DVD reviews: 1800s escapades

Jolting ‘Joe’

Role models can be found in the unlikeliest of places. And they can come in some unlikely forms. Take the title character in Joe, played by a laconic yet often volcanic Nicolas Cage. By any measure, he’s a despicable person. But in the eyes of an abused 15-year-old boy, he can be a savior.


DVD reviews: Watching the detectives

The popular British series "Broadchurch," broadcast here on BBC America, features esteemed Shakespearean actor David Tennant as Alec Hardy, a grumpy, disheveled detective sent to a small coastal town to investigate the murder of an 11-year-old boy.


Oh captain, our captain

Blame it on climate change, blame it on marketing patterns or blame it on the variable school year. Whatever the reason, the arrival of Captain America: The Winter Soldiersignals the beginning of an ever-earlier summer movie season.


DMN file photo

DVD reviews: Royal treatment

This week, we begin in Sweden: Persona (****) Not rated, 83 minutes.


Audacious adaptation

Old Testament fury has rarely come to such spectacularly fearsome life than in Noah, Darren Aronofsky’s audacious adaptation of one of the Bible’s best-known but still enigmatic chapters.


DVD reviews: The Bogie man

Voted in 2000 by the American Film Institute as the greatest movie star of the 20th century, Humphrey Bogart now receives royal treatment from Warner Home Video with this Blu-ray collection.

Fairy tale in motion

Fathom Events, Arts Alliance Media and Royal Opera House will screen the Royal Ballet’s The Sleeping Beauty at 7 p.m. today at Denton’s Cinemark 14, 2825 Wind River Lane. The ballet, staged to a score by Tchaikovsky, features Sarah Lamb as Princess Aurora and Steven McRae as the prince. Rated G, 175 minutes. For tickets, visit www.cinemark.com/royal-ballet-the-sleeping-beauty


One good word

The word facetious contains all the syllables listed alphabetically. Something inchoate is not fully formed. Fingerprints can also be known as dactylograms. These are some of the more gentle examples of wordplay found in the acerbic new comedy filled with Bad Words.


DVD reviews: Hidden sides

Melinda Sue Gordon

Main attraction

It takes a lot for a film based on a video game to impress a crowd these days, given the dazzling advancements in gaming technology. But Need for Speed, based on the hit EA Entertainment racing game that’s sold 150 million units, could now drive some of that success toward the box office.


Precious lot of whimsy

Like all films from writer-director Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel is warmly funny. For a while, anyway.


DVD reviews: Just folk

In "Inside Llewyn Davis," a sublime shaggy-dog story from the Coen brothers, Oscar Isaac plays Llewyn Davis, a mooch and a bit of a jerk. But in 1961 Greenwich Village, he also seems to be unequal parts of the many folk singers who broke on the scene about that time.


Looks great, less thrilling

King Leonidas slipped into legend at the Battle of Thermopylae, martyred with 300 Spartans for the sake of Western Civilization and Spartan glory.


DVD Reviews: Brutal viewing

Chiwetel Ejiofor stars as Solomon Northup, a free man in 1841 New York who is abducted and sold into slavery in the South. The Oscar-nominated Ejiofor turns in a powerful, passionate yet unaffected performance as Northup, who documented his experiences of torture and humiliation at the hands of his various owners in a best-selling book of the time, which Oscar-nominated John Ridley used for the screenplay.


Let’s go Dutch

Turn a couple of skeptics loose with a camera and a harebrained theory and the result might be something like Tim’s Vermeer, an engaging new documentary from magicians Penn and Teller. The duo uses no sleight-of-hand, however, in their quest to uncover how the 17th-century Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer created his striking masterpieces, filled with luminous details created by his famous “painting with light.”


Free romance

Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman star in the 1942 classic Casablanca. Turner Classic Movies is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a free screening of the classic Casablanca in 20 cities, and Dallas is among them. Director Michael Curtiz’s wartime romance screens at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Angelika Dallas, 5321 E. Mockingbird Lane. In the movie, Rick (Bogart) owns a nightclub and gets involved in smuggling refugees out of Vichy-controlled Casablanca. Ilsa (Bergman) is the one who got away from Rick, and is trying to escape the Nazis with her husband (Paul Henreid). Casablanca earned eight Academy Award nominations, and won for best picture, best director and best screenplay.


DVD Reviews: Weight of the world

Director and co-writer Alfonso Cuaron delivers a magnificent work with plenty of twists and striking images while also paying homage to past classics of the outer-space genre. Gravity conveys to viewers what it feels like to actually be in space — and, worse, to be lost in space.


Action confection

Kevin Costner and director McG are plunged into the madcap mayhem of Monsieur Luc Besson in 3 Days to Kill, a serio-comic thriller about mortality, murder for hire and fatherhood.

