DVD reviews: The Bogie man

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Marie (Berenice Bejo), a woman in the process of finalizing her divorce, is involved with a new man, Samir (Tahar Rahim), in “The Past.”
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New collection assembles Humphrey’s best on Blu-ray

This week, we begin with Bogie:

The Best of Bogart Collection

The Maltese Falcon, Casablanca, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre and The African Queen

Available Tuesday on Blu-ray.

Voted in 2000 by the American Film Institute as the greatest movie star of the 20th century, Humphrey Bogart now receives royal treatment from Warner Home Video with this Blu-ray collection. We have four of his best-known films — four of the greatest films of all time.

DVD extras: The newly re-mastered features now look like new, glossy and pristine on four discs, including new and existing supplements, and all except The African Queen offer both commentary and audio-only bonuses. The collection also holds a set of individual postcards of each film.

With Casablanca: two commentaries, including one by the late Roger Ebert; a featurette with Lauren Bacall discussing Bogart; seven minutes of deleted scenes and outtakes; a Bugs Bunny spoof cartoon, “Carrotblanca”; a 37-minute featurette on director Michael Curtiz; outtakes from the film’s scoring sessions, and much more.

With The Maltese Falcon: a general featurette on the film’s background; a hilarious 13-minute blooper reel from Warners’ films; makeup tests; a featurette with trailers of Bogart’s films, and more.

With The Treasure of Sierra Madre: a featurette on “The True Story of the Sierra Madre”; a two-hour documentary on director John Huston; a “Warner Night at the Movies” short; another short; an introduction from Leonard Maltin; two cartoons and more.

*

Frozen (4 stars) This recent Oscar-winning Best Animated Feature marks a return to vintage Disney, with its bright colors, jaunty songs (from Oscar-winning team Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez), rapid pace, good humor, and a lovable sidekick who isn’t a cuddly animal but a snowman (voiced by Josh Gad).

Jennifer Lee co-directed and wrote the screenplay, inspired by a Hans Christian Andersen story, about a recently crowned queen, Elsa (Idina Menzel), who must flee her kingdom because of her unintended power to turn everything into ice. Fortunately, her younger sister, spunky Anna (Kristen Bell), joins forces with Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) to bring her back and save the country.

Rated PG, 102 minutes.

DVD extras: Available in Frozen combo packs and various formats and downloads, a three-minute “making of” featurette; the eight-minute featurette “D’Frosted,” which explores the Hans Christian Andersen influence; four deleted scenes; the animated short “Get a Horse”; four music videos, and more.

*

The Past (4 stars) Asghar Farhadi follows his Oscar-winning A Separation with this penetrating look at a faltering relationship. The French-language film shows his rare psychological insight on human interaction. Here, he focuses on Marie (Berenice Bejo), who greets Ahmad (Ali Mosaffa) when he returns from Iran after several years to finalize their divorce.

They seem cordial enough as Ahmad stays in her house during the proceedings, much to the dismay of her current love, Samir (Tahar Rahim), whose wife lies in a coma in a hospital.

During the remainder of Ahmad’s visit, old and new complications are analyzed and thrashed out, many of them surprising, yet all emotional. All of the confrontations, arguments, and heartfelt discussions seem more authentic than, say, a screaming family from Osage County. Farhadi knows how to tell a story while concentrating on the fragile balance every relationship must address.

Rated PG-13, 130 minutes.

DVD extras: director’s commentary, a 27-minute “making of” featurette, and the Directors Guild of America’s 38-minute Q&A with Farhadi on stage in Los Angeles.

*

Delivery Man (2.5 stars) Ken Scott, writer-director of the 2011 French-Canadian comedy-drama Starbuck, remakes his own film with Vince Vaughn playing the title character.

He is David Wozniak, a disheveled, irresponsible meat-delivery man. One day, he learns he has fathered more than 500 children because 20 years earlier, he made many anonymous donations to a sperm bank.

Now, 142 of the offspring are bringing a lawsuit against their anonymous “father” to have his identity revealed. Chris Pratt plays Brett, Wozniak’s best friend and lawyer, a married man with children who warns against both. Cobie Smulders plays Emma, Wozniak’s pregnant girlfriend. It’s an entertaining if somewhat chaotic film with much to say about the importance of family.

Rated PG-13, 103 minutes.

DVD extras: the 16-minute featurette “Building Family,” which examines how the movie’s extended family was assembled; four minutes of on-set Vaughn improvisation; a five-minute blooper reel; a deleted scene, and more.

*

Show Boat (3 stars) This 1936 production of Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II’s celebrated and groundbreaking 1927 Broadway musical makes its debut on disc through the Warner Archive Collection.

Based on Edna Ferber’s hoary novel, Show Boat was also filmed in 1929 in a partial-sound version, and in the better-known 1951 edition. This release featured four of the original Broadway performers, with screenplay from Hammerstein and direction from James Whale (Frankenstein).

The story covers the years 1887 to 1927, revolving around a family of showboat performers whose lives go through various triumphs and failures. Irene Dunn plays Magnolia, and Allan Jones her love and future husband Gaylord Ravenal.

The music score includes such timeless nuggets as “Make Believe,” “Can’t Help Loving That Man,” “Bill” (with lyrics from the great one, P.G. Wodehouse), and the legendary Paul Robeson belts out his signature “Old Man River.” With Hattie McDaniel, Eddie Anderson and, in her last film, Helen Morgan.

Not rated, 113 minutes.

*

And, finally, from this week’s TV arrivals:

Monsters: The Complete Series All 72 episodes of this popular syndicated horror anthology arrive on nine discs. The series, which ran from 1988 to 1990, featured stories from the past and present, all with their own unique freak.

Noted artist Dick Smith created the monsters that would invariably arrive with every episode, usually accompanied by a recognizable yet frightened actor, including Linda Blair, David Spade, Laraine Newman, Meat Loaf, Rob Morrow, Steve Buscemi, Gina Gershon, Pam Grier, Deborah Harry, Jerry Stiller and many others.

Not rated, approximately 25 hours-plus.

*

The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts: Fully Roasted Dean Martin and his rotating team of pranksters first began “roasting” willing participants in the last year of his self-titled variety show. This eventually became the celebrated Dean Martin Roasts, hilarious events in which celebrities gladly participated.

This six-disc collection of 17 roasts sees such predictable roastees as George Burns, Gabe Kaplan, Redd Foxx and Hugh Hefner, but also some surprising targets such as Ronald Reagan, Muhammad Ali, Barry Goldwater, Ralph Nader and Bette Davis.

The distinguished roster of roasters included comedy figures such as Phyllis Diller, Milton Berle, Dom DeLuise, Billy Crystal and Bob Newhart, but also some unexpected names, such as Orson Welles, Henry Fonda, Wilt Chamberlain, Jimmy Stewart, Howard Cosell and others.

Not rated, approximately 16 1/2 hours.

DVD extras: bonus comedy sketches, interviews with seven participants, and three featurettes on the female participants, the political performers and the odd face-off between Muhammad Ali and Ruth Buzzi.

*

Also available Tuesday on DVD: The Conspiracy, Let the Fire Burn, Viola and The Wolf of Wall Street.


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