Monday, March 2, 2015

This week's major DVD releases

Click on title to see the film’s trailer

Foxcatcher ***½ Directed by Bennett Miller. Starring Channing Tatum, Steve Carell, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Michael Hall, Sienna Miller, Vanessa Redgrave. Preparing for the 1988 Olympics, two sibling wrestlers cross paths with a paranoid schizophrenic millionaire. Rare is the drama that plumbs the quirky, unsettling depths of human nature like Foxcatcher. Simultaneously understated and grippingly edgy, this is an arresting examination of naivete, mismatched worlds and old-fashioned American oddness.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part One **½ Directed by Francis Lawrence. Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland. Katniss Everdeen is called on to lead her people in a rebellion against the all-powerful Capital. It’s a joyless, surpassingly dour enterprise, but one that fulfills its mission with Katniss’s own eagle-eyed efficiency and unsentimental somberness.

The Humbling **½ Directed by Barry Levinson. Starring Al Pacino, Dianne Wiest, Greta Gerwig, Charles Grodin, Kyra Sedgwick. A stage actor who is slowly losing his mind engages in a relationship with a sexually confused younger woman. Should have been more brisk, should have been cut, and should have had more of the Pacino who finishes this thing off with a flourish. The soul searching and sense of a life misspent are interesting. But there’s an awful lot of hooey before we get to the "Hoo hah."

The Better Angels ** Directed by A.J. Edwards. Starring Brit Marling, Diane Kruger, Jason Clarke, Wes Bentley. The story of Abraham Lincoln’s childhood in the harsh wilderness of Indiana and the hardships that shaped him. In the absence of a more conventional storytelling approach, this series of brief, fragmented glimpses of the harsh challenges that shaped Lincoln’s early life never allows you to get sufficiently close to its celebrated subject.

The Last of Robin Hood ** Directed by Richard Glatzer, Wash Westmoreland. Starring Kevin Kline, Dakota Fanning, Susan Sarandon. The last days in the life of actor Errol Flynn. Veers between disapproval, farce and something uncomfortably close to envy, with a trio of game performances barely holding things together.

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