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HOME THEATER: Emory Cohen ‘energizes the drama’ in ‘Stealing Cars’

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STORY WRITTEN BY AMY LONGSDORF
For Digital First Media

In “Brooklyn,” Emory Cohen took the underwritten role of a plumber and turned it into something extraordinary. He works a similar kind of magic in “Stealing Cars,” an effective yarn about a high-schooler who winds up in the Bernville Camp For Boys after committing a number of crimes, including stealing a car.
As with most prison movies, “Stealing Cars” is jam-packed with clichés but Cohen energizes the drama with the sheer force of his personality, shaking up the inmates and defending the weak not unlike Jack Nicholson in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” There’s great turns by Mike Epps and Felicity Huffman too. On Amazon, iTunes, YouTube, Google, Vudu.

Also New To Streaming

Ip Man 3: One of the best things about the latest chapter in the “Ip Man” series is that director Wilson Yip refrains from using tons of CGI. Instead, thanks to choreographer Yuen Woo Ping (“Kill Bill”), the fight scenes look and feel bone-crunchingly real. As a good man trying to protect his community from gangsters, Ip Man (Donnie Yen) lowers the boom on scores of bad guys including an evil land grabber (Mike Tyson). Best of all, the film pays as much attention to Ip Man’s emotional life as to his physical showdowns. On Amazon, iTunes, YouTube, Google, Vudu.
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The Lady In The Car With Glasses And A Gun: Is a cool twist ending enough to redeem a movie that’s otherwise all flash and little substance? That’s the question you’ll ask yourself at the end of this dizzying French thriller about a secretary (Freya Mavor) who takes her boss’s Thunderbird for a joyride and winds up on a trip filled with dead bodies and gun battles. To the credit of filmmaker Joann Sfar, “The Lady” keeps you entertained even when you’re not sure what’s going on. On Amazon, iTunes, YouTube, Google, Vudu.
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Fifty Shades Of Black: After starring in and co-writing the “Scary Movie” and “A Haunted House” spoofs, Marlon Wayans takes a crack at sending up “Fifty Shades of Grey.” It’s clearly a case of diminishing returns. This is Wayans’ worst film to date, with unfunny Bill Cosby, Black Lives Matter and Wesley Snipes jokes and performances that never find the right groove. Enough already with the parodies; Wayans needs to move on. On Amazon, iTunes, YouTube, Google, Vudu.
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Justice League Vs. Teen Titans (2016, Warner, unrated, $25): If you didn’t get enough of the DC Universe in “Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” check out this animated adventure which pits the Justice League against the younger super team, the Teen Titans. In a nutshell, Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and Cyborg face off against Beast Boy, Starfire, Blue Beetle and Nightwing. But only true teamwork will end the reign of the dastardly demon Trigon when he threatens to destroy Metropolis . On Amazon, iTunes, YouTube, Google, Vudu.
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The Dick Cavett Show: Comic Legends: In celebration of National Humor Month, Shout Factory TV is presenting a slate full of comedy favorites being interviews by the great Dick Cavett. The funny men run the gamut from Steve Martin and George Carlin to Dennis Miller and Phil Hartman. On Shout Factory TV.
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Haven: The Final Season: In the last season of the Syfy hit, supernaturally-equipped FBI agent Audrey Parker (Emily Rose) and her posse (Luke Bryant, Eric Balfour) have their work cut out for them as the town of Haven is surrounded by a mysterious fog bank. Cue a series of journeys into the past, future, and worlds in between. While “Haven” departs significantly from Stephen King’s original story, the show’s creators conjure up enough creepy goings-on and shifting allegiances to keep you hanging on. On Hulu.
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Hannibal Takes Edinburgh: Fresh from his turn in “Daddy’s Home,” comic Hannibal Buress is the subject of a feature-length documentary which was filmed over the course of 28 days in August 2013. The movie follows Buress as he performs nightly to packed houses at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the largest art and comedy festival in the world. The film also blends extended moments from Buress’ stand-up sets with scenes of the comedian waxing philosophic on building his comedy routine, life on the road and the joys of immersing himself in the Scottish culture. On Netflix.

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NEW ON DVD: Earnest, old-fashioned ‘The Letters’ offers portrait of Mother Teresa

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STORY WRITTEN BY AMY LONGSDORF
For Digital First Media

An enlightening biopic about Mother Teresa (Juliet Stevenson), “The Letters” (2015, Fox, PG, $23) takes place during a pivotal time in the nun’s life, when she left her Calcutta convent to help care for the dying and homeless.
Much is made of letters Mother Teresa wrote detailing her crisis of faith. But the epistles rarely figure into the action. This is, at its heart, an earnest, old-fashioned drama about a woman who discovers herself as she tends to the sick and poor. Always underrated, Stevenson is terrific, illuminating the nun’s warmth and conviction. Extras: featurette and commentaries.

