DVD and Blu-ray Releases for January 28th, 2014

There are a large number of first run releases coming out this week on the home market, five in total. This is a huge amount. This week, the latest season of Downton Abby also comes out on the home market, and it is the best selling new release of the week, at least according to Amazon.com. So at the top, it is a really busy week. On the other hand, there's very little depth. Beyond those six releases, there's not a lot to talk about. Out of all of the movies on this week's list, Rush is the best movie, but the DVD and Blu-ray Combo Pack are only good and not great. On the other hand, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 on Blu-ray or 3D Blu-ray is the best total package. Meanwhile, I finally got a chance to review Carrie (the screener arrived late) and it was better than I thought it would be and the Blu-ray Combo Pack is worth picking up, especially if you haven't seen the original movie.

1 - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Every screenwriter should ask themselves a question when it comes to naming their movie. "Is this going to be hard to look up on Google?" If the answer is yes, change the damn name. This movie is a documentary about Formula One racing, but the critics mostly agree it is only for those who are already fans.

African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross - Buy from Amazon
A six-hour PBS special about the lives of African Americans. This would have made more sense to release in February, which is Black History Month, but fans of the PBS show should be very happy they don't have to wait another week to get it.

Argento's Dracula - Buy from Amazon: DVD or 3D / 2D Blu-ray
The latest film from one of the masters of horror. He hasn't released a critically acclaimed film in a long time, but will this one reverse that trend? Or will fans be asking, "What happened?" Read our review to find out.

Blu-ray Releases - Buy from Amazon: Beast Of Hollow Mountain / The Neanderthal Man, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde: Kino Classics Remastered Edition, Flavia the Heretic, Frankenstein Created Woman, The Long Day Closes (Criterion Collection), Nura: Rise of Yokai Clan - Demon Capital Set 1, and UFC Presents: Ultimate 100 Knockouts
As usual, there is an eclectic mix of secondary Blu-ray releases. There were a lot of re-releases this week as well, with Universal releasing a lot of their older Oscar winners. If you don't have them, now is a good time to get them on the cheap.

3D Blu-ray Releases - Buy from Amazon: Argento's Dracula and Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2
Just the two 3D releases this week, or three if the Metallica - Through the Never 3D release is happening. I'm not sure any release for that film is coming out this week.

Bonnie and Clyde: Justified - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
This story has been told countless times, most of the time it is better than this movie is. Personally, I would recommend Bonnie and Clyde vs. Dracula, which came out on DVD in 2011. It's not as historically accurate, but it is more entertaining.

Note: This DVD made its home market debut on the 14th.

Carrie - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack
This remake was derided as unnecessary pretty much as soon as it was announced. However, were the naysayers right? Or can it add something to the original? Check out our review for my opinion.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 - Buy from Amazon: DVD, Blu-ray Combo Pack, 3D Combo Pack
The sequel to Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. This film wasn't as good as the original, but is still good for a kids movie. The DVD is loaded with extras, including audio commentary, shorts, and a bunch of featurettes. The Blu-ray also has some deleted scenes and an app you can download. The 3D version costs $7 more than the 2D Blu-ray, but if your kids love 3D movies at home, this one is worth picking up.

Concussion - Buy from Amazon
Abby is a middle-aged lesbian housewife whose life changes after she is hit in the end and suddenly decides she wants more. The reviews are very good, but it sadly didn't find an audience in theaters.

Dark Touch - Buy from Amazon
I'm still waiting for the screener for this movie. It earned good reviews and I did like the trailer, so I'm looking forward to seeing it.

Downton Abbey: Season 4 (U.K. Edition) - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
On the one hand, I've read a lot of people talking about how much they love this show. On the other hand, I've also read a lot of people talking about how much the quality has fluctuated season to season. There are not a lot of extras on the three-disc set with just three featurettes. I would have liked an audio commentary track or two, at the very least. Still, if you are a fan of the show and have purchased the previous three seasons, then there's no reason to stop now.

The Fifth Estate - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack
This is one of those movies that I think are worse than the reviews would indicate, because it is so historically inaccurate. I watched the recent Worst movies of 2013 by Lindsay Ellis and she put this film on the list because it was a hatchet job. She had an interesting, and I think plausible theory why it was this way. It was made by Dreamworks, whose biggest franchise is Transformers, which might be too expensive to make without the help of the United States military. Had they made Julian Assange a whistleblower, then perhaps the military would have been less likely to help in the future. This isn't a crazy theory, because in the past, the government paid studios to include anti-drug messages in sitcoms.

Jack Lemmon Double-Shot
The April Fools - Buy from Amazon
The War Between Men and Women - Buy from Amazon
Two lesser films from Jack Lemmon filmography come out on DVD this week. They are definitely lesser in terms of cultural impact, but are they also lesser in terms of quality? Read our review for my opinion.

Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack
The first Jackass film with a plot, although it was still mostly hidden camera like pranks done to unsuspecting people. The film's reviews were good, but not great. On the other hand, it earned more than $100 million at the box office, so clearly moviegoers liked it. Extras on the DVD and the Blu-ray include behind-the-scenes and deleted / alternative scenes. If you like the franchise and own the other movies, then you will probably want this one as well.

Last Vegas - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Four older friends head to Las Vegas when one of them finally gets married. The film's mixed with many of the critics praising the performance but complaining about lazy writing. Extras on the DVD include an audio commentary track and a trio of very short featurettes. The Blu-ray has three additional short featurettes, so overall it is not a great release. If you like the cast, it is worth checking out, perhaps purchasing, but I can't be enthusiastic with that recommendation.

Metallica - Through the Never - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
A combination of concert film and narrative storytelling. That's rather unique and for the most part, the critics praised the end result. If you are a fan of the band, then this is certainly worth picking up. However, I'm not 100% sure it is coming out this week. Amazon.com has both versions as Temporarily Out of Stock. Perhaps there was a last minute delay.

Nicholas Sparks: Limited Edition Collection - Buy from Amazon
Movies based on Nicholas Sparks' novels range from overly sappy to miserable. This box set has seven of them, but is it only on DVD.

Rush - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack
A biopic of James Hunt and Niki Lauda, two Formula One racers. Their on the track rivalry resulted in a devastating crash that affected both men. The film's reviews are amazing and it has even picked up some major award nominations. On the other hand, it didn't do as well at the box office as the studio would have liked. There are not a lot of extras on the DVD (some deleted scenes and a short featurette) so I would call it a rental. On the other hand, the Blu-ray has a lot more featurettes, but they are mostly short featurettes. It is still worth picking up, but not a contender for Pick of the Week.

Survivor - Buy from Amazon: Season 15: China and Season 16: Micronesia
I hate this show. Then again, I hate all reality TV. I read a news story about a study that showed watching reality TV actually negatively affects your empathy. It literally makes you a worse person. You begin to accept that a high level of conflict is normal in life and therefore actively create conflict when compromise would be normal.

Treme: The Complete Fourth Season - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
A TV series about the aftermath Hurricane Katrina. Unfortunately, while it was praised by critics, it never found a large audience with viewers and it was canceled after four season. Also coming out this week is a Blu-ray Megaset.

Vera: Set 3 - Buy from Amazon
A British police procedural starring Brenda Blethyn as the titular Detective Chief Inspector Vera Stanhope. The series has earned good reviews, but there are just sooooooooo many shows in this genre that it is impossible to recommend one over another. It really depends on your personal preference for characters, actors, setting, etc.


- C.S.Strowbridge


Date posted: 2014-01-28