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    Behind the wheel — and behind the eight ball

    A24 Films

    You won’t find DVD commentary that complements the onscreen action better than in Tom Hardy’s acclaimed, ambitious “road” movie, “Locke” (2014). You’ve probably heard about writer-director Steven Knight’s inspired gimmick: sticking Hardy in a car for 80 minutes, alone on the highway, and confronting his character, Ivan Locke, with rotating crises that unfold entirely over his dashboard phone. He’s got a baby due with a woman he barely knows, and complications and conscience are spurring him to get to the hospital. He’s struggling with how to break the news to his wife and kids. And he’s got to figure a way to manage the skyscraper foundation-pouring that he’s supposed to be supervising at work. But even with all that’s transpiring, there’s more than enough tense silence to give Knight (script for “Eastern Promises”) room to wax informative in his audio track. He explains that the character’s name is a nod to the rationality of Enlightenment thinker John Locke. He notes, incredibly, that Hardy and the crew shot the film 16 times over, hitting the motorways between Birmingham, England, and London and running straight through the entire narrative again and again. The disc’s lone featurette is comparatively fleeting but takes a welcome peek at the production’s marathon voice-over sessions, with Hardy’s unseen castmates ringing him, live, in the car. Ruth Wilson (“Saving Mr. Banks”), who voices Locke’s devastated wife, is one familiar face. Another is Andrew Scott, so terrifically diabolical as Moriarty in the BBC’s “Sherlock” — and a different brand of complicated here as Locke’s flaky jobsite underling. (Lionsgate, $19.98; Blu-ray, $24.99)



    The Muppets embark on a European theatrical tour at the urging of their smug new manager (Ricky Gervais), unaware that he and Kermit’s evil doppelganger are exploiting them as a criminal cover. Tina Fey plays matron in the Siberian gulag where Kermit winds up, and Ty Burrell is an Interpol inspector in Clouseau mode. The well-worn plot basics are dressed up nicely by the film’s consistently clever humor, as well as a celebrity cameo roster that’s stacked even by Muppet standards. Extras: extended cut, “Statler & Waldorf Cut” (!) and 10-minute blooper reel. (Disney, $29.99; Blu-ray, $39.99)




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    Take heart, “Downton Abbey” fans — if you’re still mourning the loss of Dan Stevens’s upstanding Matthew Crawley a couple of seasons ago, this fact-based period piece takes you back for another helping of Stevens in Edwardian melodrama. The setting here is a coastal artist colony, where charismatic fledgling painter Alfred “A.J.” Munnings (Dominic Cooper) falls for beautiful Florence Carter-Wood (Emily Browning) — as does Munnings’s privileged best friend, Gilbert Evans (Stevens). Despite some unrated, unclothed bohemianism, the film is overly tame, and holds interest less for its passion than for its occasional glimpses of Munnings’s Modernism-despising artistic worldview. Extras: Stevens interview. (Cinedigm, $14.93)

    Tom Russo can be reached at