STORY WRITTEN BY AMY LONGSDORF
For Digital First Media
The harrowing survival saga which finally won Leonardo DiCaprio his Oscar — and netted another Best Director prize for Alejandro G. Iñárritu — is the most brutal wilderness adventure since “Jeremiah Johnson.”
In “The Revenant” (2015, Fox, R, $30), fur trapper Hugh Glass is left for dead by a scoundrel (Tom Hardy) after a vicious bear mauling and vows revenge on the turncoats who abandoned him. It’s a simple story but one so packed with period detail and visual inventiveness that you can’t turn away.
From a jaw-dropping strike by Native Americans to the astonishingly realistic bear assault to Leo’s woozy struggle to survive the elements, “The Revenant” is a work of depth and distinction. Extras: featurettes.
Also New This Week
The Lady In The Van (2015, Sony, PG-13, $30): Maggie Smith is the best reason to check out this dramedy about a British vagrant named Miss Shepherd who takes up residence in an upscale London neighborhood. Eventually, Miss Shepherd moves her ramshackle van into the driveway of a home owned by British playwright Alan Bennett (Alex Jennings) for what’s supposed to be three months but winds up being fifteen years. Crusty and dismissive yet immensely relatable, Miss Shepherd is a role that demands miracles from an actor. And Smith delivers them. Despite awkwardly doling out Miss Shepherd’s backstory, “Lady In The Van” is fueled by spirit and surprise. Extras: deleted scenes, featurettes and commentary by director Nicholas Hytner.
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Misconduct (2015, Lionsgate, R, $20): When a thriller stars Al Pacino and Anthony Hopkins as two power-brokers on opposite sides of the law, you expect a showdown between them. But this tepid entry doesn’t deliver that — or much else, in fact. The focus is on Josh Duhamel as an ambitious attorney who unwisely uses info from his ex-girlfriend (Malin Akerman) to impress his boss (Pacino), a ruthless lawyer eager to sue a pharmaceutical magnate (Hopkins). There’s infidelity, murder and kidnappings. But because the characters are such ciphers and the plot so eye-rollingly ridiculous, nothing makes much of an impact. Extras: deleted scenes and featurette.
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Confession Of A Child Of The Century (2012, Cohen, unrated, $30): This period love story between a rich wastrel (rocker Peter Doherty) and a slightly older widow (Charlotte Gainsbourg) has all the depth of a Victoria’s Secret commercial. Doherty, who communicates little besides boredom, drifts into an affair with Gainsbourg after his mistress (Lily Cole) leaves him for his best friend. But nothing much happens between this tortured pair except the inevitable coupling and uncoupling. Even the usually compelling Gainsbourg can’t save this twaddle. Extras: featurette.
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Scorpio (1973, Twilight Time, PG, $30): Lean, mean and nerve-poundingly intense, “Scorpio” has plenty of sting in its tail. Burt Lancaster brings a forlorn elegance to the tale of an aging CIA agent who’s been targeted for murder by his boss. Carrying out the mission is Lancaster’s one-time protégé (a wily Alain Delon). After Lancaster gives the CIA the slip, he escapes to Europe where he is aided by a network of old friends, including a Russian agent played by the great Paul Scofield. Of course, it doesn’t take long for Delon to track Lancaster down, and give chase. This underrated gem, now on Blu-ray, is a keeper. Extras: commentaries.
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Cherry Falls (2000, Shout Factory, R, $28): In this bizarre slasher film from the once-promising Geoffrey Wright (“Romper Stomper”), virgins in the small town of Cherry Falls, Virginia are being picked off one by one. That’s bad news for the innocent daughter (Brittany Murphy) of the town sheriff (Michael Biehn) who appears to be next on the kill list. Now on Blu-ray, “Cherry Falls” starts off in “Twin Peaks” territory but, after awhile, reveals itself as yet another “Scream” knock-off. Wright tries to subvert genre expectations but, in the end, this horror entry offers nothing new. Extras: commentaries and featurettes.
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Jinxed (1982, Olive, R, $25): Bette Midler’s follow-up to “The Rose” nearly ended her movie career thanks to crushing reviews and tales of bad blood between the actress and director Don Siegel (“Charley Varrick”) and co-star Ken Wahl. But “Jinxed,” now on Blu-ray, is better than its troubled history suggests. Midler plays the abused wife of a gambler (Rip Torn) who teams up with a luckless blackjack dealer (Wahl) to murder the heel. Midler and Wahl have zero chemistry but there’s something so dementedly original about the characters that it’s a kick to watch them going about their business. If sitcom precision is what you’re after, look elsewhere. “Jinxed” is a freewheeling mess. Extras: none.
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Pretty Little Liars: The Complete Sixth Season (2016, Warner, unrated, $50): Get ready for a pivotal batch of episodes thanks to the solving of the show’s big mystery and a surprise jump ahead five years. With the mid-season finale, the producers answered all the questions about A, leaving almost no plot threads dangling. But when the action picks up in the future, the Liars must deal with new secrets, new lies and a whole new look. Brace yourself for jaw-dropping reveals and plenty of suspense. Extras: featurettes.