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The Warner Brothers animated movie The LEGO Movie is our Recommendation of the Week with both the DVD and Blu-ray featuring the usual array of commentaries and deleted scenes and also includes outtakes and animated shorts.
– The LEGO Movie (DVD and Blu-ray)
– The Grand Budapest Hotel (DVD and Blu-ray)
– The Machine (DVD and Blu-ray)
– Joe (DVD and Blu-ray)
– Ernest & Celestine (DVD and Blu-ray)
– Walk of Shame (DVD and Blu-ray)
– Test (DVD)
– Judex (1963) (DVD and Blu-ray)
– Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975) (Blu-ray)
– Hearts and Minds (1974) (Blu-ray)
– Beneath Hill 60 (2010) (Blu-ray)
Directed by Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
Written by Phil Lord, Christopher Miller (screenplay), Dan Hageman, Kevin Hageman, Phil Lord, Christopher Miller (story)
Starring: Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Nick Offerman, Alison Brie, Charlie Day, Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman
The LEGO Movie is one of the most critically acclaimed movies of 2014 and the frontrunner for being the best animated movie of the year. It also part of an excellent year for Phil Lord and Christopher Miller who have also had success with 22 Jump Street.
In the world of LEGO the evil Lord Business (Will Ferrell) has gained a weapon known as “Kragle” and plans to use it to enforce conformity across the universe. But a group known as the Master Builders plan to stop Lord Business and his army of robots and find the prophesied “The Special”. The problem is The Special is a dimwitted construction worker, Emmet (Chris Pratt).
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 96% (excellent)
Metacritic Rating: 82/100 (very good)
Entertainment Fuse Score: 8.5/10
DVD Special Features: Feature Commentary; Batman’s A True Artist; Michelangelo and Lincoln: History Cops; Enter the Ninjago; Bringing Lego To Life; Everything Is Awesome Sing-Along; See It, Build It; Stories From The Story Team; Fan Made Films: Top-Secret Submissions; Outtakes; Additional Promotional Content; Alleyway Test; Deleted Scenes
Score (DVDTalk.com): Content.5 stars, Video 5 stars, Audio 5 stars, Extras 4 stars, Replay 4 stars (out of 5). Highly Recommended.
The other big release this week is Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel while the drama Joe and animated movie Ernest & Celestine are critically acclaimed. The Criterion Collection have three big re-releases.
Directed by Wes Anderson
Written by West Anderson (screenplay), Wes Anderson, Hugo Guinness (story)
Starring: Ralph Fiennes, Tony Revolori, Saoirse Ronan, F. Murray Abraham, Edward Norton, Mathieu Amalirc, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe
The Grand Budapest Hotel is a latest movie from Wes Anderson, an all-star screwball comedy set in the fictional European country of Zubrowka during the interwar years. The Grand Budapest Hotel follows hotel concierge Gustave H. (Ralph Fiennes) and his assistant Zero Moustafa (Tony Revolori) who end up crossing Dmitri Desgoffe und Taxis (Adrien Brody), the son of a wealthy woman who leaves Gustave a valuable painting and sets off a chain of events, including a prison break and the outbreak of war.
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 92% (excellent)
Metacritic Rating: 88/100 (excellent)
Entertainment Fuse Score: 7.8/10 (read our review)
Written and directed by Caradog W. James
Starring: Caity Lotz, Sam Hazeldine, Toby Stephens, Pooneh Hajimohammadi, Denis Lawson
In the future a new Cold War has emerged between the West and China. In a Britain the Ministry of Defence orders two scientists to create an self-aware android to use as a weapon. But one of the scientists, Vincent McCarthy (Toby Stephens, Die Another Day) sees the android as a potential cure for his daughter’s disease.
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 77% (very good)
Metacritic Rating: 52/100 (average)
Directed by David Gordon Green
Written by Gary Hawkins (screenplay), Larry Brown (novel)
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Tye Sheridan
Nicolas Cage and David Gordon Green have both suffered a slump in form over years but the two have found critical success with the adaptation of the novel Joe as an ex-con (Cage) has to protect a 15-year-old boy.
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 84% (very good)
Metacritic Rating: 73/100 (good)
Directed by Stéphane Aubier, Vincent Patar, Benjamin Renner
Written by Daniel Pennac
Starring: Lambert Wilson, Pauline Brunner
Ernest & Celestine is a French-Belgian animated movie based on a series of children books about a Ernest, a bear and Celestine, a mouse forming an unlikely friendship due to the hatred and fear of each other’s species.
