One of Paul Walker’s last movies, “Hours,” and the latest from Spike Lee, “Oldboy,” lead new movies released on DVD and Blu-ray this week.
“Hours” (Lionsgate, 2013, PG-13, $19.98, music video). Paul Walker — who died in a car accident last year just two weeks before this film’s theatrical release — stretched his acting chops and demonstrated his versatility in this independent production, a thoughtful thriller set in New Orleans in 2005 as Hurricane Katrina hits, ravaging the city.
Walker plays a grieving new father when his wife dies during childbirth and his newborn is placed in a neonatal incubator. Then Katrina strikes and the hospital is evacuated, but the baby can’t be moved. So the father stays by his child’s side, keeping the ventilator going by hand-cranking a generator for power as he impatiently waits for help that may never come.
The film is uneven and there are problems with the plotting, but Walker’s performance is very good in one of his last films. (The action-thriller “Brick Mansions” is scheduled to open in theaters next month, and the “Fast & Furious” sequel he was filming when he died will follow next year.)
“Oldboy” (Sony/Blu-ray, 2013; R for violence, sex, nudity, language; $35.99, Blu-ray and digital versions, alternate/extended scenes, featurettes, trailers). This is Spike Lee’s first remake (of a 2003 Korean film), and from the over-the-top violence it’s apparent he’s been watching too many Quentin Tarantino movies. The enigmatic story has a man (Josh Brolin) kidnapped, apparently for no reason, and confined for 20 years. When he is suddenly released he looks for answers and revenge. With Elizabeth Olsen and Samuel L. Jackson. (Also on DVD, $30.99)
“Wicked Blood” (eOne/Blu-ray, 2014, not rated, $24.98, featurette). Child actress Abigail Breslin tries to transition to adult roles (she’s 17 now) but is miscast in this thriller as a young woman in a Southern meth-dealing family who tries to keep her life together by cutting into her uncle’s business. Plays like a lesser episode of “Justified.” (Also on DVD, $19.98)
“Cold Comes the Night” (Sony/Blu-ray, 2014, R for violence and language, $30.99, deleted scenes). Attempting to piggyback on Bryan Cranston’s “Breaking Bad” series, this low-rent thriller casts him as a thick-accented Russian drug transporter who has lost a package to a corrupt cop, so he coerces a motel owner (Alice Eve) into helping him get it back. (Also on DVD, $26.99)
“The Facility” (Cinedigm/Tribeca, 2014, $26.95, trailer). Overly familiar blood-drenched British horror about a group of seven strangers accepted for a clinical trial of a new drug only to discover (too late, of course) that the side effects include murderous rages. Gotta read those disclaimers, people! (Also on Blu-ray, $29.95)
“Children of Sorrow” (Lionsgate, 2014; R for violence, sex, nudity, language, drugs; $26.98, DVD and digital versions). Another overworked horror plot drives this gory story of a wild-eyed cult leader manipulating his teenage followers for his own dark purposes. Our entry point is a young woman who surreptitiously joins the group hoping to find her missing sister. Bad idea.
Chris Hicks is the author of "Has Hollywood Lost Its Mind? A Parent’s Guide to Movie Ratings." His website is www.hicksflicks.com