This week’s releases include: a martial arts picture; a unique love story; the most recent season of TV’s most popular comedy; the sophomore season of a high school musical; an intriguing family drama; a documentary about a long, sci-fi debate; a woman ascends above her “station”; the fight for abnormal protection continues; a gladiator thrives to meet his goal; a pair of brothers battle evil to save their souls; a couple of real-life friends go on a voyage; and the beginning of the mutant war is revealed.

13 Assassins on DVD13 Assassins (DVD)
Set at the end of Japan’s feudal era, a group of unemployed samurai are enlisted to bring down a sadistic lord, and prevent him from ascending to the throne and plunging the country into a war-torn future.

Special features not available. (Alliance Films)

Bending all the Rules on DVDBending all the Rules (DVD)
Smart, sexy and free-spirited, Kenna (Colleen Porch) drifts from one boyfriend to the next, leaving any relationship that threatens to distract her from her dream: having an exhibition of her photography. But just as Kenna is offered her first show, her cool and casual personal life turns hot and heavy. Suddenly, Kenna is being pursued by two very special – and very different – men: Jeff (Bradley Cooper), a sensitive, struggling DJ; and Martin (David Gail), a slick and powerful businessman. As Jeff and Martin wage a fierce and funny battle for Kenna’s attentions, Kenna begins to wonder if she can’t have both love and success.

Special features not available. (Entertainment One)

The Big Bang Theory S4 on blu-rayThe Big Bang Theory: The Complete Fourth Season (Blu-ray)
This season the Big Bang gang’s romantic universe expands. On the rebound from Penny (Kaley Cuoco), Leonard (Johnny Galecki) falls into the arms of Raj’s (Kunal Nayyar) sister Priya. Sheldon (Jim Parsons) gets a girlfriend, or rather a friend who is a girl: Amy (Mayim Bialik), a dour neurobiologist who declares herself “besties” with Penny. Howard (Simon Helberg) and Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) heat up. And so do Raj and Bernadette (at least in Raj’s Bollywood daydream).

This hit series continues to go strong with its quirky characters and nerd-speak that is raising the attractiveness of D&D players everywhere. Each of the guys finally has a woman in his life, although in Raj’s case it’s his sister.  Penny missed a couple of episodes in the beginning of the season and played a limited role following her return after an accident put the actress on crutches, but she remains an integral part of the group and has led the way for more femininity on the show as she hosts numerous girls’ nights with her “besties” Bernadette and Amy. Events of the season finale will have serious repercussions when the show resumes this fall, which fans are eagerly anticipating.

Special features not available. (Warner Home Entertainment)

Glee S2 on DVDGlee: The Complete Second Season (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.

Special features include: “Glee Music Jukebox”; “Guesting on Glee”; “Stevie Nick goes Glee”; “A Day in the Life of Brittany”; “Shooting Glee New York City”; “Sue’s Quips”; “Santana Slams”; “Building Glee’s Auditorium with Cory Monteith”; “The Making of the Rocky Horror Glee Show”; exclusive bonus song, “Planet, Schmanet, Janet”; “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; and Glee at Comic-Con 2010. (Fox Home Entertainment)

Incendies on blu-rayIncendies (Blu-ray)
After their mother Nawal’s (Lubna Azabal) death, twins Jeanne (Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin) and Simon (Maxim Gaudette) embark on a journey to the Middle East in search of their tangled roots and to fulfill their mother’s last wishes. In the process, a disturbing light is shone on their mother’s past, culminating in a shocking revelation. The film is adapted from Wajdi Mouawad’s acclaimed play.

It is one part mystery and one part expository. The investigation by Nawal’s children as they dig further into her past and discover a woman they did not know existed is fascinating. Meanwhile, the audience is bearing witness to the past Nawal escaped as flashbacks are interwoven through each step of her children’s search. Her life in the Middle East was tumultuous and marked by death and sacrifice. This mixed approach to revealing Nawal’s life is perfect and excellently executed. It manages to slowly build a relationship between Nawal and the viewer, paralleling the one Jeanne and Simon are developing with this unfamiliar side of their mother.

Special features not available. (Entertainment One)

The People vs George Lucas on DVDThe People vs. George Lucas (DVD)
We all love Star Wars…until George Lucas went and ruined it! The passion the original Star Wars trilogy inspires in its fans is unparalleled, but when it comes to George Lucas himself, many have found their ardour has cooled into a complicated love-hate relationship. This documentary delves deep into Lucas’ cultural legacy asking all the tough questions: has Lucas betrayed his masterwork? Should he just have left the original trilogy alone? Is The Phantom Menace so bad it should carry a health warning? Using interviews taken from over 700 hours of footage and peppered with extraordinary Star Wars recreations lovingly immortalised in needlepoint, Lego, Claymation and puppets, above all this film asks the question: Who truly owns that galaxy far, far away? The man who created it or the fans who love it?

