An Oscar contender, two strong dramas and an animated family story being released Feb. 23.
“Spotlight” Grade ☆☆☆☆: Reporting team with the Boston Globe uncovers a conspiracy in the Catholic Church dealing with priests who molest children.
Not since the Oscar-winning “All the President’s Men” in 1976 has a movie offered such a compelling, intriguing and important look at the world of journalism. This examination of the Boston Globe’s investigative team - known as Spotlight - uncovering the massive cover-up is one of the best pictures of the year.
“Secret In Their Eyes” Grade ☆☆☆1/2: The Julia Roberts film is based on “El secreto de sus ojos, “ the film from Argentina that picked up the Oscar for Best Foreign Film in 2010. Director/writer Billy Ray uses only the bare bones of the original movie to craft his tale of motherly love, heartbreak and obsession.
It’s rare that an adaptation of a much heralded film equals the original. In this case, the upgrades add to the tension and tenure of the production. His changes also make the film far more relatable.
“My All American” Grade ☆☆☆: Sports films based on true stories come with an inherent drama. It’s a combination of the herculean effort it takes to accomplish success in a given sport with the pure passion that explodes from the human story.
To be a success, a director needs to take that natural drama and gingerly play it out.
Director Angelo Pizzo comes very close to committing a fumble, but the human story is so heart-tugging strong and Finn Wittrock’s performance so good that those elements fortify the natural drama.
“The Good Dinosaur” Grade ☆☆: Production was halted early in the process of making the film because it had some big size problems. Peter Sohn was brought in as the new director and he started the process over two years ago.
The second attempt ends up so flat it would have been smart to scrap it and try a third time. It is weighed down by a flawed concept, unappealing characters and a soundtrack that lacks anything close to a memorable tune.
Also new on DVD and through streaming services Feb. 23:
▪ “The Irish RM”: Peter Bowles portrays a retired army officer who becomes a resident Magistrate.
▪ “I Smile Back”: Sarah Silverman stars in this film about how a woman’s past is affecting her current life.
▪ “Transformers: Rescue Bots”: First responders are back for more action.
▪ “The Lion Guard: Return to the Roar”: A New generation of animals begin preserving the Pride Lands.
▪ “Millennium/R.O.T.O.R.”: Two cult classics from the ‘80s are included.
▪ “Chuggington: Delivery Dash at the Docks”: Skipper Stu and all the Chuggers learn the importance of patience.
▪ “Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! Season 1 Part 1”: Gang goes on a road trip to celebrate graduation.
▪ “The Curse/Curse II”: Meteor and abandoned nuclear test site create problems.
▪ “Fargo: Year Two”: Latest crime case investigated in Sioux Falls, SD. Kirsten Dunst stars.
▪ “Jesus of Nazareth: The Complete Miniseries”: Franco Zeffirelli’s sweeping drama of the life of Jesus as told in the Gospels.
▪ “Entertainment”: Comedian treks through the California desert dreaming of performing in Hollywood.
▪ “Shaun the Sheep: Season 2”: Includes 40 episodes of sheepish fun.
▪ “Extraction”: Son of retired CIA field operative must save his father. Bruce Willis stars.
Available early on digital HD and VOD Feb. 23:
▪ “In the Heart of the Sea”: Whaling ship loses battle with giant sea creature. Chris Hemsworth stars.
▪ “Victor Frankenstein”: Victor Frankenstein and his protégé share a noble vision
▪ “Day Out of Days”: Story of feminism, ageism and staying relevant in Hollywood.