Also New This Week

Nightingale (2014, Kino, unrated, $30): In this quietly moving family drama, an iPad-obsessed teenager (Xin Yi Yang) reluctantly tags along with her grandfather (Bao Tian Li) as he makes a pilgrimage to his tiny village in rural China. Even though it’s a tad unbelievable that the youngster would develop an almost instantaneous respect for tradition and family, “Nightingale” is so beguiling, thanks to the fine performances and gorgeous locations, that you’ll be happy to go along for the ride. Extras: featurettes.
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The Hallow (2015, Shout Factory, unrated, $28): When a London-based conservationist (Joseph Mawle) moves to rural Ireland, he doesn’t waste any time running afoul of both the locals and the supernatural slime things which live deep in the woods. Soon, he and his wife (Bojana Novakovic) and their infant son are fighting for their lives against a slew of demonic beings. Visual artist Corin Hardy makes his directorial debut with this creature feature, which delivers plenty of visual poetry alongside the terror. Extras: featurettes.
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Nights With Theodore (2016, Film Movement, unrated, $25): Two twentysomething Parisians (Pio Marmai, Agathe Bonitzer) meet at a party and then head out to a nearby city park to spend the night. At dawn, the couple go their separate ways but return to the public garden every night to discover its meadows, pavilions and bridges. Sadly, there’s not much else to this clumsy romance which inexplicably takes a turn for the melodramatic in the final reel. Running only 67 minutes, “Nights With Theodore” feels both over-extended and painfully thin. Extras: none.
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Veteran (2015, CJ Entertainment, unrated, $25): A huge hit in its native Korea, the latest action-comedy from Ryoo Seung-wan (“The Berlin File”) pits an everyman police detective (Hwang Jung-min ) against a corrupt one-percenter (Yoo Ah-in) who, among other illegal activities, is trying to bust up a union of truckers. The chases and fights are well-choreographed, and the humor, exemplified by a scene in which the cops compare their scars and bruises, pokes fun at macho invincibility. Extras: none.
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I Knew Her Well (1965, Criterion, unrated, $30): This rarely seen Italian film from the mid-1960s centers on a small-town girl (Stefania Sandrelli) who’s moved to Rome to try and make it as actress. Sandrelli flits from one party to another, hooking up with strange men and working odd jobs to stay afloat. Everyone, it seems, is out to exploit everyone else, a situation, which in the end, sinks our heroine. Even though its a smidge too episodic, the film works thanks to the Sandrelli’s portrait of emptiness, a soundtrack of addictive Italian pop, and director Antonio Pietrangeli’s condemnation of a culture that celebrates image over substance. Extras: featurettes and audition footage.
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Angel (1982, Twilight Time, R, $30): After witnessing the murder of his manager as well as a deaf-mute girl, an Irish saxophonist named Danny (Stephen Rea) begins unraveling. Unable to shake off the violence, Danny makes his way through the dingier corners of Northern Ireland, trying to track down the killers. But one act of retribution only leads to another until Danny’s life is in ruins. Now on Blu-ray, the directorial debut of Neil Jordan (“The Crying Game”) is a blackly comic crime thriller which argues that violence only begats more violence. Extras: none.
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Shadow On The Wall (1949, Warner Archive, unrated, $20): How far would you go to cover up a murder? If you’re Aunt Dell (Ann Sothern), you’d let an innocent man (Zachary Scott) take the rap and see to it that the only witness (Gigi Perreau) winds up dead, even if she is a nine-year-old child. Also starring in this dark drama is Nancy Davis (later Nancy Reagan) who plays a psychiatrist determined to get to the bottom of what Perreau saw the night her stepmother was murdered. Part noir and part psychological thriller, “Shadow” is sinister and suspenseful in all the right ways. Extras: none.
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Number One (1968, Fox, PG-13, $20): As a cynical, past-his-prime quarterback for the New Orleans Saints, “Cat” Catlan (Charlton Heston) is so far off his game, the fans have taken to booing him as he strides onto the field. Even his wife (Jessica Walter) has given up on him, forcing him to look elsewhere (Diana Muldaur) for a little affection. Not a lot happens in this character study, which is primarily set between seasons. But this is Heston like you’ve never seen him before. And that alone makes “Number One” worth checking out. Extras: none.
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Village of the Damned: Collector’s Edition (1995, Shout Factory, R, $30): Who’d have thought that John Carpenter’s remake of the 1960 chiller would have aged so well? The action begins in small-town Midwich when, during a community celebration, all of the town’s residents fall into a deep sleep. Nine months later, many of the women wind up pregnant. And then things gets really creepy. Even though it took a beating from critics back in the mid-‘90s, “Village” is an effective scare machine. Carpenter handles the set pieces with panache, and never allows the special effects to overwhelm the story. Extras: new and vintage featurettes.

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