DVD releases that sing big, walk tall and go deep hit stores this week.
"Camelot," Grade A: The 45th anniversary of the film version of the Tony Award-winning stage production from Lerner and Loewe is being marked with the release of a special Blu-ray that includes 36 pages of photos, trivia and more.
The wonderful musical, directed by Joshua Logan, based on T.H. White's "The Once and Future King," looks at the lives and loves of those during the reign of King Arthur and the Knights of The Round Table. It's a tale of honor, betrayal and duty.
Although Richard Harris will be remembered more for his acting than his singing, he does a passable job with the musical numbers for King Arthur. Vanessa Redgrave and Franco Nero also star.
The film won three 1968 Academy Awards for Best Adaptation Scoring, Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design.
"The Walking Tall Trilogy," Grade B-: The new Blu-ray set includes "Walking Tall," "Walking Tall Part 2" and "Final Chapter: Walking Tall." They all tell the story of Tennessee sheriff Buford Pusser (Joe Don Baker), who not only walked tall but also carried a big stick. He survived several assassination attempts to dish out a brutal form of justice to clean up his town.
Baker's performance is wooden, and the stunts are a little slow compared to today's standards. What's interesting about the 1973 film is how it influenced the growling anti-heroes made popular by the likes of Sylvester Stallone and Chuck Norris.
"Dark Tide," Grade D+: Director John Stockwell has managed to do the near impossible: He made a movie with Halle Berry and a bunch of man-eating sharks appear about as exciting as a kids wading pool. Slow pacing and a script that drips with stereotypes further sinks this sea-going tale.
Berry's character is called "the shark whisperer" because of her ability to swim with the watery beasts without a cage. A tragic incident has stopped her whispering, but she gets lured back to the ocean by her ex-boyfriend and a businessman with more money than common sense.
Needless to say, things go bad. The problem with the movie is that it takes so long for the bad stuff to happen that the audience gets bored and just doesn't care.
Also coming to DVD April 24
- "Titanic": The British mini-series starring Toby Jones offers multiple looks at the historic sinking.
- "The Innkeepers": Two employees look into the haunted past of the hotel where they work. Sara Paxton stars.
- "Young Goethe in Love": German poet Johann Wolfgang Goethe finds his inspiration.
- "Let the Bullets Fly": The action-comedy stars Chow Yun-Fat.
- "Cinema Verite": Diane Lane stars in this film that looks at the first reality TV program.
- "Patton Oswalt: Finest Hour": Patton Oswalt stars in his fourth full-length comedy special.
- "Albatross": The great-granddaughter (Jessica Brown Findlay) of Arthur Conan Doyle wants to become a writer.
- "The Time That Remains": Elia Suleiman's look at life among the Israeli Arab community.
- "Crime After Crime": Documentary about a woman sent to jail for the murder of her abuser.
- "Return": Linda Cardellini plays a woman adjusting back into life after military service.
- "Contraband": A man (Mark Wahlberg) must return to the life he left to protect his family.
- "The Wild Thornberrys: Season 2, Part 2": More adventures of the animated family that loves to hang out with animals.
- "X-Men Anime": Series features the voice of Scott Porter.
- "Spot and His Grandparents Go to the Carnival": Animated offering based on Eric Hill's books.
- "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy": Alec Guinness stars in John le Carre's classic Cold War spy drama.
- "Agatha Christie's Poirot": The fourth series of Agatha Christie's mysteries debuts on Blu-ray.
- "Chasing Happiness": A contemporary and intimate look at life. Elisa Donovan stars.
- "The Theatre Bizarre": The film was directed by seven horror genre veterans.
- "The Fields": A young boy discovers a terrifying secret in the fields outside his home.
- "Some Days Are Better Than Others": Matt McCormick's film asks why the good times slip by so fast.
- "Death and Cremation": A recluse offers cremation services from the basement of his funeral home.
- "Iron Man Anime": Adventures of the Marvel heroes are presented in the anime style.
- "A Mother's Love": Film adapted from Carolyn Alexander's stage play.
TV and movie critic Rick Bentley can be reached at (559) 441-6355, firstname.lastname@example.org
or @RickBentley1. Read his blog at fresnobeehive.com.