Viewers who haven’t caught up with one of the last performances of the late, great Philip Seymour Hoffman have a chance this week with the DVD and Blu-Ray release of “A Most Wanted Man.” Based on the novel by John le Carre, the film also features careful, precise direction by Anton Corbijn and strong supporting performances by Robin Wright, Willem Dafoe and Rachel McAdams, but Hoffman’s quiet, controlled work as a mysterious yet humane German espionage agent is yet another reminder that Hoffman was one of the finest actors of his time.
Other new releases on DVD this week include “The Dog,” a documentary about the man whose life inspired “Dog Day Afternoon;” “Maleficent,” the Angelina Jolie vehicle that can’t quite match its revisionist ambitions; the mind-bender “The One I Love,” starring Elisabeth Moss and Jay Duplass as a struggling married couple; the not-bad Dwayne Johnson vehicle “Hercules;” the road-trip through Iceland movie “Land Ho!” and “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” in which Peter Jackson continues to drain any goodwill left over by turning into George Lucas.
Classic releases this week are highlighted by the Kino Studio Classics release of Anthony Mann’s “Man of the West,” one of the director’s finest westerns. Star Gary Cooper can’t quite match James Stewart’s fury as a Mann lead, but there’s something inherently powerful in watching the symbol of American stoicism thrown into bleaker context, essentially “A History of Violence Goes West.” Another big release this week is William Peter Blatty’s underrated “The Ninth Configuration,” a film that volleys back and forth between farce and philosophy, dark comedy and outright horror.
Finally, Universal is releasing a boatload of films in limited edition steelbook designs, all featuring nifty illustrated covers. No need to rush out if you already have them, but if you don’t, the new releases include “Psycho,” “An American Werewolf in London,” “The Blues Brothers,” “Shaun of the Dead,” “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World,” Scarface,” The Big Lebowski” and “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.”
Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York
Wisely, the documentary (several years in the shaping) doesn’t spend an inordinate amount of time on the failed robbery, instead moving on to Wojtowicz’s seedy second act, in which he tried to extend his 15 minutes of fame. Read more.
Michael Phillips, The Chicago Tribune
The talk in “Land Ho!,” which was beautifully photographed by Andrew Reed, ranges from ’90s movie trivia to larger matters of hopes and dreams waylaid en route to the present. But the present, as Mitch asserts, is full of wonder and possibility. Read more.
Eric Kohn, Indiewire