Wolverine3DThe Wolverine (Fox, Extended Edition Blu-ray3D Combo, Blu-ray, DVD, Digital) is both a sequel and a reboot of the solo spin-off from the X-Men movies. Hugh Jackman is back with the abs and the adamantium claws as Logan, the ferocious fan favorite of the team, and the screenwriters draw from the ninja storylines of earlier Wolverine comic books: the dark, brooding loner with the bushido code and the connection to Japanese culture. This one sends him to Japan where a dying man named Yushida (Haruhiko Yamanouchi), whose life Logan saved in World War II, promises to bestow a gift. Well, not quite, as it turns out, and Logan ends up battling the yakuza, corporate rivals of the dying man, a giant robot ninja, and a conspiracy to rob him of his healing powers. And there’s a big fight in the top of a speeding bullet train. Which is pretty much what you need to know for this entry in the comic book superhero franchise sweepstakes.

Fox still has the rights to Marvel’s X-Men characters and they desperately want a juggernaut as successful as Marvel’s Avengers line-up, and for this one they brought in James Mangold, who stages some impressive scenes but can’t overcome a busy script. Jackman is still a great Wolverine, a tormented killer who wants nothing more than a life of peace, and Rila Fukushima stands out as Yukio, a loyal soldier to Yushida who respects Logan and his warrior code. The rest tends to get mired in complications and a now-familiar third act cascade of betrayals and revelations.

The DVD featuring the theatrical version of the film. The standard Blu-ray also includes the nearly hour-long documentary “The Path of a Ronin” and an alternate ending, plus a set tour of X-Men: Days of Future Past and a Second Screen app. The “Unleashed Extended Edition” features the theatrical edition on Blu-ray 3D disc, standard Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD and the extended, unrated version (which runs 12 minutes longer) on a standard Blu-ray with commentary by director James Mangold.

MortalINstrumentsThe Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (Sony, Blu-ray, DVD, Digital, Cable On Demand) brings the first book in Cassandra Clare’s series of young adult fantasy adventures to the screen in hopes of launching a new franchise. Their hopes have been met, if only just – the film was successful enough to announce a second installment starting production in 2014. The first film establishes the secret world of demons beneath the city of New York and the teenage heroine (Lily Collins) who discovers that she comes from a long line of Shadowhunters, half-angel warriors that protect the human world from the demons. So, you know, it’s a young adult mythological quest film, a Harry Potter meets Twilight with urban Lord of the Rings flourishes, with a seemingly normal girl discovering a legacy of magic and power and a world of wonder and danger. Plus a hot young warrior boy (Jamie Campbell Bower, a veteran of both the Twilight and Harry Potter series). Which makes it perfect for 14-year-old girls. The rest of us can skip it. Lena Heady is the mom kidnapped by demons, Jonathan Rhys Meyers the bad guy, and Robert Sheehan the mortal boy dragged along the adventure.

On DVD and Blu-ray with two featurettes, deleted scenes, and a music video. The Blu-ray adds three more featurettes and an interactive “Lineage Tracker” to keep track of who begat who.

Smurfs2The Smurfs 2 (Sony, Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, DVD, Digital, Cable On Demand) reunited all the characters from the first “Smurfs” feature, live action (Neil Patrick Harris, Jayma Mays, Hank Azaria) and animated, with director Raja Gosnell, tosses on some new characters (welcome, Naughty Smurfs) sends them all to Paris. It was critically pummeled but turned a healthy profit, largely thanks to overseas box-office. But in case you think that America is just smurfed out, a third film has been announced. Features the bonus short “The Legend of Smurfy Hollow” plus two featurettes and deleted scenes. The Blu-ray editions add three more featurettes and the “Smurf-O-Vision” app (which is also an interactive function with your Blu-ray, if that kind of interaction is what you’re into) plus a bonus DVD and UltraViolet Digital HD copy.

Drinking Buddies (Magnolia, Blu-ray, DVD) is the first film from prolific mumblecore filmmaker Joe Swanberg to swing for mainstream indie appeal. A romantic comedy set at a Chicago brewery, it stars Olivia Wilde and Jake Johnson as co-workers whose flirtations are backstopped by relationships with other partners, she with Ron Livingston, he with Anna Kendrick. So of course they all get together for a weekend retreat in a cozy little cabin. With filmmaker commentary, cast interviews, deleted scenes with optional commentary, and featurettes among the supplements.

AllBoysMandyLaneAll the Boys Love Mandy Lane (Anchor Bay, Blu-ray, DVD), a horror film starring Amber Heard and Anson Mount, premiered in 2006 at Toronto and had a healthy festival run before the American distribution rights got lost in a limbo of delays and resales, finally getting a limited American release in 2013. By then, director Jonathan Levine had already made and released The Wackness, 50/50 and Warm Bodies. With filmmaker commentary.

Rutger Hauer stars as a blind retired movie star and former Mr. Universe targeted by a couple of orphans in The Future (Strand, DVD), a psychological thriller from Italy directed by Alicia Scherson.

T.D. Jakes “presents” Winnie Mandela (One Village, Blu-ray, DVD), starring Jennifer Hudson and Terrence Howard and directed by South African-born filmmaker Darrell Roodt No surprise this is arriving just before Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom hits theaters.

The Stone Roses: Made of Stone (MVD, Blu-ray, DVD) is a profile of the British band by acclaimed director Shane Meadows, and the discs feature commentary and bonus footage.

VOD / On Demand exclusives:Kickass

Kick-Ass 2 (Universal, VOD, Digital HD) is available as a digital purchase weeks before disc.

All the Light in the Sky (Digital, VOD, Cable On Demand), Joe Swanburg’s follow-up to Drinking Buddies, comes to digital before it opens in New York.

Arriving via Cable On Demand on Friday, December 6, same days their respective theatrical debuts, are the dramas Crave (Phase 4, VOD, On Demand) with Edward Furlong and Ron Perlman, Twice Born with Penélope Cruz and Emile Hirsch, and Live at the Foxes Den with Jackson Rathbone, and the documentary The Penguin King narrated by Tim Allen.

And available on Cable On Demand same day as disc is The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones and The Smurfs 2.

More releases:Inchallah

Inch’Allah (eOne, DVD)
The Deflowering of Eva Van End (Film Movement, DVD)
A Christmas Tree Miracle (Green Apple, DVD, VOD)
Christmas Bounty (Warner, Blu-ray+DVD Combo at Walmart, Digital HD)
Good Ol’ Freda (Magnolia, Blu-ray, DVD, iTunes)
A Year in Burgundy (Kino Lorber, DVD)
Men at Lunch (First Run, DVD)
Buying Sex (First Run, DVD)
Casting Me (IndiePix, DVD)
The Falls: Testament of Love (Breaking Glass, DVD)
Speak the Music: Robert Mann and the Mysteries of Chamber Music (Wolfe, DVD, Digital)
Things Never Said (Lionsgate, DVD, Digital HD, On Demand)
The Stone Roses: Made of Stone (MVD, Blu-ray, DVD)
Smash & Grab: The Story of the Pink Panthers (Doppelganger, DVD, VOD, Cable On Demand)
Wings of a Warrior: The Jimmy Doolittle Story (Shelter Island, DVD, VOD)

Calendar of upcoming releases on Blu-ray, DVD, Digital, and VOD