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New on DVD: 'The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part I'

Also: 'Anonymous,' 'A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas' and 'Project Nim.'

February 05, 2012|By Noel Murray, Special to the Los Angeles Times
  • Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart in "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1."
Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart in "The Twilight Saga: Breaking… (Andrew Cooper / Summit Entertainment )

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part I

Summit, $30.99; Blu-ray, $33.99

The "Twilight" saga's supernatural soap opera reaches a ludicrously high pitch in the first half of concluding volume "Breaking Dawn," which includes a wedding, an accelerated pregnancy and a major transformation for a major character. All that would be fine if the franchise's creative team had any sense of fun about what they're making (a la "True Blood"). Instead, new "Twilight" director Bill Condon continues what his predecessors started, making a movie that's dreary and self-serious. The fans, though, will continue to eat it up and should also appreciate the Condon commentary track and extensive featurettes on the DVD and Blu-ray.

Anonymous

Sony, $30.99; Blu-ray, $35.99

For those not outrageously offended by the theory that Shakespeare's plays were actually written by Edward de Vere, the thriller "Anonymous" is enjoyably crackpot, turning an old conspiracy theory into fodder for Elizabethan-era intrigue. Rhys Ifans plays the Earl of Oxford, who covertly advances his political agenda via the popular theater, while carrying on an off-and-on affair with the queen (played by Joely Richardson). As history, "Anonymous" is bunk, but as a quirky spin on the usual cloak-and-dagger, it's high-spirited fun. Director Roland Emmerich and screenwriter John Orloff defend themselves on the DVD and Blu-ray, via a commentary track and featurettes.

A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas

New Line, $28.98; Blu-ray, $35/99/$44.95

Defying the usual progression for sequels, the third installment of the raunchy Harold & Kumar comedies is the series' best. In "A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas," John Cho and Kal Penn reprise their roles as stoner buddies, now estranged as the former thrives as a suburbanite businessman and the latter continues to slack. When a mysterious Christmas present brings the two back together, they commence another picaresque adventure involving drugs, a lost tree and Neil Patrick Harris as "himself," along with some surprisingly wise commentary on racial identity in 21st century America. See the movie in 3-D if possible — a lot of the jokes riff on the format — but don't feel obliged to wait until the holidays. The DVD and Blu-ray come with deleted scenes and featurettes, plus an extended cut (on the 2-D Blu-ray only).

Project Nim

Lionsgate, $19.98

James Marsh's documentary "Project Nim" relates the sad saga of Nim Chimpsky, a chimpanzee who participated in an experiment in the '70s to see if primates could develop meaningful communicative language if they lived with humans, outside of a laboratory setting. What resulted was years of Nim being passed from overseer to overseer, many of them with little to no scientific or zoological training, but with idiosyncratic ideas about Nim's true nature. Thought-provoking and moving in equal measure, "Project Nim" is nonfiction as gripping as any drama: almost like a true-life prequel to "Rise of the Planet of the Apes." The DVD adds more info about Nim and about the documentary's dramatic reenactments.

And…

Fireflies in the Garden

Sony, $30.99

Lady and the Tramp

Walt Disney Blu-ray, $39.99/$44.99

Love Story

Paramount Blu-ray, $22.99

The Sunset Limited

HBO, $26.98; Blu-ray, $34.98

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