The King’s Speech – The best picture Oscar winner gets a deserved royal treatment on Blu-ray, with a making-of documentary, archival footage of the true story that inspired the film and a slew of other background trinkets. Best actor winner Colin Firth plays King George VI, who overcame his difficulties with stuttering by working with a speech coach (Geoffrey Rush) and his supportive wife (Helena Bonham Carter) to become a crucial symbolic leader of England during World War II.
Captain Planet and the Planeteers: Season 1 – Jammed with hilariously out-of-date and heavy-handed environmental and political messages, Captain Planet has aged like a fine pile of compost. The mystical, green-haired superhero appears when a squad of do-gooder teens from different corners of the globe fuse their elemental powers together. When I watched the show as a pre-teen in the late 80s and early 90s, Captain Planet was a third-string show I tolerated out of boredom, but today the series has evolved into a camp classic. Storyboards, concept art and an inside look at the cheeseball hero round out the extras.
Glee: Encore – This gratuitous cash-in takes you back to season one and rounds up the most memorable song and dance numbers for a karaoke-friendly montage. Many of the numbers are phenomenal, but you feel robbed because you hardly get a taste of the excellent writing that made the series turn heads. There are few extras to supplement the light-as-air package.
Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure – Ashley Tisdale sheds her High School Musical brethren in this spinoff, in which snotty, self-important Sharpay tries to make it big as a performer on Broadway. She’s quickly humbled, discovering that the dog she carries along in her handbag has a better chance at stardom. This is Tisdale’s fourth go-round with the character, and she’s become an expert at mining the persona for subtle chuckles. The Blu-ray/DVD/combo pack includes bloopers, a look at the evolution of Sharpay and background home movies.
Somewhere – Sofia Coppola directs a presumably semi-autobiographical drama about an 11-year-old girl (Elle Fanning) who tags along with her aloof movie-star dad (Stephen Dorff) as he listlessly drifts through a life filled with movie publicity obligations, awards shows and unfulfilling romantic encounters. We’re supposed to feel bad for the oft-neglected girl, but it’s tough to generate much pity for her given her seemingly unlimited wealth. A making-of doc is the only notable extra.
The Way Back – A compelling cast (Ed Harris, Colin Farrell, Jim Sturgess and Saoirse Ronan) is bogged down by laughably poor Russian accents in this true-life tale of seven prisoners who escape from a Soviet gulag in the 1940s. The main character of the film is the desolate, unforgiving climate, as well as the grisly makeup effects. The film is light on extras.
Rabbit Hole – Nicole Kidman earns yet another Oscar nomination to her collection, this time for playing a shell-shocked woman who, along with her increasingly distant husband (Aaron Eckhart) copes with the sudden death of their child. The morose yet moving story is often painful, but the powerful acting and understated storytelling make the film worthwhile. Director John Cameron Mitchell and other filmmakers provide commentary, and deleted scenes are also on the disc.