New on DVD April 22: 'The Pawnbroker,' 'The Address,' 'Stan Lee's Mighty 7'

The Fresno BeeApril 16, 2014 

It's a thin week as far as new DVD releases go.

"The Pawnbroker," Grade A-: The film directed by Academy-Award-winner Sidney Lumet features one of the greatest performances in the career of Rod Steiger. He earned a 1965 Best Actor Oscar nomination for his portrayal of the survivor of a World War II Nazi death camp who lives a life of misery and hatred.

Sol Nazerman (Steiger) has not been the same since he saw his parents, wife and children murdered in a concentration camp. His decision to open a pawnshop in Harlem — where the clients are mostly thieves and prostitutes — reflects the emptiness that he's living with on a daily basis. The pawnbroker's emotional wasteland becomes even more intensified by the contract to his underprivileged and idealistic assistant.

As if Steiger's performance wasn't enough, "The Pawnbroker" features a jazz-influenced score by Quincy Jones and a supporting cast of Geraldine Fitzgerald, Brock Peters, Raymond St. Jacques and a very young Morgan Freeman.

The black and white film — that was selected in 2008 for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress — has been remastered in high definition.

"The Address," Grade B: Filmmaker Ken Burns takes a look at the students at the Greenwood School — a tiny Vermont learning institute for boys ages 11-17 who face a range of personal, academic and social challenges — and their annual task of learning Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.

It's a moving story of how a speech given more than 150 years ago is helping heal these students. The documentary shows their growth and development as they dig into the history, context and importance of President Lincoln's most powerful address.

"Stan Lee's Mighty 7: Beginnings," Grade B: Marvel Comics guru Stan Lee has had a cameo role in the big budget movies based on the characters he helped create. This animated film takes Lee from cameo to star.

The first person seven aliens meet when their spaceship crashes on Earth is Lee. After years of creating fictional costumed heroes, Lee realizes he can now write about real people who have special powers. Lee invites the aliens to live with him where he turns them into media stars while they deal with a great evil.

This different look at the superhero genre is fun plus introduces a group of new and interesting heroes. This is the first of a trio of films featuring Lee and company.Along with Lee, voice talent includes Armie Hammer, Christian Slater, Mayim Bialik, Teri Hatcher, Flea, Darren Criss, Sean Astin, Jim Belushi and Michael Ironside.

"The Stan Lee's Mighty 7: Beginnings" comes with $6.25 in e-Movie Cash, extended scenes and a Stan Lee trivia game.

Also new on DVD Tuesday, April 22

"Doctor Who: The Web of Fear": A 1968 six-part adventure featuring Doctor Who.

"Nikita: The Complete Fourth and Final Season": Last six episodes from the TV series.

"Seven Warriors": A modern take on Akira Kurosawa's "Seven Samurai."

"Big Bad Wolves": Lives of three men go on a collision course after a series of brutal murders.

"Scream Park": Amusement park owner has a murderous idea to sell tickets.

"Corazon Indomable": Young woman reinvents herself to avenge those who cruelly mistreated her.

"Barefoot": Paths of trusting hospital patient and wayward employee cross.

"The Hooping Life": A look at the origins and rise of modern day hula-hooping.

"Tyler Perry's Madea's Neighbors From Hell (The Play)": Madea goes against troubled new neighbors.

"The Suspect": A small town bank robbery leads to showdown between a sheriff and a mysterious stranger.

"Chances Are: 25th Anniversary Edition": A woman's dead husband comes back into her life in a new body.

"Sorcerer": William Friedkin's 1977 cult suspense thriller.

"The Good Witch's Garden": Cable movie starring Catherine Bell.

"Newhart: The Complete Third Season": Bob Newhart plays the owner of an inn that's filled with odd people.

"Martial Arts Double Feature": Includes "Lady Whirlwind" and "Hapkido."

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

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