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'Hannah Montana: The Movie'

Also: 'Sons of Anarchy: Season One,' 'Last House on the Left,' 'Tyson,' 'Julia'

August 16, 2009|Noel Murray

Hannah Montana

The Movie

Walt Disney, $29.99/$39.99; Blu-ray, $44.99

The Disney Channel phenomenon "Hannah Montana" follows the hectic life of a teen pop star (played by Miley Cyrus) as she strives to lead a normal life incognito. In "Hannah Montana: The Movie," the heroine's celebrity side begins to develop a swelled head, so her dad (played by Billy Ray Cyrus) returns her to their Tennessee farming roots. This story would be just about right for a half-hour kid-com but stretched out to fill a big-budget feature-length musical, "Hannah Montana" feels as pointlessly shiny and busy as Miley Cyrus' music. Still, the DVD and BD should appeal to Cyrus fans with its deleted scenes, music videos and chipper commentary track by director Peter Chelsom.

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Sons of Anarchy

Season One

20th Century Fox, $49.98; Blu-ray, $59.99

Using the term "Shakespearean" to describe a TV drama about a gun-running motorcycle club may sound pretentious, but FX's "Sons of Anarchy" earns the tag. "Sons" is ostensibly Hamlet in leather, with Charlie Hunnam playing a conflicted second-generation biker torn between his wicked stepfather (played by Ron Perlman), his scheming mother (Katey Sagal) and the advice left behind in his late father's journals. Creator Kurt Sutter -- a former writer-producer on "The Shield" -- delivers a show that's well-acted, twisty and often shocking, with a distinctive take on a little-understood subculture. The first-season DVD and BD sets include a too-short featurette and insightful cast and crew commentary on select episodes.

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Last House on the Left (2009)

Universal, $29.98; Blu-ray, $39.98

Like Wes Craven's 1972 horror classic of the same name (and Ingmar Bergman's 1960 revenge thriller "Virgin Spring"), the 2009 remake deals with a middle-class family discovering their latent savagery when escaped criminals show up. But while the Bergman had a spiritual element and the 1972 version had a Manson-era gaminess, this new "House" is slick and silly -- it's just another excuse to foist far-too-well-choreographed scenes of torture and degradation on jaded audiences. The DVD and BD aren't much to write home about either, with the extras being a fairly useless three-minute featurette and nine minutes of justly deleted scenes.

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Tyson

Sony Pictures Classics, $28.96; Blu-ray, $39.95

James Toback's documentary portrait of disgraced heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson combines slickly edited interviews and archival footage to tell the subject's life story. The Tyson DVD and BD come fully loaded, with a Toback commentary and multiple featurettes that let the talkative filmmaker -- whose voice is never heard in the film itself -- have his say.

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All titles available Tuesday.

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