Heart of darkness

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From left, Jasmin Riggins, William Ruane, Paul Brannigan and Gary Maitland star in “The Angels’ Share.”
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‘Prisoners’ takes father to breaking point in thriller

This week we begin in a dark hole:

DVD REVIEWS

Prisoners

3.5 stars

Rated R, 153 minutes. Available Tuesday on DVD and Blu-ray and in various download formats.

An all-star cast heads this excellent mystery-thriller by French-Canadian director Denis Villeneuve (Incendies). Hugh Jackman plays Keller Dover, a father whose 6-year-old daughter goes missing. Panic paralyzes him and his wife (Maria Bello), particularly when the only suspect (Paul Dano) cannot be nailed.

Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) works on the case while Dover takes matter into his own hands, which naturally results in unforeseen consequences. With Terrence Howard and Viola Davis as the best friends of the Dovers and parents to another abducted girl.

Director Villeneuve slowly builds on the tension to orchestrate an explosive finale. The DVD, in all formats, combo packs and downloads, includes the three-minute featurette “Every Moment Matters,” and “Powerful Performances,” a 10-minute piece about the making of the film, as well as cast and crew interviews.

*

The Lone Ranger (2.5 stars) This tongue-in-cheek Western (what else can you call a movie in which Johnny Depp wears face paint and always has a dead bird on his head?) may have its detractors, but it does deliver a fair amount of lively entertainment in its too-long running time.

Armie Hammer plays the title character, nee John Reid, who becomes the masked Ranger in late 1860s Texas when his brother is killed by outlaw Butch Cavendish (William Fichtner).

Gore Verbinski directs as if this is his latest Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Told through needless flashbacks from an aged Tonto, Verbinski serves up flamboyant action and non-stop silliness with Tonto taking the Capt. Jack Sparrow role. The script from an army of scribes heeds all the Ranger touchstones — (“hi yo!”) Silver, the mask and silver bullets.

Rated PG-13, 149 minutes. The DVD comes in all formats and various combo packs, so check labels for supplements, which include an eight-minute featurette on the cast’s efforts in “Becoming a Cowboy,” 15 minutes with Hammer as he takes a “Western Road Trip” through some of the film’s locations, and the 11-minute “Riding the Rails” through the oval track built for filming. Also, a deleted scene, a five-minute gag reel and more.

*

The Angels’ Share (3.5 stars) Scottish writer-director Ken Loach deviates slightly from his usually intense, socially conscious films to deliver this amusing tale with a heart of its own.

Robbie (Paul Brannigan) is the usual screw-up. He has serious legal troubles, a pregnant girlfriend and a gang wanting to kill him. Through circumstances, he leaves his native Glasgow and ends up with a group of mates in the Scottish highlands. There, at a distillers’ auction and convention, they plan to make off with an unrecognized amount of the priceless whiskey’s evaporation, the so-called “angels’ share.” Funny, clever film with lovable characters.

Not rated, 101 minutes. The DVD includes four minutes of deleted scenes.

*

Night Train to Lisbon (3 stars) Jeremy Irons stars as a meek teacher who impulsively abandons his classroom in Bern, Switzerland, and boards a train to Lisbon, Portugal, to return a coat to a mysterious young woman. Earlier, he had saved her from suicide when she attempted to throw herself over a bridge.

Once in Portugal, however, he becomes engulfed in an intricate, decades-old intrigue involving what was once a local group of young subversives dating back to when the repressive Portuguese military ran the country.

Veteran director Bille August (Pelle the Conqueror) uses Pascal Mercier’s novel with a fractured chronology in telling the partisans’ stories, past and present. An interesting enough mystery builds around several events, all aided by an international, transgenerational cast, including Lena Olin, Melanie Laurent, Jack Huston, Tom Courtenay, Bruno Ganz, Christopher Lee and Charlotte Rampling.

Rated R, 111 minutes. The disc includes interviews with Irons, August, Lee and Rampling.

*

Force of Execution (2.5 stars) Steven Seagal plays upright mobster Mr. Alexander, an old-school boss who demands loyalty and honesty. So when a hit man (Bren Foster) bungles a job, it initiates a war with a rival known as “The Iceman” (Ving Rhames), as well as with a Mexican drug cartel.

Director Keoni Waxman makes sure plenty of bullets, and bodies, fly, bringing requisite amounts of blood. With Danny Trejo. Rated R, 99 minutes.

*

Omnibus: Gene Kelly — Dancing, a Man’s Game The versatile Gene Kelly wrote, choreographed, co-directed and performed in this 1958 television program, Omnibus, then the rare cultural on-air offering.

Kelly proposes the theory that dance moves can come out of sports, as he then draws in some of the most famous athletes of the day. Simultaneously gathered in the studio are quarterback Johnny Unitas, Boston Celtic Bob Cousy, fabled Yankee slugger Mickey Mantle, world middleweight champ Sugar Ray Robinson and tennis pro Vic Seixas.

The logistics of such a personnel assemblage in 1958 is mind-boggling. Each of these uniformed athletes executes a personal move, such as Mantle throwing the ball, or Cousy pivoting. Kelly then turns the action into a dance move, integrating them all into a finely choreographed work.

The original kinescope has been digitally remastered, keeping its original black-and-white graininess. Not rated, 55 minutes.

*

And, finally, from this week’s TV offerings:

Justified: The Complete Fourth Season The latest season of 13 episodes from this much beloved Elmore Leonard creation sees yet another villain in Kentucky’s Harlan County.

The season revolves around an ages-old mystery about a parachutist, Waldo Truth, who fell to earth and with him a disappearing stash of loot. The twist takes U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) through a series of encounters with an ever-increasing roster of dangerous bad guys, ladies and weirdos.

Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) and Ava Crowder (Joelle Carter) are threatened by a snake-handling traveling evangelist, his sister, a prostitute who has seen too much and eventually even the Detroit mob. No series provides such great humor along with a healthy dose of suspense and a constantly revolving cast of colorful characters.

Not rated, 558 minutes. The three-disc set includes 10 commentaries with cast and crew, three minutes of outtakes, five deleted scenes and a seven-minute featurette on the pivotal character “Constable Bob,” played by Patton Oswald. Plus, seven minutes on the “Veteran’s Experience,” and a full episode stands for analysis in the 41-minute “Script to Screen.” The Blu-ray set offers two additional featurettes.

*

Shameless: The Complete Third Season This unlikely hit on Showtime, based on a British sitcom of the same name, rolled along for a third season with the delightfully disheveled William H. Macy as Frank, the head of the shamelessly corrupt Gallagher family.

In this season’s 12 episodes, daughter Fiona (Emmy Rossum) gained her own respectability in the business world, while in her family, Lip (Jeremy Allen White) is caught stealing, Ian (Cameron Monaghan) and Mickey (Noel Fisher) conspire against marriage, Carl (Ethan Cutkosky) swindles a nonprofit organization, and other unexpected romances and illnesses play out.

Not rated, 10 hours, 50 minutes. The five-disc set includes six featurettes covering a wide “making of” range. Plus: deleted scenes.

*

Also available Tuesday on DVD: Elysium, The Family, Kick-Ass 2, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters.


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