Home entertainment: 'Gett' is a powerful critique of Orthodox family law

The writing and performances in 'Gett' are at the level of great theater,

Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem

Music Box, $29.95; Blu-ray, $34.95

A simple divorce petition provides the foundation for riveting legal drama in Ronit and Shlomi Elkabetz's work, the third in their occasional series about an Israeli woman (played by Ronit) trapped in a loveless marriage in a conservative religious community. Set almost entirely inside the courtroom — where the male judges barely acknowledge what the heroine wants — "Gett" is meant in part as a scathing critique of Orthodox family law. But the writing and performances are at the level of great theater, and the setting and situation are unusual enough to make even ordinary marital squabbles seem exotic. The DVD and Blu-ray have a behind the scenes featurette and an interview with Shlomi.

Red Army

Sony Pictures Classics, $30.99; Blu-ray, $34.99

Available on VOD Tuesday

Gabe Polsky's highly entertaining and enlightening documentary looks at the 1980 Winter Olympics "Miracle on Ice" from the perspective of the Soviet hockey team. Polsky has interviews with many of the major players — including the USSR's star, Slava Fetisov — who trace the story all the way back to the influence of innovative coach Anatoly Tarasov, who taught ballet and chess alongside hockey. The point of the doc is that the western perception of life behind the Iron Curtain has been too limited. This team worked themselves to the point of exhaustion and had limited freedom outside of the rink, but they also formed a kind of brotherhood and accomplished remarkable things both before and after they lost to the U.S. in Lake Placid, N.Y. The "Red Army" DVD and Blu-ray come with with deleted scenes, bonus interviews and a commentary track by Polsky and fellow documentarian Werner Herzog.

The Duff

Lionsgate, $29.95; Blu-ray, $39.99

Available on VOD Tuesday

There's something a little squirrelly about the premise of this teen rom-com, which is about a high schooler who discovers that her classmates are nice to her only because she's the "designated ugly fat friend" of two more popular girls. Director Ari Sandel and screenwriter Josh Cagan, adapting Kody Keplinger's YA novel, traffic in all the genre clichés, from the contrived classifications of different adolescent social circles to the love-hate relationship that develops between the heroine and a conceited hunk who helps her learn how to be cooler. But Mae Whitman is charming as "the duff," and the movie as a whole is so well-intentioned that it goes down pretty easy, even with its mixed message of "be yourself, but also try to clean up a little." The DVD and Blu-ray add featurettes.


Cohen, $24.98; Blu-ray, $34.98

Available on VOD Tuesday

French-Mauritanian filmmaker Abderrahmane Sissako landed a best foreign language film Oscar nomination for this international hit, a powerfully allegorical and politically charged drama. Set in a modest ranching community in the deserts of Mali, the film follows a multi-generational family of herders as their lives of hard work and simple pleasures are upended by the looming presence of a fundamentalist Muslim militia in a neighboring city. "Timbuktu" can be read as a direct criticism of how religious fanaticism defies human nature and cultural tradition, but it's also a universal story about how Edens don't last. Sissako delves more into the meaning of the movie in an interview included on the DVD and Blu-ray.


Kingsman: The Secret Service

20th Century Fox, $29.98; Blu-ray, $39.99

The Last Ship: The Complete First Season

Warner Bros., $39.98; Blu-ray, $49.99

Project Almanac

Paramount, $29.99; Blu-ray, $39.99

Available on VOD Tuesday

Rich Hill

Passion River, $24.95


Magnolia, $26.98; Blu-ray, $29.98


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