Olivia Colman and Oscar-winner Anthony Hopkins play daughter and father in "The Father."
Olivia Colman and Oscar-winner Anthony Hopkins play daughter and father in "The Father."

The Father (Sony Pictures Classics, Blu-ray or DVD, PG-13, 97 min.). Nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, writer-director Florian Zeller’s “The Father” took home two statuettes, one for Best Adapted Screenplay by Zeller and Christopher Hampton (“Dangerous Liaisons,” “Atonement”) and Best Actor for Anthony Hopkins, who is both brilliant and vulnerable here as an 80-year-old Londoner suffering the effects of dementia. The film is an adaptation of Zeller’s prize-winning 2012 French play of the same name.

What the film does so well is put us into the troubled mind of the ailing Anthony (Hopkins, previous Oscar winner for “The Silence of the Lambs,” plus four other nominations) as his living situation changes from his apartment to that of his daughter Anne (the always so good Olivia Colman, Oscar winner for “The Favourite,” TV’s “The Crown”) and her boyfriend Paul (Rufus Sewell of “Cold Comfort Farm,” TV’s “Middlemarch,” “The Pillars of the Earth”) to an assisted living facility. To do this, the film allows us to see Anthony’s often misidentification of people and place, his hallucinations and his over-concern for his wristwatch.

This results in a somewhat disjointed narrative – even some duplication of scenes with a different actor opposite Hopkins – but the narrative is marvelously constructed so the viewer can feel Anthony’s disorientation at times. For example, the film opens with Anne stopping by to urge Anthony not to be hard on the newest caretaker she has found for him, as she has found herself a boyfriend (Paul) and is about to move to Paris to be with him. We then see Anthony interacting with Paul, but not recognizing who he is. Then Anne (now played by Olivia Williams) comes home, Paul disappears and Anne says she is not moving to Paris.

At other times, Anthony mistakes Bill (Mark Gatiss) for Paul, although he and the false Anne later appear as their real characters.

One of my favorite scenes is when Anthony meets Laura (Imogen Poots) and is all charm, even doing some tapdancing. One of the most emotional scenes is a late breakdown by Anthony, who feels isolated. It is Hopkins as we have never seen him before.

The film’s other Oscar nominations went to Colman for acting, to Yorgos Lamprinos for editing, and to Peter Francis and Cathy Featherstone for production design. In the latter, Francis works in subtle differences between Anthony and Anne’s apartments. For example, the kitchen backsplash has different tiles, the bedroom furniture is rearranged and even the bag the chicken for dinner comes in changes color.

The score is by Ludovico Einaudio, whose work also is heard in Academy Award Best Picture-winner “Nomadland.”

Bonus features include “Perception Check” (8:32), with Zeller saying he wrote the script with Hopkins in mind and Hopkins saying in some ways – but not the dementia – he was playing his own father; three deleted scenes (5:58); and a making-of featurette (7:06). Grade: film 4 stars; extras 2 stars

Rating guide: 5 stars = classic; 4 stars = excellent; 3 stars = good; 2 stars = fair; dog = skip it

Minari (Lionsgate, Blu-ray or DVD, PG-13, 115 min.). Also nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor (Steven Yeun), and an Oscar winner in Yuh-Jung Youn as Best Supporting Actress, this sweet and unassuming film tells the story of two Korean immigrants and their children, who move from California to Arkansas, where the husband (Yeun of TV’s “The Walking Dead” as Jacob Yi) dreams of running a successful 50-acre farm, growing Korean vegetables and fruit. The time is the 1980s and the story is a fictionalized version of writer-director Lee Isaac Chung’s own youth.

