New Releases: ‘Twixt,’ a twisted Poe tale

New Releases
Michelle Williams in “Oz the Great and Powerful.”
(Merie Weismiller Wallace / Disney Enterprises)


Available on VOD beginning Tuesday

Francis Ford Coppola’s latest venture comes as another late-career trip into indie filmmaking, though more accessible than his previous efforts “Youth Without Youth” and “Tetro.” Val Kilmer plays an alcoholic horror writer who stops off in an eerie small town on a book tour and discovers a murder mystery that involves Edgar Allan Poe, a creepy preacher, a hotel full of dead girls, a grizzled sheriff and teenagers heavily into the occult. While the hero experiences strange visions that relate to a tragic incident from his past, Coppola revisits his own early B-movie days and riffs on the difficulties of the creative process by forcing himself to look back at the accidental death of his son decades ago. “Twixt” is a curious journey down memory lane, anchored by a weird performance from a bloated Kilmer, but the movie’s never dull, and it’s always thrilling to see Coppola working from his gut more than his head.

Oz the Great and Powerful


Walt Disney, $29.99; Blu-ray, $39.99/$44.99

Available on VOD beginning Tuesday

There’s an unpleasantly mercenary quality to Walt Disney’s “Oz,” which like the studio’s blockbuster revamp of “Alice in Wonderland” seems too much like a calculated combination of a familiar story with state-of-the-art special effects. The film is lumbering and overstuffed — with a stiff performance by James Franco as a down-and-out traveling magician who gets whisked away to L. Frank Baum’s magical, dangerous land — but director Sam Raimi does supply some of the same slapstick energy he brought to the “Spider-Man” movies and his own “Evil Dead” series. And the effects in “Oz” are genuinely eye-popping, especially in 3-D, where all the crazy creatures and rainbow colors make the film seem more like a psychedelic fantasy than a family adventure flick. The DVD and Blu-ray add featurettes and other behind-the-scenes info.

PHOTOS: Celebrities by The Times


House of Cards: The Complete First Season

Sony, $55.99; Blu-ray, $65.99

Before launching the fourth season of “Arrested Development,” Netflix’s highest-profile original series had been this Americanized adaptation of the BBC political drama of the same name. Kevin Spacey stars as a Southern congressman who fails to get a Cabinet appointment and so works behind the scenes to undermine the president, using desperate colleagues and an ambitious reporter to further his cause. There’s a cynicism to “House of Cards” that makes the series a little too predictable, since the characters tend always to follow their worst impulses, but it’s fun to watch Spacey as a man who knows every angle to work. Also, “House of Cards” is smart about how in Washington, people who want to advance their careers have to make alliances and compromises that run counter to their ideals.

Enter the Dragon

Warner Bros. Blu-ray, $49.99

Bruce Lee’s biggest break in Hollywood came after he’d quit L.A. and moved back to Hong Kong — and shortly before he died unexpectedly at age 32. The 1973 Golden Harvest/Warner Bros. co-production was released internationally a week after Lee’s death, and its action-packed, super-cool story of a martial arts competition held on a ganglord’s private island proved so popular that it turned the kung fu genre into a phenomenon. The 40th-anniversary Blu-ray edition includes new and vintage featurettes about the making of the film and the legend of Lee, who was never as charismatic or graceful as he was in his swan song.

PHOTOS: Summer Sneaks 2013



Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters

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

Available on VOD beginning Tuesday

The Newsroom: The Complete First Season

HBO, $59.99; Blu-ray, $79.98


Summit, $29.95; Blu-ray, $39.99

Available on VOD beginning Tuesday