December 26, 2013

DVD Releases

New this week: ‘Insidious: Chapter 2’

NEW ON THE SHELF

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Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck in “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints.”

IFC Films

“INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 2,” Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne. Effective if superfluous followup to James Wan’s 2011 sleeper hit is a prequel of sorts, providing an equally chilling backstory for the terrifying events detailed in the original. Having previously helmed the notoriously gruesome “Saw” series, Wan appears to be eschewing gore and torture in favor of truly trying to frighten his audience (as he previously did earlier this year in “The Conjuring,” to date his most impressive film), a welcome change of pace. Rated PG-13. Running time: 1:46. Suggested retail price: $30.99; Blu-ray $40.99. 

NEW TO DVD

“AIN’T THEM BODIES SAINTS,” Rooney Mara, Casey Affleck. Acclaimed period drama from promising new filmmaker David Lowery favorably recalls the earlier works of Terrence Malick (“Badlands”) with its tale of doomed young lovers Ruth (Mara, “Prometheus”) and Bob (Affleck, “Gone Baby Gone”), whose penchant for robbing banks in between stealing kisses leads to Bob getting 25-to-life, with Ruth left behind to raise their young daughter, an arrangement further complicated when a mild-mannered deputy (Ben Foster, “The Messenger”) begins to take a romantic interest in Ruth in Bob’s absence. Beautifully shot and affectingly acted across the board, “Saints” proudly wears its cinematic influences on its sleeve but in the end manages to establish a fascinating tone all its own. Rated R. Running time: 1:36. Suggested retail price: $24.98; Blu-ray $29.98. 

“THE BIG C: THE COMPLETE SEASON FOUR,” Laura Linney, Oliver Platt. The final season of Showtime’s acclaimed series goes out the way it came in: kicking and screaming and with a lust for life even in the face of certain, possibly painful, death. The ever-dependable Linney continues to impress as Cathy, a suburban mother determined to live her life to the fullest in spite of her recent stage IV cancer diagnosis, pulling absolutely no punches in dealing with people now that the rest of her days have a countdown attached to them. Not rated. Running time: 3:46. Suggested retail price: $30.99. 

NEW TO BLU-RAY

“PREDATOR,” Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers. Generally regarded as one of Arnie’s more solid efforts thanks to some then-revolutionary effects, typically taut direction from John McTiernan (“Die Hard”), and an enthusiastically grimy supporting cast that includes memorable turns from Weathers (“Rocky”), omnipresent character actor Bill Duke (“Freaky Deaky”), and particularly fellow celebrity Governor Jesse “The Body” Ventura. Rated R. Running time: 1:47. Suggested retail price: $67.99. 

VIDEOPORT PICKS

“MORE THAN HONEY,” documentary. A deceptively serene and gorgeously shot doc about honeybees and those who work with them has some fairly devastating implications in this stunner from filmmaker Markus Imhoof (“Le film du cinema Suisse”). Dealing with pollination on a scale both grand (represented by uncouth tycoon John Miller) and intimate (Fred Jaggi, relying on tradition and instinct to manage a smaller but productive apiary), “Honey” makes all too plain the ravages that pesticides and other environmental changes are wreaking on the honeybee, and how dwindling numbers of this lowly insect affect far more than just the Earth’s honey supply. An alternately beautiful and sobering watch. Not rated. Running time: 1:35. Suggested retail price: $29.95; Blu-ray 34.95. 

“UNA NOCHE,” Dariel Arrechaga, Javier Nunez Florian. Assured debut feature from writer/director Lucy Mulloy takes a hard but often enjoyable look at the plight of the illegal immigrant, or in this case the hopeful illegal immigrant, represented here by Cuban teens Raul (Arrechaga), Elio (Florian), and Lila (Anailin de la Rua de la Torre), Elio’s twin sister, whose already intense desire to escape their Havana slum for the possibilities promised by Miami escalates when Raul becomes wanted by the police following a tragic misunderstanding. Richly detailing both the rigors and disappointments of the teens’ daily lives and their attempts to escape, Mulloy and her impressive cast (also first-timers themselves) succeed in creating fully realized characters, which makes the tension of the final reels all the more unbearable. A bold first film from a promising new talent. Not rated. Running time: 1:30. Suggested retail price: $24.98.

– Courtesy of Videoport

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