DVD and Blu-ray Releases for January 14th, 2014

There are a few first-run releases on this week's list of new DVD and Blu-ray releases. Riddick is the biggest, while You're Next is the best in terms of reviews. However, neither is truly Pick of the Week material. There are some contenders there, and in a strange coincidence, the two best feature Brie Larson: Short Term 12 on DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack and The Spectacular Now on DVD or Blu-ray. It literally came down to a coin toss, but The Spectacular Now won.

20 Feet From Stardom - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
One of the best documentaries of the year. It pulled in nearly $5 million in theaters, which is really hard for a documentary to accomplish. Despite this, the film has not done well with Awards Season voters. I thought it might be a real contender for an Oscar this year, but now I'm not so sure. It is definitely worth picking up, but had it earned a DGA nomination today, it likely would have sold a little better.

A.C.O.D - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
This film earned mixed reviews and struggled in limited release. There are not a lot of extras on the DVD or the Blu-ray, but if you are a fan of the cast, it is worth a rental.

Note: This DVD made its home market debut on the 13th.

Archer: Season Four - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
The screener for this show arrived a day late, but I was able to get to the review over the weekend. Is it as good as the previous season? Or has the show started to show its age? Read our review to find out.

Blu-ray Releases - Buy from Amazon: Blind Date, Buffalo 66, Chorus Line, In the Heat of the Night, The Old Dark House Mystery Collection, Pride and Prejudice, Rififi (Criterion Collection), A Single Shot, Sunrise, and Thief (Criterion Collection)
There are quite a few secondary Blu-ray releases this week that are of note. If I were to chose just one to buy, it would probably be Rififi, but Thief and In the Heat of the Night are also tempting. One side note, The Old Dark House Mystery Collection is in standard definition. I thought of this idea a few years ago. Use Blu-ray not for high definition, but for its storage capacity. Granted, I thought this would be good for TV on DVD where you could have one season of a 1980s drama on one disc. This would be especially useful where upgrading to high definition wouldn't be worth it. For instance, because it was shot on video with a low native resolution.

3D Blu-ray Releases - Buy from Amazon: Run, Tad: The Lost Explorer, and Universe In 3D: Whole New Dimension
Only three 3D releases this week, and I hadn't heard of any of them.

Blue Caprice - Buy from Amazon
Based on real-life events surrounding the Beltway Sniper. This film earned excellent reviews, but really struggled at the box office. It is worth checking out, so hopefully it will find an audience on the home market.

Carrie - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack
This film earned mixed reviews with the main complaint being how amazingly unnecessary this film feels. You shouldn't remake a classic without putting a fresh stamp on it. The extras are better than the other first-run releases this week and if you are a fan of the genre it is worth checking out. That said, the original is the better movie.

Fruitvale Station - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
One of the best-reviewed movies from last year. It also pulled in more than $16 million during its limited release run, but sadly, it hasn't been able to translate that success into Awards Season glory. It hasn't been shut out, but it hasn't done as well as I would like either. There are only two featurettes on the DVD and Blu-ray, but they are both more than 20 minutes long, so that's not too bad for a limited release. It's worth picking up, but if it had a full complement of extras (audio commentary track especially) then it would have been a Pick of the Week contender.

I'm in Love with a Church Girl - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
This film earned terrible reviews and barely opened above the Mendoza Line. Even if you are in the target audience, there are better choices out there.

Lee Daniels' The Butler - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack
This film is Oscar-bait, there's no doubt about that. It has picked up some major nominations, but its reviews are only good, and not Oscar-worthy. Extras include a behind-the-scenes featurette, deleted scenes, outtakes, and more. It is worth checking out for most, picking up for some.

Marvel Knights: Wolverine Vs. Sabretooth - Buy from Amazon
I really enjoy Marvel's Motion Comic releases. They have great voice acting and the way they animate the comics really brings them to life. On the other hand, I haven't seen this particular motion comic, so I don't know how it compares to the others.

Naruto Shippuden Uncut Set 17 - Buy from Amazon
At the moment, this is the 17th best selling new release of the week according to Amazon.com. First of all, spooky. Also, it's a sign that it is a shallow week.

Power Rangers: Megaforce: The Mysterious Robo Knight - Buy from Amazon
The second DVD from the latest incarnation in the decades long franchise. How does this one compare to Super Samurai? And how does it compare to the franchise average? Check out our review for my opinion.

Rewind This! - Buy from Amazon
A documentary about how home video changed the world. That might be overstating things, but the film has earned perfect reviews, so those interested in movies, technology, and how technology can change society, it is worth checking out. You can also buy it on a VHS Combo Pack.

Riddick - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack
The biggest release on this week's list. It earned reviews that were just below the overall positive level, which is actually great for a September release. Likewise, it did well at the box office, for a September release. The DVD has a couple of featurettes and a motion comic alternative opening, while the Blu-ray has a trio of extras featurettes. If you are a fan of the franchise, then it is worth picking up. Speaking of the franchise, there is also a Blu-ray Box Set coming out today. If you don't own the first two movies on Blu-ray yet, it is worth picking up.

Short Term 12 - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack
Brie Larson stars as a worker at a facility for at-risk children who bonds with a new arrival. The film earned near-perfect reviews, but sadly was overlooked by moviegoers. There are plenty of extras, including the original short film, deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes, and more. It is easily worth picking up and a contender for Pick of the Week.

The Spectacular Now - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Shailene Woodley is quickly becoming an Indie darling. She was great in The Descendants and there's already a lot of buzz for The Fault in Our Stars. This movie earned amazing reviews and Shailene Woodley even earned an Independent Spirit Award nomination. (It was one of two the film earned.) It is absolutely worth picking up, while its extras (audio commentary track, four-part making of feaurette, and deleted scenes) lift it to Pick of the Week level.

SpongeBob SquarePants: SpongeBob and Friends: Patrick SquarePants - Buy from Amazon
One of the longest running cartoons ever. Like most DVD releases, the latest DVD is a mix of episodes. So what episodes are on the DVD? And is the DVD worth picking up? Check out our review to find out.

Top Gear 20 - Buy from Amazon
This show is usually pretty good, but sometimes the hosts get a little too off color.

You're Next - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack
This film was made in 2011, but didn't get a release till last summer. That's not a good sign. It opened in late August. That's also not a good sign. It's pre-release buzz was strong, but its box office numbers were not. Did it deserve better? Or would it have struggled at the box office no matter what happened? Read our review for my opinion.


- C.S.Strowbridge


Date posted: 2014-01-13