The wife is Monica (Yeri Han), who basically is upset with husband Jacob’s relocating them to a house trailer out in basically nowhere instead of to a city. Jacob had worked for 10 years in a California chicken plant – separating chicks by sex, as only females are considered useful – and helping the rest of his extended family financially. Now, with the move, he is concentrating on his own family and his dream of being a successful farmer. He and Monica still do the same chick sorting job for a local business, but with the help of Paul (Will Patton of “Armageddon,” “The Mothman Prophecies”), a somewhat eccentric Korean War vet who is overly religious, he raises his first crops in his spare time.

Much of the film is given to the children, who are younger David (a wonderful Alan Kim) and Anne (Noel Kate Cho). Not wanting the children to be alone while they work, Monica invites her mother Soonja (Youn) to come live with them. Soonja uses salty language and teaches David to play cards. Among the Korean delicacies she brings are some minari seeds, which she ends up planting near a small stream. Minari is an easily-grown Korean vegetable with many uses.

Not a lot happens in the film, which mostly is about the relationships between the family characters. The actors are all fine, with the three adults and young Alan especially good.

Bonus features include an audio commentary by the director and actress Youn; a making-of featurette (13:04); and two deleted scenes (3:20), including a nice one of Jacob teaching his children how to tell a chick’s sex. Grade: film 3.25 stars; extras 2.5 stars

Cosmic Sin (Paramount, Blu-ray or DVD, R, 88 min.). One cannot accuse Bruce Willis of not being busy, after all he has one future film announced, three in pre-production, two filming and six in post-production, with another film in the can. This is one of two films he appears in released this year and he was in four films last year and in six films in 2019. What one can accuse Willis of doing is not much acting in a lot of his recent films, although I did find this one slightly better than last year’s “Breach,” which also was science fiction.

The film is about first contact with an alien race, contact that does not go well as the aliens are able to take over the bodies of humans and are a war-like species called the Sigea. Called in from retirement – and bar fighting it seems – is “Blood General” James Ford (Willis, better known for the “Die Hard” films), who single-handily ended the war against a rebelling Zafdie faction by dropping the Q-bomb and killing 70 million.

The introduction, which goes on for quite a bit, covering mankind’s push into space, details the Alliance between Earth and the colonies of Zafdie and Ellora. The latter is where the aliens attack, although they do take over the humans in a mining ship and start a firefight at the Earth base when they land. Quantum propulsion technology apparently makes space flight almost instantaneous.

Up to this point, the film is somewhat decent, but then a small Earth force, including Ford and Gen. Ryle (Frank Grillo of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “The Purge: Anarchy”) quantum leap to the battle zone only in their “Icarus” suits – without a spaceship. One of those along for the ride is apparently Gen. Ryle’s son, Braxton (Brandon Thomas Lee of “Sierra Burgess Is a Loser”). From then on, the film is a confusing mishmash. Director Edward Drake co-wrote the film with supporting actor Corey Large (Dash, Ford’s fellow bar fighter). There are no bonus features.

Interesting to note is that soldier Coco is played by an uncredited Johnny Messner, who also has been in “Breach,” “Tears of the Sun,” “The Whole Ten Yards” and “Hostage” with Willis. They both also will be in the upcoming “American Siege.” Grade: film 2 stars

Son (RLJE, Blu-ray or DVD, NR, 98 min.). A very sick mind – writer-director Ivan Kavanagh (“Never Grow Old,” “The Canal”) – puts a child actor through some really traumatic scenes in this horror/cannibal film. I was worried about the actor – Luke David Blumm of “The King of Staten Island” as David – who was only 11 when making the film, but in one of the extras he is actually laughing about playing the creepy things he had to do in the film.

David is the 8-year-old son of Laura (Andi Matichak of “Halloween,” “Assimilate”) and apparently a denizen of hell who serves Satan. But all that knowledge comes later. We first see Laura very pregnant and on the run – from a religious cult we are told later – and she delivers her unwanted baby herself in the car, although seeing the baby boy changes her mind about wanting him.

