This week’s releases include: an updated Twelfth Night; an adolescent superhero movie; an encounter with evil; a new take on the Wild West; a cat-and-mouse comedy; and an intense cop drama.

Albert Nobbs on Blu-rayAlbert Nobbs (DVD & Blu-ray combo pack)
A poverty-stricken woman (Glenn Close) in 1860s Ireland disguises herself as a man to gain employment as a waiter in a Dublin hotel. As she settles into her new role in society, she becomes increasingly confused about her identity, courting a maid while pretending to be a man and revealing her secret to a hotel guest.

Special features include: deleted scenes; and interviews. (Entertainment One)

Chronicle on Blu-rayChronicle (Blu-ray)
Three high school students make an incredible discovery, leading to their developing uncanny telekinetic powers beyond their understanding.  As they learn to control their abilities and use them to their advantage, their lives start to spin out of control as their darker sides begin to take over.  What starts out as fun and games quickly becomes dangerous and they must face the inevitable question of whether they can handle the responsibility that comes with their remarkable powers.

The superhero story has received its fair treatment over the last few years – The Avengers just set a world box office record. Chronicle is a different sort of movie about having super powers. The movie feels like an origin story à la Superman and Lex Luther. Once friends, a thirst for power tears them apart and will destroy one of them completely. One of the things that differentiate this picture from other superhero films is the camera is part of the narrative, providing a new twist to the found footage genre.

At first this tired technique is somewhat annoying, but it eventually goes a long way in bringing the viewer into the story. Told through the eyes of teen boys, the narrative is to some extent seen through testosterone-tinted glasses but it takes a dangerous turn.

Special features include: deleted scene; pre-viz; camera test; theatrical trailer; and soundtrack info. (Fox Home Entertainment)

The Devil Inside on DVDThe Devil Inside (DVD)
In 1989, emergency responders received a 9-1-1 call from Maria Rossi confessing to three brutal murders.  Twenty years later, her daughter Isabella (Fernanda Andrade) seeks to understand what really happened that night, traveling to the Centrino Hospital for the Criminally Insane in Italy where her mother has been locked away.  When Isabella recruits two young men to cure her mother using unconventional methods, they discover the horrifying truth.  Now Isabella must face pure evil or forsake her soul.

Special features not available. (Paramount Home Media Distribution)

Hell on Wheels Season 1 on Blu-rayHell on Wheels – Season 1 (Blu-ray)
A Confederate soldier, out to exact revenge on the Union soldiers who murdered his wife, follows their trail to the raucous, traveling town alongside the construction of the transcontinental railroad.

Special features include: “Recreating the Past: The Making of Hell on Wheels”; “Crashing a Train: From Concept to Camera”; seven making-of featurettes; 10 “Inside the Episode” featurettes; seven character featurettes; and behind-the-scenes footage. (Entertainment One)

One for the Money on Blu-rayOne for the Money (DVD & Blu-ray combo pack)
A proud, born-and-bred Jersey girl, Stephanie Plum’s (Katherine Heigl) got plenty of attitude, even if she’s been out of work for the last six months and just lost her car to a debt collector. Desperate for some fast cash, Stephanie turns to her last resort: convincing her sleazy cousin to give her a job at his bail bonding company as a recovery agent. True, she doesn’t even own a pair of handcuffs and her weapon of choice is pepper spray, but that doesn’t stop Stephanie from taking on Vinny’s biggest bail-jumper: former vice cop and murder suspect Joe Morelli (Jason O’Mara).

Heigl was on the road to becoming the go-to girl for romantic comedies and then she started accepting terrible scripts. That ship has now sailed as it’s impossible to trust the quality of her work any longer. This movie supports this theory. It’s only remotely funny and there is no chemistry between Heigl and O’Mara. The revolving door of minor characters dilutes the already shallow plot, attempting to make it more complicated than it is or is necessary. Moreover, that she is stumbling over truths that haven’t come to light during a police investigation is hard to believe. Finally her inept methods are simply ridiculous rather than amusing.

Special features include: a behind-the-scenes featurette; “Bond Girls: Kicking Ass in the Bail Bonds Industry”; deleted scene; gag reel; and theatrical trailer. (Entertainment One)

Rampart on Blu-rayRampart (DVD & Blu-ray combo pack)
Los Angeles, 1999. Officer Dave Brown (Woody Harrelson) is a Vietnam vet and a Rampart Precinct cop, dedicated to doing “the people’s dirty work” and asserting his own code of justice, often blurring the lines between right and wrong to maintain his action hero state of mind. When he gets caught on tape beating a suspect, he finds himself in a personal and emotional downward spiral as the consequences of his past sins and his refusal to change his ways in light of a department-wide corruption scandal seal his fate. Brown internalizes his fear, anguish and paranoia as his world, complete with two ex-wives who are sisters, two daughters, an aging mentor dispensing bad advice, investigators galore, and a series of seemingly random women, starts making less and less sense. In the end, what is left is a human being stripped of all his pretense, machismo, chauvinism, arrogance, sexism, homophobia, racism, aggression misanthropy: but is it enough to redeem him as a man?

The cop drama tends to follow a formula: rookie cop discovers trainer is dirty, cue moral dilemma, ridicule and threats. But “Date Rape Dave’s” story isn’t your standard police issue movie. A horrible nickname from vice, he owns all of his actions believing he does what is necessary for society. His interactions with his family are strained and awkward, resulting in a greater distance as more of his transgressions come to light. The raw portrayal of a man who begins to question himself and his values is played outstandingly by Harrelson, who digs deep into the character to get into the darkest corners of his personality.

Special features include: commentary by director Oren Moverman; and a behind-the-scenes featurette. (Entertainment One)


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