“Zero Dark Thirty,” Grade B-minus: Most of the efforts to track down and kill Osama bin Laden remain classified information. The only details readily made public have been about his death at the hands of Navy SEALs in 2011, which ended one of the greatest manhunts in history.
“Zero Dark Thirty” (a military term that means 30 minutes past midnight), from Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow, offers a detailed accounting of the years the CIA spent following every tiny lead in their quest to find bin Laden. This lengthy accounting is so tedious at times that the finale seems as illusive as the man at the center of the manhunt.
If nothing else, this movie is thorough in its telling of the story, an attribute that’s not always the best when it comes to a movie where so much detail remains top secret.
“Rust and Bone,” Grade B: Jacques Audiard’s film starring Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts is extremely melodramatic, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing when you have actors this good. Cotillard and Schoenaerts turn in such powerful performances that they both should have been nominated for Oscars.
Cotillard is amazing as a woman who learns to live again after she loses her legs in a freak accident. She gets help from a street fighter (Schoenaerts) who is dealing with his own personal problems. Their raw, emotional dance is compelling to watch.
“Les Miserables,” Grade B: If you like this story by Victor Hugo that’s set during the French Restoration without all the singing, then this is the DVD for you. It’s a 2002 miniseries set at the beginning of the 19th century.
Gerard Depardieu plays Jean Valjean and John Malkovich is Javert. The musical version, starring Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway and Russell Crowe, is being released today.
“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”: Bilbo Baggins goes on an epic adventure to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor.
“Cyberstalker”: Mischa Barton stars.
“Hemel”: Hannah Hoekstra stars in this story of desires told from a female point of view.
“Soul Food Junkies”: Culinary tradition goes under the microscope.
“Bachelorette”: Guys don’t get to have all the fun before a wedding.
“Strange Frame”: Animated sci-fi story explores the transformative power of love.
“Starlet”: An unlikely friendship develops between a young actress and an elderly woman.
“Quincy M.E.: Season 5”: Jack Klugman plays a crime-solving medical examiner.
“A Mind to Kill: The Complete Collection”: All three series of the Welsh detective drama.
“Thor: Legend of the Magical Hammer”: Animated story of a teen and his hammer.
“NOVA: Decoding Neanderthals”: A look back 60,000 years at the first modern humans.
“Jersey Shore: The Complete Series”: This is all the antics of the reality show gang.
“The Cleveland Show: The Complete Season Three”: Mike Henry is one of the voice talents of the Fox animated show.
“Sesame Street: Best of Friends”: Includes past guest stars such as Elvis Costello, Julianne Moore and Ricky Gervais.
“Straight A’s”: An outcast’s return to his hometown creates chaos. Anna Paquin stars.
“Chance in a Million: The Complete Collection”: Includes three seasons of the 1980s comedy starring Simon Callow.
“No Job for a Lady: The Complete Collection”: Jean Price plays a woman who must deal with politics and chauvinists as a member of Parliament.
“On Approval”: Two men are invited to spend a month at a Scottish mansion by the wealthy widows.
“Dark Feed”: A film crew uses an abandoned psychiatric hospital to shoot a horror film.
“The Great Magician”: Action and fantasy film from director Derek Yee.
“Secret Millionaires Club”: Animated series that teaches financial lessons.
“Angus Buchan’s Ordinary People”: Three men attend the Mighty Men Conference.
“Timerider”: An off-road racer is thrown into the past.
“The Other Son”: Two very different young men make a huge discovery about their lives.
Rick Bentley, The Fresno Bee