Night Moves (New Video, Blu-ray, DVD, Cable VOD), the fourth film that New York-based director Kelly Reichardt has made in Oregon, is her most commercial project yet, though you won’t mistake this drama of eco-terrorists who blow a dam on a southern Oregon river for a Hollywood thriller. Reichardt and longtime screenwriting partner Jon Raymond focus on the process and the people, a trio of true-believers who want to make a “statement” and end up killing a camper in the collateral damage.
Jesse Eisenberg is the closest we have to a protagonist, a guy living on a co-op just outside of Ashland. He anchors this activist cell with a restless impatience for the blithe, stoner-like disregard for detail of the group’s combat vet (Peter Sarsgaard) and the new age-y philosophy of trust fund kid Dakota Fanning, the one who unravels with guilt over the camper’s death. They aren’t necessarily likable but they are compelling. The debates over the cost of action and the effectiveness of a destructive statement over productive alternatives are in the margins, present but always framed by the personal. The stakes are real—the opening shot shows the beauty of the Oregon wilderness gouged by a clear-cut patch in the wooded landscape—but so are the costs of action and Night Moves is all about responsibility.
Blu-ray and DVD with no supplements. Also on Cable VOD.
Nabil Ayouch’s Horses of God (Kino Lorber, DVD, Digital HD, Digital VOD) follows a group of boys growing up in a sprawling shantytown slum outside of Casablanca, watching the transition from fresh-faced, energetic kids playing football in the empty lots to hopeless young men with no realistic road out of this virtual prison apart from death or jail. TV is their only window on a world and the attack on the World Trade Center building becomes the closest they have to cultural pride, kick-starting a recruitment drive of young, disenfranchised men into mosques.
Ayouch’s drama is inspired by a real-life terrorist attack in Casablanca. What makes this so interesting is that these young men are not politically motivated, fighting social injustice or religious persecution. This is no religious warzone, it’s an economic ruin of dire poverty, chronic unemployment, runaway crime, and blatantly corrupt cops. The hard-hitting social portrait is more interesting than the character drama, which follows familiar patterns of sibling rivalry and frustrated potential channeled as a terrorist soldier, one of the “horses of God” of the title. In a world that treats them as worthless, where only the Imams give them a sense of worth and a cultural pride, Ayouch shows how just how a Muslim extremist suicide bomber is forged.
Arabic with English subtitles. DVD features stills and a trailer. Also available as a Digital HD purchase or Digital VOD stream.
Draft Day (Lionsgate, Blu-ray, DVD) takes a look at the business of sports—sort of—with Kevin Costner as a NFL general manager who wheels and deals to get himself the number one draft pick and rebuild his ailing franchise (in this, the Cleveland Indians). The pressure bearing down on him comes courtesy of Jennifer Garner (who watches the salary cap), Frank Langella (the team owner), and Denis Leary (the coach) among others. It scored a 62% on the Tomatometer. More reviews here.
They Came Together (Lionsgate, Blu-ray, DVD) spoofs the conventions and clichés of modern Hollywood romantic comedies with Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler as the opposites who meet cute and overcome obstacles to end up a couple. From director David Wain and co-writer Michael Showalter, who did a number on summer movies with the cult comedy Wet Hot American Summer.
For No Good Reason (Sony, Blu-ray+DVD Combo, Digital HD, Digital VOD, Cable VOD) profiles artist Ralph Steadman, who became famous for illustrating the articles of Hunter S. Thompson, with comments by Johnny Depp, Terry Gilliam, Rolling Stone editor Jann Wenner and others.
Also new: the documentary Citizen Koch (MPI, DVD, Digital), which looks at the aftermath of the Citizens United ruling that ended the spending limits in elections, and the Chinese costume adventure 14 Blades (Anchor Bay, Blu-ray, DVD), set in the Ming Dynasty and starring Donnie Yen as martial arts-wielding agent in the Emperor’s court.
Digital / VOD / Streaming exclusives:
Frank (Magnolia, Cable VOD) – You won’t recognize Michael Fassbender in this oddball comedy because he wear a giant paper maché mask throughout the entire film. It’s inspired by the true story of Chris Sievey, who created the musical alter ego Frank Sidebottom in the 1980s, and it co-stars Domhnall Gleeson and Maggie Gyllenhaal. Comes for Cable VOD while still in theaters.
