Patti Perret

DVD reviews: 'Mississippi Grind' plays hands without needed guile

This week, we begin at the poker table:


Dino might

If dinosaurs were still around, there’s no doubt many of us would probably have one as a pet. Whether small and friendly to cuddle with or big and mean to scare unwelcome guests, these prehistoric animals would make great companions. In its latest animated tale, however, Pixar reverses the idea and crafts a wonderful world where dinos can keep humans as pets. The Good Dinosaur had all the signs of being a doomed movie: delayed release, production fumbles and a story that doesn’t exactly roar “original.” But, as usual, Pixar manages to shock, surprise and pack an emotional wallop in its cannon.


Stings like a bee

We all know the rote formula of boxing films, and Creed doesn’t push those boundaries much. An underdog wants to make a name for himself, undergoes training montages, pays lip service to a throwaway love story and enters one big bout to reach the top. However, every now and then a sports film finds that sweet spot of balancing both action and drama. Once in a while, the fights in a film are justified with stories full of enough crushing emotion that they become all the more intense and gratifying. Creed is that film. Extending the highly regarded Rocky franchise into a spinoff involving the previously unseen son (Michael B. Jordan


Courtesy photo

DVD reviews: Movie house opens vault for 11 works of noir

This week, we begin in the late 1940s:


Grand finish

If you favored the gladiatorial action of the first two Hunger Games and disliked Mockingjay — Part 1 for its lack thereof, odds are you might not appreciate Part 2’s politically charged human drama and grim tone.



DVD reviews: Hawke celebrates music teacher in documentary

This week, we begin with Seymour:


Stale eggnog

It’s that holiday time of year again when we obsess over family, stuff our faces fuller than Augustus Gloop, compete with our Pinterest frenemies in decor. And, of course, time for the annual obnoxious Christmas movies.


Getty Images

DVD reviews: Buckley, Vidal debates change political landscape

This week, we begin in 1968:


Worthy romp for a beloved gang

Maybe the Peanuts gang hasn’t been on the big screen in decades because they’ve had so much success on the small one, with specials like The Great Pumpkin and A Charlie Brown Christmas that have been annual TV traditions since the 1960s.



DVD reviews: Inventive insight

Pixar scores another win with ‘Inside Out’This week, we begin inside the brain of an 11-year-old girl:Inside Out 4 starsRated PG, 94 minutes.Available Tuesday on DVD and Blu-ray and in various digital...

The Weinstein Co.

Check, please

One of cinema’s most enduring themes is the human appetite. When food — its preparation, presentation and consumption — is the central theme of a movie, it acts more as a narrative instrument than a prop....



Bones of mysteries past

This week, we begin in England:


Sync compatible

Last year, Benedict Cumberbatch portrayed computer inventor Alan Turing in The Imitation Game. Turing was found dead from cyanide poisoning in 1954 with a half-eaten apple by his bedside. Could this have been behind the iconic image of the Apple computer company Steve Jobs started all those years ago?



DVD reviews: Once more, with feeling

This week, we begin in New Zealand:


Defensive move

Steven Spielberg turns a tale of Cold War espionage into contemporary pop entertainment in the new Bridge of Spies. The often compelling drama is “inspired” by true events, with a script from Matt Charman and brothers Joel and Ethan Coen.


Gothic horror at ‘Peak’

We never seem to get sick of haunted house movies and ghost stories, do we? And why should we ever tire of a reliable subsection of horror? This is the quintessential genre that takes its time, slowly and subtly building dread in evocative worlds, then populating them with rich, unforgettable characters.

AP file photo

Just Jobs

SAN FRANCISCO — Apple co-founder Steve Jobs became renowned for conjuring a “reality distortion field” that made people believe whatever he wanted.


DVD reviews: 'Tomorrowland' follows a boy's dream

This week, we begin tomorrow:


Shadow dance

The Peter Pan tale is an eternal favorite that infuses just a little bit of magic into everyday life for those who don’t want to grow up.



DVD reviews: The fight against evil

This week, we begin in Tony Stark’s laboratory:

Scary? Depends on who’s watching

It’s easy to assume that the best way to judge a horror film is to determine how scary it is, but that’s easier said than done. While it’s possible to nail down core attributes and figure out what doesn’t work or is easy to brush off, everyone experiences fear differently, and everyone is scared by different things.


Lonely astronaut

Without Matt Damon, the solitary fight for survival on Mars would be lonely indeed. Alone on screen for most of his scenes as an astronaut stranded on the red planet, the Oscar-nominated actor is the winning heart of Ridley Scott’s epic space adventure, The Martian.


Warner Bros.

DVD reviews: Back to sunny neverland

This week, we begin in Hollywood:


Surface tension

Nicely acted by Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro, the artificial sweetener titled The Intern has its bright spots but is practically blinded by its own privileged perspective of life among the landed gentry of Brooklyn.

BBC America

DVD reviews: Grim BBC drama pits investigator against freed convict

This week, we begin in Northern England:


‘Mass’ appeal

Shakespeare had his tortured Hamlet, his ambitious Macbeth, his malevolent Iago, his warring Montagues and Capulets. But what would the Bard have done with the tale of James “Whitey” Bulger, and all the supporting players around him?



DVD reviews: Glass slipper deluxe

This week, we begin in a Magic Kingdom:


Light’s on, no one’s home

A family get-together starts out strange and quickly enters nightmare territory in TheVisit, a horror-thriller that turns soiled adult diapers into a motif. Told from a camera-equipped kids’-eye-view, M. Night Shyamalan’s latest is well cast and strong on setting. But the dull thudding that resounds isn’t part of its effective aural design; it’s the ungainly landing of nearly every shock and joke.


History Channel

DVD reviews: Remember the Alamo?

This week, we begin in Texas:


Nolte vs. Nature

In the wake of Wild, in which Reese Witherspoon’s version of Cheryl Strayed hiked the Pacific Crest Trail and reckoned with her demons, we now have “Mild,” better known as A Walk in the Woods.


Warner Bros.

DVD reviews: 'Fury Road' comes to DVD, home viewing formats

This week, we begin on the road:


Beauty & the beat

Part electronic dance music tutorial and part love letter to Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley, We Are Your Friends is a surprisingly accessible and sweet story of a group of friends standing on the cusp of adulthood with big ambition and little direction.


Getting out

Not since Saigon in the 1970s has an American operation in Southeast Asia been as ill-conceived as No Escape, a taut, well-made and entirely dubious thriller.



DVD reviews: Gainfully unemployed

This week, we begin in Belgium:


Hybrid flick has appeal

The likably awkward chemistry of Kristen Stewart and Jesse Eisenberg remains intact in American Ultra, a violent stoner action-comedy that’s half Pineapple Express, half The Bourne Identity, and not as....

Sony Pictures Classics

The A-word

A movie about a wisecracking grandma and her teen granddaughter, racing around in a beat-up car to find $600 by nightfall. You might think it sounds like any number of mediocre road comedies out there,...



DVD reviews: Fall television shows heat up with classics

This week, we begin in front of the TV: