Monday, January 27, 2020
Jan. 27, 2020

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New on DVD: Butler, Freeman back in ‘Angel Has Fallen’

‘Official Secrets’ a gripping real-life whistleblower tale


A solemn change to a hit franchise and the story of a real-life whistleblower top new DVD releases.

• “Angel Has Fallen”: Gerald Butler returns as the “Has Fallen” franchise’s Secret Service agent Mike Banning, the action hero with a penchant for stabbing people. In this installment, Mike is forced to go rogue (surprise!) after being framed in an attack on the president. But “Angel” commands a more serious tone than “Olympus Has Fallen” and “London Has Fallen,” wrote Tribune News Service critic Katie Walsh.

“The tone of ‘Angel’ is far more somber than the wise-cracking “Olympus” or the frothing, jingoistic ‘London,'” wrote Walsh. “The weight makes the film strangely dull at times. (How can a scene of Butler crashing a big rig into a tree be so flat?) But some moments in this outsize take on the ‘The Fugitive’ hit a real nerve, such as a shootout in an office building where young bearded white men in tactical gear pump thousands of rounds into drywall and office furniture. Banning is our fantasy for those very real scenarios: a strong, resourceful, yet exceedingly normal man of action.”

Butler in gruff mode, chaotic action sequences and a script that actually addresses all those head injuries Mike has gotten throughout the franchise — what’s not to love?

• “Official Secrets”: A new whistleblower may be dominating the headlines, but the story of Katharine Gun, less known in the U.S. than in Britain, is a must-see. In 2003, Gun, a British intelligence agency translator, leaked a classified memo from the American government announcing an illegal operation to blackmail UN diplomats to support invading Iraq. The film follows Gun (Keira Knightley) and her life with her husband, Yasar (Adam Bakri), a Kurdish Turk attempting to get British citizenship, her whistleblowing and the ensuing trial.

“A model of professionalism and energy, ‘Official Secrets’ moves along at a brisk clip,” the Los Angeles Times’ Kenneth Turan wrote. “It’s paced like a police procedural, but it focuses not on an investigator but rather a moral exemplar who takes a principled stand in defiance of the price that has to be paid.

Already twice nominated for an Oscar, Knightley gives one of her strongest performances here, using her innate steeliness and presence to create a convincing portrait of a courageous zealot who believes in right and wrong in an almost biblical sense.”

Also on DVD

• “Where’d You Go Bernadette”: Cate Blanchett stars in this adaptation of the best-selling novel by Maria Semple, which follows the aftermath of a former Seattle architect’s disappearance.

• “Don’t Let Go”: Detective Jack Radcliff (David Oyelowo) receives a shocking call from his niece Ashley (Storm Reid), who has been recently murdered, and must solve the crime in this time-traveling thriller.

• “Blindspot: The Complete Fourth Season”: Sullivan Stapleton and Jaimie Alexander star in the NBC crime series.

• “Mary”: A family buys a ship with scary secrets that come to light once they are out on isolated waters. Gary Oldman and Emily Mortimer star.

• “The Driver”: A detective (Bruce Dern) sets his sights on catching a freewheeling, criminally in-demand driver (Ryan O’Neal).

On digital HD

• “It Chapter Two”: Set 27 years after 2017’s “It,” the Losers’ Club reunites to face the evil clown Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard), who is once again terrorizing the town of Derry, Maine. Out on DVD and Blu-ray Dec. 3.

• “Adam”: An awkward teen (Stephen Alexander) is introduced to New York’s queer and trans activist scene by his older sister (Margaret Qualley). Look for it on DVD Dec. 3.

• “Killerman”: Money launderer Joe Diamond (Liam Hemsworth) wakes up after a drug deal gone bad and ensuing car crash with no memory, a mysterious cash stash and a slew of dirty cops looking for him. Available on DVD Dec. 3.