This week's DVD releases include a wide variety of viewing options.
The Mechanic, Grade B: Remake of the 1972 film starring minimalist actor Charles Bronson. This version features the jaw-clenching Jason Statham playing Arthur Bishop, one of the best mechanics (i.e., hit men) in the business.
If you didn't see the original, no problem. Fans of the Bronson version will notice one major change. But overall, Richard Wenk's script for the update is so similar to the original by Lewis John Carlino that both men get film credit.
Broken Hill, Grade A-minus: An Australian sheep herder dreams of a career as a music composer.
The film reaches a final act that is part Rocky and part Mr. Holland's Opus, where the struggle to defeat impossible odds is driven by an uncontrollable passion for music.
Like a well-written piece of music, it builds to an amazing crescendo.
Covert Affairs: Season One, Grade B-plus: The cable action series works because of strong performances by Piper Perabo and Christopher Gorham. Gorham plays a blind CIA agent who uses his computer skills to mentor a CIA trainee (Perabo).
It's a perfect mix of action, drama, and comedy.
The Rite, Grade B: Hollywood's latest look at exorcism is creepy and at times a little kooky, but it never gets mysterious or scary enough to qualify as a standard horror movie. Its examination of religion makes the film more like a Roman Catholic Mass presented in a carnival house of horrors.
Anthony Hopkins puts on an acting clinic as the elder priest. It's Hopkins' best work since his Oscar-winning performance in Silence of the Lambs.
Other new DVD releases this week include:
The Bionic Woman: Season 2: Lindsay Wagner series about a woman given robotic powers.
The Roommate: A college freshman (Leighton Meester) becomes obsessed with her new roommate.
Flashpoint: The Third Season: Action series about an elite police squad.
All in the Family: The Complete Ninth Season: Includes 27 episodes from the show's final season.
The Other Woman: A woman (Natalie Portman) fights back from a tragedy.
South Riding: A 1930s Yorkshire community is embroiled in political and romantic struggles.
Thomas & Friends: The Birthday Express: There's a party on the Island of Sodor.
Barney: I Can Do It!: Barney shows little ones how to have fun.
Deadly Shooter: A gunslinger helps a small town. Randy Travis stars.
Thor: Tales of Asgard: Animated adventures of the god of thunder.
Vanishing on 7th Street: A group of strangers bands together when the lights go out.
The Beautiful Person: French drama about a high schooler drawn to a loner.
Araya: The 1959 film that marked the beginning of the New Latin Cinema has been restored.
The Wild Thornberrys: Season One: The Thornberry family travels the world looking for rare animals to film.
Circles of Deceit: Dennis Waterman stars as an ex-SAS operative freelancing for the British.
The Greatest Places: IMAX adventure features Greenland's massive icebergs and the Amazon River.
Daydream Nation: A defiantly different look at teen life starring Kat Dennings.
Nickelodeon Favorites: Food with Friends: Team Umizoomi music videos are featured.