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posted: 4/12/2014 5:45 AM

DVD previews: 'Philomena,' 'Ride Along'

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  • Philomena Lee (Judi Dench) sets off to find her son with the help of a cynical journalist (Steve Coogan) in "Philomena."

      Philomena Lee (Judi Dench) sets off to find her son with the help of a cynical journalist (Steve Coogan) in "Philomena."

 
The Washington Post

Here's a look at DVDs coming out Tuesday, April 15:

"Philomena" (PG-13, 95 minutes, The Weinstein Company/Anchor Bay): At 78, British actress Judi Dench has become an international treasure, playing steely, formidable characters with as much ease as cozier, more grandmotherly roles. All those qualities can be glimpsed in "Philomena," in which Dench plays a woman who, as a pregnant teenager in 1950s Ireland, was forced to give up her son for adoption after giving birth in a Catholic abbey. As the soft-spoken Philomena Lee, Dench delivers one of her most recessive, unprepossessing performances yet. But that signature brand of Dench tungsten glints through, as Philomena embarks on a search for her son and debates the tenets of her faith with the skeptical journalist chronicling her journey. Contains language, thematic elements and sexual references. Extras include commentary with co-star and co-writer Steve Coogan and co-writer Jeff Pope, a "A Conversation With Judi Dench," a featurette on "The Real Philomena Lee" and a Q&A with Coogan.

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"Ride Along" (PG-13, 100 minutes, Warner): This buddy-cop comedy has one big thing going for it. Or, more accurately, a little thing: comedian Kevin Hart. He plays Ben, a motor-mouthed gamer and high school security guard who wants to marry his girlfriend (Tika Sumpter) but needs to get approval from her prickly brother, James (Ice Cube). The two men got off on the wrong foot, but James, a police officer, tells Ben there's one way he can prove himself: James proposes that Ben tag along during a day on the job. Given that Ben is an aspiring cop, he jumps at the chance. Predictably, the day doesn't unfold as Ben hopes. Contains violence, sexual situations and language. Extras include commentary with director Tim Story, gag reel, location tour, and a backstage visit featuring cast and crew. Also, on Blu-ray: alternate ending, deleted scenes, a making-of short and three other featurettes.

"The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" (PG, 114 minutes, Fox): As the title character, Ben Stiller brings his jut-jawed, laser-blue glare to a character who starts off as something of a passive cipher. As a longtime manager for "negative assets" at Life magazine, Walter processes the magazine's photographers' celluloid -- in other words, he's an obsolete guy working in an obsolete media platform within a soon-to-be all-digital art form. The film's opening scene -- wherein Walter hesitantly "winks" at a woman on an online dating forum -- makes it clear: This is a man working at Life, rather than living it. Contains language and violence. Extras: Behind-the-scenes featurettes, gallery of reference photography. Also, on Blu-ray: deleted scenes, extended and alternate scenes, featurettes, music video by Jose Gonzalez.

"The Nut Job" (PG, 86 minutes, Universal): Cleverness is in short supply in this animated feature about a grouchy squirrel named Surly and his best buddy, a mute rat, who plan a heist to steal cashews, peanuts and almonds. Of all the flaws of "The Nut Job," Surly's gruff attitude is one of the hardest to overcome. He's not a very fun character to travel with, even when he evolves into a kinder, gentler squirrel with an after-school-special-worthy lesson to share. Extras include animated shorts "Surly Squirrel" and "Nuts & Robbers." Also, on Blu-ray: deleted scenes, storyboards slideshow, voice actor Will Arnett interview on the script and dance-off end.

Also: "The Invisible Woman," "Mobius" (France-Belgium), "Better Living Through Chemistry," "Date and Switch," "Boys of Abu Ghraib," "Copperhead," "The Curse of the Gothic Symphony" (documentary), "Flowers in the Attic" (Lifetime), "Breaking the Waves," "The End of Time," "The Gabby Douglas Story," "Great Expectations," "Confession of Murder" (South Korea), "Picture of Light," "Murder on the Home Front," "Being Ginger," "Camp Dread," "Stan Lee's Mighty 7: Beginnings" and "Barney: Happy Birthday Barney."

Television series: "The Practice: Final Season," "Anger Management: Volume Three," "The Beverly Hillbillies: Fourth Season," "The Carol Burnett Show: Carol's Crack Ups," "Ripper Street: Season Two," "The Bletchley Circle Season 2," "Petticoat Junction: Third Season" and "Midsomer Murders Series 8 and Series 9."

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