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DVDs: ‘Book Thief’ finds hope in war-torn world

Fri., March 14, 2014

Three excellent films top this week’s new DVD offerings.

• “The Book Thief,” B-plus: Director Brian Percival started with a solid story based on the book by Markus Zusak. It’s an examination of the battle between the thirst for knowledge and the dependency on ignorance that helped the Nazi party spread. War is a ghoulish specter that enters and leaves the lives of a family, but it is always waiting just outside along with the character of Death, who narrates the story.

• “Inside Llewyn Davis,” B: A look at a week in the life of a folk singer as he navigates the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961.

The film must be treated like the lyrics of a folk song: Look at it with the knowledge that some things are up to personal interpretations.

If you find the right rhythm, the film is a cinematic composition that keeps on entertaining.

• “Out of the Furnace,” B-plus: Scott Cooper’s film is the story of two brothers who through outside circumstances commit life-changing actions. It’s how Cooper looks at the forces that shape their lives that makes the movie so compelling.

The film is set in an economically depressed area of steel country in Pennsylvania. Hope – like the factory that once made this a thriving community – has all but shut down. This leaves those still clinging to the promises of a brighter future looking for a solution.

• “Homefront,” D-plus: The script was written by Sylvester Stallone, but it comes across like it was penned by Rocky Balboa.

It’s a punch-drunk story that wobbles between a family film and an over-the-top action movie that fails to utilize the best parts of either.

Also new on DVD:

“Beyond Outrage”: Crackdown on organized crime ignites underworld power struggle.

“The Science of Measurement”: Look at the history of seven international units of measurement.

“Tickety Toc: Spring Chicks Time”: Twins Tommy and Tallulah go on seasonal adventures.

“Abner the Invisible Dog”: Chad and his canine sidekick must save the day.

“Enemies Closer”: Tom Everett Scott plays a man who must battle for his life.

“Rogue”: DirecTV series.

“Transformers Armada: The Complete Series.”

“Siberia”: Fictional reality show.

“Digimon Data Squad”: Conflict between Earth and the Digital World.

“Armistice”: Marine is forced to fight for his life against inhuman opponents.

“Angelina Ballerina: Spring Fling.”

“101st: A-Company”: Raid on a Nazi fortress where attempts are being made to raise a demon army.

“Winnie the Pooh: Springtime with Roo.”

“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutagen Mayhem.”

“The Flintstone Kids: Rockin’ in Bedrock”: Includes 10 episodes.

“Talks About Nothing”: Philosophical discussions with celebrities, scientists, writers and leading thinkers on the concept of nothing.

“Hazmat”: When a prank goes wrong, friends must fight for their lives.

“Dark House”: Man can tell how a person will die by touching them.

“Dirty Jobs Down Under”: Mike Rowe looks for dirty jobs in Australia.

“Against the Wild”: Three people battle for survival.

“Samson and Delilah”: Story of the strongman and the woman who seduces and betrays him.

“100 Years Of Wrigley Field”: Chronicles the ballpark’s history.

“Big History”: Turns history on its head.

“Commitment”: Singer follows in his father’s footsteps in the spy thriller.

“JFK: The Smoking Gun”: Chronicle of the assassination of John F. Kennedy through forensic analysis.

“In Fear”: Psychological horror about a young couple’s fight to make it through the night.

“Eric Clapton – The 1970s Review”: Clapton’s journey through the ’70s.

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