Available on Friday, September 5, same day as theaters, are the romantic comedy The Longest Week (Gravitas, Cable VOD) and the indie music drama God Help the Girl (Amplify, Cable VOD), the debut film from Stuart Murdoch of the band Belle & Sebastian.
Houdini (Lionsgate, Digital HD), the two-part History Channel mini-series starring Adrien Brody that debuted on Labor Day, is available for Digital purchase on Wednesday, September 10. The disc is slated for early October.
Trailer Park Boys: Don’t Legalize It (Screen Media, Digital VOD), the third feature spin-off of the cult Canadian comedy series, debuts on Digital VOD on Friday, September 5.
Mom’s Night Out (Sony, Blu-ray, DVD, Digital HD, Digital VOD, Cable VOD)
Heavenly Sword (Sony, Blu-ray, DVD, Digital)
Baby Blues (Well Go USA, Blu-ray, DVD, Digital)
Whitewash (Oscilloscope, DVD)
Leave the World Behind (Shout Factory, Blu-ray, DVD)
Out of the Clear Blue Sky (Virgil, DVD, Digital)
Love Will Wind a Way (eOne, DVD)
Rocky Road (eOne, DVD)
Two: The Story of Roman and Tyro (Virgil, DVD, VOD)
No No: A Dockumentary (Orchard, DVD, VOD)
Under the Electric Sky (Universal, DVD)
Cabin Fever: Patient Fever (RLJ, Blu-ray, DVD)
Tom and Jerry: The Lost Dragon (Warner, DVD)
TV on disc:
The Originals: The Complete First Season (Warner, Blu-ray, DVD)
Crossbones: Season One (Universal, DVD)
Person of Interest: The Complete Third Season (Warner, Blu-ray+DVD Combo)
Grey’s Anatomy: The Complete Tenth Season (ABC, Blu-ray, DVD)
The Following: The Complete Second Season (Warner, Blu-ray, DVD)
New Girl: The Complete Third Season (Fox, DVD)
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: The Complete Ninth Season (Fox, DVD)
The League: The Complete Fifth Season (Fox, DVD)
Chicago Fire: Season Two (Universal, DVD)
Chicago P.D.: Season One (Universal, DVD)
Duck Dynasty: Quack or Treat (Lionsgate, DVD)
Line of Duty: Series 2 (Acorn, DVD)
Lovejoy: Series 2 (Acorn, DVD)
Midsomer Murders: Series 10 (Acorn, DVD)
Midsomer Murders: Series 11 (Acorn, DVD)
Transformers: Beast Machines – The Complete Series (Shout Factory, DVD)
R.L. Stine’s Mostly Ghostly: Have You Met My Ghoulfriend (Universal, Blu-ray, DVD, Digital HD)
History Detectives Special Investigations (PBS, DVD)
Nature: Fabulous Frogs (PBS, Blu-ray, DVD)
Classics and Cult:
Universal Classic Monsters: Complete 30-Film Collection (Universal, DVD)
The Hammer Horror Series: 8-Film Collection (Universal, DVD)
Dracula (1979) (Universal, Blu-ray)
Dracula (Universal, Blu-ray, DVD)
Frankenstein (Universal, Blu-ray, DVD)
The Bride of Frankenstein (Universal, Blu-ray, DVD)
The Mummy (Universal, Blu-ray, DVD)
The Invisible Man (Universal, Blu-ray, DVD)
The Wolf Man (Universal, Blu-ray, DVD)
Phantom of the Opera (Universal, Blu-ray, DVD)
The Creature from the Black Lagoon (Universal, Blu-ray, DVD)
Firestarter (Universal, Blu-ray, DVD)
Casper (Universal, Blu-ray, DVD)
The People Under the Stairs (Universal, Blu-ray, DVD)
The Return (Universal, Blu-ray, DVD)
The Watcher (Universal, Blu-ray, DVD)
White Noise (Universal, Blu-ray, DVD)
Space Raiders (Scorpion, DVD)
Dracula: Complete Legacy Collection (Universal, DVD)
Frankenstein: Complete Legacy Collection (Universal, DVD)
Invisible Man: Complete Legacy Collection (Universal, DVD)
Mummy: Complete Legacy Collection (Universal, DVD)
Wolf Man: Complete Legacy Collection (Universal, DVD)
Creature from the Black Lagoon: Complete Legacy Collection (Universal, DVD)