DVD Pick of the week: The Entitled (Anchor Bay Entertainment)
This taut little number is a well-acted, fast-paced kidnapping thriller in the best Hitchcockian tradition.
Ray Liotta, Victor Garber and Stephen McHattie portray three wealthy friends whose children (Dustin Milligan, John Bregar and Laura Vandervoort) are being held for ransom. Unless the fathers pay $3 million ($1 million for each child), it’s game over.
Kevin Zegers plays the mastermind of the plot, forced by economic straits to take so drastic and daring a measure, while Devon Bostick and Tatiana Maslany play his cohorts, who don’t exactly prove their reliability as the night drags on. It’s hardly a surprise that the scheme doesn’t go according to plan, but there are plenty of surprises in store as secrets are revealed and loyalties are questioned — among all concerned.
William Morrissey’s script offers a good share of twists and turns, put across with swift assurance in Aaron Woodley’s tight direction and with a big assist from a first-rate ensemble cast. A sure bet for suspense fans, The Entitled is a keeper. Rated R.
(For an exclusive interview with actor Victor Garber, see HERE.)
“BROTHERS & SISTERS”: THE COMPLETE FIFTH AND FINAL SEASON (Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment): The end of the line for the Walker clan, as dramatized in all 22 episodes from the 2010-’11 season of the award-winning prime-time ABC drama whose star-studded ensemble cast includes Sally Field, Calista Flockhart, Rachel Griffiths and Ron Rifkin. Beau Bridges (who co-starred with Field in her Oscar-winning Norma Rae) picked up an Emmy nomination as Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series. This five-DVD boxed set retails $45.99.
“CAMELOT”: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON (Anchor Bay Entertainment): The title legend is reborn in all 10 episodes from the inaugural 2011 season of the Starz Original series, with Joseph Fiennes as Merlin, Jamie Campbell Bower as Arthur, Tamsin Egerton as Guinevere and Eva Green as the wicked Morgan. Emmy nomination for Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music. The DVD boxed set retails for $49.98, the Blu-ray boxed set for $59.99.
A CINDERELLA STORY: ONCE UPON A SONG (Warner Premiere/Warner Home Video): A painless and perky update of the classic story as a teen musical, with Lucy Hale as the beleagured heroine, Freddie Stroma as the latter-day Prince Charming, and UNCSA alumnus Missi Pyle as the wicked stepmother. Rated PG.
DEAR UNCLE ADOLF (First Run Features): Subtitled “The Germans and Their Fhrer,” this intriguing documentary offers a chilling portrait of how Adolf Hitler won the hearts and minds of so many Germans, as conveyed in Leni Riefenstahl) and accentuated by stock footage from the era. Monika Fenneisen’s editing deserves mention.
“DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES”: THE COMPLETE SEVENTH SEASON (Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment): The women of Wisteria Lane are (still) up to their old tricks, in all 23 episodes from the 2010-’11 season of awardwinning prime-time ABC soap opera. The lovely lasses on hand include Felicity Huffman, Teri Hatcher, Eva Longoria, Dana Delany, Vanessa Williams and Marcia Cross, while James Denton, Ricardo Chavira and Kyle MacLachlan head up the male contingent. Brenda Strong received an Emmy nomination as Outstanding Voiceover Performance (!). This five-DVD boxed set retails for $45.99.
DORA THE EXPLORER: DORA’S STORYBOOK ADVENTURES (Nickelodeon Home Entertainment/Paramount Home Entertainment): A DVD boxed set ($24.99 retail) boasting three full-length adventures featuring the intrepid heroine whose awardwinning, animated adventures have become a staple of children’s educational programming: “Fairytale Adventure,” “Dora Saves the Snow Princess” and “Dora Saves the Crystal Kingdom.” Nickelodeon/Paramount is also releasing the self-explanatory “Dora the Explorer: Enchanted Forest Adventures” ($19.99 retail).
THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS (Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment): The latest special edition ($49.99 retail), including a 3-D Blu-ray, of producer Tim Burton and director Henry Selick’s animated 1993 fable in which Jack Skellington of Halloweentown decides to “switch holidays” by kidnapping Santa Claus and taking Christmas over — with riotous results. Despite numerous theatrical re-releases over this years, this has never become the box-office blockbuster many thought it would be, nor does it quite hit the level of a classic — but it’s certainly enjoyable, funny and charmingly weird, and it earned an Oscar nomination for Best Visual Effects. The voiceover cast includes Chris Sarandon (speaking) and Danny Elfman (singing) as Jack, Catherine O’Hara, Glenn Shadix and William Hickey. Rated PG.
“OFF THE MAP”: THE COMPLETE SERIES (Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment): This DVD boxed set ($29.99 retail) contains all 13 episodes from the 2011 (and only) season of the prime-time ABC medial drama in which a group of doctors ply their trade in a remote South American village. The regular cast includes Jonathan Castellanos, Valerie Cruz, Caroline Dhavernas and Mamie Gummer (Meryl Streep’s daughter)
PHINEAS AND FERB THE MOVIE: ACROSS THE 2 ND DIMENSION (Walt Disney Home Entertainment): The Emmy-winning, animated Disney Channel series expands into a featurelength fantasy with Vincent Martella and Thomas Brodie-Sangster reprising their voiceover roles as the title twosome. The two- DVD “Ultimate Fan Pack” retails for $26.99.
THE ROARING 20’S: MICK JAGGER’S GLORY YEARS (Sexy Intellectual/MVD Visual): Thomas Arnold narrates this (unauthorized) documentary in which writers, musicians and historians look back on the early days of the Rolling Stones superstar. Not bad, if somewhat limited in scope (as the title spells out), but probably a must for Stones’ completists.
SESAME STREET: ELMO’S MOVIE MAGIC (Sesame Workshop/Warner Home Video): The title tells all in this children’s DVD ($14.98 retail) in which Elmo and his Muppet pals bring music to Sesame Street, with assists from Garth Brooks, John Legend and Sugarland.
STEP UP 3 (Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment): The latest in the popular screen franchise depicts — what else? — a dance contest in which the participants (including series veterans Alyson Stoner and Adam G. Sevani) strut their stuff. Available as a singledisc DVD ($29.99 retail), a DVD/Blu-ray combo ($39.99 retail), or a four-disc combo including 3-D Blu-ray ($49.99 retail). Rated PG-13.
TANGLED (Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment): Disney’s 50 th animated feature is a light-hearted take on the story of Rapunzel. It may not be among the studio’s classics, but offers splashy entertainment for all ages and earned an Oscar nomination for Best Song (“I See the Light”). The voiceover cast includes Mandy Moore (as Rapunzel), Zachary Levi (as the bandit who steals her heart), Donna Murphy, Brad Garrett, Jeffrey Tambor and Ron Perlman. Available as a single-disc DVD ($29.99 retail), a DVD/Blu-ray combo ($39.99 retail), or a four-disc combo including 3-D Blu-ray ($49.99 retail). Rated PG.
“TEAM UMIZOOMI: JOURNEY TO NUMBERLAND” (Nickelodeon Home Entertainment/Paramount Home Entertainment): A selection of episodes ($16.99 retail) from the popular animated Nickelodeon children’s program in which a team of superheroes use their math skills to solve problems.
Mark Burger can be heard Friday mornings on the “Two Guys Named Chris” radio show on Rock-92. Copyright 2011, Mark Burger