This Week's DVD, Blu-ray Releases -- OnVideo

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OnVideo's Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases

Tuesday, August 5 -- Monday, August 11

All DVD Releases

  • Divergent

    photo for All hail Lionsgate. First the company gave us "The Hunger Games," parlaying Suzanne Collins' novels into multi-million dollar boxoffice bonanzas. Now they've handed us "Divergent," the first movie in a four-part saga based on the "Divergent" book series by Veronica Roth. Like "The Hunger Games," "Divergent" stars an up-and-coming young actress who's just starting to make her mark as a dramatic star in Hollywood; in this case it's Shailene Woodley, who got excellent notices for her work in 2011's "The Descendants" and 2013's "The Spectacular Now" and this years's "The Fault in Our Stars" (need we remind you that Jennifer Lawrence knocked people out in 2010's "Winter's Bone" well before "The Hunger Games"?). But the similarity stops there. While "Games" Katniss Everdeen is a self-confident warrior going up against the system, in "Divergent" -- which postulates a dystopian future in which society is divided into five factions that each represent a different virtue -- Tris Prior (Woodley) is basically a naif who, when tested to determine which group she should enter, discovers she doesn't fit into any group -- she's a Divergent. Lacking confidence, she decides to join the militant Dauntless faction (the futuristic police force), where she develops her inner and outer strength, uncovers a mind-bending conspiracy, and finds the courage to foster a mini-rebellion. Unlike "Hunger," "Divergent" kind of ambles along at a slower pace, taking a bit too long to develop its backstory before getting to the meat of the matter: a government takeover by a totalitarian group (course, this futuristic society isn't too sweet to begin with). And, unlike Lawrence fitting perfectly into Katniss' role, we found Woodley a little too tenuous as Tris; she's too hesitant in accepting her role. (Audiences, too, were hesitant; "Divergent" pulled in about $150 million compared to the first "Games'" $400 mil.) Still, it's a fun outing, with enough action, romance and intrigue to make you want to see the next installments (The next three installments -- "Insurgent" and "Allegiant Parts 1 & 2" -- will be released theatrically on March 20, 2015, March 18, 2016 and March 24, 2017, respectively). Extras: Deleted scenes, commentary with director Neil Burger, commentary with producers Douglas Wick and Lucy Fisher. Blu-ray adds "Bringing Divergent to Life" documentary, "Faction Before Blood" featurette. Vitals: Director: Neil Burger. Stars: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Ashley Judd, Jai Courtney, Ray Stevenson, Zo Kravitz, Miles Teller, Tony Goldwyn, Ansel Elgort, Maggie Q, Mekhi Phifer, Kate Winslet. 2014, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 139 min., Sci-Fi-Action-Romance, Box office gross: $150.544 million, Lionsgate. 3 stars


  • Need for Speed

    photo for For Aaron Paul's first starring vehicle after five years of "Breaking Bad," the just-turning-35-year-old actor choose a role certainly familiar to the TV series' fans: an angst-ridden, existential hero who will fight against all odds for loyalty and justice (either above or behind the law) and gets stepped on by the powers-that-be. Here he plays a blue-collar mechanic who races muscle-cars on the side in an unsanctioned street-racing circuit while struggling to keep his family-owned garage afloat. To make ends meet, he reluctantly partners with a wealthy and arrogant ex-NASCAR driver and past rival (Dominic Cooper) who frames him for the death of his best friend in a disastrous car race. Fresh out of jail, he teams up with his old crew and a female exotic car broker (a delightful Imogen Poots) to enter a high stakes supercar race in San Francisco to take his nemesis down -- but he first has to run a gauntlet of cops and bad guys from coast to coast. It's all pretty predictable, with Paul reprising his Jesse Pinkman moves, grunts and asides and not really stepping out into the spotlight. The true stars of the film are the million-dollar sports and GT cars, as well as the racing and, of course, spectacular crashes. And then there's the beautiful Poots. "Need For Speed" is based on the best-selling video game series.Extras: "Capturing Speed: Making an Authentic Car Movie," "Need for Speed Rivals" trailer. Blu-ray adds "Ties That Bind," "The Circus Is In Town," commentary with director Scott Waugh and Aaron Paul, Monarch & Maverick outtakes, deleted scenes, "The Sound of Need for Speed," "B-Camera" crash compilation (Easter Egg). Vitals: Director: Scott Waugh. Stars: Aaron Paul, Dominic Cooper, Imogen Poots, Scott Mescudi (aka Kid Cudi), Dakota Johnson, Michael Keaton. 2014, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 130 min., Action, Box office gross: $43.189 million, Disney. 2 stars

