So far, 2015 has been a reasonably good year for DVDs featuring aging, struggling actors losing their grips on reality. And while "Birdman" cleaned up at the Oscars, garnering four of the most prestigious awards, not everyone was so taken with it. In fact, there were those among us who found it brash, gimmicky, over-the-top, shallow, and downright mean-spirited.
Enter "The Humbling," directed by Barry Levinson ("Good Morning, Vietnam," "Rain Man," "Wag the Dog"), written by Philip Roth, Buck Henry, and Michal Zebede, and starring Al Pacino, Greta Gerwig, Dianne Wiest, Kyra Sedgwick, Dylan Baker, Charles Grodin, and Dan Hedaya. Many of the plot elements are similar to "Birdman," but "The Humbling," while tragic and touching, has a genuinely warm heart and is smiling, not sneering, through the pain. Even when the comedy turns darker, Pacino's affably bewildered performance keeps viewers' heads well above water. It's an underrated new release that's well worth a look.