- Matt Shiverdecker Special to the American-Statesman
Here’s a look at an interesting new release available to rent from cable and digital providers as well as a few titles that have recently become available to stream.
Video on Demand
“Stronger”: Jeff Bauman was leading a fairly average life: working in a Costco, surrounded by his extended family members in Boston, and desperately wanting to get back in the good graces of his ex-girlfriend when opportunity knocks. After telling him that she is about to run the Boston Marathon, he makes a big sign and shows up at the finish line to support her with the intention of winning her back. Instead, Jeff was in the wrong place at the wrong time, standing near a bomb planted at the 2013 race. Jake Gyllenhaal gives a stunningly raw performance as Bauman, a man who struggles with being hailed an American hero after losing both his legs in the accident. “Orphan Black” star Tatiana Maslany is also remarkable as Erin, the ex-girlfriend who blames herself for his pain. It’s unfortunate that David Gordon Green’s film didn’t find a wider audience, but you can correct that now that it is available for home viewing. This is a genuinely compelling story of family, perseverance and the power of love. Be warned, there are some flashbacks to the bombing that feature very grisly images. Thankfully those are used sparingly and are fleeting, so you can easily look away if needed. (Cable and digital VOD)
Also on streaming services
“Brawl in Cell Block C”: S. Craig Zahler’s ultraviolent revenge thriller stars Vince Vaughn as a man down on his luck who gets caught up in a drug deal gone bad. He ends up in a maximum security prison under the watchful eye of a sinister warden (Don Johnson) and has to fight his way out after learning his pregnant wife has been kidnapped. It’s a convoluted story and, at 132 minutes, about 30 minutes too long. But, if you can handle the brutally broken bones and head stompings, you’re sure to enjoy this wild throwback to classic grindhouse cinema. (Amazon Prime, coming Dec. 31)
“Nightcrawler”: If you’d like to catch another stellar performance from Gyllenhaal, this 2014 thriller from Dan Gilroy is worth investing some time in. He plays Lou, a man in Los Angeles who becomes obsessed with the strange underworld of freelance videographers who race to show up first to crime scenes and sell off their footage to the local news. Lou buys a police scanner and a camcorder and hits the streets to give it a shot. The late Bill Paxton, Rene Russo and Riz Ahmed round out the excellent supporting cast. (Amazon Prime)