This week, we begin in a secret world:
The Secret World
Rated G, 95 minutes.
Available Tuesday in all DVD formats and combo packs.
Walt Disney Studios teams with Hayao Miyazaki’s renowned Studio Ghibli to render a charming tale based on The Borrowers, Mary Norton’s series of children’s novels. Little people live with us and around us, unseen but forever there. They cleverly “borrow” from us to complement their world, out of view, hidden between walls.
An excellent voice cast brings to life these whimsical creations, including Bridgit Mendler as Arietty, Will Arnett as Pod, Amy Poehler as Homily, and Carol Burnett as Hara.
Extras: music videos of Cecile Corbel singing “Arietty’s Song,” and Mendler singing “Summertime,” which also has its own “making of” featurette. Plus, a storyboard, the Japanese trailers and TV commercials and more.
This Means War (**1/2) Two friends, FDR (Chris Pine) and Tuck (Tom Hardy), work for the CIA as deadly operatives. They simultaneously meet and begin dating a local businesswoman, who seems to be unattached and lonely even though she looks like Reese Witherspoon. She is unaware the men know each other. And she remains uninformed as they both work to sabotage the other’s relationship.
Meanwhile, a subplot plays out about the two tracking an international terrorist (Til Schweiger). This distraction enables the duo to engage in action-movie theatrics supplied by director McG, who obviously likes loud noises, bright lights and shiny objects.
The innocuous bromantic-comedy supplies a few laughs while not exactly challenging the brain cells. With Chelsea Handler and Rosemary Harris.
Rated PG-13, 97 minutes. Available Tuesday in all digital formats, combo packs and streaming.
Extras: Commentaries; two alternate endings and six deleted scenes. The Blu-ray disc holds these plus additional deleted scenes, a gag reel and more.
Worried About the Boy (**1/2) Julian Jarrold directed this biopic about George O’Dowd and his climb to stardom to become Boy George. The entertaining opus follows George (Douglas Booth) as he leaves his London home and gradually sings and performs his way into a new 1980s world of sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll.
Not rated, 91 minutes. Available Tuesday on DVD and streaming.
Extras: DVD includes 10 minutes of behind-the-scenes footage.
Beyond (**1/2) In this routine mystery-thriller, gnarly Jon Voight stars as a gnarly detective in Anchorage, Alaska, out to solve “one last case.” A girl is kidnapped, and the detective works with her parents (Teri Polo and Brett Baker) to find her.
Against his will, and his better judgment, the detective listens to the mother when she brings in a radio psychic (Julian Morris). Eventually, it seems that the skeptical detective might also share some of these paranormal traits. The film achieves some creepy atmospherics but loses credibility when dealing with supernatural voodoo to solve a crime.
Rated PG-13, 90 minutes. Available Tuesday on DVD and Blu-Ray.
Two films of interest arrive this week from Warner Archives:
A Millionaire for Christy (***1/2) By 1951, screwball comedy had just about run its course. But in A Millionaire for Christy, director George Marshall delivered one last, fast-paced comedy. A radio personality (Fred MacMurray) about to wed a woman (Kay Buckley) obviously wrong for him is informed he has unexpectedly become heir to a fortune. He believes the messenger (Eleanor Parker) sent to inform him is crazy, while she decides it might be best if she married him instead.
Marshall takes the comically feuding pair all over Southern California, while displaying a sense of desperation tinged with romance.
91 minutes. Available Monday on DVD and on demand from Warner Archives.
Easy Living (***) Even today, few movies have tackled the subject of 1949’s Easy Living. Victor Mature stars as Pete Wilson, a star quarterback on a fictional professional football team in Los Angeles.
After a few blackouts, he learns he has a heart condition that could kill him if he continues playing. But his crass, selfish wife (Lizabeth Scott) has grown accustomed to larger paychecks, while he doesn’t seem to mind the perks and special attention.
The film examines his plight and how an athlete, or anyone, must adjust to a dramatic change of circumstances. It also presents a cursory look at how professional sports have evolved into much larger enterprises.
Lloyd Nolan plays the coach, and Lucille Ball is a secretary in the front office with eyes for poor, maltreated Pete. Directed by usual horror maven Jacques Tourneur.
77 minutes. Available Monday on DVD and VHS.
Carol Channing: Larger Than Life (***) Director Dori Berinstein gives an in-depth look at this now 90-year-old entertainment legend. Mixing performance footage, various interviews and film clips, Berinstein provides a warm portrait of the star, who in 2003 performed a one-woman show, The First Eighty Years Are the Hardest. Interview subjects include Loni Anderson, Bruce Vilanch, Lily Tomlin, Barbara Walters, Debbie Reynolds, Phyllis Diller and many others.
Rated PG, 89 minutes. Available Tuesday on DVD.
And, finally, from this week’s TV arrivals:
•Our week’s top TV-Series-to-DVD is this clever BBC series starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the perfect embodiment of a 21st-century Sherlock Holmes — arrogant, fast-talking and extremely knowledgeable.
The season’s three episodes, on two discs, are full-length movies, well-plotted dramas that accentuate the series’ imaginative use of Holmes’ lightning reasoning and his uncanny but reasonable deductions. These entries take three Arthur Conan Doyle stories and update them with delicious twists, such as “The Hounds of Baskerville.”
Martin Freeman plays the second half of the ambiguous relationship, Dr. Watson, who writes a blog on Sherlock’s exploits. But the most important element of these new translations is that they are great fun.
Not rated, 266 minutes. The set also includes commentaries and a 19-minute “making of” featurette with extensive interviews.
Rizzoli & Isles: The Complete Second Season The second season of this engaging police procedural drama improved on the first, gaining in the ratings and developing a devoted following. Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander star as, respectively, Boston detective Jane Rizzoli — slovenly and cynical — and medical examiner Maura Isles — fashionable, nerdy and perpetually cheerful.
In addition to solving murders every week, this season Rizzoli has her annoying mother (Lorraine Bracco) working in the same building, while Isles receives a visit from her mother (Jacqueline Bisset) as well as a more furtive visit from her mobster father (John Doman).
The season’s 15 episodes come on three discs. Not rated, 629 minutes.
Extras: Brief deleted scenes, a six-minute gag reel, and 52 minutes total of four “behind-the-scenes” featurettes.
Also available Tuesday on DVD: Perfect Sense, Red Tails, Woman in Black.