  • God's Not Dead

    photo for College freshman and devout Christian Josh Wheaton (Shane Harper) finds his faith challenged on his first day of Philosophy class by the dogmatic and argumentative Professor Radisson (Kevin Sorbo). Radisson begins class by informing students that they will need to disavow, in writing, the existence of God on that first day, or face a failing grade. As other students in the class begin scribbling the words "God Is Dead" on pieces of paper, Josh find himself at a crossroads, having to choose between his faith and his future. Radisson assigns him a daunting task: if Josh will not admit that "God Is Dead," he must prove God's existence by presenting well-researched, intellectual arguments and evidence over the course of the semester, and engage Radisson in a head-to-head debate in front of the class. If Josh fails to convince his classmates of God's existence, he will fail the course and hinder his lofty academic goals. Vitals: Director: Harold Cronk. Stars: Kevin Sorbo, Shane Harper, David A.R. White, Tommy Blaze, Dean Cain. 2014, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 113 min., Comedy/Drama/Family, Box office gross: $57.684 million, Pure Flix Entertainment. 2 stars

  • Oculus

    photo for Ten years ago, tragedy struck the Russell family, leaving the lives of teenage siblings Tim and Kaylie forever changed when Tim was convicted of the brutal murder of their parents. Now in his 20s, Tim is newly released from protective custody and only wants to move on with his life; but Kaylie, still haunted by that fateful night, is convinced her parents' deaths were caused by something else altogether: a malevolent supernatural force --­ unleashed through the Lasser Glass, an antique mirror in their childhood home. Determined to prove Tim's innocence, Kaylie tracks down the mirror, only to learn similar deaths have befallen previous owners over the past century. With the mysterious entity now back in their hands, Tim and Kaylie soon find their hold on reality shattered by terrifying hallucinations, and realize, too late, that their childhood nightmare is beginning again Blu-ray extras: Deleted scenes, "Inside the Mirror: Creating Oculus," original "Oculus" 33-minute short film, commentary by Mike Flanagan and Trevor Macy, theatrical trailer. Vitals: Director: Mike Flanagan. Stars: Karen Gillan, Katee Sackhoff, James Lafferty, Brenton Thwaites, Rory Cochrane, Kate Siegel. 2014, CC, MPAA rating: R, 104 min., Horror, Box office gross: $27.440 million, Fox. 2 stars

    Blu-ray Debuts

  • The Full Monty (1997)
  • Phantom of the Paradise (1974)

    Read more.

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All DVD Releases

Agatha Christie’s Marple Fan Favorites Collection (2013) Released in anticipation of the final episodes airing this September on Masterpiece Mystery!, this release includes Miss Marple's five most popular mysteries, as voted by Agatha Christie fans. Three-disc set with five feature-length mysteries: "The Murder at the Vicarage" (Series 1: U.K. broadcast 2004); "A Murder Is Announced" (Series 1: U.K. broadcast 2005); "At Bertram's Hotel" (Series 3: U.K. broadcast 2007); "A Pocket Full of Rye" (Series 4: U.K. broadcast 2008) and "The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side" (Series 5: U.K. broadcast 2010). Formats: DVD, $39.99. (Acorn Media).

Agatha Christie's Poirot Fan Favorites Collection A collection of favorite cases chosen by Christie's fans. Three-disc set with six mysteries starring David Suchet: "Murder on the Orient Express "(Series 12, 2010); "Hercule Poirot's Christmas" (Series 6, 1995); "The Mysterious Affair at Styles" (Series 3, 1990); "The ABC Murders "(Series 4, 1992); "The Adventure of the Egyptian Tomb" (Series 5, 1993) and "Four and Twenty Blackbirds" (Series 1, 1989). Formats: DVD, $39.99. (Acorn Media).

America's Wild West (2013) Three-disc set with eight documentaries on the men and women who helped to tame the West: "Annie Oakley," "Billy the Kid," "Buffalo Bill," "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," "Custer's Last Stand," "Jesse James," "Kit Carson" and "Wyatt Earp." Formats: DVD, $39.99 (PBS Distribution).

