This is one of the best weeks in many months for new DVD releases.
“Legend” Grade ☆☆☆1/2: Tom Hardy plays both Reggie and Ronnie Kray, twin gangsters who were the kingpins of organized crime in the East End of London during the 1960s. These guys rose to such criminal prominence that they even attracted the attention of crime bosses in Las Vegas.
The story progresses through the rise and fall of the brothers. Director Brian Helgeland’s pacing at times is a bit flat-footed, but his script is superbly crafted to show the transformation in the characters. Slowly through the movie, Ronnie’s calm and collected style begins to show signs of the insanity that is so much the trademark of his twin brother.
“The Night Before” Grade ☆☆☆: Seth Rogen stars. This holiday film about three best buddies looking for one last major Christmas Eve bash manages to be crass, rude and foul-mouthed while also being very sweet.
It all comes together to make “The Night Before” a fun hybrid of a raunchy buddy comedy and a sweet holiday movie.
“Creed” Grade ☆☆1/2: Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) agrees to train the son of Apollo Creed. “Creed” is a reboot of the franchise and follows a very similar structure to the original movie. To that end, the movie repeatedly falls short.
“Room” Grade ☆☆☆☆: A woman and her son try to adapt to life after escaping from the man who held them captive.
Director Lenny Abrahamson has created with “Room” a compelling story that appears to have very distinct halves. But in reality, each half is an emotional mirror of the other. This reflection is strengthened by a powerful story of a mother’s undying love, the revelations of the world seen through a child’s eyes and the unwavering strength of the human spirit.
“The Danish Girl” Grade ☆☆☆: Noted artist begins to reveal that he has always felt trapped in the wrong body. Eddie Redmayne’s portrayal of Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything” was a rare opportunity for an actor. Seldom does a part create such massive physical and emotional demands.
Such roles don’t come along every day. But for Redmayne, they have come along in back-to-back years. His work in “The Danish Girl” is in its own way equally as challenging physically and emotionally for the British actor.
“Youth” Grade ☆☆☆☆: Guests at a Swiss hotel share their concerns about life, the arts. Not since “The Grand Budapest Hotel’ has a film blended so smoothly the elements of fact and fantasy with a quirky and whimsical cast as “Youth.”
Also new on DVD or streaming March 1:
▪ “East Side Sushi”: Latina wants to become a sushi chef.
▪ “Miss You Already”: Two women (Drew Barrymore, Toni Collette) find their friendship tested when one starts a family and the other gets ill.
▪ “Don Verdean”: Comic look at evangelical fraud.
▪ “Narcopolis”: Elite police force keeps black market dealers off the street.
▪ “LEGO: Star Wars: Droid Tales”: Adventures of the droids before “The Phantom Menace.”
▪ “Life”: Look at James Dean and his friendship with photographer, Dennis Stock.
▪ “Intruders”: Home invasion horror-thriller.
▪ “Ratter”: Ashley Benson stars in the voyeuristic thriller.
▪ “The Midnight Man”: Assassin who could not feel pain suddenly regains the ability.
▪ “The Bold Ones”: Medical drama starring E.G. Marshall.
▪ “God’s Club”: Teacher battles parents over Bible Club.
▪ “In Defense of Food”: Author Michael Pollan looks at healthy eating.
Available on Digital HD March 1
▪ “Sisters”: Sisters throw one last party before selling the family home.