The Fisher King
Criterion, $29.95; Blu-ray, $39.95
A Jury Prize-winner at 2014's Tribeca Film Festival, Israeli writer-director Talya Lavie's laconic comedy tracks the daily drudgery and petty rebellions among female soldiers doing their mandatory national service in a military office where they can't be fired but also can't be inspired to try. Mildly satirical but more funny and personal, this film translates the common experiences of many young Israeli women into a universal story about boredom, bureaucracy and how to deal with different kinds of bosses and co-workers. The DVD helps solidify Lavie's reputation as a major talent by adding a couple of her shorts — including "The Substitute," the 2006 film that formed the foundation for this longer, more fully realized effort.
If You Build It
Fans of Patrick Creadon's uplifting crossword puzzle documentary, "Wordplay," and his terrifying consumer-debt critique, "I.O.U.S.A.," should get a lot out of his latest, which sort of splits the difference between the hope and hand-wringing of his earlier work. Set in a poor North Carolina county over the course of a single school year, "If You Build It" follows a pair of radical educators/designers who show how a high school class can learn math, science, literacy, history, art, business, craftsmanship and self-esteem just by taking on a long-term project — in this case, conceiving and constructing a farmer's market pavilion. Unlike so many depressing "What's wrong with our schools?" docs, this film suggests alternative ways to teach and learn, offering a possible blueprint for a better future.
Alchemy, $19.99; Blu-ray, $24.99
It's never a good sign when a movie with stars as reputable as
Criterion, $29.95; Blu-ray
Lionsgate, $19.98; Blu-ray, $19.99
Pound of Flesh
E1, $29.99; Blu-ray, $29.99