This week, we begin on Long Island:
Director and co-writer Baz Luhrmann stays true to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel yet delivers a film for today’s audiences. Luhrmann and his talented technical team have recreated 1920s New York City and Long Island, with the Gatsby mansion a stunning work of art that showcases Gatsby’s lavish parties filled with the era’s flamboyant fashions.
Wall Street rookie Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) narrates the story of the mysterious Jay Gatsby (Leonardo Di Caprio), his neighbor in West Egg, Long Island. Gatsby once loved Carraway’s cousin Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan), now married to boorish Tom (Joel Edgerton). The director tells Gatsby’s life story while also retaining Fitzgerald’s observations on the destructive quest for the American dream.
Catherine Martin’s costumes and production designs, Simon Duggan’s cinematography and Craig Armstrong’s musical track all aid in creating this fantasy world overflowing with beautiful, fascinating and well-rendered characters.
The DVD comes in all formats and various combo packs. Included are around a dozen featurettes as well as 15 minutes of deleted scenes, an introduction by Luhrmann, and the trailer for the silent 1926 Great Gatsby. The featurettes include nine minutes with Maguire filming an on-set tour, 16 minutes on the Jazz Age, 12 minutes on “The Sounds of Gatsby,” 16 minutes on the 1920s fashions, and shorter segments analyzing specific scenes, such as the meeting between Daisy and Gatsby at the Plaza hotel, the swimming pool scene, and more.
Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s — This slight documentary takes great pleasure in celebrating all things and all people connected to the revered palace of haute couture, the department store Bergdorf Goodman.
Director Matthew Miele valiantly attempts to inject some gravity into his portrait of behind-the-scenes looks at fashion shows, parties, window-dressing, buyers and how they operate, and, of course, the customers. Miele squeezes in interviews, or at least cameos, from such luminaries as Bobbi Brown, Giorgio Armani, Karl Lagerfeld, Marc Jacobs, Christian Louboutin, Isaac Mizrahi, Joan Rivers, Jason Wu and others. William Fichtner narrates.
Rated PG-13, 93 minutes. The DVD includes additional interviews.
And now, something for the youngsters. Scholastic Storybook Treasures releases a pair of animated story collections based on works by noted children’s authors.
Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late — This disc holds four adaptations of books by author and illustrator Mo Willems, with the title story being about a pigeon who wants to stay up past his bedtime. Willems, his wife Cher Willems and Jon Scieszka narrate. The disc includes an interview with the author, a read-along segment and a chocolate chip cookie recipe. Not rated, 31 minutes.
Children Make Terrible Pets … — And More Stories About Family This compilation also holds four tales, with narration supplied by Joanne Woodward, Julia Fein and Lynn Whitfield. Peter Brown wrote the title story about Lucy, a young bear who meets a boy in the woods and wants to take him home as a pet. The disc includes a read-along, and interviews with Brown, illustrator Marla Frazee (All the World) and author Lois Lowry (Crow Call). Not rated, 42 minutes.
Super Buddies Disney’s golden buddies — Rosebud, Buddha, Mudbud, B-Dawg and Budderball — return as the pack discovers magical rings that give them super powers. When it looks like the adorable golden retriever pups may have to rescue a visitor from another planet, they know that to save Earth, they must keep their adventure a secret.
Rated G, 81 minutes. The DVD arrives in all formats and various combo packs.
And, finally, from this week’s TV arrivals:
Elementary: The First Season — Creator Robert Doherty has discovered how to reinvent Sherlock Holmes for current audiences. He has turned the obsessive-compulsive detective (Jonny Lee Miller) into a recovering drug addict who needs a companion, preferably a medical doctor, to watch over him as he recovers.
Lucy Liu plays Dr. Joan Watson, a former surgeon who lands a position as a “sober companion” for Holmes, a situation that forces them to live together. This arrangement also results in a detective show with personality, humor and inventiveness.
In each episode, Holmes faces a challenge from detective Thomas Gregson (Aidan Quinn) in solving a baffling crime, usually a murder. In the process, he shows off his eternally entertaining deductive skills. In this premiere season, he finds a variety of killers, including serial killers and child murderers, and he even investigates a plane crash.
The season’s 24 episodes arrive on six discs. Not rated, more than 17 hours.
The set includes a 10-minute featurette on the Watson character, titled “In Liu of Watson”; a 12-minute “behind-the-scenes” segment on “A Holmes of Their Own”; an 18-minute “making of” featurette, “Holmes Sweet Holmes”; a three-minute set tour with Liu, five minutes on “Pieces of the Puzzle” and about half a dozen other brief segments on series topics.
Grey’s Anatomy: Complete Ninth Season — The physicians, interns, nurses, residents and beleaguered staff at Seattle Grace Mercy West Hospital experience another season of new romances, dangerous intrigues and personal losses.
In the well-cast drama, returning this season are Ellen Pompeo as Meredith Grey, Patrick Dempsey as Derek Shepherd, Chandra Wilson as Miranda Bailey, Kevin McKidd as Owen Hunt and Justin Chambers as Alex Karev. Also with Jesse Williams, Jessica Capshaw and James Pickens Jr. The season sees such dramas as Shepherd pausing from surgery because of his hand injury, Grey excelling as a surgeon, and Arizona and Callie finding new ground in their shaky relationship. The season’s 24 episodes come on six discs.
Rated TV-14-DLS, more than 17 hours.
The set includes an extended final episode, deleted scenes and outtakes, separate spotlight segments on Capshaw’s character Arizona Robbins and on Pickens and more.
The Walking Dead: The Complete Third Season — This initially unheralded zombie drama from AMC has turned into the most watched series on cable. And that should be no surprise because the tightly scripted thriller includes complex characters, intense personal conflicts, finely plotted episodes, rampant action and lots and lots of gore.
Andrew Lincoln returns as default survivor group leader Rick Grimes, a former sheriff’s deputy who now uses his wits to keep his ragtag group united against invading zombies, and, this season, against a more sinister threat in the form of a restricted, albeit heavily armed, community led by a righteous zealot (David Morrissey).
Every episode offers engaging suspense to go along with the constant zombie threats. With Laurie Holden, Dallas Roberts, Michael Rooker, Danai Gurira and Norman Reedus. This season includes 16 episodes on five discs.
Not rated, 688 minutes. The set also contains commentaries, six deleted scenes and about eight featurettes, including an eight-minute “making of” segment. Other featurettes cover various series elements, such as eight minutes on “Heart of a Warrior,” five minutes on the conflict between the Governor and Michonne (Gurira), eight minutes on both the “Evil Eye” and “Guts and Glory,” and more.
Also available Tuesday on DVD: At Any Price, Flat Top, Kon-Tiki.