Directed by Baltasar Kormakur
Starring Mark Wahlberg, Giovanni Ribisi, Kate Beckinsale, Ben Foster, J. K. Simmons, Lukas Haas, Caleb Landry Jones
Universal//Rated R//Action//109 minutes
Available on: DVD, Blu-ray
There's enough plot in "Contraband" for two heist movies, making it extra disappointing that director Baltasar Kormakur doesn't milk more tension from its hairpin turns and last minute twists. The film, adapted from the Icelandic hit "Reykjavik-Rotterdam," sets much of the action aboard a cargo ship, where ship routine, and hidden crannies, lend credibility to the action. Mark Wahlberg appears as Chris Farraday, retired from smuggling since marrying Kate (Kate Beckinsale), and fathering two sons. He's settled into running a successful burglar alarm company until his brother-in-law (Caleb Landry Jones) loses a cache of heroin belonging to brutal crime lord Tim Briggs (an aptly greasy Giovanni Ribisi) and Farraday agrees to repay the debt by smuggling a pallet of counterfeit notes out of Panama. Once in Panama, unforeseen complications set into motiona a series of derivative action sequences. Back home in New Orleans, Farraday's best friend Sebastian (Ben Foster) has promised to watch over Farraday's family. This slow-moving portion of the tale is important for its revelations. Saved by the occasional odd turn of events, this adaptation comes to life aboard the cargo ship, carefully filmed to illuminate its layout and inner workings. DVD or 2-Disc Blu-ray features: Commentary with Director/Producer Baltasar Kormakur and Producer Evan Hayes, deleted scenes, Making of featurette, Stunts and Action, English, French and Spanish language tracks. Exclusive Blu-ray features: film on both DVD and Blu-ray, Digital copy, Ultraviolet.
FROZEN PLANET: The Complete Series
* * * * (A)
Hosted by David Attenborough
BBC Video//Not Rated//Documentary//300 minutes
Available on: DVD and Blu-ray
Sir David Attenborough's presence should be sufficient reason to recommend "Frozen Planet," but this series stands on its own two icebergs. Episode one of six opens in the Arctic, where an amorous polar bear catches the sent of a female who leads him on a merry chase. Miles and hours later, he is deemed worthy and the two climb a snow-covered mountain. The arrival of a large, second male, clarifies the pair's reason for seeking privacy. A battle royale ensues, leaving both males bloodied, and one vanquished. This scene is one of many to chronicle rarely or never-before-filmed events. Coupled with spot-on narration, delivered by 85-year-old Attenborough, the six-part BBC series follows earthly rhythms that bring months of both continuous daylight and darkness to the North and South poles. Time-lapse photography illuminates the movement of glaciers, or changing seasons that attract and repel millions of birds and thousands of mammals. The camera takes viewers beneath the water and deep into the ice, to reveal stunning natural forms that appear to come from a different world, but are all part of our incredible frozen planet. 3-Disc DVD or Blu-ray features: Science at the Ends of the Earth: Examines scientific work being performed at the South Pole, Freeze Frame ñ A series of seven 10-minute "making of" featurettes, Production Video Diaries: 47 shorts made by the Frozen Planet producers, directors and camera crew, Frozen Planet: The Epic Journey ñ compiles the best moments of the series compiled into a 60-minute highlights special.
THE WICKER TREE
Directed by Robin Hardy