"Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol" (PG-13) Format: DVD and Blu-ray
"Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol" finds Tom Cruise running harder (boy, does he run a lot in this movie) but still proving himself as a strong leading man in the action genre.
Director Brad Bird plots his action sequences as carefully as he did with the Pixar animated movies he helmed ("The Incredibles," "Ratatouille"), and the result is one heart-pounding crisis after another in this secret-agent thriller.
"Ghost Protocol" begins with two lickety-split action segments: an assassination in Budapest that's not explained right away, then a covert operation to bust Ethan out of a Russian prison to take on an emergency mission.
He'll work with a new team to keep a mad Russian code-named Cobalt (Michael Nyqvist, "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo") from launching a nuclear warhead and starting a global war.
In the process, Ethan becomes the primary suspect in a bombing of the Kremlin, which takes place while he's inside trying to steal nuclear information. He and his team are cut off from their usual support system because of the political fallout, but they continue on the mission anyway, with Russian agents in pursuit.
Nearing his 50th birthday, Cruise still manages a shirtless scene without embarrassing himself and keeps the trademark intensity high.
The movie's weakness is the number of coincidences, pieces of luck and magically appearing resources needed to keep this yarn unwinding. But Bird's pacing, the clear-headed way he shoots a scene and the engaging cast keep you from minding much.
This is fine escapist fare.
— Bob Fischbach, World-Herald staff writer
"Frozen Planet: The Complete Series" (Not rated) DVD and Blu-ray
Special focuses on the Arctic and Antarctic, two of the greatest wildernesses on Earth. And against all odds, these vast, frigid environments are teeming with life. Using the latest camera technology, Frozen Planet captures unimaginable imagery above and below the ice, and follows the fluctuations that accompany the changes of seasons in this most extreme of environments.
"Shame" (NC-17) DVD and Blu-ray
In New York City, Brandon's (Michael Fassbender) carefully cultivated private life — which allows him to indulge his sexual addiction — is disrupted when his sister Sissy arrives unannounced for an indefinite stay.
Also released this week: "High Road to China" (DVD, Blu-ray), "IMAX: Born to Be Wild" (Blu-ray 3D, DVD and Blu-ray), "Treme: The Complete Second Season" (DVD, Blu-ray), "The Divide" (DVD, Blu-ray), "Shaun the Sheep: Shear Madness," "The Man Nobody Knew: In Search of My Father, CIA Spymaster William Colby" (DVD, Blu-ray)