Rachel Weisz shines in 'Denial,' a post-Holocaust story, on Blu-ray, DVD
Posted January 7
One of 2016's best movies, “Denial,” is on Blu-ray and DVD this week.
“Denial” (Universal, 2016, PG-13, featurette, trailer). Rachel Weisz is terrific as Deborah Lipstadt, a real-life American professor who was sued for libel in the mid-1990s by Holocaust denier David Irving (Timothy Spall, who is also excellent) after she spoke out against his ravings as falsehoods in her book, “Denying the Holocaust.”
The entire film is engrossing, but it really picks up steam when they finally get into court in London, where the burden of proof is not on Irving, but on Lipstadt and her attorney (the always reliable Tom Wilkinson), which means they essentially have to prove that the Holocaust happened. This is a riveting chronicle of a little-known footnote relating to World War II history.
“Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life” (Lionsgate, 2016. PG, deleted scenes, featurettes, bloopers). This is a broad farce for teens about a passionate young artist named Rafe (Griffin Gluck) who is transferred into a new school where imagination and creativity are restrained by an array of arbitrary but strictly enforced rules. When the principal (Andy Daly) destroys Rafe’s personal notebook, a war of pranks begins. Lauren Graham plays Rafe’s mother.
“The Monkey King 2” (Well Go, 2016, not rated/probable PG-13, in Cantonese or Mandarin with English subtitles, featurette, trailer). A young Chinese monk (Feng Shaofeng) on a journey to India to collect Buddha’s scriptures accidentally frees the Monkey King (Aaron Kwok), who then helps him confront the White Bone Demon (a change-of-pace role for Gong Li). Kelly Chan returns as the Goddess of Mercy but Donnie Yen and Chow Yun-fat go missing this time out. This is an overlong but engaging fantasy adventure, with action scenes choreographed by Sammo Hung.
“The Ultimate Legacy” (Cinedigm, 2016, not rated/probable PG, featurette, bloopers). This sequel to “The Ultimate Gift” and “The Ultimate Life” again has a young, self-absorbed man (Myko Olivier) coerced into doing good so he can receive an inheritance, in accordance with the will of his late grandmother (Raquel Welch). Logan Bartholomew returns from the second film to offer guidance, along with Brian Dennehy from the first film and Bill Cobbs, who has been in all three. Lee Meriwether co-stars.
“Amnesia” (Lionsgate, 2016, PG-13, in Mandarin with English subtitles or English dubbed). The misleading Chinese title of this film is “Who Am I?” and it was sold there as a remake of the 1998 Jackie Chan action-comedy of the same name. Despite Chan being onboard as a producer of this new film, however, it bears no real resemblance. The story here has a bike courier being framed for murder, so he tries to clear himself, even as he suffers from memory loss. Some good stunts help it along.
“Operation Avalanche” (Lionsgate, 2016, R for language, deleted scenes, audio commentaries, featurette). Two young CIA agents in 1967 go undercover at NASA to reveal a Russian mole in this found-footage, satirical faux documentary. But in the guise of documentary filmmakers, the duo instead discovers that NASA is far behind its moon-landing estimates, so they conspire to fake it, with help from Stanley Kubrick’s groundbreaking special effects on “2001 — A Space Odyssey.”
Chris Hicks is the author of "Has Hollywood Lost Its Mind? A Parent’s Guide to Movie Ratings." He also writes at www.hicksflicks.com and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.