Top Picks

Riseborough is one to watch in ‘Shadow Dancer’

Andrea Riseborough.
Jonathan Hession/Magnolia Pictures
Andrea Riseborough.

You can sense the play-on-words headlines waiting just around the corner for Andrea Riseborough, who does, certainly, have a surname befitting a film industry up-and-comer. The IRA-themed indie “Shadow Dancer” (2013) marks the third DVD release in a month in which the British actress has stood out, perhaps to a level that even the filmmakers didn’t anticipate. Riseborough, 31, plays Collette, a single mother in early ’90s Belfast whose tragic family history with the Troubles has led to her reluctant involvement in the IRA. Her ambivalence leads to her apprehension by British intelligence, and a take-it-or-leave-it offer from MI5 officer Mac (Clive Owen) to turn informant. Riseborough doesn’t speak a word in her first 10 minutes onscreen, a striking sequence in which her expressive face carries us through a London bomb plot that Collette deliberately botches. Following that entrance, Riseborough has our attention in a way that makes anyone else a sidelight, Owen included. She recently managed a similar trick in the little-seen crime drama “Welcome to the Punch,” in which her blue-collar policewoman is scripted as disposable — but is as much a reason to watch as her partner, James McAvoy. And then there’s Tom Cruise’s postapocalyptic “Oblivion,” in which her glossy character, a bit of misdirection for Cruise’s confused hero, makes us wish she weren’t just the story’s “other woman.” Curious to see more? Check out last year’s Madonna-directed royals drama “W.E.,” in which Riseborough’s Wallis Simpson helps offset a fragrance-ad aesthetic. Extras: Featurette. (Magnolia, $26.98; Blu-ray, $29.98)

Macall B. Polay
HBO's "Boardwalk Empire."



Funny, it was when Steve Buscemi’s Tony Blundetto showed up a few seasons into “The Sopranos” that the series started to wear on us slightly — not because the quality ever fell off, but simply because, cumulatively, the viciousness grew draining. This latest serving of Buscemi’s period crime drama can affect us the same way, as Prohibition pushes Atlantic City boss Nucky Thompson to violent new extremes. Bobby Cannavale gets the role he’s seemingly always been looking for as volatile opposing gangster Gyp
Rosetti. Extras: Interactive and historical featurettes; commentaries with Buscemi, Cannavale, and others;
directors’ scene breakdowns. (HBO, $59.99; Blu-ray, $79.98)


EPIC (2013)

This fantastical great-outdoors adventure from the “Ice Age” animators is pretty and agreeable, but would need to engage us far more powerfully for that hyperbolic title to fit. The story adapts a William Joyce picture book, but “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” furnishes the more prevalent narrative cues as teen-with-problems Amanda Seyfried winds up magically miniaturized. She finds herself in a veritable enchanted forest filled with “Leaf Men” (notably Josh Hutcherson and Colin Farrell), micro-soldiers guarding against Christoph Waltz’s
decay-spreading villain. Extras: For kids, nature-themed featurettes and activities. (Fox, $29.99; Blu-ray, $39.99; 3-D, $49.99)

Tom Russo can be reached at