‘Deep­wa­ter Hori­zon’ is an oil-soaked stun­ner

The Reporter (Lansdale, PA) - - FEATURES - By Amy Longs­dorf For Dig­i­tal First Media

Based on the ex­pe­ri­ences of chief elec­tron­ics tech­ni­cian Mike Wil­liams (Mark Wahlberg), “Deep­wa­ter Hori­zon” (2016, Lion­s­gate, PG13, $30) chron­i­cles an oil rig ex­plo­sion which claimed 11 lives be­fore be­com­ing the worst eco­log­i­cal dis­as­ter in Amer­i­can his­tory.

To his credit, di­rec­tor Peter Berg isn’t shy about lay­ing the blame at the feet of a greedy BP exec (John Malkovich) who in­sists on mov­ing for­ward over the protests of work­ers (Wahlberg, Kurt Rus­sell, Ethan Sup­plee) who know better.

As you might imag­ine, the movie is a spe­cial-ef­fects stun­ner but it’s also emo­tion­ally sat­is­fy­ing and life-af­firm­ing. Ex­tras: fea­turettes. Also New To DVD The Peo­ple Vs. Fritz Bauer (2016, Cohen, R, $25): From Ger­many comes an en­gross­ing spy saga which un­earths a lit­tle-known chap­ter in the story of Adolph Eich­mann’s cap­ture. While it has been well doc­u­mented that Mos­sad agents am­bushed the Nazi in Ar­gentina and smug­gled him back to Is­rael where he was forced to stand trial, it was a Ger­man Jew named Fritz Bauer who set the whole mis­sion in mo­tion. As played by Burghart Klauss­ner, Bauer is a fas­ci­nat­ing man who, as Ger­many’s at­tor­ney gen­eral, strug­gles against his ap­a­thetic bosses to pros­e­cute Third Reich crimes. When he gets the tip about Eich­mann, he risks his ca­reer – and his free­dom – to go be­hind his gov­ern­ment’s back and con­tact the Is­raeli agents. Ex­tras: fea­turettes and deleted scenes. *** The Birth of a Na­tion (2016, Fox, R, $28): With this but­ton-push­ing drama, first-time di­rec­tor Nate Parker cap­tures what it must have been like to live with a boot heel on your back. Stripped of nearly all hu­man rights, slave preacher Nat Turner (Parker) suf­fers one hu­mil­i­a­tion af­ter an­other un­til he’s had enough and fights back. How hard this based-on-a-true-story tale hits you is likely to de­pend on whether or not you can sep­a­rate the art from the artist. Parker is, af­ter all, a con­tro­ver­sial fig­ure who was ac­cused of rap­ing a class­mate in 1999 while a stu­dent at Penn State. If you can ac­cept “Birth of a Na­tion” on its own mer­its, you will dis­cover a pow­er­ful film about the seeds of re­bel­lion. Ex­tras: deleted scenes, fea­turettes and Parker com­men­tary. *** His Girl Fri­day (1940, Cri­te­rion, un­rated, $30): Look­ing and sound­ing better than ever on Blu-ray, Howard Hawks’ ro­man­tic com­edy re­volves around a fast-talk­ing news­pa­per­man (Cary Grant) who uses ev­ery trick in the book to en­sure that his ex-wife (Ros­alind Rus­sell), who’s also a “news­pa­per­man,” doesn’t go off and marry her new beau (Ralph Bel­lamy). Ev­ery­thing about this master­piece works like a charm from the mis­chievous di­a­logue to the charis­matic per­for­mances to Hawks’ in­sis­tence that Grant and Rus­sell are bound not only by their love for each other but by their love for their jobs. “His Girl Fri­day” ranks as one of the best movies of the 1940s. Ex­tras: fea­turettes, ra­dio adap­ta­tion and a newly dis­cov­ered cut of “The Front Page” (1931). *** The Keys of the King­dom (1944, Twi­light Time, un­rated, $30): Af­ter the sur­prise suc­cess of the reli­gious epic “Song of Ber­nadette,” 20th Cen­tury Fox gath­ered to­gether some of the same filmmakers for this new-to-Blu cel­e­bra­tion of the life of a Scots