New DVDs this week

Published: Friday, Jun. 14, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 15TICKET

"Oz the Great and Powerful" (PG, 130 minutes, Disney): Oscar Diggs (James Franco) is a sideshow conjurer with a traveling circus in 1905 Kansas, captured in the black-and-white, square-framed format of old-timey cinema. He's forced to make a quick escape from the midway via hot-air balloon, at which point he's caught in a cyclone that plops him down in a brightly colored, wide-screen world. If that all sounds familiar, it's meant to: "Oz the Great and Powerful" hews faithfully to Victor Fleming's "The Wizard of Oz." Time travel may be one element of the L. Frank Baum stories on which "The Wizard of Oz" and this incarnation are based, but plopping a Gen-X California boy into a role that calls for swift instincts and shrewd alertness is an error from which "Oz the Great and Powerful" never recovers. Contains sequences of action and scary images and obscenity. Extras: bloopers and a "Walt Disney and the Road to Oz" featurette that connects Walt Disney's childhood fascination with the Land of Oz to the inspiration that became his adaptation of the classic Baum books.


"Snitch" (PG-13, 112 minutes, Summit Entertainment/Lionsgate): Neither a family-friendly comedy, nor a flat-out action flick, "Snitch" requires little of its star other than a look of perpetual consternation. Dwayne Johnson plays John Matthews, a man who volunteers to go undercover for the DEA to get the criminal sentence reduced for his 20-year-old son (Rafi Gavron), a first-time offender who has been caught in a drug sting. Other than that little role reversal, however, there's little that we haven't seen before. "Snitch" is protein-and-starch filmmaking at its utilitarian best. Contains violence and some obscenity.


"Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters" (R, 88 minutes, Paramount): If Abraham Lincoln can be a vampire hunter, then of course Hansel and Gretel would spend their lives tracking and killing witches. The pair's vocation may be the only logical part of this rarely funny spoof that's heavy on bone-crushing and blood-gushing. Contains excessively bloody violence, nudity and crude language.

Also: "Absolute Deception," "Wrong," "Knife Fight," "Ferlinghetti: A Rebirth of Wonder," "Killing Lincoln," "Long Distance Revolutionary: A Journey With Mumia Abu-Jamal," "11 Flowers" (2011, China), "Fred Won't Move Out" and "Betty & Coretta" (Lifetime) TV series: "The Newsroom: The Complete First Season" (HBO), "Burn Notice: Season 6," "Necessary Roughness: Season Two," "Rizzoli & Isles: The Complete Third Season," "Doctor Who: Inferno Special Edition" (BBC), "Doctor Who: The Mind of Evil" (Studio), "Ghost Hunters: Season 8 Part 2," "Fairly Legal: Season Two," "House of Cards: The Complete First Season" and "History Classics: After People" (2006-10).

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