May 30, 2014 in Features

DVDs: ‘Covert Affairs’ works on multiple levels

Rick Bentley McClatchy-Tribune
 

Gabriella Wilde in a scene from “Endless Love.”
(Full-size photo)

This week’s new DVD releases include spies, lies and dragons that fly.

• “Covert Affairs: Season 4,” B: This season of the cable channel spy series deals with the battle CIA agents Auggie Anderson (Christopher Gorham) and Annie Walker (Piper Perabo) wage with the shifty Henry Wilcox (Gregory Itzin).

Along with the generally well-written stories and TV’s top spy couple, this season includes: Annie faking her death and going rogue to track Wilcox; the arrest of their boss (Peter Gallagher) and the pregnancy of their other boss (Kari Matchett); a new leader (Hill Harper) who mistrusts and then trusts the pair; and Auggie’s cheating on Annie with the wife (Michelle Ryan) he thought was dead.

It all goes together to make a first-rate series.

• “Endless Love,” D-minus: Alex Pettyfer stars in the remake of the 1981 Brooke Shields film. The only thing the abysmal “Endless Love” had going for it when it was released in 1981 was the Oscar-nominated song of the same name performed by Lionel Ritchie and Diana Ross. The remake doesn’t even have the song. The new “Endless Love” is a sanitized version of the original that clings to the worst elements.

• “How to Train Your Dragon,” A-minus: An 11-year-old Viking must train a dragon in this animated adventure.

Satisfying both kids and adults isn’t easy, but “How to Train Your Dragon” hits the mark dead-on with the right mix of silly and serious. Toss in dazzling computer-generated animation and a perfect score by composer John Powell and this is the best work from DreamWorks animation since “Shrek” in 2001. The sequel opens in June.

The special edition Blu-ray combo pack includes “The Making of How to Train Your Dragon: Finding the Story” and “Ultimate Book of Dragons.”

• “The Bob Newhart Show: The Complete Series,” A: The show remains one of the smartest TV comedies of all time. It was a gamble setting the show in a psychologist’s office, but the series worked because of the dry and witty brand of comedy Newhart brought to the title role.

The supporting cast of Suzanne Pleshette, Bill Daily, Peter Bonerz, Marcia Wallace and Jack Riley added layers of laughs to the 142 episodes that are in the boxed set.

Bonus material includes cast interviews and the original unaired pilot.

Also out on DVD:

“Stalingrad”: Drama set during one of the most important battles of World War II.

“Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, Series 2”: Series based on the detective novels by Kerry Greenwood.

“Ride for Lance”: Four Navy SEAL bikers share their own stories of pride and heartbreak.

“Suits: Season 3”: USA Network legal drama.

“Jack Irish, Set 2”: Guy Pearce returns as the brooding antihero.

“Nature: Touching the Wild”: Naturalist Joe Hutto offers his close look at the wild kingdom.

“Saving Grace B. Jones”: Couple fights for the release of a family member from an asylum.

“Gambit”: Art curator and rodeo queen pair up to con a wealthy collector.

“Made in Cartagena: Parte 2”: Powerful band of thieves are dedicated to spectacular robberies.

“Hitler and the Nazis”: A look at Adolf Hitler’s brutal rise to power.

“Red Widow: Season 1”: Woman enters a dark world after the death of her husband.

“House in the Alley”: A couple slowly lose their sanity after the death of their son.

“Tapped Out”: Karate prodigy trains so that he can get revenge.

“Craft in America: Industry”: Series explores America’s creative spirit through the language and traditions of the handmade object.

“Cimarron Strip: The Complete Series”: Includes 23 episodes of the TV Western.

“The Universe: Season 7 – Ancient Mysteries Solved”: A look at mysteries and hidden secrets in the universe.

“Dora and Boots – Best Friends Forever”: The duo explore a magical rainforest amusement park.

“Coming Back with Wes Moore”: Wes Moore searches for answers to some of the most difficult questions related to returning from war.

“Sleepaway Camp”: The 1983 horror film is now on Blu-ray.

“An Adventure in Space and Time”: Travel back in time to witness the creation of Doctor Who at the BBC.

“Eastern Bandits”: Anti-Japanese resistance fighter during World War II infiltrates a gang of bandits.

“Independence Daysaster”: Small town firefighter goes up against some very evil space invaders.


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