DVD reviews: 'The Boxtrolls,' 'The Drop' and 'Lucy'
“The Boxtrolls” (2014, PG, 96 min., $29.98) Alan Snow's novel “Here Be Monsters!” comes to life in this wonderfully animated adventure story that received an Oscar nomination for best animated feature. The film, directed by Graham Annable and Anthony Stacchi, follows a young boy who's been raised by trolls in the fictional town of Cheesebridge. The trolls begin disappearing when Archibald Snatcher — one of the best movie villains ever — captures them to land a spot with the power brokers in town. The young boy, who goes by the name Eggs, decides to stand up and fight, and, in the process, dispel the myth that trolls are evil and they eat humans. “The Boxtrolls” is a lot of fun, with a warm story that's worth a watch for the whole family. The stop-motion animation is masterful, as well as the voice performances from the likes of Ben Kingsley, Jared Harris, Elle Fanning and Simon Pegg. Blu-ray and 3-D Blu-ray packages carry a ton of special features, including a series of making-of featurettes that detail the production of the pic. 3.5 stars
“The Drop” (2014, R, 106 min., $29.98) Adapted from a short story by Dennis Lehane, “The Drop” is a crime thriller that feels familiar. That can be a bad thing, but “The Drop” has strong lead performances from Tom Hardy and James Gandolfini and an intelligent screenplay from Lehane that breathes in the atmosphere of Brooklyn and its hard-knock underbelly. The picture follows Bob, a quiet bartender (Hardy) working at a bar named Cousin Marv's, run by Marv (Gandolfini). Cousin Marv's is a drop bar, meaning shady characters drop money off, and the Chechen mobsters who own it pick the cash up after hours. With all the money coming through, Marv puts together a plot to rob the place on Super Bowl Sunday. It'll land him a large payday, but he'll have to negotiate his way around Bob. Because of his checkered past, the bartender has good instincts when it comes to criminal enterprises. “The Drop” is a well-told thriller, one of those slow burners, but it knows exactly where it's going. A good collection of extras are available in standard DVD and Blu-ray packages, including commentary, deleted scenes and a handful of making-of featurettes. 3 stars
“Lucy” (2014, R, 89 min., $29.98) It's no stretch to say 2014 was the year of Scarlett Johansson. She did good work in the blockbuster “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and drew rave reviews for her part in “Under the Skin.” Not to be forgotten is her role in “Lucy,” a smart, action-packed thriller written and directed by Luc Besson. Johansson is “Lucy,” a college student living in Taiwan who's forced into a bad situation by her boyfriend, a shady fellow working as a drug mule for a tough gangster named Mr. Jang (Choi Min-sik). A package of new synthetic drugs are sewn into Lucy's stomach. When the bag breaks open, it has a dramatic effect, allowing Lucy to eventually use 100 percent of her brain power. It makes her an unstoppable force, so when Mr. Jang's army comes for her, they'll have their hands full. “Lucy” has some issues, in that it asks viewers to dismiss reality a number of times, but it's fun and has some suspenseful turns. The greatest thing it has going for it is Johansson's stellar performance. Blu-ray packages carry a couple of making-of featurettes that include interviews with Besson, Johansson and supporting player Morgan Freeman. 2.5 stars
“Annabelle” (2014, R, 99 min., $29.98) A supernatural thriller from director John R. Leonetti, tells the tale of the doll of the same name. The terror begins after a man (Ward Horton) gifts his wife (Annabelle Wallis) the doll.
“The Zero Theorem” (2013, R, 111 min., $24.98) Christoph Waltz, Matt Damon, Tilda Swinton and David Thewlis star in Terry Gilliam's latest film, a look at a computer hacker (Waltz) given a personal assignment by his boss (Damon) to discover the meaning of life.
“Coherence” (2013, NR, 89 min., $34.99) Blending the genres of science-fiction and drama, “Coherence” takes viewers into a gathering of eight friends on the night of an astronomical anomaly. As a result, the friends are confronted with a series of reality-bending events that throw their whole dinner party out of whack.
“White Bird in a Blizzard” (2014, R, 91 min., $26.98) An excellent cast — Shailene Woodley, Eva Green, Christopher Meloni and Gabourey Sidibe — stars in Gregg Araki's adapted film about a teen dealing with the disappearance of her mother. At first, the girl doesn't care, but as she grows into a woman, it begins to take a heavy toll.
“Rudderless” (2014, R, 105 min., $29.99) William H. Macy makes his directorial debut with this dramedy about a father grieving the sudden loss of his son. When he discovers a box with his son's demo tapes, and realizes his great talent, the father starts a band to help in his recovery. Billy Crudup, Anton Yelchin and Felicity Huffman star.
“Life's a Breeze” (2013, R, 83 min., $26.98) A close-knit Irish family is thrown into chaos when a mother's mattress is tossed out with the trash. Unfortunately, the family didn't know that the matriarch had been hiding her fortune away in that mattress, and they have to find it before it's too late. The picture stars the talented Fionnula Flanagan and Pat Shortt.
“By the Gun” (2014, R, 110 min., $19.99) Ben Barnes, Leighton Meester, Toby Jones and Harvey Keitel star in this crime thriller from James Mottern about a mafia soldier whose life gets extremely difficult after getting made. Nick (Barnes) has to deal with threats against his girlfriend (Meester) and his family, and must decide what's important.
“May in the Summer” (2013, R, 99 min., $24.98) Cherien Dabis wrote, directed and stars in this drama about a author (Dabis) whose life is headed in the right direction. Her new book is getting good reviews, and she's set to get married. However, a trip home changes everything.
“A Bet's a Bet” (2014, NR, 97 min., $14.93) Jennifer Finnigan and Jonathan Silverman team to direct this romantic comedy about a successful lawyer named Vince (Geoff Stults) who meets his match in Jane (Mena Suvari), a woman who also has a lot going for her. Together, they make a series of wagers that has the loser dealing with some real embarrassment.
“Gnome Alone” (2015, R, 90 min., $26.98) “Austin Powers” actor Verne Troyer stars in this straight-to-video horror film about a killer gnome. The film follows a college student who becomes the owner of a strange amulet. Because she has the amulet, a gnome (Troyer) goes around killing everyone who's hurt her.
TV on DVD
• “Little House on the Prairie: Season 4” (five discs, 22 episodes, $21.98)