New releases on DVD, Blu-ray
The narrative architect behind the Bourne film series, Tony Gilroy, takes the helm in the next chapter of the hugely popular espionage franchise that has earned almost $1 billion at the global box office: "The Bourne Legacy". The writer/director expands the Bourne universe created by Robert Ludlum with an original story that introduces us to a new hero (JEREMY RENNER) whose life-or-death stakes have been triggered by the events of the first three films.
Updated: December 17, 2012 7:12AM
NEW THIS WEEK
THE BOURNE LEGACY
★ ★ ★
Rated PG-13 for violence and action sequences
Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton
It’s possible that writer/director Tony Gilroy (head writer for the three previous “Bourne” films) intended this fourth installment to be a thinking-man’s action film — with just enough niftily executed adrenaline-pumping interludes to keep thrill junkies satisfied. But it’s equally possible that hard-core action enthusiasts will feel there’s far too much talking going on and cogitation required compared to the screen time devoted to various sorts of mayhem. Rather than simply hiring another actor to play Jason Bourne after Matt Damon’s tenure and starting the whole saga over again a la “The Amazing Spider-Man,” Gilroy has created a new, genetically improved super-agent (nicely played on all counts by Jeremy Renner) and a new story line that takes the story in a direction unimagined in the Robert Ludlum novels. The downside? Gilroy attempts to keep us interested by keeping us guessing for a long, long, long time — and then the whole exercise turns out to be just a lengthy preamble to additional films that may (or may not) follow. Even so, the new “Bourne” is more satisfying than not, especially after a brilliantly edited, climactic motorcycle chase through Manila. Special features include deleted scenes, “Re-Bourne,” “Enter Aaron Cross,” “Crossing Continents: Legacy on Location,” “Man vs. Wolf,” wolf sequence test, “Moving Targets: Aaron and Marta,” “Capturing Chaos: The Motorbike Chase” and feature commentary.
R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, and some drug use
Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Seth MacFarlane
Be careful what you wish for, little boys. Decades after a Christmas miracle brings his beloved stuffed animal to life, grown up little Johnny (Wahlberg) still lives with his foul-mouthed, dope-smoking, sex fiend of a Teddy bear — much to the annoyance of Johnny’s girlfriend Lori (Kunis). The feature debut of “Family Guy” creator MacFarlane (who wrote, directed and gave himself the best lines as the bear), “Ted” is clunky, crude (take away flatulence and half the jokes would be gone) and very, very strange — especially with Giovanni Ribisi lurking as a psycho who wants to give Ted to his son. Every now and then, though, a semi-inspired moment makes it almost worthwhile. Special features include deleted scenes, alternate takes, a gag reel, “Ted: The Making Of,” Teddy Bear Scuffle and feature commentary with director/co-writer Seth MacFarlane, co-writer Alec Sulkin and star Mark Wahlberg.
ICE AGE: CONTINENTAL DRIFT
PG for mild rude humor and action/peril
Ray Romano, Denis Leary, John Leguizamo
It’s taken awhile to wring the last bits of inspiration out of the “Ice Age” franchise which, until now, has at least been good for a few laughs courtesy of the Scrat the acorn-obsessed squirrel, but there’s little on display in this creatively bankrupt fourth installment except desperation — and greed. Manny the mammoth (Romano), Diego the sabertooth (Leary) and Sid the sloth (Leguizamo) try to make their way back to the herd after being cast adrift on an ice floe, while a really mean orangutan pirate captain (Peter Dinklage) does his best to thwart them. All in all, the prehistoric era is a lot less hysterical than it used to be.
ALSO NEW THIS WEEK
GIRLS: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON
The HBO series about a group of women in their 20s in New York and all their ups and downs after college makes it to DVD and Blu-ray just in time to catch up before season 2 airs. Special features includes inside the episodes, A Conversation with the Girls, A Conversation with Judd Apatow and Lena Dunham and five audio commentaries with Judd Apatow, Lena Dunham and more.
The 1998 version of “Les Miserables” starring Liam Neeson, Geoffrey Rush, Uma Thurman and Claire Danes makes its Blu-ray debut.
In anticipation of Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained,” Shout! Factory is releasing two double-feature DVDs featuring the ‘70s spaghetti westerns “Django!”/”Django and Sartana Showdown in the West” and “Django! Cut Price Corpses”/”Django Kills Silently.”
GREG ALLMAN — I’M NO ANGEL: LIVE ON STAGE
The Allman Brothers front-man filmed this full-length concert with his solo band in 1988 in Nashville. Among the featured songs are the hit single “I’m No Angel” and a cover of Blind Willie McTell’s “Statesboro Blues.”
ULTRA SEVEN: THE COMPLETE SERIES
This six-disc set from Shout! Factory features all 49 episodes of the 1967 Japanese TV series about an alien superhero protecting Earth from extraterrestrial threats. Extras include a 24-page booklet.
THE STORY OF FILM: AN ODYSSEY
Director/critic Mark Cousins worked six years on four continents to compile this sweeping 15-hour documentary on the history of cinema around the world. Interviews with famous filmmakers are included as well as in depth looks at the birth of Hollywood, the evolution of movie stardom, the shock of the French “New Wave,” Shanghai films of the ‘30s, Indian melodramas of the ‘50s and African filmmakers in the ‘70s.
PG-13 for mature thematic content involving sexuality
Tommy Lee Jones, Meryl Streep, Steve Carell
Dour, grumbling hubby Arnold (Jones) would probably be content to ride out his all-but-dead 31-year marriage to his grave but desperately lonely, under-appreciated wife Kay (Streep). She has a different plan: to drag Arnold into a week of intensive couples therapy. The best thing about this is the way Jones and Streep and Carell work their way through the often-excruciating therapeutic process. Special features include commentary with director David Frankel, a gag reel, featurettes, and alternate takes.
THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some sensuality and language
Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway
The final installment in director Christopher Nolan’s billion-dollar “Batman” trilogy has all the spectacle a $250-million budget can buy. Unfortunately, though, a soul-weary superhero (Bale) and an equally impassive and phlegmatic super-villain (Hardy) keep the bat-drama from clicking until the final act, which concludes the film and the series on a fairly satisfying note.
MEN IN BLACK 3
PG-13 for sci-fi action violence, and brief suggestive content
Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Jemaine Clement
Smith and Jones return as bickering feds charged with keeping unruly alien visitors in line, including recent lunar prison escapee Boris the Animal (Clement), who plans to jump back to the ’60s and kill young K (Brolin), who previously prevented Boris’s relatives from invading — thus re-setting history. The best thing about it, though? Smith’s wise-guy reaction to ’60s scenes like Andy Warhol’s Factory — and old-school racism. Extras include numerous featurettes including “The Evolution of Cool,” four scene progressions, five progression reels, a gag reel, commentary with director Frankel, and an alternate-takes gallery.
Heather Leszczewicz, firstname.lastname@example.org, contributed to this article.