Monday, October 26, 2020
Oct. 26, 2020

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New on DVD: ‘First Cow’ one of the best films of the year

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An unexpected ride-or-die friendship blossoms in the top new DVD releases for the week of Sept. 8.

“First Cow”: After being antagonized by the fur-trapping men he’s traveling with out west for not being aggressive enough with procuring provisions, a gentle cook known as Cookie (John Magaro) meets King-Lu (Orion Lee), a Chinese immigrant who’s being pursued for killing a Russian man, and allows him to hide in his tent in the Oregon woods. They later reconnect by chance at Fort Tillicum. Similarly introverted and both with California dreams, the two hit it off.

While Cookie makes good culinary use of what’s around, the two overhear a rich Englishman, Chief Factor (Toby Jones), boasting of bringing the first-ever cow to the territory. And when Cookie stumbles upon said cow out in the open, he milks it, talks to it, and uses the milk to make biscuits. King-Lu marvels at the treats and inspires the pair to begin selling them, with the stolen milk taken right under Factor’s nose, referring to it as a “secret Chinese ingredient.”

Based on the novel “The Half-Life” by Jonathan Raymond (who also co-wrote the screenplay), director/co-writer Kelly Reichardt’s “First Cow” is a beautiful film. With its simple story and stunningly quiet moments, it’s not a Wild West we often see onscreen, and the two men’s care for each other resonates powerfully through Magaro and Lee’s soft performances. Between the sparse guitar score by William Tyler, gorgeous cinematography by Christopher Blauvelt and Cookie’s coos to the cow, it’s a deep meditation on the art of connection, and one of the best films out this year.

Also new on DVD

“The Big Ugly”: English mobsters aim to launder money via a West Virginia oil deal that goes awry. Stars Vinnie Jones, Malcolm McDowell and Ron Perlman.

“A Nice Girl Like You”: After a breakup, an uptight violinist (Lucy Hale) makes a sexual bucket list.

“Bad Education”: A student reporter (Geraldine Viswanathan) uncovers massive corruption at a Long Island school. Also stars Hugh Jackman, Allison Janney and Ray Romano.

“Bull: Season Four”: The CBS series returns as the doctor (Michael Weatherly) gets ready to become a dad.

“Chicago P.D.: Season Seven”: The NBC series’ seventh season continues the investigation of Kelton’s (John C. McGinley) murder.

“Mighty Oak”: A music manager (Janel Parrish) encounters a guitar prodigy (Tommy Ragen) and believes he’s the reincarnation of her deceased brother.

“Mr. Mercedes – Season 03”: Hodges (Brendan Gleeson) is devastated by the death of writer John Rothstein (Bruce Dern) as the Audience series’ third season opens.

“Prodigal Son: The Complete First Season”: Profiler Malcolm Bright (Tom Payne) must engage with his serial killer father (Michael Sheen) to help solve similar crimes in this Fox series.

“Retaliation”: A demolition worker (Orlando Bloom) discovers the priest (James Smillie) who abused him as a child.

“Supergirl: The Complete Fifth Season”: Tension builds after Lena (Katie McGrath) has discovered Kara’s (Melissa Benoist) alter-ego in the fifth season of the CW’s series based on the DC Comics character.

“Superman: Man of Tomorrow”: Animated film follows Daily Planet intern Clark Kent as he makes early attempts to save his city.

“True History of the Kelly Gang”: Based on a true story, the infamous 19th century Australian gang led by bushranger Ned Kelly (George MacKay) goes on the run.

“Vitalina Varela”: After waiting decades for her ticket to Lisbon, a woman (Vitalina Varela) finds out her recently deceased husband kept secrets from her. In Portuguese.

“Waiting for the Barbarians”: A magistrate (Mark Rylance) butts heads with a cruel colonel (Johnny Depp) in this colonial drama.

On digital HD

“Cats & Dogs 3: Paws Unite!”: The fight between cats and dogs reignites after a tech evildoer uses frequencies only the pets can hear and manufactures drama.

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