New on DVD: 'Sometimes Always Never' a fascinating play on words

Katie Foran-McHale, Tribune News Service on

Published in Entertainment News

A family tries to use words to fill a void in their lives in the top new DVD releases for the week of Aug. 18.

"Sometimes Always Never": Emotionally distant but idiosyncratic Alan (Bill Nighy) embarks on an awkward long car ride with his son Peter (Sam Riley). It's clear Peter's dreading the trip, as Alan taps away on a game on his phone. When they arrive at their accommodations, Alan makes a bet with a fellow guest (Tim McInnerny) over a game of Scrabble after playing dumb. As it turns out, the game appears to be his life, and after walloping the irate guest, the guest's wife (Jenny Agutter) reveals they're both on edge, only staying there that night to visit the morgue the following morning to see if a recently found body is that of their missing son. And as it turns out, Alan and Peter are there for the same reason. Alan's missing son, Michael, left in anger during a game of Scrabble, which explains the whole family's obsession, and Peter resents being the son who stayed behind.

Directed by Carl Hunter and written by Frank Cottrell Boyce, "Sometimes Always Never" shows power in how this family's relationships appear frozen in time since Michael's disappearance, a weight that fills the void of what their present and future could look like without the inertia. Nighy and Riley keep their grieving characters restrained, but with pain visible just beyond the surface. Alan's quirks are endearing, though the film's quirky editing and overall aesthetic doesn't quite fit the tone or the weight.

Still, the film succeeds in showing the family's love language: Words stick in their throats, maybe, but they flow out onto the board game.


"Batwoman: The Complete First Season": Kate Kane (Ruby Rose) takes over Gotham's vigilante duties years after Batman's disappearance in this CW series.


"Blue Bloods: The Tenth Season": The CBS series stars Tom Selleck as the patriarch of a family of police officers.

"Cursed Films": Documentary series follows behind-the-scenes tragedies of iconic horror movies including "The Exorcist," "The Crow" and more.

"Deathstroke: Knights & Dragons": Animated web series follows Deathstroke's (Michael Chiklis) quest for atonement and to take down the evil Jackal (Chris Jai Alex). Also stars vocal talents of Sasha Alexander and Asher Bishop.

"Emperor": Enslaved man on the run Shields "Emperor" Green (Dayo Okeniyi) raids Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, with the help of abolitionist John Brown (James Cromwell).


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