STORY WRITTEN BY AMY LONGSDORF
For Digital First Media
The big drawing point of “Forsaken” is the first substantial father/son pairing of real-life father/son Donald and Kiefer Sutherland.
Both actors bring their A-game to this tale of a former gunslinger who returns home to Wyoming with hopes of repairing his relationship with his pop. But instead of peace and quiet, Kiefer is drawn into a vicious fight involving townsfolk and a greedy land grabber (Brian Cox.)
The story is far from original but director Jon Cassar (“24”) lends a slow-burn intensity to the straight-forward saga, alternating scenes of mayhem with quiet moments between the Sutherlands, and Kiefer and Demi Moore (as a former girlfriend). On Amazon, iTunes, YouTube, Google, Vudu.
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Tumbledown: Grief is awfully hard to make interesting but director Sean Mewshaw gives it his best shot with this dramedy about the widow (a lovely Rebecca Hall) of a rock icon who opens her home up to a pop culture scholar (Jason Sudeikis) writing a book about her late husband. At times, it seems as if Hall and Sudeikis are in different movies. As a woman unable to move on with her life, much to the chagrin of her mother (Blythe Danner), Hall plays it straight. Sudeikis, by contrast, cracks jokes and, generally, acts like a smart ass. Of course, they fall in love, but that romance never has the ring of reality to it. “Tumbledown” tries hard but rarely strikes the right chords. On Amazon, iTunes, YouTube, Google, Vudu.
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Dixieland: Part romance and part Southern-friend potboiler, this explosive saga pivots on an ex-con (Chris Zylka) who agrees to do one last drug deal to fund a getaway with his stripper girlfriend (Riley Keough). Strong performances from the leads, as well as supporting players Faith Hill and Steve Earle, help balance out the clichéd plot twists. Director Hank Bedford also manages to capture the grittiness of life in small-town Mississippi, thanks to the unusual technique of including interviews with locals. As flawed as “Dixieland” is, it’s worth a look. On Amazon, iTunes, YouTube, Google, Vudu.
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The Wonders: A Grand Prix winner at the Cannes Film Festival, Alice Rohrwacher’s coming-of-age drama buzzes around a family of beekeepers living in isolation in rural Tuscany. The hardest working member of the brood, the teenage Gelsomina (Maria Alexandra Lungi), is beginning to question her way of life, thanks to both the appearance of a reality TV crew (featuring a host played by “Spectre’s” Monica Bellucci) and a troubled youngster taken in as a farmhand. While overlong and a bit too languorous, “The Wonders” captures both the beauty and drudgery of farm life. On Amazon, iTunes, YouTube, Google, Vudu.
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The Perfect Crime: In 1924, Chicago silver-spooners Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb decided to kill a child at random to prove they were smart enough to get away with murder. Arguably the first thrill-killing, it was quickly dubbed “the crime of the century.” This fascinating documentary looks not only at the murder but at the hearing that followed the boys’ guilty plea. Pleading for the judge to spare their lives was defense attorney Clarence Darrow, who succeeded in winning prison terms for the men. Fascinating stuff. On PBS.org
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Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Season One: Prepare for the second season of this Tina Fey-created Netflix series, debuting April 15, by checking out the first batch of episodes. Ellie Kemper stars as a doomsday cult member who, following her rescue, decides to start over again in New York. Dazzlingly original, “Kimmy” is irresistible fun as its title character indulges in everything she missed out on during her bunker-days, like candy and pastel-everything. There’s great supporting turns by Jane Krakowski and Tituss Burgess, too. On Netflix.
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The Fall: Series 2: Actor Idris Elba recently boasted that “Luther” is the darkest show on TV. He clearly hasn’t seen “The Fall,” a startlingly sinister look at law and order starring Gillian Anderson as a British police detective locked in a love/hate labyrinth with a sadistic serial killer (Jamie Dornan, “50 Shades of Grey”). Both Anderson and Dornan bring an icy detachment to their characters, which perfectly fits a plot that forces you to see these two figures as mirror images of each other. On Netflix.
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Bosch – Season Two: Michael Connelly’s best-selling crime thrillers provide the source material for this series about LAPD detective Harry Bosch (Titus Welliver). After a suspension, Harry is back to work, with his old partner (Jamie Hector) by his side. This season, the pair are investigating a murder that eventually leads to a pornography ring, the Armenian mob and corrupt vice cops. On Amazon Prime.
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Night Flight Plus: Remember the USA series which ran in the 1980s and threw a spotlight on punk rockers, metal stars and new wave heroes like Ozzy Osborne, Lou Reed, Frank Zappa and the Residents? The show, which ran Friday and Saturday nights, is returning as — what else? — a streaming service where you can check out uncut episodes from the “Nigh Flight” vault as well as original content, such as a short film collection from “Seinfeld” actor and filmmaker Larry Hankin. These exclusives will be paired with hundreds of titles from the Pennsylvania-based MVD’s library of horror, cult, comedy and concert docs. On Night Flight Plus.