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Chris Hicks: Oscar-winning ‘Hugo’ arrives on DVD

SHARE Chris Hicks: Oscar-winning ‘Hugo’ arrives on DVD

The film that had the most Oscar nominations leads these movies that are new to Blu-ray and DVD.

"Hugo" (Paramount/Blu-ray + DVD + Digital, 2011, PG, two discs, $44.99). Martin Scorsese's epic of digital animation and 3-D special effects — and winner of five Oscars — is set in 1931 Paris and tells the story of an orphaned boy who keeps the clocks running at a railway station while eluding adults and stealing food to survive.

But the film's second half morphs into something completely different, as it is revealed that a toy maker in the station is actually the real-life former filmmaker Georges Melies (Ben Kingsley), whose turn-of-the-20th-century innovations in the realm of special effects and narrative storytelling cannot be overestimated.

Scorsese provides a visual feast in flashbacks about Melies' creations and his joyous love of all things cinematic is downright infectious.

Extras: widescreen; Blu-ray, DVD and digital versions; featurettes (also on three-disc 3-D/Blu-ray/DVD/digital version, $54.99, and single-disc DVD, $29.99)

"Johnny English Reborn" (Universal/Blu-ray + DVD + digital, 2011, PG, two discs, $34.98). Another James Bond spoof? Really? If ever a parody seemed late in the cycle this is it, a sequel to the 2003 Bond lampoon "Johnny English" … which, even nine years ago, seemed late to the party.

This is another vehicle for rubbery slapstick comic Rowan Atkinson (whose other franchise is "Mr. Bean"), and in truth, "Reborn" is an improvement on the original, with some very funny bits of business, but it eventually begins to wear thin.

Extras: widescreen; Blu-ray, DVD and digital versions; featurettes (also on single-disc DVD, $29.98)

"L'Auto (The Automobile)" (Raro, 1971, $29.98). The formidable Anna Magnani has one of her final roles in this talky but engaging TV movie (lifted from an Italian anthological miniseries) in which she plays an aging prostitute who is the toast of Rome but feels lonely and unfulfilled. So she buys a sporty convertible to declare her independence but quickly becomes enslaved to it. Magnani, who won the best-actress Oscar in 1956 for "The Rose Tattoo," is the whole show, and she's fabulous.

Extras: full frame, in Italian with English subtitles, featurette; PDF 12-page booklet

"No Subtitles Necessary: Laszlo & Vilmos" (Cinema Libre, 2008, $19..95). Here's one for cinephiles, a fascinating documentary about world-class Hungarian cinematographers Laszlo Kovacs and Vilmos Zsigmond, who filmed such seminal works as "Easy Rider" and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind." Those offering testimonials include Sandra Bullock, Peter Bogdanovich and John Williams.

Extras: widescreen, featurettes, extended interviews

"The Myth of the American Sleepover" (Sundance Selects, 2010, $24.98). Teens on the last night of summer explore suburban Detroit in this low-budget, independent comedy-drama that attempts to make realistic, hopeful observations, though some of it feels contrived and overly familiar. Not rated but the language and sexual content are in R-rated territory.

Extras: widescreen, trailer

"Bounty Hunters" (MPI, 2011; R for language, violence, nudity; $24.98). Wrestling champ Trish Stratus stars in this low-rent action picture as a stripper/bounty hunter who captures a major criminal only to find herself up against mobsters who want him. Makes "Haywire" look like Shakespeare.

Extras: widescreen, featurettes, trailer

"Mandrill" (Magnolia, 2009; R for violence, sex; $26.98). Another bounty hunter — Latin martial artist Marko Zaror. Only this one is tracking down the thug who killed his parents when he was young. Zaror has some good fighting moves, but the script and direction let him down.

Extras: widescreen, in Spanish with English subtitles, featurettes, trailer (also on Blu-ray, $26.98)

"The Catechism Cataclysm" (IFC, 2011, $24.98). Next to the young priest in this irreligious comedy, Napoleon Dynamite looks like a Rhodes scholar. The young father goes on a canoe trip with an old schoolmate who doesn't remember him and they run into bizarre obstacles.

Extras: widescreen, audio commentary, outtakes, trailers, short film: "Sasquatch Birth Journal 2"

EMAIL: hicks@desnews.com