Movies

DVDs

‘Steve Jobs’ arrives on disc

Michael Fassbender in the film “Steve Jobs.”
Universal Pictures
Michael Fassbender in the film “Steve Jobs.”

It’s all biopics all the time on DVD this week, but hardly an assortment that’s all inspirational uplift all the time. Far from it, as the darkly revealing “Steve Jobs” (2015) arrives on disc, along with the James “Whitey” Bulger probe “Black Mass” and the Hollywood blacklist flashback “Trumbo.” Johnny Depp’s Bulger drama is, of course, as tough to watch as it is locally relevant, while Bryan Cranston’s turn as Dalton Trumbo communicates with masterful but draining pathos the screenwriter’s ordeal with the US House Committee on Un-American Activities. But even Oscar nominee Michael Fassbender’s portrait of Jobs makes for downbeat viewing much of the time, putting heavy emphasis on the Apple visionary’s myopic view of his personal life. Still, the dream team of director Danny Boyle and writer Aaron Sorkin employ a narrative structure that’s certainly intriguing — and enough, ultimately, to keep their subject’s overbearing complexity (and Sorkin’s dialogue) from feeling unrelenting. Boyle and Sorkin inventively paint their picture of Jobs by imagining him backstage at three different product launches, from 1984 to 1998. We see him treat genius tech collaborator Steve Wozniak (Seth Rogen) poorly, and treat his own daughter worse, with only a marketing confidant (Kate Winslet) making him even nominally grasp that their issues with him are justified. And if the timing of all this drama seems amazingly coincidental, the filmmakers slyly get that, too. Fassbender, playing bemused: “It’s like five minutes before every launch, everyone goes to a bar and gets drunk and tells me what they really think.” Extras: Boyle and Sorkin each supply commentary. (Universal, $29.98; Blu-ray, $34.98)

CRIME DRAMA

BLACK MASS (2015)

Johnny Depp is as powerful as we might have expected in his unnerving, transformative portrayal of Whitey Bulger. What also makes an impression, though, is Joel Edgerton’s comparatively basic take on Bulger’s corrupt FBI handler, John Connolly. (It doesn’t help that Edgerton’s effort follows Oscar nominee Bradley Cooper’s Fed-gone-wild in “American Hustle.”) For a more fully inhabited performance by the Aussie actor, take another look at the “Rocky”-esque “Warrior.” Extras: Featurettes spend time with “Black Mass” authors and former Globe staffers Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill. (Warner, $28.98; Blu-ray, $35.99)

BIOPIC

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TRUMBO (2015)

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Speaking of Hollywood talent unable to get work . . . call us fretful, but there was a point when we feared for Bryan Cranston’s career. “Breaking Bad” was winding down, and Cranston was coming off of forgettable gigs in two duds, “John Carter” and “Total Recall.” Could the industry really not see him as anything other than Walter White? Ridiculous. What about Hal? Or Tim Whatley? Cranston’s hit ART-and-Broadway run as Lyndon Johnson helped. We’re even more reassured after watching his dead-on, Oscar-nominated turn as wry, rebel screenwriter Dalton Trumbo. Coming soon: LBJ for HBO and “Trumbo” director Jay Roach. Extras: featurettes. (Universal, $29.98; Blu-ray, $34.98)

Titles are in stores Tuesday. Tom Russo can be reached at trusso2222@gmail.com.