New DVD releases feature ‘Light’ and dark politics

Elizabeth Olsen and Tom Hiddleston in “I Saw the Light.”
Elizabeth Olsen and Tom Hiddleston in “I Saw the Light.” Sony Pictures Classic

Music that will get your foot tapping and political drama that proves to be a game of musical chairs top this week’s DVD picks.

“I Saw the Light” Grade : Tom Hiddleston, best known for his wicked portrayal of Loki in the “Thor” movies, takes on singing duties as part of his performance as Hank Williams in “I Saw the Light.” He gets points for trying to mimic the singer’s unique style, but the movie is so weak on story that the musical performances cannot hide its flaws.

The most sour notes in “I Saw the Light” come from the script by director Marc Abraham. Instead of building a solid foundation of why Williams chased a musical career as shown through the influences in his early years, Abraham jumps into the story with Williams as an adult.

The early years for Williams were so interesting that they would have made for a full movie on their own. From his battle with spina bifida occulta to the family losing everything in a fire, Williams had the kind of childhood that makes for great movie material. Sadly, Abraham elects to spend more time on staging musical numbers.

Even the focus on the adult life of Williams comes across like an abbreviated tale. The story skips casually through his marital woes, battles to find respect in the music world and his continuing fight with back pain. Just when a story point starts to get interesting, Abraham shifts the attention to another musical performance.

“House of Cards: The Complete Fourth Season” Grade : Kevin Spacey continues his brilliant work as Frank Underwood in this tale of a wild political world. The series loves to rip open the heart of issues and feed upon them like mad dogs.

Some of the best work is what Spacey does with Robin Wright, who is a perfect match as the wife of Spacey’s character. This is truly a power couple, even when things at home begin to change.

Also new on DVD July 5

“Vigilante Diaries”: Black-ops agents become crimefighters.

“Term Life”: Father, daughter hunted by mob boss and dirty cops.

“Electra Woman & Dyna Girl”: Updated version of Saturday morning action series.

“The Adderall Diaries”: Troubled author looks to find the truth about his past. James Franco stars.

“Code of Honor”: Steven Seagal stars in this story of an ex-special ops agent who must protect his town.

“Endgame”: Impoverished high school starts a chess team and becomes state champions.

“Hell Hunters”: Group of Nazi hunters must stop an evil doctor.

“Dear Eleanor”: Coming-of-age road picture set in 1962.

“The Mermaid”: Beautiful mermaid falls for a greedy developer.

“The Levenger Tapes”: Video tapes may hold the clues to finding three missing college students.

“Only Yesterday”: Family visit sparks memories.

“600 Miles”: Federal agent looks to stop flow of guns over the border.

“Emma’s Chance”: Young woman, abused horse form bond.

“Joseph & Mary”: Kevin Sorbo stars in this tale of a rabbi helped by the family.

“Roald Dahl’s The BFG”: Animated feature released in 1989.

“The Pack”: Man’s best friend becomes his worst nightmare.

“Peg + Cat: Out of This World”: Peg and Cat solve problems on other worlds.

“Vicious: The Finale”: Follows a year in the lives of Freddie (Ian McKellen) and Stuart (Derek Jacobi).

“Search Party”: Two friends go on a rescue mission to save their buddy.

“3rd Street Blackout”: Modern lovers hit relationship problems when the power goes out.

“Cabin Fever”: Reboot of the 2002 horror film.

Also new on Digital HD:

“Barbershop: The Next Cut”: Workers at the shop arrange a weekend cease-fire among local gangs.

“Saving Mr. Wu”: Based on the true story of China’s famous celebrity kidnapping case.

Rick Bentley: 559-441-6355, @RickBentley1