Special features not available. (Alliance Films)

Potiche on blu-rayPotiche (Blu-ray)
In 1977 in a provincial town, Suzanne Pujol (Catherine Deneuve) is a housebound ‘trophy wife’ (or potiche) who steps in to manage an umbrella factory run by her tyrannical husband after the workers go on strike. To everyone’s surprise, Suzanne proves herself a competent and assertive woman of action. Gerard Depardieu plays a union leader and Suzanne’s ex-beau who still holds a flame for her.

Special features not available. (Entertainment One)

Sanctuary - Season 3 on blu-raySanctuary – Season Three (Blu-ray)
The enigmatic Dr. Helen Magnus and the Sanctuary team unlock the mysteries of the strange and sometimes terrifying beings that secretly hide among us.

Special features not available. (Entertainment One)

Spartacus: Gods of the Arena on blu-raySpartacus: Gods of the Arena (Blu-ray)
This season follows Gannicus, the charismatic gladiator aspiring to become Champion of Capua and of the House of Batiatus. With political ambitions and poised to overthrow his father and take control of the House, a young Batiatus will freely betray anyone to ensure his gladiators are in the highest demand. With his loyal and calculating wife Lucretia by his side, they will stop at nothing to deceive the masses.

Special features include: commentaries on all episodes, including writer/creator/executive producer Steven S. DeKnight, executive producer Rob Tapert and actors John Hannah, Lucy Lawless, Dustin Clare, Jaime Murray, Peter Mensah; extended episodes; 3D “Ring Of Fire” battle sequence; “STARZ Studios: Gods of the Arena”; “ Weapons Of Mass Disruption”; “Battle Royale: Anatomy Of A Scene”; “On Set with Lucy Lawless”; “10 Easy Steps To Dismemberment”; “Post Production: The Final Execution”; “Enter The Arena: Production Design”; “Dressed To Kill”; “Convention Panel”; and “Arena Bloopers.” (Anchor Bay Entertainment)

Supernatural - Season 6 on blu-raySupernatural: The Complete Sixth Season (Blu-ray)
The prize: ending the Apocalypse. The price: Sam’s (Jared Padalecki) life. Season five’s horrific finale left Dean (Jensen Ackles) alone, as Sam descended into Hell. Now a different man, Dean vows to stop hunting and devote himself to building a family with Lisa and her son Ben. Then, mysteriously, Sam reappears, drawing Dean back into the old life. But Sam’s a different man too. He’s returned without his soul.

Many feel the writers may have jumped the shark in season three, but they pull it back a bit this season, returning to the show’s basic roots of good vs. evil; though  it’s not always clear whose on which side and the angels still play a prominent role in the narrative. The brothers continue to struggle with each other and outside influences, which remains the driving force of the series. However, it’s difficult to know where the next season will take them based on Castiel’s season ending actions. Unfortunately, the door looks open for the creators to once again veer too far from the show’s heart.

Special features not available. (Warner Home Entertainment)

The Trip on DVDThe Trip (DVD)
When Steve (Steve Coogan) is commissioned by the food supplement of a Sunday newspaper to review half a dozen restaurants, he decides to mix work with pleasure and plans a trip around the North of England with his food loving American girlfriend. But when his girlfriend decides to return to the States, Steve is faced with a week of meals for one. Reluctantly, he calls Rob (Rob Brydon), the only person he can think of who would be available. Rob, never one to turn down a free lunch (let alone six) agrees, and together they set off for a culinary adventure.

Special features not available. (Alliance Films)

X-Men:First Class on blu-rayX-Men: First Class (Blu-ray)
Before Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lensherr (Michael Fassbender) took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time, working together to stop the greatest threat the world has ever known.

After getting four successful films under its franchise belt, the studio thought a prequel could breathe new life into the series and its box office earnings. Fans remained skeptical, but great care was taken to avoid disappointment. Firstly, the  perfection of the cast is remarkable. Fassbender and McAvoy are stellar, and the supporting cast is excellent. Moreover, the story is extraordinary. The portrayal of these comic book legends’ beginnings and division is unbelievably well told. The first appearance of Cerebro is even worthy of goosebumps. The narrative focuses on the characters rather the action, not that there isn’t a fair amount of that as well. Director Matthew Vaughn truly gives this picture the correct tone and lends to its success.

Special features include: extended and deleted scenes; “Cerebro Mutant Tracker,” the complete Mutant Database with interactive videos giving fans the ability to learn about their favourite mutants in the X-Men film franchise; “Children of the Atom,” an eight-part behind-the-scenes featurette, charting the film from pre-production through post-production; “‘X’” Marks the Spot,” an interactive feature allowing viewers the opportunity to learn more about specific scenes with talent interviews and behind-the-scenes footage; 10 Marvel “X-Men” digital comics with an exclusive “X-Men: First Class” back story comic; composer’s isolated score; BD-Live portal with additional “Cerebro Mutant Tracker” profiles; and theatrical trailer. (Fox Home Entertainment)


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