Superb acting makes ‘Bad Education’ top DVD, Blu-ray pick

Rick's Reviews

Hugh Jackman and Alison Janney star in “Bad Education.” (Photo courtesy of HBO)

New DVD and Blu-ray releases range from a tale of a major theft to the adventures of a caped hero.

“Bad Education” Grade 3 ½ stars: A story dealing with the embezzlement of money from a school system doesn’t immediately suggest an exciting bit of entertainment. It does when you factor in that the stars of the production include Hugh Jackman and Alison Janney. Either one of these actors can elevate a story but the combination is lethally enjoyable.

The film – that is one of the Emmy contenders this year for top TV movie – was inspired by the true story of how millions of dollars were stolen from the school system in Roslyn, NY in 2004. It is one of the largest public school embezzlements in American history.

Frank Tassone (Jackman) and Pam Gluckin (Janney) run a popular Long Island school district on the verge of the nation’s top academic achievement and that means record college admissions and soaring property values. While the public is blinded by the educational success, the pair end up taking more than $11.2 million.

Jackman (who is also nominated for an Emmy) turns in a very complex performance as he plays Tassone as a man of great charisma who can charm anyone around him while at the same time dealing with his own out-of-control vanity. Equally compelling is Janney although her performance has a harder edge to it. The contrasts between the two make for some compelling moments.

Their work is why director Cory Finley was able to take a subject like embezzlement and make it play out as both a high crime drama and a fascinating look at the way greed can be a blinding force.

Also available on DVD and Blu-ray as of Sept. 8

“Supergirl: The Complete Fifth Season”: Melissa Benoist stars in the CW series that deals with the exploits of Superman’s cousin.

 “Let’s Talk Menopause”: Dr. Tara Allmen provides viewers with the tools every woman needs to enter this phase of their lives.

“Superman: Man of Tomorrow”: Animated tale that looks at the Man of Steel’s life before he becomes a global hero.

“We Bare Bears The Movie”: When the bears’ love of food trucks and viral videos gets out of hand, it catches the attention of the menacing Agent Trout from the National Wildlife Control.

“And She Could Be Next”: Story of a defiant movement of women of color transforming American politics from the ground up.

“Prodigal Son: The Complete First Season”: The son of a serial killer must deal with his heritage while solving crimes.

“Pilgrimage”: Portugal’s Fernão Mendes Pinto became one of the first Europeans to sail and explore the Orient in the 16th Century.

“Ballbuster”: Self-centered basketball star must participate in a charity event.

“Evil Boy”: After their son disappears, grieving parents adopt a feral boy who begins to eerily resemble their missing child.

“Ghost in the Shell”: The animated tale based on the manga from Japanese writer and illustrator Shirow Masamune is being re-released to mark its 25th anniversary.

“Frankie Drake Mysteries: Season 3”:  Ladies of Drake Private Detectives take on more challenging cases and face off against some impressive foes.

“Retaliation”: Orlando Bloom stars in this tale of a man looking for vengeance.

Available through digital platforms

“A Reggae Session”: Legends such as Ziggy Marley and Jimmy Cliff gathered in Jamaica in 1988 to make musical history. It can be seen through Video on Demand.

“Entwined”: City doctor relocates his practice to a remote village and quickly falls for Danae (Anastasia Rafaella Konidi), who lives in isolation with a mysterious skin condition. Available through VOD.

“Beast Within”: Party guests become players in a real-life version of a videogame. Available through Video on Demand.

“First One In”: Tennis match becomes a battle for redemption. Can be seen through Amazon Prime and VOD.

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