This week’s new DVD offerings include a first-rate documentary and a top foreign film.
“I Am Not Your Negro”: 3.5 out of 4 stars. Documentary maker Raoul Peck used 30 pages of a James Baldwin manuscript, “Remember This House,” written before the author’s death in 1987, to create an Oscar-nominated film that looks at what the filmmaker believes Baldwin’s book would have been.
“I Am Not Your Negro” mixes Baldwin’s words with news photos and film footage to offer a complete look at the short — but influential — lives of Malcolm X, Medgar Evers and Martin Luther King Jr.
“The Salesman”: 3.5 stars. The Iranian film that picked up an Oscar this year as best foreign language film begins with residents running for their lives when the foundation of their building in Tehran becomes unstable and the structure begins to collapse.
This imagery not only starts the film with a jolt, but becomes the metaphor for the entire production from award-winning director-writer Asghar Farhadi.
“A Dog’s Purpose”: 1.5 stars. The purpose of a dog, according to “A Dog’s Purpose,” is to be a tool for manipulating emotional responses through repeated cloying death scenes. What starts out as a celebration of canines ends up being one of the saddest and most contrived movies in decades.
Going with the idea that dogs are repeatedly reincarnated, the action begins with Bailey (who speaks via a voiceover supplied by Josh Gad). His latest life has him becoming the companion to Ethan (played in three different ages by Bryce Gheisar, K.J. Apa and Dennis Quaid).
“The Resurrection of Gavin Stone”: 3 stars. The film gets a boost from Brett Dalton, who turns in a charming performance as the title character. He’s just enough of a rogue to make his bad boy history seem real, but he never gets to the point of being so obnoxious there is no room for redemption.
He’s charming when he’s working with Anjelah Johnson-Reyes and very vulnerable in the scenes with Neil Flynn. Dalton’s performance is strong enough to make the film’s familiar formula feel fresh.
ALSO NEW ON DVD
“Nature: Yosemite”: Examination of water issues as connected to the Sierra Nevada.
“Rings”: Watching a video can be deadly.
“The Last Ship: The Complete Third Season”: Crew continues attempts to save humanity from a pandemic. Includes 13 episodes.
“The Autopsy of Jane Doe”: Coroners must deal with an unusual dead body.
“The Red Turtle”: Man lost at sea must deal with a giant red turtle.
“Gold”: Failing businessman strikes it rich. Matthew McConaughey stars.
“Tunnel”: Car salesman fights for survival in a collapsed tunnel.
“Saturday Night Fever”: Director John Badham’s cut of the film is being released to mark the 40th anniversary.
“Bob Hope Salutes the Troops”: Highlights of the comedian’s trips to entertain the military.
“The Comedian”: Robert De Niro plays an aging comic who connects with a young woman.
The Shadow Effect”: Doctor looks into a man’s violent dreams that are blending with reality.
“Rugrats: Season 1” and “Rugrats: Season 2”: Two separate seasons of the animated series that looks at the world through the eyes of infants.
AVAILABLE ON DIGITAL HD
“xXx: Return of Xander Cage”: A government agent comes out of retirement
“The Space Between Us”: Young man born on Mars makes a trip to Earth.
“Resident Evil: The Final Chapter”: Alice (Milla Jovovich) must return to where her nightmare began.