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New on DVD and Blu-ray Week of February 3-9

View Harley Lond's Profile

By Harley Lond - 02/02/15 at 08:26 PM CT

THIS WEEK'S THEATRICAL RELEASES:

Though at first glance a run-of-the-mill action-hero-revenge thriller, "John Wick" redeems itself with a gutsy, straight-ahead bone-jarring performance by Keanu Reeves as a brilliantly lethal ex-assassin who single-handedly takes on the Russian mob in New York in retribution for the stealing of his prize 1969 Mustang and the murder of his puppy (given to him posthumeously by his Keanu Reeves is looking for revenge in the 2014 top action film John Wick recently deceased wife). Reeves may not be a Jason Statham or a Liam Neeson but his action chops have improved enough to hold the screen for 90 minutes of mayhem. Co-stars Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Adrianne Palicki, Bridget Moynahan, Dean Winters, Ian McShane, John Leguizamo and Willem Dafoe. Extras for John Wick
include six behind-the-scenes featurettes. From Lionsgate.

Also due this week: "Dracula Untold," an "origin story" for the original Dracula, Vlad III, in 15th century Transylvania; it's a weak attempt to lionize the bloodthirsty monster; from Universal.

THIS WEEK'S BEST BET:


After a decade in the wilds of avant-garde and early video experimentation, Jean-Luc Godard returned to commercial cinema with "Every Man for Himself" (1980), a work of social commentary, star-driven and narrative while remaining defiantly intellectual and visually cutting-edge. "Every Man for Himself," featuring a script by Jean-Claude Carriere ("The Discreet Charm of The Criterion Collection Blu-Ray Cover for Every Man for Himself the Bourgeoisie") and Anne-Marie Mieville ("Ici et ailleurs"), looks at the sexual and professional lives of three people -- a television producer ("Van Gogh's" Jacques Dutronc), his ex-girlfriend ("The Return of Martin Guerre's" Nathalie Baye), and a prostitute ("White Material's" Isabelle Huppert) -- to create a meditative story about work, relationships, and the notion of freedom. Made 20 years into his career, the film was, according to Godard, a second debut. New high-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray. Extras include "Le scenario" (1979), a short video created by Godard to secure financing for "Every Man for Himself"; a new video essay by critic Colin MacCabe; new interviews with actor Isabelle Huppert and producer Marin Karmitz; archival interviews with actor Nathalie Baye, cinematographers Renato Berta and William Lubtchansky, and composer Gabriel Yared; two back-to-back 1980 appearances by Godard on "The Dick Cavett Show"; "Godard 1980," a short film by Jon Jost, Donald Ranvaud, and Peter Wollen, featuring Godard; and an essay by critic Amy Taubin. From The Criterion Collection.

Also due this week are Blu-ray versions of three Studio Ghibli animated classics: "Pom Poko," "Porco Rosso," "Tales From Earthsea." From Disney.

BUZZIN' THE 'B'S:


