DVD reviews: ‘Gone Girl,’ ‘Jimi: All is By My Side’ and ‘A Walk Among the Tombstones’
“Gone Girl” (2014, R, 149 min., $29.98) Adapting Gillian Flynn’s popular 2012 novel “Gone Girl” to the silver screen had to be a tough task, what with the great suspense present in those pages. Thankfully, director David Fincher took the challenge, and he got help from a Flynn-penned screenplay and a terrific cast that included Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, Carrie Coon, Kim Dickens and Tyler Perry. The film tells the tale of a husband (Affleck) who’s ultimately blamed for the disappearance of his wife (Pike). Plenty of fingers are pointed at Nick — especially by the media — soon after he returns home to find his house in disorder and Amy nowhere to be found. The suspense builds quickly from that point, as tons of evidence stacks up against the husband. Heavily stylized and carrying terrific turns from the entire cast, “Gone Girl” is undoubtedly due its hype. Fincher leaves some plot points to viewers’ imaginations, so Flynn’s book is a good companion piece for the film. It isn’t Fincher’s finest, but he provides a complete film that stood out in 2014. Extras in Blu-ray and standard DVD packages aren’t great. Fincher commentary and a comic book are available. 3 stars
“Jimi: All is By My Side” (2013, R, 118 min., $20.99) As good as Chadwick Boseman was playing James Brown in another 2014 biopic about a famous musician, Andre Benjamin was a bit better as Jimi Hendrix in this picture written and directed by Oscar winner John Ridley. The film takes a look at the legendary guitarist’s early days in London, before he became a major star. It’s an interesting portrait of a musician dealing with his impending fame. At the heart of “Jimi” is a remarkable performance from Benjamin, better known as Andre 3000, a member of the rap group Outkast. He’s been in a handful of films, but this part proves he has an acting career ahead of him if he chooses to go with it. It’s fascinating to see Benjamin transform into Hendrix, delivering one of the best performances of 2014. With the intimate “Jimi: All is By My Side,” it appears Ridley and Benjamin have bright futures ahead. Unfortunately, special features aren’t that great — in standard DVD and Blu-ray packages — for this release. 2.5 stars
“A Walk Among the Tombstones” (2014, R, 114 min., $29.98) Liam Neeson is a fantastic actor, and, over the past decade, he’s carved a nice niche playing tough guys. Standing at 6-foot-4, the Irishman is an imposing figure. He fits perfectly here, playing the role of a private detective looking into the disappearances of the loved ones of drug dealers in New York City. As Matt Scudder, Neeson is particularly weathered. Scudder is a recovering alcoholic, and he’s thrust into a dark world in tracking a pair of serial killers taking advantage of shady folks who don’t particularly want to deal with the cops. The violence amps up when the former cop comes closer to finding his suspects. Written and directed by Scott Frank, the action-packed drama is an above-average film that does a fine job of using Neeson’s skills. Although there are some holes in the story, “Tombstones” is a fine film that plays out nicely. Blu-ray packages carry a couple of good featurettes that investigate the film’s production and many seedy characters. Best of all, Lawrence Block, who’s book is adapted here, is represented in the extras. 2.5 stars
“Love is Strange” (2014, R, 94 min., $30.99) John Lithgow and Alfred Molina give powerhouse performances as a couple getting married after almost 40 years together. The marriage leads to some trouble for George (Molina), who loses his job as a teacher at a Catholic school. Unable to afford their place, the men are forced to split while they find cheaper housing.
“The Two Faces of January” (2014, PG-13, 96 min., $26.98) Screenwriter Hossein Amini makes his directorial debut with this thriller adapted from a novel by Patricia Highsmith. The film follows a couple on a tour of Greece who find themselves in trouble when they get mixed up with a stranger. The pic stars Viggo Mortensen, Kristen Dunst and Oscar Isaac.
“Men, Women & Children” (2014, R, 119 min., $29.99) Jason Reitmen wrote and directed “Men, Women & Children,” a picture about a group of teens and parents coming to grips with the ways in which the Internet has changed our lives. The dramedy has a strong cast that includes Adam Sandler, Jennifer Garner, Rosemarie DeWitt and Ansel Elgort.
