DVD Picks

DVDs coming out May 21

From staff reportsMay 16, 2013 

  • Also out

    “Stand Up Guys” (with Christopher Walken and Al Pacino)

    “The Last Stand”

    “Once Upon a Time in Brooklyn”

    “Best of Warner Bros. Cartoon Collection – Hanna-Barbera” (90th anniversary two-disc sect of 25 Hanna-Barbera classics)

    “True Blood: The Complete Fifth Season” (HBO)

    “Perception: The Complete First Season” (Disney)

    “Laverne and Shirley: The Sixth Season”

Picks of the Week

‘Parker’

(R, 118 minutes, Sony): Parker, the antihero of Taylor Hackford’s serviceable action thriller, is an odd duck.

Partly, it’s the quaint code of ethics espoused by this gentleman thief (Jason Statham), who shoots a guy in the leg before robbing him and then calls an ambulance. And Parker will only steal from those “who can afford it” and hurt those “who deserve it.”

That’s understandable, considering that Parker himself seems to have a congenital insensitivity to pain. Covered in scars from previous injuries, Parker is shot – twice – and left for dead early in the film, when four accomplices in a robbery (Michael Chiklis, Wendell Pierce, Micah Hauptman and Clifton Collins Jr.) decide they don’t want to split the proceeds with him. After being rescued by a farmer and self-medicating with a quick dose of stolen Demerol, Parker sets about hunting down the double-crossers, who are planning another heist, so he can enforce his Robin Hood-ian moral code on them.

Although the outcome is never in doubt, it’s satisfying, like pot roast and gravy. Although the reliably rocklike Statham lacks Hugh Jackman’s zest, he makes for a dependably watchable warrior.

Contains violence, obscenity and brief nudity.

Extras: Commentary with Hackford, making-of short and “Who Is Parker?” featurette. Also, on Blu-ray: featurettes “The Origin of Parker” and “Broken Necks and Bloody Knuckles.”

‘Beautiful Creatures’

(PG-13, 123 minutes, Warner): This movie is so schizoid in its extremes of pleasure and pain that it’s hard to know how to weigh its contradictions.

On the plus side, this “Twilight”-esque tale of paranormal teen love – which centers on the relationship between a human high school boy and a 15-year-old witch, or “caster” – is anchored by two solid and sweet performances from Alice Englert (Lena) and Alden Ehrenreich (Adam).

The bad news is that director Richard LaGravenese just doesn’t know how to rein in the film’s more fantastical plot elements. As she approaches her 16th birthday, Lena must face the possibility that she could be “claimed” by the unwholesome side of her powers, unless she’s strong enough to resist it. Her mother suddenly shows up with Lena’s cousin, the evil witch Ridley (Emmy Rossum), to advocate for the more unsavory side of necromancy. At this point, the movie isn’t just over the top; it’s cray-zay.

The screenplay for “Beautiful Creatures” is sharp and witty, the cast is stellar and the chemistry between the young stars is magical. But too much of the rest of the movie is an unholy mess.

Contains obscenity, sensuality, scary images and some violence.

Extras: deleted scenes, “ICONS by Margaret Stohl” book trailer. Also, on Blu-ray: six featurettes including “Book to Screen,” “The Casters,” “Alternate Worlds” and “Designing the Costumes.”

‘Side Effects’

(R, 106 minutes, Universal): Like a gel capsule in a sip of orange juice, this psycho-pharmacological thriller goes down easily.

A medical thriller wrapped around a social-issue picture suspended within a potboiler, Steven Soderbergh’s cautionary drama with Jude Law, Rooney Mara, Channing Tatum and Catherine Zeta-Jones glides along at a brisk clip. From the swooping crane shot that opens the film to the moment when the camera settles on a trail of bloody footprints, the audience’s interest is suitably piqued.

The film, written by Scott Z. Burns, cannily portrays the epidemic of overprescribing at play in America. Soderbergh handles the switching of gears with characteristic smoothness even if the result is a movie composed of one part “Thank You for Smoking,” one part “The Snake Pit,” one part “Spellbound” and a dash of “Basic Instinct” for titillating good measure.

If “Side Effects” does prove to be Soderbergh’s swan song, that’s a shame: Mara is just the kind of cool, opaque-yet-transparent leading lady with whom he could embark on the next chapter of a masterfully versatile career.

Contains sexuality, nudity, violence and profanity. Extras: “Aliza Website Experience” and behind-the-scenes featurettes, commercials for the fictional drugs Ablixa and Intenin. TheWashingtonPost

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