So many new flicks on DVD. Why do all the work looking for the best of the best when we do it for you? Here’s part one of our choices.
“Walt Disney Animation Studios Short Films Collection” (Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, available now)
An extraordinary new collection of award-winning and beloved short films featuring Disney’s “Frozen Fever” and the Oscar-nominated “Lorenzo”.) Also in the merry mix: “Get A Horse!” and the holiday treat “Prep & Landing: Operation: Secret Santa”, and the celebrated Oscar winners “Paperman” and “Feast”. All-new extras including an inside look at the Disney Animation shorts, featuring introductions and interviews with the acclaimed filmmakers themselves.
“Miles from Tomorrowland: Let’s Rocket!” (Walt Disney Studios, available now)
Join Miles Callisto, his parents and sister and his best friend, pet robo-ostrich on a super-galactic adventure that charts the outer space missions of the family as they help connect the galaxy on behalf of the Tomorrowland Transit Authority. Fun indeed, but the adventures take young viewers and their families on a futuristic journey designed to fuel kids’ natural interest in space, and at the same time reminding them of the importance of what lies close to home–the family bond. This value-packed DVD includes the premiere episode plus four additional episodes, nearly two hours of fun! Not enough? Inside every DVD is an exclusive clip-on Blastboard flashlight. Shine it on!
“Killing Jimmy Hoffa” (Indie Rights, available now)
Four decades after his disappearance and probable murder, Jimmy Hoffa’s “disappearance” remains one of the greatest crimes (and mysteries) of the century. Hoffa’s chief nemesis was U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, and the two men developed a deep hatred for each other. In the long aftermath of President F. John Kennedy’s assassination Hoffa’s name swirled in the aether of conspiracy theories, and his close Mafia associates Carlos Marcello and Santos Trafficante are at the center of the most plausible theories about Kennedy’s death. As Hoffa’s anniversary is “celebrated,” viewers will relish a film that covers the life and times of Hoffa and explore all the theories about his disappearance. The riveting work reminds us that we know that Hoffa is dead; the important question is: Who killed him?
“Once Upon a Time: The Complete Fourth Season” (Walt Disney Studios, available now)
Love. A four-letter word that’s as seductive and dangerous as magic . . . and a potent, unpredictable force that proves to be the ultimate weapon in the epic battle between good and evil 21 episodes. Soon after Emma and Hook unwittingly bring Elsa of Arendelle to Storybrooke, they encounter the mysterious Snow Queen, whose relentless obsession with both Emma and Elsa has chilling consequences. Meanwhile, it appears Regina has at last found true love with Robin Hood, but how will she react when her happy ending is thwarted yet again by a maddening twist of fate? Spellbinding now . . . and forever after!
“Where Hope Grows” (Lionsgate Home Entertainment, available now)
This uplifting tale of an ex-baseball player who finds salvation when he befriends a grocery-store clerk who has Down syndrome is a joyous, uplifting film. Calvin Campbell, a former sports with a self-destructive streak, has his faith in God restored when he meets Produce, an inspirational man with Down syndrome. As their friendship develops, Calvin is reminded that hope grows in the most unlikely places. Newcomer David DeSanctis is brilliant as Produce. Five stars!
“3 Hearts” (Cohen Media Group, available now)
One night in provincial France, Marc (Benoît Poelvoorde) meets Sylvie (Charlotte Gainsbourg) after he misses his train back to Paris. Instantly and intensely drawn to one another, they wander through the streets until morning in rare, almost choreographed, harmony. A thwarted plan for a second meeting sends each in a separate direction: Sylvie reunites with her ex-husband and leaves France; Marc falls in love with another woman and marries her. What neither knows is that Marc’s new bride is Sylvie’s sister, Sophie (Chiara Mastroianni). Upon Sylvie’s return to France, the spark between her and Marc is reignited in ways that will forever alter the relationships between sister to sister and husband to wife.
