DVD and Blu-ray Releases for April 15th, 2014

It is a busy week on the home market with five films that either opened at least semi-wide or expanded semi-wide. However, unlike last week, there's no monster hit like The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug leading the way. In fact, most of the semi-wide or wide releases on this week's list were critical and box office disappointments. Only Philomena did well with critics. Fortunately, it did well enough that it is a contender for Pick of the Week without even considering the extras on the DVD or Blu-ray. There are a few other new releases that are noteworthy, but most of them are catalog Blu-ray releases. These include Touch of Evil on Blu-ray and Double Indemnity on Blu-ray. In the end, I went with Touch of Evil, but I literally had to roll a dice to decide.

Anger Management: Volume 3 - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Charlie Sheen's TV series after his meltdown. The reviews are not great, while the ratings are merely okay for a cable show.

Angry Birds Toons - Season 01, Volume 02 - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Why?

Black Nativity - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
This Christmas movie opened in November but went nowhere at the box office. The reviews were not as bad as its box office numbers. If you like gospel music, it is worth checking out. However, the DVD and Blu-ray are nearly featureless, so it is only worth a rental.

Bletchley Circle: Season 2 - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
A British mystery TV series about the women who worked as codebreakers during World War II. The show's reviews are very strong, but like most British imports, the price-per-minute here is really high. You can't even consider this four TV movies for $25 / $30. It's four hour-long episodes for that price (hour-long, with commercials) and only half-an-hour of interviews for extras. That's just too high to recommend. If it were fully loaded with extras (audio commentary tracks, making of featurettes, deleted / extended scenes, plus the interviews) then it would be a different story.

Blu-ray Releases - Buy from Amazon: Alice, Berserk: Golden Age Arc III - The Advent, Better Living Through Chemistry, Breaking the Waves (Criterion Collection), Confession of Murder, Copperhead, Date & Switch, From the New World: Collection 1, The Making of a Lady, Men in War, Mobius, Reality Bites - 20th Anniversary Edition, Rock Star, Sleep My Love, and Uncle Buck
There are a number of secondary Blu-ray releases this week, but none of them really stand out as must haves. This is mainly because there were not a lot of top-notch releases, so Blu-rays I would normally stick here actually got entries of their own.

3D Blu-ray Releases - Buy from Amazon: The Nut Job
This film was a bigger than expected hit at the box office this January. Then again, I don't think many kids have made the leap to 3D, at least not compared to action films.

Carol Burnett Show: Carols Crack-Up - Buy from Amazon
I'm still waiting for the screener for this release to show up. I really liked the first box set, so I hope this one is just as good. You can also buy a single-disc edition.

Cowgirls 'N Angels 2: Dakota's Summer - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
A family-friendly film aimed at teenagers and pre-teen girls. I'm not in that group, but I've seen enough similar movies to know when one works and one doesn't. Does this one work? And is it worth picking up over just renting? Read our review to find out.

Double Indemnity - Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon
Another classic coming out on Blu-ray this week. I love the genre and I love this movie. I own it on a special edition DVD and this is a no-brainer to purchase again. It's loaded with extras, including two audio commentary tracks, documentary, and even a TV movie based on the same novel.

Dry Spell - Buy from Amazon
An ultra-low budget romantic comedy about a woman, Suzi Lorraine, who thinks the reason she can't have sex is because her ex-husband, Kyle, hasn't moved on. She tries to find him a new woman, so she can have guilt-free sex. Is the film worth checking out on Video on Demand? Read our review for my opinion.

Flowers in the Attic - Buy from Amazon
A remake of a 1987 film, which was an adaptation of a 1979 book. The original movie wasn't well received by critics. Is this movie better? Is it better by a large enough margin to be worth watching? Check out our review to find out.

The Gabby Douglas Story - Buy from Amazon
I'm still waiting for the screener for this TV movie.

Great Expectations - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
An adaptation of the Charles Dickens' novel. This is not the first time it has been turned into a movie, nor is it the best. It is worth checking out, if you really like the story. But if you really like the story, you likely already have a favorite adaptation.

Interior. Leather Bar. - Buy from Amazon
The latest film directed by James Franco. It's better than most films he has directed, but he clearly isn't interested in making commercial works.

The Invisible Woman - Blu-ray Combo Pack - Buy from Amazon
This film was released at the end of 2013 so it would be eligible for an Oscar, but its reviews were good, but not Oscar-worthy. Likewise, it reached $1 million at the box office, which is great for a limited release, but not enough to truly stand out. Extras are better than expected for a limited release and if you are a fan of costume dramas in general, or of Charles Dickens in particular, then it is at the very least worth a rental.

Legend of the Red Reaper - Buy from Amazon
A fantasy film that began more than six years ago, but ran into a very troubled production. That's putting it mildly. It is finally coming out on DVD this week. There are no reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, but I've read some reviews online from some genre critics and they are quite positive. Granted, it is a low-budget film, but it is earning good reviews compared to most other low-budget films.

Mallrats - Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon
I like this film more than most critics, but even so, this is the tenth best selling new release of the week, according to Amazon.com. It is only $10 and it is loaded with extras, so I'm not surprised it sells well, but it is surprising it is selling this well.

Murder on the Home Front - Buy from Amazon
A British murder mystery TV movie that earned good reviews, but not great reviews. If you like the genre, it is worth a rental, but that's likely all it is worth.

The Nut Job - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack or 3D Combo Pack
One of two January releases I reviewed this week. This film did well for a family film, at least at the box office. The film was reviled by critics. Is it that bad? Even if it is better, is it good enough to be worth picking up? Read our review to find out.

Philomena - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
A multi-Oscar nominated film that, despite opening in limited release, earned $37.56 million. The extras on the DVD and Blu-ray include an audio commentary track, a couple of Q&A sessions and a short featurette on the real Philomena Lee. Certainly worth picking up and a real contender for Pick of the Week.

The Practice: The Final Season - Buy from Amazon
This show had so many changes in the final season, it is hard to call it the same show. If you have bought the rest of the seasons, you might as well complete your collection.

Ride Along - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack
This film earned terrible reviews, but was one of the biggest all-time box office hits for a January release. Were the critics right to savage it? Or were the moviegoers right to flock to it? Check out our review for my opinion.

Ripper Street: Season 2 - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
A police procedural set in London shortly after the Jack the Ripper murders. Fans of the genre know what to expect. The reviews are excellent, but the price-per-minute is really high. There are almost no extras on the DVD or the Blu-ray (just a 13-minute behind-the-scenes featurette) but that is also common for British imports.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack
This film was expected to be a Christmas hit, but the reviews were mixed and it struggled at the box office. It could still break even, if it is a hit on the home market. However, the extras on the DVD are weak with just a behind-the-scenes featurette and an image gallery. The Blu-ray has more with deleted and extended scenes and a music video. It's not enough to be worth picking up, but if you just want a rental, you could do a lot worse.

Touch of Evil - Blu-ray - Buy from Amazon
One of the best movies of all time. Absolutely worth picking up and the Blu-ray is loaded with extras, including multiple version of the movie. It is a Pick of the Week contender for sure.

Wrong Cops - Buy from Amazon
From the same director that brought us Rubber. Is it as bizarre as that movie? Is it as good as that movie? Check out our review to find out.


- C.S.Strowbridge


Date posted: 2014-04-15