An order of romance, with a side of salmon

CBS Films

We can’t recall a Ewan McGregor character even remotely as dorky as the repressed British fisheries expert he plays opposite Emily Blunt in the idiosyncratic romance “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” (2012). Good time guys are more like it for McGregor (all right, and maybe the occasional everyman in jeopardy), so it’s a casting move that rivals the film’s title for quirky appeal. And it works, sweetly. McGregor’s Dr. Alfred Jones initially wants no part of a sheik’s absurd plan to bring his sportsman’s passion to the desert, but Alfred’s government bosses (including an amusingly screwball Kristin Scott Thomas) compel him. Eventually, he’s able to see a couple of upsides: the sheikh (Amr Waked) might be just the visionary to make it work, and project facilitator Harriet (Blunt) is a vision of loveliness. (Alfred primly, charmingly persists in addressing her by her mouthful of a surname — Miss Chetwode-Talbot — but we can see that he’s, well, hooked.) Obstacles lie in love’s way, naturally, but they’re gently dramatic, not rom-com nonsensical; he’s conflicted about his dying marriage, and her thoughts are with a new soldier boyfriend who’s in danger. It’s more than enough to make us OK with those inevitable metaphors about swimming upstream. Extras: A featurette spends time with the cast and director Lasse Hallstrom (“Chocolat”). A separate segment interviews businessman-turned-source novelist Paul Torday, who combined diverse life experiences to come up with the story’s abstruse backdrop. (Sony, $30.99; Blu-ray, $35.99)



For its 60th anniversary, Gene Kelly’s classic bows on Blu-ray in a suitably splashy reissue. The three-disc “Ultimate Collector’s Edition” comes boxed with a hardcover collection of production photos and memos, plus a commemorative umbrella. The meticulously restored feature is accompanied by a new retrospective program, as well as an encore of commentary from Donald O’Connor, Debbie Reynolds, codirector Stanley Donen, and others. An unadvertised bonus: the chance to catch this film’s depiction of the birth of talkies back-to-back with “The Artist.” (Warner, $84.99; single-disc Blu-ray, $19.98)




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The spin on this Mel Gibson pulp vehicle is that he and his producing partners were interested in testing an alternative release model, so they bypassed theaters in favor of a video-on-demand debut. Watching, you’ll likely suspect that this was also a convenient out. Gibson, who co-scripted with director and “Apocalypto” crew member Adrian Grunberg, plays a career criminal who lands in an anything-goes Mexican prison. Subpar stuff with a few multiplex-worthy bits: a gonzo opening chase with the US Border Patrol, some wisecracking narration, and grungy location atmosphere. Extras: production featurettes. (Fox, $22.98; Blu-ray, $29.99)


LOCKOUT (2012)

In a de facto “Escape From New York” remake, Guy Pearce stars as Snake — er, Snow, a wrongly convicted government operative given a mission to rescue the president’s daughter (Maggie Grace) from a prison satellite where the inmates are holding her hostage. Chameleonic Pearce is great at the sardonic antihero thing, and writer-directors James Mather and Stephen St. Leger put some thought into the no-brakes action. Even when that turns preposterous, as with a stratospheric skydive unspooled at ADD speed to look just that easy, the filmmakers are clearly in on the joke. Extras: unrated footage; effects featurettes. (Sony, $30.99; Blu-ray, $35.99)

Tom Russo can be reached at