New in Home Entertainment – February 21, 2017

New in Home Entertainment

February 21, 2017

Nocturnal Animals
Rated R for violence, menace, graphic nudity and language
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 73%
IF you can get through the first five minutes (which have basically nothing to do with the movie), then you will be able to dive into one of the best movies of 2016 that will burn a place into your memory. This Hitchcock-like thriller from writer/director (and clothing designer) Tom Ford, stars Amy Adams as a bored art dealer whose ex-husband, Jake Gyllenhaal, sends her the first look at his big novel about a young family who are violated by a group of west Texas hooligans. Really – the story you’re going to walk away with is that of the novel – but the rest of the film just adds a complexity that demands repeat viewings. And while Adams and Gyllenhaal are very good, the real stars of the film are the supporting characters. Aaron Taylor-Johnson won the Golden Globe for his role as the villain. Meanwhile the officer assigned to help Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon, turned in my favorite performance of 2016, which also got him an Oscar nomination. Many of you will not like this film. But those of you who do will most likely be long-time fans. A

Manchester by the Sea
Rated R for language throughout and some sexual content
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 96%
This critically-hailed drama stars Casey Affleck as a New England janitor who is named the legal guardian of his nephew (newcomer Lucas Hedges) after the passing of his brother. While the film itself is as depressing as can be (Affleck even pointed that out during one of the best Saturday Night Live episodes in a decade), it also has a perverse sense of humor that can only be brought out by hurting people trying to find a way, any way, to cope with the death of someone close. It’s a film worth seeing for sure, but it won’t exactly brighten your day. I’m not sure if its best picture-worthy, but the performances by the terrific cast are are worth paying attention to. All this being said, you gotta be in the mood to see and appreciate a film like this – and that’s a hard sell for a lot of folks. B+

Bad Santa 2
Rated R for crude sexual content and language throughout, and some graphic nudity
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 23%
I am one of those people who absolutely loved the first Bad Santa, and laughed hysterically at all of the horrible, foul behavior exhibited by Billy Bob Thornton. So who wouldn’t want more? I realized after the first thirty minutes of watching his new adventure that I don’t actually want to know more about this guy, and his antics are no longer funny but rather sad and pathetic. Was there a way to make number 2 as funny as the first? I don’t know. But this attempt was a depressing thing to watch. D

The Passion of the Christ
Rated R for sequences of graphic violence
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 49%
When Mel Gibson’s biblical epic The Passion of the Christ was released in 2004, one of the most artistic aspects of the film was that he wanted to create a feel as if you were really there watching. Yes that means it is extremely violent. But he also wanted the language to be realistic so he wrote the screenplay in English and then had a professor translate it into Latin and the dead language Aramaic. Originally he didn’t even want subtitles, but he obviously decided to go with them in the end. So now, after 13 years, we are getting yet another version of the film – this time dubbed into English and Spanish. Both the original and the recut version (the version with some violence removed) are included here. The dub is very decent, not at all like the kung-fu movies you would imagine. I’d still rather see the original and just read, but I do understand the need, both financially and otherwise, to make this subtle change. The movie still holds up as a sobering reminder of what Jesus went through and a remarkable piece of art from an underappreciated artist. A