DVD previews for this week

Published: Wednesday, Jun. 18, 2014 - 2:21 pm

“The Grand Budapest Hotel” (R, 99 minutes, Fox): Set in a castle-like hotel in the fictional Mitteleuropean country of Zubrowka on the eve of World War II, this comedy revolves – like all of director Wes Anderson’s films – around a quirky middle-aged man and the precocious boy he takes under his wing. As such, the film fully engages one of the fascinating tensions that have always animated Anderson’s fussily decorated cinematic jewel boxes, namely how one learns to become a man within a universe of characters so stylized and artfully concocted that they seem barely human. The great good fortune of “The Grand Budapest Hotel” is that the tutor in question is played by Ralph Fiennes, who lends sincerity to a character who can be charming and rather loathsome at the turn of a schilling. Contains profane language, some sexual content and violence.

“Joe” (R, 117 minutes. Lionsgate): Working from Gary Hawkins’ adaptation of Larry Brown’s 1991 novel, director David Gordon Green (“Prince Avalanche”) evokes a powerful sense of hopelessness in both the people who populate the film and the place where the action is set. “Joe” is filled with prostitutes, day laborers, cops and drunks and is decorated with ramshackle houses. It’s both ugly and beautiful, but Joe (Nicolas Cage) stands out for his seeming ability to see both sides. That ability enables him to notice – and care – when a 15-year-old drifter named Gary (Tye Sheridan) shows up one day looking for work on Joe’s crew. Contains violence, obscenity and sex.

“The Lego Movie” (PG, 94 minutes, Warner): This toy-inspired family film is a homage to the spirit of the iconoclast (i.e., the child). Its hero is anything but a rule-breaker. Set in a world built entirely of Legos, the story revolves around construction worker Emmet Brickowski (voice of Chris Pratt), a tiny plastic Everyman who loves nothing better than following instructions. But when his Lego universe is threatened by an evil villain (Will Ferrell) who intends to glue all the world’s pieces – and its people – together, Emmet must join forces with a group of rebels to stop him. Contains mild action and some rude, nose-thumbing humor.

Also: “Ernest & Celestine,” “Jimmy P.” (starring Benicio Del Toro and Mathieu Amalric, IFC Films), “The Attorney” (South Korea), “B.B. King: The Life of Riley” (documentary), “Breaking Through” (documentary profiling several openly gay elected state and local officials), “A Fighting Man” (with James Caan, Louis Gossett Jr., Sony), “Paul Bowles: The Cage Door Is Always Open” (documentary) and “Picnic at Hanging Rock” (1975, director Peter Weir classic), “

Television series: “House of Cards: Second Season,” “Wilfred: Third Season” (Fox), “The Escape Artist” (PBS), “ and “Power Rangers Megaforce: Ultra Defenders.”

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