"The Descendants" (R) Format: DVD and Blu-ray
"The Descendants," Omaha director-screenwriter Alexander Payne's first movie since he won an Oscar for 2004's "Sideways," isn't a laughfest.
Yes, this story of a Hawaiian family in crisis, based on Kaui Hart Hemmings' novel, is laced with Payne's trademark sardonic sense of humor amid pathos.
Mostly, though, it's a story about grief and heartbreak. It's a husband and father's journey of discovery about who he is and the family he doesn't really know very well.
And in its raw, true-to-life approach to tragedy amid a natural paradise, it's got so much heart and beauty.
In "The Descendants," George Clooney plays Matt King, head of a family directly descended from Hawaiian royalty. The family owns 25,000 acres of prime beachfront real estate. Pressed by cousins to sell, Matt must soon decide what happens to the land.
But that all becomes secondary when his free-spirit wife suffers a head injury that puts her in an irreversible coma.
Suddenly Matt, who calls himself "the backup parent," must cope with daughters Scottie, 10 (Amara Miller), and Alexandra, 17 (Shailene Woodley), both in rebellion, as he informs them it's time to pull the plug on life support.
As if all that isn't bad enough, Alexandra informs her dad that mom was cheating on him.
Before it's over, the family's shifting paradigm will include Matt's need to learn about the other man. Clooney takes sorrow, rage and conflicting feelings to depths you haven't seen from him before.
A crack supporting cast includes Robert Forster as the crusty father of Matt's wife, who wants to blame Matt; Nick Krause as Alexandra's laid-back boyfriend, who isn't as clueless as he seems at first; and Beau Bridges as Matt's scruffy cousin, Hugh, who wants to cash in on the land.
Add Matthew Lillard and Judy Greer in roles that need to be discovered along the way. They do a lot with limited screen time.
It's a Hawaii you haven't seen before, one of everyday living and a complex cultural stew. Payne again uses the setting to subtly flavor his story, ratcheting up that ring of truth.
— Bob Fischbach, World-Herald staff writer
"The Adventures of Tintin"
(PG) Format: DVD and Blu-ray
From Oscar-winning filmmakers Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson comes the epic adventures of Tintin. Racing to uncover the secrets of a sunken ship that may hold a vast fortune —- but also an ancient curse — Tintin and his loyal dog Snowy embark on an action-packed journey around the world.
"My Week with Marilyn"
(R) Format: DVD and Blu-ray
During Marilyn Monroe's first trip to London to film "The Prince and the Showgirl," with Sir Laurence Olivier, she befriends Colin Clark, an ambitious 23 year-old production assistant. As their relationship progresses, Colin's focus shifts from making his way in the film business to rescuing her from the pressures of celebrity life. When Monroe's new husband, playwright Arthur Miller, makes a brief trip to Paris, Clark takes the opportunity to introduce her to the world outside of Hollywood fame. Based on Clark's memoir.
Other releases: "Happy Feet Two" (DVD, Blu-ray), "The Three Musketeers" (DVD, Blu-ray), "Melancholia" (DVD, Blu-ray), "Young Adult" (DVD, Blu-ray), "Neverland" (DVD, Blu-ray), "Bag of Bones," "Wallace & Gromit: World of Invention" (DVD, Blu-ray), "The Killing: Season One" (DVD, Blu-ray)