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New reasons to catch this ‘Curve’

Keith Bernstein/Warner Bros. Pictures via ap

Who’d have thought that the cinematically challenged subject of baseball scouting — specifically, traditional talent evaluation versus newfangled stats-crunching — would feature in not one movie, but two? And in the space of a year? Following the unlikely lead of “Moneyball,” Clint Eastwood delivers “Trouble With the Curve” (2012), about a curmudgeonly Atlanta Braves scout fighting changing times and failing health with some reluctant help from his borderline-estranged daughter (Amy Adams). (Don’t know if the latter project’s development had much to do with the former, but even the release strategy is the same: a curious theatrical run at the end of baseball season, followed by a wintertime bow on disc.) Justin Timberlake (above right, with Eastwood) costars as a former Sox prospect (!) good-naturedly trying to get Adams to lighten up, and John Goodman is the longtime front-office pal looking out for Eastwood even when Adams won’t. The film’s relationship dynamics and inside-baseball credibility are inconsistent, but there’s a nice moment in which Adams eases Eastwood’s “Gran Torino” scowling with a girlish bit of goofing around on the ballfield — the game’s bonding power evoked with unabashed sentimentality. And how can you not like a movie that bats around Bernie Carbo trivia? Extras: Quick featurettes include a spotlight on rookie director Robert Lorenz, an Eastwood protégé. A fresher “extra” is the throw-in trailer for next spring’s Jackie Robinson biopic, “42,” with Harrison Ford also trying to work some crusty baseball mojo as pioneering Dodgers exec Branch Rickey. (Warner, $28.98; Blu-ray, $35.99)

SCIENCE FICTION

TOTAL RECALL (2012)

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Colin Farrell stars as an average Joe of the future who goes on vacation by means of a memory implant, only to discover — explosively — that his “real” life is actually the fabrication. Don’t let the filmmakers’ disingenuousness fool you — while their standard publicity line was that they were revisiting Philip K. Dick’s original short story, this is a remake of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 1990 action-fest, minus the overdone goofiness. Valid idea, boring execution. You know it’s gone wrong when you stop tallying futurist flourishes and start counting how many times foiled characters exclaim an expletive. Extras: commentary by director Len Wiseman (“Underworld”); action featurettes. (Sony, $30.99; Blu-ray, $35.99)

FAMILY

DIARY OF A WIMPY KID:
DOG DAYS
(2012)

In the third adaptation of Jeff Kinney’s kid-lit series, Greg Heffley (Zachary Gordon, right, with Robert Capron ) pretends to get a summer job at a country club to appease his dad — and to get closer to his yearlong crush. The filmmakers can’t keep ahead of their cast’s puberty curve, as the series’ familiar mischief often just doesn’t work here. The print franchise might still be rolling with the recently published “The Third Wheel,” but it’s probably time for the movies to recast, or sign off. Devon Bostick, who returns as Greg’s jerk older brother, is the highlight. Extras: director commentary. (Fox, $29.98; Blu-ray, $39.99)

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