This week’s new DVD releases cover a wide range of time periods.
• “The Monuments Men,” B: George Clooney’s latest directing effort takes a look at the handful of out-of-shape artisans tasked with saving the great art of Europe stolen by the Nazis during World War II.
The film isn’t a masterpiece, but it’s a fitting tribute to the men who put their lives on the line in the name of culture. The film is based on a true story, but it takes some artistic license. A simple story about looking for art would have been cerebral if not for the heart this production shows.
• “In Secret,” C-minus: Director Charlie Stratton’s screenplay reflects the scandalous elements of Emile Zola’s original work. The message about the often treacherous path taken because of lust plays out in grand moralistic fashion. Unlike a modern screenplay about infidelity, where the consequences are often blunted, Zola’s work embraces the cold and fatalistic view of such improprieties.
It’s just the delivery of the elements that fails.
• “About Last Night,” B: Couple deals with the ups and downs of their relationship. Kevin Hart stars.
This is not so much a remake of the 1986 “About Last Night …” starring Rob Lowe and Demi Moore, but a return to the source material, David Mamet’s “Sexual Perversity in Chicago.”
Hart can be a little manic, but in this case that energy works because Regina Hall matches him beat for beat.
• “3 Days to Kill,” C-minus: Dying hired assassin agrees to one more job. Kevin Costner stars.
Generally, the parts of this film just don’t add up.
• “Pompeii,” C-minus: Slave-turned- invincible gladiator finds himself in a race against time to save his true love.
Director Paul W.S. Anderson fails because his story of the love between Milo (Kit Harington) and Cassia (Emily Browning) has all the explosiveness of a high school volcano science project.
Also new on DVD:
“Call the Midwife: Season Three”: The midwives search for a new location.
“Vampire Academy”: Half human/vampire guardians must protect the Moroi.
“Way of the Wicked”: Thriller starring Christian Slater.
“Mountain Men: Season 2”: Tom Oar, Rich Lewis, Eustace Conway, Marty Meierotto and Charlie Tucker confront menacing elements.
“Nosferatu the Vampyre”: Werner Herzog’s 1979 film is now on Blu-ray.
“Martial Arts Movie Marathon”: The two-disc collection features “Manchu Boxer” (1974) and “The Association” (1975).
“L.A. Law: The Complete Second Season”: Features 20 episodes in a five-DVD set.
“Garage Sale Mystery”: A woman who goes to garage sales finds a link to a friend’s murder.
“Chased by Dinosaurs”: Triple feature from creators of “Walking with Dinosaurs.”
“The Right Kind of Wrong”: A failed writer becomes famous through a blog called “Why You Suck.”
“Grand Piano”: Pianist must play a concert perfectly or die.
“Duck Dynasty: The Duck Days of Summer”: Includes a trip by the Robertson family to Hawaii.
“Terry Fator: Live In Concert”: Performance by the “America’s Got Talent” winner in Las Vegas.
“McCanick”: Narcotics detective hunts for a young criminal who knows a damaging truth about the cop’s past.
“Waking the Dead”: Detective Superintendent Peter Boyd (Trevor Eve) and his team tackle more cold cases.
“Sophia Grace & Rosie’s Royal Adventure”: The girls are sent to Switzelvania by “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” as special correspondents to cover the coronation of a new queen.
“Amish Mafia: Season One”: Introduces viewers to the Amish Mafia.
“The Moneychangers”: TV movie based on the book by Arthur Hailey. Christopher Plummer stars.
“The Revengers”: William Holden plays a Civil War veteran who seeks revenge for the death of his family.
“Mischief Night”: A young woman is stalked the night before Halloween.
“The First World War: The Complete Series”: Ten-part series based on the book by Hew Strachan.
“Happy Days: The Fifth Season”: Includes the episode that created the phrase “jumped the shark.”