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What to watch and play this week

The Imposter

How's this for a slice of messed-up real life? Thirteen-year-old Nicholas Barclay disappeared from his Texas home in 1994. Three years later, in Spain, 23-year-old Frenchman Frederic Bourdin claimed he was the missing kid. And a lotta people — including everyone in Nicholas' family — believed him. This gripping documentary — which pulls together new interviews, reenactments, and archival footage — poses some disturbing questions, like: Why was the Barclay family so willing to believe this guy was their son, when others — including an FBI agent and private investigator — had their doubts? What did they know about Nicholas' disappearance, and what were they hiding? But this is Bourdin's story too, and he tells it with a disarming straightforwardness. He says he just wanted a second chance at life. Mesmerizing. It opens Friday at the Capitol Theatre.

Quadrophenia

The Who's 1973 rock opera makes a better album than movie. But this 1979 film (out on Blu-ray this week from Criterion) manages to stretch out the narrative of Pete Townshend's story about a teen coming of age in 1960s London. The Who's music provides much of the soundtrack, but other '60s classics also show up. Extras include a bunch of behind-the-scenes photos and footage, and commentary by the director.

Harvey

What is it with big-ass bunnies in the movies? A menacing man-size rabbit advises Donnie Darko's time-traveling protagonist. And what about the gun-toting one in the gangster pic Sexy Beast? This 1950 classic — starring James Stewart as a man whose best friend is an imaginary six-foot rabbit — is the grandaddy of big-bunny movies. It makes its Blu-ray debut this week as part of Universal's great 100th anniversary deluxe sets.

The Walking Dead: The Complete Second Season

Don't think for a minute that you know where this great show is heading. Even fans of the comic book were knocked out by the second season of this zombie series, which picked up the pace and shoved aside expectations. Here's your chance to catch up: Thirteen more episodes come to home video this week, and they pile on the dread. The behind-the-scenes extras add little — read the comics if you want more insight.

Sophie's Choice

The Cinematheque wraps up its excellent "Universal Pictures at 100" series with the 1982 heartbreaker that earned Meryl Streep her first Best Actress Oscar. The film is framed by a love story between Streep's concentration-camp survivor and her Holocaust-obsessed lover. But the heart of this movie is the flashback scenes. Sophie's "choice" still stings. It shows at 8:45 p.m. Saturday and 3:30 p.m. Sunday at the Cinematheque.

Battleship

They said a big-budget action movie based on a popular board game would never work. They said it was a stupid idea. They said, "What's next? Yahtzee?" And yes, the big-screen version of Battleship (which is out on home video this week) is a loud, obnoxious mess. But so were two of the Transformers movies. At least the military-vs.-space-aliens story provides some ass-rattling special effects for pyrotechnics fans.

Boardwalk Empire: The Complete Second Season

The second season of HBO's New Jersey-set Prohibition series starring Steve Buscemi doesn't pack as many thrills as the first, but it's still one of TV's most gripping hours. All 12 episodes come to home video this week, with helpful extras like character profiles, story recaps, and a look back at the era that inspired the show. Be sure you make it to the penultimate episode, one of the series' best and most crucial.

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More by Michael Gallucci

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