New DVDs being released Dec. 12 range from the historical to the heroic.
"Detroit"; 2 stars: Director Kathryn Bigelow showed a great ability to equally address the political and personal sides of the stories in "The Hurt Locker" and "Zero Dark Thirty." Too much attention either way would have undermined the films.
Bigelow shows no such balance with "Detroit," and her film based on the true story of the violence of white Detroit police officers in the summer of 1967 comes across more like a horror movie than a sociological thriller. The imbalance distracts from the serious story of the riots that tore the city apart at that time.
Instead of offering insights into the events, the movie is dominated by the insane bigotry displayed by one out-of-control policeman played by Will Poulter. His work in "Detroit" is so maniacal he looks like his character wandered over from a horror movie set just to disrupt what should have been a powerful indictment on society.
"Kingsman: The Golden Circle"; 2 stars: The first film, "Kingsman: The Secret Service" had a fun charm about it as if a James Bond thriller had been mashed up with an Austin Powers tale. But, the emphasis was always on the spy story.
This sequel cares less about the spy story and more about mixing as many unrelated elements as possible. There are still some fun moments but this follow-up effort no longer has the license to be killer entertaining. Director Matthew Vaughn, who was also a co-writer of the script, just doesn't put in the same balance of fun and guns as he did the first time.
The movie about a secret spy ring, hidden away behind a London tailor, stumbles as it reaches across the pond to the American version of the agency. The addition of the Americans -- especially an annoying cowboy spy played by Channing Tatum -- is not only stupidly offensive but so bland it taints the rest of the film.
"Luke Cage: The Complete First Season"; 3.5 stars: Netflix has launched several series based on characters from the Marvel Comics universe, including this one about an experiment gone bad that leaves Luke Cage with super strength and unbreakable skin. The man-mountain of a hero played by Mike Colter was introduced in the Netflix series "Jessica Jones."
Cage is the best of the lot that also features Daredevil, Iron Fist and the Punisher. That's because Colter not only is very believable when he's doing the super hero stuff, but he also brings a deep humanity to the role. He doesn't play Cage as a cavalier champion of the people but as a man who knows he's been given a gift to be a defender of the opposed.
"Luke Cage" packs a powerful punch on multiple levels.