dvd releases

Spielberg captures ‘Tintin’ beautifully

WETA Digital Ltd.

“The Adventures of Tintin’’ (2011) might not be the movie that’s going to make late Belgian cartoonist Hergé’s faux-hawked boy hero as iconic to Americans as he is to Europeans. Still, Steven Spielberg’s first performance-capture movie is a diverting good time, and a visual dazzler that deserved a best animated feature Oscar nod - not a snub - for its imagery alone. As usual, Spielberg forgoes commentary, but a 90-minute featurette assortment has lots to offer, particularly with its extensive footage of star Jamie Bell and castmates acting in those goofy, fashion-futuristic bodysuits. (Sorry, no such shots of Daniel Craig, who plays villain Sakharine.) Peter Jackson, who produced the movie with Spielberg, appears in an amusing test short costumed as Tintin’s boozy sidekick, Captain Haddock. (The role was ultimately played by Jackson’s go-to performance capture actor, Andy “Gollum’’ Serkis.) And Spielberg admits that he actually discovered Tintin in adulthood - thanks to a French review of “Raiders of the Lost Ark’’ that noted Tintin parallels. This little Indy riff heads up a good week for animation in general. “Happy Feet Two’’ arrives with a busy narrative alternating penguin predicaments with funny exchanges between longtime companions Will and Bill the Krill (Brad Pitt and Matt Damon). For a different brand of penguin comedy, try the new complete-series set of Don Adams’s ’60s cartoon “Tennessee Tuxedo.’’ And “Wallace & Gromit’s World of Invention’’ features the stop-motion duo as hosts of a showcase for amazing real-life contraptions. (“Tintin,’’ Paramount $29.99; Blu-ray, $39.99; 3-D, $44.99)




Taken separately, the elements of George Clooney and filmmaker Alexander Payne’s story feel like a couple of Lifetime movies and an environmental documentary: Husband grieves over comatose wife. Husband struggles with fresh knowledge of wife’s infidelity. Hawaiian local wrestles with decision to sell out to land developers. The way it’s all interwoven by the Oscar-winning script - and especially by Clooney’s impressive, charisma-restraining performance - it’s a character study as quirkily genuine as Payne’s work on “Sideways’’ and “About Schmidt.’’ Extras: Standard featurettes praising the director and star do include Clooney’s swell Jack Lord impression. (Fox, $29.98; Blu-ray, $39.99)

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We’ve come to associate Michelle Williams so closely with her quiet, soulful performances in “Blue Valentine’’ and “Brokeback Mountain,’’ it was hard to picture her doing Marilyn Monroe’s sex-bomb vamping. But Williams manages the trick nicely in this adaptation of the memoirs by Colin Clark, a gofer on the Monroe-Laurence Olivier comedy “The Prince and the Showgirl.’’ There’s some narrative heavy-handedness, but Eddie Redmayne is suitably earnest as Clark, and Kenneth Branagh is an entertainingly wound-up Olivier. Emma Watson is Clark’s fallback girl. Extras: Featurette; commentary by director Simon Curtis. (Anchor Bay, $29.98; Blu-ray, $39.99)




Hipster screenwriter Diablo Cody (“Juno,’’ “United States of Tara’’) finally hits one wry note too many with the story of Mavis Gary (Charlize Theron), a former prom queen-turned-late-30s head case with delusions of reliving those small-town glory days. Theron memorably inhabits the character, a hard-drinking teen-lit writer who’s fabulous strictly in her own mind, and Patton Oswalt is equally good as the misfit classmate who sees through her. But a feature’s worth of their determinedly realistic lack of growth is an endurance challenge. Extras: Commentary and interview with director Jason Reitman (“Juno,’’ “Up in the Air’’). (Paramount, $19.99; Blu-ray, $29.99)