DVD reviews: 'The Unknown Known,' 'Afflicted' and 'The Lunchbox'
“The Unknown Known” (2013, PG-13, 103 min., $24.98) With the tension ramping up again in Iraq, it's a perfect time for the release of Oscar-winning documentarian Errol Morris' “The Unknown Known.” The documentary focuses on Donald Rumsfeld, the Secretary of Defense during most of George W. Bush's time as president. The meat of the documentary is a sit-down conversation between Morris and Rumsfeld, and it is intertwined with clips of Rumsfeld's time in Washington, from his stints under Presidents Nixon and Ford to his return from the private sector to working under Bush. Morris presses Rumsfeld about decisions made after 9/11, especially in Iraq, but the cool-as-ice politician never really breaks. Depending on where one stands in their beliefs, that might be a bit frustrating, but this is a fantastic look at an important and historic figure who's been around the block more than a few times. The discussion is enthralling, and it's the key to another quality piece of work from Morris. The director follows up the film with some solid extras, available on standard DVD and Blu-ray. An interview and commentary with Morris are available, along with a four-part editorial about Rumsfeld from the director. 3 Stars.
“Afflicted” (2013, R, 85 min., $26.99) Over the course of the past few years, the found-footage genre has become increasingly watered-down. There are some movies that provide hope, and “Afflicted” is one of them. The low-budget horror film, follows Derek Lee and Clif Prowse, who also were the movie's directors, as they set out to travel the world and produce a web series about their adventures. The trip kicks off in Barcelona without any problems, but upon staying one night in Paris, a weird event occurs. Derek takes a girl home from the bar, and Clif decides to break in on them after a couple of hours. When he busts in, he finds a bleeding and scratched up Derek. The guys decide against going to the hospital, and things take a twisted turn after that. Derek quickly changes, picking up superhuman powers and being unable to go out during the day (hint). He has ideas about his affliction, but when it overtakes him, he becomes a monster. For a feature-length debut, “Afflicted” is expertly done by Prowse and Lee. With its suspenseful story telling and fresh take, it breathes new life into the found-footage genre. Standard DVD and Blu-ray sets hold a couple behind-the-scenes featurettes and deleted scenes. 3 Stars.
“The Lunchbox” (2013, PG, 104 min., $40.99) One of the more delectable romantic dramas from 2013, “The Lunchbox” is a fine film for viewers looking for some foreign flavor. Set in and around Mumbai, “The Lunchbox,” written and directed by Ritesh Batra, follows two main characters, a housewife named Ila (Nimrat Kaur) and a lonely businessman named Saajan (Irrfan Khan). Through Mumbai's lunchbox delivery system, Ila gets lunch to her inattentive husband each day. One day, there is a mix-up, and Saajan receives Ila's home cooking. The mix-up leads to a trading of letters between the two lonely souls that finds them forming a lovely bond and the beginnings of what could be a promising romance. Ila and Sajaan have much to lose if they are to get together, but, sometimes, love trumps everything. “The Lunchbox” is a slow-developing picture, and that will turn some away, but the charming movie pays off in a special way with its beautifully told story and blend of Indian culture. The feature looks to only be available in a combo pack that includes Blu-ray and standard DVD discs. Special features aren't that great, and the only extra is commentary with first-time feature filmmaker Batra. 3 Stars.
“Scavenger Killers” (2013, NR, 100 min., $24.98) A veteran group of actors — Eric Roberts, Charles Durning and Robert Loggia — star in a twisted feature from Dylan Blank about a charismatic judge and an attractive female defense attorney who team up to go on a killing rampage. On their trail is a team of FBI agents that might be out of their league.
TV ON DVD
“The Legend of Korra — Book Two: Spirits” (two discs, 14 episodes, $19.99)
“The Bridge: The Complete First Season” (four discs, 13 episodes, $39.98)
“The Boondocks: The Complete Series” (11 discs, 55 episodes, $95.99)
“The Boondocks: The Complete Fourth Season” (two discs, 10 episodes, $40.99)
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