‘Legend,’ ‘Room’ & “Creed’ top new DVD releases on March 1

(L to R) Reggie and Ronnie Kray (Tom Hardy) in “Legend.”
(L to R) Reggie and Ronnie Kray (Tom Hardy) in “Legend.” Universal Studios

This is one of the best weeks in many months for new DVD releases.

“Legend,” Grade 1/2: Tom Hardy plays both Reggie and Ronnie Kray, twin gangsters who were the kingpins of organized crime in the East End of London during the 1960s. These guys rose to such criminal prominence that they even attracted the attention of crime bosses in Las Vegas.

The story progresses through the rise and fall of the brothers. Director Brian Helgeland’s pacing at times is a bit flat-footed, but his script is superbly crafted to show the transformation in the characters. Slowly through the movie, Ronnie’s calm and collected style begins to show signs of the insanity that is so much the trademark of his twin brother.

The biggest weakness is that the supporting cast is never fully developed. Most of those surrounding the Krays come across like extras from a 1950s film noir offering. A little more detail would have given “Legend” a thicker texture.

“The Night Before,” Grade : Three friends go in search of the perfect Christmas party. Seth Rogen stars.

This holiday film about three best buddies looking for one last major Christmas Eve bash manages to be crass, rude and foul-mouthed while also being very sweet. It all comes together to make a fun hybrid of a raunchy buddy comedy and a sweet holiday movie.

“Creed,” Grade  1/2 : Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) agrees to train the son of Apollo Creed. “Creed” is a reboot of the franchise and follows a very similar structure to the original movie. To that end, the movie repeatedly falls short.

“Room,” Grade : A woman and her son try to adapt to life after escaping from the man who held them captive.

Director Lenny Abrahamson has created a compelling story that appears to have very distinct halves. But in reality, each half is an emotional mirror of the other. This reflection is strengthened by a powerful story of a mother’s undying love, the revelations of the world seen through a child’s eyes and the unwavering strength of the human spirit.

“The Danish Girl,” Grade : Noted artist begins to reveal that he has always felt trapped in the wrong body. Eddie Redmayne strikes again after a stunning portrayal of Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything.”.

“Youth,” Grade : Guests at a Swiss hotel share their concerns about life and the arts. Not since “The Grand Budapest Hotel” has a film blended so smoothly the elements of fact and fantasy with a quirky and whimsical cast as “Youth.”

Also new on DVD or streaming March 1:

▪ “East Side Sushi”: Latina wants to become a sushi chef.

▪ “Miss You Already”: Two women (Drew Barrymore, Toni Collette) find their friendship tested when one starts a family and the other gets ill.

▪ “Don Verdean”: Comic look at evangelical fraud.

▪ “Narcopolis”: Elite police force keeps black market dealers off the street.

▪ “LEGO: Star Wars: Droid Tales”: Adventures of the droids before “The Phantom Menace.”

▪ “Life”: Look at James Dean and his friendship with photographer Dennis Stock.

▪ “Intruders”: Home invasion horror-thriller.

▪ “Ratter”: Ashley Benson stars in the voyeuristic thriller.

▪ “The Midnight Man”: Assassin who could not feel pain suddenly regains the ability.

▪ “The Bold Ones”: Medical drama starring E.G. Marshall.

▪ “God’s Club”: Teacher battles parents over Bible Club.

▪ “In Defense of Food”: Author Michael Pollan looks at healthy eating.

▪ “Nickelodeon: Out of the Vault Returns”: Includes episodes from five animated series.

▪ “Home”: Young girl must overcome her fears to save her little sister.

▪ “The Americans: Season 3”: The life-and-death world of Russian spies continues.

▪ “Flight of the Flowers”: Lily is having a spring thing party to kick off the season.

▪ “The Fall”: Gillian Anderson stars.

▪ “Kill or Be Killed”: Killers must fight for their lives in the Badlands.

▪ “Digimon Fusion Season 2”: Mikey and Shoutmon work to reunite the Fusion Fighters.

▪ “The North Star”: Two slaves make a run for freedom.

▪ “Sunshine Superman”: Documentary portrait of Carl Boenish, the father of the BASE jumping movement.

▪ “My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Friends Across Equestria”: Ponies learn there is no power greater than friendship.

▪ “LEGO DC Comics Super Heroes – Justice League Cosmic Clash”: Heroes come together to protect the world again.

▪ “PAW Patrol: Brave Heroes, Big Rescues”: Pups go on high-stake rescues in this animated series.

▪ “The Jogger”: Man’s evening run turns into a race for his life.

Available on Digital HD March 1

▪ “Sisters”: Sisters throw one last party before selling the family home.

Rick Bentley: 559-441-6355, @RickBentley1