DVD previews for this week

“Man of Steel”

(PG-13, 143 minutes, Warner): Newly minted superstar Henry Cavill makes a well-built, handsomely credible Superman in this reboot. In Cavill, director Zack Snyder’s busy, bombastic creation myth is reduced to little more than a joyless cipher or dazzling physical specimen. Produced by Christopher Nolan, who brought such grim self-seriousness to the “Batman” franchise, “Man of Steel” clearly seeks the same brand of grandiose gravitas. But that dour tone turns out to be far more appropriate for a tortured hero brooding in his cave than for an all-American alien who is as much a product of the wholesome windswept Plains as a distant planet called Krypton. Contains intense sequences of sci-fi violence and destruction, and some rude language.


(PG, 96 minutes, DreamWorks/Fox): This triumph of speed over slime trails borrows some elements from “Fast and Furious”: a drag race, nitrous oxide and even a Michelle Rodriguez. “Turbo” is a good-hearted movie that’s peppered with enough clever touches to engage adults as well as moviegoers of the smaller, squirmier variety. The star of this show is Theo (voice of Ryan Reynolds), a snail with his shell in the dirt but his itty-bitty, gelatinous head in the clouds. Theo is obsessed with auto racing and determined – against all odds, logic and the persistent naysaying of his older brother, Chet (Paul Giamatti) – to compete in a legitimate speedway event. Contains some mild action and thematic elements.

“Frances Ha”

(R, 86 minutes, The Criterion Collection): The writer-director of this small, gemlike coming-of-age comedy is Noah Baumbach, son of former Village Voice film critic Georgia Brown and author Jonathan Baumbach. Three of its most arresting supporting players – Mickey Sumner, Grace Gummer and Charlotte D'Amboise – are the daughters of Sting, Meryl Streep and ballet star Jacques D'Amboise. Not to be outdone, the incandescent star of “Frances Ha,” Greta Gerwig, casts her own parents as her character’s mom and dad, roles they play with a bracing lack of self-consciousness or patronizing irony in a movie set squarely in that fraught nether-region between arrested adolescence and adulthood. Writing with Gerwig, Baumbach has created a fey, sneakily charming generational touchstone on a par with “Annie Hall” and his own “Kicking and Screaming.” And he has created a spectacular showcase for Gerwig, a creaturely, almost feral sprite whose instincts and born-ready camera presence have long been staples of hand-made indie productions, but have yet to find their rightful purchase in mainstream Hollywood. Contains sexual references and profanity.

Also: “The Attack,” “Blackfish” (documentary on the dangers of performing killer whales), “Prince Avalanche,” “Paradise,” “Ambushed,” “In Search of Blind Joe Death: The Saga of John Fahey” (documentary), “Gettysburg and the Civil War” (box set to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address on Nov. 19, PBS), “The Capture of Grizzly Adams” (1982), “JFK Remembered: 50 Years Later” and “John F. Kennedy: Years of Lightning, Day of Drums” (1964 documentary).