Blu-rays of the Week
Poldark—Complete 3rd Season (PBS Masterpiece)
The hit series’ third season finds eponymous hero Ross grasping defeat from the jaws of victory again and again, refusing to do anything that would help him—and others— to stop his hated adversary George in his tracks. The men’s adversarial relationship—which also brings in their wives Demelza and Elizabeth—is the engine that drives the series; there’s also whip-smart acting by Aidan Turner (Ross), Eleanor Tomlinson (Demelza), Heida Reed (Elizabeth) and Jack Farthing (George). The hi-def transfer is gorgeous; extras are short featurettes and interviews.
Gun Shy (Lionsgate)
This surprisingly sprightly comedy relates the troubles of a retired but pompous rock star (the amusing Antonio Banderas) whose gorgeous supermodel wife (the typecast Olga Kurylenko) is kidnaped while they are vacationing in Chile. Although director Simon Grey pushes things too far with jokey killings and needless crassness, there’s enough genuine humor in the writing and performances to make this an agreeably nutty 90 minutes. There’s a fine hi-def transfer; extras are a making-of featurette and music montage.
Hans Zimmer—Live in Prague (Eagle Vision)
Hans Zimmer is the pre-eminent film-score composer among buffs and nerds thanks to his association with overrated director Christopher Nolan on Interstellar, The Dark Night and Inception. This concert before an adoring audience in Prague presents Zimmer and his flashy, talented ensemble—including scantily clad string players and even Johnny Mars on guitar—in an entertaining overview of the man’s career, which even includes subtle work on underrated gems as The Thin Red Line. Hi-def video and audio are excellent.
Land of the Dead / Dawn of the Dead (Scream Factory)
Zombie legend George A. Romero recently died at 77, so these collector’s editions are in their way posthumous tributes. Romero’s own Land of the Dead (2005), while not up to earlier series entries, contains the usual dry humor amid gory entrails. Dawn of the Dead is Zach Snyder’s unfortunate 2004 remake, not Romero’s original, even though there are eerie scenes and a clever if downbeat end-credit sequence. Both releases—which have first-rate hi-def transfers—include the R-rated theatrical and unrated director’s cuts, commentaries, featurettes, interviews and deleted scenes.
DVDs of the Week
Gray Matters (First Run)
Irish architect and designer Eileen Gray lived to be 98 (she died in 1976) and was a towering figure of modernism all but erased from art history thanks to men like Le Corbusier who took a lot of credit for her original designs. Marco Orisni’s documentary returns Gray to her proper place in the echelon of the greats of 20th century architecture and design, and the many talking heads buttress that argument, returning Gray to her rightful place in the firmament.
The Journey (IFC)
In this engrossing reenactment of a seminal event in the history of the Northern Ireland troubles, two splendid actors—Colm Meaney and an unrecognizable Timothy Spall—play, respectively, ex-IRA leader Martin McGuinness and conservative British pol Ian Paisley, who shared a car for a 2006 meeting about the age-old conflict in the Scottish countryside. Meaney and Spall, onscreen together for nearly the entire movie, are delightfully ornery as they creep to the edge of caricature but never overstep; their outsized portrayals make Nick Hamm’s earnest but light-footed speculative drama work handily.