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Mixed bag; This week's DVDs have romance, thrills and Mater the truck

A comedy, a drama based on a best-selling novel, a sequel to a family favorite and a documentary about an environmental battle are among the new movies being released on home video on Tuesday.

*"Crazy, Stupid, Love" opens with a clever montage of couples' feet engaging in flirtation under restaurant tables. When the camera lands on Cal (Steve Carell) and his wife, Emily (Julianne Moore), she's wearing come-hither heels while Cal is decked out in shlumpy sneakers.

Which in part accounts for why Emily announces at that same restaurant that she wants a divorce. He numbly agrees, moves out of their comfortable house and into a depressing bachelor pad and begins hitting a singles bar, where he comes under the tutelage of serial seducer Jacob (Ryan Gosling), a playah Pygmalion who takes Cal on as a personal makeover project. What ensues is the kind of smooth, fitfully funny, finely machined romantic comedy that is expertly calibrated to hit all the rom-com happy places.

Info: Available on DVD ($29.98) and on a two-disc Blu-ray/DVD combo pack ($35.99). This is one of the first Warner Brothers releases to include the new UltraViolet digital copy that will allow you to watch the movie on a multitude of devices such as PCs, game consoles, smartphones, etc. The DVD copy also has deleted scenes and the Blu-ray comes with cast interviews with Carell, Gosling and Emma Stone.

*Like the circus that provides the setting for Sara Gruen's best-selling novel "Water for Elephants," the movie based on that 2006 book is big, slick and showy. The standout among its star attractions is the Austrian-born Christoph Waltz as the mercurial-to-the-point-of-psychopathic August Rosenbluth.

It is August who hires the film's narrator, Jacob Jankowski (Robert Pattinson), a student of veterinary medicine forced to drop out of Cornell and join the circus when his parents are killed. And it is August who is married to the ravishing circus performer Marlena (Reese Witherspoon), who catches Jacob's eye. Their attraction is the most predictable thing about "Water," which, like a well-rehearsed circus animal, occasionally has the feeling that it's merely going through the motions. You know where it is headed, but it's still fun to watch.

Info: Available on DVD ($29.98) and Blu-ray with digital copy ($39.99). Includes featurettes on Pattinson and Witherspoon and commentary with director Francis Lawrence and writer Richard LaGravenese.

*"Cars 2" features a lot more of two things: Mater, the rusty, rednecky tow truck voiced by Larry the Cable Guy, and car racing. As lovable as Mater is, let's face it: A little bit of Larry the Cable Guy goes a long way. Fortunately, "Cars 2" is a long way from Radiator Springs, the remote Southwestern town where the first movie took place.

Set in Tokyo, London and a picturesque Italian village during a three-part, international race to determine the fastest car in the world, "Cars 2" boasts eye-popping scenery of far-flung locales and thrilling race sequences. It's a visually stunning film. Unfortunately, the sequel shortchanges the very relationships that gave the first movie its surprising heart.

Info: Available on DVD ($29.99), two-disc Blu-ray/DVD combo pack ($39.99) and a five-disc 3-D Blu-ray/DVD combo pack ($49.99) that has a 3-D Blu-ray, standard Blu-ray and DVD plus a digital copy. There's also a large 11-disc "Car's Director's Edition" Blu-ray/DVD combo set ($119) that has "Cars," "Cars 2" and "Mater's Tall Tales."

Extras include commentary by director John Lasseter; short feature "Toy Story Toon: Hawaiian Vacation" and a "Cars" cartoon "Air Mater." Also, on Blu-ray five and 11-disc versions: deleted scenes, a sneak peek of Cars Land, a world tour interactive map, making-of featurettes, set explorations from the cities in the movie and 3-D and digital copies.

*The title of "The Last Mountain" refers to Coal River Mountain, a peak that has become a symbol of the fight between Massey Energy and environmentalists allied with local residents.

Filmmaker Bill Haney effectively paints a picture of destruction on both an environmental and a human level. Billions of gallons of stored toxic sludge menacingly overlook a grade school beside mountains that were destroyed and rebuilt by Massey into something that look more like moonscape than natural terrain.

The most affecting tales come from the miners, who fear for their lives, and the residents whose towns have become depopulated due to the alarmingly frequent explosions and toxic water. These stories, not those of the activists, are the most inspiring and the most likely to make you think twice before leaving the lights on.

Info: DVD ($29.99). Extras include outtakes and deleted scenes; Q&A with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and messages from Emmylou Harris, Naomi Judd and Kathy Mattea.

-- Washington Post

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