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New on DVD: 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 1' and more

'Country Strong,' 'Marwencol' and 'White Material' also are among titles on DVD and Blu-ray.

April 10, 2011|By Noel Murray, Special to the Los Angeles Times
  • Ralph Fiennes as Lord Voldemort in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows -- Part 1."
Ralph Fiennes as Lord Voldemort in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows… (Warner Bros. Pictures )

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 1

Warner, $28.98; Blu-ray, $29.98

The epic "Harry Potter" saga begins to wind down with "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 1," which sees the boy wizard and his friends battling against their sworn enemies both in magical realms and in the Muggle world. Aside from a too-long sequence where the good guys wander in the woods, this is an action-packed film with strong undercurrents of emotion, making good use of all the hours that fans have invested in the series. Whether those fans will want to buy half a movie instead of waiting until the whole package is available is another matter, but those who do pick up the "Deathly Hallows" Blu-ray will be treated to featurettes and a sneak peek at Part 2 (due in July). The DVD contains only additional scenes.

Country Strong

Sony, $28.95; Blu-ray, $34.95

It ain't exactly "Nashville" (or even "Crazy Heart") but the twangy showbiz soap "Country Strong" is amusingly ridiculous. Garrett Hedlund and Leighton Meester play up-and-coming country singers with contrasting personalities and musical tastes — he's trad, she's pop — while Tim McGraw plays the big-time manager who offers the kids a spot on a tour headlined by his wife, an alcoholic megastar played by Gwyneth Paltrow. Writer-director Shana Feste has a warped idea of how the music business works, and the movie aims so often for pathos that the misery becomes comic. But the music's catchy, the actors give their all and the end product is a fun kind of bad. The DVD and Blu-ray don't offer much, beyond deleted scenes, music videos and featurettes.

Marwencol

Cinema Guild, $29.95; Blu-ray, $34.95

Jeff Malmberg's often astonishing documentary "Marwencol" tells the story of troubled artist Mark Hogancamp, who suffered a severe beating, lost a good chunk of his memory and subsequently started building a model of a tiny Belgian town in his backyard, populated by dolls who resemble his friends and neighbors. Hogancamp's utopian World War II fantasies are moving, as is his complicated life story, and though Malmberg tries to force more mystery into this documentary than necessary, his subject remains fascinating throughout. The DVD and Blu-ray add deleted scenes and featurettes, including an update on Hogancamp.

White Material

Criterion, $29.95; Blu-ray, $39.95

French director Claire Denis makes another of her singularly impressionistic art films with "White Material," which stars Isabelle Huppert as a well-to-do coffee farmer whose business falls apart when the African country she lives in descends into civil war. Denis doesn't try to tell a conventional war story here, but rather holds on to Huppert as her character tries to pretend that nothing has changed on her plantation, and that the gun-toting rebels outside her gates are just shirking their duties. "White Material" is an explication of the attitudes behind colonialism, given human form by the always remarkable Huppert. Criterion's DVD and Blu-ray are typically well stocked, with lengthy interviews, a deleted scene and a documentary by Denis about screening the film in Cameroon.

And…

"Behind the Burly Q" (First Run, $27.95); "Car 54, Where Are You?: The Complete First Season" (Shanachie, $39.98); "Cars" (Walt Disney Blu-ray, $39.99); "Heartless" (MPI, $24.98); "H.R. Pufnstuf: The Complete Series" (Vivendi, $24.99); "The Incredibles" (Walt Disney Blu-ray, $45.99); "The LXD: Seasons One & Two" (Paramount, $19.99); "The Paranoids" (Oscilloscope, $29.99); "Plastic Planet" (First Run, $27.95); "Tracy & Hepburn: The Definitive Collection" (Warner, $59.98)

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