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Mark Wahlberg's 'Contraband' Among Top DVD Releases This Week


Coming off of a solid box office run earlier in the year, action-thriller "Contraband" is the most prominent new movie hitting stores this week on DVD and Blu-ray, though a lack of other new titles is making for an unimpressive week of releases. Indie hit "Pariah" is also getting its DVD launch this week and seldom seen limited releases "The Innkeepers," "Let the Bullets Fly" and "The Time That Remains" will also reach the home market. Older titles getting launched in Blu-ray include the original "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" and the Richard Harris-starring version of "Camelot," also starring Vanessa Redgrave.

After his famed turn in the music industry, Mark Wahlberg has emerged as one of the leading male actors in the movies, with a growing list of impressive films that show off his surprising versatility. But instead of another quirky role, Wahlberg settles into standard thriller territory with "Contraband," an all-out action film that played well in theaters in mid-January, one of the toughest times of the year to launch a release.

Wahlberg stars as a former smuggler who has to rely on his old skills to help out his girlfriend's brother, a lackwit caught up in the criminal underground. "Contraband" was mostly denounced by critics, but action audiences embraced it to the tune of $66 million domestically, a strong total for a $25 million production released in the dead of winter. Though it will probably have a hard time competing with massively popular action film "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, "Contraband" should still find a decent share of action audiences for the next couple weeks.

Aimed at a much different demographic will be indie drama "Pariah," the tale of one woman's struggles with coming out of the closet in a poor neighborhood in Brooklyn. "Pariah" was praised by critics when it screened in at the end of 2011, though it really struggled to find distribution and ended up barely getting a release at all. On DVD and Blu-ray starting this week, "Pariah" should stand a better chance finding its target demographic.

Also potentially doing much better in the home market will be foreign films "Let the Bullets Fly," and "The Time that Remains" as well as horror film "The Innkeepers," which hit DVD and Blu-ray this week after seeing minimal U.S. theatrical releases. From China, action film "Let the Bullets Fly" is the highest grossing movie in Chinese history, though its availability has been limited in the U.S. since its release a couple years ago.

Those looking for a more tranquil film could turn to "The Time that Remains," a sobering film that chronicles the creation of the state of Israel. Starting with the state's creation in 1948, "The Time That Remains" shows the struggles of Israelis trying to move on with their lives, giving a mostly objective point of view on a very polarizing topic. Like "Pariah," "The Time that Remains" had some strong critical support, though that didn't do too much to help it get a theatrical release.

Also hoping to find its niche demographic is "The Innkeepers," though the horror release will have a very hard time finding an audience after a rough turn in theaters. After testing poorly with its intended audience, "The Innkeepers" managed a release of just 25 domestic theaters at its widest point, leading to a very brief theatrical stay. "The Innkeepers" will probably scoop up a few horror lovers over the next few weeks, but its impact in the home market should be minimal.

Anyone interested in seeing an older film hit the high-definition of Blu-ray won't have too many options this week, though spy-thriller loves might end up snagging the new special edition set of the original "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy." Starring Alec Guinness just two years after his turn in the first "Star Wars," "Tinker, Tailor" was a big hit in England and has a small crossover audience in the U.S. as well.

From one knighted British actor to another, Richard Harris stars as King Arthur in the 1967 version of "Camelot," which also stars Vanessa Redgrave as Guinevere. Though "Camelot" was received mildly by its critics back in the late 1960s, it stands as a fun example of the old style of epic filmmaking and audiences made it one of the biggest hits of 1967.

Next week, we'll see another meek list of new releases as studios gear up for the start of the summer blockbuster season. Steven Soderbergh's action film "Haywire" ranks as one of the top new titles hitting stores next week, with Blu-ray versions of "Jeremiah Johnson" and "The Wizard of Gore" also slated to be launched.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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