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New releases: 'Wreck-It Ralph' and more

Reviewed: 'California Solo,' 'The Intouchables,' 'Schindler's List'

March 03, 2013|By Noel Murray
  • A scene from "Wreck-It Ralph."
A scene from "Wreck-It Ralph." (Disney )

Wreck-It Ralph

Walt Disney, $29.99; Blu-ray, $39.99/$49.99

Available on VOD beginning Tuesday

Modern animated features are often so dense with inside jokes that they should come with footnotes. If nothing else, the special features on this DVD and Blu-ray help explain all the subtle nods in Disney's computer-animated action-comedy, set in the world of retro video games and thus packed with gamer gags. (The biggest help here is the Chris Hardwick-hosted "Disney Intermission," which comes up whenever viewers press "pause" on their remote, and points out some of what the animators carefully hid.) But the movie itself is plenty enjoyable even without the reference guide, with a fine voice performance by John C. Reilly as a Donkey Kong-like video game villain who wishes he were more respected and by Sarah Silverman as a punky little wannabe race car driver who helps him get what he wants. "Wreck-It Ralph" isn't as good as the best of Disney or Pixar, but it's fast-paced and funny, with some genuinely imaginative design.

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California Solo

Strand, $27.99

Marshall Lewy's indie drama stars Robert Carlyle as a former Scottish rock star who's mildly happy with his life working on an organic farm and hosting a podcast about famous musicians' deaths until he gets busted for DUI and is threatened with deportation. "California Solo" doesn't have much story, but it's a good character sketch, helped by a fantastic Carlyle performance. Lewy knows this guy and his world, and generates sympathy and drama as his hero finds himself having to beg favors from the friends and family he's estranged during his decade in exile. The DVD adds a deleted scene and a featurette.

The Intouchables

Sony, $30.99; Blu-ray, $35.99

Available on VOD beginning Tuesday

One of the most popular movies in the history of French cinema stars François Cluzet as a quadriplegic millionaire who hires a slacker welfare recipient played by Omar Sy to be his caregiver. Naturally, the two become unlikely friends and enrich each other's lives in all the expected ways: The rich guy helps the poor guy get cultured, and the poor guy helps the rich guy develop soul. Frankly, if "The Intouchables" were a Hollywood film, it'd be dismissed as pandering middle-of-the-road fare. It's skillfully made, but interesting solely because of where it was made, not because of its content. The DVD and Blu-ray add deleted scenes.

Schindler's List

Universal, $22.98; Blu-ray, $34.98

Steven Spielberg's best picture-winning 1993 drama is the kind of movie that seems designed to win Oscars: It's a deeply serious, three-hour-long, black-and-white film based on the true story of Oskar Schindler, a German industrialist who employed Jews at his factory during World War II and thus kept them safe from the Holocaust. Spielberg hit a new creative peak with this film, telling an engaging story while not shying away from its horrors or its ironies. He made one of the most important films of the 20th century and freed himself creatively to direct his masterpieces yet to come. The new DVD and Blu-ray include an hour-long documentary about the real Schindler, as described by people who knew him.

And…

The Bay

Lionsgate, $27.98

Playing For Keeps

Sony, $30.99; Blu-ray, $35.99

Available on VOD beginning Tuesday

Red Dawn (2012)

20th Century Fox, $29.98; Blu-ray, $39.99

Available on VOD beginning Tuesday

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