Flying down to 'Rio 2'; getting 'Under the Skin'

New releases: The kids can head to 'Rio 2'; perhaps you'll opt to get 'Under the Skin'

Rio 2

20th Century Fox, $29.98; Blu-ray, $39.99/$49.99

The 2011 animated hit "Rio" isn't as flashy or high-concept as movies like "How to Train Your Dragon," "Kung Fu Panda" or the Pixar films, but it struck a chord with its story of a domesticated macaw named Blu (voiced by Jesse Eisenberg) who gets lost in the wilds of Brazil. Like a lot of cartoon sequels, "Rio 2" mostly just repeats what worked in the first film — bringing back characters and gags, along with the conflict between the tame and the free — while adding intimations of a midlife crisis as Blu adjusts to being a husband and father, leading his family into the Amazon. The movie is inoffensive but rarely inspired. The DVD and Blu-ray come with a lot of music-themed featurettes.

Under the Skin

Lionsgate, $19.98; Blu-ray, $24.99

Available on VOD July 15.

One of the more unique, visionary films of the year, director Jonathan Glazer's adaptation of Michel Faber's novel "Under the Skin" puts high-art polish on a B-movie premise, with Scarlett Johansson playing some sort of alien creature that poses as a sexy lady to ensnare men. Glazer allows audiences to experience what it's like to be an alien, creating a version of Scotland on-screen that looks strange and forbidding, and he mixes documentary-like footage of the monster's "hunt" with Kubrickian shots of her dark lair. But none of this would work were it not for Johansson, who's remarkably convincing as a woman faking her way through social interactions. The "Under the Skin" DVD and Blu-ray add a featurette.


Criterion, $29.95; Blu-ray, $39.95

Though David Cronenberg's 1981 action-horror classic is best-remembered for its gruesome special effects — in particular the famous "exploding head" shot — the movie is also one of Cronenberg's most mainstream efforts, about a complex conspiracy involving an underground network of telepaths. And Criterion's DVD and Blu-ray set of "Scanners" is one of the company's better efforts, containing not just a nice-looking copy of the movie but also multiple interviews and behind-the-scenes documentaries, plus Cronenberg's avant-garde 1969 debut film, "Stereo," in full. The set puts "Scanners" in good context, explaining its existence as both a sensational exploitation film and a dark piece of pop art.

Orphan Black: Season 2

BBC, $29.98; Blu-ray, $34.98

The first season of this BBC America sci-fi/mystery series came out of nowhere to become a cult hit, boosted by a knockout lead performance by Tatiana Maslany as … well, as a lot of people, since her heroine, Sarah, is one of a line of clones. The second season deepens the "Orphan Black" mythology, introducing more members of the "clone club" and sending Sarah to a scientific institute that may hold the secret of who she really is. At times, the narrative on Season 2 becomes needlessly twisty, but Maslany is as great as ever, playing strait-laced clones, deadly clones and even a transgender clone. She's one of the best things on TV right now. The "Orphan Black: Season 2" DVD and Blu-ray include 10 episodes and multiple featurettes.


Black Dynamite: Season 1

Warner Bros., $29.98; Blu-ray, $39.99


Criterion, $24.95; Blu-ray, $39.95

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