Courtesy of Warner Bros. Picture / Warner Bros. Pictures

George Clooney is astronaut Matt Kowalski in “Gravity.”

DVD previews for this week

Published: Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014 - 12:00 am
Last Modified: Friday, Feb. 28, 2014 - 12:21 am

“Gravity” (PG-13, 91 minutes, Warner): Thanks to director Alfonso Cuarón’s prodigious gifts, “Gravity” succeeds simultaneously as a simple classic shipwreck narrative (albeit at zero-gravity), and as an utterly breathtaking restoration of size and occasion to the movies themselves. Using an ingenious combination of live action, computer-generated imagery, cutting-edge lighting techniques and 3-D, Cuarón puts viewers into the tumbling, floating, frighteningly unrooted world of “Gravity,” where Sandra Bullock and George Clooney convincingly move with both balletic grace and puffy, moon-man awkwardness. Contains intense perilous sequences, some disturbing images and brief, strong profanity. DVD extras include “Collision Point: The Race to Clean Up Space” featurette narrated by Ed Harris, “Aningaaq” seven-minute sci-fi short by “Gravity” co-writer Jonas Cuarón, and “Play With Introduction.” Also, on Blu-ray: shot breakdowns, a nine-part “Mission Control” making-of and “Sandra’s Surprise!” featurettes. Available in 3-D.

“Nebraska” (R, 115 minutes, Paramount): In many ways, this is a classic buddy road-picture, with the mismatched Woody (Bruce Dern) and Dave (Will Forte) setting forth on a journey of mishaps, chance encounters, hilarious high jinks and – of course – filial bonding. But thanks to Bob Nelson’s lean, tone-perfect script and director Alexander Payne’s tender execution, “Nebraska” never feels patronizing or facile. At 76, Dern finally gets to be the leading man he’s long deserved to be, filling “Nebraska’s” wide open spaces with a performance of subtlety, bittersweetness and surpassing emotional courage. And he’s created a classic character, one who eloquently embodies the anxieties, thwarted aspirations and stubborn tenacity of a rural middle class facing inexorable decline. Contains some profanity. Extras include six-part making-of featurette.

“Thor: The Dark World” (PG-13, 112 minutes, in English and some Elvish, with subtitles, Disney): Thor’s villainous brother, Loki, is defeated and in chains; Thor’s human girlfriend, Jane, pines for her absent lover; and Thor is preoccupied with stamping out uprisings on various of the nine realms that he and his kind rule over. But when Jane stumbles upon something called the Aether – a long-hidden source of destructive energy, which takes over her body like a virus – Thor (played by Chris Hemsworth) must drop everything and return to Earth to protect her from Malekith. Tom Hiddleston steals the show here, making wickedness and treachery look a heck of a lot more fun than virtue. Contains action violence. Extras include commentary with Hiddleston, director Alan Taylor, producer Kevin Feige and cinematographer Kramer Morgenthau; extended and deleted scenes; gag reel; an exclusive look at “Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and featurettes “A Brothers’ Journey: Thor & Loki” and “Scoring Marvel’s Thor.”

Also: “Muscle Shoals,” “Jamesy Boy,” “Pulling Strings,” “Breathless” (1960, Jean-Luc Godard classic), “Tess” (1979), “King of the Hill” (1993), “Twice Born” (Italy/Spain), “Ice Soldiers” and “Scarecrow.”

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