New Blu-Ray/DVD Releases (2/25/14)

tumblr_my4cvuO8zA1qg4blro1_1280This week, there’s a trio of top notch films headlining the release schedule, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Honestly, the vast majority of the movies hitting shelves on Blu-Ray and DVD today are worth picking up, so it’s a quality and quantity filled slate! This doesn’t always happen (the Oscars being on Sunday certainly helps though), so I hope you take advantage of it. This is the sort of lineup that makes this column shine, quite frankly. It’s one thing to make lemonade out of lemons, but when you’ve got champagne (or at the very least a decent red wine) to work with, you don’t need to worry about the grapes, as it were. Basically, I had three flicks that I really liked fighting it out for the top spot, with two of them in particular in a dead heat. Basically, for my PICK OF THE WEEK I had to choose between either the Best Picture frontrunner (or co-frontrunner if you’d prefer) and for my money the best foreign film of 2013. I didn’t go in the direction some would expect, but you’ll see what I mean in a few moments. Right now though, there’s the little matter of the Vintage pick that we should deal with, right? Right, so let’s have at it!

Vintage Viewing

taken-filmIn honor of this week’s release of Non-Stop (which I saw last night…my review will be up later this week, by the by), my choice is a similar/better Liam Neeson flick. I’m staying within the action realm and citing the original Taken. Yes, it’s a ludicrous movie, but man was it fun to watch Neeson kick some ass. He’s been doing it a lot lately, but this first time around it was a unique change of pace. The sequel tarnished this one’s reputation a bit, but if you go back and watch it again, there’s plenty to enjoy. Especially considering how bored he’s looked in certain similar films of this ilk, it’s well worth seeing him do it with some gusto, like he did in this one…

Recommended Movies

This distinguished pair of titles I’m about to discuss below weren’t quite able to make it up to top pick status this week, but that’s due to just how good my #1 choice is this time around in my eyes. Here’s a little bit about both of them:

Gravity [EDITOR’S PICK]

Poster-Gravity-An amazing visual achievement through and through, I’m really looking forward to revisiting this one on Blu-Ray in the next day or two. I enjoyed it a great deal in the theater during the press screening (IMAX), so not only am I seeking to figure out if it’s winning Best Picture or not, I also just want to see it again. I make fun of it a fair amount because it’s an easy target, but it’s in my top 20 for 2013, so that says something, doesn’t it? You can see my highly positive review here, but quite frankly…you all know if you’re getting this one already, right? Thought so.

Special Features: A Making of Documentary, Featurettes, the short film Aningaaq, and more…
Total Box Office: $269,275,323 (and counting)
Major Awards: Won Best Director at the Director’s Guild of America Awards

Nebraska [EDITOR’S PICK]

Nebraska-posterBack when I saw this one at the New York Film Festival, I came away thinking it was a minor Alexander Payne movie, albeit one with a trio of amazing performances, particularly Bruce Dern’s. I’m somewhat in the minority here of preferring other Payne flicks to this one, but that doesn’t mean that this isn’t a solid film, since it is. Considering that it’s also up for a number of Academy Awards this weekend, I think it’s well worth picking up and giving a first/second/third look to…

Special Features: A Making-Of Featurette…
Total Box Office: $16,513,883 (and counting)
Major Awards: Won Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival

Other Films Being Released

Here now is simply a list of what else is hitting shelves on this relatively high quality day, just sans my personal recommendation (though two of them come kind of close). Behold:

Adventures of the Penguin King

I’d never even heard of this documentary that Tim Allen narrated, and judging by the lack of a box office total available for it, neither had most of you. I can’t imagine this appeals to many of you, but if it does…enjoy I suppose.

Box Office: N/A

Jamesy Boy

Another film without an available box office cume that I’ve never heard of, though at least this crime drama has Mary-Louise Parker in it. Make of that what you will I guess…

Box Office: $175,705

mr_nobodyMr. Nobody [EDITOR’S PICK]

This Jared Leto drama has been sitting on the shelf for years, and while I didn’t see it during its incredibly brief theatrical run in November, I’m about to check it out within the next 48 hours. I’ve been curious about it for the longest time, and we can thank the success of Dallas Buyers Club for finally getting it released here in the states.

Box Office: $3,622

Narco Cultura

I’d heard good things about this documentary but hadn’t been able to catch it until now. It’s not an Oscar nominee or anything, but it’s apparently pretty compelling stuff, so this definitely could be worth picking up folks…

Box Office: $145,088

Pulling Strings

This romantic comedy completely flew under my radar back when it opened in the fall, but it didn’t do terribly at the box office…though don’t ask me how. I’m sure this has limited appeal, but don’t let me stop you if you’re interested.

Box Office: $5,842,961

Thor: The Dark World

Marvel continues their pretty tremendous run with this successful sequel about the God of Thunder. It’s not my favorite of their movies, but it most definitely serves its purpose. Thor works better for me as part of a team, so this at least had that at times. If you’re a superhero fan, there’s no reason not to pick this up, but it’s not really the sort of flick you need to see twice, hence me not having it as a recommended title…

Box Office: $205,808,339 (and counting)

Twice Born

I’m a big Emile Hirsch fan (and puzzled by how the DVD box art misspells his name as “Hirsh”, but that’s another story) as you all know, but this war set romantic drama was a little too melodramatic, even for me. He and Penelope Cruz are very good, but the film overstays its welcome. You could do a lot worse this week, but you could do better as well…

Box Office: $18,295

TV Releases

Adventure Time: The Complete Third Season
L.A. Law: Season One
Legit: The Complete First Season
The Middle: Season 4

PICK OF THE WEEK

Blue is the Warmest Color

Blue-Is-The-Warmest-Color-2One of the best movies I saw at the New York Film Festival, I immediately fell in love with this flick, and especially Adele Exarchopolous, who gave the best performance by anyone in 2013, male or female. Yes, the sex is very graphic, but no, that’s not all this film has to offer. I go over it all in this NYFF review right here, but it’s a heartbreaking story about first love and growing up, warts and all. It doesn’t shy away from the painful truths that life brings you, and I responded greatly to that. Not nearly enough of you saw this flick, though with a nearly three hour running time and subtitles, I’m not stupid enough to have thought that this was going to be a hit. Still, it deserves an audience and hopefully today will be the start of it really finding those people. Exarchopolous deserves to be a star, so go and get on that one folks!

Special Features: Theatrical Trailer, TV Spot, and more…
Total Box Office: $2,190,510 (and counting)
Major Award: Won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival

What will you be watching this week? Discuss in the comments!