A Private War
Rosamund Pike received a Golden Globe nomination but no Oscar love for her gritty portrayal of famous war correspondent Marie Colvin. The star reporter for London’s Sunday Times is a truth-seeking, chain-smoking, rule-breaking, eyepatch-wearing, checkpoint-busting dynamo. Pike ( "Gone Girl" ) makes us feel the stress-induced trauma building up in Colvin as she risks her life in war zones from Sri Lanka to Syria. She must get the scoop, not just for readers but for the devastated civilian victims and, she admits, to feed her troubling addiction to combat scenes. R, 111 minutes. Extras: two featurettes and a Q&A. From Universal Pictures Home Entertainment . Released Feb. 5 on DVD, Blu-ray, Netflix mail and Redbox.
Other recent releases on DVD and Blu-ray:
Boy Erased : The evils of gay-conversion therapy are outed in this powerful 2018 drama set in Arkansas in 2004. Lucas Hedges stars in the true story of a confused young man trying to please his strict Baptist parents, who are worried he might be gay. He reluctantly agrees to enter a program to set him straight. Scenes inside the indoctrination camp are painful to watch and will stir outrage in some viewers. It’s shocking to see how much power these misguided gender police are given over young innocents. Writer-director Joel Edgerton (" Zero Dark Thirty ") also plays the intense program director. As the parents, fellow Australians Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman are terrific, but this film belongs to Hedges. He may not be instantly recognizable, but he was nominated for an Oscar for " Manchester By the Sea " and has had roles in a string of hits, including " Moonrise Kingdom ," " The Grand Budapest Hotel ," " Lady Bird ," "Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri," and " Mid90s ." "Boy Erased" is based on Garrard Conley’s 2016 memoir. R, 105 minutes. From Universal Pictures Home Entertainment . Released Jan. 29 on DVD and Blu-ray.
Widows : When a heist goes south and the bad guys are blown up, what happens to their wives? This may sound like fodder for some touchy-feely Lifetime Channel movie of the week. But "Widows" actually is a hard-nosed crime thriller that examines a normally overlooked part of the underworld equation. Viola Davis stars as Veronica, whose husband’s death leads to her getting squeezed for $5 million he owed his partners in crime. Rather than roll over, she plots a heist using her husband’s detailed notebook to find a ripe target. She also recruits the other widows whose men died with her husband. The cast includes Liam Neeson, Colin Farrell, Michelle Rodriguez, Daniel Kaluuya (" Get Out ") and a tough-talking Robert Duvall. The script, co-written by director Steve McQueen (" 12 Years a Slave ") and Gillian Flynn (" Gone Girl ") packs some juicy plot twists into the final act. R, 129 minutes. From Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment . Released Feb. 5 on DVD and Blu-ray.
The Old Man and the Gun : Robert Redford stars as an elderly bank robber whose trademark is being exceptionally polite to the bank tellers and managers he points his gun at. Casey Affleck scratches his head a lot as the puzzled cop trying to sort out this geriatric crime wave. Sissy Spacek looks great as Redford’s love interest. Redford earned a Golden Globe nomination for this quirky October release, based on a true story. He says this is his final acting role. If so, he picked a fun way to ride off into the sunset. PG-13, 93 minutes. From Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment . Released Jan. 15 on DVD and Blu-ray.
Overlord : American paratroopers drop into a forest at night in Nazi-occupied France six hours ahead of D-Day. Their mission: Destroy a key German radio tower before the Allied invasion starts. This entertaining action horror film from November follows Boyce (Jovan Adepo), a scared but plucky private. His outnumbered squad is ready to face impossible odds, but they aren’t prepared for the strange medical experiments Nazi doctors are conducting in a dungeon laboratory. Despite overacting by John Magaro as loud-mouthed Tibbet, this war story mostly works, though Boyce narrowly avoids death about two dozen times too many. R, 109 minutes. From Paramount. Released Feb. 5 on DVD and Blu-ray.