Jumping eight years to the film’s present, Laura and David seem a happy little family until Laura hears a sound one night, looks into David’s bedroom and finds about two dozen people standing around the bed. She calls the police, but no trace of the intruders can be found. While it takes her a few days to tell the police this, Laura believes it is members of the cult, out to use her son in some kind of ceremony.

The two policemen who show up to investigate are skeptical Det. Steve (Cranston Johnson) and more sympathetic Det. Paul Tate (Emile Hirsch of “Into the Wild,” “Speed Racer”). In fact, Paul gets a little too close to Laura, eating at restaurants with her and David and then making out with her in the kitchen. Yet, overall, Paul never comes across as a strong character; sometimes he kind of fades within scenes.

David is having a rough go of things. He gets sick, with no known cause, and is likely to die, until his situation improves after he snacks on his neighbor Susan (Erin Bradley Dangar). He also sometimes acts like he is possessed, being spastic on his bed. Later, there is an even gorier killing, but Laura covers up by making it seem like the cult is doing the killings. The film closes with a sick, twist ending that actually boosted my rating by a half-star.

Parts of the film are set up to make the viewer wonder if Laura is unbalanced and either making up or hallucinating her cult fears. Director Kavanagh likes to have the camera play with time, or at least speed. Some scenes have background movement going faster than the main image, such as Laura’s car. It is a bit unsettling and thereby effective.

Bonus features include interviews with cast and crew (4:45); and eight deleted scenes (6:14), including five black-and-white flashbacks to what happened when Laura was with the cult, including a sequence of three scenes in a row. The final deleted scene makes no sense at all. Grade: film 2 stars; extras 1.5 stars

It Happened Tomorrow (1944, Cohen Film Collection, Blu-ray, NR, 85 min.). Depending on your age, you may or may not remember the TV series “Early Edition” (1996-2000), in which a man (played by Kyle Chandler) received a copy of the Chicago Sun-Times the day before it actually is published and uses the knowledge therein to try and prevent tragedies. While the show’s creators have said it was not, this film easily could have been an inspiration for the show.

Here, Dick Powell (“Murder, My Sweet,” “The Bad and the Beautiful”) plays newsman Larry Stevens, who, in the prolonged flashback that makes up most of the movie, is celebrating with colleagues his transition from writing obituaries – 500 of them – to actual news gathering. The time is the 1890s and the story is told on the occasion of Larry’s 50th wedding anniversary.

During their drunken revels, Larry says he would give 10 years of his life for the next day’s newspaper. Larry also attends a nightclub act given by mind reader Cigolini (Jack Oakie of “The Great Dictator,” “Call of the Wild”) and his beautiful assistant Sylvia (Linda Darnell of “Fallen Angel,” “Forever Amber”), who provides him answers while supposedly in a trance. Larry instantly falls for Sylvia, who actually is the niece of Oscar Smith, aka Cigolini. It is no surprise when she eventually becomes Mrs. Stevens.

Later that night, Larry is given the next evening’s paper by Pop Benson (John Philliber of “Double Indemnity”), who handles the newspaper’s morgue (bound volumes of past issues). Larry uses the newspaper to score a scoop about a robbery during an opera singer’s performance and to impress Sylvia.

Thus, Larry uses the few advance newspapers he receives to improve his career rather than try to prevent the crimes he reads about. He also is too open about it, leading the police to suspect he was involved in the robbery. The film has some humor and Darnell gets to dress up like a man.

The film, directed and co-written Rene Clair (“I Married a Witch”), was nominated for two Academy Awards: Best Sound Recording (Jack Whitney); and Best Music Scoring (Robert Stolz). There are no bonus features. Grade: film 3.25 stars

Cast a Dark Shadow/Wanted for Murder (UK, 1955/1946, Cohen Media Collection, Blu-ray, NR, 83/102 min.). These two British semi-noir films really have nothing in common other than both are based on a play and filmed in black-and-white. Here each gets a new 2K restoration.

