It’s a slow week for new DVD releases, but there are a few picks to spend the money on that you get for returning holiday gifts.
“Snowden”: 2.5 our of 4 stars. Director Oliver Stone has never been afraid to hide his opinions or to allow his personal feelings to guide his stories. He’s done that with the uncertainties of politics through “JFK,” the realities of war in his “Born on the Fourth of July,” and the moral shifting in sports through “Any Given Sunday.”
Whether you agree or disagree with Stone, there’s no arguing he makes his points in distinct terms designed to open a dialogue. He’s one of the primary forces in the world of movies who lets an audience know there is no passive watching. Instead, they must join the debate.
That’s why his latest work, “Snowden,” comes up short. It’s not that Stone doesn’t have definitive viewpoints on what whistleblower Edward Snowden did in 2013. It’s that, unlike other major topics he’s taken on, this one has far more gray areas. Despite a strong performance by Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Snowden, the film ends up convoluted and confusing.
In case you forgot, Snowden copied and leaked mounds of classified information from the National Security Agency. That material revealed that United States was keeping an eye on many average citizens. This created a firestorm of protests and left Snowden in Moscow, where he has been granted a short asylum to avoid a treason trial.
ALSO NEW ON DVD
“When the Bough Breaks”: Surrogate mom becomes overly attached to the father.
“No Manches Frida”: Thief tries to recover the loot from a robbery, but a school has been built over the spot where he buried the money.
“Close to the Enemy”: Intelligence officer’s task is to ensure a captured German scientist starts working for the British RAF.
“NOVA: Great Human Odyssey”: Examination of mankind’s ability to travel and adjust to new regions.
“The Dressmaker”: Talented dressmaker (Kate Winslet) returns to her Australian outback home to reconcile with her mother.
“Ray Donovan: The Fourth Season”: Work and home life begin to come together for Donovan (Liev Schreiber).
“Jericho of Scotland Yard”: Scotland Yard detective investigates high-profile murders in 1950s London.
“A Man Called Ove”: An ill-tempered old man is shaken in ways he never would have imagined.
“Nature: The Story of Cats”: A look at the 37 species of the cat family.
“Dog Eat Dog”: Ex-cons hired to kidnap a baby end up on the run. Nicolas Cage stars.
“American Honey”: Portrait of youth on the American fringe. Shia LaBeouf stars.