Picks of the week
‘Guardians of the Galaxy’
(PG-13, 121 minutes, Disney): This manages the trick of being both an un-ironic sci-fi action-adventure flick and a zippy parody of one. It’s exciting, funny, self-aware, beautiful to watch and even, for a flickering instant or two, almost touching. Talented cast includes Chris Pratt, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close and Benicio Del Toro. Contains some coarse language and action violence. Extras: A deleted scene and preview of Marvel’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” On Blu-ray: Making-of featurettes, gag reel, commentary.
‘Dolphin Tale 2’
(PG, 107 minutes, Warner): America’s favorite dolphin returns in a sequel as eager to charm audiences as the 2011 original. Again “inspired by true events,” “Dolphin Tale 2” provides family-friendly animal fare that should engage tweens and young middle-schoolers who dream of rescuing and swimming with dolphins, but won’t scare their little siblings. And if you think director Charles Martin Smith made up some of the sappier sequences, don’t fast-forward through the credits. As they roll, documentary footage shows he did base those adorable rescues, releases and swims on real life, including poignant moments of amputee veterans and kids visiting the Clearwater (Fla.) Marine Aquarium and swimming with the real Winter, the dolphin saved by a prosthetic tail. Extras: A true story featurette. On Blu-ray: Blooper reel, a short on “Soul Surfer” survivor Bethany Hamilton meeting Winter, featurettes “Underwater Magic,” “Look Who’s Running the Show” and “The Mission,” and music videos “Brave Souls,” by Cozi Zuehlsdorff, and “You Got Me,” by Gavin DeGraw.
‘When the Game
(PG, 115 minutes, Sony): Perfection is impossible. That’s the message of the fact-based by-the-book sports drama based on the storied De La Salle Spartans, the high school football team whose 151-game winning streak, achieved between 1992 and 2003, remains a national record. But “Game” is more about what happened after the streak ended than how this private Catholic school in Concord, Calif., and its coach, Bob Ladouceur, achieved this remarkable feat. Based on a book by Neil Hayes and adapted for the screen by Scott Marshall Smith, it suffers an abundance of sports cliches. Contains some mature thematic material, a scene of violence and brief smoking. Extras: Commentary with director Thomas Carter and a making-of featurette. On Blu-ray: Select scene commentary with Carter and Ladouceur, deleted and extended scenes, a football sequences featurette and “The Heart and Soul of a Program” look at the man behind the De La Salle football program.
(R, 104 minutes, Fox): As pungent as John Michael McDonagh’s writing is, it may be his too-easy pessimism that makes “Calvary” engrossing and thought-provoking, but not great. As he did with “The Guard,” the filmmaker has fashioned a marvelous showcase for Brendan Gleeson at his most restrained and commandingly sympathetic, but the story ultimately feels too overdetermined, too manipulatively and schematically designed, to be as profound as the filmmaker surely intended. Contains sexual references, profanity, brief strong violence and some drug use. Kelly Reilly as the fragile daughter and Chris O’Dowd are strong in supporting roles. Blu-ray extras: Behind-the-scenes short and “The Role of a Good Priest,” “A Matter of Faith” and “A Father and His Daughter” featurettes.