Two of the top movies of last year — both dealing with great minds trapped inside frail bodies — top new DVD offerings Tuesday, Feb. 17.
“The Theory of Everything,” Grade A: Eddie Redmayne’s portrayal of genius Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything” is brilliant. There is beauty in Redmayne’s physicality, which is magnified by the power of all the subtext he delivers in a single look.
The film, based on the autobiography by Hawking’s first wife, Jane, is a blend of a romance story and a poignant look at Hawking as he goes from an enthusiastic college student to the epitome of irony as a brilliant man trapped in the frailest of bodies.
“Life Itself,” Grade A-: Few people working outside the film industry have had as much impact on movie making as Roger Ebert. It’s a wonderful tribute to the late critic that this bold and open documentary is so beautifully done.
Director Steve James has put together a full look at Ebert’s life and career from his battles with Gene Siskel to Ebert’s ill health.
“Birdman,” Grade A: An aging action film actor tries to revive his career with a Broadway play. Michael Keaton stars.
The stunningly unique visual style and sacrificial slaughter of stardom makes “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” a modern day “Sunset Boulevard” — where winning and losing recognition can be a maddening experience.
“The Homesman,” Grade B: A woman (Hilary Swank ) transports three women who have been broken by the harshness of pioneering. Tommy Lee Jones co-stars.
Tommy Lee Jones has crafted a painfully honest assault on the standard trappings of a Western. His attack comes mainly through its brutal look at the limits of the pioneer spirit. The approach is so brutal the film is at times as repelling as it is compelling — but the mixture is so unpredictable, the result is a success.
“Dumb and Dumber To,” Grade D-: The “Dumb and Dumber” pair reunite to look for one of their lost children. Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels star.
It’s impossible to be totally disappointed with “Dumb and Dumber To.” The sequel that was two decades in the making makes it clear in the title that it isn’t trying to be creative or smart. The most it shoots for is the unwavering dumbness that fills the film.
It is nothing more than the name suggests.
Also new on DVD Feb. 17
• “Games of Thrones: Season 4”: Along with all of the episodes from the season, the DVD comes with an episode guide that provides background information.
• “Scooby-Doo! Moon Monster Madness”: The gang look into mysteries in outer space.
• “The Interview”: Controversial comedy starring Seth Rogen.
• “Power Rangers: Super Sentai Zyuranger: The Complete Series”: This is the original Japanese series that spawned the American heroes.
• “Doctor Who: Last Christmas”: The Doctor must defeat a threat with the help of Santa Claus.
• “Nickelodeon Favorites: Springtime Adventures”: Includes episodes of “Dora the Explorer,” “Team Umizoomi“ and “Bubble Guppies.”
• “Dying of the Light”: Former CIA agent (Nicolas Cage ) goes rogue to capture an old nemesis.
• “Caveman”: The Ringo Starr film is now on Blu-ray.
• “Wahlburgers: Season 2”: Continued tales of the family and their restaurant.
• “Easter Family Fun Pack - 6 Classic Favorites”: Includes “Noah’s Magic Ark” and “Easter in Bunnyland.”
• “The Phantom of the Opera”: Robert Englund stars in version of the classic horror tale.
• “Max & Ruby: Sweet Siblings”: The brother-sister duo go on more adventures.
• “Altar”: New residents in a country estate learn the previous owner had a dark past.
• “No Tears for the Dead”: Hitman decides to save his next target.
• “Gladiators of Rome”: Student at gladiator school becomes reluctant hero.
• “The Sixties”: PBS documentary looks at the decade that changed the world.
• “Stella and Sam: Bunny Hop”: Based on the popular children’s book series.
• “Survivor”: A group of space travelers have to fight for survival on a barren world.
• “Animal”: Something ominous is lurking in the wilderness.
• “Skating to New York”: Five teenage Canadian boys skate across a frozen Lake Ontario.
• “Blaze & The Monster Machines: Blaze & Glory”: Follows the adventures of the monster truck Blaze and his eight-year-old driver AJ.
• “V/H/S Viral”: Four fame-obsessed teens are determined to post the next viral video sensation.