DREAMSVILLE’S WEEK IN DVD
“The Expendables 3”: Say what you will about “over-the-hill” action heroes, but these “past-their-prime” stars can still kick some big screen action butt. In this second sequel, the Expendables leader, Barney (Sylvester Stallone), augments his team with new blood for a personal battle: to take down Conrad Stonebanks (Mel Gibson), the Expendables co-founder and notorious arms trader who is hell bent on wiping out Barney and every single one of his associates. When Barney decides its time to keep his old buddies safe from the superior firepower of Stonebanks and his eastern European allies, the fearless leader recruits individuals who are younger, faster and more tech-savvy, making the latest mission a clash of classic old-school style versus high-tech expertise. Until it’s time to call in the reserves. Senseless but fun. And loud. Stars Jason Statham, Jet Li, Antonio Banderas, Kelsey Grammer, Wesley Snipes, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Terry Crews, Kellan Lutz, Ronda Rousey, Glen Powell, Victor Ortiz, Robert Davi, Harrison Ford and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Blu-ray extras include “The Expendables 3” documentary, “New Blood: Stacked and Jacked” featurette, “The Total Action Package” featurette, and a gag reel. From Lionsgate.
The Criterion Collection ends November with three important releases on Blu-ray and DVD, headed up by one of the great classics of cinema: One of the first truly modern films, Michelangelo Antonioni’s “L’avventura” (1960) on the surface revolves around the enigmatic disappearance of a young woman (Anna) during a yachting trip off the coast of Sicily, and the search taken up by her disaffected lover, Sandro (Gabriele Ferzetti), and best friend, Claudia (Monica Vitti). The first 30 minutes of the film revolves around young, spoiled, wealthy Anna — she’s the protagonist of the film. But her disappearance disrupts and dissolves the film’s plot and its meaning; the rest of the film becomes that of characters in search of meaning, seeking something that escapes them. This loss of meaning is at the heart of modernity — and Antonioni invented a new film grammar to translate this to the cinema. It’ a gorgeously shot tale of modern ennui and spiritual isolation. This set the stage for Antonioni’s unequaled string of masterpieces: “La Notte,” “L’eclisse,” “The Red Desert” and “Blow-Up.” In a new 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray. Extras include audio commentary featuring film historian Gene Youngblood; selected-scene commentary by filmmaker Olivier Assayas; “Antonioni: Documents and Testimonials,” a 58-minute 1966 documentary by Gianfranco Mingozzi; writings by Antonioni, read by Jack Nicholson, plus Nicholson’s personal recollections of the director; and an essay by critic Geoffrey Nowell-Smith, along with the statement Antonioni made about the film and the letter that circulated in support of it after its 1960 Cannes premiere (the film was not well-received by audiences at the fest but went on to become a success).
To bring you back into the 21st century, the folks at Magnolia Home Entertainment have released “Nymphomaniac: Extended Director’s Cut Vol. 1 & 2” (2014) Director von Trier’s wild and poetic story — of a woman’s journey from birth to the age of 50 as told by the main character, the self-diagnosed nymphomaniac Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg) — offers almost and hour and a half of extra footage, making for a five and one-half hour odyssey that leads from innocence to dark complications. Stars Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgard, Shia LaBeouf, Stacy Martin, Willem Dafoe, Mia Goth, Sophie Kennedy Clark, Christian Slater, Jamie Bell, Uma Thurman, Michael Pas, Connie Nielsen and Ananya Berg. On DVD and Blu-ray.