‘Hell or High Wa­ter,’ a gritty west­ern for the mod­ern age

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FEATURES - By Amy Longs­dorf

“Hell or High Wa­ter” (2016, Lion­s­gate, R, $20) bris­tles with the ten­sion of two thiev­ing broth­ers (Chris Pine, Ben Fos­ter) hit­ting banks in their na­tive West Texas in or­der to save their fam­ily’s ranch from fore­clo­sure.

It’s got a law­man (Jeff Bridges) who matches wits with the ban­dits. What­ever an ac­tion movie is, “Hell or High Wa­ter” takes it to the next level.

Credit screen­writer Tay­lor Sheri­dan (“Si­cario”) and di­rec­tor David Macken­zie (“Starred Up”) with in­ject­ing a vein of sad­ness into a film that’s as much about eco­nomic hard­ship and broth­erly love as it is about heists and shootouts. It’s one of 2016’s best. Ex­tras: feautrettes.

Also New To DVD

Pete’s Dragon (2016,

Dis­ney, PG, $40): The rare re­make that bests the orig­i­nal, this in­vig­o­rat­ing ad­ven­ture re-imag­ines the 1977 film as an eye-pop­ping spec­ta­cle that’s filled with char­ac­ters you care about. The ac­tion kicks into high gear when a feral or­phan named Pete (Al­len­town na­tive Oakes Fe­g­ley) is res­cued by a gen­tle park ranger (Bryce Dal­las Howard). The young­ster even­tu­ally re­veals that his best pal is El­liot, a kindly, of­ten in­vis­i­ble dragon who re­sem­bles a beast once glimpsed by Howard’s fa­ther (Robert Redford). Di­rec­tor David Low­ery de­serves high marks for de­liv­er­ing a spe­cial-ef­fects ex­trav­a­ganza aimed at kids that doesn’t give adults a case of sugar shock. There’s a nifty en­vi­ron­men­tal mes­sage too. Ex­tras: fea­turettes and bloop­ers.

***

The In­ter­ven­tion (2016, Para­mount, R, $30): Ac­tress Clea Du­Vall makes an im­pres­sive writ­ing and di­rect­ing de­but with this com­edy about eight thir­tysome­things un­will­ing to face some hard truths about them­selves. Three cou­ples (Du­Vall and Natasha Ly­onne, Me­lanie Lynskey and Jason Rit­ter, Alia Shawkat and Ben Schwartz) gather to­gether to urge a con­stantly-war­ring pair (Co­bie Smul­ders and Vincent Pi­azza) to di­vorce. Not sur­pris­ingly, this “mar­riage in­ter­ven­tion” goes hi­lar­i­ously awry. The en­tire cast is note-per­fect, with top honors go­ing to Lynskey who works mir­a­cles with the role of a neu­rotic woman who grows sur­pris­ingly sym­pa­thetic as the movie goes along. Ex­tras: blooper reel and mu­sic video.

***

Mia Madre (2016, Mu­sic Box, R, $30): There’s a lot go­ing on in Nanni Moretti’s lat­est drama about a Ital­ian film­maker (Margherita Buy) strug­gling with her mother’s ter­mi­nal ill­ness while also at­tempt­ing to put the fin­ish­ing touches on a movie star­ring an over­bear­ing ac­tor (John Tur­turro). But even though in­di­vid­ual se­quences sparkle, par­tic­u­larly the ones in which Moretti (“The Son’s Room”) flu­idly dis­solves the bound­aries be­tween dreams and re­al­ity, “Mia Madre” never re­ally comes into fo­cus. In the end, Moretti’s mes­sage re­mains ob­scure. Ex­tras: out­takes, fea­turette and deleted scenes.

***

Eye of the Nee­dle (1981, Twi­light Time, R, $30): Dis­tin­guished by slow­burn ten­sion and an al­most Hitch­cock­ian el­e­gance, this adap­ta­tion of a Ken Fol­lett best­seller ranks as one of the most un­der­rated movies of the 1980s. Don­ald Suther­land is mes­mer­iz­ing as a Nazi spy op­er­at­ing in Bri­tain who has vi­tal in­for­ma­tion about the up­com­ing D-Day in­va­sion. Be­fore he can get back to Ger­many, he winds up stranded on a Scot­tish is­land where he stum­bles into a ro­mance with the lonely wife (Kate Nel­li­gan) of a bit­ter, dis­abled hus­band. Di­rec­tor Richard Mar­quand (“Re­turn of the Jedi”) serves up the saga with crack­ling en­ergy and an in­ti­macy rare for spy yarns. Ex­tras: commentaries.

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF LION­S­GATE HOME EN­TER­TAIN­MENT

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