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New on DVD: 'Secretariat,'

Also recently released: "Client 9," "Nowhere Boy" and "Red"

January 23, 2011|By Noel Murray, Special to the Los Angeles Times
  • Diane Lane in the movie "Secretariat."
Diane Lane in the movie "Secretariat." (John Bramley / Disney Enterprises )

Secretariat

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

Galloping in the hoofprints of the horse-racing hit "Seabiscuit," the sappier "Secretariat" tells the story of the 1973 Triple Crown winner, with Diane Lane playing the scrappy housewife who takes charge of her ailing father's Virginia horse farm and beats the odds to raise a champion. The underdog-makes-good arc is stirring, but screenwriter Mike Rich and director Randall Wallace change too many historical details, while giving the early '70s a burnished look more like a movie set in the '40s. The story is still effective; it just feels phony. The DVD and Blu-ray add a Wallace commentary, deleted scenes and interviews with some of the real people involved in the story.

Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer

Magnolia, $26.98; Blu-ray, $29.98

Documentarian Alex Gibney ties the scandalous downfall of former New York attorney general and governor Eliot Spitzer to the corruption on Wall Street in the dense, fascinating "Client 9." Gibney buys a little too much into the legend of Spitzer as a heroic enemy of robber barons, tripped up by powerful villains. But "Client 9" is rich with detail about the deceptive stock market practices Spitzer tried to squelch, all while living a secret life as a patron of upscale prostitutes. The result is a remarkable study of sliding-scale morality. The DVD and Blu-ray digs even deeper, via a Gibney commentary track and deleted footage.

Nowhere Boy

Sony/Weinstein, $28.95; Blu-ray, $30.95

John Lennon's turbulent teenage years and his discovery of rock 'n' roll are the subject of "Nowhere Boy," a movie that tracks how the more rebellious strains of popular culture played in Liverpool in the '50s. Aaron Johnson gives a winning performance as a rock star in training, while director Sam Taylor-Wood and writer Matt Greenhalgh adroitly illustrate how the future Beatle was torn between the decency and nurturing of the aunt who raised him and the freedom and flightiness of his mother. Even if "Nowhere Boy" weren't about one of the most famous musicians of all time, it would still be a treat. The DVD and Blu-ray adds deleted scenes and two brief featurettes.

Red

Summit, $28.99; Blu-ray, $30.49/$34.99

The recent trend of action movies featuring teams of aging heroes rolls on with "Red," an over-the-top semi-satire based on a comic book series about "retired, extremely dangerous" black-ops agents. Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich and Helen Mirren play licensed killers who get called back into action when a rogue faction of the government seems to be targeting them for execution. The action in "Red" is ridiculously over-the-top, with a high explosion- and body-count, but while the sarcastic tone is intentional, it lacks the cool snap of the original comics on which the movie is based. The DVD and Blu-ray, though, are cool, with a commentary track by an actual CIA field officer joining deleted scenes and featurettes.

And...

"Enter the Void" (MPI, $24.98; Blu-ray, $29.98); "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" (Music Box, $29.95; Blu-ray, $34.95); "Open Season 3" (Sony, $28.95; Blu-ray, $38.96); "Red Hill" (Sony, $24.96; Blu-ray, $30.95); "Saw 3D: The Final Chapter" (Lionsgate, $29.95; Blu-ray, $39.99/$49.99).

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