STORY WRITTEN BY AMY LONGSDORF
For Digital First Media
Set in 1952 in the midst of a hellacious blizzard, “The Finest Hours” (2016, Disney, PG-13, $30) is an old-fashioned actioner that pays tribute to the bravery of real-life Coast Guard members who pulled off one of the most remarkable rescues at sea.
After a storm splits an oil tanker in half off the coast of Chatham, Mass., a tiny rescue vessel, manned by a quartet of eccentrics (Chris Pine, Kyle Gallner, Ben Foster, John Magaro), is dispatched to help save the day. The action scenes are marvels of special effects but, oddly enough, it is Holiday Grainger as Pine’s wonderfully meddlesome fiancée who really puts the wind in the movie’s sails. Extras: deleted scenes and featurettes.
Also New To DVD
Glassland (2016, Film Movement, unrated, $25): As an Irish woman named Jean who’s so disappointed with life that she’s slowly drinking herself to death, Toni Collette delivers a towering performance. She’s as emotionally expressive when she’s sitting in silence as when she’s throwing a wild withdrawal meltdown. Jean lives in a messy, dilapidated home outside Dublin with her son (Jack Reynor), a hard-working taxi driver desperate to get her into rehab. While the film is bleak and depressing, it pulls you in. It’s a real shame that director Gerard Barrett squanders much of his good work with a third act that’s jumbled and confusing. Extras: featurettes.
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The Private Affairs Of Bel Ami (1946, Olive, unrated, $30): George Sanders (“All About Eve”) is at his slithery best in this new-to-Blu-ray drama about a smarmy Parisian lowlife who seduces and abandons a series of women in his pursuit of prestige and power. Complimenting Sanders is Angela Lansbury, who’s heartbreakingly good as a widow who knows the truth about her deceitful beau but loves him anyway. Filmmaker Albert Lewin, adapting the Guy de Maupassant novel, directs with a light touch but still allows you to see the raw emotions roiling underneath the gentile settings. Extras: none.
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Manhunter: Collector’s Edition (1986, Shout Factory, R, $35): One of the best films of the ‘80s, this Michael Mann-directed crime thriller pivots on Will Grant (William L. Petersen) an FBI agent who comes out of retirement to nail a serial killer with help from the imprisoned Hannibal Lecter (Brian Cox). While the interplay between Petersen and Cox isn’t as gripping as the relationship between Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins in 1991’s “Silence of the Lambs,” the case involving the Tooth Fairy (Tom Noonan) is nothing short of mesmerizing. Goosed along with a propulsive score and flashy visuals, the new-to-Blu “Manhunter” is a real grabber. Extras: theatrical and directors’ cuts and featurettes.
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The Player (1992, Criterion, R, $30): Now on Blu-ray, the clever and corrosive black comedy which revived Robert Altman’s career still has plenty of bite and bounce. Tim Robbins stars as a slippery studio executive who’s being blackmailed by an angry screenwriter (Vincent D’Onofrio). Without losing his sense of humor, Altman takes Tinseltown to task for its spiraling budgets, copycat franchises and executives who know more about mineral water than cinema history. At once a thriller, a love story and a peep through the Hollywood keyhole, “The Player” is one of Altman’s most personal and pivotal films. Extras: deleted scenes, outtakes, featurettes and Altman commentary.
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True Crime (1999, Warner, R, $10): Clint Eastwood’s beat-the-clock thriller, now on Blu-ray, follows a newly sober, womanizing journalist named Everett (Eastwood) who discovers that a death row inmate (Isaiah Washington) is innocent. As a filmmaker, Eastwood is usually a master at pacing but this over-long procedural dawdles when it should sprint, spending too much time on Everett’s battles with his editors (James Woods, Denis Leary). That said, the last act is a nail-biter, with Eastwood drawing deeply-felt performances from his cast. Extras: featurettes.
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Cop Rock: The Complete Series (1990, Shout Factory, unrated, $30): Only Steven Bochco, at the height of his “Hill Street Blues” and “L.A. Law” success, would have been given carte blanche to create a weekly TV series which mashes together musical numbers with a police procedural. Finally available on DVD, the show is so adventurous and ahead-of-its-time that it winds up being a real kick in the pants. You ain’t never seen anything like this. Extras: featurettes.
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Outsiders: Season One (2016, Sony, unrated, $45): Originally broadcast on WGN, this series is set in a rural Appalachian communtiy where citizens live by their own rules. The focus of the show is Asa Farrell (Joe Anderson), a prodigal son back from the Big City in time to help his clan (David Morse, Phyllis Somerville) fight off advances from land-grabbing coal companies. Something of a blend of “Justified” and “Sons of Anarchy,” with a dash of “Mad Max” thrown in for good measure, this series is full of danger and drama. Extras: deleted scenes and featurettes.
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Mack & Moxy: The Great Helpee Heroes (2016, NCircle, unrated, $10): Straight from a run on PBS, this terrific series teaches kids lessons about charity and compassion while managing to uncork some fun adventures featuring a loveable moose-like lummox and a feisty raccoon/fox spitfire. On the DVD, there are four episodes which encourage youngsters to read and share, while also introducing them to organizations like Save the Children, American Red Cross, Feeding America and World Wildlife Fund. Celeb guests include Kal Pen and Josh Duhamel. Extras: none.