Everything Must Go (R, 2010, Lions Gate)
If you get unceremoniously dumped as vice president of a company you helped grow, that’s a bad day. If your wife leaves you while you’re in the middle of getting dumped by your employer, that’s a worse day. And if you come home from a job you no longer have in a company car that soon won’t be yours and find all your things on the front lawn of a house that, along with your bank accounts, has had its locks changed? That’s Nick Halsey’s (Will Ferrell) day. Fortunately for Nick, there’s always tomorrow. If you see “Everything Must Go” and find yourself frustrated with it, you likely won’t be alone. In particular, “Go” can’t convincingly decide whether it wants to use Ferrell’s comedic gifts or not, juxtaposing some very funny scenes of Nick acting irrationally (as a man essentially living on his lawn tends to act) with scenes in which a dead-eyed Nick all but has let his soul slip away. But if you can look at “Go” as a Nick Halsey vehicle instead of a Will Ferrell vehicle, the perspective shift does wonders. “Go’s” title is, in case you didn’t already guess, as figurative as it is literal, and the movie’s myriad emotions — amused, irate, bitter, heartbroken and totally confused — are an entirely proper reflection of an already imperfect guy who has to overcome a monstrous upheaval without warning. Ferrell doesn’t always look comfortable in Nick’s shoes, but he fills them awfully well anyway. Christopher Jordan Wallace, Rebecca Hall and Michael Peña also star.
Extras: Director/Peña commentary, deleted scenes, two behind-the-scenes features.
Hanna (PG-13, 2011, Universal)
It’s finally time for Hanna (Saoirse Ronan), who has spent all of her 16 years in Finland’s outskirts with her father (Eric Bana), to see the world. But when you’re raised in obscurity for purposes of being molded into an unstoppable assassin, “see the world” actually means “traipse completely alone across Europe on a deadly mission.” How do you like that for a setup? Hopefully a ton, because in terms of overarching storyline development, that’s the bulk of what “Hanna” has to give. Fortunately, if you can embrace all it has to offer elsewhere, it might be just enough. Even when “Hanna’s” story keeps circling the same roundabout, the action that takes it around is great fun — both in spite of and due to it revolving around a girl barely old enough to drive and the teams of trained combatants who can’t handle her. Similarly, while the gradual colorization of Hanna’s origins and personality doesn’t inspire similar growth for her mission and her father’s and his enemies’ motives, it makes her a whole lot more interesting than your typical born-and-raised supersoldier. There are similar caveats attached to just about everything else, and style clearly has substance’s number throughout the movie, but the battle is never so lopsided that “Hanna” can’t be a good time anyway. Cate Blanchett also stars.
Extras: Director commentary, alternate ending, deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes feature.
Rebirth (NR, 2011, Oscilloscope)
There’s an understandable but brutally unfair stigma attached to the notion that at some point, life must go on without those we lose too soon. Perhaps nothing short of living through it will demonstrate that agony quite so intimately as does “Rebirth,” which documents nearly 10 years of aftermath for five people who very directly were affected by the Sept. 11 attacks. In terms of style, “Rebirth” keeps it simple, checking in annually on each person and letting each do all the talking on his or her own behalf. Visually, between the subjects’ year-over-year transformations and the time-lapse photography of Ground Zero’s transformation that punctuates each year, it’s more than enough. Candor carries “Rebirth” almost from minute one, so no additional frills need apply. Keeping the stories in the hands of those who tell them also allows the movie to create a legacy it can’t diagram in advance, and the way mourning reluctantly and often painfully morphs into something almost celebratory — of the past, the choice to cherish it, and the eventual need to honor it by making new memories — is magnificently inspiring. Of the many Sept. 11 books, movies, articles and television specials that will doubtlessly propagate in the days and weeks to come, this may be the only one that gives these last 10 years the perspective they’ve mostly been denied.
Extras: Filmmakers commentary, feature-length version of the time-lapse footage, behind-the-scenes feature about the time-lapse project.
