New Video: 'The Dinner' Features A Top Notch Cast Tackling Uncomfortable Subjects

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New on Blu-ray

“The Dinner” (Lionsgate DVD, $19.98; Blu-ray, $24.99; also available on VOD)

Herman Koch’s bestselling 2009 novel “The Dinner” has already been made into movies in Dutch and Italian, and now gets an English-language adaptation courtesy of writer-director Oren Moverman. Richard Gere and Steve Coogan costar as estranged brothers who meet for a meal with their wives (played by Rebecca Hall and Laura Linney), where they have an uncomfortable conversation about a crime committed by their children and whether they should tell the truth about what happened. The script is over-explanatory and relies too much on flashbacks, but the cast is excellent in long scenes together at the dinner table, hashing out a tough moral dilemma. As he showed with his films “The Messenger” and “Rampart,” Moverman has a feel for stories that straddle the line between social realism and genre fiction.

Special features: A Moverman/Linney commentary track

Richard Gere as Stan Lohman and Rebecca Hall as Katelyn Lohman in "The Dinner."
The Orchard Richard Gere as Stan Lohman and Rebecca Hall as Katelyn Lohman in "The Dinner." Richard Gere as Stan Lohman and Rebecca Hall as Katelyn Lohman in "The Dinner." (The Orchard)

VOD

“The Transfiguration” (available Aug. 8)

First-time feature filmmaker Michael O’Shea steals from the best with his indie horror film “The Transfiguration,” borrowing liberally from (and occasionally name-checking) George Romero’s “Martin,” Tomas Alfredson’s “Let the Right One In” and Larry Fessenden’s “Habit,” all while telling the story of a lonely New York teen obsessed with vampires. As much a character study as it is a slasher, “The Transfiguration” asks the audience to identify with the psychologically damaged Milo (played by Eric Ruffin), who strikes up a sweet romance with the new girl in his neighborhood while going out at night to experiment with vampirism. Effective as both a textured slice-of-life and as a discomfiting commentary on modern alienation — marked by subtle observations about race and class — “The Transfiguration” is sublime art-horror.

Eric Ruffin as Milo and Chloe Levine as Sophie in "The Transfiguration."
Strand Releasing Eric Ruffin as Milo and Chloe Levine as Sophie in "The Transfiguration." Eric Ruffin as Milo and Chloe Levine as Sophie in "The Transfiguration." (Strand Releasing)

TV set of the week

“Portlandia: Season Seven” (VSC DVD, $19.95)

Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein’s hipster-skewering sketch comedy series “Portlandia” will be airing its eighth and final season next year, which is a shame, because judging by the 10 episodes of Season 7, the creators aren’t out of good jokes yet. With guest appearances by the likes of Kumail Nanjiani, Maria Bamford, Laurie Metcalf, Abbi Jacobson, Claire Danes and Kyle MacLachlan — and routines taking on men’s rights activists, the gig economy and restaurants that fetishize garbage food — “Portlandia” remains one of cable’s sharpest, funniest shows.

Special features: None

This image released by IFC shows Fred Armisen, left, and Carrie Brownstein in a scene from "Portland
Augusta Quirk / AP This image released by IFC shows Fred Armisen, left, and Carrie Brownstein in a scene from "Portlandia," This image released by IFC shows Fred Armisen, left, and Carrie Brownstein in a scene from "Portlandia," (Augusta Quirk / AP)

From the archives

“Freebie and the Bean” (Warner Archive Blu-ray, $21.99)

Hollywood was on such a roll in the first half of the ’70s that even the studios’ lesser-known films were classics of a kind. On paper, the 1974 buddy cop picture “Freebie and the Bean” sounds utterly generic: an urban crime story packed with car chases and gunplay. But producer-director Richard Rush brought an appealing shagginess to Robert Kaufman and Floyd Mutrux’s script, and costars James Caan and Alan Arkin have terrific chemistry as two very different partners who work well together to bring down organized crime. From its vividly seedy San Francisco locations to its hysterically over-the-top violence, “Freebie and the Bean” is memorably funky — the kind of movie that modern writer-directors like Quentin Tarantino, Paul Thomas Anderson and Shane Black are still trying to ape.

Special features: None

Three more to see

“The Exception” (Lionsgate DVD, $19.98; Blu-ray, $24.99; also available on VOD); “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword” (Warner Bros. DVD/Blu-ray combo, $35.99; also available on VOD); “Snatched” (20th Century Fox DVD, $29.98; Blu-ray, $34.99; 4K, $39.99; also available on VOD)

Lily James as Miek de Jong in the film "The Exception."
Johan Voets / A24 Lily James as Miek de Jong in the film "The Exception." Lily James as Miek de Jong in the film "The Exception." (Johan Voets / A24)
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>'Hamilton' curtain call
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Lin-Manuel Miranda joins the "Hamilton" cast onstage after their first show at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood. (Ken Kwok / Los Angeles Times)

Lin-Manuel Miranda joins the "Hamilton" cast onstage after their first show at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood. (Ken Kwok / Los Angeles Times)

>'Hamilton' curtain call
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Lin-Manuel Miranda joins the "Hamilton" cast onstage after their first show at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood. (Ken Kwok / Los Angeles Times)

Lin-Manuel Miranda joins the "Hamilton" cast onstage after their first show at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood. (Ken Kwok / Los Angeles Times)

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Behind the scenes of the landmark musical's arrival at the Hollywood Pantages on move-in day.

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Behind the scenes of the landmark musical's arrival at the Hollywood Pantages on move-in day.

Read full "Hamilton" coverage>>

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Kenneth Turan reviews "Wind River," directed by Taylor Sheridan and starring Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen. Video by Jason H. Neubert.

Kenneth Turan reviews "Wind River," directed by Taylor Sheridan and starring Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen. Video by Jason H. Neubert.

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Justin Chang reviews "Columbus," directed by Kogonada and starring John Cho and Haley Lu Richardson. Video by Jason H. Neubert.

Justin Chang reviews "Columbus," directed by Kogonada and starring John Cho and Haley Lu Richardson. Video by Jason H. Neubert.

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"Step" tells the inspirational story of Baltimore teens’ triumph against the odds.

"Step" tells the inspirational story of Baltimore teens’ triumph against the odds.

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New video: 'The Dinner' features a top-notch cast tackling uncomfortable subjects
New video: 'The Dinner' features a top-notch cast tackling uncomfortable subjects
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