Catholic mis­sion­ary (Gre­gory Peck) sta­tioned in a re­mote vil­lage in China. Co-writ­ten by the great Joseph L. Mankiewicz (“All About Eve”), “Keys” has a lot to say about tol­er­ance and god­li­ness but it mostly re­sists preach­i­ness, pre­fer­ring in­stead to of­fer up a por­trait of a hum­ble man of faith. There’s no plot, which causes pac­ing prob­lems, but Peck and the sup­port­ing play­ers (Rosa Strad­ner, Anne Re­vere, Ed­mund Gwenn) give the film the jolts of feel­ing it needs. Ex­tras: com­men­tary tracks. *** Dead of Win­ter (1987, Shout Fac­tory, R $30): Here’s the best thriller from the 1980s that you never heard of! The plot sounds like some­thing out of a Brian DePalma movie but Arthur Penn (“Bon­nie and Clyde”) di­rects with a much lighter, more play­ful touch. Mary Steen­bur­gen stars as an out-of-work ac­tress who ac­cepts a dodgy of­fer that lands her in an iso­lated Up­state New York man­sion in the midst of a rag­ing snow­storm. When she ar­rives to shoot the video au­di­tion, she dis­cov­ers that the “pro­duc­ers” (Roddy McDowall, Jan Rubes) are not who they seem to be. There’s a bliz­zard of black­mail, be­tray­als and mur­der as Steen­bur­gen strug­gles to turn the ta­bles on her cap­tors. Ex­tras: fea­turette. *** Corn­bread, Earl and Me (1974, Olive, PG, $25): In his film de­but, Lau­rence Fish­burne is ter­rific as a teenager from Chicago’s projects who is forced to grow up fast af­ter his idol – the tit­u­lar Corn­bread (Keith Wilkes) – is shot by a po­lice of­fi­cer (Bernie Casey) in a case of mis­taken iden­tity. Af­ter Corn­bread’s mur­der, cor­rupt cops be­gin to put pres­sure on mem­bers of the com­mu­nity, in­clud­ing Fish­burne, to change their sto­ries about the slay­ing. Boast­ing a funky score by Don­ald Byrd as well some deeply-felt per­for­mances by At­lantic City’s Ros­alind Cash, Moses Gunn and Madge Sin­clair, “Corn­bread” is a bit­ter­sweet look at com­ing-of-age in the midst of tough times. Ex­tras: none. *** Broad City: Sea­son Three (2016, Para­mount, un­rated, $26): Still great fun, the lat­est sea­son of the New York-set com­edy con­tin­ues to fo­cus on the friend­ship be­tween screw-ups Abbi (Abbi Jacobson) and Ilana (Ilana Glazer). Whether wreck­ing havoc at a gallery open­ing, get­ting stuck in a porta-potty or ex­per­i­ment­ing with hair-re­moval crème, the pair’s shenani­gans are both in­stantly re­lat­able and gut-bust­ingly hi­lar­i­ous. And, best of all, the show deep­ens when you least ex­pect it to, thanks, in part, to the ex­tremes to which the friends will go to pro­tect each other. Ex­tras: fea­turettes and deleted scenes. *** Home­land: The Com­plete Fifth Sea­son (2016, Fox, un­rated, $40): Nearly as good as the first ex­plo­sive batch of episodes, the grip­ping fifth sea­son fi­nally puts the mess sur­round­ing Ni­cholas Brody in the rearview mir­ror and dis­patches Car­rie (Claire Danes) to Ger­many for some high-stakes spy games. Danes is such a tal­ented per­former that no mat­ter what Car­rie gets her­self into, you are riv­eted. And this sea­son she’s once again in­volved in the war on ter­ror while deal­ing with dou­ble agents, se­cu­rity hacks and the fall­out from go­ing off her meds. Among the new char­ac­ters, Mi­randa Otto’s sta­tion agent and Se­bas­tian Koch’s Ger­man phi­lan­thropist leave the big­gest im­pres­sions. Ex­tras: fea­turettes.


Mark Wahlberg (“Mike Wil­liams”) stars in “Deep­wa­ter Hori­zon.”

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