New to DVD and On Demand Releases for January 11 - 17
Releasing this week:
"A Walk Among the Tombstones": Played previously by Jeff Bridges in "8 Million Ways to Die,'' novelist Lawrence Block's cop-turned-detective character Matt Scudder is assumed by Liam Neeson, who effectively stays in "Taken" mode in this expectedly grim melodrama. The personally troubled New York sleuth is recruited to help a drug dealer (Dan Stevens, "Downton Abbey") by finding the killers of the pusher's wife. Directed by screenwriter Scott Frank ("Get Shorty"), the film also features David Harbour ("State of Affairs"), Adam David Thompson, Sebastian Roche and Mark Consuelos. DVD extra: 'making-of' documentary. (R: AS, N, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
"Gone Girl": Adapted (by her) from the best-seller by Gillian Flynn, director David Fincher's well-spun screen version was one of 2014's most anticipated and most-discussed films. A man's (Ben Affleck) wedding anniversary is marked by his wife's (Rosamund Pike) disappearance, and as the ensuing investigation proceeds, he looks more and more like a suspect ... with his attitude definitely not helping his case. Even for the countless readers of the book, the result here offers surprises; the superbly chosen cast also includes Tyler Perry, Neil Patrick Harris, Carrie Coon ("The Leftovers") and Kim Dickens ("Sons of Anarchy"). (R: AS, N, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray)
"Love is Strange": In a match of superb actors, John Lithgow and Alfred Molina star in this tale of longtime domestic partners who finally marry when they're able to do so legally. They then run into complications that force them to give up their apartment and live separately, with their new arrangements adding to the emotional strain they already feel. Cheyenne Jackson, Darren Burrows and Marisa Tomei also appear, but the excellent Lithgow and Molina are the show here. DVD extras: 'making-of' documentary; audio commentary by Lithgow, Molina and director and co-writer Ira Sachs; Los Angeles Film Festival Q&A. (R: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
"Men, Women & Children": What does the Internet age mean for interpersonal relationships? It's a big question that has been pondered much in recent years, and director and co-screenwriter Jason Reitman ("Juno," "Up in the Air") takes his turn with this interestingly cast comedy-drama about several teens and their parents ... and how they're affected by the time they spend in cyberspace. The ensemble of players includes Adam Sandler, Jennifer Garner, Rosemarie DeWitt, Ansel Elgort ("The Fault in Our Stars"), Kaitlyn Dever ("Last Man Standing''), Judy Greer, Dean Norris, Dennis Haysbert and J.K. Simmons ("Whiplash''). (R: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
Also Releasing this week:
"Boardwalk Empire: The Complete Fifth Season": The Martin Scorsese-produced HBO saga came to an end with this round, with Depression-era power Nucky (Steve Buscemi) trying to re-establish himself in Cuba. Encounters with mobsters including Meyer Lansky and Charlie 'Lucky' Luciano (Anatol Yusef, Vincent Piazza) leave him unsettled ... and reflective of earlier days, shown in flashbacks, when he was starting to build his own base. Chicago and Atlantic City are among other settings for the final phase of the drama, which also features Kelly Macdonald, Michael Shannon, Shea Whigham, Patricia Arquette, Jeffrey Wright and Gretchen Mol. DVD extras: 'making-of' documentaries; audio commentary by cast and crew members on selected episodes; two episodes of "The Knick." (Not rated: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray)
"The Facts of Life: The Complete Series": "You take the good, you take the bad ... ,'' and if you know classic television, you know the rest of the theme song to this long-popular NBC spinoff of "Diff'rent Strokes." Charlotte Rae transferred her Mrs. Garrett character into becoming the housemother to a spirited group of female students at the private Eastland School. The core group is played by Lisa Whelchel, Nancy McKeon (whose tomboyish Jo was added after the first season), Kim Fields and Mindy Cohn. Molly Ringwald also was a cast member early on, and a pre-"ER" George Clooney had a two-season stint as a hunky (of course) handyman. Also notable was comedian Geri Jewell as Blair`s (Whelchel) cousin who, like her portrayer, had cerebral palsy. (Not rated: AS)
"Annabelle" (Jan. 20): The spirit within a vintage doll makes things tough for the cultists who invade its new owners' (Annabelle Wallis, John Gordon) home. (R: AS, P, V)
"The Box Trolls" (Jan. 20): An orphan tries to protect the trash collectors who raised him from an exterminator in this animated fantasy; Ben Kingsley is in the voice cast. (PG: AS)
"Lucy" (Jan. 20): A innocent (Scarlett Johansson) is transformed into a furious warrior by an untested drug in writer-director Luc Besson's sci-fi-adventure; Morgan Freeman also stars. (R: AS, P, V)
"The Judge" (Jan. 27): An attorney (Robert Downey Jr.) represents his estranged father (Robert Duvall), the title judge, against a murder charge. (R: AS, P)
"Dracula Untold" (Feb. 3): The roots of the vampire (Luke Evans) are traced as he tries to protect his family and kingdom. (PG-13: AS, P, V)
"Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day" (Feb. 10): As he turns 12, Alexander makes a wish that causes trouble (Ed Oxenbould) for his whole family; Steve Carell and Jennifer Garner also star. (PG: AS, P)
TOP 10 DVD RENTALS (week ending Dec. 7, courtesy of Rentrak)
1) "22 Jump Street"
4) "The Expendables 3"
5) "Tyler Perry's a adea Christmas"
6) "The Giver"
7) "X-Men: Days of Future Past"
8) "The Purge: Anarchy"
9) "Sex Tape"
FAMILY VIEWING GUIDE KEY: AS, adult situations; N, nudity; P, profanity; V, violence; GV, particularly graphic violence.
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