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New on DVD: ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2’ retains the charm of the original

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WRITTEN BY AMY LONGSDORF 
For Digital First Media

Sure, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2” (2016, Universal, PG-13, $30) is a smidge too cartoony but it’s still refreshing to see a movie that pays so much attention to the relationship between an elderly couple (Reading’s Michael Constantine, Lainie Kazan).
Nia Vardalos, who wrote the screenplay and returns as Toula, gives herself a supporting role, throwing the spotlight on Toula’s folks who discover, thanks to a technicality, that they’re not officially married. Cue a wedding that’s bigger, fatter and Greeker than Toula’s own bash.
Not a whole lot of surprises here but Vardalos anchors the comedy in characters you care about. Extras: gag reel and featurettes.
Also New To DVD
The Abandoned (2016, Shout Factory, unrated, $23): An unfinished luxury apartment complex provides a chilling backdrop for this thriller about an unstable security guard named Streak (Louisa Krause) who believes she’s found something horrifying inside the decaying building. For a while, “The Abandoned” quickens your pulse not only with Streak’s patrols through the dilapidated compound but also with the edgy banter between Streak and her co-worker (a slumming Jason Patric). But director Eytan Rockaway can’t maintain the suspense and the film grows more ridiculous as it goes along, winding up with an out-of-left-field ending that registers as a real disappointment. Extras: deleted scenes.
• • •
Eddie The Eagle (2016, Fox, PG-13, $30): There’s no resisting this inspirational sports comedy that’s as eager-to-please as its subject, Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards (Taron Egerton), a British ski-jumper who wowed the crowds at the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics. As Eddie set out to realize his dream of participating in the Olympics, he badgers a washed-up coach (Hugh Jackman) into helping him. Jackman has his own backstory involving a disapproving mentor (Christopher Walken) but this is Eddie’s saga and director Dexter Fletcher isn’t shy about pushing every one of your buttons. Extras: featurettes.
• • •
Embrace Of The Serpent (2015, Oscilloscope, unrated, $30): A 2016 Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language film, this black-and-white drama from Colombia’s Ciro Guerra centers on an American explorer (Brionne Davis) who enlists an elderly shaman (Antonio Bolivar) to help him locate a healing plant growing deep in the jungle. As the pair makes a canoe journey downriver, the shaman (now played by Nilbio Torres) recalls an odyssey he took years earlier with an another white man (Jan Bijvoet). Guerra riffs on the horrors of colonialism but “Embrace” is less a political tract than a lament for a way of life on the verge of extinction. Extras: featurettes.
• • •
Dark Passage (1947, Warner, unrated, $25): The chemistry between lovebirds Bogie and Bacall is simmeringly intense in this oddball crime thriller from the underrated Delmer Daves (“3:10 To Yuma”). Humphrey Bogart stars as an escaped convict chasing down his wife’s real killer even as the police are closing in on him. For a while, he holes in the apartment of a stranger (Lauren Bacall) who believes in his innocence. Something of a dry run for “The Fugitive” TV series, the new-to-Blu “Dark Passage” pulses to a sinister beat, with Bogie unable to trust anyone who crosses his path. Extras: short film.
• • •
Gold (1934, Kino, unrated, $20): Resurrecting some of the same themes explored in Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis,” this science-fiction yarn pits a genius scientist (Hans Albers) who’s working on transforming lead into gold against an evil British businessman (Michael Bohnen) hoping to exploit the process for financial gain. A match of wits develops between the pair, with Bohnen’s lovely daughter (Brigitte Helm) adding another layer of intrigue. One of the only sci-fi films produced in Germany before the Nazis banned the genre, “Gold” unfolds at a surprisingly snappy pace. Extras: none.
• • •
Le Amiche (1955, Criterion, unrated, $30): Five years before “L’Avventura” turned him into an international sensation, director Michelangelo Antonioni was already probing the shallowness of modern bourgeois life. In this involving drama, a handful of friends (Eleonora Rossi Drago, Valentina Cortese, Yvonne Furneaux) rally around a member (Madeleine Fischer) of their gang after she attempts suicide. But the women are all, essentially, in the same boat, as they chase after money, prestige, and the love of unattainable men. With scenes set at cocktail parties, posh hotels and art museum openings, “Le Amiche” beguiles even as it refuses to cut its deluded characters a bit of slack. Extras: featurettes.
• • •
Appointment With Crime (1947, Olive, unrated, $25): In this fast-paced British noir, a smash-and-grab bandit (“Dr. Who’s” William Hartnell) whose wrists are broken during a jewel heist vows revenge on the crime lords (Raymond Lovell, Herbert Lom) who put him up to the robbery. As directed by the relatively unsung John Harlow, “Appointment” boasts deep-running undercurrents of menace as well as a hard-boiled supporting turn by Joyce Howard as a feisty dancehall girl. Extras: none.
• • •
Chato’s Land (1972, Twilight Time, PG, $30): A couple of years before they found success with “Death Wish,” Charles Bronson and director Michael Winner collaborated on what’s been called a “Vietnam western” for its negative portrayal of a mob of vigilantes (Jack Palance, Richard Basehart) venturing into Apache territory to kill a “half-breed” (Bronson). Now on Blu-ray, “Chato’s Land” deserves a spot on the list of underrated revisionist westerns right alongside “Welcome To Hard Times” and “The Long Riders.” Extras: featurettes.
• • •
House of Cards: Season Four (2016, Sony, unrated, $30): Even though Francis Underwood (Kevin Spacey) is President of the United States, he’s still got his share of problems. His wife Claire (Robin Wright) is undermining him, a reporter is looking to expose Frank’s evil ways, and his Republican opponent (Joel Kinnaman) is turning out to be a tough adversary. Not for nothing has this season been called the Year of Claire. Wright is particularly impressive in the latest batch of episodes, never more so than when she’s going head-to-toe with Ellen Burstyn, terrific as Claire’s cancer-stricken mother. Extras: featurettes.

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