COUCH THEATER — DVD PREVIEWS

Natalie Portman

By DNA Smith
PICKS OF THE WEEK
“Tangled” (PG) — The classic fairy tale “Rapunzel” is the subject of Disney’s 50th animated feature, and it follows the studio’s tried-and-true formula to the letter. Rapunzel (voiced by Mandy Moore) is a girl on the verge of turning 18, and she longs to leave the tower where she’s been kept all her life so she can witness the floating lights that appear every year on her birthday. Her fortunes take a turn when notorious thief Flynn Ryder (Zachary Levi) climbs into her tower and the two make a run for it. As with all Disney films, songs will be sung, Important Lessons will be learned, and tie-in merchandise will be sold by the bushel. That said, I’m sure your little girl will love the film.

“Black Swan” (R) — Natalie Portman won the Oscar for her portrayal of Nina, a ballerina driven to madness in director Darren Aronofsky’s often slow-paced psychosexual thriller.

When the ballet company director casts Nina as both the Black and White Swan in his production of “Swan Lake,” Nina not only has to face the challenge of playing two emotionally different roles, but also has to contend with her overbearing mother (Barbara Hershey), the whacked-out diva she’s replacing (Wynona Ryder in a gripping performance) and a viciously ambitious newcomer (Mila Kunis).
Although slow at times, and despite a few bits of scenery-chewing, Aronofsky manages to keep the suspense building throughout the film, culminating in an explosive and chilling final act.

“The Ten Commandments: Limited Edition Gift Set” (G) — A mainstay of Easter Sunday television for decades, Cecil B. DeMille’s legendary biblical epic gets an equally audacious release this week: Six discs (three DVD, three Blu-Ray) containing both the 1956 Charlton Heston version and the original 1923 silent original, hours of special features, a 50-page book, a reproduction of the original 1956 souvenir program and more. If you’re not inclined to plunk down 90 bucks for this boxed set, there are more affordable DVD and Blu-Ray versions of the film also being released this week.

TV SHOWS
“Ken Burns: The Civil War” Commemorative Edition DVD
“Upstairs, Downstairs” The Complete Series — 40th Anniversary Collection
“Mad Men” Season Four
“Rocky & Bullwinkle & Friends” Complete 5th Season
“Treme” The Complete First Season
“In Plain Sight” Season 3
“Happiness Is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown”
“Xena Warrior Princess” Season 2
“Emergency: The Final Rescues”
“Gangland: The Final Season”
“Here’s Lucy” Season Four
“Vegas” The Second Season, Volume Two
“Hercules: The Legendary Journeys” Season Two
“Everybody Loves Raymond” Seasons 6 and 7
“Nova scienceNOW: What’s the Next Big Thing”

© 2011 King Features Synd., Inc.

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