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posted: 8/9/2014 5:45 AM

DVD previews: 'Muppets Most Wanted,' 'Railway Man'

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  • The evil Kermit look-alike Constantine takes over the Muppets World Tour in "Muppets Most Wanted."

      The evil Kermit look-alike Constantine takes over the Muppets World Tour in "Muppets Most Wanted."

 
The Washington Post

Here's a look at DVDs coming out Tuesday, Aug. 12:

"Muppets Most Wanted" (PG, 112 minutes, Disney): Written and directed by James Bobin, with an assist from co-screenwriter Nicholas Stoller, the story picks up where "The Muppets" ended, with the troupe back together. Enter would-be road manager Dominic Badguy (Ricky Gervais), who lavishes the Muppets with promises of sold-out continental venues and stardom while a suspicious Kermit reluctantly goes along. It turns out that the European tour that Badguy has arranged dovetails diabolically with a plan he's hatched with an evil Russian frog named Constantine, who could be Kermit's double save for a menacing brown mole on his lip. Mistaken identities and high jinks ensue. Extras include a music video by Bret McKenzie. Also, on Blu-ray: extended cut, blooper reel and featurettes.

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"The Railway Man" (R, 108 minutes, Anchor Bay): Despite solid performances by Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman and Stellan Skarsgard, and a handsome cinematic sheen burnishing the shocking, true-life tale of wartime torture and reconciliation, the film is less deeply affecting than merely admirable. Still, it is good, slick and well-intentioned. Based on a 1995 memoir by Englishman Eric Lomax -- who as a World War II soldier in the Far East was captured and brutalized by the Japanese army -- the film jumps back and forth between Lomax's shellshocked veteran circa 1980 (a nerdy-looking Firth) and his younger wartime self (portrayed with earnest appeal by Jeremy Irvine). Contains violence. Extras include interviews.

"Locke" (R, 85 minutes, Lionsgate): The title character, a British construction manager, is leaving work on an otherwise ordinary night when, instead of turning left to go home, he turns right. After placing a call to an unknown person, Locke commences an 80-minute drive to London, captured in virtually real time over the course of a movie that unfolds like one of the great radio dramas of yore -- with the incalculable added value of the great Tom Hardy, masterfully carrying a taut one-man show. Written and directed by Steven Knight, "Locke" is so distilled, such a pure example of cinematic storytelling, that it almost feels abstract. Contains language. Extras include commentary and a making-of featurette.

"Frankie & Alice" (R, 101 minutes, Lionsgate): Halle Berry juggles two alter egos on top of her earthy character of Frankie: Genius, a 7-year-old girl with an IQ of 156, and Alice, a virulently racist white woman. While all this channel-switching and unearthing of psychic demons generates a great awards-season clip, it doesn't necessarily lead to a satisfying drama. Contains language, drug use, violence and sensuality. Extras include a making-of featurette.

"A Haunted House 2" (R, 87 minutes, Universal): The sequel to Marlon Wayans' horror movie parody may be billed as a comedy but is bombastically stupid and rarely funny. Wayans once again stars as Malcolm, a man plagued by otherworldly forces, who moves into a new house with his girlfriend Megan (Jaime Pressly) and her children. No sooner do they start unpacking boxes but weird things begin to happen. The editing is sloppy, the narrative is weak, and every lame gag goes on twice as long as it should. Contains sexual content, nudity, language, drug use and violence. Extras include commentary and deleted and extended scenes.

Also: "Hateship Loveship," "Filth," "Breathe In," "Decline of an Empire," "Rage," "Summer in February," "Jesse," "Swelter," "Kilimanjaro," "Bears," "Boredom," "Love Streams" (1984), "Proxy," "Eleanor's Secret" (France), "Santa Sangre" (Mexico/Italy), "Favourites of the Moon" (France), "Sol LeWitt," "Turtle Power: The Definitive History of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," "The Crown and the Dragon" and "William Shatner's Get a Life!"

Television series: "The Blacklist: First Season," "Gunsmoke: The Tenth Season, Volume One and Volume Two," "The Devil's Ride: Season 2," "Low Winter Sun: The Complete Series," "The Legend of Shelby the Swamp Man: Season 1," "Arthur Goes Back to School," "Bitten: First Season," "Power Rangers Megaforce: A Battle to the Finish," "Peppa Pig: The Balloon Ride" and "The Marx Brothers TV Collection."

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