New movies on DVD include a thoughtful thriller and an Oscar-nominated documentary.
“Dead Man Down” (Sony/Blu-ray, 2013; R for violence, language, sex; two discs, $35.99; Blu-ray, DVD, digital versions; featurettes). Interesting, thoughtful, moody mystery-thriller starts out as a variation on “Rear Window” and then settles into a low-key character study before taking a sharp left turn in the final reel to become a Die Hard-style action picture. Despite these tonal shifts, strong performances keep things on track.
Colin Farrell plays a hitman living in a New York apartment building who occasionally spies on his neighbor (Noomi Rapace) across the courtyard, unaware at first that she’s also spying on him. When they finally meet he sees that her face has been disfigured in an auto accident and she blackmails him into helping her get revenge on the drunk driver that maimed her. But Farrell also has an agenda for revenge and doesn’t want her to get in the way. A wary partnership/romance ensues. (Also on DVD, $26.99)
“The Gatekeepers” (Sony Classics/Blu-ray, 2013, PG-13, $35.99, audio commentary, featurette). Documentary nominated for an Oscar earlier this year tells the story of the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal secret security service, from the perspectives of the six men that have headed the agency from the Six-Day War to the present. (Also on DVD, $30.99)
“Combat Girls” (Artsploitation, 2012, not rated, $29.95, in German with English subtitles, featurette, trailers; eight-page booklet). A 20-year-old woman is a hard-core skinhead with Nazi tattoos and an attitude of hate until she meets the frightened Afghan brother of someone she injured in a hate crime. Tough, hard-edged film in the spirit of “American History X.”
“The Power of Few” (Vivendi, 2013; R for violence, language, drugs; $19.97, deleted scenes, featurettes). A smuggling ring’s efforts to steal a priceless artifact are revealed through five points of view in overlapping stories. Cast includes Christopher Walken and Christian Slater. Casting and editing contests were held online for fans, as detailed in the bonus features. (Also on Blu-ray, $24.99)
“Would You Rather” (IFC/Blu-ray, 2012, not rated, $29.98, audio commentary, poster gallery, trailer). This cross between “And Then There Were None” and “Saw” has a group of people gathering at the home of a dying millionaire for a dinner party that turns into a deadly parlor game with people having to make choices between mayhem to themselves or to others. (Also on DVD, $24.98)
Chris Hicks is the author of "Has Hollywood Lost Its Mind? A Parents Guide to Movie Ratings." His website is www.hicksflicks.com