Cast a Dark Shadow (1955, 83 min.) stars Dirk Bogarde (“The Servant,” “Darling,” “Death in Venice”) as Edward “Teddy” Bare, a handsome younger man who marries the rich and lonely and, at least in one instance, murders them.

The film opens with Teddy and his elderly wife Moni (Mona Washbourne of “My Fair Lady,” “Billy Liar”) enjoying a fun horror ride-through at a seaside resort. When they return home to Moni’s huge manse on a hill, what seems to be a loving relationship gets upended when Teddy overhears Moni talking to her lawyer (Robert Flemyng as Philip Mortimer) about making a new will. Teddy then stages her death, mistakenly thinking she is going to leave everything to her sister Dora in Jamaica, when in fact her existing will already left Teddy the house and her new will was going to leave him all her money as well.

With no income and a house he cannot afford to keep up, Teddy returns to the seaside resort, where he meets widow Freda Jeffries (Margaret Lockwood of “The Lady Vanishes,” “Night Train to Munich”), who will eventually become his next wife, although she insists their relationship will be “pound for pound,” as she has no desire to be taken advantage of. (In a sly wink at Bogarde’s real life, when he meets Freda, he has been reading a pictorial bodybuilder male magazine.) Lockwood received a BAFTA Film Award nomination for her work here.

As with most noirs, there is a typical singing performance at a nightclub, with Lia Roza as the singer. Freda and Teddy’s life gets more complicated when she learns he has no money and she will not help him buy land that he hopes a cinema complex will be built on. Then along comes Charlotte Young (Kay Walsh of “Oliver Twist,” “The Ruling Class”), who is seen as either a pigeon to buy the house or perhaps a future Mrs. Bare. Frazzled maid Emmie is played by Kathleen Harrison (“Oliver Twist,” “A Christmas Carol”).

While the film is well-acted, there really is not much mystery to it, especially if one reads the back jacket copy, which gives away the film’s only secret. Do not read it.

Wanted for Murder (1946, 102 min.) has the London police searching for a serial strangler, who begins sending them taunting postcards to announce his next killing, after his sixth victim succumbs.

First, though, the film starts as a possible budding romance as bus conductor Jack Williams (Derek Farr) encounters Anne Fielding (Dulcie Gray) on a crowded train. He had long admired her as she is a frequent passenger on his bus. He accompanies her to a fairground, where she is to meet a friend, Victor Colebrooke (Eric Portman of “Dear Murderer,” “A Canterbury Tale”). However, Victor, who is the strangler, gets distracted by a girl at the fairgrounds who becomes his sixth victim.

The two investigating detectives includes a familiar face as Stanley Holloway (“My Fair Lady,” “The Lavender Hill Mob”) plays Sgt. Sullivan. Chief Inspector Conway is played by Roland Culver (“Thunderball,” “The Emperor Waltz”). As with “Cast a Dark Shadow,” there is no mystery as to the killer’s identity. The sole mystery is how he will be revealed to the police. Since Victor has an eye on making Anne his woman, everything ties together neatly.

Neither film has any extras except for a new trailer that touts the restoration. Grade: both films 3.25 stars

Mission: Impossible: 25th Anniversary Edition (1996, Paramount, Blu-ray, PG-13, 110 min.). The classic film that begat a Tom Cruise film franchise is released in a newly remastered collector’s edition. This edition comes with an exclusive car decal and a gallery of trailers for all six “Mission Impossible” films, plus eight previously released featurettes and a photo gallery. In the film, Cruise plays IMF agent Ethan Hunt, who is framed for the deaths of his espionage team and must flee from government assassins. Among the stunts are Hunt breaking into an impregnable government vault and clinging to the roof of a speeding bullet train. Brian De Palma (“The Untouchables” directed, from an exciting script by David Koepp (“Jurassic Park”) and Robert Towne (“Chinatown”). Grade: film 4 stars; extras 3 stars