There are a wide selection of new DVD releases that would make good holiday gifts.
“Storks”: 4 out of 4 stars. Forget finding Dory and stop worrying about the secret life of your pets. “Storks” is the best animated film to be released so far this year. That’s saying a lot because it’s been a banner year for animation.
“Storks” manages to deliver on many levels, from broad comedy to a sweet family story. There is a lot going on in this tale of a world where storks have been taken off baby delivery and made to deliver packages from a superstore. But directors Nicholas Stoller and Doug Sweetland layer the elements in such a way that one just makes the other stronger.
“The Magnificent Seven”: 3 stars. The 1960 version of “The Magnificent Seven” combined an all-star cast (including Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen and Charles Bronson) with a pure mission-of-mercy story and delivered that Western tale with one of the greatest soundtracks in film history. It’s truly magnificent.
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Despite the inevitable comparisons, director Antoine Fuqua’s 2016 remake continues the same theme of a group of outlaws and misfits coming together to help the helpless.
Living up to the original is an almost impossible task. The remake tries to match the original’s star power with Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt, but the overall lineup eventually pales in comparison.
“Sully”: 3 stars. Tom Hanks turns in another remarkable performance as the heroic pilot, taking on another role as an everyday person pressed into extraordinary action. Hanks has a wonderful knack for playing the everyman. It’s a tough role because the real Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger is such a low-key person. Hanks has to show a broad range of emotions while trapped within the limitations of the role. He can turn a single look into a moment of joy or a cry for help.
The second strength comes from Clint Eastwood, who has a no-nonsense approach to directing. He understands that trying to play this story as too heroic or too mundane would set the production in a death spiral. He finds just the right level of respect for the situation to tell the tale without bluster.
ALSO NEW ON DVD
“Greater”: College football walk-on shows he has the faith to succeed.
“Hillsong-Let Hope Rise”: The Australian faith-based band Hillsong is featured in this documentary.
“31”: Horror film from Rob Zombie.
“The Disappointments Room”: Efforts to start a new life go terribly wrong.
“Goat”: College student tested by hell week rituals.
“Children of the Mountain”: Mother of a child born from an affair faces challenges getting help for her baby.
“It Had to Be You”: Jingle writer dreams of an exciting life. Cristin Milioti stars.
“Department Q Trilogy”: Detective Carl Morck (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) is relegated to reviewing cold cases.
“Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love”: Made-for-TV film about the early days of Dolly Parton.
“Roseanne for President”: Comedian makes a run for the White House in 2012.
“Good Kids”: Four high school graduates look to change their images.
“I.T.”: Company executive and temporary computer tech end up at odds. Pierce Brosnan stars.
“To Joey, With Love”: Husband and wife look to simplify their lives.
AVAILABLE ON DIGITAL HD
“Snowden”: Whistleblower steals and releases millions of bits of classified material.
“Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life”: Young boy uses his wits to deal with his principal and bullies.
“The Dressmaker”: Talented dressmaker (Kate Winslet) returns to her Australian outback home to reconcile with her mother.