DVD Picks

DVDs coming out on December 17

From staff reportsDecember 12, 2013 

  • Also out

    “Elysium”

    “Night Train to Lisbon”

    “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints”

    “The Family”

    “Kick-Ass 2”

    “One Direction: This Is Us”

    “Force of Execution”

    “Ghost Team One”

    “Line of Duty”

    “Burn Notice: Season Seven” (TV)

    “Burn Notice: The Complete Series” (TV)

    “Family Guy, Volume 12” (TV)

    “Justified: Fourth Season” (TV)

    “Shameless: Third Season” (TV)

    “Tom & Jerry: Golden Collection Volume Two”

Picks of the Week

‘Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters’

(PG, 106 minutes, Fox): The second film based on Rick Riordan’s immensely popular books about a dyslexic boy who discovers he is a demigod is a desperately-trying-to-be-epic adventure.

It features droll quips from Stanley Tucci and Nathan Fillion, who play small but enjoyable supporting roles. But even likable actors can’t obscure the fact that this thing is a slog, a movie that dutifully hits its plot points involving prophecies and fleeces without evoking a whiff of spirit or imagination.

It’s a shame that the millions of readers who fell in love with Riordan’s classic-meets-contemporary children’s stories have been handed such limp adaptations of the material. The first, 2010’s “Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief,” was respectable but dull, while “Sea of Monsters,” as directed by Thor Freudenthal (“Diary of a Wimpy Kid”), is dull and awkwardly executed. It’s less a theatrical release than a Disney Channel special that got dressed up in CGI clothes.

Contains fantasy action violence, some scary images and mild language. Extras: “Back to Camp Half-Blood” and “It’s All in the Eye” featurettes. On Blu-ray: “Deconstructing a Demigod” featurette, a motion comic and collectible character cards.

‘Prisoners’

(R, 153 minutes, Warner Bros.): This crime thriller starring Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal is a well-executed example of pulp miserablism in the tradition of “Seven” and its grisly imitators.

Given gravitas by Christian imagery and a mood of millennial survivalist desperation, this pulp procedural joins a long line of films that sell themselves by way of the very depravity and malignant moral imagination they pretend to deplore.

Jackman plays Keller Dover, a Pennsylvania contractor who with his family has joined friends and neighbors the Birches (Terrence Howard and Viola Davis) and their kids for Thanksgiving dinner when young Anna Dover and Joy Birch go missing. A local detective named Loki (Gyllenhaal) takes the case, and when a suspect emerges, a battle of wills ensues as Dover – whose motto is “Be ready” and who keeps a gas mask, generators and canned goods in his basement – threatens to take matters into his own hands.

Contains disturbing violent content, including torture, and language throughout. Extras: “Every Moment Matters” and “Powerful Performances” featurettes.

‘The Lone Ranger’

(PG-13, 149 minutes, Warner Bros.): Starring Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp, this reboot of the franchise Western is a mishmash of styles, genres and tonal shifts.

“The Lone Ranger” may best be understood and appreciated as one long homage to Depp. As Tonto, the Lone Ranger’s stoic sidekick, Depp both challenges and indulges in the caricatures that made Jay Silverheels’ TV character such a lightning rod for Native American outrage.

Contains sequences of intense action and violence, and some suggestive material. Extras: a blooper reel; deleted scene; behind-the-scenes featurette on the train sequences; a location tour; and a “Becoming a Cowboy” featurette that follows the cast to boot camp, where they experienced what their characters would really be living like in the Wild West.

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