“Vendetta” (Lionsgate Home Entertainment, available now)
Dean Cain gives a super, man, performance as a hardened detective who will stop at nothing in his quest for vengeance. When his wife is killed by a criminal that he put away, Mason (Cain) deliberately gets arrested for murder in order to get revenge. While inside, Mason discovers a new criminal enterprise that those behind it would kill to protect. This action-packed thriller also starring WWE Superstar Big Show, Michael Eklund and Ben Hollingsworth.
“Iris” (Magnolia Home Entertainment, Aug. 25)
A senior smash! Legendary 87-year-old documentarian Albert Maysles has made a fabulous film with his wife, Iris Apfel, the quick-witted, flamboyantly dressed 93-year-old style maven who has had an outsized presence on the New York fashion scene for decades. More than a fashion film, the documentary is a story about creativity and how, even in Iris’ dotage, a soaring free spirit continues to inspire. IRIS portrays a singular woman whose enthusiasm for fashion, art and people are life’s sustenance and reminds us that dressing, and indeed life, is nothing but an experiment. Despite the abundance of glamour in her current life, she continues to embrace the values and work ethic established during a middle-class Queens upbringing during the Great Depression. Listen to her coo: “I feel lucky to be working. If you’re lucky enough to do something you love, everything else follows.”
“Braddock, America” (First Run Features, Sept. 1)
A few miles outside of Pittsburgh lies the town of Braddock, the last bastion of steel. Like many cities in the industrial heartland, Braddock has seen better days. Illuminated by images of days long gone and the haunting voices of its remaining inhabitants, “Braddock, America”, a powerful documentary by Gabriella Kessler and Jean-Loic Portron, tells the story of a city hit hard by globalization. But behind the rusty façades, the community comes together as it tries to shape its future and reinvent itself in a post-industrial America. Braddock once was a safe, sensible haven with great stores and shopping, Now it is an ugly, frightening place of drugs, murder and fear.
“American Heist” (Lionsgate Home Entertainment, Sept. 8)
Unraveling a tale of two brothers torn apart and reunited by the reckless and perilous world of crime, the flick brings the heat with an all-star cast, including Hayden Christensen, Adrien Brody, Tory Kittles and recording star, Aliaune “Akon” Thiam. So captivating is this drama it was a 2014 Official Selection at prestigious Toronto International Film Festival and New Orleans Film Festival. In short: James (Christensen) owes his life to his older brother Frankie (Brody) after taking the rap for a crime they committed together. Now, Frankie is released and back on the streets with no money and no place to go. He turns to his underworld connections and convinces James to join him in hopes that one last job will be the solution to change both their lives. Or will it?
“Love & Mercy” (Lionsgate Home Entertainment, Sept. 15)
Enjoy the beach, boys and girls. The critically-acclaimed musical biopic about the fascinating life of Beach Boys’ co-founder Brian Wilson is unraveled in . John Cusack and Paul Dano star the troubled musical genius at two pivotal stages of his life, the ’60s, at the peak of The Beach Boys’ fame and the ’80s, as Wilson reclaims his life after a mental breakdown. The unconventional portrait of Wilson intimately examines the unique journey and ultimate salvation of this musical icon, whose success came at an extraordinary personal cost.
“Harper Lee: From Mockingbird to Watchman” (First Run Features, Sept. 22)
It’s old news by now: To everyone’s surprise, 55 years after the publication of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” recluse author Harper Lee has published another novel. “Go Set a Watchman” was written before Lee’s beloved masterpiece, as director Mary McDonagh Murphy explains in this update of her 2011 documentary “Hey, Boo: Harper Lee & To Kill a Mockingbird”. Murphy’s new film sifts through the facts and speculation surrounding Lee and both her novels, and includes interviews with Lee’s older sister, close friends, and admirers including Oprah Winfrey, Scott Turow, Anna Quindlen and Tom Brokaw. Believed to be lost or destroyed, “Go Set a Watchman” allows readers a remarkable discovery of Lee’s beloved classic and the chance to see Atticus and Scout again. Is only the gossip between she and Truman Capote, her dear friend, was really and finally explained.