Home Theater: 'Kevin,' 'Rampart' disturbing yet compelling
Looking to catch a film on Video on Demand or DVD or Blu-ray? Following are some of the newest options available to home theater aficionados.
'We Need to Talk About Kevin'
Available on VOD beginning May 15
Writer-director Lynne Ramsay's first movie since 2002's magnificent “Morvern Callar” is an adaptation of Lionel Shriver's novel “We Need to Talk About Kevin” and stars Tilda Swinton as the ostracized mother of a sociopath. In keeping with Ramsay's usual style, “Kevin” is impressionistic, jumping around in time from the heroine's perspective as she tries to figure out whether her son is a creep because she's always been cold to him or if she's cold because he's so awful. The approach works magnificently for the film's first hour, until Ramsay has to deal more directly with the plot, at which point the movie becomes less about common parental anxieties and more about living with a monster. Still, Ramsay is worth paying attention to even when her material lets her down. The film comes to DVD and Blu-ray from Oscilloscope on May 29.
Millennium, $28.98; Blu-ray, $29.99/$34.99
Woody Harrelson gives one of his best performances in “Rampart,” an ambitious character sketch set against the backdrop of the scandal-ridden late '90s LAPD. Director Oren Moverman and writer James Ellroy skip from incident to incident, as Harrelson's self-described fascist police officer Dave Brown beats up suspects, conspires with criminals and directly interferes with the case being built against him. “Rampart” contains enough characters and plot to fuel an entire season of an edgy cable drama. Harrelson is compelling as a character unyielding in his worldview. The DVD and Blu-ray include a featurette and a Moverman commentary track. Available on VOD beginning May 15.
Universal, $29.98; Blu-ray, $34.98
Director Joe Carnahan and his co-screenwriter, Ian Mackenzie Jeffers, bring Jeffers' short story “Ghost Walker” to the screen as “The Grey,” starring Liam Neeson as a depressed oilman who helps his coworkers survive after their plane crashes in Alaska. “The Grey” is tough and elemental, focusing on the brutal cold and an encroaching pack of wolves that threatens to tear these men apart. When they're not fighting for their lives, the wanderers sit around the fire and talk about fate, God, families and the mistakes they've made. The DVD and Blu-ray add deleted scenes and a fascinating Carnahan commentary. Available on VOD beginning May 15.
New Video, $29.95
Haruki Murakami's cult novel “Norwegian Wood” is an aching nostalgia piece, about a man looking back at his college years in Tokyo in the late '60s, when he lost a friend to suicide and had love affairs with two women -- one morose, one vivacious. Writer-director Tran Anh Hung's film version captures a lot of what's special about the book: the sense of a magical time and place and how much the protagonist (played by Kenichi Matsuyama) sleepwalked through it while mired in his own melodrama. Jonny Greenwood's dreamy score and cinematographer Ping Bin Lee's luminous images cast a spell. The DVD includes an hour-long making-of featurette and a 10-minute look at the film's reception at the Venice Film Festival.
-- Noel Murray
Photo: Ezra Miller and Tilda Swinton in "We Need to Talk About Kevin" Credit: Nicole Rivelli/Oscilloscope Laboratories