Fans of Terry Fator will be happy to see his new DVD/Blu-ray release on store shelves this week, although only at Walmart.
“Terry Fator: Live in Concert” (Lionsgate, 2014, $14.98, audio commentary, featurettes, music video, exclusively at Walmart). After winning the second season of “America’s Got Talent,” ventriloquist/singer Fator parlayed his success into a Las Vegas gig, where he has headlined at the Mirage Hotel for several years.
This concert is his Vegas show, recorded before an enthusiastic audience. For some of this 96-minute show, he follows the ventriloquist handbook, trading tired jokes with his various puppets — including one in a box across the stage. But it’s when he sings that Fator sets himself apart, successfully mimicking famous songsters of the past and present, from Elvis Presley to Garth Brooks to Dolly Parton to Justin Bieber.
Some of his impressions are just so-so (Dean Martin, Nat King Cole) but many others are absolutely spot-on (Cher, Etta James), and Fator’s remarkable voice is a powerful tool — and his lips NEVER move — making him a real treat to watch. And the show is mostly song-driven.
But he could use some better comedy material, since much of it is less than original and too often surprisingly risque. An Abbott and Costello-style bit about band names (The Who, The Guess Who, Yes) was floating around on the Internet a couple of decades ago and the referenced bands date back to the 1960s (when Fator himself was in diapers). And a gay puppet opens the door for some raunchy (but also stale) sexual double entendres.
Although in some of the more sentimental material toward the concert’s conclusion, Fator seems to be pitching his show as family-oriented, some of this should definitely be off limits for kids.
“Game of Thrones: The Complete Third Season” (HBO/Blu-ray, 2013, seven discs, $79.98, Blu-ray and DVD versions, 10 episodes, deleted/extended scenes, audio commentaries, featurettes). This very R-rated cable-TV fantasy series, which is steeped in political intrigue within mythical kingdoms (and there be dragons), is based on the novels of George R.R. Martin and is arguably HBO’s biggest draw. Season 3, based on Martin’s book “A Song of Fire and Ice,” follows the template but has one episode that is so shocking, gruesome and bloody that even some fervent fans were reportedly outraged. (Also on DVD, $59.99)
“Nurse Jackie: Season Five” (Lionsgate, 2013, three discs, $39.98, 10 episodes, deleted scenes, audio commentaries, featurettes, bloopers). Edie Falco, who had won three Emmys for “The Sopranos,” also won an Emmy for her role as the title character in this Showtime (meaning R-rated) comedy-drama series during its first season. Falco is a nurse who, in previous seasons, was stealing drugs and behaving inappropriately. Season 5 finds her sober but her resolve is challenged by a divorce and an auto accident that sends her to her own emergency room. (Also on Blu-ray, $39.97, a penny less than the DVD.)
“Gentle Ben: Season Two” (CBS/Paramount, 1968-69, four discs, $36, 28 episodes). This final season of the boy-and-his-bear family show from the 1960s stars Dennis Weaver as a Florida Everglades game warden and Beth Brickell as his wife, but the focus is primarily on their young son Mark (played by Clint Howard, brother of Ron), whose best pal is Ben, a tame 650-pound black bear. Clint’s father Rance Howard has a recurring character as their next-door neighbor.
“Pompeii: The Doomed City” (History/Lionsgate, 2005-07, $14.98, three documentaries). Timed to coincide with the new “Pompeii” theatrical film, which is built around the A.D. 79 eruption of Mt. Vesuvius, this disc contains three documentaries from the History cable channel: “Digging for the Truth: Pompeii Secrets Revealed,” “In Search of History: Pompeii” and “Mega Disasters: The Next Pompeii.”
“Tom and Jerry: Mouse Trouble” (Warner; 1944-67, 2006-08; two discs, $19.97, 30 cartoons). This double-disc set is a mix of the battling cat and mouse’s vintage theatrical cartoons from the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s, along with episodes of the “Tom and Jerry Tales” TV series that ran for two years on the CW. Included is the 1944 Academy Award-winning “Mouse Trouble.”
“Guess How Much I Love You: Friendship Adventures” (eOne, 2011, $12.98, seven episodes). This sweet, gentle watercolor-style animated series from Australia is based on the “Little Nutbrown Hare” books written by Sam McBratney and illustrated by Anita Jeram. The stories are read by Matthew Jacob Wayne and are aimed at ages 18 months to 8 years.
“Peter Rabbit” (Nickelodeon/Paramount, 2013, $14.99, eight episodes).
“Essentially Spring: Peter Rabbit: Spring Into Adventure” (Nickelodeon/Paramount, 2014, seven episodes). Beatrix Potter’s character comes to life in these episodes from the cable-TV animated series with Peter, Benjamin, Lily and other characters in the Lake District.
“Essentially Spring: Dora the Explorer: Dora’s Easter Adventure” (Nickelodeon/Paramount, 2014, three episodes, interactive game, karaoke music videos).
“Essentially Spring: Dora the Explorer: Egg Hunt” (Nickelodeon/Paramount, 2014, four episodes, interactive game, two episodes of “Wonder Pets”). Dora and friends get into the spirit of Easter in these discs with animated episodes aimed at preschoolers.
“Essentially Spring: Max & Ruby: Easter With Max & Ruby” (Nickelodeon/Paramount, 2014, 12 episodes). The brother and sister bunnies join an Easter parade, build a sandcastle, and Ruby has a loose tooth.
Chris Hicks is the author of "Has Hollywood Lost Its Mind? A Parent’s Guide to Movie Ratings." Website: hicksflicks.com