New releases on DVD, Blu-ray
Gerard Butler and Jonny Weston star in "Chasing Mavericks."
Updated: March 4, 2013 12:31PM
NEW THIS WEEK
Gerard Butler, Jonny Weston, Elizabeth Shue
It’s not as good — or as bad — as it might have been, but “Chasing Mavericks” is still reasonably satisfying as an inspirational sports saga. If you can overlook the assorted cliches. Young surfing prodigy Jay Moriarty (Weston) lives to ride the waves and has a fixation on the super-colossal and exceedingly dangerous Mavericks, 80-foot waves that occasionally appear off the coast of Santa Cruz. Directors Curtis Hanson and Michael Apted have structured “Mavericks” along the lines of an old-school kung fu movie with most of the running time devoted to Jay’s grueling training under gruff local surfing legend Frosty (Butler) before the climactic appointment with destiny. Most of the dramatic goings-on are hard to take seriously, but the epic surfing action is some consolation.
Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams
While there are rewards for sitting through “The Master” — namely the Oscar-nominated performances of Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix and Amy Adams — ultimately, though, the latest film from writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson leaves you searching for meaning that simply isn’t there. Phoenix plays Freddie Quell, an emotionally disturbed World War II vet who eventually crosses paths with Hoffman’s Lancaster Dodd, a cult leader. Dodd takes Freddie under his wing as protégé/guinea pig/ultimate test of his healing principals as his wife (Adams) looks on disapprovingly — and their complex inter-relationships keeps things interesting throughout. Unfortunately, while it’s strangely engaging, in the end “The Master” is frustrating and baffling because it fails to parlay its intriguing ideas and characters into a story worth telling. Instead, implicit plot developments either meander off course or disappear entirely before the anti-climactic non-resolution.
ALSO NEW THIS WEEK
CHICKEN WITH PLUMS
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LIBERACE: THE CANDELABRA COLLECTION
Vintage performances of The World’s Greatest Showman’s hits are featured in this collection, along with two holiday TV specials.
MAIGRET COMPLETE COLLECTION
This four-disc set from Acorn Media features all 12 episodes of the early-’90s British series, featuring Michael Gambon as novelist Georges Simenon’s detective hero Inspector Maigret. Extras include an eight-page booklet with articles on Simenon, Maigret and the series.
NOVA SCIENCE NOW: HOW SMART CAN WE GET?
The PBS series explores developments in understanding intelligence with four stories: “Einstein’s Brain,” “What is Intelligence?” “Mystery of the Savant Brain” and “Profile: Sian Beilock.”
THE REAGAN PRESIDENCY
This three-part series offers an in-depth study of President Reagan’s years in the White House, dealing with high unemployment, sky-rocketing interest rates and the escalating Cold War.
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A successful movie producer (Andy Lau) discovers that the nanny and maid who has cared for his family for four generations has suffered a severe stroke — and reverses their relationship by becoming her caregiver.
ULTIMATE ZOMBIE FEAST VOL. 1
Unusual zombie films from around the world are featured in this collection, including the Mormon zombie outing “The Book of Zombie,” India’s first zombie movie “Savages” and assorted festival winners such as “It Came from the West” and “Dead Hungry.”
AVAILABLE NEXT WEEK
Steven Spielberg’s holocaust drama turns enters its second decade with a newly restored “20th Anniversary Limited Edition,” Freddie Kreuger goes hi-def with a seven-film “Nightmare on Elm Street Blu-Ray Collection” and Tom Cat and Jerry Mouse get friendly with a 30-cartoon collection featuring “Pint-Sized Pals.”