This week’s new Blu-Ray releases are headlined by last year’s best thriller, Dan Gilroy’s “Nightcrawler.” A darkly funny horror movie of corporate speak, capitalism and self-taught businessmen, “Nightcrawler” is powered by Jake Gyllenhaal’s brilliant, deranged performance, which twists the actor’s natural earnestness into the realm of cheerful sociopathy. Those who didn’t see it in theaters now have a chance to catch up with it and marvel at Robert Elswit’s glowing photography and Gyllenhaal’s spectacular creepiness on Blu-Ray.
Also new on home video: former Sleepers of the Week “Force Majeure” and “Stray Dogs” — Cinema Guild’s Blu-ray of the latter also includes director Tsai Ming-Liang’s “Journey to the West” — Lynn Shelton’s “Laggies,” starring Keira Knightley as an emotionally immature woman who befriends a younger girl (Chloë Grace Moretz); HBO’s terrific miniseries “Olive Kittredge;” Jon Stewart’s directorial debut “Rosewater;” the twisty sci-fi thriller “Predestination;” and, on DVD, “Through a Lens Darkly,” a doc about the history of black photographers.
Classic releases, meanwhile, are headlined by a pair of major Criterion releases: Jean Renoir’s masterful short “A Day in the Country” and Nicolas Roeg’s unsettling thriller “Don’t Look Now,” which features both one of cinema’s most famous sex scenes and one of its most shocking endings. Kino Lorber Studio Classics has a box set of Oscar-winning films: “Marty,” “Separate Tables,” “Elmer Gantry,” and “Coming Home.” Each film features a best actor winning performance (Ernest Borgnine, David Niven, Burt Lancaster and Jon Voight, respectively), while “Marty” won Best Picture. They’ve also got a release of the very funny Alan Arkin comedy “The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming” (which garnered Arkin his first Oscar nomination). Cohen Media has a new Blu of “Syncopation,” an ambitious drama that tracks a quarter-century of history of jazz, with a romance between Bonita Granville and Jackie Cooper at the center.
Michael Phillips, The Chicago Tribune
A hundred different directors from as many different countries could take the premise of “Force Majeure” and treat it differently, raising the stakes to melodramatic heights or pushing toward a broader sort of humor. In his fourth feature, writer-director Ruben Ostlund proves himself a master of finesse. Read more.
Stephen Whitty, The Star-Ledger
Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, The A.V. Club
Criticwire Average: A-
Scott Tobias, The Dissolve
“Stray Dogs” evokes the whole of Tsai’s filmography, but also pays off his collaboration with Lee, who shows a side of himself that’s been hidden away for all these years. Though Lee’s presence has always emanated loneliness and sadness, seeing real tears crack his visage is like seeing Greta Garbo smiling: It’s a momentous occasion that Tsai held off on unveiling until now. Read more.