Tea with the Dames : What a nice time everyone has hanging out as four legendary British actresses tell tales and talk shop for the camera. This relaxed, comfortable 2018 documentary features Dame Maggie Smith, Dame Judi Dench, Dame Eileen Atkins, and Dame Joan Plowright, late in their careers but ripe with wisdom. Smith may be most recognized for her work on " Downton Abbey ," and Dench likewise as M in Daniel Craig’s 007 adventures, while Plowright is best known for being Sir Laurence Olivier’s wife, unfortunately, because she’s a brilliant actress in her own right. She’s also now blind. A shared trait that stands out with these four longtime friends is that despite all of their credits, accolades and honors, they still are filled with feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy about their work. The film includes a healthy dose of archival footage of the four in a variety of roles through the decades. It makes us want to go back and rewatch their earlier work. Unrated, 84 minutes. From MPI Home Video . Released Jan. 15 on DVD.
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms : This reimagined "Nutcracker" isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. A brainless fantasy with lots to see but no substance, it burned through two directors, first Lasse Hallestrom ("Chocolat") and then Joe Johnston (" Captain America: The First Avenge r"). Mackenzie Foy plays young Clara, whose pursuit of a special key takes her into a parallel world. The cast features Keira Knightley, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Richard E. Grant, Matthew Macdfadyen and ballerina Misty Copeland. The November release cost $120 million to $133 million. It made only $54 million in the U.S., but overseas ticket sales brought the total up to $173 million. PG, 99 minutes. Released Jan. 29 on DVD and Blu-ray. From Walt Disney Pictures .
Spiral : The steady rise of anti-Semitism in modern-day France, home to half a million Jews, is chronicled in this 2017 documentary directed by Laura Fairrie. Should they flee or fight, fearful Jews are asking themselves. Disturbing footage of violent attacks and propaganda videos against Jews make this difficult but all the more important to watch. Unrated, 79 minutes. From Cohen Media Group . Released Jan. 8 on DVD and Blu-ray.
The Game , the complete series: Tia Mowry-Hardrict stars as a woman who delays medical school while her boyfriend pursues a pro football career. This "Girlfriends" spinoff about jock families survived being traded from The CW to BET to last for nine seasons of behind-the-scenes sports comedy-drama. Running for 147 episodes from 2006 to 2015, it co-starred Wendy Raquel Robinson, Coby Bell, Pooch Hall and Brittany Daniels. This box set is 20 DVDs. From Paramount . Released Jan. 29.
Nobody’s Fool : "Girls Trip" star Tiffany Haddish plays a recently paroled wild woman who suspects her uptight sister is being duped by a phony online romance. Whoopi Goldberg co-stars as their mother in this November comedy written and directed by Tyler Perry in his standard low-brow style. R, 110 minutes. From Paramount. Released Jan. 29 on DVD and Blu-ray.
Once Upon a Deadpool : " Deadpool 2 " was pretty good for a sequel, but the R rating kept a lot of young teens from seeing the May 2018 release. So they re-edited it, taking out the really naughty stuff and adding a new framing device in which the Marvel Comics superhero Deadpool reads a bedtime story to a grown-up Fred Savage in a funny riff on "The Princess Bride." But otherwise, the film is mostly the same. They released it in theaters in December for a limited run and gave a dollar from every ticket to a cancer-fighting charity. PG-13, 117 minutes. From Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. Released Jan. 15 on DVD and Blu-ray.
Obsession : Cliff Robertson plays a businessman on vacation who becomes infatuated with a woman who resembles his late wife. Genevieve Bujold ("King of Hearts") has the dual role. Brian De Palma directed this 1976 mystery thriller and co-wrote the story with Paul Schrader ("Taxi Driver"), who wrote the screenplay, which De Palma then revised heavily, to Schrader’s dismay. De Palma also battled with Robertson during the filming. While this was De Palma’s first big box office success, it infuriated Alfred Hitchcock, who believed it was a rip-off of his "Vertigo" and not just a homage. Bernard Herrman earned a posthumous Oscar nomination for his tingling musical score. PG, 98 minutes. From Shout Factory . Released Jan. 15 in a Blu-ray Collector’s Edition with new interviews and commentary.
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