This week's new DVDs include an Oscar-nominated effort, a film with performances that should have been nominated and a new release that sounds as if it were up for an Oscar.
"Zero Dark Thirty," Grade B-minus: Most of the efforts to track down and kill Osama bin Laden remain classified information. The only details readily made public have been about his death at the hands of Navy SEALs in 2011, which ended one of the greatest manhunts in history.
"Zero Dark Thirty" (a military term that means 30 minutes past midnight), from Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow, offers a detailed accounting of the years the CIA spent following every tiny lead in their quest to find bin Laden. This lengthy accounting is so tedious at times that the finale seems as illusive as the man at the center of the manhunt.
- "Rust and Bone," Grade B: Jacques Audiard's film starring Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts is extremely melodramatic, but that's not necessarily a bad thing when you have actors this good. Cotillard and Schoenaerts turn in such powerful performances that they both should have been nominated for Oscars.
Cotillard is amazing as a woman who learns to live again after she loses her legs in a freak accident. She gets help from a street fighter (Schoenaerts) who is dealing with his own personal problems. Their raw, emotional dance is compelling to watch.
- "Les Miserables," Grade B: If you like this story by Victor Hugo that's set around the French Revolution without all the singing, then this is the DVD for you. It's a 2002 miniseries set at the beginning of the 19th century.
Gerard Depardieu plays Jean Valjean and John Malkovich is Javert.
ALSO OUT THIS WEEK
"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey": Bilbo Baggins goes on an epic adventure to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor.
"Starlet": An unlikely friendship develops between a young actress (Dree Hemingway) and an elderly woman (Besedka Johnson).
"Jersey Shore: The Complete Series": This is all the antics of the reality show gang.
"The Cleveland Show: The Complete Season Three": Mike Henry is one of the voice talents of the Fox animated show.
"Timerider": An off-road racer is thrown into the past.
"The Other Son": Two very different young men make a discovery about their lives.