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Classic film The Bear gets a Blu-ray upgrade this week
Cast members gather for the Christian summer-camp comedy "Secrets in the Fall," now on DVD. - photo by Chris Hicks
The 1989 animal-film classic The Bear receives a widescreen Blu-ray upgrade, enhancing its already stunning cinematography of British Columbia wilderness locations.

The Bear: 25th Anniversary Collectors Edition (Shout!/Blu-ray/DVD, 1989, PG, featurette). As anthropomorphic animal films go, this one reigns supreme with its story of a 9-foot Kodiak bear wounded by a hunters bullet that befriends an orphaned cub and spends much of the movie eluding a pair of hunters.

Filmmaker Jean-Jacques Annaud whose work before this film included Quest for Fire and The Name of the Rose, and later, Seven Years in Tibet and Enemy at the Gates has made a remarkable picture for adults in a genre normally aimed at children. There is very little dialogue, and the animals are compelling characters. Annaud oversteps a bit with some fanciful moments about the cubs nightmares, but mostly this is gripping stuff and stunningly photographed.

On a local note, the central character is played by Bart, a performing Kodiak bear raised in Heber City by Doug Seus, and was also featured in The Edge (1997), Legends of the Fall (1994), Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993) and The Great Outdoors (1988), among others.

Secrets in the Fall (Monarch/DVD, 2015, not rated, music video). This family friendly Christian church camp comedy is a sequel to 2012s Secrets in the Snow, with some of the same characters becoming counselors to teens. Think Meatballs, except this one is clean with positive messages about bullying and self-worth.

Kindness is Contagious (Docurama/DVD/Digital, 2015, not rated, featurettes). Feel-good documentary about James Fowler and Nicholas Christakis research on the viral nature of kind acts, suggesting that karma may be real since each kindness performed by one person prompts the recipient to be kind to four more people, from which more kindness exponentially grows.

A Murder in the Park (Sundance Selects/DVD, 2015, PG-13, trailer). Anthony Porter is convicted of killing two Chicago teens in 1983, then, when Porter is about to be put to death in 1998, a group of Project Innocence university students builds a case against another man, Alstory Simon, for the killings. Porter is released with a full pardon, Simon confesses and is convicted, but Porter later claims the overzealous students coerced the confession, and in 2014 he is exonerated. It's a stark and surprising documentary with no easy answers that puts the justice system on trial.

Nowitzki: The Perfect Shot (Magnolia/DVD, 2015, not rated, in English and in German with English subtitles, deleted scenes, featurette, trailer). This documentary chronicles the life of Dirk Nowitzki, a power forward for the Dallas Mavericks, from his rise in a youth basketball league in Germany to his relationship with longtime personal coach Holger Geschwindner to his success in the NBA.

In the Name of My Daughter (Cohen/Blu-ray/DVD, 2015; R for sex, nudity, language; in French with English subtitles, featurette, trailer; eight-page booklet). This low-key, character-driven thriller is the true story of a young divorcee (Adele Haenel) who disappeared in the mid-1970s after an affair with an older, womanizing financial advisor (Guillaume Canet) and a power struggle over a casino run by her estranged mother (Catherine Deneuve). Her mother subsequently went on a 30-year quest to learn what happened and seek justice.

Black Coal, Thin Ice (Well Go/Blu-ray/DVD/Digital, 2015, not rated, in Mandarin with English subtitles). This Chinese thriller in the film noir tradition is about an overweight, alcoholic ex-cop (Liao Fan) haunted by an unsolved serial-killer case from several years earlier in which victims were dismembered and scattered across Northern China via coal shipments. When killings in a similar vein crop up, he and his ex-partner decide to investigate on their own.

Theresa is a Mother (Garden Thieves/DVD/Digital, 2015, not rated). C. Fraser Press offers a strong central performance in this comedy-drama about the titular punk-rapping singer/songwriter who always believes shes on the verge of a breakthrough until, after 10 years of struggling, she throws in the towel. Swallowing her pride, she packs up her two young children, leaves New York and moves back in with her parents (Edie McClurg, Richard Poe), surprised to see they are living rich lives without her. (Press also wrote the screenplay and co-directed with her husband, Darren Press.)

Cop Car (Universal/Blu-ray/DVD/Digital/On Demand, 2015, R for language and violence, featurette). Kevin Bacon effectively adopts his bad-guy persona (think The River Wild) as a corrupt cop whose car is taken for a joyride by a pair of 10-year-old boys, leading him to stealthily track them before incriminating evidence in the trunk is found.

Aloft (Sony Classics/Blu-ray/DVD/Digital, 2015, R for language and sex). This offbeat melodrama is about a family tragedy that prompts a mother (Jennifer Connelly) to abandon her young son and seek a life as a faith healer. Years later, a reunion between the mother and her reluctant son (Cillian Murphy) is facilitated by a journalist (Melanie Laurent) with ulterior motives.

Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films (Warner/DVD, 2015, R for violent and sexual content in film clips, deleted scenes, trailers). The title tells all for this documentary about movie-crazy cousins Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus forming Cannon Films in 1980 to churn out low-budget exploitation films with occasional attempts at art-film relevance. Interviewees include stars Richard Chamberlain, Bo Derek, Elliott Gould, Dolph Lundgren and Molly Ringwald, along with filmmakers ranging from Franco Zeffirelli to Tobe Hooper.

Soul Boys of the Western World (Sundance Selects/DVD, 2015, not rated, trailer). This documentary chronicles the rise and fall and eventual reunion of the 1980s British New Wave band Spandau Ballet, as told by band members Tony Hadley, John Keeble, Gary Kemp, Martin Kemp and Steve Norman.

Souvenirs of Bucovina: A Romanian Survival Guide (MVD/DVD, 2015, not rated). Robert Mugge delivers a cheerful documentary about life in Bucovina, located on the northern slopes of the central Eastern Carpathians and adjoining plains, and split since World War II between Northern Romania and Southern Ukraine.

White Shadow (IndiePix/DVD, 2015, not rated, in Swahili with English subtitles, featurettes). This offbeat, cinema verite (which is to say naturalistic and unstructured) looks at a young albino in Tanzania attempting to elude witch doctors who believe body parts of albinos provide magical elements for their potions.

Entourage: The Movie (Warner/Blu-ray/DVD/Digital/On Demand, 2015; R for language, sex, nudity, drugs; deleted scenes, featurettes, bloopers). Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven) has become a studio boss and he tries to lure Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier) into a film, but, of course, Chase wants to direct it. Strictly for fans of HBOs raunchy backstage-Hollywood comedy series. Billy Bob Thornton, Haley Joel Osment and Martin Landau have supporting roles.

Queen Crab (WildEye/DVD/On Demand, 2015, not rated, audio commentary, featurettes, bloopers, trailers). This exploitation monster flick attempts to ape 1950s creature features with a meteor crashing in a remote lake where it awakens a centuries-old giant crab that will wreak havoc on the planet if it is allowed to hatch its army of baby crabs.

A Plague So Pleasant (WildEye/DVD/On Demand, 2015, not rated, promos, trailers). After a zombie apocalypse, it is discovered that the undead will eat oats and leave humans alone if they remain unprovoked, and eventually they are declared a legally protected species. But this doesnt sit well with everyone.