Home entertainment: Heartbreaking 'Still Alice' may help some distressed families

'Still Alice,' 'Blackhat' and 'Beloved Sisters' are among the new releases for home viewing

Still Alice

Sony, $30.99; Blu-ray, $34.99

Available on VOD Tuesday

Julianne Moore's Oscar-winning performance is the main reason to see this drama but not the only one. Moore is magnificent playing a 50-year-old college professor with Alzheimer's, maintaining the character's vibrant essence even as her memory falters and showing exactly why it's so hard for her husband (Alec Baldwin) and daughter (Kristen Stewart) to watch her slip away. Writer-directors Wash Westmoreland and his husband, Richard Glatzer — the latter of whom died of ALS shortly after the Academy Awards — adapt Lisa Genova's novel with an eye toward the details of how a terribly ill person tries to hide her condition. It's a well-observed, heartbreaking film, which may help families dealing with similar issues understand their own situations better. The DVD and Blu-ray add deleted scenes and featurettes.


Universal, $29.98; Blu-ray, $34.98

Available on VOD

It's rare for an American filmmaker as widely admired as Michael Mann to see one of his big-budget Hollywood movies dumped into January — where it tanked at the box office — but then the director of "Heat" and "Collateral" has always been tricky, with a style that appeals as much to hardcore cinephiles as to mainstream audiences. "Blackhat" isn't one of Mann's best films, but it's definitely one of his most stubbornly Mann-ish, taking a grimly serious approach to a pulpy story about super-hackers and international law enforcement. The cast (including Chris Hemsworth as a computer genius and Viola Davis as an FBI agent) is ill-served by the overall murkiness of "Blackhat," but Mann fans will enjoy the frenzied action sequences, which give big chases and shootouts a documentary immediacy. The DVD and Blu-ray contain a trio of featurettes that explain how the style was achieved.

Beloved Sisters

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

Dominik Graf's German historical romance stars Florian Stetter as 18th century writer Friedrich Schiller, who reportedly had a romantic relationship with siblings: his wife, Charlotte (played here by Henriette Confurius) and his biographer, Caroline von Beulwitz (Hannah Herzsprung). Graf's version of this scandalous story is only modestly steamy. Mostly he explores the characters' conflicted emotions as they wrestle with attachments and attractions that'd be complicated in 2015, let alone in the 1780s. Rather than looking at the past through the lens of the present, "Beloved Sisters" attempts — mostly successfully — to capture the passion and the feeling of discovery among three intellectuals defying social convention.


Shout! Factory, $14.93; Blu-ray, $24.97

Canadian cult-horror directors Colin Minihan and Stuart Ortiz — a.k.a. "The Vicious Brothers" — move on from their "Grave Encounters" series with "Extraterrestrial," a genre mash-up that's ambitious in its broad strokes but too safe in its particulars. For their first non-found-footage feature, the Vicious Brothers combine the "kids in the woods" slasher with the "fighting off an alien attack" thriller, and while they assemble all the B-movie clichés knowingly, they don't really put much of a spin on them beyond acknowledging that they exist. Scream! Factory's "Extraterrestrial" Blu-ray is nicely put together though, adding deleted scenes, featurettes and a commentary track by the filmmakers, who are very smart about how to make an inexpensive movie look polished.


The Cobbler

Image, $27.97; Blu-ray, $34.97

Available on VOD Tuesday

Just Before I Go

Starz/Anchor Bay, $22.98; Blu-ray, $26.99


Lionsgate, $19.98; Blu-ray, $19.99

Available on VOD

Power: The Complete First Season

Starz/Anchor Bay, $49.98; Blu-ray, $59.99


Lionsgate, $19.98; Blu-ray, $19.99

Available on VOD Tuesday


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