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posted: 8/10/2013 5:58 AM

DVD previews: 'The Company You Keep,' 'Big Wedding'

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  • Jim Grant (director Robert Redford) comforts his daughter (Jackie Evancho) before he goes on the lam in "The Company You Keep."

      Jim Grant (director Robert Redford) comforts his daughter (Jackie Evancho) before he goes on the lam in "The Company You Keep."

 
The Washington Post

Here's a look at DVDs coming out Tuesday, Aug. 13:

"The Company You Keep" (R, 120 minutes, Sony): Jim Grant (Robert Redford, who also directed) has been living under an assumed name and working as a respectable lawyer when the FBI arrests a former colleague and fellow fugitive from his radical days (Susan Sarandon). Jim, a widower with a young daughter (Jackie Evancho), is soon on the lam again. But his behavior suggests he is innocent. That sounds like a story to a young newspaper reporter named Ben Shepard (Shia LaBeouf), but it puts the journalist at odds with an FBI officer (Terrence Howard). What's the difference between the Weather Underground and al-Qaida? The film asks this through Ben, who wasn't even born by the end of the Vietnam War -- a war that some of Jim's colleagues considered a form of terrorism. "The Company You Keep" looks at the notion of morality from more than one angle. It offers no apologies for the old act of violence that precipitates its action, but it holds a deep affection for the gray areas of dissension, debate and disillusionment that sometimes leave blood on the floor. Contains obscenity, drug references and brief violence.

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"The Big Wedding" (R, 90 minutes, Lionsgate): Writer-director Justin Zackham has the benefit of an exceptional cast, which includes Robert De Niro, Susan Sarandon, Diane Keaton, Amanda Seyfried and Robin Williams. Sadly, superior talent can propel a movie only so far. The story, based on the 2006 Swiss-French film "Mon Frere Se Marie," launches just before the wedding of the Griffin family's youngest, adopted son. The event promises to reunite the whole clan. The problem is that patriarch Don (De Niro) hasn't seen his ex-wife, Ellie (Keaton), in 10 years, and he's currently shacked up with her best friend, Bebe (Sarandon). Further complicating things, daughter Lyla (Katherine Heigl) disdains her father. And that isn't all. The groom, Alejandro (Ben Barnes), invited his ultra-Catholic Colombian biological mother and sister to the nuptials. Fearing they may blanch at his adoptive parents' separation, he requests that Don and Ellie pretend to be married, just for the weekend. As the movie trudges toward its conclusion, the script attempts to ferret out emotion from the audience. But it's tough to feel sympathy for a cad and his mostly mean-spirited family. Contains crude language, sexual situations and nudity. Extras: "Coordinating The Big Wedding" featurette.

"Olympus Has Fallen" (R, 118 minutes, Sony): In this efficient if unimaginative version of "Die Hard" in the White House, Gerard Butler plays Mike Banning, a Secret Service agent whose close relationship with President Benjamin Asher and his son, Connor, is destroyed after a rescue mission goes awry. A visit from the South Korean prime minister ends with Asher, the vice president and the secretary of defense being abducted and held hostage in the White House bunker. Director Antoine Fuqua stages the takeover of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. and its environs with unsettling, visceral mayhem, as hundreds of civilians are strafed, bombed and shot; nearby, the Washington Monument crumbles in a distasteful re-enactment of the destruction of Sept. 11, 2001. Contains strong violence and profanity.

"Emperor" (PG-13, 106 minutes, in English and Japanese with English subtitles, Lionsgate): Wrapping a history lesson in a romantic melodrama can make for a lively movie, but only if the love story is juicier than the educational narrative. That's not the case with "Emperor," both of whose story lines remain stubbornly dry. This drama will appeal primarily to those with an interest in the devastated setting (1945 Tokyo) and the enigmatic title character, Emperor Hirohito. The action centers on Gen. Bonner Fellers (Matthew Fox). The American occupation's commander, Gen. Douglas MacArthur (Tommy Lee Jones), has given Fellers 10 days to determine which Japanese leaders should be tried and executed as war criminals and which should be rehabilitated to help rebuild the country. Top imperial advisers won't allow the Americans to come near Hirohito. The unseeable Hirohito is echoed by the unfindable Aya, the Japanese woman Fellers has loved since they were college classmates. Most picturesque are the slow motion flashbacks of Aya and Fellers at play in a prewar bamboo forest, with her bright red dress framed by green stalks. The actual Fellers was apparently less dashing, and Aya didn't exist. But during purely visual moments like these, "Emperor" almost brings their love to life. Contains violence, brief profanity and extensive smoking. Extras: making-of featurette, commentary with director Peter Webber and producer Yoko Narahashi, deleted scenes, and behind-the-scenes and historical photo galleries.

Also: "The Hot Flashes," "3 Geezers!," "The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec" (2010, France), "The Damned" (1947, France, Cohen Media Group), "The Odd Angry Shot" (1979, Australia), "Super Eruption," "A Werewolf Boy" (South Korea), "Super Storm," "The Guillotines" (China) and "From This Day Forward" (originally aired on Gospel Music Channel).

Television series: "The Office: Season Nine," "Once Upon a Time: The Complete Second Season," "The Mindy Project: Season One," "Girls: The Complete Second Season" (HBO), "Family Ties: The Seventh and Final Season" (1988-89), "Perry Mason: The Ninth and Final Season, Vol. 2," "Bill Moyers: Faith & Reason Collection" (six-disc set, PBS), "Southland: The Complete Fifth and Final Season," "Enlightened: The Complete Second Season" (HBO), "Time Team: The Team's Favorite Digs" (U.S. debut of British science-reality series, Acorn Media), "Combat!: The Complete Fifth Season" (1966-67, eight-disc set), "Trial & Retribution: Complete Collection" (18-disc set of British drama series, Acorn Media) and "The Amazing World of Gumball: The Party " (Cartoon Network).

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