Anna (2013) Mark Strong, Brian Cox, Taissa Farmiga. A man with the ability to enter peoples' memories takes on the case of a brilliant, troubled 16-year-old girl to determine whether she is a sociopath or a victim of trauma. Formats: DVD. (Vertical Entertainment).

photo for Around the Block Around the Block (2013 -- Australia) Christina Ricci, Hunter Page-Lochard, Jack Thompson, Damian Walshe-Howling, Ruby Rose. American drama teacher Dino Chalmers (Ricci) moves to Sydney's Redfern district to be with her fiance and is hired by the local school in what may be the school's final term. Dino's passion for Shakespeare drives her vision of producing a school play as part of the Indigenous cultural program, and finds that 16-year-old Aborigine Liam (Page-Lochard) has a natural gift for performance. But there is a shadow over Liam's life, with his father in jail and his older brother determined to avenge the death of his uncle. With Dino's encouragement as she faces tough choices in her own life, Liam confronts his past and eventually takes control of his future. Set amid the 2004 Redfern riots, the film was shot in the very neighborhood where tensions between Aboriginal and non-Indigenous Australians reached a fever pitch a decade ago. Formats: DVD, VOD, Digital. (Random Media/Cinedigm).

The Birthday Boys: The Complete First Season (2013) Two-disc set with 10 episodes, $29.98. Formats: DVD. Extras: Commentaries, "The Making of Season One," "From Stage to Screen," bonus videos, promos. (Anchor Bay).

Bicycling With Moliere (2013 -- France) Fabrice Luchini, Lambert Wilson. From Philippe Le Guay, the director of the hit comedy "The Women on the 6th Floor" comes this warm, funny, literate comedy about Gauthier (Wilson), a handsome and famous soap opera star from Paris and Serge (Luchini), a serious stage actor who has renounced his profession to live on an idyllic island off the French coast. When Gauthier visits Serge to convince him to join him in a production of Moliere's "The Misanthrope," a battle of wits ensues over who will play the lead role of Alceste. Between rehearsals, the two bike along the windswept beaches, rival for the affections of a beautiful Italian divorcee and offer advice to an aspiring porn actress. As tensions mount, Gauthier begins to wonder if Serge is really considering leaving his island paradise for the stage or if he's just toying with him. Formats: DVD. (Strand Releasing).

The Broker's Man, Series 2 (1998-99) North American DVD debut of the series starring Kevin Whately as an ex-cop turned insurance investigator who exposes con men and other fraudsters. Two-disc set with six episodes. Formats: DVD, $39.99. (Acorn Media).

Californication: The Final Season (2013) Two-disc set with 12 episodes, $46.99. Formats: DVD. (Showtime Networks/CBS Home Entertainment/Paramount).

Community Service (2013) JD Lawrence, Clifton Powell, Terri J. Vaughn. A struggling New York actor/playwright who will do almost anything to help a friend agrees to represent his best friend in traffic court ... but things get complicated when a simple $25 traffic ticket turns into a sentence for 5,000 hours of community service at the local community center run by the judge's temperamental uncle, Bishop Nixon. Formats: DVD. (Entertainment One).

Community: The Complete Fifth Season (2013-14) Two-disc set with 13 episodes, $35.99. Formats: DVD. Extras: Commentary, outtakes, two featurettes: "Re-Animating the '80s" and "Advanced Television Production: 5 Days, 2 Scripts, No Sleep." (Sony).

Divergent (2014) Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Ashley Judd, Jai Courtney, Ray Stevenson, Zo Kravitz, Miles Teller, Tony Goldwyn, Ansel Elgort, Maggie Q, Mekhi Phifer, Kate Winslet. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo, VOD, Digital, UltraViolet (cloud). Extras: Deleted scenes, commentary with director Neil Burger, commentary with producers Douglas Wick and Lucy Fisher. Blu-ray adds "Bringing Divergent to Life" documentary, "Faction Before Blood" featurette. (Lionsgate).

Dream Deceivers (1991) Two young men shoot themselves in a churchyard. Ray Belknap dies; James Vance -- severely disfigured -- survives. Their parents take heavy-metal icons Judas Priest to court, claiming the band "mesmerized" their sons. The unprecedented trial is the framework for this one-of-a-kind, Emmy-nominated documentary. Formats: DVD. (First Run Features).

The Full Monty BLU-RAY DEBUT (1997) Robert Carlyle, Mark Addy, William Snape, Steve Huison, Tom Wilkinson, Paul Barber, Hugo Speer. Extras: Commentary by director Peter Cattaneo and actor Mark Addy, commentary by producer Uberto Pasolini, "The Deleted Footage," "The Cast," original publicity campaign, music machine, "Development," "Production," "The Success and Its Aftermath," "A Bigger Picture - A Look at the British Film Industry in the '90s." (Fox).

