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Katniss arrives on disc (again)

Murray Close/Lionsgate via AP

With a production documentary clocking in at nearly 2½ hours, “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” (2013) is a Blu-ray that you’d think would satiate fan cravings. True in some respects, but not all. The second installment in Suzanne Collins’s dystopian saga again features Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen, now a survival contest “victor” sensing the growing unrest in her world. Not much time to dwell on that, though, as Katniss and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) are thrown back into the arena by the oppressive Capitol. The screen franchise continues to play as YA material that resists YA’s occasional, distracting predilection for the uncool. We’ll get elements like Amanda Plummer’s genius-geek combatant (“Tick-tock!”), but we also get Jena Malone as an f-bombing ball of attitude shaking up the proceedings. Give credit to the film series’ established template, but also to new director Francis Lawrence (“I Am Legend” — no relation to Jennifer), who supplies commentary. If only he and the cast had more to relate than standard lovefest interviews. Notable snippets: Producers discuss researching post-traumatic stress disorder to lend Katniss further texture. The late Philip Seymour Hoffman fleetingly anticipates his encore as games honcho Plutarch Heavensbee. (He’ll be digitally rendered for some scenes in “Mockingjay” parts 1 and 2.) And right after edgy presence Sam Claflin acknowledges he wasn’t a fan pick for games participant Finnick Odair, casting director Debra Zane gets atypically blunt. “I honestly don’t care what the people who aren’t hired to cast the movie think,” the industry vet says adamantly. Fiery talk. (Lionsgate, $29.95; Blu-ray, $39.99; available Friday)

HISTORICAL DRAMA

12 YEARS A SLAVE (2013)

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Wouldn’t this be perfect timing: Director Steve McQueen’s odds-on Oscar favorite wins best picture Sunday night, then gets an immediate victory-lap release on disc. McQueen and Chiwetel Ejiofor deliver unflinching, profoundly moving work with their portrait of Solomon Northup, a free black man in mid-19th-century America who’s kidnapped and sold into slavery. A thought for supplementing the experience: Watch “Dirty Pretty Things” (2003), with Ejiofor as a Nigerian doctor pressed into a harshly different life as an illegal immigrant in London. Or look back at McQueen’s similarly challenging “Hunger” and “Shame,” his prior collaborations with unhinged “12 Years” slave owner Michael Fassbender. (Fox, $29.98; Blu-ray, $39.99)

CRIME DRAMA

OLDBOY (2013)

Korean genre auteur Park Chan-wook’s “Oldboy” (2003) is a taboo-trampling mindscrew that’s impossible to unwatch. So this Americanized version from Spike Lee and Josh Brolin faces even bigger hurdles in persuading us to have a look than the usual remake does. Brolin plays a low-class businessman mysteriously imprisoned in a windowless motel room for 20 years, then released to go on a vengeance quest. Sharlto Copley (“Elysium”) is his overly over-the-top tormentor. A few fresh narrative and stylistic twists, but again, once was also plenty. Extras: Featurettes include rehearsals for a spotlighted claw-hammer fight carried over from the original. (Sony, $30.99; Blu-ray, $35.99)

Titles are in stores Tuesday unless specified. Tom Russo can be reached at trusso2222@gmail.com.
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