This week’s new DVD releases offer everything from historic battles to dinosaurs.
• “For Greater Glory,” Grade B-minus: Andy Garcia stars in this story of a Mexican war over religious freedom.
Director Dean Wright faced a major hurdle in putting together his epic feature. It wasn’t enough that he had to create interesting characters to carry moviegoers through the story of Mexico’s Cristero War of the 1920s. He also realized many moviegoers will have no knowledge of this conflict.
Wright had to provide enough explanation for the film to be understood, but not so much that he bored those already aware of this dark period. In general, he succeeds. Wright uses a structure that looks at three very different characters linked by a deep need to right government wrongs.
• “Snow White and the Huntsman,” Grade B-minus: Kristen Stewart and Chris Hemsworth star in this dark version of the classic fairy tale. The latest grim look at a Grimm story features the ever-dour Stewart and the charismatic Hemsworth.
Just like in the fairy tale of yore, it’s the Wicked Queen (Charlize Theron) who steals the show. Director Rupert Sanders loads this very dark version with all the traditional elements: a talking mirror that strokes egos like a Hollywood agent; a group of vertically challenged heroes; the powerful effects of a true love’s kiss; and the battle between the Wicked Queen and Snow White.
• “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” Grade C-minus: Four women deal with how their lives will change because of motherhood. Cameron Diaz stars.
Their stories meander and occasionally bump into one another. Director Kirk Jones is like a one-armed juggler. He can’t seem to figure out how to get a scene started, then he lets everything come to a crashing end. He never finds the kind of rhythm necessary to keep so many story lines going.
• “Terra Nova: The Complete Series,” Grade B-minus: Much of what little buzz there was for the 2011-’12 TV season had to do with this series, the story of a group of pioneers who escape a dying Earth by going back in time 85 million years. Along with fresh air and plenty of open spaces, the travelers also have to deal with dinosaurs.
Despite Steven Spielberg’s connection, the series never found solid footing and became extinct after one season.
Also new on DVD:
“30 Rock: Season 6”: Tina Fey comedy.
“Lewis Black: In God We Rust”: More rants from Black.
“Spartacus: Vengeance – The Complete Second Season”: Liam McIntyre stars.
“Kojak: Season Five”: Telly Savalas plays the cool TV detective.
“Private Practice: The Complete Fifth Season”: Medical drama starring Kate Walsh.
“Up All Night: Season One”: Being parents is a test of wills.
“Barbie: The Princess & The Popstar”: A princess would rather sing and dance than perform royal duties.
“Castle: The Complete Fourth Season”: Nathan Fillion plays the mystery-solving writer.
“Blue Bloods: The Second Season”: TV drama about a New York police family.
“6 Bullets”: A mercenary is in a battle where every bullet counts.
“The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Fifth Season”: Comedy about four nerd buddies.
“Aaahh!!! Real Monsters: Season 3”: Includes 13 episodes of the animated series.
“Vile”: A group of strangers see how far they will go to survive.
“October Baby”: A young woman searches for her birth parents.
“Strawberry Shortcake Jammin’ With Cherry Jam”: Strawberry and her friends meet Cherry Jam.
“The Loved Ones”: Teen is only person at a demented prom.
“Absolutely Fabulous: 20th Anniversary Specials”: Three specials starring Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley.
“Beyond The Black Rainbow”: Woman with unique abilities must escape from a medical facility.
“Girl in Progress”: Mother-daughter comedy.
“John Leguizamo: Tales from a Ghetto Klown”: Profile of John Leguizamo.
“Where Do We Go Now?”: Look at differences between Christians and Muslims living in a small village.