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New this week: 'The Walking Dead Season One'

Other DVD releases include 'Four Lions,' 'Morning Glory' and 'The Next Three Days.'

March 06, 2011|By Noel Murray, Special to the Los Angeles Times
  • A zombie from the series "The Walking Dead."
A zombie from the series "The Walking Dead." (AMC, AMC )

The Walking Dead: Season One

AMC/Anchor Bay, $39.98; Blu-ray, $49.99

Writer-director-producer Frank Darabont's adaptation of Robert Kirkman's zombie comic "The Walking Dead" debuted to high ratings and overwhelming praise, with critics hailing both the horrifying realism of the show's post-apocalyptic world and the sympathy generated by the humans struggling to navigate it. Subsequent episodes weren't as well-liked, and at the end of the abbreviated six-episode first season, Darabont made big changes in his writing staff. Still, Kirkman's comic remains a natural for serialized TV drama, and the promise of the pilot never completely disappears. Consider this DVD and Blu-ray a good start for what could be a very good second season; the discs' deleted scenes and featurettes should also help newcomers get acclimated.

Four Lions

Magnolia, $26.98; Blu-ray, $29.98

British comedy favorite Chris Morris makes his feature directorial debut with "Four Lions," a coal-black satire about an eclectic bunch of Islamist would-be terrorists who have all kinds of trouble while plotting their jihad. "Four Lions" veers between the disarmingly outlandish and the alarmingly true-to-life, with a raggedness that makes it hard to recommend unreservedly. The film is hilarious at times and nail-bitingly tense at others, but it's also way too shouty and unfocused. That said, it's hard not to admire Morris' guts in making a movie that argues that terrorists are people too — stupid, stupid people. The DVD and Blu-ray come with featurettes and deleted scenes.

Morning Glory

Paramount, $29.98; Blu-ray, $34.99

The pseudo-sophisticated comedy "Morning Glory" takes on more than it needs to, trying at once to be a "Broadcast News"-like commentary on modern network journalism, the story of a driven young professional (played by Rachel McAdams) who may be missing out on life as she focuses on work, and a sketch of the love-hate relationship between two old broadcasting pros (played by Diane Keaton and Harrison Ford). Ultimately, writer Aline Brosh McKenna and director Roger Michell don't have much new to say about newsrooms or about the eternal struggle between careerism and personal happiness, but their characters are likable, and "Morning Glory" has a light, funny tone that makes it easy to watch even when it's going nowhere. Michell and McKenna contribute a commentary track to the DVD and Blu-ray, which also include a deleted scene.

The Next Three Days

Lionsgate, $29.95; Blu-ray, $39.99

Based on the French thriller "Pour Elle," "The Next Three Days" stars Russell Crowe as a man trying to learn all he can about prison breaks so he can spring his wrongly incarcerated wife, played by Elizabeth Banks. Writer-director Paul Haggis focuses more on the characters' emotions — their loss, their rage — than he does on the plotting, and the result is a movie that's way more ponderous than it needs to be, relying on conversations and moody montages to get across what could have been handled just as well by straight-up action. The details of the escape plan itself are cool, though, and Crowe and Banks are engaging as always. The DVD and Blu-ray add featurettes and a commentary track.

And...

"A Film Unfinished (Oscilloscope, $29.99); "Inside Job" (Sony, $28.95; Blu-ray, $34.95); "Jackass 3" (Paramount, $29.98/$34.98; Blu-ray, $39.99).

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