Small town turned upside down in “American Rust”

A murder mystery set in a fictional Rust Belt town tops the DVD releases for the week of January 25.

“American rust“: The Showtime series adapted from the 2009 novel by Philipp Meyer stars Jeff Daniels as the police chief of an economically depressed community in western Pennsylvania who comes into conflict after his lover’s son was charged with murder.

“Comparison with ‘Mare of Easttown’ seems inevitable, if for no other reason than this show is set on the east end of the same state, in a similar if not extremely distressed small town, with a bountiful complement of bad and broken marriages, troublesome children, drug problems, sad and exhausted citizens and a cop more or less at the center of it all,” writes Los Angeles Times critic Robert Lloyd in his review. “But ‘Mare’ could also be funny ( Jean Smart hiding ice in a bag of frozen vegetables, for example), where ‘American Rust’ almost never aims to be.”

With a story dominated by two families, “there are no anti-heroes in ‘American Rust,'” Lloyd writes. “Just people making bad choices, who may or may not make better ones. (The door isn’t closed to hope.)”

ALSO NEW ON DVD JAN. 25

“Birds like us”: Family animated film about a group of birds that must spread their wings after suddenly finding themselves far from home. With the voices of Alicia Vikander, Jeremy Irons, Jim Broadbent, Khalid Abdalla and Sheridan Smith.

“Mofie”: Set in 1981 South Africa, this brutal coming-of-age story follows a gay teenager during his compulsory military service in the South African National Defense Force amidst apartheid and border war with Angola.

“Tom and Jerry: Cowboy Up!”: This film finds the cat and mouse rivals in the Wild West, teaming up to help a cowgirl and her brother save their property from a greedy land grabber, with the help of Jerry’s three nephews and of a group of prairie dogs.

HD DIGITAL RELEASE JAN. 25

“Golden Voice”: Israeli feature film about the married couple who were the Soviet Union’s go-to film dubbers, voicing all the western films that penetrated the Iron Curtain, and their move to Israel after the fall of the Soviet Union, where they have to find a new job.

“The Great Mail Heist”: Documentary film about toxic culture and the push to downsize that chronicles the efforts of a 30-year-old post office clerk to defend his co-workers.

“Salt in My Soul”: Based on the best-selling memoir published posthumously, this documentary follows the journey of a young woman with cystic fibrosis at the age of 3.

“Two Deaths of Henry Baker”: Modern Western about an outlaw and a family feud over possession of a bag of gold coins.

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