News Column

The Fresno Bee, Rick Bentley column

July 18, 2013

YellowBrix

July 18--A modern mystery and a classic TV show top this week's new DVD releases.

"Trance," Grade B: When a painting ends up missing after a failed robbery attempt, the thieves try to find out from Simon (James McAvoy), who is in charge of the painting's security, what happened to the artwork. An injury during the robbery has left Simon with no memory of what happened. The last hope is to send him to see Elizabeth Lamb, a hypnotherapist (Rosario Dawson), to see if she can unlock the information.

Director Danny Boyle dives deep inside the human psyche to look at what makes people act the way they do -- whether it be for love or just the inherent passion to survive -- with movies like "Slumdog Millionaire" and "127 Hours." His latest film continues that approach, but it becomes far more complicated because he weaves fact and fantasy together so tightly it's hard to tell where the thresholds exist.

Such manipulation could have been off-putting, but the story is so compelling that following each thread of this tapestry becomes a journey of discovery.

"The Jack Benny Program: The Lost Episodes," Grade B+: This three-DVD collection features 18 episodes of the classic television series that have been restored by the UCLA Film & Television Archive. These episodes featuring the deadpan humor of Jack Benny have not been available since their original broadcast.

In many ways, Benny set the standard for shows like "Seinfeld" where episodes often revolved around insignificant incidents. The moments are made funnier by the perfect timing and well-placed pauses by Benny.

The episodes feature a host of notable guest stars, including: Natalie Wood, Red Skelton, Gary Cooper, George Burns, John Wayne, Dick Van Dyke, Billy Graham, Milton Berle, Tony Curtis and even President Harry Truman. There are also bonus features, including excerpts from the Jack Benny color television specials, newsreels featuring footage from the 1930s and '40s and a 16-page booklet.

Also new on DVD Tuesday

"Mystery Science Theater 3000: XXVI": Movies in the set include "The Slime People," "Rocket Attack USA," "Village of the Giants" and "The Deadly Mantis."

"The Silence": Director Baran bo Odar's look at an unsolved murder case just as a new 13-year-old girl's body has been found.

"Welcome to the Punch": A former criminal returns to London when his son is involved in a robbery that goes bad.

"Ginger and Rosa": Coming-of-age story of two best friends whose relationship is effected by the events of the 1960s.

"New World": Director Park Hoon-Jeong's mob thriller.

"Superjail! Season 3": Ten episodes of the Adult Swim animated series about a prison built in an active volcano.

"The Wedding Chapel": Shelley Long stars in this story about falling in love, forgiving and embracing new beginnings.

"The Gangster": The film's based on the true story of a notorious gangster and the Bangkokian mafia.

"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Season 3": Includes all 47 episodes of the entire third season of the classic '80s TV series.

"Kiss of the Damned": A beautiful vampire tries to resist the powerful feelings she has developed for a human screenwriter.

"Rebel": A woman's relationship with her traditional family is strained by her marriage to an American soldier.

"Hammerhead": Ian Holm narrates the documentary on the sea creatures.

"Robotech: 2-Movie Collection": Includes "Love Live Alive" and "The Shadow Chronicles."

"Dora & Blue's Clues Double Feature": Includes episodes from both Nickelodeon series.

"The King of the Streets": An angry young man looks to avenge the murder of his parents by local gangsters.

"Detention of the Dead": A mix of zombies and teen-angst starring Jacob Zacher ("Greek").

"Let's Learn: Colors": Includes episodes of "Bubble Guppies," "Dora the Explorer" and "Blue's Clues."

"Great White Shark: A Living Legend": Shark diver Mike Rutzen looks at the predator.

"A Viking Saga: The Darkest Day": A novice monk must deliver the "Holy Gospel of Lindisfarne" to the safety of a monastery.

"How the States Got Their Shapes: Season 2": Brian Unger hosts this look at state history.

TV and movie critic Rick Bentley can be reached at (559) 441-6355, rbentley@fresnobee.com or @RickBentley1 on Twitter. Read his blog at fresnobeehive.com.

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