All of the new DVD releases hit stores (and Netflix) on Tuesdays. So each week in What to Netflix: New DVD Tuesday, I sort through the best of the batch and tell you what to add to your queue. In addition to the titles below, wartime movies Rendition and In the Valley of Elah are also out this week. If you missed Noah Baumbach's Margot at the Wedding starring Nicole Kidman, you can add that to your queue as well.
Great timing for this stirring drama to be released on DVD if you're trying to view Oscar nominees before the big ceremony. Director Ridley Scott recreates 1960s and 1970s Harlem to bring the true-life story of Frank Lucas to the silver screen. Played to eerie perfection by Denzel Washington, American Gangster follows Lucas as he comes to power in New York via a heroin drug ring. His savvy business instincts eventually put Lucas' business on par with that of the Italians, and catches the attention of one of the only non-corrupt law enforcement officials in town, Richie Roberts (Russell Crowe).
This film earned Rudy Dee an Oscar nod for her role as Lucas' mother, and has been nominated for Best Achievement in Art Direction. Special features include a taping of the still-living Frank Lucas and Richie Roberts discussing the film and their roles in making it.
Two more interesting films, so
Tony Gilmore, whose screenwriting credits include The Devil's Advocate and The Bourne Ultimatum, took the director's seat for the first time for this legal thriller starring George Clooney. Michael Clayton follows a corporate lawyer (Clooney) who has made a career as his law firm's "janitor," cleaning up client legal messes. Clayton faces his biggest legal — and moral — challenge trying to help a colleague (played wonderfully by Tom Wilkinson) who has finally broken down and grown a conscience. The film has been showered with Oscar love including nominations for Best Picture and Best Director.
Academy Award-winning director Ang Lee follows up his critically-acclaimed Brokeback Mountain with this thriller set in post-WWII Shanghai. Lust, Caution is part spy thriller, part haunting love story, and tells the tale of one Chinese woman's penetration into the world of a powerful Japanese collaborator in order to aid his assassination. Lee's ability to convey extreme yearnings of lust, combined with some drawn-out love scenes earned this film an NC-17 rating. Fans of this director's work will not be disappointed.