This week’s new releases offer a wide range of entertainment options.
• “Lucy,” Grade B: Scarlett Johansson plays a drug mule who is injected with a drug that enhances her abilities.
Director Luc Besson seamlessly takes a standard action film and ramps it up with the deeper meanings of Lucy’s transformation. The action parts are the weakest part, with Besson ignoring large bits of logic to keep the film moving ahead.
There’s also an immediate acceptance by cops and professors that seems expedited just to keep the pace high. With a major assist from Johansson, Besson delivers plenty of action in a smart package.
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• “The Boxtrolls,” Grade B+: Industrious underground dwellers are threatened by a man looking to wipe them out.
An outlandishly funny tale brought to life through beautiful stop-animation photography. The film combines Monty Python-style humor with the sense and sensibilities of Oliver Twist and is presented in a wonderfully creepy animated style.
Directors Graham Annable and Anthony Stacchi found a way to make an up-tempo movie using a painfully slow style of moviemaking.
• “May in the Summer,” Grade A-: Politics and religion are such heavy topics that, left unchecked, they can crush the life out of a feature film. Cherien Dabis not only manages to deftly handle these hot-button topics in her film, “May in the Summer,” she does it while also handling the starring role.
This is a film that pulls us in with a sweet and powerful story where major tent poles of religion and politics are presented in a strong but subtle way.
Also new on DVD Jan. 20
• “The Drop”: Man finds himself at the center of a robbery gone awry.
• “Wolfblood: Season 3”: Includes episodes of the supernatural series plus seven webisodes of “Jana Bites.”
• “The Mule”: Man faces deadly possibilities after hiding narcotics in his body.
• “On Golden Pond”: Film that earned Henry Fonda his first Oscar is now on Blu-ray.
• “Lost Legion”: Battle for power wags in ancient Rome.
• “Coherence”: Eight friends experience a chain of reality bending events.
• “Swamp People: Season 5”: Team continues its quest for the biggest and baddest alligators they can find.
• “A Little Game”: Young girl is mentored by chess master. F. Murray Abraham stars.
• “Little House on the Prairie: Season 4”: Includes 22 restored episodes of the family TV drama. Melissa Gilbert stars.
• “A Bet’s a Bet”: Competition leads to an unlikely romance.
• “The African Americans & Black in Latin America with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.”: Two documentaries that examine the evolution of the African American people are hosted by Gates.
• “The Green Prince”: Son of Hamas leader emerges as one of Israel’s prized informants.
• “The Atticus Institute”: Woman’s clairvoyance has an evil side.
• “Welcome Back, Kotter: Season 2”: John Travlota’s career starting work can be seen in 23 episodes of the 1970s comedy.
• “Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Tough Love”: Animated film featuring Madea and her family.
• “The Scorpion King 4: Quest for Power”: Mathayus (Victor Webster) embarks on his most dangerous assignment yet.
• “Life’s a Breeze”: Close-knit Irish family come together after a calamity.
• “Gnome Alone”: Verne Troyer stars in this horror film.
• “Nature: Invasion of the Killer Whales”: Melting Arctic ice is making killer whales more of a threat.
• “White Bird in a Blizzard”: Teen girl’s mother disappears just as she discovers her newfound sexuality.