‘Lone Ranger,’ ‘Elysium’ and more on DVD, Blu-ray

By Rich HeldenfelsBeacon Journal popular culture writer

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From producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Gore Verbinski comes Disney/Bruckheimer Films' The Lone Ranger. Tonto (Johnny Depp), a spirit warrior on a personal quest, joins forces in a fight for justice with John Reid (Armie Hammer), a lawman who has become a masked avenger. (Peter Mountain/Disney)

A notorious flop, a praiseworthy TV series and a controversial costumed-hero film are among the latest offerings on DVD and Blu-ray.

The flop is The Lone Ranger (Disney, $29.99 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray/DVD/digital combo), the latest attempt to remake the classic western, this time with Johnny Depp as Tonto and Armie Hammer as the Ranger. Directed by Gore Verbinski, who also worked with Depp on three Pirates of the Caribbean movies, The Lone Ranger was expected to be a Pirates-like hit with its combination of comedy, action and Depp.

Instead, it faced production delays and, in the end, proved to be bloated and seemingly interminable. I nearly went mad waiting for it to get through the basics of the Ranger’s origin story, and there’s at least one point early on where all logic dictates that Tonto die.

The box-office revenues did not measure up to the reported cost, even with overseas numbers factored in. I have enjoyed Depp more often than not, and Hammer has done some good work (notably in the TV series Reaper), but this just did not work.

If you go ahead with buying this, extras include bloopers, deleted scenes, a segment about actors’ going to a cowboy boot camp, and a piece on the movie’s train chase.

Another production with a bit of a western vibe is Justified, the FX series about a federal marshal (Timothy Olyphant) working among various miscreants in modern-day Harlan County, Ky. It’s a terrific series, rich in its locations, plottings and character — as you would expect in a show adapted from work by the late Elmore Leonard. While every season has been good, The Complete Fourth Season (Sony, 13 episodes, $55.99 DVD, $65.99 Blu-ray) was especially fine, particularly in the way it wove in the women characters like Ava Crowder (Joelle Carter). As good as the men may be at some things, they often misunderstand and underestimate the women, and this season was full of the consequences.

Extras include 10 audio commentaries, outtakes, deleted scenes, a segment on Constable Bob (played so very well by Patton Oswalt) and, on Blu-ray, pieces about the mesmerizing Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) and the season finale. The fifth season, by the way, begins Jan. 7.

As for controversy, consider Kick-Ass 2 (Universal, $29.98 DVD, $34.98 Blu-ray/DVD/digital combo), the 2013 sequel to the 2010 movie about young people who become costumed crime fighters, based on a series of comic books.

The first film was only a moderate success in theaters but embraced more widely through home video, thanks not only to the goriness of its action sequences but also the good characters and acting; it was a breakout role for Chloe Grace Moretz, known as Hit Girl. The second film picks up the story from the end of the first film as both Hit Girl and Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) try to figure out where their crime-fighting lives fit with ordinary adolescence — while an old villain (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) seeks revenge.

While the basic story has some merit — particularly in arguing that even comic-book violence should be brutal — there is a lot of raw language (Mintz-Plasse’s character takes on an unprintable name), crude behavior and extreme violence, some of which is played for laughs. Jim Carrey, who plays a supporting role, declined to do interviews in support of the movie after the Sandy Hook shootings, saying “now in all good conscience I cannot support that level of violence.” I wanted to like this, and Moretz is still very good, but the extremes in it remain disturbing.

Extras include extended scenes, audio commentary by cast members and writer-director Jeff Wadlow and, on Blu-ray, an alternate opening and other elements.

Also of note on Tuesday: The Sound of Music — Live!, the recent NBC production starring Carrie Underwood, will be on DVD (Universal, $22.98). Elysium, the often good action-fantasy with Matt Damon and Jodie Foster, will be in a DVD/digital combo (Sony, $30.99 DVD) and a Blu-ray/DVD/digital set ($40.99). One Direction fans can finally get the documentary-with-concert-performances One Direction: This Is Us (Tri-Star, $30.99 DVD/digital, $35.99 Blu-ray/DVD/digital); the Blu-ray promises an extended cut with four more songs.

Paramount released the four Indiana Jones movies in a Blu-ray collection in 2012. While the fourth film (Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) was already available as a separate Blu-ray, and Tuesday brings individual Blu-rays of the first three: Raiders of the Lost Ark, Temple of Doom and The Last Crusade.

Down video road: Bonnie & Clyde, the recent production starring Emile Hirsch and Holliday Grainger, will be on Blu-ray and DVD on Jan. 28. That same date, the fourth and final season of Treme will be released on DVD and Blu-ray, along with a complete-series set on Blu-ray.

Also on Jan. 28, CBS Home Entertainment releases DVDs of The April Fools, with Jack Lemmon and Catherine Deneuve; The War Between Men and Women, also with Lemmon; and Who Is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me, with Dustin Hoffman.

Rich Heldenfels writes about popular culture for the Beacon Journal and Ohio.com. including the HeldenFiles Online, www.ohio.com/blogs/heldenfiles. He is also on Facebook and Twitter. You can contact him at 330-996-3582 or rheldenfels@thebeaconjournal.com.

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