'True Detective' a true gem
New DVD releases feature law enforcement agents being pushed to extremes.
True Detective, Grade A: Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey turn in flawless performances as detectives looking into a murder case in the Louisiana bayou country that has all the elements of being a cult killing. Their investigation not only uncovers a deep, dark secret but also reveals the hidden sides of both men.
The story's told in flashbacks as Martin Hart (Harrelson) and Rust Cohle (McConaughey) talk about the case that unfolded in the mid-'90s. It becomes clear these former partners might seem very different, but have been drawn together by this gruesome case.
The eight-episode season shown on HBO also features superb writing by series creator Nic Pizzolatto and an often haunting score from Academy Award-winning composer T Bone Burnett. The set includes information about the development of the series, the importance of the music, and never-before-seen footage from the series.
Look for this series to be a big winner at awards ceremonies.
Non-Stop, Grade C-minus: A better name for the new Liam Neeson movie would be Mistakes on a Plane.
Despite a valiant effort by the cast, the script by John W. Richardson and Christopher Roach relies so heavily on people acting stupid, ignoring all logic and making absurd decisions that all it would take is one moment of common sense to ground the flight shortly after takeoff. No such moment comes and the plot scales preposterous heights.
No matter how good the acting, the absurdities that stack up finally become too much. These gaffes are so noticeable because director Jaume Collet-Serra never creates the claustrophobic feel needed to elevate the tension.
Toss in a handful of stereotypes, from a tough New York cop to the Middle Eastern passenger everyone mistrusts, and the movie fails to find any originality. Correct that: One of the deaths on the plane is accomplished in such an outlandish manner that it looks like a sequence from the comedy Airplane!
Also new on DVD:
Jack Ryan, Shadow Recruit: CIA analyst (Chris Pine) goes into the field when a global terrorist network is about to be activated.
The Secret Lives of Dorks: Geek's love life gets complicated.
WordGirl, Monkey Business: WordGirl fights crime, enriches vocabulary usage.
Devil's Knot: Mother must deal with the true story behind murder investigation.
Tiny Trouble: Martin and Chris Kratt explore nature and meet with creatures from around the world.
The Great Bear: A boy is kidnapped by a 1,000-year-old bear the size of a mountain.
The Chisholms, The Complete TV Series: The 1979-80 series stars Robert Preston, Ben Murphy and Brian Kerwin.
A Short History of Decay: Life gets in the way of a writer's plans.
Capital: Drama set in the high-stakes world of global finance.
Dinosaur Train, Adventure Camp: Buddy, Shiny, Tiny and Don travel to different ecosystems.
Vendetta: Special ops interrogation officer looks to avenge the death of his parents.
Amen: A look at how much was known outside of Germany about exterminations in Nazi death camps.
Klondike: Cable series that dives into the brutal world of the late 1890s gold rush.
Alan Partridge: Steve Coogan reprises his role as the onetime talk show host.
Banner 4: Mother tries to reunite a band to help heal a broken family.
Ray Donovan: The First Season: Showtime series starring Liev Schreiber.
Rizzoli & Isles: Fourth season of the crime drama is available.
Perry Mason Movie Collection: Each of three DVDs features two TV movies.
The Odd Way Home: Two strangers go on a journey through the American Southwest.