Kevin Bacon earns an 'A'
The good, the bad, and the sexually crazed are featured in this week's new DVD releases.
The Following, The Complete First Season, Grade A: It was beginning to look like cable was the only place to find great drama, with shows such as Breaking Bad and American Horror Story. But Fox showed in The Following that there is still some creative life in the networks.
Kevin Bacon stars in his first TV series, as burned-out FBI agent Ryan Hardy. He's on the track of an escaped killer who has a huge cult following.
The thriller is the most addictive network show since Lost. But while the mystery is as thick, it certainly isn't confusing - this is just a smart story about the battle between good and evil.
Closed Circuit, Grade B: Two barristers must defend a man accused of masterminding a bombing. Eric Bana stars.
A director has done a proper job when the simple act of bringing a pitcher of water and glasses into a room triggers thoughts of subterfuge, espionage, and sinister actions. That's what John Crowley has accomplished in his legal/spy thriller Closed Circuit. His deft ability to build suspense is Hitchcock-ian in nature, from the explosive opening to the unexpected ending.
Thanks for Sharing, Grade B: Most of the story is told through Adam (Mark Ruffalo), a successful businessman who has been "sexually sober" for five years. It has not been easy. His battle with his urges is so tough that he can't even have a television in his room for fear that he will watch, and react to, inappropriate material. It's been so consuming that he's had little time for a social life.
It's a difficult challenge to start from a point of disgust and win over an audience. But director and cowriter Stuart Blumberg does it by telling rich and powerful stories that cast a harsh light on the realities of addiction. He shows that there are never any true winners, just those who manage not to fail for another day.
Also new on DVD this week:
House of Lies, Season Two: Don Cheadle stars in the Showtime series.
Being Human, Complete Third Season: Syfy series about very weird housemates.
To Love and To Cherish: Modern woman tries to keep her marriage alive.
Linsanity: Portrait of NBA player Jeremy Lin.
Copper, Season 2: BBC America crime drama set in the 19th century.
The Act of Killing: Filmmakers examine a country where Indonesian death squad leaders are celebrated as heroes.
Pit Stop: Two gay men searching for love cross paths at the local gas station.
Duck Dynasty, Season 4: More adventures of the Robertsons.