'The Expendables,' 'Deadwood' series head newest Blu-ray titles

Doug Nye
McClatchy-Tribune News Service (MCT)

An action adventure with some well-known faces, "The Expendables," and a hard-hitting Western, "Deadwood," top the latest list of Blu-ray releases.

"The Expendables" (Lionsgate, 2010, $39.99): Sylvester Stallone plays Barney Ross, who leads a group of mercenaries on a mission to a South American island. They've been hired to take out a supposed ruthless dictator. Once there, Ross discovers things aren't exactly the way he had been told.

Part of the fun of this film is seeing the macho lineup that takes part in the action. The cast also includes Jet Li, Mickey Rourke, Dolph Lundgren and Jason Statham, as well as appearances by Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

"Deadwood: The Complete Series" (HBO, 2004-06, $209.98): There has been no Western on television quite like this one. It's gritty and vulgar and the dirty, dusty streets might inspire you to want to take a bath. The re-creation of the era is a plus but it is the lineup of characters that make it go.

Ian McShane stars as Al Swearengen, who will stop at nothing to make sure things go his way in Deadwood. Timothy Olyphant plays Seth Bullock, the closest thing to a good guy in the town. The series begins shortly after the massacre of Custer at the Little Big Horn.

The focus is on how the characters evolve and survive. Other notables in the cast are Keith Carradine as Wild Bill Hickok and Robin Weijert as Calamity Jane. The collection includes all 36 episodes on 13 discs. Recommended.

Other Blu-ray releases:

"The Pillars of Earth" (Sony, 2010, $69.95): This mini-epic takes place in 12th century England, where war, religious conflicts and political conflicts take their toll on families and the country itself. Ian McShane and Donald Sutherland are among the stars. Includes all eight episodes in three discs.

"Flipped" (Warner Brothers, 2010, $35.99): With second graders Bryce (Callan McAuliffe) and Juli (Madeline Carroll), she thinks it's love. Bryce isn't ready to buy that. During the next six years they find out because they attend the same school and also live across the street from each other.

"The Complete Metropolis" (Kino, 1926, $39.95): The legendary science-fiction film for German director Fritz Lang gets the high-definition treatment. The film has been restored and with much footage, previously thought lost, added. The images are stunning on Blu-ray. Highly recommended.

"The Search for Santa Paws" (Walt Disney, 2010, $39.99): This is a sequel to Disney's fine "Santa Buddies: The Legend of Santa Paws," which was released during the 2009 holiday season. The new film tells the story of how Santa Claus and Santa Paws became friends and how they helped restore the Christmas spirit to some children.





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