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DVD Releases

“EXPORTING RAYMOND’’ “EXPORTING RAYMOND’’ ()
By Tom Russo
Globe Correspondent / July 31, 2011

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From Russia, with ‘Everybody Loves Kostya’

"Everybody Loves Raymond’’ loses a thing or two in translation in “Exporting Raymond’’ (2011), Phil Rosenthal’s documentary about overseeing his signature sitcom’s adaptation for Russian television. Rosenthal leads into this international production odyssey with a stopover at his parents’ home in suburban Rockland County, N.Y., establishing how closely intertwined his own Bickersons background always was with Ray Romano’s. (Think Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld.) Then it’s on to Moscow, where Rosenthal soon learns some confounding lessons about what goes into bringing series like “Married With Children’’ and “The Nanny’’ to Russia. (Both are shown fleetingly.) The movie alternates Rosenthal’s neurotic wit - fretting about warnings to get kidnapping insurance, or the Lenin-era decrepitude of local production facilities - with more genuine concerns that his new creative partners just don’t get the show. The Russians’ hopeless eagerness to exude cool blinds them to the obvious point that “Raymond’’ didn’t try to be hip; the costume designer, in particular, wants the wife in “Everybody Loves Kostya’’ to dress upscale. (For housework? counters Rosenthal.) The story bogs down in this after a while, as Rosenthal’s emotional investment pushes the general tone from entertaining, occasionally snarky bemusement to litany-of-frustration noodgery. Happily, he and his counterparts bridge their cultural divide in time to deliver a hit with their work on the “Kostya’’ pilot that Rosenthal wryly scores with the Russian national anthem. Extras: a pair of key “Raymond’’ episodes and the Russian versions. (Sony, $30.99; Blu-ray, $35.99)

ANIMATION

RIO (2011)

Fun performances are matched by the vibrant atmosphere in the “Ice Age’’ team’s latest. Jesse Eisenberg is the voice of Blu, a rare, flight-challenged macaw whose cozy Minnesota existence goes south, comically, when he’s beckoned to Rio for a propagate-or-perish mating opportunity. Extras include a voice cast featurette made fresher than usual by will.i.am, who takes over the recording studio as party bird Pedro. (Could be the guy’s second calling; he was also a scene-stealer in “Madagascar 2.’’) Interactive features include a kids’ guide to the movie’s locations, dance tutorials breaking down the characters’ samba moves, and Blu-ray access to “Angry Birds Rio.’’ (Fox, $34.98; Blu-ray, $39.99)

DRAMA

SOUL SURFER (2011)

Sincerity overcomes filmmaking flaws in the true story of Bethany Hamilton, the young Hawaiian surfer girl who lost her left arm in a 2003 shark attack, but courageously returned to the sport and fulfilled her dream of going pro. AnnaSophia Robb (“Because of Winn-Dixie’’) captures Hamilton’s astonishingly positive spirit. Still, adults may wish that director Sean McNamara, a ’tween-TV vet, delivered more polished drama, and that the movie didn’t squander so much blissful location scenery with hyper-edited action. Dennis Quaid and Helen Hunt play Hamilton’s parents. Extras: Hamilton documentary segment; featurette on the surfing sequences. (Sony, $30.99; Blu-ray, $38.99)

FANTASY

CONAN THE BARBARIAN (1982) / CONAN THE DESTROYER (1984)

The Schwarzenegger sword-and-sorcery titles make hi-def debuts. Consider these your reminders of why Ah-nold’s pop-cultural associations all have to do with the Terminator. Still, there’s the novelty of seeing James Earl Jones play the evil overlord (not just with his voice), as well as Wilt Chamberlain and Grace Jones playing Conan’s sidekicks. Other new fanboy-targeted releases include the Blu-ray debut of “Donnie Darko’’; the “Mystery Science Theater’’ collection “MST3K vs. Gamera’’; “The Final Destination’’ in 3-D; the paranormal noir “Dylan Dog: Dead of Night’’; and the animated, awful “Conan the Adventurer.’’ (“Conan,’’ Universal, $26.98 each)

FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF (1986)

Life moves pretty fast, all right - it’s been 25 years since Matthew Broderick skipped class, as this Blu-ray reminds us. John Cusack’s “Better Off Dead’’ also goes hi-def. (Paramount, “Ferris,’’ $19.99; “Better,’’ $21.99)

TRACY MORGAN: BLACK AND BLUE (2010)

We checked out this Apollo Theater performance to see if we’d catch some hint of the controversy Morgan was headed for with his stand-up work, or at least to see an edge he’s hidden on “30 Rock’’ and “SNL.’’ Nothing doing on either, really, although a Mel Gibson riff seems ironic now. Extras: extended footage (HBO, $19.97)

A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS (1964) / FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE (1965)

The Eastwood-Leone essentials get standalone Blu-ray reissues following last year’s combo packaging with “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.’’ “The Magnificent Seven’’ also gets a hi-def re-release. (MGM, $16.99 each)

LÉON MORIN, PRIEST (1961)

Jean-Paul Belmondo plays sensual and philosophical for Jean-Pierre Melville as a clergyman drawn to widowed Emmanuelle Riva in Nazi-occupied France. New from Criterion, which also gives a Blu-ray reissue to Akira Kurosawa’s 1963 crime drama “High and Low.’’ (Criterion, $29.95; Blu-ray, $39.95; available now)

TRUST (2010)

Parents Clive Owen and Catherine Keener run into an online-predator nightmare. Directed by David Schwimmer. (Millennium Entertainment, $28.99; Blu-ray, $29.99; available now)

UNITED STATES OF TARA: THE THIRD SEASON (2011)

Toni Collette and her alternate personalities go back to college. (Paramount, $46.99)

DENNIS THE MENACE: SEASON TWO (1960-61)

More hijinks with Jay North. (Shout! Factory, $29.93; available now)

Titles are in stores Tuesday unless specified. Tom Russo can be reached at trusso2222@gmail.com.

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