Two films that earned Oscar attention and a sequel are among this week’s new DVD releases.
“Hacksaw Ridge” Grade ☆☆☆1/2: Man who refuses to carry a gun into one of the bloodiest battles of World War II becomes a hero. Andrew Garfield stars.
Playing a pacifist in such a deadly war zone is a tricky proposition. Garfield shows just the right amount of commitment to make the hardline stand feel real while allowing his emotions to occasionally bubble to the surface. Playing the role with too little commitment would have turned the character into a World War II version of Gomer Pyle.
“Nocturnal Animals” Grade ☆☆☆: Tom Ford sprinkles in some commentary about life and art using nudity to show the starkness of beauty and the beauty of starkness.
He uses nudity in various ways, not as a sexual element, but as an exclamation point for pivotal moments in the story. He can do this because Jake Gyllenhaal is so compelling to watch as a wounded author and broken husband/father, and Amy Adams can sell sadness with a simple look.
Michael Shannon turns in yet another brilliant performance as the one person who thinks revenge is overrated.
“Bad Santa 2” Grade ☆☆☆1/2: The team gets back together to rob a charity. The script by Johnny Rosenthal and Shauna Cross will make you uncomfortable and embarrassed at your laughter. It’s OK.
Think of it as just being pulled into the impressive acting abilities that are getting better and better for Billy Bob Thornton.
“Beauty and the Beast” Grade ☆☆☆1/2: Christophe Gans’ fantasy adventure is a stunning look at the fairytale. This version of the story not only offers a superbly romantic tale but ramps up the action.
The new live-action version of “Beauty and the Beast” being released by Disney will be hard pressed to be more visually appealing and beautifully played as this offering.
The only flaw is the watching the movie with dubbed voices.
Also new on DVD Feb. 21
▪ “Manchester by the Sea”: Teenage boy moves in with his uncle after his father dies.
▪ “Level”: Good cop has a dark secret.
▪ “Grace and Frankie: Season Two”: Lifelong rivals Grace and Frankie have bonded in an uneasy friendship.
▪ “Joe Bullet”: The 1972 film was originally banned by the apartheid government in South Africa.
▪ “Three Classic Films by Claude Chabrol”: Includes “Betty,” “Torment” and “The Swindle.”
▪ “Panther Girl of the Kongo”: The 1954 Republic serial is being released.
▪ “The Great and the Small”: Petty criminal tries to stay ahead of the law.
▪ “King Solomon’s Mines”: Richard Chamberlain stars in the 1985 action film.
▪ “Heaven Sent”: A mischievous little angel goes on a special mission.
▪ “Psychomania”: Tale of zombie bikers in southern England.
▪ “Doctor Who: The Return of Doctor Mystero”: The Doctor must save New York from an alien threat.
▪ “The Klansman”: Terence Young directs this 1974 film starring Lee Marvin.
▪ “Seasons”: A look at relationship between man and beasts.
Available on Digital HD on Feb. 21:
▪ “Jackie”: Natalie Portman plays Jacqueline Kennedy in the days just after JFK’s assassination.
▪ “Country: Portraits of an American Sound”: A look at country music history through those who have photographed that music world.
▪ “Man Down”: Former Marine returns home to a different world.
▪ “Shut In”: Widowed child psychologist (Naomi Watts) becomes convinced ghost of missing boy is haunting her.