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Top Picks

Dark Knight in the rear-view mirror

Ron Phillips/Warner Brothers Pictures

One reason to catch “The Dark Knight Rises” (2012) on disc: You can turn on the English subtitles and finally decipher everything Tom Hardy mumbles as Bane, the scary, gas-masked nemesis who spurs Christian Bale’s Bat-comeback. Of course, this being the capper to perhaps the most successful superhero movie series ever, the Blu-ray offers three hours of bonus material as well. A segment on the film’s opening, high-altitude hijacking lays out how to dangle a full-scale plane fuselage — vertically — to create an action-performance space. It’s a reveal that’s dizzying despite everything we know about director Christopher Nolan’s preference for “real” effects. (No wonder he calls his production outfit Syncopy, between this and “Inception.”) A featurette on Batman’s spotlighted slugfest with Bane conveys how grueling the filming was, even if no one here credits the comics for the brutal move that finishes it all. There isn’t as much as you’d expect in the way of sentimental goodbyes — have to make room for the newcomers’ excitement of burly Hardy, who laughs about tangling with “weedy” Bale, and Anne Hathaway, who reinvents Catwoman. But Bale does cop to a ver-klempt moment after doffing the cowl for the final time. A deeper look back comes from a stand-alone documentary on the history of the Batmobile, featuring everyone from the current team to Adam West and even fan-reviled director Joel Schumacher (“Batman & Robin”). With “Dark Knight” risen and done, no more insistence, apparently, on ignoring what’s in the rear-view. (Warner, $28.98; Blu-ray, $35.99)

DRAMA

BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD (2012)

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This arthouse favorite looks at life in Hurricane Katrina country, and how a poor Louisiana girl called Hushpuppy (6-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis) bravely, casually copes with environmental chaos, a hard-living father (Dwight Henry), and monsters of legend. It might take a few scenes to attune to the film’s distinctive rhythms — it’s part docudrama, part magical-realist fable — but its transportive quality takes hold soon enough, aided by wisely minimalist scripting. Extras: A featurette helps explain how such a vivid portrait was crafted by outsiders — rookie 20-something director Benh Zeitlin and playwright Lucy Alibar. Poised newcomer Wallis shines further in Blu-ray audition footage. (Fox, $29.98; Blu-ray, $39.99)

CULT

BRAZIL (1985)

Terry Gilliam’s portrait of future-government wonk Jonathan Pryce and his trials in a bureaucratic world gone mad is crazily imaginative, crazily imperfect, and — for some of us — Gilliam’s finest hour as director. The notoriously embattled project finally gets the Blu-ray cineaste treatment we’ve hoped for, as the previously available, 142-minute director’s cut is now presented alongside the studio’s rosier (read: desperate) 94-minute edit. Supplements include an hourlong retrospective by critic and “Brazil” authority Jack Mathews; a script featurette with Gilliam and Tom Stoppard; storyboards for unfilmed dream sequences, now animated and narrated; and “Braziliana” from Gilliam’s personal collection. (Criterion, $49.95)

Tom Russo can be reached at trusso2222@gmail.com.
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