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New on DVD & Blu-Ray: Gone Girl, A Walk Among the Tombstones, Boardwalk Empire, and More

by | January 12, 2015 | Comments

This week on home video, we’ve got David Fincher’s latest blockbuster thriller, Liam Neeson’s latest tough-guy role, an acclaimed romance, and a musical biopic, as well as a bunch of noteworthy indies. Then, on TV, we’ve got the final season of a popular HBO series, as well as the most recent seasons of a number of other cable shows. Read on for the full list:



Gone Girl

87%

Based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Gillian Flynn, David Fincher’s latest thriller scored well with critics and even sparked a little bit of awards season buzz. Ben Affleck plays Nick Dunne, a former journalist who moves back to his hometown with his wife Amy (Rosamund Pike) in order to take care of his sick mother. When Amy disappears on the day of their fifth anniversary, a very public search begins, and Nick soon becomes the prime suspect. But not everything is as it seems, and troubling details emerge about both Nick and Amy, complicating the investigation. Critics praised Fincher’s typically dark and stylish work on Gone Girl, which was aided by an intelligent script and strong performances from Affleck and Pike, and rewarded the film with a Certified Fresh 89 percent on the Tomatometer. The only extra on the release is an audio commentary with David Fincher, but it’s a twisty, sometimes unpredictable yarn that should make for solid viewing if you haven’t seen it.



A Walk Among the Tombstones

68%

Liam Neeson continues his late career action renaissance with A Walk Among the Tombstones, another film based on an eponymous novel (by Lawrence Block). This time, Neeson is Matthew Scudder, a former NYPD officer-turned-private detective who’s battling alcoholism. When his services are enlisted to track down a man who has killed his client?s brother’s wife, Scudder becomes entangled in a conspiracy involving drug traffickers, the DEA, and a pair of killers with a grisly M.O. Though Tombstones relies on some familiar genre clichés, critics did find that Liam Neeson got to flex a bit more dramatic muscle here than, say, in the Taken films, and that was enough to earn the film a 65 percent on the Tomatometer. Bonus features include a discussion of the Matt Scudder character between Block and writer/director Scott Frank, as well as a look at the different characters in the film.



Love Is Strange

93%

Several years ago, it might have been a stretch to imagine that the year’s most critically acclaimed romantic drama would star Alfred Molina and John Lithgow as a same-sex couple, but that’s exactly what happened in 2014, as Love Is Strange won the Golden Tomato Award for the best-reviewed romance. Directed by Ira Sachs, the film stars Molina and Lithgow as George and Ben, a gay couple living in New York who are finally able to marry after forty years together. When George loses his job, however, the newlyweds are forced to live apart from each other temporarily, and George and Ben must deal both with the separation itself and with the complicated family dynamics of their new living situations. Bolstered by powerful performances from the two leads and poignant, graceful treatment of its subject matter, Love Is Strange earned a Certified Fresh 94 percent on the Tomatometer. Extras include an audio commentary with Sachs, Lithgow, and Molina, a making-of doc, and a Q&A session from the LA Film Festival.



Jimi: All Is By My Side

67%

John Ridley won an Oscar for penning the script for 12 Years a Slave last year, and he followed that up by writing and directing a biopic of iconic rock star Jimi Hendrix starring OutKast’s Andre Benjamin. One of the big stories surrounding the film was the Hendrix estate’s refusal to allow any of Hendrix’s music in the film, and although that did put a damper on things, most critics felt the film was a solid effort. The story centers on the year Hendrix spent in London before the release of his seminal album Are You Experienced, focusing on his rise to stardom and his early relationships during that period, including the time he spent with Kathy Etchingham (Hayley Atwell) and Linda Keith (Imogen Poots). Though some critics felt the narrative was a bit uneven and bemoaned the lack of classic Hendrix tunes, most appreciated the look at a lesser known period of Hendrix’s life and praised Benjamin for his uncanny portrayal of the legendary guitarist, leading to a 67 percent Tomatometer score.



Boardwalk Empire – Season Five

Another acclaimed HBO series came to a close in 2014 after five Certified Fresh seasons, and though its final year wasn’t without its flaws, fans will no doubt miss the shady exploits of Enoch “Nucky” Thompson (Steve Buscemi). Boardwalk Empire‘s farewell season ran for an abbreviated eight episodes and extensively employed a flashback structure to provide more context for Nucky’s rise and inevitable fall, and while some critics were put off by the constant glimpses into Nucky’s past, most agreed that they made the series ending more rewarding. In addition, season five brought closure for several of the show’s other beloved characters, including Eli Thompson (Shea Whigham), Chalky White (Michael K. Williams), Gillian Darmody (Gretchen Mol), Nelson Van Alden (Michael Shannon), Al Capone (Stephen Graham), and of course, Margaret (Kelly Macdonald). The Complete Fifth Season Blu-ray comes with four commentary tracks and eight behind-the-scenes pieces focusing on the shooting locations of the series.

Also available this week:

  • Certified Fresh German import Wetlands (91 percent), an irreverent coming-of-age dramedy about an 18-year-old who copes with her parents’ divorce by breaking social taboos.
  • Hossein Amini’s The Two Faces of January (82 percent), starring Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst in a thriller about a pair of tourists who become fugitives with a con artist when a murder is discovered at their hotel.
  • Honeymoon (70 percent), starring Rose Leslie in a thriller about a young couple vacationing in the woods when the wife goes missing and returns… changed.
  • Bird People (59 percent), starring Josh Charles in a drama about a man who forsakes his wife and job to hole up in a hotel in Paris, only to bond with a young maid and discover something otherworldly.
  • Young Ones (40 percent), starring Michael Shannon and Elle Fanning in a dystopian thriller set in a future where water is scarce and precious, about a man defending his land from bandits.
  • Jason Reitman’s Men, Women & Children (31 percent), starring Adam Sandler and Jennifer Garner in an ensemble dramedy about a group of high schoolers and their parents and their tricky relationships with modern technology.
  • Jessabelle (26 percent), a horror film about a woman who returns to her childhood home after a car accident and discovers a malicious spirit has been waiting for her.
  • The Identical (7 percent), a faith-infused drama about identical twins who are separated at birth; while one becomes an Elvis-like star, the other seeks to emulate his success.
  • One new Criterion release this week: Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s 1972 drama The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (80 percent), about the relationship between a fashion designer, her S&M lover, and one of her models.
  • Season three of TNT’s new Dallas (70 percent) is available on DVD.
  • Season one of FX’s Middle East drama Tyrant (60 percent) is available on DVD.
  • Season three of Showtime’s Matt LeBlanc comedy Episodes (57 percent) is also available on DVD.
  • And the third season of another Showtime series, House of Lies is available on DVD.

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