J. Edgar (Warner, Blu-ray or standard DVD, R, 137 min.). J. Edgar Hoover was never a sympathetic person, although he did and does have his admirers. At his best, he brought organization to crime fighting and, more importantly, to crime solving. At his worst, he compiled secret files, even against presidents, one reason he lasted 48 years on the job and served eight different presidents. Arguably, he is the perfect definition of absolute power corrupting absolutely. As head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, he introduced the modern crime-solving practices of fingerprinting, interrogation, evidence gathering, handwriting analysis and expert witness testimony.

Hoover projected a squeaky-clean image and buttoned-down demeanor, yet that clearly was at odds with his concealed personal life. Here, under the direction of Clint Eastwood, Leonardo DiCaprio masterfully recreates the man in both his public life and in his three most important personal relationships. The first is with his controlling mother Anna Marie (Judi Dench, who hid a foot injury so she could play the role), whom he lived with until her death and who told him she would rather die than have a son who was homosexual. The second is with Helen Gandy (Naomi Watts), a secretary at the Bureau that he takes out on a unique first date. He takes her to the Library of Congress, where he shows off the card catalogue he created so books could be speedily found and then tries to propose to her. She turns him down in marriage, but accepts his offer to become his confidential secretary, a post she held until his death. The third is with Clyde Tolson (Armie Hammer), whom he fell in love with shortly after they met (although the film indicates they may never have been physical) and who he hired as deputy director of the FBI and always ate lunches and dinners with and even took vacations with.

As presented here by Eastwood and DiCaprio, Hoover is often emotionless; we get to know him by the reactions of the people he interacts with, including a couple of presidents and Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. Much of the story is told in flashbacks — a complex series of time jumps, created by screenwriter Dustin Lance Black (“Milk”), but ably rendered. The viewer almost never gets lost. The flashbacks begin as Hoover is telling his story, with embellishments to make him look more active as it turns out, to Agent Smith (Ed Westwick) for a possible book. In the early days, Hoover fought domestic communism, which sometimes resorted to violence. He continued to battle communism here, even when, with the Cold War, is was more a foreign threat. One of his biggest cases was the kidnap and murder of aviator Charles Lindbergh’s baby. So hindered was Hoover by New Jersey authorities that he got Congress to pass a law making kidnapping a federal offense.

The film is excellently acted, but the DVD is very light on extras. There only is an 18:10 look at Hoover as “The Most Powerful Man in the World” with comments by Eastwood, Black, the producers and actors. Grade: film 3.5 stars; extra 2 stars

Tower Heist (Universal, Blu-ray or standard DVD, PG-13, 105 min.). The best part of Brett Ratner’s action comedy is the return of smart-mouth Eddie Murphy. Murphy plays Slide, a smalltime thief (he only steals from balconies so it is not breaking and entering and less than $1,000 so it is not a felony, thus he mainly steals satellite dishes) who is brought in to help Josh Kovacs (Ben Stiller) steal back the pension plan money that crooked investor Arthur Shaw (Alan Alda) misused and lost. Kovacs is the building manager of the Tower condominiums on New York’s Central Park West — or at least he was until Shaw got him fired for busting up the windows in the 1963 Ferrari (one raced by actor Steve McQueen) that Shaw keeps in the living room of his penthouse. Also fired and in on the plot are concierge Charlie (Casey Affleck) and elevator operator Enrique (Michael Pena). The other gang member is Mr. Fitzhugh (Matthew Broderick), a former Tower tenant who was evicted when the bank repossessed his apartment. Kovacs believes Shaw has hidden a safe in one of the walls of his penthouse, so maid Odessa, who needs a husband so she can stay in the USA, is brought in due to her lock-picking skills.

The film has its moments, particularly dialogue when Murphy is involved, and the actual heist turns very wild and unbelievable. The Blu-ray disc comes with a ton of extras, including audio commentary by Ratner, editor Mark Helfrich and co-writers Ted Griffin and Jeff Nathanson; two alternate endings that take place many months in the future; three alternate and six deleted scenes (5:58); a gag reel (4:18); Ratner’s video diary (22:42, including an appearance by Donald Trump); and a six-part making-of feature (44:42). Grade: film and extras 3 stars

Rating guide: 5 stars = classic; 4 stars = excellent; 3 stars = good; 2 stars = fair; dog = skip it

Additional reviews are available online at villagesoup.com and include the dance film “Honey 2” and the excellent British series “The Fades.”