News Column

'Silver Linings,' 'Broken City,' Streisand and lots of 'Star Trek' in DVD / Blu-ray offerings

April 29, 2013

YellowBrix

An Oscar-winning performance and some promotional tie-ins are among this week's DVD and Blu-ray offerings.

The winner is Jennifer Lawrence, who picked up a best actress Academy Award for her work in "Silver Linings Playbook" (Anchor Bay, $29.98 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray/ DVD/ digital combo). She plays a young widow who gets involved with a man (Bradley Cooper) who is just out of a mental institution and trying to start over while living with his parents (Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver). Things do not go smoothly for Cooper, or Lawrence, but there's still a basic optimism that fuels the movie.

Directed and with an adapted script by David O. Russell ("The Fighter"), "Silver Linings" respects its characters and it understands how modest triumphs can feel even better than big ones. It does not pound you over the head with meaning and significance. De Niro's character clearly has some of the same problems as Cooper's, but there's no big OMG declaration of that. And besides the actors already mentioned, there's a lovely little turn by Chris Tucker as another mental patient.

Extras on DVD include deleted scenes and a making-of piece, with still more on the Blu-ray.

The wait for "Star Trek Into Darkness," the sequel to 2009's "Star Trek" reboot, is almost over and Paramount wants you to feel even more ready by offering up a bunch of vintage "Trek" lore on Blu-ray. This includes the third season of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" (26 episodes, $129.99) as well as "'Star Trek: The Next Generation': The Best of Both Worlds" ($24.99, which has the third-season, cliffhanging finale and the fourth-season premiere edited into a single feature film). Several "Star Trek" films previously available in Blu-ray box sets are now being offered for individual sale, including the first ("Star Trek: The Motion Picture"), third ("The Search for Spock"), fifth ("The Final Frontier"), ninth ("Insurrection") and tenth ("Nemesis").

And with Baz Luhrmann's take on "The Great Gatsby" coming to theaters, Lionsgate is releasing his adorable directing debut, "Strictly Ballroom," on Blu-ray ($14.99). With, of course, a banner reminding you that it's from the director of "Gatsby" and "Moulin Rouge."

Barbra Streisand's recent venture into comedy, "The Guilt Trip" (Paramount, $29,99 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray/ DVD/ digital combo) did not do much for critics or moviegoers, even with the idea of teaming Streisand with Seth Rogen as a mother and son on a road trip together. Maybe extras like deleted scenes will make it more attractive. But Streisand fans may be far more interested in the new Blu-ray of her breakthrough work in "Funny Girl" (Sony, $19.99), which is being offered as an Amazon.com exclusive.

Among other movies hitting shelves on Tuesday is "Not Fade Away" (Paramount, $19.99 DVD, $29.99 Blu-ray), the semiautobiographical chronicle of an aspiring '60s rock band by David Chase, the mastermind of "The Sopranos." John Magaro plays the Chase-like main character, and does so very well. The soundtrack is terrific, the band's saga quite realistic _ yet the movie never quite worked, serving better as a series of good scenes (some too short) than a sustained story.

Extras include deleted scenes and several making-of pieces.

Then there's "Broken City" (Fox, $29.98 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray/ DVD/ digital), a thriller that promises more than it can deliver.

As I said when it was in theaters, it has one of those trust-no-one/corruption-is-systemic plots, which in this case includes some highly unlikely actions, a lack of clarity about at least one key character and an ending that's so weak that it's like the last leaky release of hot air from a steadily shrinking balloon. It is a movie that begs for more action and a faster pace, if only to keep you from thinking of all the places the story goes wrong.

Mark Wahlberg stars as a former police detective in New York City. Resigning in disgrace, he becomes a private eye. Seven years after his police career ended, Wahlberg gets a call from the mayor (Russell Crowe), who wants Taggart to find out if Hostetler's wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones) is being unfaithful before the scandal gets out during the mayor's tight re-election campaign against a reformer challenger (Barry Pepper).

Scheming and revelations ensue. Slowly.

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Rich Heldenfels: rheldenfels@thebeaconjournal.com

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(c)2013 Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio)

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