X-Men: First Class (PG-13, 2011, Fox)
If you’re tired of superhero origins movies, the prospect of an origins story for a comic that arguably already had one (2000’s “X-Men”) — along with a spinoff series that has the word “Origins” right there in the title — likely must drive you crazy. But while “X-Men: First Class” can’t help but go through some of the origins story motions while showing us how the X-Men truly came into being, it at least has the good sense to make it a fun ride down old roads. “Class” takes place in the tenuous era in which the Cold War’s promotion to World War III seemed, thanks to supervillain-slash-dictator Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), all but inevitable. To counter, the United States enlists the efforts of friends and future adversaries Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender), who cobble together a band of scrappy young mutants (Rose Byrne, Jennifer Lawrence, Edi Gathegi, Nicholas Hoult and more) to stop the threat. And what a plucky bunch they are. It’d be excessive to classify “Class” as anything close to a comedy, but it’s impossible to ignore how much more fun this group has with their gifts than their older selves do in the other, comparatively dreary “X-Men” movies. Things inevitably straighten out due to the movie’s obligations to the endgame and the big finish, but the youthful energy never fully recedes, and it’s enough to make you wonder how much more exciting this genre would be if it embraced its exuberant side a little more and bowed to obligatory grit a little less.
Extra: Eight-part behind-the-scenes feature.
Worth a Mention
— “Babar: The Classic Series: School Days” and “Babar: The Classic Series: Best Friends Forever” (NR, 1989, Entertainment One): The launch one year ago of “Babar and the Adventures of Badou” marked a deserving return to form for Babar the Elephant, whose new animal friends and computer-animated makeover stayed surprisingly true to everything that made the books and cartoons so cherished. With that said, if the new series’ new look is too much to bear, the release of these “Classic Series” episodes, which originally aired on HBO more than 20 years ago and have received an overdue digital restoration here, should ease your mind. Each DVD includes four episodes and one eight-page coloring book.
— “Community: The Complete Second Season” (NR, 2010, Sony Pictures), “The Office: Season Seven” (NR, 2010, NBC Universal) and “Parks and Recreation: Season Three” (NR, 2010, NBC Universal): These are glorious times for fans of sitcoms that are actually funny, and “The Office” gets no small share of the credit for making the water safe for the shows that have rushed in since. Season seven’s big storyline has been spoiled to the point where it’s no longer even a spoiler, so while we wait to see whether Michael Scott’s (Steve Carrell) departure sinks the show or inspires it to rise to the occasion, the seventh season sends him off both beautifully and hilariously. Should “The Office” sink, you can always hitch your wagon to the likes of “Community” and “Parks and Recreation.” Similar to “The Office,” both shows shook off awkward starts before coming into their own by first season’s end, and both have absolutely taken off since. “Office” contents: 24 episodes (some extended), plus commentary, deleted scenes, webisodes, bloopers and an uncut copy (with commentary) of Michael Scott’s magnum opus, “Threat Level Midnight.” “Community” contents: 24 episodes (commentary on all), plus deleted scenes, outtakes, four behind-the-scenes features and a DJ Steve Porter remix of season one. “Recreation” contents: 16 episodes (some extended), plus commentary, deleted scenes and a tribute to Li’l Sebastian.
— “Baseball’s Greatest Games” series (NR, MLB/A&E): If the time has come to concede the 2011 baseball season for your favorite team, it may also be time to wallow in the memories of years’ past. And if that’s the case, MLB’s “Baseball’s Greatest Games” DVD line has a large helping of new entrants, including Game 6 of the 1986 World Series (for depressed Mets fans), Game 6 of the 1993 series (Blue Jays) and Game 7 of the 1991 series (Twins), among others. Lest Red Sox and Yankees fans ever feel left out, Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS and Game 4 of the 2004 rematch are also available, and the game in which Derek Jeter joined the 3,000 hit club will be available later in the month. Each DVD (sold separately) includes the uncut broadcast with both TV and radio audio tracks. Most lack additional extras, but the Jeter game includes post-game footage and a milestone roundup.