“Black or White,” Kevin Costner, Octavia Spencer. Never one to play it safe, writer-director Mike Binder (“Reign Over Me”) tackles touchy subject matter head-on with “Black or White,” which pits bereaved grandfather Costner against determined grandmother Spencer, both embroiled in a bitter custody battle over the care of young Eloise (charming newcomer Jillian Estell). With racial tension, alcoholism and drug addiction all thrown into an already intense situation, Binder presents believable characters in unbelievable situations, wearing his heart on his sleeve for better or worse. An ambitious filmmaker still looking for a hit, Binder still hasn’t quite found it in “Black or White,” but the performances alone make it worth one’s while. Rated PG-13. Running time: 2:01. Suggested retail price: $29.98; Blu-ray $39.99

“Fifty Shades of Grey,” Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan. The book that introduced the world of BDSM to your Aunt Deb is now, inevitably, a major, multi-million-dollar-making motion picture, with the windswept slap-and-tickle between naive college student Anastasia (Johnson, “21 Jump Street”) and scowly billionaire Christian (Dornan, “The Fall”) faring a bit better on the big screen, in large part due to not having to endure E.L. James’s cringeworthy prose. Curiosity will like get the better of the majority of viewers, and to that end “Grey” could have been a lot worse. Rated R. Running time: 2:06. Suggested retail price: $29.98; Blu-ray $34.98

“Selma,” David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo. An absolutely stunning lead performance from Oyelowo (“The Paperboy”) as the rarely portrayed Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. grounds this impressive dramatization from director Ava DuVernay (“Middle of Nowhere”), detailing MLK’s attempt to achieve equal voting rights through a massive but peaceful march from Selma to Montgomery. It came at a time when racial tensions in the state of Alabama were at their peak following the infamous bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church that claimed the lives of four black children. Strong support is provided from Ejogo, Oprah Winfrey and Tom Wilkinson, but it’s Oyelowo’s star-making performance that will ultimately remain with the viewer. Special features include historical newsreels. Rated PG-13. Running time: 2:09. Suggested retail price: $29.99; Blu-ray $39.99


“Mr. Turner,” Timothy Spall, Paul Jesson. In which eccentric, cranky British filmmaker Mike Leigh (“Happy-Go-Lucky”) takes on the story of eccentric, cranky British painter J.M.W. Turner, played here by frequent Leigh collaborator Spall (“Secrets & Lies”) as a tireless, extraordinary artist capable of works of great beauty, but incapable of making any sort of true connection to another human being beyond lust and general discontent. An expert at capturing human misery in such a way that the viewer is somehow drawn in rather than repelled, Leigh and Turner are a match made in heaven, and Spall’s fearless performance rises to the director’s every demand. Casual Friday night viewing it’s not, but “Mr. Turner” is a richly rewarding experience, and an obvious must-see for fans of Leigh. Rated R. Running time: 2:30. Suggested retail price: $30.99; Blu-ray $34.99

“Spare Parts,” George Lopez, Marisa Tomei. It’s pretty hard to resist a good underdog movie. Heck, it’s hard to resist a bad one. Thankfully, “Spare Parts” transcends a predictable story with sheer goodwill and a roster of dependable actors, with Lopez abandoning his usual schtick and coming through with a thoroughly affecting performance as Fredi Cameron, a substitute teacher who starts a high school robotics club on a whim, attracting four Hispanic students who pool together limited resources to compete in an underwater robotics competition against far better funded MIT students in the hopes of winning scholarships. Obstacles are overcome, robots are constructed, friendships are forged … you of course know the drill, but we defy you not to come out of “Spare Parts” with a big old goofy smile on your face, and isn’t that why we go to the movies to begin with? It’s just a good old-fashioned family flick, and you gotta throw one of those one every now and then to offset the moody foreign movies and doomsday documentaries. Rated PG-13. Running time: 1:52. Suggested retail price: $19.98


“Halt and Catch Fire: The Complete First Season,” Lee Pace, Scoot McNairy. The personal computing boom of the early ’80s is vividly recreated in this new series from AMC, which largely focuses on MacMillan (Pace, “Pushing Daisies”), a product manager at up and coming software company Cardiff Electric working on a revolutionary home computing system on target to being appearing in homes and businesses across the country. The drab offices and questionable fashion of 1983 has never looked this good, added immeasurably to sustaining the mood for this uneven but very promising drama. Not rated. Running time: 7:15. Suggested retail price: $49.98; Blu-ray $59.99

“Masters of Sex: The Complete Season Two,” Michael Sheen, Lizzy Caplan. The pioneering, controversial efforts of Masters and Johnson – as winningly brought to life by Sheen and Caplan, whose chemistry remains the shows’s best asset – to open a repressed nation’s eyes to the wonders and peculiarities of human sexuality continue to provide entertaining food for thought in this incisive and oft explicit Showtime series. Special features include deleted scenes. Not rated. Running time: 11:17. Suggested retail price: $55.99; Blu-ray $65.99


“1941,” John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd. One of director Steven Spielberg’s few box-office bombs, this mega-budgeted farce is an old-fashioned, kitchen sink comedy in the vein of “It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World,” with former Not Ready For Prime Time players Belushi and Aykroyd hamming it up with abandon as Californians attempting and failing to maintain control and sanity while preparing for a perceived Japanese attack on Hollywood after the attack on Pearl Harbor during WWII. A loud, sprawling mess, but not without its moments, and its legacy as a box-office flop hasn’t deterred more recent audiences from taking a shine to its unruly charm. Rated PG. Running time: 2:26. Suggested retail price: $19.98

– Courtesy of Videoport

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