A Marvel hero and two TV shows top this week’s DVD releases.
“The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” Grade B-minus: Spidey battles three foes while trying to work out his love life. Andrew Garfield stars.
Overall, the film is an entertaining, high-flying action film that reflects the events that have unfolded in the world of Marvel Comics as closely as any comic-book-inspired film. It finds strength in how much more comfortable Garfield is playing the web-spinner, but it loses energy with some with the villains.
Director Marc Webb, who also directed “The Amazing Spider-Man,” does a solid job of staging both the big action and emotional scenes. He also gives the movie a kinetic flow, accented by sweeping scenes of Spider-Man sailing through the air that are so good they don’t need 3-D to be exciting.
This “Spider-Man” doesn’t end up amazing, but it still weaves enough of an action film web to please rabid readers of the comics and those who aren’t as mad about the books.
“Hey Arnold! The Complete Series,” Grade B: All 99 adventures starring the kid with a head shaped like a football are on this 16-DVD box set. The series was created by Craig Bartlett as a comic in 1986 and debuted as an animated short for the Nickelodeon film “Harriet the Spy” in 1996.
Not only does the animated series include some smart and funny writing, it has an strong voice cast that includes Dan Castellaneta (“The Simpsons”), Francesca Smith (“Recess”), Toran Caudell (“Recess”) and Jamil Walker Smith (“SGU Stargate Universe”).
The DVD will make you shout “Hey Arnold!”
“Rosemary’s Baby,” Grade B: The NBC miniseries continues the psychological themes of the 1968 film, but it loses some of the tension and terror by expanding the tale to four hours and moving the setting from New York to Paris.
There have been slight variations on events depicted in the original movie and book, but the miniseries generally follows the same story. It’s just that the path has been doubled in length. Because the story has been stretched to fill four hours, the action slows — not a good idea when dealing with psychological terror. The tension needs to increase rather quickly to create the anxiety that makes horror films so entertaining.
Even with the changes, there’s nothing particularly wrong with the new offering. It just seems unnecessary because the original film is still one of the best when it comes to smart horror films.
Also new on DVD Aug. 19:
“Finding Hope Now”: Priest (Michael Badalucco) tries to help those who have been pulled into gangs. The film was shot in Fresno.
“The Quiet Ones”: Bad things happen when a professor and his students set out to cure a disturbed patient.
“NCIS: The Eleventh Season”: Includes the 250th episode celebration and interviews with the cast and crew.
“Martial Arts Movie Marathon, Vol. 2.”: “The Fate of Lee Khan (1973)” and “Shaolin Boxers” (1976) are in the set.
“The Sacrament”: Two reporters find an isolated community of true believers devoted to a shadowy figure called “Father.”
“Revolution: The Complete Second Season”: NBC series about life in a world where there’s no electricity.
“NCIS: Los Angeles–The Fifth Season”: Celebration of show’s 100th episode is included.
“Aerial America: Southeast Collection”: Soar over the South’s major landscapes and landmarks.
“Newhart: The Complete Fourth Season”: Bob Newhart plays a befuddle innkeeper in the TV comedy.
“A Haunting: Season 6”: Tales of the supernatural take you inside real-life horror stories.
“Home Is Where the Heart Is”: Three very different people form a bond in a small town.
“Leviathan”: The 1989 film is now available on Blu-ray.
“The Millers: The First Season”: CBS comedy starring Will Arnett and Margo Martindale.
“The Good Wife–The Fifth Season”: Among the episodes is the one featuring the event that shocked fans.
“Adventure Planet”: Animated tale featuring the voice talents of Jane Lynch and Brooke Shields.
“Ace Wonder”: Young detective is on the case in the junior film noir tale.
“Varsity Blood”: Someone is out to get blood from the high school football team, cheerleaders.
“The Legend of Shelby The Swamp Man: Season 1”: Follows Shelby Stanga’s logging exploits in the swamps of southern Louisiana.
“Anna”: Haunted teen may be hiding secrets. Brian Cox stars.
“Only Lovers Left Alive”: Stars Oscar winner Tilda Swinton.
“Jarhead 2: Field of Fire”: Marine unit in Afghanistan faces a dangerous mission.
“A Good Man”: Former soldier (Steven Seagal) battles the Russian mob.