New DVDs this week

Published: Friday, Apr. 5, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 13TICKET

"Hemingway & Gellhorn" (unrated, HBO): Intending to re- create the torrid romance between two of the 20th century's most talented writers, this fanciful but slap-dash movie instead portrays a couple who engaged in a decade or so of grudge sex, using civil wars and populist uprisings as their preferred marital aids. Clive Owen and Nicole Kidman star as Ernest Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn, two people who couldn't get turned on unless guerrilla forces were advancing over a nearby hill. Extras: commentary with Kaufman and editor Walter Murch, and making-of and visual effects featurettes.

"John Dies at the End" (R, 99 minutes, Magnolia Home Entertainment): This dark comedy is a mash-up of grindhouse gore, film-noir narration and a headache-inducing sci-fi premise about a drug that opens a portal to a parallel universe inhabited by evil creatures bent on human destruction. Framed as a series of flashbacks related to a skeptical reporter (Paul Giamatti), "John Dies at the End" is the story of what happens when 20-something slackers Dave (Chase Williamson) and his friend John (Rob Mayes) discover a drug called "soy sauce," which forever alters their senses and perception of reality. Adapted by writer-director Don Coscarelli from Jason Pargin's 2007 comic horror novel, "John Dies at the End" is not for everyone. Contains obscenity, violence, gore, and sexual and drug content. Extras: Commentary with Williamson, Mayes, Coscarelli and producer Brad Baruh; deleted scenes; making-of featurette; special effects short and casting sessions.

"Planet Ocean" (unrated, Universal): This documentary, directed by Yann Arthus-Bertrand and Michael Pitiot, was made with a team of renowned international underwater cinematographers in partnership with OMEGA and with the scientific support of Tara Expeditions. The film aims to explain some of the planet's greatest natural mysteries, while reinforcing how essential it is that mankind learns to live in harmony with the oceans.

Also: "Frontline: The Untouchables: Money, Power and Wall Street" (PBS), "Jackie Robinson: My Story" (2003), "Knuckleball," "The Kick" (2011, Thailand/South Korea), "The Best of Warner Bros. 20 Film Collection: Romance" (22-disc box set from Warner Home Video), "The Sweeney," "Charlie: A Toy Story" (Dove-approved family film), "American Masters Philip Roth: Unmasked" (PBS), "Forbidden Woman," "Earth's Final Hours" (Syfy channel feature), "Tormented" (2011, Japan) and "A Turtle's Tale 2: Sammy's Escape From Paradise," and "The Bible" (History channel miniseries).

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