New Releases: Kirk and crew are tested in 'Star Trek Into Darkness'

Star Trek Into Darkness

Paramount, $29.99; Blu-ray, $39.99/$54.99

Available on VOD beginning Sept. 10

Although it's not as much fun as the 2009 "Star Trek" reboot, J.J. Abrams' sequel has the same major asset as its predecessor: a winning cast that ventures through space with the kind of amiable collegiality that made the original TV series such a joy. This time out, Chris Pine (as Kirk), Zachary Quinto (as Spock), Zoe Saldana (as Uhura) and Simon Pegg (as Scotty) are joined by the always-magnificent Benedict Cumberbatch, playing a mysterious, superhuman villain looking to destroy the credibility of the Federation. Cumberbatch's character has a connection to "Star Trek" lore that the movie is too coy about for too long; and as with a lot of this summer's blockbusters, the film is overly violent, using massive amounts of death and destruction as minor plot points. But it's a lively sci-fi action picture with personality — and those are fairly rare these days. The DVD and Blu-ray add featurettes (which vary depending on which retailer is selling the disc).

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Parade's End

HBO, $39.98; Blu-ray, $49.99

"Star Trek"/"Sherlock" fans who'd like a little more Cumberbatch in their life should pick up this five-hour HBO/BBC miniseries, which has the actor playing an early 20th century British aristocrat trapped in a loveless marriage with the mother of his child. Adapted by writer Tom Stoppard and director Susanna White from Ford Madox Ford's four-volume novel, "Parade's End" is like a more intimate and literary (and much less soapy) version of "Downton Abbey," similarly grappling with how social obligations stand in the way of personal happiness. It's a somber, slow-paced series, but beautiful to look at and beautifully acted. Stoppard's interview with Elvis Mitchell for the Treatment is the lone extra on the DVD and Blu-ray.

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We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks

Universal/Focus World, $14.99

Prolific agit-prop documentarian Alex Gibney tackles one of his trickiest subjects yet in "We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks," which tries to pin down the biography and motivations of elusive super-hacker Julian Assange. Gibney's documentaries tend to be full of detail, and though they have a point of view, they give a fair(ish) airing to different perspectives. But when it comes to Assange (who chose not to participate in the film and disputes its accuracy), Gibney seems less certain of what he believes, and the result is a film that's something of an info-dump, not unlike WikiLeaks itself. It's fascinating info, though, entertainingly presented.

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Homeland: The Complete Second Season

20th Century Fox, $59.98; Blu-ray, $69.99

The Emmy-winning first season of Showtime's political thriller ended with the manic CIA operative played by Claire Danes facing long-term hospitalization, while the war-hero-turned-terrorist that she tried to expose (played by Damian Lewis) was heading into politics. The strength of its second season is that it doesn't take too long to upend the lives of its major characters and bring their various crises to a head, such that within a few episodes, it almost feels as if the whole series is going to wrap up early. But "Homeland" presses forward, and although some fans have groused that the back half of Season 2 strains credulity, the series remains one of the most exciting, thought-provoking on TV. The DVD and Blu-ray set add deleted scenes and featurettes.


Love Is All You Need

Sony, $30.99; Blu-ray, $35.99

Available on VOD beginning Sept. 10

Wish You Were Here

E1, $24.98

Available on VOD beginning Sept. 10


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