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posted: 8/2/2014 6:15 AM

DVD previews: 'Divergent,' 'Need for Speed'

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  • Shailene Woodley, left, and Theo James star in "Divergent," based on the book by Barrington's Veronica Roth.

      Shailene Woodley, left, and Theo James star in "Divergent," based on the book by Barrington's Veronica Roth.

 
The Washington Post

Here's a look at DVDs coming out Tuesday, Aug. 5:

"Divergent" (PG-13, 130 minutes, Lionsgate): With the film adaptation of "Divergent," the first novel in Barrington native Veronica Roth's trilogy of dystopian thrillers, director Neil Burger has crafted a leaner, more propulsive and more satisfying film than the best-seller that inspired it. Screenwriters Evan Daugherty and Vanessa Taylor have picked up the pace and sharpened Roth's themes celebrating individualism and ingenuity showcasing the story's teenage heroine Tris (Shailene Woodley). Contains violence, language and disturbing thematic material. Extras include commentary and deleted scenes. Also, on Blu-ray: "Bringing Divergent to Life" documentary and a "Faction Before Blood" featurette.

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"Need for Speed" (PG-13, 130 minutes, Disney): This piece of auto-collision pornography starring Aaron Paul weighs down its car-flip-and-massive-fireball money shots with a preposterous plot involving vehicular manslaughter vengeance, a road trip that's basically one long police chase and an illegal drag race orchestrated by Michael Keaton. It's also a video game adapted to a bloated motion picture that's designed to sell more video games; an excessively long commercial for the Ford Mustang; and a blatant bid to kick-start another lucrative franchise in the same rubber-burning spirit as the "Fast & Furious" series. Contains violence, nudity and language. Extras include a making-of featurette. Also, on Blu-ray: commentary, Monarch & Maverick outtakes, deleted scenes, featurettes, a look at sound production and a "B-Camera" crash compilation Easter egg.

"Oculus" (R, 105 minutes, Fox): Using the most tried and true techniques and material, "Oculus" director Mike Flanagan has crafted a satisfyingly old-fashioned ghost story that, in its evocation of shivery dread, is the most unnerving poltergeist picture since "The Conjuring." A remake of an earlier short -- shot by Flanagan on the cheap in and around Baltimore in 2005 -- "Oculus" is the story of a haunted antique mirror, known as the Lasser Glass. Over the centuries since its fabrication in 1754, dozens of owners have experienced madness and mysterious, often violent death. The movie depicts the efforts of two near-victims to destroy the cursed object. Contains violence and language. Blu-ray extras include the original "Oculus" 33-minute short film, commentary, deleted scenes and a making-of featurette.

"God's Not Dead" (PG, 113 minutes, Pure Flix Entertainment): This independent Christian film did top-10 box-office business this spring, and its video preorders top Amazon's faith and spirituality video offerings. It follows a devout Christian college freshman, Josh (Shane Harper), whose faith is challenged by a dogmatic professor. Josh sets about proving God's existence. Contains adult situations and violence. No special features.

Also: "Around the Block," "I'll Follow You Down," "Anna," "Bicycling With Moliere" (France), "More Than the Rainbow" (documentary), "Dream Deceivers: The Story Behind James Vance vs. Judas Priest" (1992, documentary), "The Trip to Bountiful" (TV movie), "Ironclad: Battle for Blood," "Tarzan" (animated), "Getting Go, the Go Doc Project," "Without Warning" (1980), "Community Service," "America's Wild West" and "Perry Mason Movie Collection Volume Three."

Television series: "Community: Fifth Season," "Last Tango in Halifax: Season Two," "Top Gear 21," "Californication: Final Season," "The Saint Set 1," "Ja'mie: Private School Girl," "The Birthday Boys: First Season," "The Broker's Man, Series 2," "Agatha Christie's Poirot Fan Favorites Collection," "Agatha Christie's Marple Fan Favorites Collection" and "Transformers Cybertron: The Complete Series."

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