'Behind the Candelabra': An unblinking look at Liberace and his young lover

Behind the Candelabra

HBO, $19.97; Blu-ray, $24.99

One of the best movies Steven Soderbergh has made in years, the HBO telepic "Behind The Candelabra" stars Matt Damon as Scott Thorson, a dog-trainer who in the late '70s became the romantic partner of superstar pianist Liberace, played by Michael Douglas. A decade ago, a film like this would've focused on the oddity of two men behaving like an old married couple, letting jealousy and long-held resentments keep them from being as happy together as they could be. But Soderbergh and screenwriter Richard LaGravenese pay more attention to the class, fame and talent disparity between Thorson and Liberace, making the movie more about how money makes even nice guys into demanding jerks. This is a heartbreaking, truthful film, with more visual style than Soderbergh has indulged in lately. The DVD and Blu-ray adds a brief, HBO-produced promotional featurette.

The Bling Ring

Lionsgate, $19.98; Blu-ray, $24.99

Available on VOD beginning Sept. 17

Nothing against director Sofia Coppola, whose first three feature films ("The Virgin Suicides," "Lost In Translation" and "Marie Antoinette") remain magnificent, but between 2010's tedious "Somewhere" and her lightweight new movie "The Bling Ring," it seems she's lost her touch a little. Based on Nancy Jo Sales' Vanity Fair article "The Suspects Wore Louboutins," "The Bling Ring" stars Israel Broussard and Katie Chang as high school friends leading a band of robbers that break into celebrities' homes while the stars are away. The premise promises both fun and satire, but Coppola plays the material with too much arty remove, and not enough insight. She does however give a well-deserved spotlight to the increasingly amazing Emma Watson, whose performance as one of the robbers is her best yet. The DVD and Blu-ray come with a few slight featurettes.

The East

20th Century Fox, $22.98; Blu-ray, $29.99

Available on VOD beginning Sept. 17

Writer-director Zal Batmanglij and writer-producer-star Brit Marling follow up their challenging cult hit "Sound of My Voice" with the more conventional techno-thriller "The East." Whereas the previous film had gonzo documentarians infiltrating a fringe religious group, "The East" stars Marling as a private investigator for a corporate consortium who goes undercover to track down a group of radical anarchist saboteurs. While living with the collective, she begins to fall under the spell of the enigmatic leader (played by Alexander Skarsgard) and soon finds herself questioning her loyalties. The DVD and Blu-ray add featurettes.

World War Z

Paramount, $29.99; Blu-ray, $39.99/$54.99

Available on VOD beginning Sept. 17

Director Marc Forster's long-simmering adaptation of Max Brooks' bestselling novel "World War Z" finally arrived over the summer, with Brad Pitt starring as a former UN investigator who's called in to help trace the source of a zombie plague. Playing far more like a globetrotting pandemic thriller than a conventional horror film, "World War Z" sees the world's major metropolitan areas overrun by throngs of the fast-moving reanimated dead, their rapidly expanding ranks threatening to stamp out humanity. The scope of the movie is big – maybe too big at times – as Forster trades the slower burn of George Romero's classic zombie films for big-budget action rhythms. Still, it's a nail biter. The DVD and Blu-ray include multiple featurettes.

And …

Arrow: The Complete First Season

Warner Bros., $59.98; Blu-ray, $69.97

Bates Motel: Season One

Universal, $44.98; Blu-ray, $49.98

Bless Me, Ultima

Sony, $30.99

Available on VOD beginning Sept. 17


PHOTOS: Faces to watch 2014 | Movies

ENVELOPE: The latest awards buzz

DOCUMENTARIES: 10 best of 2013, and a new crop in 2014


Copyright © 2018, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad