new films

‘Still Alice,’ ‘Blackhat’ Arrive on Home Video

Forrest Hartman

Alice Howland (Moore) is a  brilliant linguistics professor who has a warm and loving home life and a rewarding career where she is respected by students and colleagues. Then she begins forgetting things. At first, the problems are relatively minor. She loses track of where she’s going in a lecture. It’s an embarrassing moment, but little more. Then after getting lost while going for a jog around her college campus, she decides to seek medical help. 

‘Selma,’ ‘ Fifty Shades of Grey’ Arrive on Home Video

Forrest Hartman

King is portrayed brilliantly by David Oyelowo, a British actor who skillfully captures the nuances of King’s posture, voice and demeanor. Oyelowo’s work was rewarded with a best actor nomination for a Golden Globe, and his performance ranks among the best of 2014. Although the movie revolves around King – and thus Oyelowo –DuVernay assembled a fine supporting cast that includes Carmen Ejogo as Coretta Scott King, Common as James Bevel, Oprah Winfrey as Annie Lee Cooper and Tom Wilkinson as Lyndon B. Johnson. 

‘The Gambler,’ ‘The Wedding Ringer’ Arrive on Home Video

Forrest Hartman

In “The Gambler,” Mark Wahlberg stars as Jim Bennett, a man who has never learned to quit while ahead. Despite being born into one of the wealthiest family’s in America, Jim’s gambling addiction has left him desperate, broke and hounded by low-life loan sharks. His problem is so severe that any cash he acquires is immediately lost to high-stakes wagers in blackjack and roulette.   

‘Taken 3,’ ‘Cake’ Arrive on Home Video

Forrest Hartman

Liam Neeson made one of the most interesting career transitions in recent memory when he introduced the role of former government agent Bryan Mills in “Taken.” Before the film, Neeson was an actor best-known for solid dramatic work in pictures that include “Schindler’s List” and “Michael Collins.” But, as Mills, he became an action hero of the Dirty Harry variety, dispensing swift, brutal street justice to the sex-trafficking European thugs who abducted his daughter.

‘Big Eyes,’ ‘The Babadook’ Arrive on Home Video

Forrest Hartman

The unlikely tale of Margaret and Walter Keane created one of the most interesting stirs in the history of contemporary art, and director Tim Burton does a fine job dramatizing their lives. It has been decades since the Keanes made a splash in the art world, so many viewers will come to their story fresh, but that does nothing to diminish the film. “Big Eyes” is loaded with universally accessible themes, including commentaries on narcissism, the power of mass production and the problems with a patriarchal society. 

‘A Most Violent Year,’ ‘The Immigrant’ Arrive on Home Video

Forrest Hartman

Set in 1981 New York, “A Most Violent Year” tells the story of a hard-working businessman determined to grow his heating-oil company despite intense competition and a crime spree highlighted by the hijacking of several of his trucks. Chandor paints Abel Morales (Oscar Isaac) as a decent man struggling to do the right thing in an industry overrun by corruption. 

‘The Hobbit,’ ‘Unbroken’ Arrive on Home Video

Forrest Hartman

At first, director Peter Jackson’s decision to split his screen adaptation of “The Hobbit” into three films seemed like an excessive attempt to milk cash from a project better suited to a single 150-minute feature. In retrospect, it is obvious that Jackson was less interested in a straightforward screen adaptation of the J.R.R. Tolkien novel than an epic prequel to his “Lord of the Rings” saga. 

‘Annie,’ ‘Top Five’ Arrive on Home Video

Forrest Hartman

There was no great outcry for another film adaptation of the Broadway musical “Annie,” but writer-director Will Gluck’s take on the material is as good as one could hope for. Gluck’s new “Annie” is hipper and more urban than the like-titled 1982 movie but the essence of the story is the same. Ten-year-old Annie (Quvenzhané Wallis) lives in a foster home with several other orphan girls, but she is convinced that her parents will eventually show up to reclaim her. 

‘Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb’ Arrives on Home Video

Forrest Hartman

“Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb,” like so many unnecessary sequels, isn’t so much bad as irrelevant. The film’s selling point is that it blends top-notch special effects and a family friendly story with an excellent cast that includes Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Steve Coogan, Ricky Gervais and the late Robin Williams. The down side is that it fails to bring anything new to the table. 

‘Foxcatcher,’ ‘Hunger Games: Mockingjay’ Arrive on Home Video

Forrest Hartman

“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1” pulled in more than $336 million during its U.S. theatrical run, edging out “Guardians of the Galaxy” to become the top-grossing film of 2014. Nobody should confuse box office success with quality, as these things rarely relate, but “The Hunger Games” pictures have been solid. Unfortunately, “Mockingjay” is a letdown in comparison to the previous entry in the franchise, “Catching Fire.” 

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