New on DVD: 'Veronica Mars,' iconic musicals and top comedy

The Fresno BeeApril 30, 2014 

Kristen Bell stars as the title character in "Veronica Mars," a film that will draw in those who never saw the TV series.

WARNER BROS.

It's a few blasts from the past with this week's new DVD releases.

"Veronica Mars," Grade B: The film picks up nine years after Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell) left Neptune. She's on the fast track to a job with a prestigious New York law firm. That's when she is called home to help her old high school friend, Logan Echolls (Jason Dohring), who is the prime suspect in the murder of his pop star girlfriend.

Rob Thomas creates a film that will draw in those who never saw the series. For the newbies, he provides the right amount of exposition to explain who all of the characters are — without making the production feel slow to all of the loyal fans. Because he finds that balance, the film is both a loving gift for those who adore the series and a fun and entertaining murder mystery for those who don't know Veronica Mars from Bruno Mars.

Author Thomas Wolfe professed you can't go home again. "Veronica Mars" proves him wrong. This trip back to her old mystery-solving stomping ground is pleasantly entertaining for the uninformed and a perfect thank you to all of the loyal fans.

"The Rodgers & Hammerstein Blu-ray Collection." Grade A: The songwriting team of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II created some of the most iconic musicals of the 20th century. This collection features six of the 15-time Academy Award-winning movie musicals by the team.

The set features digital restorations of "The King and I," "Carousel," "Oklahoma!," "State Fair," "The Sound of Music" and "South Pacific."

Bonus materials include a sing-a-long version of "The King and I" and more than an hour of behind-the-scenes features for "Oklahoma!"

"Blazing Saddles," Grade A: The 40th anniversary edition of the comedy is being released on Blu-ray. In any form, this is a must own for anyone who loves film comedy. The film, starring Gene Wilder and Cleavon Little, from director/writer Mel Brooks, is considered one of the top film comedies of all time.

Included in the special edition release is the featurette "Blaze of Glory: Mel Brooks' Wild, Wild West" in which Brooks reflects on his own movie-making chutzpah and the film's cultural impact on audiences of all generations. It also includes 10 art cards with quotes and images from the film plus a cast reunion documentary and "Black Bart," the 1975 television pilot inspired by the movie.

ALSO NEW ON DVD TUESDAY

"Making the Rules": Robin Thicke makes his feature film debut.

"The Terminal": The Tom Hanks film on Blu-ray.

"I Love Lucy — Ultimate Season One": New Blu-ray includes the first episodes of the Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz series.

"Desert Riders": The story of human trafficking behind camel racing.

"Truth": The line between love and lies blur.

"Revenge of the Nerds": Nerds are back to mark the 20th anniversary of the film's release.

"Your Inner Fish": Three-part series is hosted by paleobiologist Dr. Neil Shubin.

"Republic of Doyle, Season 1": Follows a father (Sean McGinley) and son (Allan Hawco) sleuthing team.

"7 Boxes": Teen offered $100 to deliver seven boxes.

"Agatha Christie's Poirot, Series 12": David Suchet plays Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot.

"La Madame (Parte 1): After The Madame is kidnapped by a mob boss, she's forced to tell the stories of each of her girls.

"A Celebration of Blues and Soul: The 1989 Presidential Inaugural Concert": Features performances by Stevie Ray Vaughan, Bo Diddley, Bill Preston and Dr. John.

"Lewis Black: Old Yeller": Comedian performs in Atlantic City.

"Explorer Koko": Latest release in the "Chuggington" series.

"The Andy Griffith Show": Includes restored versions of the 32 episodes in the first season.

"Little House On The Prairie — Season Two": Blu-ray includes 22 fully remastered episodes.

"The Honeymooners: Classic 39": Blu-ray collection contains full-length episodes of the classic TV series.

"Simon and the Oaks": Two very different families come together during World War II.

"Adventure Time: The Suitor": Princess Bubblegum's featured in the set that includes 16 episodes.

"Norma Rae": Film that earned Sally Field an Oscar is being released to mark the 35th anniversary.

"Still Mine": James Cromwell and Geneviève Bujold star in this film that proves love is the ultimate triumph.

"Generation War": German epic drama spanning over five years beginning in Berlin in 1941.

"Hot Guys With Guns": Modern take on old-fashioned detective story.

"The Dinosaur Experiment": Local cattle ranch's breeding ground for velociraptors.

"Laverne & Shirley — The Eighth and Final Season": Shirley's romance leaves Laverne on her own.

"Separate But Equal": Sidney Poitier stars in the film about events leading up to the Brown v. Board of Education ruling.

"Transformers Energon: The Complete Series": Optimus Prime and his team search for Energon.

 

 

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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