New on DVD:
Star Trek Into Darkness
Anything trekkie should be accompanied by a healthy dose of kitsch and humour, but J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek re-boot occasionally goes dark, with weighty themes of military ambition and revenge, in which we find the normally level-headed Spock (Zachary Quinto) beating an adversary to a pulp. Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) goes up against an old nemesis in disguise (Benedict Cumberbatch) and dodges one do-or-die incident after another: torpedo threats, radiation exposure and overheated warp coils among them. Abrams and crew break down scenes on the blu-ray’s extras: in one we learn that it took six months to paint 500 dozen trees to dress up Class M Planet Nibiru.
Kings of Summer
Joe (Nick Robinson) is still smarting from his mom’s death and weary of his dad’s (Nick Offerman) sarcasm; Patrick (Gabriel Basso) is an only child, suffocated by his helicopter parents (a hilarious Megan Mullally, Mark Evan Jackson); Biaggio (Moises Arias) just tagged along. Together the three teens leave home and construct a house in the woods. “We make the rules… like men.” The boys scream “freedom” into the trees, explore, take a stab at catching their own food, and generally behave like most teen boys did, pre-XBox. A raunch-free coming-of-age story as funny as it is touching. Special features on the standard disc include Jordan Vogt-Roberts’ director commentary and a brief supporting cast interview.
Make your brain bigger by watching this compendium of sell-out Brainwave discussions at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City, featuring fascinating chats with actors, writers, medical pioneers and business leaders on a variety of topics. In the first episode “The Geography of Bliss” author Eric Weiner and a Stanford neuropsychologist chat break down what makes us happy, our different cultural and individual definitions of happiness.
Pain and Gain
The amazing-but-true story of a trio of gym employees (Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie) who held a client (Tony Shaloub) hostage for almost a month before taking control of all his assets. Too bad the victim refused to die, and shameful that the Miami police thought his story was a joke. Desperate, jacked-up on steroids and going broke, the blundering bodybuilders decide to strike again, with predictable results. Michael Bay’s marriage of violence and slapstick is a sometimes shaky one, and the film runs out of juice about halfway through. No special features on the Blu-ray.
At Any Price
The vanishing American dream is mined in Ramin Bahrani’s drama At Any Price, about fathers and sons, secrets and legacies in rural Iowa. Henry Whipple (Dennis Quaid) wants his son Dean (Zac Efron) to be a fourth-generation farmer; Dean has dreams of Nascar. In an age of GMOs and GPS farming, how far will father go to ensure the family business will live on? Commentary by Bahrani and Quaid, trailer, a film festival Q&A, rehearsal footage and soundtrack listing are included on the standard disc.
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