Getting Go, the Go Doc Project (2013) Tanner Cohen, Matthew Camp. A shy college student invents a fake documentary project to get close to Go, a NYC go-go dancer he is infatuated with. Formats: DVD. (Wolfe Video).

God's Not Dead (2014) Kevin Sorbo, Shane Harper, David A.R. White, Tommy Blaze, Dean Cain. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo, VOD, Digital. (Pure Flix Entertainment).

photo for I'll Follow You Down I'll Follow You Down (2013) Haley Joel Osment, Gillian Anderson, Rufus Sewell, Victor Garber. Sci-fi exploration of wormholes, parallel universes, love, and the possibility of starting over. After the disappearance of an accomplished physicist (Rufus Sewell) on a business trip, his son Erol (Haley Joel Osment) and wife Marika (Gillian Anderson) struggle to cope. Years later, now a young scientist himself, Erol uncovers papers, formulas, a machine, and a mind-bending possibility that could kill him, throw him into the unknown ... or bring his family back together. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray Disc. Extras: Behind-the-scenes featurette, deleted scenes. (Well Go USA).

Ironclad: Battle for Blood (2014) Michelle Fairley, Tom Austen, Tom Rhys Harries, Roxanne McKee. One of the few survivors of the Great Siege of Rochester Castle fights to protect his family's estate from fierce Celtic raiders in this sequel. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray Disc. (XLrator Media).

photo for Ja'mie: Private School Girl Ja'mie: Private School Girl (2013 -- TV) Two-disc set with six episodes of the continuing story of Ja'mie King, a private school princess slumming it at a lowly public school with a delusional self-obsession and a vicious potty mouth. A conniving Year 12 student at Hillford Girls Grammar, a tony private school in Sydney, Australia, Ja'mie, the self-promoting "queen bee," returns from an exchange semester at public school Summer Heights High for her last three months at Hillford, where she's the unchallenged diva among the school's most popular girls. Ja'mie turns her attention to conquering the opposite sex. Formats: DVD, $29.98; Digital. Extras: Blooper reel, a making-of featurette, deleted scenes. (HBO).

Last Tango in Halifax: Season Two (2013) Two-disc set with six episodes of the PBS favorite series about two childhood sweethearts who work to finally make a life together after nearly 60 years apart. Formats: DVD, $34.98. (BBC Home Entertainment).

photo for More Than the Rainbow More Than the Rainbow (2014) After three decades turning his lens on New York City, taxi driver turned street photographer Matt Weber has seen it all. This documentary not only chronicles the life and times of Weber, but becomes a vibrant conversation about the photographic medium, artistic expression, and New York City. There is no telling how many stories Weber has attempted to capture since he first started taking pictures out of the window of the cab he used to drive. But his quarter century-plus devotion to candidly depicting the lives of his fellow New Yorkers, many of them from the fringes of society, has yielded a remarkable document of a New York that most of us will never experience. Shot partially in gorgeous 35mm and largely scored to the music of Thelonious Monk, "More Than the Rainbow" interweaves verite, still photography and revealing interviews with Weber and fellow photographers to create an evocative documentary that is a poetic celebration of the world's greatest city and the individuals who walk its streets. Formats: DVD. (First Run Features).

Mythbusters Collection 11 (2011) Two-disc set with 10 episodes. Fearless leaders Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage explore all forms of the unusual -- from bazookas and toilet bombs to duct-tape airplanes and rock sleds -- leaving no mystery unsolved. Additional, the duo attempts to create a Newton's cradle using wrecking balls! Formats: DVD, $29.93. (Cinedigm).

Need for Speed (2014) Aaron Paul, Dominic Cooper, Imogen Poots, Scott Mescudi (aka Kid Cudi), Dakota Johnson, Michael Keaton. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo, VOD, Digital. Extras: "Capturing Speed: Making an Authentic Car Movie," "Need for Speed Rivals" trailer. Blu-ray adds "Ties That Bind," "The Circus Is In Town," commentary with director Scott Waugh and Aaron Paul, Monarch & Maverick outtakes, deleted scenes, "The Sound of Need for Speed," "B-Camera" crash compilation (Easter Egg). (Disney).

