Capsule reviews of the next week's video releases, on DVD and Blu-ray, including special features:
- The Lunchbox
In writer-director Ritesh Batra's beguiling romance, a virtual relationship blossoms not through a sexy operating system as in Her, or email as in You've Got Mail, but the old-fashioned way, through carefully written notes delivered by hand every day. Even though much of The Lunchbox transpires in Ila's kitchen and in Saajan's office, Batra nonetheless plunges the audience into the riotous city life of Mumbai, where we follow Saajan (played by Indian star Irfan Khan) onto crowded buses and streets to his lonely apartment and where Ila barely ventures forth. What begins as a nagging sense of dissatisfaction eventually reveals the deeper, sorrowful reality of a woman's life in India, as Ila's hopes for her future became increasingly thwarted and constrained. Rated PG, contains thematic material and smoking.
- The Unknown Known
Through skillful editing and a stirring score by Danny Elfman, The Unknown Known invests former U.S. defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld's otherwise banal Washington trajectory with unlikely tension and suspense. What's more, his maddening habit of pseudo-philosophical speculation fits neatly into filmmaker Errol Morris' own ruminative, erudite rhetoric. But if viewers come to The Unknown Known hoping for catharsis -- or even just a few answers -- about Rumsfeld's role in planning and executing the invasion of Iraq in 2003, they may find themselves leaving more frustrated than rewarded. Rated PG-13 for some disturbing material and brief nudity.
- Like Father, Like Son
Two couples, each with 6-year-old sons they cherish, discover that a hospital mix-up switched their babies at birth. Yet this Japanese film is more of a head-scratcher than a tear-jerker. Whether because this mistake has been a problem before -- at least in the somewhat backward hospital where the births took place -- or because of something deep in the personal character or national culture of the people involved, all the parents seem more dazed than wrenched by the news. Eventually, filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-Eda invites us to ponder: Is being a father defined by DNA or by love? Perhaps, the film suggests, it's a bit of both. Unrated (contains nothing objectionable), in Japanese with subtitles.
-- THE WASHINGTON POST