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Lawrence’s effort adds heft to ‘Playbook’

Fri., May 3, 2013, midnight

Relationships are fodder for this week’s new DVD releases.

“Silver Linings Playbook,” Grade B: A former high school teacher (Bradley Cooper) gets help getting his life in order from a mysterious woman (Jennifer Lawrence).

The film from writer/director David O. Russell seems a little staged in the early moments as Cooper’s character moves back home after a stint in a mental institution. Cooper’s trying to play more roles that challenge him, but he’s a little over his head when his character must deal with his worried mother and superstitious father.

“Silver Linings Playbook” steps up once Lawrence joins the mix. It’s a brilliant performance. Few actresses can express as much emotion as Lawrence can with one look. Her work was good enough to earn her an Oscar.

“The Guilt Trip,” Grade B: A mother and son learn a lot about each other during a trip across the country. This is basically a two-person play with Barbra Streisand as the star and Seth Rogen as a supporting player.

The majority of their fun interaction takes place within the tiny confines of their car, which could have been a roadblock since it severely limits physical humor. Even in the confined space, the pair manage to make their comedy points.

The script by Dan Fogelman gives Streisand all of the best lines and even some broad comedy to play. Streisand seems to have found an acting Fountain of Youth as she embraces every moment with great energy and pizzazz.

“Strictly Ballroom,” Grade B-plus: It’s not surprising with all of the dance competitions on television that this 1992 film is being released on Blu-ray. Director Baz Luhrmann (“Moulin Rouge”) is in perfect step with this story of a maverick dancer who takes a major risk with a new dance partner.

Paul Mercurio is as entertaining off the dance floor as he is when he’s dancing.

Also new on DVD:

“Broken City”: Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe and Catherine Zeta-Jones star in the story of an ex-cop trailing the wife of New York City’s mayor.

“My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic: Princess Twilight Sparkle”: Includes five episodes of the TV series.

“Night of the Living Dead: Resurrection”: The film – based on the original “Night of the Living Dead” – follows a family trying to escape the dead in West Wales.

“The Powerbroker: Whitney Young’s Fight for Civil Rights”: A look at the executive director of the National Urban League.

“The Details”: Raccoons get involved with couple on the brink. Tobey Maguire stars.

“CHiPs: The Complete First Season”: TV series about two California Highway Patrol officers.

“Wicked”: Teens deal with the legend of an immortal witch.

“The Syndicate: Series 1”: Problems occur when five supermarket employees win the lottery.

“Shelter Me”: Documentary on the training of abandoned animals to help people with a variety of needs.

“Dangerous Edge: A Life of Graham Greene”: Derek Jacobi narrates this look at the British author.

“The Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries: Complete Collection”: Ian Carmichael stars in five adaptations of Dorothy L. Sayers’ crime thrillers.

“Tom and Jerry Kids Show The Complete Season 1”: Includes 13 episodes on a two-disc set.

“Not Fade Away”: Coming-of-age story of three friends growing up in the New Jersey suburbs during the ’60s.

“Friends: The Complete First Season”: Seasons one and two are available on Blu-ray.

“History of the Eagles”: Documentary on the rock band.

“The Scarlet Pimpernel”: Anthony Andrews stars in this adaptation of the Baroness Emma Orczy novels.

“NOVA: Earth from Space”: A look at Earth from satellites.

“Vampire Lovers”: A female vampire’s hunted.

“Kaijudo: Rise of the Duel Masters”: Three young recruits use Kaijudo to fight an evil force.


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