This week’s new DVD releases range from the magic of “Oz” to the comedy of Pryor.
“OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL,” GRADE B-MINUS: A look at how the Wizard came to the Emerald City. James Franco stars.
Sam Raimi shows flashes of brilliance. But overall, the latest trip down the Yellow Brick Road has a few too many bumps to make this a magical journey. Visually, the film is stunning, from the black-and-white footage to the brilliant colors of the Emerald City. Where Raimi seems uncertain is with the special effects.
The biggest problem is Franco. Oz needs to be played as both a cad and a charmer, and Franco never fully plays either. He just doesn’t have the larger-than-life charisma to make Oz the great and powerful character he should be.
“SNITCH,” GRADE C-MINUS: A father makes a deal to keep his innocent son out of jail. Dwayne Johnson stars.
There is a massive Rock in the way of “Snitch” being the movie it wants to be — a thought-provoking story about the ills of the legal system. The casting of Johnson as a worried father who becomes a drug runner to get his son out of prison immediately suggests that this is another explosive action film. Wrong! There’s some action, but it comes along in the last act — far too late to wake those who have nodded off and are dreaming of a better movie.
“NO PRYOR RESTRAINT: LIFE IN CONCERT,” GRADE B-PLUS: Fans of Richard Pryor can now pick up 12 hours of comedy through this set that includes seven CDs and two DVDs. It’s a wonderful yardstick of Pryor’s growth, from his early days of stand-up to his eventual domination of the comedy world.
Also new on DVD this week:
“The Newsroom: The Complete First Season”: Jeff Daniels stars in this behind-the-scenes look at television news.
“Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters”: Siblings become bounty hunters after an incident at a gingerbread house.
“Doctor Who: Inferno”: The Doctor (Jon Pertwee) is concerned about a top-secret project that involves drilling into the crust of the Earth.
“Killing Lincoln”: Tom Hanks narrates this look at the events surrounding the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.
“Fred Won’t Move Out”: Elliott Gould and Judith Roberts star in this drama about a family at a breaking point.
“Ring of Fire”: A volcanic eruption could lead to a world disaster. Terry O’Quinn stars.