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DVD: “Bridge Of Spies,” “Freeheld,” “How To Win At Checkers (Every Time),” & More!

by Lawrence Ferber February 02, 2016


We have a windfall of amazing home entertainment titles this week – hey, it’s the Chinese New Year! – from Hollywood buzz titles to acclaimed queer indies.

Ellen Page and Julianne Moore go full-tilt lesbian in tearjerker biopic Freeheld (above), while Tom Hanks brokers a spy-for-spy swap in Cold War thriller Bridge Of Spies. A young gay Thai faces a stint in the military in import How To Win At Checkers (Every Time) while an essential American queer classic, 1998’s Edge Of Seventeen, gets a remaster and Blu-ray debut.

Now for the trailers, details, and your comments!



($39.99 Blu-ray, $29.99 DVD; Lionsgate)

Based on the 2007 Oscar-winning short documentary of the same name, Freeheld stars Julianne Moore as Laurel Hester, a New Jersey detective dying from cancer who must spend her final days fighting a cost-cutting Orange County Freeholders board to secure survivor’s benefits for her partner, Stacie Andree (Ellen Page). A strangely Lifetime-ish vibe and artificial sheen informs this adaptation, but Michael Shannon as Hester’s straight ally, a sassy Steve Carrell, and of course Moore and Page (also a producer) provide standout moments and turns here. The must-see, heartbreaking short documentary is part of the extras, which also includes two featurettes and a commentary.


How To Win At Checkers (Every Time)

($24.99 DVD; Wolfe)

Korean-American filmmaker Josh Kim makes an award-winning debut with this Thailand-set tale of a young gay family breadwinner, Ek, whose life with boyfriend Jai and younger brother Oat are put into jeopardy when he faces a military draft. When Oat discovers there may be a way to save Ek from this fate — while discovering his older brother’s sexuality — there may be a twist in store. An illuminating and nuanced coming of age tale with an exotic setting indeed. Extras include documentary short Draft Day.


Edge Of Seventeen

($27.99 Blu-ray, $19.99 DVD; Strand)

Director David Moreton and writer Todd Stephens’ 1998 gay classic gets a spiffy remaster and Blu-ray release. In 1984, with all the fashion and music you’d expect to mark the era, Ohio teenager Eric lands a fast food job during the summer… and finds sexual discovery and a major crush in his slightly older, college-age co-worker Rod, who is openly gay. Complicating things is Eric’s BFF and kinda sorta girlfriend Maggie, and of course romance is never easy is it? Add Lea DeLaria and stir! Extras include interviews, deleted scenes, auditions, and more.


Bridge Of Spies

($39.99 Blu-ray, $29.99 DVD; Walt Disney)

Based on a true story, Steven Spielberg’s latest revolves around a lawyer, James Donovan — who served as a prosecutor during Nuremberg — tasked with defending an alleged Soviet spy and then brokering a trade for Americans captured by the Russians and East Germans, respectively. Set during the Cold War this is deliciously entertaining stuff, part procedural and part thriller, despite the lack of big action or for that matter spying. An intriguing glimpse into an era that doesn’t get talked about much these days. Extras include a quartet of featurettes that delve in to the film’s making and history behind it.




The Last Witch Hunter


Rock The Casbah


Our Brand Is Crisis




Effie Gray





Lawrence Ferber
Lawrence Ferber


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