'Oz' tale and an Oscar-winning Streep performance

Posted: April 13, 2012

The pickings are slim this week for new DVD releases, but the film that gave Meryl Streep her first Oscar in almost two decades is among them.

The Witches of Oz, Grade C-plus: The latest variation on the Wizard of Oz story has Dorothy Gale (Paulie Rojas) as a writer of children's books living in rural Kansas. Her move to New York, as part of a book deal, proves eye-opening as Dorothy eventually realizes the books she's been writing are actually repressed memories of her time in Oz.

Her memories return just in time to stop the Wicked Witch of the West, who needs a key to unlock the power to destroy Oz and New York.

A cut-down version has been released theatrically, but this is the original television mini-series version, which explains the 164 minutes of running time. The shorter version would have been a better option because the film has plenty of moments that are as dull as the Tin Man's finish.

It doesn't help that Rojas is such a poor selection to play the feisty Dorothy. There are a few strong supporting players - Lance Henriksen, Christopher Lloyd, Mia Sara - but the majority of the actors look like refugees from a Syfy Channel Saturday-night horror film.

 Logan's Run: The Complete Series, Grade C-plus: The short-lived 1977 TV series was based on the film about a future world where those who reach age 30 are killed. Only 11 of the 14 episodes starring Gregory Harrison were broadcast before the show was terminated.

The series picked up where the film left off, with Logan (Harrison) and Jessica (Heather Menzies-Urich) pursued by Sandmen, the local police who track down runners who don't commit to the deadly 30th-birthday gift. The pair are looking for a Sanctuary, a place where there are no age limits.

The Iron Lady: Meryl Streep won an Oscar for her work in this dramatization of Margaret Thatcher's life, the third Academy Award of her career.

Also new on DVD this week:

The Darkest Hour: Five young people battle aliens.

Goodnight for Justice: The Measure of a Man: Luke Perry stars in this made-for-cable movie.

Man v. Food Nation: Season 1: Cable series starring Adam Richman.

Into the Abyss: Werner Herzog's look at a triple-homicide case in Texas.

Conversation Piece: Burt Lancaster stars in the 1974 film from Luchino Visconti.

Laverne & Shirley: The Fifth Season: Cindy Williams and Penny Marshall play best friends in this TV series set in the '60s.

Adam-12: The Final Season: Martin Milner and Kent McCord star in 24 episodes.

Bounce: Two strangers find love. Ben Affleck and Gwyneth Paltrow star.

Miss Representation: Documentary looks at the need to change the way women are portrayed in the media.

The Conquest: Denis Podalydes stars in this story of French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Night Gallery: Season Three: Rod Serling's creepy post- Twilight Zone TV series.

One Tree Hill: The Complete Ninth and Final Season: The CW series comes to an end with this 13-episode set.

Sleeping Beauty: A young woman (Emily Browning) enters a world of erotic desires.

Kate & Leopold: Director's Cut: Meg Ryan and Hugh Jackman star.

The Veteran: A young British soldier suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder is thrown back into society.

A Streetcar Named Desire: Features three minutes of footage thought to be lost until its rediscovery in the early 1990s.

Donald Glover: Weirdo: Comedy concert special featuring the Community star.

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