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Still no easy answers in this ‘Master’

Weinstein Company

There’s no end of deep thinking going on in Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master” (2012) — meditations on belief, on human needs and impulses, on the tenuousness of connection, on the torturous elusiveness of a sense of self. But don’t look to DVD for a definitive deconstruction, because you won’t find any commentary or conventional featurettes here. Instead, come prepared to formulate your own take — or at least to apply what you’ve gleaned from reviews, interviews with Anderson (“There Will Be Blood”), and whatever you know about Scientology, whose history partly informs the film. In his first work since his cuckoomentary “I’m Still Here,” Joaquin Phoenix again challenges viewers as Freddie Quell, a rough-edged WWII sailor whose boozy, troubled postwar meanderings lead him to Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman), charismatic head of a self-actualization movement known as the Cause. Hoffman and Phoenix craft a complex leader-and-disciple relationship that’s twisted yet somehow genuine, and that rightfully nabbed Oscar nominations for them both. Amy Adams, as Dodd’s tightly smiling, unnervingly steely wife, likewise earned a nomination — although we’d argue that the real nod should be for her versatility. (“The Fighter,” “The Muppets,” and “The Master,” all in two years?) Extras: Anderson offers 20 minutes of outtakes polished enough to play like a short version of the final product. In lieu of talk about Phoenix’s character, we get John Huston’s 1946 documentary “Let There Be Light,” examining “battle neurosis” among WWII vets. (Anchor Bay, $29.98; Blu-ray, $39.99)

FANTASY

THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN — PART 2 (2012)

One final chapter in Stephenie Meyer’s blockbuster pop-goth franchise, one more midnight madness DVD release party. For Twi-hards who just can’t let go of their Team Edward and Team Jacob allegiances, the disc includes a “jump to” feature for accessing only their favorite scenes. A seven-part production documentary includes segments on Bella and Edward’s daughter, and the climactic battle sequence between their clan and the nefarious Volturi. A stand-alone segment looks at the logistics of shooting the saga’s last two installments back to back. And a companion re-release of “Breaking Dawn — Part 1” incorporates eight minutes of previously unseen footage. (Summit, $30.98; Blu-ray, $39.99; available March 2)

Gerard Butler as Frosty Hesson and Jonny Weston as Jay Moriarity in the 2012 film "Chasing Mavericks.”

DRAMA

CHASING MAVERICKS (2012)

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Narrative momentum builds like a wave in this fact-based, YA-targeted portrait of late surfing phenom Jay Moriarty (Jonny Weston) and his bond with mentor/surf guru Frosty Hesson (Gerard Butler). Keep treading through some stiff scenes, and dramatizations of the pair’s respective hang-ups and hardships grow more compelling. But the big draw, of course, is the wave riding, as Jay seeks Frosty’s guidance in tackling a harrowing Santa Cruz surf break. Unlike 2011’s hyperedited “Soul Surfer,” this one lingers on its ocean imagery, with some pretty awesome results. Extras: Filmmaker commentary includes a producer who knew Moriarty. (Fox, $22.98; Blu-ray, $29.99)

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