New on DVD July 9: 'The Host'

The Fresno BeeJuly 3, 2013 

Saoirse Ronan and Jake Abel star in the overly complicated "The Host."

OPEN ROAD FILMS

This week's top DVD releases deal with strange new worlds.

"The Host," Grade C+: The last humans fight back when aliens take over the planet.

Hollywood has always shown a fondness for adapting books into movies. Not only does this provide instant fodder for a script, but it guarantees a built-in audience. It also comes with some inherent problems, including cutting the story to fit a movie timetable and translating the characters from the image the reader creates to the one that appears on the large screen.

Director Andrew Niccol faced both problems with his film adaptation of Stephenie Meyer's "The Host." He only successfully handles one.

Niccol's script ends up being a nice blend of the kind of lofty topics that are the heart of sci-fi productions, with a complicated love story that's made Meyer's book so popular. The romance elements are even more complicated than her "Twilight" tales: Two guys (Max Irons, Jake Abel) are in love with a person with two personalities.

Special features on the Blu-ray include deleted scenes and a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film.

"The Twilight Zone: The Complete Third Season," Grade A-: It's been more than 50 years since this series first introduced the world to the odd mind of Rod Serling. The cars, clothes and hairstyles may be very different, but the stories remain as intriguing and entertaining as the first day they aired.

This DVD set of 37 episodes includes such classics as "The Midnight Sun," "Five Characters in Search of an Exit," "A Quality of Mercy" and one of the most memorable "Twilight Zone" episodes ever, "To Serve Man."

One thing that makes these shows so good is the amazing cast. Many of the actors who star in the shows — Robert Redford, Carol Burnett, Cliff Robertson, Charles Bronson, Leonard Nimoy, Elizabeth Montgomery, Dean Stockwell and Bill Mumy — were at the start of their careers. It's easy to see why so many became award-winning actors.

"Spring Breakers": Four friends get into deep trouble because of spring break. Selena Gomez stars.

"Tyler Perry's Temptation": A marriage counselor has a troubled marriage.

"The Gatekeepers": Head of Israel's secret service is present at the crossroad of every decision made.

"Dead Man Down": The search for revenge leads to violence. Colin Farrell stars.

"Marvel Knights Animation's Wolverine: Origin": The adventures of Wolverine's early days and the revelation of his true origins are brought to life.

"Ben 10 Omniverse: Heroes Rise": Includes 10 episodes from the series' first season starring Ben, his arsenal of alien alter-egos.

"Our Wild Hearts": A determined teen is obsessed with meeting the father she never knew. Ricky Schroder stars.

"Admission": Princeton University admissions officer (Tina Fey) must deal with a former college classmate who runs an alternative high school.

"Mindless Behavior": Concert documentary follows teen R&B/hip-hop boy band.

"Unforgettable": A detective has a rare condition in which she cannot forget anything. Poppy Montgomery stars.

"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:" Leo, Donnie, Raph and Mikey take to the streets of New York where every turn yields a new enemy.

"For Richer or Poorer": A spoiled prima donna must change her lifestyle when her husband loses his job.

"The Power of Few": Twisted crime story starring Christopher Walken.

"Dark Power": The mayor of a crime-ridden city and his opponent are both assassinated while seeking election.

"Best of Daisy": Fourth and final title in the "Best of" Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!" DVD collection.

"Aerial America: New England Collection": A look at the varied landscapes of the six original colonies.

"Arthur C. Clarke: The Complete Collection": Series investigates the inexplicable, abnormal and mind-boggling wonders of the world. The documentary series originally aired on Britain's ITV network.

"How The West Was Won: The Complete First Season": The 1977 TV series is based on the 1962 film of the same name. James Arness stars.

"Bonanza: The Official Sixth Season": Dan Blocker stars in the TV Western series.

"Last of the Summer Wine: Vintage 1999": A season full of antics from the world's longest running sitcom.

"Barney: Imagine With Barney": Includes four new episodes.

"Angelina Ballerina: Mousical Medleys": The group gets involved with a musical and dance-a-thon.

"Dynasty: The Seventh Season": Prime-time drama starring Linda Evans.

 

TV and movie critic Rick Bentley can be reached at (559) 441-6355, rbentley@fresnobee.com or @RickBentley1 on Twitter. Read his blog at fresnobeehive.com.

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