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posted: 3/29/2014 5:30 AM

DVD previews: '47 Ronin,' 'Anchorman 2'

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  • Keanu Reeves stars in "47 Ronin," out Tuesday on DVD.

    Keanu Reeves stars in "47 Ronin," out Tuesday on DVD.

The Washington Post

Here's a look at DVDs, coming out Tuesday, April 1:

"47 Ronin" (PG-13, 118 minutes, Universal): One of the defining fables of pre-modern Japan, the tale of the 47 ronin has been filmed many times in that country. Yet somehow no previous director thought to include rampaging supernatural beasts, a shape-shifting witch or Keanu Reeves. Those last three are prominent in "47 Ronin," Hollywood's first stab at the samurai tale. It's big and brawling yet often dull. Ultimately, the movie just doesn't justify its outrageous bid to turn a solemn tale of self-sacrifice into swaggering global-marketplace entertainment. Contains violence and thematic elements. Extras include deleted scenes and a "Re-Forging the Legend" featurette. Also, on Blu-ray: "Keanu & Kai" martial arts featurette, and action sequence choreography and special effects featurettes.

"Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues" (PG-13, 116 minutes, Paramount): The sequel to the 2004 comedy that introduced Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell), the fatuous, substance-free news reader, possesses all of the boneheaded gags and inspired lunacy of the original, as well as swathes of dull, frankly unfunny material. But buried inside this grab bag of hits and misses is a pretty good point about the descent of television news into a miasma of 24/7 speculation, fluff and, most of all, hype. Ron's old team of Champ Kind (David Koechner), Brick Tamland (Steve Carell) and Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd) show every sign of being as bumbling and arrogantly vapid as they were back in San Diego on their new graveyard shift at GNN. Laughs abound. Contains sexual content, drug use, language and violence. No DVD extras. Blu-ray includes longer R-rated movie version and unrated version, commentary, five making-of featurettes, deleted and alternate scenes, gag reels, outtakes and some cast members' original script read-throughs.

"The Bag Man" (R, 110 minutes, Universal): The simple-minded premise places mob henchman Jack (John Cusack) in Room 13 of a motel, where he must await the arrival of his boss, Dragna (Robert De Niro), who has ordered Jack to bring him a mysterious black satchel that Jack has been sworn, on pain of death, not to open. Most of what happens in "The Bag Man" is a setup, courtesy of Dragna, but that doesn't let filmmaker David Grovic off the hook for a story that feels like it's being related inside ironic air quotes. Even the film's justification for Jack's reliance on phone booths and motel landlines -- the result of his cellphone being shot out of his hand before the film even starts -- feels forced. "The Bag Man" has more attitude than panache. Contains violence and sexual situations. Extras include a behind-the-scenes featurette.

Also: "At Middleton," "An Unreal Dream: The Michael Morton Story" (documentary), "Seal Team 8: Behind Enemy Lines," "When Jews Were Funny" (documentary), "The Pirate Fairy" (animated), "Warrior Assassin" (China), "The Little Rascals Save the Day," "Lost Islands" (Israel), "Birds of Paradise" (animated), "Knights of Badassdom," "American Experience: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" (PBS), "The Story of Medicine: Pain, Pus & Poison" (documentary), "War of the Worlds Goliath" (animated) and "TCM Greatest Classic Films: Wartime Musicals" (also TCM classic releases on Robert Mitchum, Henry Fonda and John Wayne's war films).

Television series: "Psych: Eighth Season," "Broadchurch: First Season," "The Dick Van Dyke Show: Classic Mary Tyler Moore Episodes" (1961-66), "George Gently, Series 6" and "The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts: Fully Roasted."

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