New DVD: ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’
From Tim Burton’s latest to ‘The Marx Brothers’ collection, we tell you what’s new and good on DVD.
Without Tim Burton behind the camera, “Alice Through The Looking Glass” (2016, Disney, PG, $30) is a frantic mess, with too many characters and too much eye candy.
As in “Alice In Wonderland,” Mia Wasikowska stars as the title character. This time around, Alice is a ship’s captain who sails to England to visit her former fiancé, only to wind up back in Wonderland where the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) needs some cheering up.
Even though all of the cast members reprise their roles, including Anne Hathaway and Helena Bonham Carter, the sequel doesn’t jazz you with the thrill of discovery like the original did. It’s no wonderland. Extras: deleted scenes, featurettes, music videos and commentary by director James Bobin.
Also New To DVD
Blood Father: After his daughter (Erin Moriarty) runs afoul of a drug cartel, an ex-con (Mel Gibson) springs into action, using old contacts to try to stay one step ahead of the law and the bad guys. While this is purely a genre exercise for Gibson, there’s a dark poetry to his performance as a trailer-park-dwelling loner struggling to put booze and personal demons behind him. It also helps that filmmaker Jean-Francois Richet (“Mesrine”) knows how to give the action scenes plenty of pow. On Amazon, iTunes, Google, Vudu
Café Society (2016, Lionsgate, PG-13, $20): Woody Allen returns to form with a poignant and lovely-to-lookat charmer about a young man named Bobby (Jesse Eisenberg) who heads to Hollywood in the 1930s to work for his agent-uncle Phil (Steve Carell). Bobby eventually winds up falling in love with his uncle’s secretary (Kristen Stewart) but there are complications. Stung by the romance, Bobby returns to New York where he finds success in his gangster-brother’s (Corey Stoll) employ. Thanks to a bittersweet third act, the movie beautifully illustrates the adage, “be careful what you wish for.” “Café Society” isn’t perfect but it contains plenty of resonant thoughts about love, success and dashed dreams. Extras: featurettes.
The Marx Brothers: Silver Screen Collection (1929-1933, Universal,
G, $60): A quartet of the Marx Brothers’ early classics — “The Cocoanuts,” “Animal Crackers,” “Monkey Business,” “Horse Feathers” and “Duck Soup” — arrive in newly remastered editions. Expect to hear Groucho singing “Hooray For Captain Spaulding,” the brothers pretending to be Maurice Chevalier; and Harpo and Groucho’s performing their much-imitated mirror routine. This Blu-ray set makes it official: no one delivers as much inspired lunacy as this zany foursome. Extras: five commentaries, featurettes and feature-length doc. Nine To Five (1980, Twilight Time, PG-13, $30): Leave it to Jane Fonda to produce a socially conscious comedy about inequality in the workplace. Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton star as three disgruntled employees who decide to take their sexist boss (Dabney Coleman) hostage. While he’s tied up, they transform their office into a business that’s not only kindler and gentler but also more efficient. Thanks to the actress’s remarkable chemistry and the endless stream of zingers, the new-to-Blu-ray “Nine To Five” is as much fun today as when it first released. Extras: featurettes and commentaries by Fonda, Tomlin and Parton as well as film historians and scripter Patricia Resnick.
Once Were Warriors (1994, Film Movement, R, $40): Set in Auckland, New Zealand among the native Maori, this hard-hitting drama, now on Blu-ray, pivots on a man (Temuera Morrison) whose drunken outbursts are getting harder and harder for his wife Beth (Rena Owen) to manage. Sadly, Beth’s devotion to her husband blinds her to the toll the violence is taking on her kids. Featuring scalding performances from the cast members, particularly Owen, “Once” is about a woman facing the truth about her situation. You’ll never forget it. Extras: featurette.
Legend Of The Lost (1957, Olive, unrated, $25): Released just a year after “The Searchers,” this Saharan desert adventure catches John Wayne at his hard-boiled best. The plot isn’t much but the gorgeous widescreen cinematography by Jack Cardiff (“The Red Shoes”) and the tension between the trio of characters keeps you watching. Wayne stars as a grizzled guide who agrees to help a treasure hunter (Rossano Brazzi) and a prostitute (Sophia Loren) find hidden ruins in the middle of the desert. Filmed on location in Libya and showcasing the lost city of Leptis Magna, “Legend” proves that Wayne and Loren are worth following anywhere. Extras: none.
The Night Of (2016, HBO, unrated, $50): Based on the BBC series “Criminal Justice,” this HBO hit unravels the story of a nerdy Pakistani-American college student named Naz (Riz Ahmed) who awakens to
discover that his one-nightstand (Clifton’s Sofia Black D’Elia) has been knifed to death. The supporting cast is aces: John Turturro as the attorney who signs up to represent Naz; Bill Camp as the detective assigned to the case; and especially the scene-stealing Jeannie Berlin as the lead prosecutor. Achingly realistic, “The Night Of” is nearly as stunning a look at crime and punishment in America as “The Wire” and “The Sopranos.” Unmissable. Extras: none. Mike & Molly: The Sixth and Final Season (2016, Warner, unrated, $25): During the show’s final 13 episodes, the cast members continue to shine, especially Melissa McCarthy and Billy Gardell whose partnership still passes the chemistry test. Fitness devices, heart attacks, stolen wallets and stray dogs are fodder for funny business this season. And the finale, largely set in the hospital where Mike and Molly are hoping to adopt a baby, is a sweet-hearted farewell to one of the TV’s most likeable couples. Extras: gag reel.
Sacha Baron Cohen is Time in Disney’s “Alice Through The Looking Glass.”