New to DVD and On Demand Releases for February 8 - 14
Releasing this week:
"Nightcrawler": Jake Gyllenhaal rightfully has received much attention for his man-on-the-fringes performance as a free-lance videographer who provides graphic crime footage to an eager TV-news producer (Rene Russo, whose husband -- Dan Gilroy -- wrote and directed the film). Bill Paxton and Riz Ahmed also appear in the drama that makes salient, and unnerving, points about what makes much of the media tick these days. Several veterans of local Los Angeles newscasting turn up here, and Robert Elswit's evocative cinematography also merits note. DVD extras: 'making-of' documentary; audio commentary by Gilroy, producer Tony Gilroy and editor John Gilroy (they're all brothers). (R: AS, P, GV) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
"Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day": It's a bad day, indeed, for young Alexander (Ed Oxenbould) in this Disney offering based on Judith Viorst's long-popular children's book. Forever his family's outcast, he makes a wish the night before his birthday that his relatives could get a taste of how he usually feels ... and guess what happens the next day? Steve Carell and Jennifer Garner play Alexander's parents, with Dick Van Dyke (as himself) in a very funny appearance at a book reading that goes about as wrong as it possibly could. (PG: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray)
"Olive Kitteridge": Academy Award winner Frances McDormand ("Fargo") and Richard Jenkins ("The Visitor'') head the cast of this poignant, made-for-HBO adaptation of Elizabeth Strout's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about life in a small New England town rocked by tragedy and illicit affairs -- as observed by the title character (McDormand). Bill Murray, John Gallagher Jr. ("The Newsroom"), Peter Mullan, Rosemarie DeWitt and Zoe Kazan also star for director Lisa Cholodenko ("The Kids Are All Right") and teleplay writer Jane Anderson. (Not rated: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray)
"Rosewater": Jon Stewart took a good chunk of 2013 off from "The Daily Show" to make his screenwriting and directing debuts on this film, a true drama that might not be expected from him. Gael Garcia Bernal ("The Motorcycle Diaries") plays a London-based journalist who had appeared on the Stewart program, and was arrested when he returned to his native Iran to cover the 2009 presidential election there for the BBC. While he was held and tortured -- by interrogators led by someone known only as "Rosewater" (Kim Bodnia) -- his wife (Claire Foy) launched an international campaign to get him freed. Shohreh Aghdashloo ("House of Sand and Fog'') also stars. (R: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
Also Releasing this week:
"Kill the Messenger": Also a producer of the drama, Jeremy Renner gives a strong performance as investigative reporter Gary Webb, who set off a controversy -- and put his life on the line -- with his articles that alleged the CIA had trained Nicaraguan Contras with funding from the U.S. drug trade. Director Michael Cuesta ("Homeland'') gives the story a brisk pace and a solid supporting cast that includes Andy Garcia, Michael Sheen ("Masters of Sex'), Rosemarie DeWitt, Robert Patrick ("Scorpion"), Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Oliver Platt, Ray Liotta, Paz Vega and Dan Futterman. (R: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
"Fear Clinic": It's been a while since his last turn as "A Nightmare on Elm Street's" Freddy Krueger, but Robert Englund still has the power to evoke scares, as proven by this thriller that echoes Freddy's skill in bringing people's nightmares to life. The actor's character here runs the title clinic, where he forces patients to realize their worst fears ... often quite lethally. Fiona Dourif ("True Blood'') and Thomas Dekker ("Backstrom'') co-star. (R: AS, N, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray)
"Dumb and Dumber To" (Feb. 17): Lloyd and Harry (Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels) reunite to find the daughter Harry didn't know he had. (PG-13: AS, N, P)
"The Interview" (Feb. 17): The controversial Seth Rogen-James Franco comedy makes its home-video debut. (R: AS, P, V)
"The Theory of Everything" (Feb. 17): Current Oscar nominees Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones star in the personal story of astrophysicist Stephen Hawking. (PG-13: AS)
"The Homesman" (Feb. 17): A drifter (Tommy Lee Jones, also the director here) is recruited by a frontierswoman (Hilary Swank) to help transport several troubled people. (R: AS, N, P, V)
"Life Itself" (Feb. 17): The life of movie critic Roger Ebert is recalled, in his own words and those of others including filmmakers Martin Scorsese and Werner Herzog. (R: AS, P)
"Sons of Anarchy: Season Seven" (Feb. 24): The saga concludes as Jax (Charlie Hunnam) realizes how close to home the source of a personal tragedy is -- and weighs his need for vengeance. (Not rated: AS, N, P, V)
TOP 10 DVD RENTALS (week ending Jan. 4, courtesy of Rentrak)
1) "The Equalizer"
2) "Guardians ofthe Galaxy"
3) "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles"
4) "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes"
6) "Let's Be Cops"
7) "22 Jump Street"
8) "Into the Storm"
9) "If I Stay"
10) "The November Man"
FAMILY VIEWING GUIDE KEY: AS, adult situations; N, nudity; P, profanity; V, violence; GV, particularly graphic violence.
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