New DVD releases this week

McClatchy NewspapersMay 20, 2011 

This week's DVD releases include a wide variety of viewing options.

"The Mechanic," Grade B: Remake of the 1972 film starring minimalist actor Charles Bronson. This version features the jaw-clenching Jason Statham playing Arthur Bishop, one of the best mechanics (aka hitmen) in the business.

If you didn't see the original, no problem. Fans of the Bronson version will notice one major change. But overall, Richard Wenk's script for the update is so similar to the original by Lewis John Carlino that both men get film credit.

"Broken Hill," Grade A-minus: An Australian sheep herder dreams of a career as a music composer.

The film reaches a final act that is part "Rocky" and part "Mr. Holland's Opus," where the struggle to defeat impossible odds is driven by an uncontrollable passion for music.

Like a well-written piece of music, it builds to an amazing crescendo.

"Covert Affairs: Season One," Grade B-plus: The cable action series works because of the strong performances by Piper Perabo and Christopher Gorham. Gorham plays a blind CIA agent who uses his computer skills to mentor a CIA trainee (Perabo).

It's a perfect mix of action, drama and comedy.

"The Rite," Grade B: Hollywood's latest look at exorcism is creepy and at times a little kooky, but it never gets mysterious or scary enough to qualify as a standard horror movie. Its examination of religion makes the film more like a Roman Catholic Mass presented in a carnival house of horrors.

Anthony Hopkins puts on an acting clinic as the elder priest. It's Hopkins' best work since his Oscar-winning performance in "Silence of the Lambs."

Other new DVD releases this week include:

"The Bionic Woman: Season 2": Lindsay Wagner series about a woman who's given robotic powers.

"The Roommate": A college freshman (Leighton Meester) becomes obsessed with her new roommate.

"Flashpoint: The Third Season": Action series about an elite police squad.

"All in the Family: The Complete Ninth Season": Includes 27 episodes from the show's final season.

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