• Bradley Cooper turns in strong performance in ‘American Sniper’
• Final season of ‘Glee’ available in boxed set
• ‘Hot Tub Time Machine 2’ also among new releases
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A film nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars and the final season of a popular network series are the top choices for May 19’s new DVD releases.
“American Sniper,” Grade A-: A Navy SEAL finds he can’t leave the war behind when he returns home. Directed by Clint Eastwood.
The true story of Chris Kyle, a Navy SEAL who became the deadliest sniper in American history, stars Bradley Cooper . Through four tours of duty in the Middle East, Kyle earned the distinction of being the most wanted man in the American armed forces. As Cooper showed in “Silver Linings Playbook” and “American Hustle,” this kind of soul-baring work can only be delivered with the help of a strong acting partner. He gets that support from Sienna Miller, who plays Kyle’s wife, Taya.
The only flaw is Jason Hall’s script, based on the book by Kyle. The film sets up an interesting relationship between Kyle and his brother (Keir O’Donnell ) that fades away. This sibling situation would have added another strong thread.
It’s the only blemish in a production that shows Cooper has grown into one of the most dependable actors working today.
“Glee Season 6,” Grade B: The final songs have been sung. Dance rehearsals are over. The musical/comedy/drama on FOX wraps up with this season.
“Glee” became a success that on paper should have never happened. The basic pitch for this show sounds boring: A teacher tries to save a high school glee club. Series creator Ryan Murphy gave that concept a creative kick in the musical scales.
He took that rather uninspired concept and gave it more gravitas through the story lines. In between musical numbers, which ranged from salutes to Lady Gaga to a staging of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” were stories dealing with teenage pregnancy, fitting in, eating disorders, body image, cyberbullying, transgender, adoption, homelessness, physical limitations, faith, celibacy, spousal abuse, accepting your child’s sexuality, Down syndrome and dyslexia.
Sometimes it’s difficult to say farewell, especially to a show that was so good.
Also new on DVD May 19
• “Boardwalk Empire: Complete Set”: Includes all five seasons of the HBO series starring Steve Buscemi .
• “Holocaust: Genocide & Survival”: Includes three documentaries about those who faced fights for survival.
• “Henry Fonda Set”: “Warlock” is one of the four movies in the set.
• “Orange is the New Black – Season 2”: Series based on the Piper Kerman memoir.
• “American Dad: Volume 10”: Uncensored episodes of the animated series from Seth MacFarlane.
• “The Adventures of Chuck & Friends: Day at the Races”: Includes 10 episodes.
• “Cowboys vs. Dinosaurs”: Dinosaurs are released by a mining explosion.
• “It! The Terror from Beyond”: The 1958 horror film has been re-released.
• “Cops: Wildest Chases”: Criminals try to speed away from the law.
• “Roommate Wanted”: War breaks out between two women. Kathryn Morris stars.
• “The Vatican Exorcisms”: Documentary filmmaker uncovers dark secret.
• “Gunland”: Explores the issue of gun violence in Chicago.
• “Strange Magic”: An animated musical fairy tale inspired by “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and centered around goblin, elf, fairy and imp characters.
• “Stigmata”: Lost soul receives the wounds of Christ.
• “Peter Benchley’s Creature”:
Government project results in a hybrid of a human and shark.
• “Amish Mafia – Season 3”: Dark secrets of the underground ring in Amish country are revealed.
• “American Hercules: The legend of Babe Ruth”: Documentary looks at the life of the man known as “The Babe.”
• “Leviathan”: Russian family fights corrupt mayor.
• “Midsomer Murders: Series 15”: John Barnaby (Neil Dudgeon ) solves mystery in the small village.
• “Maya The Bee Movie”: Animated film based on the novel for children.
• “Team Umizoomi: Meet Shark Car”: Team Umizoomi jump into action to find Shark Car.
• “Extremities”: Farrah Fawcett stars in this TV movie about a woman who fights back against an attacker.
• “Beauty & The Beast: Season Two”: The second season of the series starring Kristin Kreuk is being released just ahead of the third season opener May 21 on the CW.
• “Hot Tub Time Machine 2”: Friends travel through time to save a buddy in trouble.
• “CPO Sharkey: Season 1”: Don Rickles stars in this Navy comedy from the ’70s.