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This Week in Blu-ray / DVD Releases: Furious 7, Cinderella, Agent Carter


This Week: On the road again with Furious 7, Cinderella gets a makeover, and a double header of Marvel TV.

► It took just 10 days for FURIOUS 7 to become the franchise’s biggest hit, and it earned that title honestly: With grandiose action sequences, and an emotional send-off to star Paul Walker, who died during filming. The uptick in quality was a welcome surprise after the dismal (but still obscenely successful) last two movies, much of it thanks to director James Wan. The plot borrows a page from ‘Die Hard With a Vengeance,’ with Jason Statham playing the brother of the last film’s baddie, Owen Shaw. He swears vengeance on Dom and his retired crew, which means stealing their profiles from Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson). Any movie that has Jason Statham vs. The Rock gets a pass. As does the pretty incredible air drop sequence that tops anything else in the series. Final scene would have been a perfect, poignant way to end the series. Fat chance of that.

► Even after the summer blockbusters, Kenneth Branagh’s take on CINDERELLA is one of the biggest movies of the year. Lily James steps into the glass slippers, Cate Blanchett brings the nasty as Lady Tremaine, and Richard Madden is a smooth Prince Charming. Nothing like the live action ‘Alice in Wonderland,’ whose success no doubt prompted Disney to give this a go. A lavish-looking, faithful take on a fairy tale which dates back to 1697. Disney has several more live-action versions of their classics on the way.

► Marvel’s TV twinbill hasn’t been the subpar filler many assumed, as they connect and often expand on the movie universe. Season 2 of AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. picks up where ‘The Winter Soldier’ left off, with S.H.I.E.L.D. on the ropes after being infiltrated by Hydra. Before the season ends, we get a hint of the Kree to tie in with ‘Guardians of the Galaxy,’ and our first glimpse of The Inhumans before they get their own flick. Meanwhile, Season 1 of AGENT CARTER was an even bigger hit with fans, picking up with Carter (Haley Atwell) after the apparent death of Steve Rogers in the first Captain America flick. Feeling marginalized after World War II ends, she gets back in the game by helping Howard Stark find the party that framed him for selling deadly weapons to the highest bidder. Fun tidbits and Marvel Easter eggs throughout, and Atwell carries the show like a boss. Only eight episodes, though, serving as the fill-in during ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s mid-season break.

► Another Bond flick coming out, another Bond boxed set on blu-ray and DVD. THE ULTIMATE JAMES BOND COLLECTION isn’t much different from the fancy 50th anniversary collection which came out two years ago. You get a new bonus disc with a 90-minute documentary on the ‘untold story of 007’ (whatever that means), digital copies of each movie, and pocket-sized movie posters. There’s also room in the box for ‘Spectre’ when it comes out on blu-ray. Individual collections for each Bond actor are also available.

► Bill Pohlad’s bio flick on Brian Wilson LOVE & MERCY skips between young Wilson in the ‘60s (Paul Dano) and the broken recluse of the ‘80s (John Cusack), showing how the Beach Boys genius lost his grip on reality while working on ‘Pet Sounds,’ eventually retreating from the world until a Cadillac saleswoman (Elizabeth Banks) lures him away from the therapist (Paul Giamotti) who is micromanaging his life. Among the movie’s biggest fans was Wilson himself, who called it “very factual,” and said he was “absolutely in fear” during some of the rougher flashbacks with his manipulative doctor.

► Between ‘Californication’ and his return to ‘The X-Files,’ David Duchovny took on Charles Manson in Season 1 of the ‘60s crime drama AQUARIUS. He plays a LAPD detective seeking a missing teenaged girl who has fallen in with Manson (Gethin Anthony) and his ‘family’ in 1967. Following the premiere, NBC released all 13 episodes on its website and Hulu, which explains why ratings took a sharp nosedive. Blu-ray includes four webisodes showing Manson recruiting his first female followers during the Summer of Love.

► A two-disc special edition of Walerian Borowcyk’s notorious Eurotrash fantasy THE BEAST (1975) includes a 2014 reunion of the crew, a making-of doc with commentary, and a glimpse at the planned but never made sequel, ‘Motherhood.’ The bizarre flick, originally part of the equally twisted anthology IMMORAL TALES (also out Tuesday), is a sleazy take on the fairy tale about a woman who inherits her family estate on the condition she marries the deformed son of her father’s best friend. He seems more interested in her horses, and the movie has an icky fascination with bestiality that’ll test your stomach.

Also out this week:







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