David Oyelowo turns in powerful performance in ‘Selma’
‘Black or White’ director finds perfect balance
‘Grey’ an example of filmmaking at its worst
An Oscar-nominated film, movie about race relations and a sexually charged offering top this week’s new DVD releases.
“Selma,” Grade A-: At the heart of the film are the efforts by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (David Oyelowo ) to secure equal voting rights for African-Americans that culminated in a march by thousands through Alabama from Selma to Montgomery in 1965.
Director Ava DuVernay and writer Paul Webb pay proper tribute to what was one of the most monumental moments in America history, while examining some of the smaller stories that became part of this larger event.
Oyelowo shows incredible power, whether he is delivering one of King’s moving speeches or in giving quiet confession about his concerns. It’s a massive undertaking trying to portray someone as compelling and commanding as King. Oyelowo has captured King so well that it’s the kind of work Oscar voters notice.
“Black or White,” Grade B: Films that deal with race issues need sensitivity, intelligence and understanding because any slant to the cultural, emotional and political elements deprives the audience of being able to make up their own minds.
Mike Binder, director and writer of “Black or White,” manages to find dead center with this story — based on real events — of two families who believe their world is the best place for a young girl. It’s a slight variation on the nature vs. nurture argument.
Binder’s ability to make smart arguments for both sides of the issue, without becoming overly sentimental, gives “Black or White” a solid foundation. Then, Kevin Costner and Octavia Spencer—- who represent each side of the debate — take over and deliver solid performances that give the film passion and life.
“Fifty Shades of Grey,” Grade F: Young woman (Dakota Johnson ) turns over control to a mysterious man (Jamie Dornan ).
No one said the masochism part of the story in “Fifty Shades of Grey” had to do with what the audience would be put through. There has never been a film so painful to watch, both because of how poorly it’s written, acted and shot and for its disgustingly vulgar treatment of women.
The movie would be painfully laughable if it wasn’t so horribly offensive.
Also new on DVD May 5:
• “Broadchurch: Season 2”: David Tennant stars in this series about a murder in a small town.
• “Mahogany”: Diana Ross film is being re-released to mark the 40th anniversary.
• “Masters of Sex: Season 2”: Cable series about study done by Dr. William Masters (Michael Sheen ) and Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan ).
• “Black Sea”: Rogue submarine captain (Jude Law) goes after sunken treasure.
• “White Collar Season 6”: Final episodes of the cable series about a thief who helps the FBI. Matt Bomer stars.
• “Spare Parts”: Four Phoenix high school students compete in science competition. George Lopez stars.
• “Masterpiece: Mr. Selfridge”: Based on the historical exploits of the founder of London’s legendary department store.
• “Mad Max”: The film starring Mel Gibson is being re-released in time for the re-boot.
• “Miss Julie”: Aristocrat, valet begin torrid affair. Jessica Chastain stars.
• “Beetleborgs Metallix: Season 2, Volume 2”: Includes 17 episodes of the action series.
• “Mr. Turner”: Timothy Spall plays British painter J.M.W. Turner.
• “Hating Obama”: Look at President Obama’s policies and performance.
• “Jamaica Inn”: Gothic tale of romance, intrigue and murder on the moors.
• “Ron Jeremy: Life After the Buffet”: Documentary about the man known as the King of Porn.
• “Frank Sinatra: 5 Film Collection”: Titles include “Guys and Dolls” and “On the Town.”
• “Great Figures of the Bible”: Six half-hour episodes that focus on Biblical heroes.
• “Dancing on the Edge”: A jazz group’s new found fame is threatened.
• “Amira & Sam”: Romance blossoms between two unlikely people.
• “GoodFellas”: Film’s re-release includes new documentary.
• “Children’s Classics Collection”: Among the seven stories are “Dorothy in the Land of Oz” and “Puff the Magic Dragon.”
• “Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal Season 1”: Fourth series based on the “Yu-Gi-Oh!” franchise.