DVDs coming out Jan. 22

January 17, 2013 

  • Also out •  “For a Good Time, Call …” •  “Pina 3D” •  “Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai” (Japan, Takashi Miike’s remake of Masaki Kobayashi’s 1962 classic “Harakiri”) •  “Method to the Madness of Jerry Lewis” (Encore channel documentary, Anchor Bay) •  “American Experience: The Abolitionists” (PBS) •  “The Men Who Built America” (three-disc set of History channel miniseries) •  “Wild Kratts: Lost at Sea” •  “Scarecrow & Mrs. King: The Complete Fourth & Final Season” (1986-87)

Picks of the Week

‘End of Watch’

(R, 120 minutes, Universal): There are no dirty cops in this tense, violent – and surprisingly affecting – police drama from writer David Ayer. Ayer, who also directs, has created a portrait of law enforcement under pressure that proves as ennobling as it is gritty. Rapper Yahira “Flakiss” Garcia plays a scary gangbanger that LAPD officers Brian Taylor and Mike Zavala (Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena) tangle with when, in the course of their routine patrols, they inadvertently interfere with the local operation of a Mexican drug cartel. On the down side, it’s yet another movie using the “found footage,” gimmick. Much of the film consists of shaky, hand-held images purportedly shot by Brian for a filmmaking class he’s taking. Even the villains are of the YouTube generation, bringing a video camera along for a drive-by. It’s an unnecessary distraction from the story, which is a good one. Contains often intense violence, obscenity, sexual dialogue and drug use.

Extras: commentary with writer/director Ayer, deleted scenes, five featurettes.

‘Searching for Sugar Man’

(PG-13, 86 minutes, Sony): In the 1970s, when their country was isolated from the world because of its apartheid policies, young, white, liberal South Africans took solace in a particular record. It was “Cold Fact,” by Rodriguez, a Detroit-born Mexican-American who recorded two records that went virtually unheard in the United States. After the commercial failure of both, Rodriguez vanished from the music biz. Viewed from the Southern Hemisphere, the singer’s puzzling disappearance required a dramatic explanation. Although the movie eventually establishes the facts of Rodriguez’s life, it’s in no hurry to do so. Instead, Swedish director Malik Bendjelloul savors the hunt begun by a South African fan. The mystery finally is solved, in a way that’s narratively satisfying. Indeed, “Searching for Sugar Man,” pays off so neatly that viewers might suspect the movie is fiction. Contains profanity and drug references.

Extras: Commentary with Bendjelloul and Rodriguez, a making-of featurette and a fan Q&A session.

‘The Imposter’

(R, 95 minutes, Gaiam Vivendi): In 1994, 13-year-old Nicholas Barclay vanished from his San Antonio neighborhood. Three years later, a kid in a Spanish children’s home claimed to be Nicholas. Aside from a gap in his front teeth, the guy didn’t look much like Nicholas, but when Nicholas’ older sister, Carey Gibson, arrived in Spain, she identified the stranger as her brother. That put the con man on the path to a U.S. passport and a new family. A private investigator was convinced that the kid was lying, and an FBI agent gradually came to the same conclusion. But Nicholas’ mother and sister insisted that the right boy had returned. As for the impostor, he explained his appearance, demeanor and accent with an elaborate tale of sexual abuse. The complicated identity of the poseur is eventually disclosed, but first he explains, in great detail and with evident pride, how he conned Gibson. What’s most fascinating are the movie’s larger questions about why some people tell impossible lies – and why others believe them. Contains profanity.

Washington Post

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