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New on DVD: 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2'

Also 'The Change-Up' and 'Life in a Day'

November 08, 2011|By Noel Murray, Special to the Los Angeles Times

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

Warner Bros., $28.98; Blu-ray, $29.98/$35.99

All's well that ends well! The Harry Potter film series has varied in quality over the last 10 years—sometimes tedious, sometimes busy, sometimes too shallow and cutesy, sometimes too brooding and adult — but the creators stick the landing with "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2," a gripping finale that puts everyone's favorite boy wizard and his friends to their greatest test yet in the battle against the evil Lord Voldemort. The mark of a great series-ender is how much emotion it rouses in those who've followed the story from the beginning, and "Deathly Hallows" wraps up with a powerfully moving message about assuming responsibility and passing on a proper legacy. The DVD and Blu-ray add deleted scenes and featurettes. In addition, the entire series will be available in a limited edition collectible box set.

The Change-Up

Universal, $29.98; Blu-ray, $34.98

One of the lamest body-switch comedies ever made, "The Change-Up" stars Ryan Reynolds as Mitch, a slacker B-movie actor who swaps lives with his buddy Dave (Jason Bateman), a married lawyer with three young kids. Director David Dobkin and screenwriters Jon Lucas and Scott Moore don't make even the faintest attempt at investing this premise with anything related to how real people actually cope with the choices they've made in their lives. Instead, "The Change-Up" is loaded with crude sex and poop jokes. Even Reynolds and Bateman look lost; though they're supposed to be playing each other, they come across as pretty much the same as they were before. Still, for those who'd like to see a gross movie get even grosser, the DVD and Blu-ray include an unrated version of the film, plus deleted scenes, featurettes, a gag reel and a Dobkin commentary.

Life in a Day

Virgil, $19.99; Blu-ray, $29.99

Filmmakers Ridley Scott, Tony Scott and Kevin Macdonald invited amateurs from around the world to document the same day. Fashioned from thousands of hours of submitted footage, the film they crafted, "Life in a Day," offers a 90-minute examination of people living lives both ordinary and amazing. The movie captures what we all have in common — bodily functions, love, family — and it shows how we differ in the specifics. The broader it gets, the more banal it becomes, but throughout "Life in a Day" features moments of real emotional power and subtle dignity. The DVD and Blu-ray contain even more footage, plus multiple commentary tracks.

The Human Resources Manager

Film Movement, $24.95

Director Eran Riklis — who previously helmed the very good Israeli dramas "Lemon Tree" and "The Syrian Bride" — keeps the streak alive with "The Human Resources Manager," a dark, wry film about a corporate lackey (played by Mark Ivanir) who travels to Romania with the corpse of an immigrant employee killed by a suicide bomber. Some of the comic elements in "The Human Resources Manager" fall flat, but as always, Riklis (with screenwriter Noah Stollman, adapting Abraham Jehoshua's novel) intelligently narrows the focus of the Middle Eastern political turmoil from big picture conflicts to how they impact ordinary people who are just trying to get through a day. The DVD adds a bonus short film.

And…

"Atlas Shrugged Part 1" (20th Century Fox, $22.98; Blu-ray, $29.99); "Bedlam: Season One" (BBC Warner, $34.98); "The Cannonball Run" (HBO Blu-ray, $14.98); "Fanny and Alexander" (Criterion Blu-ray, $59.95); "Frankenhooker" (Synapse Blu-ray, $24.95); "Harry Potter Complete 8-Film Collection" (Warner Bros., $98.92; Blu-ray, $139.99); "Law & Order: The Complete Series" (Universal, $699.99); "Little Big Man" (Paramount Blu-ray, $24.99); "Masterpiece Contemporary: Page Eight" (PBS, $24.99; Blu-ray, $29.99)

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