'Guardians' is another marvel of movie entertainment

Guardians of the Galaxy

Disney/Buena Vista, $29.99; Blu-ray, $39.99

Available on VOD Tuesday

When Marvel Studios announced plans to make a movie about the obscure super-team "Guardians of the Galaxy," the project seemed like one for hardcore Marvel fans only and maybe even the first Marvel flop. Instead, "Guardians of the Galaxy" is another example of how the studio keeps winning over comics fans and regular moviegoers by allowing writers, directors and stars to bring their own personalities to the screen. In this case, cult genre filmmaker James Gunn turned in an outer-space adventure with memorable characters and a sense of humor, telling the story of an upbeat bandit (played by Chris Pratt) who gets together with a bruiser, a sentient tree, a raccoon and a villainess in prison and then coaxes them into helping him save the universe. "Guardians" is one of the year's most purely fun movies and one with a lot of heart. The DVD and Blu-ray add deleted scenes, a gag reel, featurettes and a Gunn commentary track.


Magnolia, $26.98; Blu-ray, $29.98

Director Lenny Abrahamson's offbeat rock-com stars Domhnall Gleeson as an amateur singer-songwriter who finds himself playing keyboards for an experimental American band, led by a man named Frank who wears a papier-mâché head at all times (and who beneath that mask has the face and voice of Michael Fassbender). Based on writer Jon Ronson's experiences with British performance artist Frank Sidebottom, "Frank" is a wise and frequently hilarious study of what it means to be creative in the 21st century, as the members of the band squabble over whether to boost their profile through social media or to keep making art for art's sake. It's also a stealthily emotional film, dealing honestly with how much of Frank's peculiar genius is a product of mental illness. The "Frank" DVD and Blu-ray come with a brief behind-the-scenes featurette.


Fox Searchlight Blu-ray, $27.99

Part mystery story, part spiritual inquiry, writer-director John Michael McDonagh's film stars Brendan Gleeson as a Catholic priest who tries to heal the broken people in his small Irish parish while he's simultaneously living under the shadow of an anonymous death threat. Unlike McDonagh's buddy cop dramedy "The Guard," "Calvary" has an atmosphere of gloom and doom, which partly explains why the characters spend so much time talking about faith and forgiveness. But McDonagh's dialogue is witty, and the film has a clever structure that sees the priest quietly questioning one parishioner after another, like a noir detective with a robe and a collar. The Blu-ray (no DVD release on this one) includes equally probative featurettes.


Criterion, $29.95; Blu-ray, $39.95

Art-filmmaker Todd Haynes first broke wide with this 1995 film starring Julianne Moore (not yet a star) as a California housewife who becomes convinced that she's being poisoned by the everyday toxins in her suburban environment. A spare quasi-horror film about how the commonplace can become off-putting, "Safe" was a critical success and is considered by many to be one of the best films of the 1990s. Criterion's new DVD and Blu-ray edition of "Safe" does justice to a film central to both Haynes' and Moore's careers, adding a joint commentary track between the two, as well a Haynes-Moore conversation and a 1978 Haynes short film.


Dolphin Tale 2

Warner Bros., $28.98; Blu-ray, $35.99

Available on VOD Tuesday

I Origins

Fox Searchlight Blu-ray, $27.99

The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears

Strand, $27.99; Blu-ray, $32.99

When the Game Stands Tall

Sony, $30.99; Blu-ray, $40.99

Available on VOD Tuesday

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