June 20, 2014 at 1:00 am

New on DVD/Blu-ray

'House of Cards' tracks ruthless rise to power; 'Budapest' is screwball fun

New and notable on DVD this week:

“House of Cards: Season 2” (Not rated; Sony, $55.99) The ruthless rise of Francis Underwood (Kevin Spacey) and his icy wife, Claire (Robin Wright), continues in the second season of this Netflix-produced hit series. The interesting balance here is how the show keeps its authentic D.C. tone while ever more fantastic plot turns pop up. A murder here, a threesome there, scandals everywhere, and yet somehow it’s still believable enough to work. Whether that’s because Francis is what we think politicians are like or because we simply wish they were that cold-blooded and efficient doesn’t matter. This is still dryly fascinating stuff. GRADE: B+

“The Grand Budapest Hotel” (Rated R for language, some sexual content and violence; 20th Century Fox, $29.98) Director Wes Anderson brings his baroque sensibilities to this screwball comedy, which is built around a lavish hotel resort built into a mountain in a fictional Eastern European country. There the legendary concierge Gustave H (Ralph Fiennes) is training a lobby boy named Zero (Tony Revolori) when an unexpected inheritance leads to a series of crazed adventures. Stuffed with fine actors — Willem Dafoe, Edward Norton, Saoirse Ronan, F. Murray Abraham, Tilda Swinton, it goes on — the movie is nevertheless all imaginative goofy construct with little heart. GRADE: B-

“Joe” (Rated R for violence, disturbing material, language and some strong sexual content; Lionsgate, $19.98) Nicolas Cage is an ex-con in charge of a work crew in Texas, Tye Sheridan is the 15-year-old son of an abusive drunk who ends up bonding with him in this gritty tale of forged friendship and rotten relations. It’s the most honest role Cage has had in a while, but it’s still the impressive Sheridan (“Mud”) who gives the film its haunted soul. GRADE: B

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