense, Escape, CBS Radio Playhouse, and X Minus One. Bradbury has now written over one thousand short stories — 400 of which have been published in such magazines as The New Yorker, The New Republican, The Saturday Evening Post, Amazing Stories, Colliers, Dime Detective and McCall’s. He has also written for Alfred Hitchcock Presents and for Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone. And now, showcased in this 5 DVD set are 65 of Ray Bradbury’s finest works, featuring a number of stars including, Drew Barrymore, Jeff Goldblum, Peter O’Toole, Sally Kellerman, Eugene Levy, Shelley Duval, Elliot Gould, Ray Sharkey and William Shatner.

The 22-minute stories cover a variety of topics, including life-after-death, time travel and politics. Most of the tales take place in the present (the ‘80s) and the distant future. Bradbury also makes an appearance in the series.

There are no special features. (Alliance Films)

Rookie Blue S1 - blu-rayRookie Blue – Season One (Blu-ray)
At the police academy they trained, fought and partied together. Now they’re on the job together. Five young, ambitious cops, fresh out of the Academy, are plunged into the world of big city policing on their very first day on the job — a world where even the smallest mistake can have life-or-death consequences, coupled with some serious emotional fall-out. These rookies are about to learn that no amount of training can prepare them for life on the street. Dangerous pursuits. Fierce shootouts. Scandalous hook-ups. These five rookies are ready to brave anything – it’s only their personal lives that need back-up.

Special features include: three making-of featurettes: “A New Breed of Blue,” “Meet the Rookies of 15 Division” and “Rookie Training”; a behind-the-scenes featurette; and the trailer. (Entertainment One)

True Blood S3 - blu-rayTrue Blood – The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
The Maenadian reign of terror may be over, but Sookie Stackhouse and the townspeople of Bon Temps face a new calamity that makes the bacchanalian evils of Maryanne Forrester seem tame by comparison. In Season 3, Sookie (Anna Paquin) desperately tries to locate Bill (Stephen Moyer), ending up in a netherworld of human and undead interlopers, among them the powerful Vampire King of Mississippi, Russell Edgington (Denis O’Hare). Eric (Alexander Skarsgård) is also drawn to the King’s domain to settle an old score.

As this series continues, it becomes more complicated. This season introduced werewolves and faeries, complicating the lives of all the characters. The time remains evenly distributed between the characters with Sookie and Bill’s drama becoming less attractive than that of many of the characters. Skarsgård is still a major draw and the new supernatural beasts are not wholly unwelcome.

Special features include: six commentaries with the cast and crew, including creator Alan Ball; “True Blood Lines,” an interactive on-screen guide highlighting the connections between the many worlds of the show; “Anatomy of a Scene,” an in-depth look at the introduction of werewolves; “True Blood Post Mortems”; Snoop Dogg’s “Oh Sookie” video; a disc-to-disc seamless menu system; and enhanced viewing on all 12 episodes: character perspectives, flashback/flash forward, vampire histories/character bios and hints/FYIs. (Warner Home Entertainment)

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