New on Blu-ray
“The Old Man & the Gun” (20th Century Fox DVD, $29.98; Blu-ray, $34.99; also available on VOD)
Based on the true story of aging bank robber Forrest Tucker and his “Over-the-Hill Gang,” writer-director David Lowery’s “The Old Man & the Gun” stars Robert Redford, in what the actor had said will be his last film role. Casey Affleck co-stars, playing a burned-out police detective who comes alive again while investigating the easygoing, elusive Tucker. “The Old Man & the Gun” is brief and breezy; and Lowery seems more interested in recreating the look and feel of the early ’80s than in any kind of caper plot. But whenever Redford trades wrinkly smiles with the luminous Sissy Spacek (playing Tucker’s equally happy-go-lucky girlfriend), it's a reminder of how warm and inviting a good movie can be.
[Special features: A Lowery commentary track and multiple featurettes]
“The Standoff at Sparrow Creek” (available 1/18)
First-time feature writer-director Henry Dunham’s gripping and relevant drama stars James Badge Dale as an ex-cop who over the course of one night in a heavily armed warehouse, meets with his anarchist militia to find who might’ve slaughtered a gathering of policemen at a funeral. A cross between a drawing-room mystery and a macho B-movie, the movie is talky and twisty — at times to a fault. But the punchy dialogue and terrific cast do cut to the heart of a modern America where people are more loyal to their political tribes than their country.
TV set of the week
“Poetry in America: Season One” (PBS DVD, $39.99)
Hearkening back to the TV of the late ’50 and early ’60s — when visionary producers tried to spread high culture to the masses — the PBS series features an all-star cast of actors, musicians, athletes, writers and politicians, reciting and commenting on some of the most significant poems in America’s literary history. The 12-episode first season runs the gamut from Emma Lazarus’s Statue of Liberty poem “The New Colossus” and Emily Dickinson’s “I cannot dance upon my toes” to works by Allen Ginsberg and the rapper Nas, with commentary from the likes of Shaquille O’Neal, Bono, Bill Clinton, Anna Deavere Smith and Yo Yo Ma.
[Special features: None]
From the archives
“Obsession” (Shout! Factory Blu-ray, $34.93)
Early in his career, director Brian De Palma was accused of “ripping off” Alfred Hitchcock, but that doesn’t accurately capture what he did with movies like 1976’s gonzo masterpiece “Obsession.” Written by Paul Schrader — with hazy Vilmos Zsigmond cinematography and a score by frequent Hitchcock collaborator Bernard Herrmann — “Obsession” stars Cliff Robertson as a New Orleans businessman, who falls in love with an art restorer (played by Geneviève Bujold), who looks just like his murdered wife (also Bujold). Adopting a tone and style that’s like someone’s half-remembered dream of watching “Vertigo,” De Palma explores what he loves about Hitchcock’s original, showing how its tale of conspiracies and compulsions is really about ordinary people penned in by social expectations and their own desires.
[Special features: New and vintage interviews, and a scholarly commentary track]
Three more to see