New on DVD Jan. 7: 'Following,' 'Closed Circuit'

The Fresno BeeDecember 31, 2013 

Kevin Bacon, foreground right, leads a strong cast in "The Following," which is just releasing its first season on DVD.

FOX

The good, the bad and the sexually crazed are featured in this week's new DVD releases.

"The Following: The Complete First Season," Grade A: It was beginning to look like cable was the only place to find great drama, with shows such as "Breaking Bad" and "American Horror Story." But FOX showed in "The Following" that there is still some creative life in the networks.

Kevin Bacon stars in his first TV series playing burned-out FBI agent Ryan Hardy. He is on the track of an escaped killer who has a huge cult following.

The thriller is the most addictive network show to come along since "Lost." But while the mystery is as thick, it certainly isn't confusing. This is just a smart story about the battle between good and evil. It should be your next TV addiction.

"Closed Circuit," Grade B: Two barristers must defend a man accused of masterminding a bombing. Eric Bana stars.

A director has done a proper job when the simple act of bringing a pitcher of water and glasses into a room triggers thoughts of subterfuge, espionage and sinister actions. That's what John Crowley has accomplished in his legal/spy thriller "Closed Circuit." His deft ability to build suspense is Hitchcockian in nature, from the explosive opening to the unexpected ending.

Give partial credit to writer Steven Knight, who has created a smart tale that gets amplified by the way Crowley put the movie together. His use of footage from the array of cameras that hang over London streets adds accents to the movie's main theme that someone always is watching. The problem is that it's often impossible to tell who is being watched and who is doing the watching.

"Thanks for Sharing," Grade B: Most of the story is told through Adam (Mark Ruffalo), a successful businessman who has been "sexually sober" for five years. It's not been easy. His battle with his urges are so tough that he can't even have a television in his room out of fear he will watch — and react — to inappropriate material. His battle has been so consuming that he's had little time for a social life.

It's a difficult challenge to start from a point of disgust and to win over an audience. But director and co-writer Stuart Blumberg does it by telling rich and powerful stories that cast a harsh light on the realities of addiction. He shows that there's never any true winners, just those who manage not to fail for another day.

Also new on DVD Tuesday:

"House of Lies: Season Two": Don Cheadle stars in the Showtime series.

"Being Human: Complete Third Season": Syfy series about very weird housemates.

"To Love and To Cherish": Modern woman tries to keep her marriage alive.

"Linsanity": Portrait of NBA player Jeremy Lin.

"Copper: Season 2": BBC America crime drama set in the 19th Century.

"Archer: The Complete Season Four": FX's animated spy series.

"In Sickness and in Health": The perfect bride is hiding a serious secret about her health.

"The Act of Killing": Filmmakers examine a country where Indonesian death squad leaders are celebrated as heroes.

"The Virginian": Trace Adkins stars in this made-for-TV western.

"The Unstoppable, Unpoppable Bubble!": Second release in the "Tickety Toc" series.

"Pit Stop": Two gay men searching for love cross paths at the local gas station.

"Duck Dynasty: Season 4": More adventures of the Robertsons.

"Murph: The Protector": Documentary on Navy SEAL Lieutenant Michael Murphy.

"Badges of Fury": When a series of eerie murders erupt in Hong Kong, two troublemaking cops get the case.

"I'm So Excited!": Comedy about a flight crew and their passengers on a flight headed to Mexico City.

"Scooby-Doo! 13 Spooky Tales: For the Love of Snack!": Thirteen escapades centering on food.

TV and movie critic Rick Bentley can be reached at (559) 441-6355, rbentley@fresnobee.com or @RickBentley1 on Twitter. Read his blog at fresnobeehive.com.

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