DVD reviews: 'Star Trek Into Darkness' and 'We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks'
“Star Trek Into Darkness” (2013, PG-13, 132 min., $29.99). The summer blockbusters are beginning to make their way to video, and filmmaker J.J. Abrams' second stint with the “Star Trek” franchise is one of the first out of the gate. “Star Trek Into Darkness” is a dream for science-fiction fans who love their gigantic set pieces. It's a flashy work with plenty of action and most of the fun characters that were around for Abrams' 2009 reboot of the franchise. Looking a little deeper, though, Abrams' film is not without its problems. “Star Trek” fans won't have issues with the plot, but the casual Trekkie will have problems with story holes and a lack of character development. The newest adventure puts the crew of the USS Enterprise on a manhunt to find a mysterious figure who's leveled two attacks on Earth. As Kirk (Chris Pine), Spock (Pittsburgh native Zachary Quinto) and their crew head out to complete their mission, they find a criminal who has a long history with the Enterprise. There are some great featurettes to be had, and they're exclusive to Blu-ray. Standard DVDs don't have any extras. With these extras, Abrams gives viewers a great look into some cool areas of the film, including special effects, settings and characters. Special features will vary depending on which store is selling the movie. Consumers would be smart to do their research. 2 Stars.
“We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks” (2013, R, 130 min., $19.98). As one of the best documentarians working today, Alex Gibney has captured some of the toughest issues in the news, including Enron, Eliot Spitzer, Jack Abramoff and the war in Iraq. His latest film delves into the world of Julian Assange, Bradley Manning and Wikileaks. All the details are here, as Gibney leaves little unturned in a methodical documentary that refuses to take sides. Weighing in at 130 minutes, Gibney's picture could use some cuts, as it does suffer from a few bouts of boredom. Also, “We Steal Secrets” is a bit disjointed in its storytelling, jumping back and forth between Manning and Assange, two very different characters. These are minor issues, though, and Gibney adds another strong picture to a resume that already includes an Academy Award. Gibney starts from the beginning in detailing the Wikileaks phenomenon, and brings the viewer into the early days of Assange, and all the way through to his dealings with Manning and the explosion of his name on a global scale. This is a backstage pass to the chaos Wikileaks created among world leaders. Extras include deleted scenes and some more Manning stuff. 3 Stars.
“Love is All You Need” (2012, R, 116 min., $30.99). Oscar-winning filmmaker Susanne Bier is behind this romantic film about a widower (Pierce Brosnan) and a woman (Trine Dyrholm) who has just been left by her husband. Their lives are brought together when they get to know each other at a family wedding in Italy.
“Parade's End” (2012, NR, 300 min., $39.98). This five-part HBO miniseries stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Rebecca Hall, Rupert Everett and Miranda Richardson in a saga set over a century ago in England. Based on four novels by Ford Madox Ford, the story follows an English aristocrat who falls into a love triangle.
“War Witch” (2012, NR, 90 min., $26.95). A nominee for an Academy Award in the best foreign language category, director Kim Nguyen's film takes a look at the character of Komona, a teen kidnapped from her African village by rebels and forced to become a child soldier. Komona eventually escapes, but to confront her past, she'll have to go back.
“Wish You Were Here” (2012, R, 89 min., $24.98). Joel Edgerton and Teresa Palmer star Kieran Darcy-Smith's directorial debut about a group of Australian friends on a vacation in Cambodia. Things go bad when one of them goes missing. As the investigation moves forward, it becomes clear one member of the group has an answer.
“Hammer of the Gods” (2013, R, 99 min., $26.98). Fans of movies like “300” or TV shows such as “Spartacus” are bound to fall for this violent picture about a young Viking warrior who's sent on a mission by his father to bring back his brother. The trip sees the youngster become a man, as he struggles through hostile territories.
“Frankenstein's Army” (2013, R, 84 min., $27.98). Balancing a plot that combines fallen Nazis from World War II and Frankenstein can't be easy, but filmmaker Richard Raaphorst has done it with this throwback horror film that finds a group of Russian soldiers battling an army of German Frankensteins toward the final days of World War II.
“Ping Pong” (2012, NR, 80 min., $29.95). Four geriatric ping pong players from around the world are under the microscope for this interesting documentary from Hugh Hartford that captures the competition at the World Over 80s Table Tennis Championships in Inner Mongolia. A hit on its festival run, “Ping Pong” is an engaging documentary.
“Delete” (2011, NR, 175 min., $19.97). Global cyberterrorism is the main focus of this miniseries that made its debut on ReelzChannel. Starring Seth Green, Gil Bellows, Keir Gilchrist and Janet Kidder, director Steve Barron's picture finds several disasters across the world being orchestrated by artificial intelligence gone wrong.
“Sisters & Brothers” (2011, R, 90 min., $22.98). One of the last things “Glee” star Cory Monteith did before his tragic death earlier this year, this picture from Carl Bessai takes a look at the relationships between brothers and sisters, and the challenge of being a good sibling. Tyler Labine, Amanda Crew and Dustin Milligan also star.
“Evocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie” (documentary, 2012, R, 90 min., $26.98)
TV ON DVD
“Homeland: The Complete Second Season” (four discs, 12 episodes, $59.98)
“The League: Season 4” (two discs, 13 episodes, $29.98)
“Blue Bloods: The Third Season” (six discs, 23 episodes, $64.99)
“Chicago Fire: Season One” (six discs, 24 episodes, $44.98)
“Supernatural: The Complete Eighth Season” (six discs, 23 episodes, $59.98)
“Star Trek: The Original Series — Origins” (one disc, five episodes, $26.99)
“It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: The Complete Season 8” (two discs, 10 episodes, $39.98)