DVDs In Brief: June 6, 2012 
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DVDs In Brief: June 6, 2012 

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DVD round-up

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DVD round-up

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Poor John Carter (Buena Vista). Before it even passed in front of a single set of eyes, the press was already declaring it a disaster of historic proportions, a prophecy that the film was doomed to fulfill no matter how good it turned out to be. But now that it’s on DVD, Andrew Stanton’s expensive Mars adventure has a second chance to get the admirers it deserved from the start. Though far from perfect, Stanton’s adaptation of the Edgar Rice Burroughs series combines science fiction with swashbuckling and Old West heroics… 

With each successive season, the great AMC series Breaking Bad sets a new, seemingly impossible standard and somehow tops itself, as Walter White (Bryan Cranston) continues to go deeper and deeper into the meth business and loses more of his humanity in the process. To watch Breaking Bad: Season Four (Sony) is to marvel at just how far Walter has strayed, going from a cancer-stricken chemistry teacher trying to raise a larger inheritance for his family to a ruthless, calculating criminal who scrambles for any shred of moral justification… 

In the middle of the February doldrums, Act Of Valor (Relativity), a stilted action movie featuring “active-duty Navy SEALs,” debuted to surprisingly robust business. But the idea of using Navy SEALs as actors makes about as much sense as sending actors to war zones…

International man of mystery and rogue former CIA agent Denzel Washington locks wits with a hotshot young CIA agent played by Ryan Reynolds in the surprise hit thriller Safe House (Universal), but it’s not exactly a fair fight. Washington brings too much gravity and history to his role and Reynolds too little for the co-stars to be convincing as equals, but the film is a good-enough thriller, until the second half cavalierly tosses aside the moral ambiguity that defines its superior opening scenes… 

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s puzzling habit of starring in mediocre-to-dire sequels to films he had nothing to do with continues apace with Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (Warner Bros.). The achingly inessential sequel to the 3-D Jules Verne quasi-adaptation Journey To The Center Of The Earth replaces Brendan Fraser (who finally encountered a green screen he could say no to) with Johnson, but makes sure to keep everything family-friendly in the blandest, most forgettable manner possible. 

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