Arrow Films

DVD reviews: Behind ‘Close’ doors

This week, we start in front of the television: According to an accompanying 20-page English-language booklet, by the start of 1870, Paris had 3,656 “kept” women, with 1,066 of them situated in registered “houses.”

SALT Project

Color commentary

“Strange Fruit” is a needling song. It’s a voluptuous sounding tune that throws the lyrics -- a stark depiction of the lynching of two young black men -- into sharp and uncomfortable relief. Billie Holiday made the song popular, when she began singing it to close each of her shows at Cafe Society in 1939. Cafe Society was New York’s first integrated nightclub. Owner Barney Josephson set a few rules about the song: Holiday would end each show with the number. The waitstaff would halt service just before she sang, the lights would go off, and Holiday would narrate the scene — the broken bodies of Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith, hanged from a tree above a mob of panicked and angry white people in Marion, Indiana, in 1930 — in a tight spotlight.

Movies

AP file photo

DVD reviews: Fully drawn

This week, we begin in Tokyo: This excellent Japanese documentary examines the people of and the inner-workings at Tokyo’s Studio Ghibli.

AP

‘Cake’ crumbles

Ah, to de-glam. It’s one of the surest shortcuts to newfound artistic appreciation: a bedraggled deviation into dowdy drama by a beautiful star. Acclaim by way of sweatpants.

AP

Movies

The New York Times

DVD reviews: About a boy

This week, we begin online:The Internet’s Own Boy (3 1/2 stars) Not rated, 105 minutes.

Fox Searchlight

Intrigue, if not diversity, in Oscar race

The Oscar nominations added intrigue if not diversity to an Academy Awards race by favoring one late-season release (American Sniper) over another (Selma).

Movies

TNS

Sparse ‘Parts’

Spare Parts is a pleasant enough run-of-the-mill outsiders-beat-the-odds dramedy in the Race the Sun mold. It’s about undocumented high school kids who enter a big robot-building competition, and make a splash in that state most hostile to illegal immigration — Arizona. So it’s a little more concerned with making a statement than with covering new ground in an original and entertaining way.

Courtesy photo

DVD reviews: Below the surface

This week we begin in post-World War II Italy: The Skin (3 stars) Not rated, 142 minutes. Available Tuesday on DVD and Blu-ray and in various digital formats.

AP

Long, winding road

In the wandering new Inherent Vice, director Paul Thomas Anderson tackles the work of author Thomas Pynchon (Bleeding Edge, The Crying of Lot 49). Or maybe it’s the other way around?

Movies

Emerging Pictures

DVD reviews: Sweet surrender

This week, we begin in Italy: Honey (3 stars) Not rated, 98 minutes. Available Tuesday on DVD and Blu-ray and in various digital formats

Dare to tread into dark ‘Woods’?

NEW YORK — “Into the Woods, who knows what may be lurking on the journey?” goes a lyric from the beloved 1987 Stephen Sondheim musical. It also sums up the fears many ardent Sondheim fans had when they learned a movie version was coming.

Gritty ‘Year’

In his exciting first three films, writer-director J.C. Chandor, the son of a Merrill Lynch investment banker, has proven to be a canny, clear-eyed studier of capitalism, sensitive to its strivers and alert to its ethical storms.

Movies

Fox Searchlight Pictures

Year in review: Critics name ‘Birdman’ best of 2014

The Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association voted the backstage drama Birdman as the best film of 2014, according to the results of its 21st annual critics’ poll released today.

AP

Check this list for movies you may have missed

What follows is a rundown of my 2014 film favorites. Labeling them as “The Best” or “The Top” seems arbitrary, if not crazy. And unless you are my long-lost identical twin (Brad Pitt, is that you?), your list will be different from mine.

AP

Familiar sights

Clint Eastwood goes to war in the new drama American Sniper. And then he goes several more times in telling the true story of Chris Kyle, the celebrated soldier who became the legendary American sniper of the title.