“Revenge of the Green Dragons” (2014, R, 94 min., $19.98) From Andrew Lau — the filmmaker behind the 2002 hit “Infernal Affairs” — comes an action-packed crime drama about two brothers who rise in the ranks of the Green Dragons gang in New York City. Trouble arises for one of the brothers when a love affair puts him against the leader of the gang.
“Middle of Nowhere” (2012, R, 92 min., $26.98) Emayatzy Corinealdi, Omari Hardwick and Edwina Findley star in a drama about a once-promising relationship that goes south. Ruby (Corinealdi) looks for some hope when her boyfriend (Hardwick) goes to jail. Everything changes when Ruby has an encounter with a hard-working bus driver (David Oyelow).
“Honeymoon” (2014, R, 87 min., $26.98) Rose Leslie and Harry Treadway star in director Leigh Janiak’s horror movie about a couple attempting a romantic getaway. The trip takes a bad turn when Paul (Treadway) finds his wife (Leslie) acting weird. Initially, Paul thought his wife was simply sleepwalking, but soon realizes there’s a sinister force at work.
“Jessabelle” (2014, PG-13, 90 min., $19.98) A supernatural thriller from director Kevin Greutert, the film follows a woman named Jessabelle (Sarah Snook) who returns to her childhood home in Louisiana to recover from a bad car accident. While recuperating, Jessabelle some in contact with a tormented spirit who has no plans on letting her leave again.
“The Identical” (2014, PG, 107 min., $19.95) Starring Ray Liotta, Ashley Judd, Seth Green and newcomer Blake Rayne, “The Identical” tells the story of twin brothers separated at birth. One grows up to become a rock star, and the other struggles to find his calling, as he tries to balance his love of music and parents who want for him to become a preacher.
“Once Upon a Time in Shanghai” (2014, NR, 96 min., $24.98) Set in 1930s Shanghai, this action extravaganza follows Ma (Philip Ng), a young man looking to make an honest buck in the big city. Instead, Ma is taken in by Boss Long Qi (Andy On), a powerful figure trying to keep Shanghai clean. Ma is enlisted by Qi as an enforcer to wipe out his enemies.
“Who Killed Alex Spourdalakis?” (2014, NR, 66 min., $19.98) The United States health-care systems treatment of a Chicago teen is the subject of this powerful documentary from the Autism Media Channel. As Alex Spourdalakis got older, his autism grew worse because of another condition. Doctors failed to pinpoint the other problem, leading to a tragic situation.
“Bad Turn Worse” (2013, NR, 92 min., $22.98) Jeremy Allen White, Logan Huffman and Mackenzie Davis have lead roles in a crime thriller about three Texas teens looking to escape their small town for bigger and better things. When the teens get in a bind, they decide to steal from a ruthless gangster to pay their debt. That puts them on the run in this tense film.
“The Scorpion King 4: Quest for Power” (2015, PG-13, 105 min., $29.98) A franchise that started in 2002 with Dwayne Johnson and Michael Clarke Duncan continues to move forward with another straight-to-video sequel. The latest has Mathayus, betrayed by a trusted friend, facing off against another bad guy who has his sights set on unlocking an ancient power.
New on Blu-ray
• “My Left Foot” (1989, R, 103 min., $14.99)
• “The Twilight Saga: Extended Editions Triple Feature” (2015, PG-13, 393 min., $24.99)
• “The Razor’s Edge” (1946, NR, 145 min., $24.99)
TV on DVD
• “Boardwalk Empire: The Complete Fifth Season” (three discs eight episodes, $59.99)
• “Episodes: The Third Season” (two discs, nine episodes, $29.99)
• “House of Lies: The Third Season” (two discs, 12 episodes, $29.99)
• “The Bridge: The Complete Season 2” (Four discs, 13 episodes, $39.98)
• “Tyrant: The Complete First Season” (three discs, 10 episodes, $39.98)
• “Dallas: The Complete Third and Final Season” (three discs, 15 episodes, $39.98)
• “Mythbusters: 10th Anniversary Collection” (10 discs, 50 episodes, $99.99)
• “Ancient Aliens: Season 6, Volume 2” (three discs, 12 episodes, $19.98)