“Creed” and several other new movies are on Blu-ray and DVD this week.
“Creed” (MGM/Warner, 2015, PG-13, deleted scenes, featurettes). Sylvester Stallone received an Oscar nomination for his role in this latest entry in the “Rocky” franchise, playing the same part for which he was nominated nearly 40 years ago. And he’s great, essentially morphing into Mickey, his mentor/trainer in the early “Rocky” movies.
Stallone performs with heartfelt depth, supporting Michael B. Jordan (“Fruitvale Station”) in the lead as Adonis Creed, a troubled young man who never knew his father — Rocky’s late nemesis-turned-pal Apollo Creed.
Now Adonis wants to be a professional boxer in his own right. So he coaxes Rocky out of retirement to train him, and the rest of the story goes right where you expect it to. Despite its formulaic nature, however, it’s a satisfying entry in the series. Tessa Thompson and Phylicia Rashad co-star.
“Don Verdean” (Lionsgate, 2015, PG-13, audio commentary, featurettes). A biblical archaeologist (Sam Rockwell) hired by a pastor (Danny McBride) to find a sacred relic in the Holy Land is pressured to fake the discovery. It's a predictably off-kilter farce filmed in Utah by Jared and Jerusha Hess (“Napoleon Dynamite,” “Austenland”), whose humor is definitely an acquired taste. The appealing cast includes Amy Ryan, Will Forte and Jermaine Clement, with veteran local actor Michael Flynn in a prominent role.
“Dudes & Dragons” (Momentum, 2016, not rated, deleted scenes, featurettes, bloopers). A warrior (Maclain Nelson) recruits his estranged bounty-hunter brother (Adam Johnson) to help him take down a dragon and an evil wizard (James Marsters, Spike on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”). Another filmed-in-Utah comedy, this is a silly, vulgar and tediously overlong off-the-wall spoof of “Star Wars,” “Lord of the Rings,” “The Princess Bride,” etc. Luke Perry appears in the opening sequence.
“Flowers” (Music Box, 2016, not rated, in Basque with English subtitles, featurettes). Low-key, deliberately paced and rather old-fashioned in its approach, this gentle melodrama sneaks up on you as it unfolds its story of three disparate women whose lives intersect following a tragedy, with flowers as a linking device. The result is an affecting meditation on love and pain.
“Sunshine Superman” (Magnolia, 2015, PG, featurettes, trailer). This is an excellent, gripping documentary about Carl Boenish, a cinematographer (“The Gypsy Moths”) whose early passion for sky diving led to more and more dangerous stunts. He eventually broke the Guinness World Record in BASE-jumping and became the face of that recreational sport, until a tragic accident took his life in 1984.
“Miss You Already” (Lionsgate, 2014, PG-13, deleted scenes, audio commentary, featurettes, music video). Stars Drew Barrymore and Toni Collette as BFFs Jess and Milly make this film a predictable, sentimental but not unappealing comedy-drama. Milly is desperate to have a child but contracts breast cancer just as Jess becomes pregnant. Audience tears ensue. Dominic Cooper, Paddy Considine and Jacqueline Bisset co-star.
“God’s Club” (Cinedigm, 2016, not rated, featurette, bloopers). This indifferently directed faith film addresses the separation of church and state as a widowed father (Stephen Baldwin) and his daughter (Bridget Albaugh) establish a voluntary after-school Bible Club with the expected blowback, especially from Lorenzo Lamas as an atheist attorney. The performances are uniformly flat, save for Corbin Bernsen, who excels as a supportive school-board member.
“The Danish Girl” (Universal, 2015, R for sex and nudity, featurette). Nominated for four Academy Awards, this overrated melodrama is about Einar Wegener, the first person to undergo male-to-female transgender surgery in 1930 Copenhagen. Eddie Redmayne is all in as the protagonist (he won last year’s best-actor Oscar for “The Theory of Everything”), and last weekend, Alicia Vikander was named best supporting actress for her role as his wife.
“Youth” (Fox, 2015; R for language, sex, nudity; featurettes, photo gallery). Michael Caine is excellent as a retired conductor/composer vacationing at a Swiss Alps resort who is stubbornly unwilling to perform for Queen Elizabeth. Low-key comedy-drama starts out as a charming character piece but quickly devolves into a vulgar, profane treatise on bohemian artists in decline. Harvey Keitel is solid as Caine’s filmmaker pal and Paul Dano is good as a movie star, but as an over-the-top diva, Jane Fonda seems to have wandered in from another movie. Rachel Weisz co-stars.
“The Night Before” (Columbia, 2015; R for drugs, language, sex, nudity; deleted/extended scenes, featuretts, bloopers). Joseph Gordon-Leavitt, Seth Rogan and Anthony Mackie star in this sleazy holiday comedy as longtime pals who spend each Christmas Eve in New York City looking for an invitation-only party. Debauchery ensues. Lizzy Caplan, Michael Shannon, Tracy Morgan and Mindy Kaling co-star; James Franco, Miley Cyrus and NBA star Baron Davis appear as themselves.
“Intruders” (Momentum, 2016, R for violence and language, audio commentary, featurette). This is an effective thriller about an agoraphobic young woman (Beth Riesgraf) whose father has just passed, leaving her a bundle of cash and their huge house, which a group of home invaders perceive as easy pickings. But she’s no victim and quickly turns the tables on them. Rory Culkin co-stars.
“Life” (Cinedigm, 2015; R for sex, nudity, language; featurettes). This film tells the true story of the friendship between actor James Dean (Dane DeHaan) and a Life magazine photographer (Robert Pattinson) assigned to shoot him just before the release of “East of Eden.” Ben Kingsley and Joel Edgerton co-star.
“She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry” (Music Box, 2015, not rated, featurettes). This documentary focuses on the founders of the women’s liberation movement in the late 1960s and early ’70s as they fought for equal rights and created the National Organization for Women (NOW).
“Lost in Hong Kong” (Well Go, 2015, not rated, in Mandarin with English subtitles, featurette, bloopers, trailer). A married, failed artist seeks out a former love in Hong Kong after 20 years in this cluttered, very broadly played Chinese farce. Meanwhile, a crime film is being shot in the city as real police investigate a murder.
“Ratter” (Sony, 2016; R for language, sex, violence; deleted scenes). This voyeuristic horror yarn is told from the villain’s point of view as an online creep uses social media to stalk a graduate student (Ashley Benson), eventually taking his virtual game up a notch by attempting to make physical contact.
“Midnight Man” (Cinedigm, 2016, not rated). A wisecracking assassin (Will Kemp) with a genetic disorder that makes him unable to feel pain goes after a target but instead is knocked out. When he awakens, he feels pain for the first time, so he coerces a female EMT into helping him as he goes after his attackers. Co-stars include William Forsythe and Brent Spiner.
“Weaponized” (Cinedigm, 2016, not rated, deleted scenes, trailer). This sci-fi action flick is about soldiers being biomechanically programmed with the ability to swap consciousness with their targets and gain control of any situation. After an attack on the Pentagon, the experimental program goes online too soon. Mickey Rourke and Tom Sizemore are on hand.