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DISCussion: New on DVD and Blu-ray (3.24.15)

"New on DVD and Blu-ray this Week!"

Although the list is short, we have some blockbuster monsters new on DVD this week. Along with three incredible Errol Morris documentaries being released by Criterion, we have Angelina Jolie’s harrowing PoW movie Unbroken, the Stephen Sondheim’s beloved musical-turned-film, Into the Woods, and our action-packed Recommendation of the Week, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.

New Release:
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – (Blu-ray, DVD and Instant)
Into the Woods – (Blu-ray, DVD and Instant)
Unbroken – (Blu-ray, DVD and Instant)
Antarctica: A Year on Ice – (Blu-ray, DVD and Instant)

Re-release:
Gates of Heaven/ Vernon, Florida (1978/ 1981) – (Criterion Blu-ray)
The Thin Blue Line (1988) – (Blu-ray, DVD and Instant)

 

New on DVD

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – (Blu-ray, DVD and Instant) *Recommendation of the Week*
Directed by Peter Jackson
Written by Fran Walsh (screenplay), Philippa Boyens (screenplay), Peter Jackson (screenplay), Guillermo del Toro (screenplay), and J.R.R. Tolkien (novel, The Hobbit)
Starring: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage

The third installment of a needlessly-lengthened The Hobbit, director Peter Jackson proves that lack of source material cannot stop him from churning out a two-hour film. Nearly devoid of meaningful plot, The Battle of the Five Armies builds to an incredible 40-plus minute battle scene, as epic (if not slightly cheapened by overly-CGI’ed everything) as Jackson has ever crafted. Performances are a bit monotonous and one-dimensional, as characters are merely at the very end of their original arcs.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 60% (Fresh)
Metacritic: 59 (Okay)
IMDB: 7.6 (Very Good)
Entertainment Fuse: 7/10 (Read our Review)

DISC DETAILS

Amazon: $24.96 (Blu-ray); $14.96 (DVD); $3.99/$14.99 (Instant Rent/ Buy)

 

New on DVD

Into the Woods – (Blu-ray, DVD and Instant)
Directed by Rob Marshall
Written by James Lapine (screenplay and musical) and Stephen Sondheim (musical)
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Meryl Streep, Chris Pine

This dark fairytale musical garnered three Oscar nominations, including a best supporting actress nod for perennial nominee, Meryl Streep. An amalgamation of popular folkloric tales, Into the Woods finds one of Stephen Sondheim’s most beloved musicals getting the big screen treatment it deserves.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 71% (Good)
Metacritic: 69 (Good)
IMDB: 6.2 (Good)
Entertainment Fuse: 8/10 (Read our Review)

DISC DETAILS

Special Features: Commentary from Rob Marshall and producer John DeLuca; Music and Lyrics feature; Additional song, “She’ll Be Back;” “There’s Something about the Woods” featurette; “The Cast as Good as Gold” featurette; “Deeper into the Woods” four-part featurette; “From the Stage to the Screen” featurette; “”The Magic in the Woods” featurette; “Designing the Woods” featurette; “The Costumes of the Woods” featurette

Amazon: $19.99 (Blu-ray); $14.99 (DVD); $14.99 (Instant Buy)

Score (DVDTalk.com): Content: 3.5 stars(out of 5); Video: 5 stars; Audio: 5 stars; Extras: 3.5 stars; Replay: 3 stars. Recommended.

 

New on DVD

Unbroken – (Blu-ray, DVD and Instant)
Directed by Angelina Jolie
Written by Joel and Ethan Coen (screenplay); Richard LaGravenese (screenplay), William Nicholson (screenplay), and Laura Hillenbrand (book)
Starring: Jack O’Connell, Takamasa Ishihara, Domhnall Gleeson

The harrowing true story of Louis Zamperini, an Olympian-turned-POW during WWII. Wonderful performances from rising-star, Jack O’Connell and Ishihara, coupled with the Oscar-worthy cinematography elevate the standard uplifting biopic.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 51% (Rotten)
Metacritic: 59 (Okay)
IMDB: 7.1 (Very Good)
Entertainment Fuse: 7.5/10

DISC DETAILS

Amazon: $19.99 (Blu-ray); $14.99 (DVD); $4.99/$14.99 (Instant Rent/ Buy)

 

New on DVD

Antarctica: A Year on Ice – (Blu-ray, DVD and Instant)
Directed by Anthony Powell
Written by Anthony Powell and Simon Price
Starring: Anthony Powell, Genevieve Bachman, William Brotman

Powell’s self-shot documentary follows as he, and several other Antarctican residents, deal with life in the coldest, most desolate, place on Earth.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 84% (Very Good)
Metacritic: 69 (Good)
IMDB: 7.4 (Very Good)

DISC DETAILS

Amazon: $24.99 (Blu-ray); $22.99 (DVD); $3.99/$14.99 (Instant Rent/ Buy)

New on DVD

Gates of Heaven/ Vernon, Florida (1978/ 1981) – (Criterion Blu-ray)
Directed by Errol Morris

Renown documentarian Errol Morris’ stunning debut features are being given the Criterion treatment. One of the greatest documentaries ever made, Gates of Heaven profiles a pet cemetery in California, and, in the process, unveils a multitude of insights into the American way of life. Vernon, Florida is the culmination of Morris’ visits to the eponymous Floridian town, wherein he interviews several of the town’s more eccentric individuals.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 94 / 100% (Excellent)
IMDB: 7.5 / 7.4 (Very Good)
Entertainment Fuse: 10/10

DISC DETAILS

Special Features: 2K digital restorations of both films, supervised by director Errol Morris, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks on the Blu-rays; Two new interviews with Morris; Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe (1980), a twenty-minute film by Les Blank featuring Herzog fulfilling a bet intended to inspire Morris to complete his first feature; Footage of Herzog professing his admiration for Gates of Heaven at the 1980 Telluride Film Festival; PLUS: An essay by critic Eric Hynes

Amazon: $27.59 (Criterion Blu-ray)

 

New on DVD

The Thin Blue Line (1988) – (Blu-ray, DVD and Instant)
Directed and Written by Errol Morris

Errol Morris’s most life-changing documentary blurs the line between art and activism. Changing the life of its subject, Thin Blue Line watches as Morris and his team build a case to free an innocent drifter from death row. Meticulous in his presentation of case details, and consistently fluid with his reenactments, Morris delivers one of the best crime documentaries this side of The Jinx.

Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 100% (Superb)
Metacritic: 79 (Very Good)
IMDB: 8.1 (Excellent)
Entertainment Fuse: 10/10

DISC DETAILS

Special Features: High-definition digital restoration, supervised by director Errol Morris and producer Mark Lipson, with 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray; New interview with Morris; New interview with Joshua Oppenheimer, director of The Act of Killing; NBC report from 1989 covering Randall Adams’s release from prison; PLUS: An essay by film scholar Charles Musser

Amazon: $22.99 (Criterion Blu-ray)

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