Movie News & Reviews

New DVD releases this week

“Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit” (PG-13, 105 minutes, Paramount): Directed by Kenneth Branagh in a jumbled blur of dizzying close-ups, revolving camera moves, hand-held action sequences and deceptive layers of shiny surfaces, “Jack Ryan” threatens to become less a resuscitation of the beloved Tom Clancy brand than yet another jumbled, jarring action flick that isn’t nearly as smart as its brainy protagonist. But with Chris Pine competently stepping into shoes once occupied by Harrison Ford, Ben Affleck and, briefly, Alec Baldwin, Jack Ryan seems to have a reasonable chance at surviving into the 21st century. Suffice it to say that, true to Ryan’s roots in Clancy’s Cold War-era imagination, he’s once again fighting the Russians – here personified in a ruthless villain nicely underplayed by director Kenneth Branagh. Contains sequences of violence and intense action and brief strong language.

“Non-Stop” (PG-13, 107 minutes, Universal): With obvious correlations to such classics of detective fiction as “And Then There Were None” and “Murder on the Orient Express,” the film tells the story of an air marshal (Liam Neeson) who must identify and thwart a passenger who is threatening, by text message, to kill one person on the plane every 20 minutes unless he (or she) receives $150 million. The characters are either too cooperative, not cooperative enough, weirdly furtive, excessively flirty, hiding a dark secret or simply presumed to be guilty by ethnicity. Contains violence, brief crude language, sensuality and drug references.

“Tim’s Vermeer” (PG-13, 80 minutes, Sony): Directed by Teller of the magic duo Penn and Teller, and written and narrated by his partner, Penn Jillette, the movie puts forth an utterly fascinating and fairly compelling argument, not to mention the question: Was Vermeer less genius than geek? Put another way, if an unartistic tinkerer like Tim Jenison can produce a reasonable facsimile of “The Music Lesson” using so-called trickery, is it not also reasonable to ask whether Vermeer himself might have availed himself of those same tricks? The film can’t offer proof that he did, but it’s intriguing enough to sway even skeptics. Contains strong language.

Also: “Devil’s Knot” (director Atom Egoyan’s dramatization of wrongful conviction of three teenagers in the murder of three young boys in West Memphis, Arkansas, starring Colin Firth as their lawyer), “MidRange,” “Alan Partridge” (Steve Coogan brings his British TV character to the big screen), “Adult World” (with Emma Roberts), “Bible Quiz,” (documentary), “A Short History of Decay,” “Unacceptable Levels” (documentary), “All That Heaven Allows” (1955, starring Rock Hudson and Jane Wyman, The Criterion Collection),

Television series: “Ray Donovan: The First Season” (Showtime), “Rizzoli & Isles: Fourth Season” (TNT), “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey” (National Geographic Channel),” “Resurrection: First Season” (A&E) and “True Detective: First Season”