This week’s new DVD releases feature some strong female characters.
“The Divergent Series: Insurgent”: 1 1/2 stars. Tris continues to search for allies while being hunted. Shailene Woodley stars. Director Robert Schwentke (replacing Neil Burger, who guided the first film) mounts a couple of big action scenes. Computer technology allows for visuals that are staggeringly amazing. There’s just nothing left when all the dust clears.
“Far from the Madding Crowd”: 3 1/2 stars. Carey Mulligan stars in the latest big screen version of the Thomas Hardy literary classic. As good as the landscapes are, they pale in comparison to the sweeping emotional range Carey Mulligan brings to the story’s central heroine, Bathsheba Everdene. With only a hint of a smile, she reveals emotional moments deep as any well. A loving glance creates mountains of emotional drama.
“Orphan Black: Season 3”: 4 stars. Tatiana Maslany continues to show how she is the best actor working in TV — and better than most film actors. The multiple clones she plays in this British thriller are as distinct as if multiple performers were playing the parts. The action and technical challenges got a bump this season with the addition of Ari Millen as a male clone. This is one of the best series on television.
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“Do You Believe?”: 3 stars. A series of events brings a group of people together and tests their faith. Mia Sorvino stars. In a spiritual version of “Crash,” 12 people come together – each with a different level of belief. The only common bond for them is a small wooden cross handed out to a congregation by a pastor (Ted McGinley) who realizes even he might not be living his life as a true believer.
“True Story”: 2 stars. Jonah Hill and James Franco — working together for the first time since the offbeat “This Is the End” — star in this story of accused killer Christian Longo (Franco) who uses the alias of New York Times writer Michael Finkel (Hill) while on the run. “True Story” doesn’t try hard enough to be good or bad. It’s put together and presented in such a blase manner that it ends up as simply unmemorable.
ALSO NEW ON DVD
“Strike Back: The Complete Third Season”: Stealth counterterrorism unit Section 20 is out to save the world.
“Barely Lethal”: Teen undercover agent discovers graduating high school may be a bigger challenge than being a spy.
“Dora and Friends: Doggie Day”: Dora and her friends go on a “ruff” mission.
“Last Survivors”: In a barren, post-apocalyptic America, water is everything.
“The Killing”: Detectives destroy evidence that would implicate one of them as the killer.
“Appetites”: All-American girl has appetite for murder.
“A Little Chaos”: Kate Winslet plays Sabine de Barra, a strong-willed landscape designer chosen to build one of the main gardens at Versailles in the court of King Louis XIV.
“Murdoch Mysteries, Season 8”: Detective William Murdoch (Yannick Bisson) and his friends deal with crime in turn-of-the-century Toronto.
“Child 44”: Serial killer thriller set in 1953 Soviet Union. Tom Hardy stars.
“The Dead Lands”: Maori chieftain’s son must avenge his father’s murder.
“Chocolate City”: Tyson Beckford stars in this story of male dancers.
“The Comeback”: Includes both seasons of the Lisa Kudrow series.
“Famous Nathan”: Documentary on Nathan Handwerker, the man behind the legendary Brooklyn eatery.
“Black & White: The Dawn of Assault”: Maverick cop and gangster team up.
“Blackbird”: Teen struggles to be a good person while hiding a secret. Mo'Nique stars.
“When the Checks Stop Coming In”: Explores the obsession of black celebrities with the American dollar.
“How to Get Away With Murder: The Complete First Season”: ABC series about a college course that is a real killer.
“Toolbox Murders 2”: Handyman of horror is back.
“Seashore”: Exploration of friendship, sexuality and personal identity for two teenage boys.
“Phantom Halo”: Efforts by two brothers to help their family go wrong. Rebecca Romijn stars.
“Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead”: Blood-soaked post-apocalyptic film.
“Little Loopers”: Ex-pro golfer agrees to coach youngsters.
“I Love Lucy: The Ultimate Season 2”: Includes 31 episodes of the TV series.
“Sgt. Bilko/The Phil Silvers Show – Season 3”: Includes 37 episodes of the comedy series.
“The Wild West With Ray Mears”: Ray Mears follows the route of early American pioneers.
“Flamenco, Flamenco”: The film features more than 20 of the most important international artists of our time.
“Into the Grizzly Maze”: Small-town sheriff looks to stop a killer bear.
“Rick Sebak’s Summer Fun”: Collection of documentaries that capture the spirit of a quintessential American summer.
“The Affair: Season One”: Showtime series that looks at effects of an extramarital affair.
“Black Box”: Kevin Sorbo stars in the story of a mysterious box.
“Alpha and Omega: Family Vacation”: Family’s plans are met with unexpected guests.