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posted: 7/6/2013 6:24 AM

DVD previews: 'Admission,' 'Dead Man Down'

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  • Princeton University admissions officer Portia (Tina Fey) falls for a principal (Paul Rudd) trying to get a student into her school in "Admission."

    Princeton University admissions officer Portia (Tina Fey) falls for a principal (Paul Rudd) trying to get a student into her school in "Admission."

Washington Post

Here's a look at DVDs coming out Tuesday, July 9:

"Admission" (PG-13, 110 minutes, Universal): In this off-kilter charmer, Jeremiah Balakian (played by Nat Wolff) is a high school underachiever with a good head on his shoulders but an inconsistent report card. Jeremiah's earnest principal, John Pressman (Paul Rudd), is so determined to get his misfit star pupil into a good school that he calls up his old college classmate Portia Nathan (Tina Fey), a Princeton admissions officer. John also believes he has discovered a familial connection between Portia and Jeremiah, an adoptee the same age as the child Portia gave up for adoption when she was an undergraduate. Like director Paul Weitz's excellent "About a Boy," "Admission" is quirky, but also a serious film about life, relationships and growing up, with a gloss of humor. Contains obscenity and some sexual situations. Extra: "Early Admission With Tina Fey and Paul Rudd."

"Dead Man Down" (R, 118 minutes, Sony): In this boilerplate revenge thriller, two haunted and damaged loners are drawn together by their mutual desire for vengeance. Beatrice (Noomi Rapace) wants to murder the drunken driver who hit her. Victor (Colin Farrell) is a professional thug whose apartment, across the street from Beatrice's, has a secret room filled with photos, maps, high-tech spy gear and other serial-killer-style paraphernalia. Victor spends his downtime brooding over home movies of a mysterious woman and child and plotting retribution; against whom is not clear. Writer J.H. Wyman and filmmaker Niels Arden Oplev introduce enough stylish eccentricity to keep the tale interesting until the generic bloodbath conclusion. Rather than going to therapy, Beatrice blackmails Victor into becoming her personal hit man after she spies him killing a stranger on his balcony. Two crazy kids with compatible neuroses? Contains violence, obscenity, smoking and a sex scene. Extras: "Revenge, Redemption and the Art of Filming Dead Man Down" and other featurettes.

"The Host" (PG-13, 121 minutes, Universal): Like the Edward-Bella-Jacob triangle that anchored the "Twilight" books and movies, "The Host" centers on a teenage girl (Saoirse Ronan) who's torn between two lovers. Like Bella, she's of two minds. Only this time, it's literal. One of them, Melanie, loves Jared (Max Irons). But Melanie's body has been taken over by a parasitic alien that resembles a fiber-optic caterpillar. The alien -- one of a race of creatures known as Souls who have taken over most of humanity -- has its own personality and name: Wanderer. Known as Wanda, she loves Ian (Jake Abel). Wanda and Melanie spend most of the movie bickering with each other over boys, which makes Ronan look like a crazy person. Rather than offering any "Invasion of the Body Snatchers"-style thrills, "The Host" wastes most of its two hours on high-school caliber drama. Contains sensuality and some violence. Extras: commentary with author-producer Stephenie Meyer, screenwriter-director Andrew Niccol and producer Nick Wechsler; deleted scenes; behind-the-scenes featurette, "Seeker PSA."

"Tyler Perry's Temptation" (PG-13, 111 minutes, Lionsgate): Wait, Kim Kardashian is in this? Yes, and she's just dreadful. Even people who have previously demonstrated some acting skill, like Jurnee Smollett-Bell and Vanessa Williams, seem completely at sea here, dragged down by a lazy script and excruciatingly slow pacing. In "Temptation," we meet Judith (Smollett-Bell) and Brice (Lance Gross), childhood sweethearts who grew up in the South, married young and moved to Washington. Brice becomes a pharmacist, Judith starts working for a matchmaker while dreaming of starting a marriage counseling practice, and together they settle into a nuptial funk. Meanwhile, a smooth social media mogul named Harley, who's working on a business-related project with Judith, blatantly attempts to seduce her. The "Temptation" drives more than an hour of flirty glances and repetitive conversations until anything vaguely adulterous occurs. Still, nothing is as exhausting as Kardashian's whining. Contains some violence, sexuality and drug content.

Also: "Spring Breakers," "The Gatekeepers" (documentary), "The Power of Few," "After Newtown: Guns In America" (PBS), "Combat Girls" (2011, Germany), "Arthur C. Clarke: The Complete Collection" (eight-disc collector's set), "The Life of Oharu" (1952, Japan, The Criterion Collection), "Marvel Knights Animation's Wolverine: Origin," "My Best Enemy" (2011, Austria), "Our Wild Hearts," "Women Who Kill" (comedy revue by Amy Schumer, Rachel Feinstein, Nikki Glaser and Marina Franklin, Showtime), "Would You Rather," "For Richer or Poorer," "Frontline: Never Forget to Lie" (PBS), "Dark Power" and "Best of Daizy."

Television series: "The Twilight Zone: The Complete Third Season," "Unforgettable: The First Season" (CBS), "Portlandia Season Three," "Bonanza: The Official Sixth Season" (1964-65, two multi-disc sets, Volume One and Volume Two, CBS Home Entertainment/Paramount), "Dynasty: The Seventh Season (1986-87, two multi-disc sets, Volume One and Volume Two, CBS Home Entertainment/Paramount), "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Enter Shredder" (Nickelodeon), "How the West Was Won: The Complete First Season" (1977, Warner), "Warehouse 13: Season Four," "Ben 10 Omniverse: Heroes Rise" (Cartoon Network), "The Legend of Korra: Book One: Air" (Nickelodeon), "Last of the Summer Wine: Vintage 1999" (BBC) and "How the States Got Their Shapes: Season 2."

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