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DVD and Blu-ray Releases for December 30th, 2014

December 28th, 2014

Christmas day is the single biggest gift-giving day of the year... so it makes total sense that the week after Christmas is a terrible week to release any new DVDs or Blu-rays. The week is better than you would expect with a few notable releases, including The Equalizer, which earned just over $100 million during its theatrical run. It is also one of the best releases on this week's list and with solid extras, the Blu-ray is a contender for Pick of the Week. The other two contenders are Banshee: Season 2 on DVD or Blu-ray and Shameless: Season 4 on DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack. It was a bit of a coin toss, but in the end I went with Shameless.

App - Buy from Amazon: DVD
An experimental film that uses a real-world app as part of the story. There are not a lot of reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, but both of the reviews that are there are positive, so that's a good sign. Perhaps it is an undiscovered gem.

Banshee: Season 2 - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
A con-man takes over the identity of the new sheriff in a small Amish town, only to have his past come back to haunt him. The reviews are excellent and extras include audio commentary tracks, behind-the-scenes, deleted scenes, etc. It is certainly worth picking up and one of only three new releases I can say that about.

Blu-ray Releases - Buy from Amazon: Mr. Write, Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky, and Tha Crib
Only three secondary Blu-ray releases this week and I won't be surprised if no one reading this had heard of any of these movies.

The Brittany Murphy Story - Buy from Amazon: DVD
A TV movie about the life of Brittany Murphy. Its reviews have been few and far between, but most are very negative. The reviews have been negative, even compared to most TV movies. If you weren't a fan of the actress, then there's little reason to be interested in a film about her life. However, if you liked the actress, you are probably going to want to avoid this movie, as it is not a fitting tribute.

Elsa and Fred - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
A romantic comedy featuring Shirley MacLaine and Christopher Plummer. The reviews are terrible with too many clichés and not enough depth to the story. Additionally, there are no extras on the DVD or the Blu-ray.

The Equalizer - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Denzel Washington plays an ex-military man who goes out of retirement when a young friend of his, Chloë Grace Moretz, is attacked by her pimp. However, it turns out they weren't just locals, but were Russian Mafia and the head of the family sends out troops to get revenge. The film earned good reviews, especially compared to most fall releases. Praise went to both sides of the camera, with compliments going to both Denzel Washington and Chloë Grace Moretz, although the latter's role is rather short. Additionally the director, Antoine Fuqua, was able to make a stylish film without suffocating the proceedings in style. On the downside, it is not a very deep movie. There are not a lot of extras on the DVD, just a featurette on Chloë Grace Moretz and a fake commercial for the store Denzel Washington's character works at. However, the Blu-ray has these, plus Vengeance Mode, which is the movie with more than 20 minutes of featurettes stitched in. There are also featurettes on Denzel Washington and Antoine Fuqua, as well as two making of featurettes. Definitely worth picking up and with weak competition, it is a contender for Pick of the Week.

Kelly and Cal - Buy from Amazon: DVD
Juliette Lewis plays a new mom who isn't sure she can raise a child. Jonny Weston plays a 17-year old who is confined to a wheelchair. They strike up an unlikely friendship. The reviews are good, but not great, while it failed to find an audience in theaters. This could explain why it is only coming out on DVD. It is worth checking out.

Last Weekend - Buy from Amazon: DVD
I like Patricia Clarkson, but this film's reviews are quite bad and this resulted in the film bombing at the box office. It likely won't do significantly better on the home market.

Reach Me - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
The film has an impressive ensemble cast, but its reviews are zero percent positive. That's almost impressive in its ineptitude. It doesn't matter what the DVD or Blu-ray is like, because its reviews are just so bad.

Red Vs Blue: Season 12 - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack
One of the longest running webseries. It predates YouTube by a couple of years. That's how old it is. The Blu-ray combo pack has audio commentary, behind-the-scenes, deleted scenes, outtakes, and more. If you own the previous releases, there's no reason to stop now.

Shameless: Season 4 - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack
The best release on this week's list. Shameless is a TV series starring William H. Macy as the drunk head of a family and Emmy Rossum as his eldest daughter and the person who has to keep the family functioning. The reviews continue to be amazing; however, I can't seem to find any information on extras. That's the only thing keeping me from giving this the Pick of the Week honors.

Note: These Blu-rays made their home market debut on the 2nd.

Star Trek: The Next Generation - Blu-ray releases - Buy from Amazon: Season Seven and All Good Things
I got to the reviews for the final two Star Trek: The Next Generation Blu-ray releases. Are they worth picking up? Or did the series end on a low note? Read our two reviews to find out.

Stephen King's A Good Marriage - Buy from Amazon: DVD
A Stephen King adaptation where a wife learns her husband is a serial killer. The reviews are weak, with the lack of serious tension being the biggest complaint. Maybe if you love the original novella, then the DVD is worth a rental. However, for most people, there are better options.

Tusk - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
This is one of the stranger movies I've gotten a chance to review. Doesn't it work? Or is its biggest asset its strangeness? Read our review for my opinion.

When Calls the Heart - Buy from Amazon: Second Chances, Change of Heart, and Rules of Engagement
The next three TV movies in the Rules of Engagement series. The series has earned impressive review, but perhaps it would have been better for full-season sets rather than divide them into movies.


Filed under: Video Releases, The Equalizer, Tusk, Reach Me, App, Elsa & Fred, The Brittany Murphy Story, William H. Macy, Denzel Washington, Joan Allen, Patricia Clarkson, Antoine Fuqua, Stephen King, Anthony LaPaglia, Juliette Lewis, Shirley MacLaine, Chloë Grace Moretz, Brittany Murphy, Christopher Plummer, Emmy Rossum, Jonny Weston