New DVD releases out Jan. 24 deal with a global mystery, deep love affair and a matter of faith.
“Inferno,” Grade ☆☆: Only one man can figure out the clues to stop an event that could wipe out half the population. Tom Hanks stars.
It would be easier to plot your way through Dante’s nine circles of hell than keep track of all the twists, tangles and tumbles in the plot of “Inferno.” The first two films based on Dan Brown’s creative writing were brilliant puzzles that took the viewer on an adventure.
This third production is more of a misadventure.
“The Light Between Oceans,” Grade ☆☆ 1/2: Director-writer Derek Cianfrance delivers endless opportunities to adjust with his story of love, loss, honor and guilt. In fact, his penchant for leaving the camera on the rugged face of his leading man, Michael Fassbender, or the equally rugged coastline of Western Australia goes to the excess. There’s linger and there’s loitering.
There’s nothing wrong with a romance having a dark side. The problem is that Cianfrance delivers the continuing sorrows at such a lumbered pace and with such stoic imagery that the movie slips into the depths of melodrama. You can only stack heartbreak and hurt on an audience so long before its buckles and breaks.
“The Vessel” Grade ☆☆☆: Man builds a structure where a tsunami destroyed a small-town elementary school with all the children inside.
First-time director Julio Quintana in “The Vessel” impressively demonstrates that the loudest messages can be delivered with a whisper. He never hurries the journey for his players or the village. He finds a slow pacing that fits a world where everyone is carrying a massive burden of loss.
The film gets off-center just a little when the locals are forced to face a symbol of their grief. The reactions are a little too mechanical to give the scene all the power it deserves.
Also new on DVD Jan. 24
▪ “I’m Not Ashamed”: Story based on journal entries of the first student killed in the Columbine high school shooting.
▪ “The Monster”: Creature targets mother and daughter on a late-night road trip.
▪ “Adventure Time: Islands”: The eight-part miniseries is available on DVD before it airs on Cartoon Network.
▪ “Wagon Tracks”: This is the first William S. Hart film to be released on Blu-ray.
▪ “Battle for Incheon: Operation Chromite”: Liam Neeson plays Gen. Douglas MacArthur.
▪ “Odd Squad: The Movie”: The film based on the PBS series has the team faced with life without cases to solve.
▪ “The Lovers and the Despot”: Tale of kidnapping plus love lost and found.
▪ “Hooperman”: Both seasons of the John Ritter cop comedy are being released.
▪ “The Handmaiden”: Film is based on the novel “Fingersmith” by Sarah Waters.
▪ “Passage to Mars”: Six men make freezing journey as preparation for Mars voyage.
▪ “Guardians of Oz”: Wicked witch Eviline (Ambyr Childers) tries to steal back the broom that holds her powers.
▪ “Boy, Did I Get a Wrong Number”: Bob Hope and Elke Sommer star.
▪ “USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage”: Nicolas Cage plays the captain of a boat sent on a top-secret mission at the end of World War II.
Available on Digital HD on Jan. 24
▪ “Trolls”: Two trolls go on an adventure into new lands.
▪ “Justice League Dark”: Batman joins forces with a new team of heroes led by John Constantine.
▪ “The Hangman: Shepherds and Butchers”: Steve Coogan stars in this courtroom drama based on true events.