New on DVD
Walt Disney, $29.99; Blu-ray, $39.99/$49.99
Critics seemed to be laying in wait to savage “Cars 2,” ready to rip Pixar for making a cash-in sequel to the studio’s least artful, most merchandising-friendly movie. But fun is fun, and the globe-hopping spy story that drives “Cars 2" is a blast, full of zooming action and clever ideas about how a world run by vehicles would look. Is it as sophisticated or emotionally resonant as “Up” or “Toy Story”? Heck, no. The “friends forever"/"be yourself” theme is pitched more to the younger audience, and the humor — carried largely by Larry the Cable Guy as rusty truck Tow Mater — is more cornball. Still, “Cars 2" is more entertaining than 90% of the movies released this year. The DVD and Blu-ray are light on special features by Pixar standards, adding a creator commentary track, bonus shorts and — on the special edition only — a few featurettes.
Crazy, Stupid, Love
Warner Bros., $28.98; Blu-ray, $29.99/$35.99
A different kind of rom-com, “Crazy, Stupid, Love” is sprawling and messy, sporting a large cast and multiple storylines. Steve Carell plays a newly separated man torn between getting back together with his wife (Julianne Moore) and meeting women with the help of a skilled player (Ryan Gosling), who himself is considering settling down with a sensible law student (Emma Stone). At times, “Crazy, Stupid, Love” plays like half a dozen episodes of a cable sitcom edited down to two overstuffed hours, but the characters are likable and the movie asks some provocative questions about whether love is about passion or comfortable familiarity. The DVD and Blu-ray include deleted scenes and featurettes.
Errol Morris’ offbeat documentary “Tabloid” is all about Joyce McKinney, best known (for those who know her at all) for her involvement with a 1977 kidnapping/rape case that the British press dubbed “The Manacled Mormon.” Morris lets McKinney tell the story of how she abducted and had sex repeatedly with a Utah man because she loved him and wanted to “deprogram” his religious brainwashing. Morris also allows people with different angles on the tale to tell their piece of it — including the reporters from competing tabloids, one of which championed McKinney and one of which trashed her. Morris makes no real effort to investigate the truth, because that’s not really the point here. The film is more about how easy it is to skew a story for entertainment purposes and thereby make celebrities of people who haven’t really done anything except be nutty.
Water for Elephants
20th Century Fox, $29.98; Blu-ray, $39.99
Sara Gruen’s bestseller “Water for Elephants” gets a handsome adaptation by director Francis Lawrence and screenwriter Richard LaGravenese, who tell the story of a young veterinary student and his Depression-era love affair with a circus performer married to a cruel ringmaster. Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon are engaging as the desperate lovers, and Christoph Waltz brings a lot of nuance to the villain role, but what really distinguishes “Water for Elephants” is the colorful circus backdrop and the almost fable-like quality the filmmakers bring to it. The movie isn’t especially ambitious, but it’s as involving as a good pop novel. The DVD and Blu-ray add a commentary track by Lawrence and LaGravenese, as well as a handful of brief featurettes.
Magic Trip: Ken Kesey’s Search for a Kool Place
Rejoice & Shout
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
20th Century Fox, $29.99; Blu-ray, $39.99
Millennium, $28.99; Blu-ray, $29.99/$34.99
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