New DVDs for March include new biopics on hip-hop band N.W.A, gangsters James “Whitey” Bulger & the Kray twins, and aerial athlete Philippe Petit; generation spanning comedy with Robert De Niro & Anne Hathaway; the latest Shakespeare adaptation with Michael Fassbender & Marion Cotillard; Ridley Scott & Matt Damon’s popular space epic The Martian; and the latest HBO TV series from David Simon, creator of Treme and The Wire.
“Final episode of the award-winning ITV costume drama following the lives and loves of those above and below stairs in an English stately home. In this special, set in late 1925 and early 1926, everyone reunites for Edith and Bertie’s wedding on New Year’s Eve while Anna prepares to give birth. Elsewhere, Carson reveals to his wife that he suffers from a hereditary illness known as the palsy, which makes him question his role at Downton, and Lord Merton tells Isobel about his own illness but retains his desire to marry her. However, his daughter-in-law Amelia keeps Isobel from seeing him. Will the year end happily for those at Downton Abbey?” (amazon.co.uk)
Straight outta Compton.
“In 1987, five young men, using brutally honest rhymes and hardcore beats, put their frustration and anger about life in the most dangerous place in America into the most powerful weapon they had: their music. Taking viewers back to where it all began, the film tells the true story of how these cultural rebels-armed only with their lyrics, swagger, bravado and raw talent-stood up to the authorities that meant to keep them down and formed the world’s most dangerous group, N.W.A.” (Syndetics summary)
“In 1970s South Boston, FBI Agent John Connolly (Joel Edgerton) persuades Irish mobster James “Whitey” Bulger (Johnny Depp) to collaborate with the FBI and eliminate a common enemy: the Italian mob. The drama tells the true story of this unholy alliance, which spiraled out of control, allowing Whitey to evade law enforcement, consolidate power, and become one of the most ruthless and powerful gangsters in Boston history.” (Amazon.com)
“Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard star in this adaptation of Shakespeare’s tragedy. After three witches foretell that Scottish nobleman Macbeth (Fassbender) will be king he becomes obssessed by the idea. Encouraged by his wife Lady Macbeth (Cotillard), his ambition becomes all-consuming and he kills the reigning monarch, King Duncan (David Thewlis). But Macbeth becomes a tyrannical ruler, filled with anxiety over who he can trust… The cast also includes Elizabeth Debicki, Sean Harris, Paddy Considine and David Hayman.” (amazon.co.uk)
“Ben Whittaker is a 70-year-old widower who has discovered that retirement isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Seizing an opportunity to get back in the game, he becomes a senior intern at an online fashion site, founded and run by Jules Ostin.” (Syndetics summary)
The Duke of Burgundy.
“In an unnamed European town, in an unspecified year, live Cynthia and Evelyn. Every day Evelyn cycles to Cynthia’s mansion to work as a lowly maid and every day the cruel, vindictive Cynthia inflicts countless sadistic humiliations upon her. But as the days go by and the pair begin to reveal themselves, it soon becomes clear that the humiliation may not all be of Cynthia’s design…Startling, stylish and heady with atmosphere, The Duke of Burgundy is a dazzling exploration of romance, relationships and desire from the multi-award winning director of Berberian Sound Studio.” (amazon.co.uk)
Show me a hero.
“In an America generations removed from the greatest civil rights struggles of the 1960s, the young mayor of a mid-sized American city is faced with a federal court order that says he must build a small number of low-income housing units in the white neighborhoods of his town. His attempt to do so tears the entire city apart, paralyzes the municipal government and, ultimately, destroys the mayor and his political future. From creator David Simon (HBO’s Treme and The Wire) and director Paul Haggis (Crash), the six-part HBO Miniseries presentation Show Me a Hero explores notions of home, race and community through the lives of elected officials, bureaucrats, activists and ordinary citizens in Yonkers, NY.” (amazon.com)
“During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive. Millions of miles away, NASA and a team of international scientists work tirelessly to bring “the Martian” home, while his crewmates concurrently plot a daring, if not impossible rescue mission.” (amazon.com)
“When her heart is stolen by a seductive stranger, a young woman is swept away to a house atop a mountain of blood-red clay— a place filled with secrets that will haunt her forever. Between desire and darkness, between mystery and madness, lies the truth behind Crimson Peak. From the imagination of director Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth) comes a gothic romance masterpiece starring Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska and Charlie Hunnam.” (amazon.com)
“Brian Helgeland writes and directs this crime thriller starring Tom Hardy in the dual role of infamous gangster twins Ronald and Reginald Kray. The film chronicles the Kray twins’ career during the 1950s and ’60s as they tighten their tyrannical rule over London. With Ronnie’s mental stability in question Reggie attempts to keep him under control while embarking on a romance with the beautiful Frances Shea (Emily Browning). Meanwhile, Detective Superintendent Leonard ‘Nipper’ Read (Christopher Eccleston) tries to bring the Krays down.” (amazon.co.uk)
“It’s Christmas Eve in Tinseltown and Sin-Dee (newcomer Kitana Kiki Rodriguez) is back on the block. Upon hearing that her pimp boyfriend (James Ransone, STARLET, “Generation Kill”) hasn’t been faithful during the 28 days she was locked up, the sex worker and her best friend, Alexandra (newcomer Mya Taylor), embark on a mission to get to the bottom of the scandalous rumor. Their rip-roaring odyssey leads them through various subcultures of Los Angeles.” (amazon.com)
“Twelve people have walked on the moon, but only one man – Philippe Petit (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) – has ever walked in the immense void between the World Trade Center towers. Guided by his real-life mentor, Papa Rudy (Ben Kingsley), and aided by an unlikely band of international recruits, Petit and his gang overcome long odds, betrayals, dissension, and countless close calls to conceive and execute their mad plan. THE WALK is a love letter to Paris and New York City in the 1970s, but most of all, to the Towers of the World Trade Center.” (amazon.com)