COUCH THEATER — DVD PREVIEWS

Chris Hemsworth

PICKS OF THE WEEK
“Thor” (PG-13) — The Norse god of thunder steps up to the plate for his turn at bat for Marvel superhero movies. The Scandinavian musclecake (played by Chris Hemsworth) hits it out of the park in terms of visual splendor and respect for the comics, but limps all the way to home plate when compared with the current standard for superheroes on film.

Thor breaks the superhero mold in a few ways — he’s never an Average Joe, his backstory is more otherworldly than familiar, and he doesn’t mount a war against crime, but rather he battles arcane and supernatural evil. True geeks must see “Thor” as a prerequisite to the upcoming Avengers movie that will tie together all of Marvel’s major releases from the past few years. More casual superhero fans can skip this middle-of-its-class flick and play catch up when it’s time for the big reunion.

“Incendies” (R) — Nominated for Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, this import is emotionally powerful and socially relevant. After the death of their mother, twins Jeanne and Simon are tasked with finding the father who they thought had died and the brother they never knew they had.

The journey takes the siblings to the Middle East, where the rabbit-hole twists into a world of perpetual war and long-held hard feelings. The performances and pure tension make this a memorable and touching work.

“Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop” (R) — After the debacle over who should host “The Tonight Show” and his falling out with NBC, comedy writer and TV personality, Conan O’Brien, takes his act on the road. In this documentary of “The Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television Tour,” the gawky funnyman travels the country doing live performances and reflecting on his role in the comedy world.

Even for people who never stayed up late for a dose of Conan, “Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop” has plenty of chuckles and an interesting portrayal of somebody who is utterly compelled to make people laugh.

BUYER BEWARE
“Star Wars: The Original Trilogy” [Blu-ray] — Enough time has passed since the last re-release, so we’re apparently due for another Star Wars box set. Though this latest batch contains only the original trilogy (episodes IV-VI), they are not Blu-ray versions of the old releases, but rather the very-altered 2004 editions in Blu-ray format. These movies are riddled with annoying tweaks, awful updated special effects and re-touched or even re-shot footage mixed in with the original films from the 1970s. In short, they have all the charm and visual panache of a fine work of modern art adorned with shiny stickers and eraser burn.

TV RELEASES
“Supernatural: The Complete Sixth Season”
“The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Fourth Season”
“Glee: The Complete Second Season”
“It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia: Season 6”
“The Good Wife: The Second Season”
“That ’70s Show: Biggest Hits”
“Mythbusters: Collection 7”
“The Dick Van Dyke Show 50th Anniversary Edition: Fan Favorites”

© 2011 King Features Synd., Inc.

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