Family matters are key to this week's top DVD releases.
"Dark Shadows": A vampire (Johnny Depp) wakes up to the weird world of the 1970s.
Tim Burton's big-screen adaptation of the 1960s TV daytime drama has a vampire, witch and werewolf, but the film feels more like a Jekyll and Hyde production. Burton's created an odd structure. It's the patch of silliness in the middle that takes such a sharp turn that it makes the movie feel like two different stories sharing the same cinematic body.
The film's not a total loss. The huge Gothic sets are amazing, and Michelle Pfeiffer turns in a solid performance as the matriarch Elizabeth Collins Stoddard. Depp's found another quirky character to embrace. And, the film features some great music from the '70s,including "Nights in White Satin."
"People Like Us": Chris Pine plays a man who must deal with a relative he didn't know existed.
The film is an emotional roller coaster that stays on track through a tangle of huge highs and dramatic lows because of standout performances from Pine and Elizabeth Banks. Had either actor's work wobbled in the least, the ride would have come to a crashing halt. But their nearly flawless work is moving and powerful.
This is by far the best work Banks has done, and it establishes her credentials for tough dramatic roles. It takes an accomplished actor to show toughness and weakness without making the character seem wishy-washy. Banks does this with power.
"Magic City: The Complete First Season": Jeffrey Dean Morgan stars in this steamy cable drama set in a lavish Miami hotel during the late '50s.
Series creator Mitch Glazer folded his beautiful memories of growing up in Florida into the darker side of Miami life to create the series. His character lives, loves and lusts in a world that is the playground for the rich and famous, that deals with the political turmoil going on in Cuba and is adjusting to social change.
Also out this week
Oct. 9: "The Raven"
Oct. 16: "Moonrise Kingdom," "That's My Boy."
Oct 23: "Savages: Unrated Edition," "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter."
Oct. 30: "The Campaign."
Nov. 6: "Arthur Christmas," "Javier Bardem 3-Film Collection" ("Biutiful," "No Country for Old Men," "Mondays in the Sun.")
Nov. 13: "Brave," "Savages," "The Watch."
Nov. 30: "Men in Black 3."