A superhero film and several TV shows top this week's DVD releases.
"X-Men: Days of Future Past," Grade: B-: Mutant heroes from two time periods join forces to fight for survival.
The film is way too long and is overloaded with characters, but its general story is fun. It's best when focusing on Professor X, whether played by Patrick Stewart or James McAvoy. Both play the role with such sincerity that it makes the movie stronger.
The only problem is director Bryan Singer turns to over-blown special effects that just get in the way.
"Houdini," Grade B+: Adrien Brody is spellbinding and Kristen Connolly is compelling in this History Channel production that looks at the life and times of the world's great escape artist. Not only does the production pull back the curtain to reveal some of Houdini's greatest secrets, it also provides a glimpse into the performer's life off the stage.
The first two hours are the best as they feature the rise of Houdini to stardom. The second half gets bogged down slightly with Houdini's obsession with the afterlife.
Brody makes even the slower parts seem magical.
"Two and a Half Men: Season 11," Grade C-: The CBS comedy continues its slide into repetitive dullness. Even Ashton Kutcher and Amber Tamblyn can't give the sitcom any comical snap.
The worst part is that Jon Cryer's character has been reduced to such a cartoon character it's embarrassing to watch him work. It's bad enough the show's structure has to be twisted sideways to keep him in the story, but the fact he has nothing to do makes it worse.
"Fargo: Season One," Grade A-: A remarkable cable adaptation of the hit feature film. Starring Billy Bob Thornton and Martin Freeman, Thornton plays a man of mystery who changes the life of a small town insurance salesman (Freeman).
The series keeps all of the Midwestern quirks that made the film so endearing but adds several fun and emotional levels to give it a very original feel. It's a winner you know.
Also coming out on DVD Tuesday:
"Penny Dreadful:" Series reinvents literature's most famous characters. Timothy Dalton stars.
"Mr. Peabody & Sherman": Brilliant pooch and his silly young boy sidekick travel through time.
"Marvel Knights: The Wolverine Collection": Five complete Marvel Knights Animation releases.
"CatDog: The Complete Series": Includes 68 episodes of the animated series.
"Daniel Tiger's Happy Holidays": Daniel's everyday adventures are aimed at preschoolers.
"Yu-Gi-Oh! GX Season 1": Series includes all 52 episodes of the first season.
"Life after Beth": Relationship is strained when one of the couple becomes a zombie.
"Murdoch Mysteries, Season 7": Mystery featuring forensic sleuthing in the age of invention.
"Werewolf Rising": Trip to the country brings a woman face-to-face with something unspeakable.
"Good Witch Collection": Gift set includes four "Good Witch" movies.
"Mystery Road": Detective investigates murder of teen.
"Yu-Gu-Oh! Classic: The Complete Set": Features all five seasons of the original and longest running Yu-Gi-Oh! series.
"White Christmas": Blu-ray combo pack is being released to mark the 60th anniversary.
"A Golden Christmas Triple Feature": In the set are "A Golden Christmas: A Tail of Puppy Love," "A Golden Christmas 2: The Second Tail" and "A Golden Christmas 3: Home for Christmas."
"Chemical peel": Bachelorette party turns deadly.
"Secret History of World War II": Three documentaries tell untold stories of World War II.
"The Equation of Life": Film about bullying.
"Beneath the Harvest Sky": One friend puts a strain on a long friendship. Emory Cohen stars.
"A Very Vegas Christmas": "Pawn Stars" debate on the best and worst deals they ever made.
"Lalaloopsy Babies: First Steps!": Explores the beginnings of the "sew" cute cast of Lalaloopsy characters.
"Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger": Documentary follows the trial of gangster James "Whitey" Bulger.
"Under Wraps": Boy accidentally unleashes a centuries old curse involving mummies.
"The Last Supper": Retelling of the Han dynasty.
"Devil's Deal": Hell comes to the town of Burning Bush.
"Locked In": Lives of couple unravel after an accident leaves their daughter in a coma.
"Chuggineers Ready to Build": Little trainees learn lessons about safety, responsibility and teamwork.
"2 Broke Girls: Season 3": CBS comedy about two waitresses at a small diner.
"Shalom Sesame Gift Box": Includes 12 episodes of "Shalom Sesame."