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‘Spring Breakers’ reconsidered


In a featurette on the provocation experiment “Spring Breakers” (2013), cast member and Disney Channel good girl Selena Gomez recalls the freakout she experienced when her young fan base started turning up around the Florida set. Not to worry, rules-shredding filmmaker Harmony Korine (“Gummo”) reassured her. Everyone would see soon enough — there was the film the media believed Gomez was making, and the film they were actually making. Not that there seems to be much distinction at the outset. Gomez plays a Christian coed who heads down to St. Pete with some friends who’ve robbed a diner: fellow Disney camper Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson (“Pretty Little Liars”), and Rachel Korine (the director’s wife). Their thrill addiction lands them with Alien (inspired James Franco), a gold-grilled gangster Svengali who’s soon luring them into a life of bikini-clad crime. A first-half oglefest is bluntly ironic, juxtaposing bacchanalian shots of girls squatting to pee on the street with Gomez cooing about the “magical” quality of the place. Things turn more interesting later when Korine starts meditating on the American dream — over a sunset scene of Alien’s piano stylings, and his newfound, gun-toting muses dancing in unicorn-adorned ski masks. Extras: Korine elaborates — slightly — in commentary. We get more from his enlightening on-camera interview, in which he discusses the abstractions he was after. “I like the idea of not always knowing what you’re trying to say,” he explains. “Chasing something that’s more inside, that’s more inexplicable.” (Lionsgate, $21.98; Blu-ray, $27.99)



Tina Fey plays it semi-straight as a Princeton admissions officer who gets a discombobulating heads-up from old acquaintance Paul Rudd that he might have found the son she gave up for adoption. The movie’s novel backdrop can be unintentionally annoying, and Fey has yet to get comfortable with rom-com chemistry, but she and Rudd get us through. The biggest laughs come from the two women with an edge: Lily Tomlin as Fey’s hard-line feminist mom, and — who knew? — Sonya Walger (“Lost”) as a terrifically nasty home-wrecking intellectual.
Directed by Paul Weitz (“About a Boy”) Extras: Fey and Rudd featurette. (Universal, $29.98; Blu-ray, $34.98)

Alan Markfield
”The Host.”


THE HOST (2013)

The pitch sounds intriguing in a crazy sort of way: deep-thinking sci-fi specialist Andrew Niccol (“Gattaca,” “In Time”) directing an adaptation of Stephenie Meyer’s sparkly spin on “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” With always-interesting Saoirse Ronan (“Hanna”), no less, playing the lead, a human fugitive now sharing her consciousness with an occupying alien. But it’s all sunk from the start by what may well be the worst conceptual choice of the year, as Ronan spends the movie laughably debating herself — out loud, for us to hear. Extras: Commentary with Meyer and Niccol; featurette. (Universal, $29.98; Blu-ray, $34.98)

Tom Russo can be reached at