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes: 97% (excellent)
Metacritic Rating: 86/100 (excellent)
DVD Special Features: Making Of Featurette; Feature-length Animatic; Interview with Director Benjamin Renner; In English with a Bonus French Audio Track and English Subtitles
Score (DVDTalk.com): Content 4 stars, Video 4.5 stars, Audio 4 stars, Extras 3.5 stars, Replay 3.5 stars (out of 5). Highly Recommended.
Written and directed by Steven Brill
Starring: Elizabeth Banks, James Marsden, Gillian Jacobs, Sarah Wright, Ethan Suplee, Oliver Hudson, Willie Garson
Not even the lovely Elizabeth Banks could save this dub of a comedy from Little Nicky director Steven Brill. Banks stars as a Meghan Miles, a local news anchor who goes out for a night with her friends and has a one-night stand. But she ends up stranded in downtown Los Angeles with no money, phone, car or ID and has to get to the job interview of her life.
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 13% (awful)
Metacritic Rating: 25/100 (very bad)
Written and directed by Chris Mason Johnson
Starring: Scott Marlowe, Matthew Risch
Test is a American drama about Frankie (Scott Marlowe), a young dancer in a dance company in San Francisco in 1985 as he forms a relationship with an older dancer, Todd (Matthew Risch) as the first effective test for HIV has been created.
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 88% (excellent)
Amazon Price: $22.98 (DVD)
Directed by Georges Franju
Written by Jacques Champreux, Francis Lacassin
Starring: Channing Pollock, Francine Bergé
The 1963 French movie Judex is a remake of a 1916 crime flick. This movie tells of a unscrupulous banker who gets threatening messages from a mysterious figure known as Judex who demands he gives back the money he took.
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes: 100% (excellent)
DVD Special Features: New 2K digital film restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray; Interview from 2007 with the film’s cowriter Jacques Champreux, the grandson of Louis Feuillade, cocreator of the silent serial Judex; Interview from 2012 with actor Francine Bergé; Franju le visionnaire, a fifty-minute program from 1998 on director Georges Franju’s career and imagination; New English subtitle translation; One Blu-ray and one DVD, with all content available in both formats; PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film scholar Geoffrey O’Brien, along with reprinted writings by and excerpted interviews with Franju
Directed by Peter Weir
Written by Cliff Green (screenplay), Joan Lindsay (novel)
Starring: Rachel Roberts, Dominic Guard, Helen Morse, Jacki Weaver, Anne-Louise Lambert, Vivean Gray
The Australian drama Picnic at Hanging Rock has earned a re-release thanks to the Criterion Collection. Directed by Peter Weir (The Truman Show) Picnic at Hanging Rock is an adaptation of the novel of the same name focusing on disappearance of a group of schoolgirls and their teacher in 1900 in rural Australia and the impact it has on people in their community.
Fun fact, my great aunt has a pivotal role in this movie.
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 94% (excellent)
DVD Special Features: Remastered high-definition digital film transfer, supervised and approved by director Peter Weir; Extended interview with Weir; New piece on the making of the film, featuring interviews from 2003 with executive producer Patricia Lovell, producers Hal McElroy and Jim McElroy, and cast members; New introduction by film scholar David Thomson, author of The New Biographical Dictionary of Film; A Recollection . . . Hanging Rock 1900 (1975), an on-set documentary hosted by Lovell and featuring interviews with Weir, actor Rachel Roberts, and source novel author Joan Lindsay; Homesdale (1971), an award-winning black comedy by Weir; Trailer; An essay by author Megan Abbott
Amazon Price: $33.96 (Blu-ray)
Directed by Peter Davis
Hearts and Minds is a Academy Award winning documentary about the effects of Vietnam War on the Vietnamese people.
Metacritic Rating: 68/100 (good)
DVD Special Features: High-definition digital restoration, supervised by director Peter Davis and cinematographer Richard Pearce, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray; Audio commentary featuring Davis; A collection of over two hours of never-before-seen outtakes from the film, including interviews with presidential adviser George Ball, broadcast journalist David Brinkley, French journalist and historian Philippe Devillers, political activist Tony Russo, and General William Westmoreland; One Blu-ray and two DVDS, with all content available in both formats; PLUS: A booklet featuring essays by Davis, film critic Judith Crist, and historians Robert K. Brigham, George C. Herring, and Ngo Vinh Long
Amazon Price: $33.96 (Blu-ray)
Directed by Jeremy Hartley Sims
Written by David Roach
Starring: Brendan Cowell, Gyton Grantley, Aden Young, Bella Heathcote, Jacqueline McKenzie, Anthony Hayes, Steve Le Marquand
Beneath Hill 60 is an Australian war film about the 1st Australian Tunnelling Company who fought on the Western Front in World War One and have to dig under the German trenches to plant explosives for a British attack.
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes): 85% (excellent)
Amazon Price: $10.98 (Blu-ray)