DVD reviews: 'Hyde Park on Hudson' and 'Boss: Season 2'
By Garrett Conti
Published: Wednesday, April 10, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
“Hyde Park on Hudson” (2012, R, 94 min., $29.98). If it wasn't for the performances of Bill Murray and Laura Linney, the sluggish “Hyde Park on Hudson” might have slipped out of theaters even faster. From director Roger Michell, the film was one of the more anticipated of 2012, but it underperformed. “Hyde Park on Hudson” has its moments, but it's generally boring and a bit disjointed. It revolves around Franklin D. Roosevelt (Murray), and his time as president at his upstate home in New York. It's here where he carries on flings with different women, including his neighbor Margaret. It's also here where he will meet with the British monarch to talk about the impending dangers of Germany prior to World War II. These two storylines flow through “Hyde Park on Hudson,” but Michell never delves too deep. The pic never feels focused enough, and the viewer is shorted in both storylines. Nominated for a Golden Globe for his role, Murray is superb as FDR. Additionally, Linney has the talent to tackle the other lead role. Unfortunately, they're stuck with a lackluster screenplay. There are some good special features, and they're available on standard DVD and Blu-ray. Deleted scenes and director commentary kick things off, and they're joined by a making-of featurette with a collection of interviews and a talk with Michell on the first days of shooting. 2 Stars.
“Boss: Season Two” (2012, three discs, 10 episodes, $39.98). It's really a shame that the deliciously addicting drama “Boss” didn't end up making it. The series started out with a powerful opening season that saw Kelsey Grammer land a Golden Globe for his role as Chicago Mayor Tom Kane, a ruthless politician if there ever was one. But this second season was the show's last; it was cancelled in November. One of the best dramas on television, “Boss” never found its footing on Starz, home to other series like “Spartacus.” The show picks up in this second season with Kane holding his own in Chicago despite a serious brain disease that he's kept secret from just about everyone. Using powerful medication and alternative treatments, Kane manages to pull away from some of his more corrupt alliances and keep a strong position. Keeping those enemies down proves to be his toughest assignment, though, especially when his brain condition acts up. Grammer is the true highlight of the series, and he's helped by smart plot twists and interesting characters. Supporting players such as Connie Nielson, Hannah Ware and Sanaa Lathan also help. Commentary and a featurette on the cast make up the special features for Blu-ray and standard DVD sets. 3 Stars.
“The Sorcerer and the White Snake” (2012, PG-13, 93 min., $26.98). Action star Jet Li cranks up the kicks in this martial arts fantasy about an herbalist doctor who falls in love with a white snake that's transformed itself into a woman. It falls on a monk sorcerer (Li) to stop the forbidden romance and restore order in the world.
“Into the Cold: A Journey of the Soul” (2010, NR, 85 min., $24.98). Sebastian Copeland wrote, directed and stars in this harrowing documentary about two men embarking on a dangerous expedition to the North Pole. The two travelers face the toughest of temperatures on their 400-mile trek to the top of the world.
“Planet Ocean” (2012, NR, 93 min., $19.98). Another outdoors documentary, “Planet Ocean,” narrated by actor Josh Duhamel, explores the wonderful mystery of our oceans and the changes they've undergone.
“Love Free or Die” (2012, NR, 82 min., $24.95). Macky Alston's documentary takes a closer look at the belief — by most of the world's religions — that homosexuality is in direct conflict with faith. The film follows Bishop Gene Robinson, the first openly gay person to be elected bishop by a mainline Christian denomination — Episcopal.
“Down the Shore” (2011, R, 93 min., $22.98). James Gandolfini, Famke Janssen and Eduardo Costa star in director Harold Guskin's motion picture about a group of New Jersey families going through tough times when they're forced to deal with a deadly secret from the past that affects all of them
“Sexy Evil Genius” (2011, R, 90 min., $26.98). A strong cast — Seth Green, William Baldwin, Michelle Trachtenberg, Katee Sackhoff and Harold Perrineau — paces this thriller about a group of people lured to a Los Angeles bar by an ex-girlfriend who has one final surprise for all of them. Revenge is the one thing on her mind.
“Vietnam: The Ten Thousand Day War” (2013, NR, 702 min., $39.95). Available in a four-disc set, this 10-hour documentary from Time Life is a comprehensive look at the Vietnam War. Written by CNN correspondent Peter Arnett and narrated by Richard Basehart, the documentary features plenty of interviews and archival footage.
“The Four” (2012, NR, 118 min., $24.98). Based on the popular 2002 novel “The Four Detective Guards,” director Gordon Chan's newest feature film follows the combination of four specialized martial arts masters brought together to solve crime and apprehend the toughest and most powerful criminals.
“We Are Egypt: The Story Behind the Revolution” (2013, NR, 85 min., $24.98). The uprising in Egypt is the focus of this documentary from Lillie Paquette. The picture goes deep into the infancy of the revolution and its growth into a powerful movement that changed the shape of the country.
“Goodnight for Justice: Queen of Hearts” (2012, NR, 87 min., $19.98). The third film in the popular “Goodnight for Justice” series from the Hallmark Movie Channel, this latest adventure has Judge Goodnight falling for a woman who's not being entirely truthful. Luke Perry, Ricky Schroder and Katharine Isabelle are in lead roles.
“Deadball” (2011, NR, 99 min., $24.98). Director Yudai Yamaguchi is responsible for this blood-soaked picture about a former baseball prodigy who's turned on to a life of crime after the accidental death of his father. Apprehended and sent out to a reform school, the prodigy is forced back into a violent brand of baseball to save his life.
“John Dies at the End” (2012, R, 99 min., $26.98). A pair of college dropouts are tasked with saving the world after a drug called Soy Sauce causes major problems to the human population. Directed by Don Coscarelli, the crazy comedy stars Paul Giamatti, Doug Jones, Rob Mayes, Chase Williamson and Clancy Brown.
“The Bible” (2013, NR, 440 min., $59.98). Weighing in at 10 hours, this miniseries on the most popular of books made its debut earlier this year on the History Channel. The presentation, narrated by Keith David, takes the viewer into the many stories of the Bible — from Genesis to Revelation — with incredible detail.
NEW ON BLU-RAY
“That Thing You Do” (Tom Hanks and Liv Tyler, 1996, PG, 108 min., $19.99)
TV ON DVD
“Family Ties: The Sixth Season” (Michael J. Fox and Justine Bateman, four discs, 26 episodes, $46.99)
“Kristen Schaal: Live at the Fillmore” (Standup comedy from San Francisco, NR, 60 min., $14.99)
“Best of Latino Laugh Festival” (Standup comedy from San Antonio, NR, 85 min., $14.99)
“Gabriel Iglesias: Aloha Fluffy” (Standup comedy from Honolulu, NR, 94 min., $16.99)
“Craig Shoemaker: Daditude” (Standup comedy, NR, 70 min., $14.98)
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