Os­car-nom­i­nated ‘Ar­rival’ lands on DVD

The Mercury (Pottstown, PA) - - FIT FRIDAY - By Amy Longs­dorf For Dig­i­tal First Me­dia

The rare sci­ence-fic­tion film to be nom­i­nated for a Best Pic­ture Os­car, “Ar­rival” (2016, Paramount, PG-13, $30) has a hushed, cere­bral qual­ity which beau­ti­fully dove­tails with its themes of peace and unity.

Amy Adams de­liv­ers a qui­etly in­tense turn as a lin­guist who’s hired by the U.S. gov­ern­ment to try to com­mu­ni­cate with aliens who have touched down in 12 spots around the globe. There’s sur­pris­ingly lit­tle ac­tion as Adams en­ters into the crea­tures’ pod with hopes of un­cov­er­ing their mis­sion.

But de­spite a saggy sec­ond act – and a lack of emo­tional heat – “Ar­rival” keeps you watch­ing with a story that probes what it means to be hu­man. Ex­tras: fea­turettes.

Also New To DVD

Billy Lynn’s Long Half­time Walk (2016, Sony, R, $30): The lat­est from vi­sion­ary helmer Ang Lee (“Broke­back Moun­tain”) is set al­most en­tirely at a su­per­bowl game at­tended by mem­bers of the heroic Bravo Squad who are be­ing pa­raded around on a PR tour be­fore be­ing shipped back to Iraq. As Billy Lynn (Joe Al­wyn) jug­gles calls from his sis­ter (Kris­ten Ste­wart) and movie of­fers from a wealthy team owner (Steve Martin), he flashes back to what re­ally hap­pened on the day his com­mand­ing of­fi­cer (Vin Diesel) was killed by the en­emy. While “Billy Lynn” doesn’t quite hit you as hard as it should, it’s still an ef­fec­tive satire of Amer­i­can ex­cess as well as a sur­pris­ingly earnest look at a young man in the process of be­com­ing an adult. Ex­tras: feau­turettes. King Co­bra (2016, Shout Fac­tory, $25): Back in 2007, ru­ral Penn­syl­va­nia porn pro­ducer Bryan Ko­cis was killed in his sub­ur­ban home by ri­val pro­duc­ers Har­low Cuadra and Joseph Kerekes. This riv­et­ing thriller spins out the whole sor­did saga be­gin­ning with Ko­cis’ (Chris­tian Slater) de­ci­sion to take un­der his wing a 17-year-old named Brent Cor­ri­gan (Gar­rett Clay­ton ). When Cor­ri­gan tries to leave Ko­cis’ sta­ble and go work with Cuadra (Kee­gan Allen) and Kerekes (an un­hinged James Franco), Ko­cis for­bids it and, es­sen­tially, seals his fate. A cau­tion­ary tale about liv­ing beyond your means and spend­ing too much time on the dark side, “King Co­bra” has plenty of sting in its tail. Ex­tras: none. The Ea­gle Hun­tress (2016, Sony, G, $30): A sur­prise hit dur­ing its the­atri­cal run, this saga cen­ters on a teenage girl from Mongolia named Aishol­pan who is pre­par­ing to be­come the first fe­male in twelve gen­er­a­tions of her Kazakh fam­ily to train ea­gles to hunt prey. While Aishol­pan’s per­sonal jour­ney is fas­ci­nat­ing, what re­ally dis­tin­guishes the doc is film­maker Orin Bell’s de­ci­sion to give us a win­dow into a cul­ture rarely seen out­side of Na­tional Geo­graphic pro­grams. Sure, cer­tain scenes feel staged but “The Ea­gle Hun­tress” has an in­fec­tious spirit. Ex­tras: fea­turette and com­men­tary by Bell. Look At Us Now, Mother! (2016, Vir­gil, un­rated, $25): Emmy-win­ning pro­ducer Gayle Kirschen­baum had a tough time as a teenager thanks to her con­trol­ling mother Mil­dred. The Hang­man: Shep­herds and Butch­ers (2016, Fox, R, $22): In­spired by true events, this grip­ping court­room thriller piv­ots on a seem­ingly open-and-shut case in which a 19-yearold prison guard named Leon (Gar­ion Dowds) opens fire and kills a van full of com­plete strangers. But his court-ap­pointed lawyer (Steve Coogan) in­stantly re­al­izes that Leon has been warped by his job as a hang­man and de­cides to put South Africa’s cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment sys­tem on trial. Com­pellingly acted and fast on its feet, “The Hang­man” is an old-fash­ioned thriller that clings bravely to the in­tegrity of its sto­ry­telling . Ex­tras: none. One Of Our Air­craft Is Miss­ing (1942, Olive, un­rated, $30): Di­rected by the great Michael Pow­ell and Emeric Press­burger (“The Red Shoes”), this taut spy saga works as both a thriller and a trib­ute to the Dutch re­sis­tance fight­ers who as­sisted the Al­lies dur­ing World War II. Af­ter be­ing shot down over Ger­manoc­cu­pied Nether­lands, mem­bers of an RAF bomber crew (Hugh Bur­den, Eric Port­man) are forced to make their way home by re­ly­ing on a net­work of brave souls, in­clud­ing a woman (Goo­gie Withers) so com­mand­ing she gives the Nazis a fright. Shot in the midst of the war, there’s too many speeches about evil Fas­cists but there’s also lots of beau­ti­fully di­rected se­quences in­volv­ing the pi­lots be­ing hid­den in a church, pass­ing through check­points and dodg­ing bul­lets as they row out to sea. Ex­tras: none. Graves: Sea­son One (2016, Lionsgate, un­rated, $25): The first scripted se­ries from Epix fea­tures Nick Nolte as a for­mer Repub­li­can pres­i­dent who, 25 years af­ter leav­ing the White House, re­al­izes he was a ter­ri­ble leader and needs to right some of the wrongs of his ad­min­is­tra­tion. In ad­di­tion to be­ing a sharp po­lit­i­cal satire, “Graves” also works as a char­ac­ter study of a man who’s grown tired of be­ing put out to pas­ture. Nolte is par­tic­u­larly good at cap­tur­ing Pres­i­dent Graves’ de­ter­mi­na­tion to fight against the fad­ing of the light. Oc­ca­sion­ally, “Graves” slips into lazy sit­com ter­ri­tory but, at its best, it’s play­fully tricky and eth­i­cally com­plex. Ex­tras: fea­turettes and gag reel.


But Kirschen­baum is de­ter­mined to for­give be­fore its too late. So, aided by years of home movies, per­sonal let­ters and in­ti­mate footage, she de­cides to use this doc­u­men­tary as a means of de­fus­ing emo­tional land­mines. “Look At Us” is a bit too touchy-feely but it’s still fas­ci­nat­ing to watch this mother and daugh­ter jour­ney from re­sent­ment to love. Ex­tras: none.

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