Oculus (2014) Karen Gillan, Katee Sackhoff, James Lafferty, Brenton Thwaites, Rory Cochrane, Kate Siegel. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray Disc, VOD, Digital, UltraViolet (cloud). Blu-ray extras: Deleted scenes, "Inside the Mirror: Creating Oculus," original "Oculus" 33-minute short film, commentary by Mike Flanagan and Trevor Macy, theatrical trailer. (Fox).

photo for Perry Mason Movie Collection Volume Three Perry Mason Movie Collection Volume Three Three-disc set with six movies, $59.99: "The Case of the Poisoned Pen," "The Case of the Dangerous Deception," "The Case of the Silenced Singer," "The Case of the Defiant Daughter," "The Case of the Ruthless Reporter" and "The Case of the Maligned Mobster." Formats: DVD. (CBS Home Entertainment/Paramount).

Phantom of the Paradise BLU-RAY DEBUT (1974) Dir.: Brian De Palma; Paul Williams, William Finley, Jessica Harper, Gerrit Graham. Extras: New interviews with Brian De Palma, Paul Williams and Tom Burman; new audio commentary with producer Jack Fisk; new audio commentary with Jessica Harper, Gerrit Graham and the Juicy Fruits (Archie Hahn, Jeffrey Comanor and Harold Oblong aka Peter Eibling); a DVD of additional bonus content including a new interview with producer Edward R. Pressman, a new featurette on the neon poster art, more. (Shout! Factory).

The Saint, Set 1 (1989) Based on the bestselling, long-running novel series by Leslie Charteris, "The Saint" follows the adventures of Simon Templar, played by British actor Simon Dutton, a debonair thief who targets only evildoers. Produced in 1989, this series of TV movies had limited broadcast in the U.S. through syndication to independent commercial stations; this DVD set is the first opportunity for most U.S. viewers to watch this version of the timeless character. Three-disc set with three feature-length movies. Formats: DVD, $49.99. (Acorn Media).

Sorcerer (1977) Dir.: William Friedkin; Roy Scheider, Bruno Cremer, Francisco Rabal, Amidou. Due to the overwhelmingly positive reception of the April remastered Blu-ray edition of "Sorcerer," Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release this week a remastered DVD version as well as a digital download. Formats: DVD, Digital, UltraViolet (cloud). (Warner).

Tarzan (2013) CGI-animation reimagining of Edgar Rice Burroughs' classic. Tarzan and Jane Porter face a mercenary army dispatched by the evil CEO of Greystoke Energies, a man who took over the company from Tarzan's parents after they died in a helicopter crash. Voices of Kellan Lutz, Robert Capron, Jaime Ray Newman, Spencer Locke, Brian Bloom, Mark Deklin. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray Disc, Digital, UltraViolet (cloud). Exclusively at Walmart. Extras: Three featurettes: "Behind the Scenes with Kellan Lutz and Spencer Locke," "Becoming Gorillas" featurette, "The Making of Tarzan." (Lionsgate).

Top Gear 21 (2014) Three-disc set with six episodes, $19.98. Formats: DVD. Extras: "Top Gear Burma Special," an epic two-part adventure across the wilds of Burma. (BBC Home Entertainment).

Transformers Cybertron: The Complete Series (2005) Seven-disc set finds the Autobots embarking on a quest to locate mystical artifacts to save their homeworld of Cybertron from being sucked into a black hole. Formats: DVD, $44.99. (Shout! Factory).

The Trip to Bountiful (2014 -- TV) Cicely Tyson, Vanessa Williams, Keke Palmer, Blair Underwood. Based on the critically acclaimed Tony Award-nominated play by Horton Foote, the drama follows Carrie Watts (Tyson), an active widow living in a cramped apartment with her son (Underwood) and daughter-in-law (Williams), who escapes to realize her dearest dream: to return to her beloved hometown, Bountiful. Formats: DVD. (Lionsgate).

photo for Without Warning Without Warning (1980) Jack Palance, Martin Landau, Tarah Nutter, Christopher S. Nelson, Cameron Mitchell, Neville Brand, Sue Ane Langdon, Ralph Meeker, Larry Storch. Earth is the new hunting ground for an alien life form that preys on human fear and feeds on human flesh. A group of teenagers head out to a lake for a relaxing camping trip in the mountains but things go terribly wrong when they run into an extraterrestrial who throws deadly discs that suck the blood of their victims. The group heads back to the local truck stop for help from the eclectic group of residents -- a crazy war veteran (Martin Landau) and a determined hunter (Jack Palance). Formats: Blu-ray/DVD Combo. Extras: Audio commentary with producer/director Greydon Clark; new interviews with cinematographer Dean Cundey, co-writer/co-producer Daniel Grodnik, special make-up effects creator Greg Cannom and actors Christopher S. Nelson and Tarah Nutter; theatrical trailer; still gallery. (Scream Factory/Shout! Factory).

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