At some point in the years following “The Matrix,” we looked back on the Wachowskis’ output, sighed, and accepted that maybe they just had one legitimate Big Idea in them. Those sequels? “Speed Racer”? Meh. And then they team with German experimentalist Tom Tykwer (“Run Lola Run”) on the era-jumbling epic “Cloud Atlas” (2012), and after all this time, a bit of the old fascination returns. Tom Hanks and Halle Berry are part of an ensemble gamely tackling multiple roles as the film depicts power dynamics and exploitation through the ages: on a 19th-century sea voyage, in ’70s “China Syndrome” territory, in future epochs both more and less evolved than our own. Not buying the filmmakers’ fanboy profundity? Inclined to snicker at Hanks speaking pidgin neo-English? You still might be drawn in by the mischievously cerebral Ben Whishaw (“Skyfall”) as an aspiring ’30s composer used and achingly abused by burned-out maestro Jim Broadbent. Whishaw’s poignant search for fulfillment is the counter-element that helps ground it all. Extras: There’s a pretty clear sense that the Wachowskis are eager to help the movie win the appreciation that it didn’t get in theaters (but deserved, we say). After being notoriously camera shy all through the “Matrix” years, Andy Wachowski and pink-dreadlocked sibling Lana (formerly Larry) are front and center for an hour’s worth of interview and on-set material, deconstructing the film with Tykwer and source novelist David Mitchell. (Warner, $28.98; Blu-ray, $35.99; available now)
SIDE EFFECTS (2013)
In his most fully satisfying movie in several years, Steven Soderbergh starts out crafting what feels like a Big Pharma companion to his “Traffic” drug-trade study, then shifts to a tone that’s wickedly Hitchcockian. Rooney Mara (“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”) plays a woman struggling with depression despite the happy news that her SEC-busted husband (Channing Tatum) is coming home from prison. She gets help from conscientious psychiatrist Jude Law, but the experimental drug he prescribes triggers problems he never anticipated. Suspenseful, unnerving stuff. Catherine Zeta-Jones plays another shrink. Extras: An entertainingly screwy featurette done in ’70s grindhouse style. (Universal, $29.98; Blu-ray, $34.98)
THE LAST STAND (2013)
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s wrinkles actually serve him well in playing a veteran lawman content to work his Mayberry-esque border enclave. Things get dicey when slithery Peter Stormare hits town with bridge-building gear, and an escaped Mexican cartel boss comes rocketing south in a 1,000-horsepower Corvette. Director Kim Jee-woon (“The Good, the Bad, the Weird”) seems to take an approach that’s less “let’s see what sticks” than “who cares what sticks,” with results that can be funny but also oddly arrhythmic. Extras: Otherwise routine featurettes lean on costar Johnny Knoxville to bring a smidge of that “Jackass” magic. (Lionsgate, $29.95; Blu-ray, $39.99)Tom Russo can be reached at email@example.com.