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posted: 4/5/2014 5:00 AM

DVD previews: 'Desolation of Smaug,' 'August: Osage County'

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  • "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug," the second in Peter Jackson's trilogy, arrives on DVD.

    "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug," the second in Peter Jackson's trilogy, arrives on DVD.

The Washington Post

Here's a look at DVDs coming out Tuesday, April 8:

"The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" (PG-13, 156 minutes, Warner): The second part of Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit" trilogy goes a long way toward righting the wrongs of the first movie. The first installment of the adaptation of the beloved fantasy-adventure novel was bloated, boring and slow to get started. Jackson's handsome new addition to the canon is a fleet, fun redemption of the film franchise. Whether the tale of the hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and 13 dwarves in search of lost treasure will appeal to anyone besides fans of the 1937 book is dubious. Still, for those of us who love Tolkien, the new movie is a treat. Contains violence. Extras include an on-the-set "In the Company of the Hobbit" featurette, another behind-the-scenes featurette, Jackson's production videos. a New Zealand locations featurette and Ed Sheeran "I See Fire" music video.

"August: Osage County" (R, 119 minutes, The Weinstein Company/Anchor Bay): Meryl Streep utterly dominates this screen adaptation of Tracy Letts' Pulitzer Prize-winning 2007 drama of family dysfunction. In it, she plays another in a series of recent roles that tap into the actress's uncanny ability to evoke both horror and pity at her character's flaws. Yet with her performance as Violet Weston, the venom-spewing matriarch of an extended family that includes three grown daughters, the actress may have outdone herself. Violet, who is suffering from mouth cancer and addicted to pain pills, is a woman given to such toxic utterances and such a corrosive style of mothering that it's a wonder more of her relatives haven't developed cancers of their own, simply from long-term exposure. Streep and Julia Roberts (as oldest daughter Barbara) earned Oscar nominations. Contains language, sexual references and drug abuse. Extras include commentary with director John Wells and cinematographer Adriano Goldman, a making-of featurette, deleted scenes and an interview with Letts on writing.

"Grudge Match" (PG-13, 113 minutes, Warner): Sylvester Stallone stars as Henry "Razor" Sharp, a former light heavyweight champ who inexplicably fled the sport in his heyday, avoiding a tiebreaking fight with longtime rival Billy "The Kid" McDonnen (Robert De Niro). Razor is lured out of retirement for the bout he evaded three decades earlier. Years after he first starred in "Rocky," the 67-year-old Stallone still looks the part of a boxer. His acting, however, is rusty. With his garbled delivery, he never was a paragon of emotional depth, but now his frozen face only exacerbates his shortcomings when the comedic drama turns serious. Contains violence, language and a sexual situation. Extras include deleted scenes. Also, on Blu-ray: "The Bull & The Stallion," "In the Ring With Kevin Hart," "Ringside With Tyson & Holyfield," "Blow for Blow With Larry Holmes," "Kevin Hart Unedited," alternate opening and alternate endings.

>Also: "Nurse," "Black Coffee," "Holy Ghost People," "Cavemen," "Four Seasons," "Everyday," "The Bamboo Saucer" (1968), "Cry Danger" (1951), "Bang! Bang! You're Dead!" (1966), "Young At Heart" (1954), "Best Night Ever," "Don't Ask Me Questions: The Unsung Life of Graham Parker and the Rumour," "Bayou Blue," "Black Jack: 35th Anniversary Edition," "Snake and Mongoose," "Cocaine Cowboys Reloaded" (documentary), "The Dog Who Saved Easter," "I Am Divine" (documentary), "Bastards" (France-Germany), "A Field in England," "The 400 Blows" (1959), "Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones," "Justin Bieber's Believe," "Lizzie Borden Took an Ax" (Lifetime original movie) and "Guardian of the Highlands."

Television series: "Mayberry R.F.D.: First Season," "Power Rangers Megaforce: The Great Dragon Spirit," "Holliston: Second Season," "Ben 10 Omniverse: Duel of the Duplicates," "Winged Planet" (BBC), "Earthflight" (BBC), X" and "The Bear Family & Me" and "Extreme Bears" (BBC Earth).

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