Of the new feature films hitting DVD this week, your best bet comes from television.
• “CSI: NY: Ninth Season,” B: The final season of the CBS procedural cop show includes 17 episodes, plus behind-the-scenes features and cast interviews.
Story lines in the final season feature a serial killer who bases his victims on the board game “Clue.” It was these kinds of stories that allowed the series to go out in style, with stars Gary Sinise, Sela Ward, Carmine Giovinazzo and Eddie Cahill solving interesting crimes to the bitter end.
The show was the darkest of the three “CSI” series, which made it stand out. It also worth a look to see Sinise, who provided a strong acting core for the series.
• “The Call,” D: A 911 operator (Halle Berry) takes a call from a teen who has just been abducted.
If the cell service for “The Call” had run out after 60 minutes, the new film from director Brad Anderson would have been an edge-of-your seat thriller about the operator’s valiant efforts to save a kidnapped young girl. Sadly, it continues, and the last third of the movie is where it turns into a complete wrong number.
It’s as if script writers Richard D’Ovidio, Nicole D’Ovidio and Jon Bokenkamp became completely disconnected with reality as they tried to come up with an ending.
• “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone,” C-minus: Comedy – like magic – has to be performed quickly, cleanly and with enough intelligence that it makes the improbable entertaining. Fail to do this, and the comedic illusions lead to disillusions.
This film fails on all three counts. There are a few funny moments in this story of a Las Vegas magician (Steve Carell) who loses his magical touch, but the pacing is too slow, the performances too uneven and the writing too juvenile to make this a bewitching comedy.
Don Scardino, a veteran TV director, should have kept his actors in line and not let their flights of fancy become such big distractions. He also has trouble getting the movie started: The introduction of the movie’s central magic buddies takes forever. Then, the transformation of Wonderstone from self-absorbed jerk to caring person comes so quickly that it feels painfully forced.
Buried under all the comedy misdirection and emotional sleight of hand is the potential for a good movie. It’s a potential that’s never fulfilled.
Also new on DVD:
“Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids: The Complete Series”: The 15-DVD box set includes all 110 episodes, a 16-page book and the documentary “Hey, Hey, Hey … It’s The Story Of Fat Albert.”
“No”: Story of the campaign behind the 1988 Chilean elections. Gael Garcma Bernal stars.
“Jack Taylor”: Series based on the crime fiction by Ken Bruen and filmed on location against the rugged backdrop of western Ireland.
“A Place at the Table”: A look at how hunger affects the nation.
“The Garfield Show: Pizza Dreams”: The fat cat looks for a change in his diet.
“Honest”: British dramedy about the Carter family after their patriarch is sentenced to four years in jail.
“The North Face”: Director Phillip Stvlzl’s look at the Swiss Alps’ Eiger Mountain, also known as the “murder wall.”
“Beauty and the Least”: A slacker and a girl with a shocking past (Mischa Barton) find love and redemption.
“Brooklyn Castle”: Documentary marks the directorial debut of Katie Dellamaggiore.
“MADtv: Season Three”: Late-night sketch comedy show starring Nicole Sullivan and Debra Wilson.
“Todd & The Book of Pure Evil”: The second season of the series provides equal parts camp and gore.
“NOVA: Australia’s First 4 Billion Years”: Of all the continents, none preserves the saga of our planet like Australia.
“Venus and Vegas”: Three Las Vegas buddies plan to rob a warehouse full of counterfeit casino chips.
“New Tricks, Season 9”: The Unsolved Crime and Open Case Squad continues its work.
“Lords of Darkness”: Based on the true story of Sawney Bean and his family of cannibalistic serial killers.
“The Rambler”: A man tries to start a new life after getting out of prison.
“Crawl Space”: Elite team must save scientists when facility is attacked.
“As Luck Would Have It”: A man’s (Jose Mota) effort to find work leads him into a media frenzy.
“Kind Hearted Woman”: David Sutherland’s look at the life of an Oglala Sioux woman.