A limited number of new DVD titles will be released Tuesday, Dec. 30. Here’s what you have to pick from for a New Year’s Eve movie viewing.
• “The Equalizer,” Grade B-: Antoine Fuqua takes an extremely patient approach to the way he’s put together his big-screen version of the late ’80s TV series, “The Equalizer.”
The director is never in a hurry to move a scene or his camera along, preferring instead to allow star Denzel Washington time to mull each moment.
There are times when this pacing works to build tension. Other times, the slow moments should have been used to fill some of the gaping script problems.
Despite the problems, Washington’s performance is compelling enough to hold the story together. If this becomes a film franchise for Washington, a little less patience with the direction and more attention to the writing will need to be taken.
• “Tusk,” Grade C-: A twisted tale where a smug podcaster (Justin Long) is surgically turned into a walrus, comes across as mainstream moviemaking’s answer to “The Human Centipede.” It’s not as vilely disgusting as “Centipede, “ but it does push the boundaries of blending absurdest comedy with ghoulish visuals.
The problem is that director Kevin Smith — who hasn’t helmed a movie since “Red State” three years ago — doesn’t seem comfortable enough with the horror of the story to make it a gut-turning tale of terror. He keeps blunting the macabre moments with drifting monologues and a farcical performance by Johnny Depp.
Unlike “Centipede,” Smith has built in a lot of idiotic humor through the work by Depp. His cockeyed cop offers a foolishness that looks to balance the bizarre. Depp’s performance is so offbeat that it comes close to pushing the movie into a farce. A less clownish job by Depp would have given the film an even balance between the bizarre and silly.
Also new on DVD Dec. 30:
• “Last Weekend”: Son invited to visit home before it’s sold. Patricia Clarkson stars.
• “Shameless: Season 4”: Emmy Rossum , William H. Macy star in the cable series about a very troubled family.
• “Elsa & Fred”: Couple learns it’s never too late to fall in love. Shirley Maclaine and Christopher Plummer star.
• “Reach Me”: Self-help book makes varied group re-evaluate their lives. Tom Berenger stars.
• “Moveable Feast with Fine Cooking: Season 1”: Pete Evans challenges local chefs to a cooking showdown.
• “Banshee: Season 2”: Antony Starr plays an ex-convict who assumes the identity of a rural town sheriff.
• “The Brittany Murphy Story”: Amanda Fuller portrays the actress from her breakout to death.
• “Kelly & Cal”: Suburban mom and 17-year-old become friends. Juliette Lewis stars.
• “Stephen King’s A Good Marriage”: Wife learns truth about her husband.
• “I Am Soldier”: Group of soldiers endure grueling tests to earn a spot on an elite special forces team.
• “One Shot”: Human soldiers battle an alien army. Kevin Sorbo stars.