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A triptych that’s worth the trip

“The Place Beyond the Pines.”

Atsushi Nishijima/Focus Features via AP

“The Place Beyond the Pines.”

Indie filmmaker Derek Cianfrance leaps straight from the intimate to the intimately epic with “The Place Beyond the Pines” (2013), about a motorcycle stunt rider turned bank robber (Ryan Gosling), a rookie cop (Bradley Cooper), and their confrontation’s far-reaching implications. In his breakout feature, “Blue Valentine,” Cianfrance skillfully contrasted the infatuation and estrangement of Gosling and Michelle Williams. Here, he reaffirms his knack for keenly observed drama, this time with far greater sweep. Gosling’s Luke Glanton goes wrong in a misguided bid to provide for the baby he belatedly learns he’s fathered with Romina (Eva Mendes, atypically strong). His tormented recklessness eventually leads to the encounter with Cooper’s Avery Cross, one that leaves the officer struggling with his newfound status as a hero cop. The focus shift from Gosling to Cooper is followed, in turn, by another big change for the final act. The action fast-forwards to follow Avery’s troubled teen son (Emory Cohen, “Smash”) and his dark hold on a classmate (Dane DeHaan of “In Treatment,” channeling Leonardo DiCaprio). It’s the sort of dramatically dense story that you might expect to see parceled out in fractured form — the approach Cianfrance employed for “Blue Valentine,” in fact. It’s impressive that he generates such tension by taking a more conventionally linear route. Extras: Wide-ranging, drily witty commentary from Cianfrance makes up for a canned featurette. Sample talking point: Method-y Gosling’s regrets about the (faux) face tattoo he got to get into character. (Universal, $29.98; Blu-ray, $34.98)

(AP Photo/Universal Pictures

"Oblivion."

SCIENCE FICTION

OBLIVION (2013)

Tom Cruise stars as a high-tech repairman on a desolate future Earth, a short-timer raring to join humanity on a utopian space colony — until those final few shifts start turning up secrets. Director Joseph Kosinski (“Tron: Legacy”) remains a fantastic stylist struggling to find a fresh story. (Love his tetrahedral techno-moon, even if Morgan Freeman’s postapocalyptic codpiece is a bit much.) Funny how Cruise seems fixated on director Duncan Jones’s low-fi genre entries these days: “Oblivion” and next year’s “Edge of Tomorrow” feel like busier variations on Jones’s excellent “Moon” and “Source Code.” Extras: Commentary by Cruise and Kosinski; featurettes. (Universal, $29.98; Blu-ray, $34.98)

”Bruce Lee.”

ACTION

BRUCE LEE: THE LEGACY COLLECTION (1971-78)

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This attractively packaged four-film salute to the martial arts icon is ultimately something of a grab bag, but even the less celebrated titles hold interest. “The Big Boss” marked Lee’s initial kung-fu feature outing. “The Way of the Dragon” features his Colosseum showdown with Chuck Norris. The posthumously completed “Game of Death” pits Lee against a gantlet of villains that famously includes Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. And lastly, there’s the well-reviewed period yarn “Fist of Fury,” a.k.a., yes, “The Chinese Connection.” Need more? Try Warner’s recent, equally showy Blu-ray reissue of “Enter the Dragon.” Extras: Three feature-length documentaries. (Shout! Factory, Blu-ray/DVD, $119.99)

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