Out on DVD and Blu-Ray this week: A second chance for a football hero, dark ramifications of a link between alternate universes, troubles deepen for a town in Maine, and post-apocalyptic survival in the French countryside.
Sports movies are especially susceptible to time-travel tropes, partly because young athletes are always surrounded by characters from the previous generation whose eyes glint as they watch them, thinking about glory days still sharp in their own memories. The inherent charm in adding actual clock-turning into such such tangible wistfulness is hard to screw up no matter how much you cleave to paths trod by other movies.
Formats: Blu-Ray. It's exclusive to Wal-Mart.
The story: On the game winning play of the biggest game of his life, the best High School Football player in the nation injures his knee and destroys his dreams of a college and professional career. But fifteen years later, he receives the opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to go back and change history.
Starring: Brian Presley (Scott Murphy), Kurt Russell (Coach Hand), Melanie Lynskey (Macy), Marc Blucas (Hall), Christine Lahti (Thelma), Sarah Wright (Jenny), Drew Powell (Dwight Pearson), Steve Turner (Gig Bird), Kevin Covais (Todd White), James Duval (Rodriguez), Sianoa Smit-McPhee (Sasha), Barry Sanders (Cuyahoga Coach), Austin Ross (Moss), Jacquelyn Evola (Krista Murphy), Ella Anderson (Jamie Murphy).
Directed by: Don Handfield.
Features: Audio commentary with writer-director Don Handfield and Brian Presley; Making of featurette.
If Fringe were a computer, season 4 might be the moment in which it will have been said to have come aware. The intense and relentless evolution and self-topping that the show has been undergoing since its remarkable inception has reached fever pitch, resulting in the show both feeding on itself as it ties in long-neglected story threads and attaining such an profound continuity lock-out that it's easily the best show on TV that no one's watching. This is one of those shows, like Battlestar Galactica, that will in future years incite sudden, passionate fandoms among those who acquire all the season box-sets and sit down on some rainy long weekend and watch them all, all at once, riveted and transformed by the experience.
Formats: DVD and Blu-Ray, UltraViolet Digital Copy (4 discs).
The story: Who are you? After sacrificing himself to save both worlds, Peter mysteriously returns to ours. But he has been forgotten—by Olivia, by Walter, by everyone. It's as if he never existed. At the same time, shapeshifters controlled by an unknown master begin an onslaught of destruction, and now the two former enemy universes must cooperate to defy a common foe. Fringe's thrilling 22-episode fourth season continues the inspired series' synthesis of astounding phenomena, baffling secrets and dramatic, character-driven stories. And in this season, events may prove that the most powerful force in our universe—or theirs—is not a doomsday device, not a paranormal force, but human love.
Starring: Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, John Noble, Blair Brown, Jasika Nicole, Lance Reddick, Seth Gabel.
Created by: J.J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci.
Features: A World Without Peter; The Observers; Beyond the Fringe (Digital Comic Excerpt); Beyond the Comic Book; The Culture of Fringe; Have you seen Walter Lately?; Gag Reel; Easter Eggs.
In terms of rich and complex world(s)-building, Haven isn't in the same league as Fringe—but what it does with its own circumscribed little world is pretty impressive on its own terms. Far from descending into freak-of-the-week formula, as its high concept might have dictated had the show's storylines been developed by less ambitious writers, Haven's second season set out to develop and deepen the nature and backstory of the Troubles, making for involving viewing on in batches or all at once, marathon-style—until you get to the finale and find yourself, once again, waiting on tenterhooks for season 3.
Formats: DVD and Blu-Ray.
The story: FBI Agent Audrey Parker originally came to Haven, Maine on a routine case, but quickly discovered that the sleepy town was, in fact, a refuge for people with supernatural afflictions. Now a permanent resident, Audrey delves deeper into Haven’s hidden mysteries.
Starring: Emily Rose, Eric Balfour, Lucas Bryant, Vinessa Antoine, Richard Donat, John Dunsworth, Stephen McHattie.
Created by: Sam Ernst and Jim Dunn.
Features: Nine Audio Commentaries with Cast & Crew (one Commentary to Episode 1, 9 and 10, and two Commentaries to Episode 6, 11 and 12), Script Writing featurette, Costumes featurette, Production Meeting featurette, Adam Copeland Interview, Production Design featurette, Locations featurette, Directing, Cinematography and Acting featurette, "Haven Panel from NY Comic Con" featurette, including Christmas Episode "Silent Night".
Post-apocalypse survival, French cinema style. Based on the 1972 novel by Robert Merle, it mixes ideological/theocratic confrontation with more slowly developing ideas about the resurgence of nature and how humanity's recovery might integrate with it.
Formats: DVD (Manufactured on demand).
The story: In this French science fiction thriller, nuclear war breaks out over Europe, and a group of visitors to a local chateau take cover in the basement. When they venture outside after the fighting stops, they discover that the chateau has sustained serious damage and the surrounding lands have been laid to waste. The survivors try to rebuild the house as best they can, and they begin growing food in order to sustain themselves, until they encounter Fulbert (Jean-Louis Trintignant), a deranged fascist who is leading a band of ragged survivors who live in several abandoned railroad cars. The survivors of the chateau defeat Fulbert, and his forces join with the people of the chateau to build a new society. However, they are soon ambushed by government troops, who are rounding up survivors of the nuclear attack and relocating them to concentration camps. Three of the chateau survivors are able to escape and attempt to make their way to safety. MALEVIL (named for the chateau where most of the action takes place) won a 1981 Cesar Award in France for Best Production Design.
Starring: Michel Serrault, Jacques Dutronc, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Jacques Villeret.
Directed by: Christian de Chalonge.