This weeks new DVD releases range from a holiday treat to a pair of TV series.
Arthur Christmas, Grade B-plus: Santas son must save Christmas.
The animated film is not a perfect gift, but it does feature enough holiday cheer and silly fun to make it more entertaining than 10 lords a-leaping. It helps that the film also has a warm message about how tradition should never be sacrificed for efficiencys sake.
First-time film director Sarah Smith creates an up-tempo at times frantic pace for most of the movie. The story occasionally gets bogged down by the script from Peter Baynham and Smith. Arthurs long trip to deliver the last gift could have used fewer pit stops. But the script does have a nice blend of jokes aimed at kids and adults, and it is filled with so many visual gags, they can finally all be appreciated on DVD.
Call the Midwife: Season One, Grade A-minus: This is the original version of the series that aired in Britain before coming to America via public television.
The series, based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth, is a beautiful, heart-touching and occasionally funny look at a young midwife working in one of the poorest sections of London during the 1950s. The young womans eyes are opened to the real world when she must deal with everything from a woman on her 25th pregnancy to a 15-year-old pregnant prostitute.
Jessica Raine turns in a masterful performance.
Entourage: The Complete Series, Grade A-minus: For fans of this HBO series based loosely on the association of executive producer and series creator Doug Ellin with actor Mark Wahlberg this a must- own, even though it was uneven some seasons. If you arent a fan, this is a great way to watch your way through a funny series.
Crisp writing combined with a strong cast especially Jeremy Piven as agent Ari Gold make this set worth owning. It comes with six hours of bonus material.
ALSO NEW ON DVD
Sunset Boulevard: Billy Wilders film debuts on Blu-ray.
Law & Order: The Eleventh Year: Full season of the long-running crime drama.
The Swan Princess Christmas: Princess Odette and Prince Derek celebrate first Christmas together.
Chilly Christmas: Story of miracles coming true.