AP

Through new eyes

Director Tim Burton’s new Big Eyes tells the true story of a woman whose dreams came true, and then lived to regret it. But artist Margaret Keane has had the last laugh, living longer and becoming more successful and acclaimed than the man who almost ruined her life.

AP

Sad camouflage

The corrosive effects of secrets and lies inform The Imitation Game, a biopic about a man who had many secrets and told many lies. But those misdeeds were in service first to winning a war, and second, to keep from going to jail.

Movies

AP

Sony re-gifts ‘The Interview’ in limited Christmas release

NEW YORK — The Interview was put back into theaters Tuesday when Sony Pictures Entertainment announced a limited Christmas Day theatrical release for the comedy that provoked an international incident with North Korea and outrage over its canceled release.

AP

Maybe not

It’s impossible to talk about Annie without admitting up front that you first experienced John Huston’s 1982 film.

Movies

DVD reviews: Sleight of heart

Woody Allen travels to the picturesque south of France in his latest release to explore why we need our illusions.

AP

Triumphant trek

Wild examines what can push someone into confronting and then surmounting a seemingly impossible task. In her best-selling memoir of the same name, Cheryl Strayed chronicles her journey of hiking the many miles of the Pacific Crest Trail.

Movies

Disney

DVD reviews: Ever-expanding universe

This week, we begin in a galaxy far, far away: Guardians of the Galaxy

Profiles in real life

Five first-year graduate students in the University of North Texas Department of Media Arts will show documentaries they directed and produced at 7 p.m. today.

Movies

DMN file photo

DVD reviews: Taking the lead

This week, we begin with a team: The Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis Collection: Volume One

AP

Sucker punch

Foxcatcheris hard to embrace. The new film from director Bennett Miller lacks any humor, and it never falsely strains to engage viewers. Few of its characters are even remotely likable. But it’s impossible not to be swept up in its narrative, right up until its slowly building, explosive finale.

AP

Harebrained schemes

The characters of the modern workplace comedy, like the rest of us, don’t know how to make a living anymore. Having haplessly tried to murder their bosses in the first Horrible Bosses, Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis return in Horrible Bosses 2 as hopeful inventors. “Let’s bet on ourselves,” they tell each other, making a clearly questionable wager. They go into business with a bath product dubbed “Shower Buddy,” and with their abysmal guest spot on a morning show promoting it, it’s clear they may have backed the wrong horse.

Movies

Columbia Pictures

All bundled up

This week, we offer holiday gift suggestions for movie lovers. Which is everyone. We mix in some new with some old and maybe even something that might appeal to you.

AP

Fire goes dim

The revolution lives on in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1, the new release based on the last novel in Suzanne Collins’ trilogy. Part 2, also based on the single novel, will end the series next November.

Movies

Miramax Films

DVD review: Masterwork remastered

This week, we begin with a princess:

AP

A love defiant

In the early parts of the touching new biopic The Theory of Everything, it’s easy to see why Jane falls in love with fellow Cambridge University student Stephen.

Movies

AP

DVD reviews: Before ‘Thor’

This week, we begin in England:

MCT

Fanciful journey

No matter how long you’re gone, you can always go home again. And in writer-director Christopher Nolan’s new space adventure Interstellar, you’re gone a long, long time.

Still Point Pictures

Torn in Middle America

An Oklahoma couple grapples with the suicide of their openly gay son in Broken Heart Land. The University of North Texas Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual And Transgender Studies Program will screen the 2014 documentary at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Room 184 in UNT’s Radio, TV, Film and Performing Arts Building, at 1155 Union Circle.

Movies

DVD reviews: Darkly enchanting

Only the team of expert technicians at Disney could bring life to a project such as this fanciful reworking of a cherished fairy tale.

AP

Creepy-crawly

The most frightening thing about Jake Gyllenhaal in Nightcrawler — even more than those sallow, sunken cheeks, those googly eyes, and that unkempt hair tied into a greasy bun — is his smile. They invented the word “creepy” for that smile, a goofy, confident grin that reaches its full breadth just when you’re starting to realize how deranged this guy really is.

Movies

NYT

DVD reviews: Survivor’s guilt

This week, we begin in Rome: