These DVD titles are slated for release Tuesday, July 22.
Casual, cool and compelling in its first hour, "21" adapts the story of real-life college mathletes counting cards at Las Vegas blackjack tables. The script boasts plenty of wry humor, and the cameras glide through Sin City's glitz with a breezy confidence.
Yet, "21" could use a shot of that urban-legend oxygen casinos pump on the floor in its dragging second half. When it ups its dramatic stakes, "21" is about as dangerous and sexy as a $1-minimum keno game. Breaking even is about the best result possible from this wish-fulfillment fantasy.
Ben Campbell (Jim Sturgess) is an MIT senior drawn into a backroom bunch of card counters making a mint in Vegas under the tutelage of persuasive professor Micky Rosa (Kevin Spacey). It's not long before the natural high of winning clouds Ben's focus to make med-school money, and he lands on the radar of Cole (Laurence Fishburne), a violent Vegas loss-prevention man.
A single-disc version offers no extras, while a two-disc DVD and Blu-ray edition includes filmmaker commentary and three featurettes. The Blu-ray disc also adds a virtual blackjack game.
"Masters of Horror: Season Two"
Mick Garris, the veteran TV horror man behind many a Stephen King miniseries on ABC, saw his gory horror-anthology series slashed from Showtime's schedule. So he repurposed it, without as much teeth or interest, for NBC, under the newly titled "Fear Itself."
Garris brought with him to NBC some of the same directors (Brad Anderson, Stuart Gordon) employed for season two of the show, released in its entirety on DVD. The 13 episodes, including outings from Tobe Hooper, John Landis, Joe Dante, John Carpenter and Dario Argento, among others, incorporate everything from supernatural raccoon pelts to Edgar Allen Poe adaptations.
Also next week
In "Picture This!," Ashley Tisdale ("High School Musical") goes from Sharpay to passe as an unpopular high-school senior who does all she can to make sure her unlikely hot date to a party goes off as planned. Extras include featurettes, a trivia quiz and, so help me, a selected-scene cell-phone text commentary between the characters Shenae and Lauren.
Currently battling otherworldly beasties as Hellboy, Ron Perlman stars in "The Last Winter" as one of a team of oil company workers under siege by mysterious happenings in northern Alaska. James LeGros and Connie Britton (NBC's "Friday Night Lights") co-star, and extras include commentary and a feature-length documentary with deleted scenes and interviews.
David Faustino (where have you been, Bud Bundy?) and Andrew Divoff star in the true-life crime tale "The Boston Strangler." Likened to a Spinal Tap spin on horror moviemaking, David Naughton ("An American Werewolf in London"), Ken Foree ("Dawn of the Dead") and Gunnar Hansen ("The Texas Chainsaw Massacre") star in "Brutal Massacre: A Comedy." Extras include deleted and extended scenes, as well as a featurette. Four men square off in the Badlands, each with specific motivations to take part in the duel, in "Six Reasons Why." And, in "Turn the River," Famke Janssen plays a pool shark who kidnaps her own son and flees her problematic ex-husband.
Clint Eastwood presents a documentary taking a look at the long, legendary career of Tony Bennett in "Tony Bennett: The Music Never Ends." Extras include a featurette with Bennett and Eastwood, and a Bennett concert from the 2005 Monterey Jazz Festival.
Catalog titles include Blu-ray releases of "The Exorcism of Emily Rose," "I Know What You Did Last Summer," "The Perfect Storm" and "Urban Legend."
Animated titles include: the fifth season of "The Batman"; "Transformers Cybertron: The Ultimate Collection"; "Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog: Fastest Thing in Time"; "The Legend of Zelda: The Power of the Triforce"; "Sonic Underground: Secrets of the Chaos Emerald"; and "Super Mario Bros. Super Show: Mario of the Deep."
From the minds of Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg ("Hot Fuzz") comes "Spaced," a BBC series that portrays the rather ordinary lives of its characters using blockbuster cliches. The complete series comes with new commentary from Quentin Tarantino, Kevin Smith, Bill Hader, Matt Stone, Patton Oswalt and Diablo Cody, as well as show-runner commentaries, deleted scenes, raw footage, a Q&A, feature-length documentary, outtakes and more. The only other TV title is the fifth season of "Las Vegas."
All DVDs are scheduled for release Tuesday, but release dates are subject to change.