New releases on DVD, Blu-ray
Andrew Garfield in “The Amazing Spider-Man.”
Updated: November 12, 2012 9:29AM
NEW THIS WEEK
PG-13 for sequences of action and violence
Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans
Though the recent, spectacularly successful series of “Spider-Man” adventures directed by Sam Raimi is still fresh in moviegoer memory, this compete reboot of the spider-saga by director Marc Webb (“(500) Days of Summer”) quickly establishes itself as a worthy successor by telling the same story in a different — and in some ways superior — manner. Webb doesn’t score quite as high as Raimi in terms of visual dazzle, but he delivers plenty of adrenaline-pumping action. And he generates a surprising level of gravitas by taking the heavy-duty dramatic elements in the story very seriously. Best of all, the remarkable chemistry between Garfield as Peter Parker/Spider-Man and Stone as his high-school girlfriend Gwen ups the romantic ante in a way that improves on the comics, as well as Raimi’s Tobey Maguire/Kirsten Dunst match-up. Extras include interviews, storyboards, alternate takes, costume tests, behind-the-scenes documentaries, production art gallery, stunt rehearsals, commentary and deleted scenes.
SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED
R for language including some sexual references
Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass, Jake M. Johnson
The only thing potentially seriously disappointing about this quirky, warm-hearted and generally satisfying indie romance is the ending. Though while its radical shift in tone seems likely to annoy some people (me included), it’s likely to strike others as just right. Aubrey Plaza of TV’s “Parks and Recreation” (in a star-making performance) is perfect as Darius, a prematurely world-weary magazine intern dragooned into a team-assignment to track down and profile a local looney (Duplass) who has placed a classified ad for time-travel companions. “Safety not Guaranteed” is as much about love, loss and regret as it is about time travel, but it also does a nice job, until the last few scenes, of keeping us guessing about whether or not our sweet, damaged, eccentric hero is as crazy as he seems. Winner of the Waldo Salt Screenwriting award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Extras include a making-of documentary, “The Ad Behind the Movie” featurette and an Easter Egg.
ALSO NEW THIS WEEK SAVAGES
Two friends (Aaron Johnson and Taylor Kitsch) and their shared girlfriend (Blake Lively) enjoy an idyllic life as successful marijuana growers until a Mexican cartel decides to cut in on their business. Oliver Stone (“Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps”) directed the crime drama.
Two party-loving female vampires (Alicia Silverstone, Krysten Ritter) in New York City face a romantic dilemma when they fall in love with mortal men. Amy Heckerling (“Clueless”) wrote and directed the comedy.
BILL AND TED’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE
Keanu Reeves became a star in this 1989 comedy, making its Blu-ray debut, about two totally excellent dudes studying for a history presentation with the aid of a time machine — and comedian George Carlin — made a star of Reeves. Awesome extras include an air-guitar tutorial, the featurette “One Sweet and Sour Chinese Adventure to Go,” radio spots and theatrical trailers.
CULINARY MASTERPIECES: FOUR GREAT FOODIE FILMS
This special edition box set includes “Le Cirque: A Table in Heaven,” “Kings of Pastry,” “Guy Martin: Portrait of a Grand Chef” and “A Matter of Taste: Serving up Paul Liebrandt.”
THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW: COMPLETE SERIES
This 15-disc Blu-ray set features all five seasons of the classic 1960s sitcom. Extras include a TV academy salute to Carl Reiner, a 50th-anniversary Q&A with Van Dyke, Reiner and Garry Marshall, appearances by Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore on “The Danny Kaye Show” and network promos.
FRIENDS: THE COMPLETE SERIES
This 21-disc Blu-ray box set includes all 236 episodes of the 1994-2004 sitcom plus 20 hours of bonus material. New content includes a retrospective documentary with new interviews, never-released cast appearances, unaired footage and a new gag reel.
THE INCREDIBLE MEL BROOKS: AN IRRESISTIBLE COLLECTION OF UNHINGED COMEDY
This five-DVD/one-CD includes the 1981 BBC documentary “I Thought I was Taller: A Short History of Mel Brooks,” the PBS special “Excavating the 2,000 Year Old Man,” a five-part exploration of Brooks’ film career, vintage appearances on “The Tonight Show” and “The Dick Cavett Show,” episodes of the TV series “Get Smart,” “When Things Were Rotten,” “Mad about You” and “The Critic,” short films, rare footage and a collection of long-lost comedy bits and songs from his movies.
LAWRENCE OF ARABIA 50TH ANNIVERSARY
Director David Lean’s 1962 classic, which made an international star of Peter O’Toole overnight, celebrates the big five-oh with a digitally restored director’s cut of the film and a box full of bonus features. Extras include a new interview with O’Toole, a making-of documentary, an interview with Steven Spielberg, numerous featurettes including “In Search of Lawrence,” newsreel footage of the New York premiere, a soundtrack CD, an 88-page coffee-table book and a previously unreleased deleted scene.
MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING
RECENT RELEASES THE CAMPAIGN EXTENDED CUT
THE CAMPAIGN EXTENDED CUT
R for crude sexual content, language and brief nudity
Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis
Okay, so it’s not “The Candidate,” or “Primary Colors,” or “The Best Man,” or even “The Ides of March.” But this smart, fast-paced and occasionally quite funny (though outrageously rude and crude) comedy has something to say about the state of politics in America today, if only because it actually makes Will Ferrell look like a credible, even electable, candidate. Right up to the moment when he punches the baby. Ferrell plays corrupt, sleazy, idiotic-sex-maniac Southern Republican Congressman Cam Brady, who appears to be a shoo-in as the upcoming vice-presidential candidate until his latest scandal introduces a new candidate in the form of pudgy, effeminate, simple-minded, honest-and-decent family man Marty Huggins (Galifianakis). Much raucous comedy ensues after political power brokers donate a million dollars to Marty’s super Pac and hire a ruthless campaign manager (Dylan McDermott) for a mean makeover — and lifelong loser Marty develops a taste for blood. Director Jay Roach (“Austin Powers,” “Meet the Parents”) puts “The Campaign” through its fairly predictable paces with his usual skill, until a contrived, moralistic finale in which goodness prevails, life lessons are learned all around and Brady reveals himself to be not such a bad guy after all.
R for language including some sexual references and for some drug use
Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan, Chris Messina
A charming but by no means reassuring love story, this second feature by the directors of “Little Miss Sunshine” muses on the ephemeral nature of romantic relationships — particularly their tendency to go painfully awry. Even when literally made to order. Lonely, isolated, aging wunderkind author Calvin (Dano), breaks through a serious creative block by writing about dream girl Ruby (screenwriter Kazan), who magically comes to life and moves in. Calvin can make Ruby do whatever he wants, just by writing it, but swears not to — until Ruby starts to get tired of him. Then the honeymoon starts to turn to hell on Earth. Extras include featurettes such as “Real Life Couples: Co-Stars and Directors.”
AVAILABLE NEXT WEEK
Danny Kaye returns with two complete Christmas episodes from his 1960s variety show, documentarian Ken Burns explores the Oklahoma Dust Bowl and screenwriter James “African Queen” Agee’s 1952 live-TV biodrama on the life of Abraham Lincoln gives Steven Spielberg some competition.