Wings of desire

Ballet buffs can see the Royal Ballet perform Swan Lake without airfare, and for the price of a few movie tickets. At 7 p.m. today, Fathom Events, Anthony Dowell, Arts Alliance Media and the Royal Opera House will broadcast Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s first score of the legendary ballet, which remains one of the most popular ballets of all time. And for the first time ever, American dancer Nehemiah Kish will dance the role of Prince Siegfried, with Zenaida Yanowsky as Odette/Odile. The ballet screens at the Denton Cinemark 14, 2825 Wind River Lane. Swan Lake is part of the 2014 Royal Ballet Cinema Season. For tickets, visit www.cinemark.com/royal-ballet-swan-lake .


DVD reviews: Age before beauty


Thick skin, soft heart

When the original RoboCop hit theaters in 1987, it was a science-fiction fantasy, something too outrageous and too far in the future to contemplate. Now, that future is here in the form of drones, robots and wide-screen, ear-shattering Imax technology.


Fest to light up screens, stages

Thousands of people are expected to pour into downtown Denton this week for the Thin Line documentary film and music festival.

DVD reviews: Man and the sea

Writer-director J.C. Chandor has executed a well thought-out story with craft, precision and impeccable rhythm. And he has done this while facing an extreme dramatic challenge.

Dark, glossy rock

Forget for one second the fine, polished pop-rock feel Denton artist Jessie Frye gives to her debut full-length, Obsidian.

Cold noses, wagging tails

One critic has described Unleashed! A Dog Dancing Story as a movie Christopher Guest would have made. The problem is that no one would have believed it.


Much ado about everything

A fascinating story can be found at the core of The Monuments Men, the new film starring, directed and co-written by George Clooney.



Hostage situation turns mushy

In Labor Day, a woman falls in love with the man who takes her hostage, but the movie goes out of its way to make that journey easy for her.

Heavenly creatures

Two immensely different romances make their Blu-ray debuts this week, both with passable supplements. Wim Wenders’ 1987 German masterpiece Wings of Desire serves as the source for director Brad Silberling’s 1998 update, City of Angels.

A divide bridged

Denton native and filmmaker David Barrow thinks Denton is a special place. And it isn’t special by accident. In his documentary film When We Were All Broncos, Barrow takes a look back at the people — the decisions they made and the hard work they did — who brought this small Texas town from beneath the shadow of Jim Crow.

Woebegone water sprite

...Soprano Renee Fleming sings her first Met “Live in HD” performance of one of her signature roles, the title character in Dvorak’s Rusalka. The Metropolitan Opera performance screens at 11:55 a.m. Feb. 8 at Cinemark 15 Vista Ridge Mall in Lewisville. The opera is about a water spirit’s tragic romance with a human prince. It’s drawn from several folk tales, including Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid.” Conductor Yannick Nezet-Segu leads a cast that includes Piotr Beczala as the handsome Prince Rusalka, who yearns to love; Dolora Zajick as the swamp witch Jezibaba; Emily Magee as the foreign princess and John Relyea as Rusalka’s father. Fleming has sung the role of Rusalka more than any other artist in Met history. Susan Graham hosts. Running time is about 4 hours, including two intermissions. Tickets cost $24 for adults, $22 for seniors and $16 for children. For tickets, visit www.cinemark.com/met-opera-rusalka-(2014)


Fangs bared, no holds barred

Unlike some unnamed egomaniacs, Dario Argento is one of the few directors qualified enough to have his name in the title, as least on a horror film. In this 2012 release (variously called Argento’s Dracula, Dario Argento’s Dracula and even Argento’s Dracula 3D) the horror-meister renders a fairly straightforward interpretation of Bram Stoker’s original novel.


Wayward story

To emphasize the gravity of Gimme Shelter, the opening credits state that it is “based on a true story.” Then, the words “a true story” linger on the screen. So, no need to worry — you won’t forget for a second how serious this grossly manipulative new movie is.


Thin Line widens scope

Thin Line, the documentary film festival that happens each February, has added music to its schedule, marking a change in the event’s identity. The change could take a big bite out of both the sponsorship money and volunteer base for another popular yearly festival, 35 Denton.

Kindness of strangers

In Woody Allen’s latest, Cate Blanchett plays the title character, a decidedly blue lady of that name whose real name is Jeanette — but the character might be best recognized by the name Blanche DuBois.

Monica De Alwis<252>

Wheels of passion

Filmmaker Monica De Alwis had plenty to shoot when it came to profiling the first roller derby league in New Zealand.



A polite affair

Genius has its own mixed rewards. Charles Dickens knew this, as shown in the rich new mini-biopic The Invisible Woman.