"The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby" (2014), starring Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Ryan Eggold, Bill Hader, Viola Davis, Ciaran Hinds, Archie Panjabi, Jess Weixler, William Hurt and Isabelle Huppert, captures a complete picture of a relationship in this relatable portrait of love, empathy and truth. Once happily married, Conor (McAvoy) and Eleanor (Chastain) suddenly find themselves as strangers longing to understand each other in the wake of tragedy. The film explores the couple's story as they try to reclaim the life and love they once knew and pick up the pieces of a past that may be too far gone. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from The Weinstein Company ... In Ouija Blu-Ray Cover "Ouija" (2014), starring Olivia Cooke, Ana Coto, Daren Kagasoff and Bianca Santos, a group of friends must confront their most terrifying fears when they awaken the dark powers of an ancient spirit board. Extras include featurettes on the history and evolution of "talking boards." On DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo from Universal ... "Dear White People" (2014), a thought-provoking satire about race relations, is the story of an eclectic group of black students trying to navigate a predominantly white Ivy League school. Stars Tyler James Williams, Tessa Thompson, Kyle Gallner, Teyonah Parris, Brandon Bell, Malcolm Barrett and Dennis Haysbert. Extras include "Racism Insurance" skits; "The More You Know About Black People" (a PSA Web Series); "DVRS App: Black Friends When You Need Them"; behind-the-scenes featurettes. On DVD and Blu-ray Disc from Lionsgate ... A group of friends who venture into the remote Texas woods for a party weekend find themselves stalked by Bigfoot in "Exists" (2014), starring Dora Madison Burge, Samuel Davis, Roger Edwards, Chris Osborn, Brian Steele and Denise Williamson. On DVD from Lionsgate ... A young militia is all that stands between the arrival of a horde of the living dead and their rural town decimated by the fracking industry in "Zombie Killers: Elephant's Graveyard" (2015), starring Billy Zane, Dee Wallace, Mischa Barton, Felissa Rose and Brian Anthony Wilson. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Anchor Bay ... "The Best of Me" (2014), starring James Marsden, Michelle Monaghan and Gerald McRaney, is based on the #1 New York Times Best DVD Cover for Exists Seller from Nicholas Sparks. A pair of former high school sweethearts reunite after many years when they return to visit their small hometown. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Fox ... "The ABCs of Death 2" (2015) is the follow-up to one of the most ambitious anthology films ever conceived, featuring segments directed by over two dozen of the world's leading talents in contemporary genre film. The film is comprised of 26 individual chapters, each helmed by a different director assigned a letter of the alphabet. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Magnolia Home Entertainment Magnet Label ... By all appearances, Hector (Simon Pegg) has it all -- a successful psychiatry practice, a comfortable home and a beautiful, loving girlfriend (Pike). However, he's frustrated that he can't provide his patients with real happiness -- or even define it for them. So, he decides to travel the world in search of the elusive emotion, from rural China to Africa and even to Los Angeles in "Hector and the Search for Happiness" (2014), starring Simon Pegg, Rosamund Pike, Toni Collette, Christopher Plummer and Stellan Skarsgard. From Fox ... Chaos descends upon a quiet town when Roscoe, the pupil of a wizard monk from an ancient race of demons, unknowingly opens a portal that allows an unspeakable evil to travel freely into our world. When three grisly beasts cross into our dimension, the living are possessed and the dead DVD Cover for The Demon's Rook rise to destroy everything in their path in "The Demon's Rook" (2014), starring James Sizemore, Ashleigh Jo Sizemore and John Chatham. From Tribeca Film/Cinedigm ... In "Starry Eyes" (2014), starring Alex Essoe, Noah Segan, Pat Healy and Amanda Fuller, Sarah Walker (Essoe), determined to make it as an actress in Hollywood, spends her days working a dead-end job, enduring petty friendships with other struggling artists and competing actors, and going on countless casting calls in hopes of catching her big break. After a series of strange auditions, Sarah lands the leading role in a film from a mysterious production company. But this opportunity comes with some bizarre conditions that will transform her both mentally and physically into something beautiful ... and altogether terrifying. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Dark Sky Films/MPI ... A troubled and explosively violent teenager is transferred to an adult prison where he finally meets his match - a man who also happens to be his father in "Starred Up" (2014), starring Rupert Friend, Jack O'Connell and Ben Mendelsohn. From Tribeca Film/Cinedigm.

ON THE INDIE FRONT:


When Will (Glenn Howerton), a website manager for an electronics company, discovers that the local "Coffee Town" (2014) (which he uses as his own personal office) is scheduled to be converted into a bistro, he leaps into action. With the help of his two best friends, he enacts a plan to stage a robbery in the hopes of convincing the corporate interests behind the switch that the neighborhood is unsafe. Stars Glenn Howerton, Steve Little, Ben Schwartz, Adrianne Palicki and Josh Groban. From Shout! Factory).

FOR THE FAMILY:


DVD Cover for The Aviators "The Aviators" (2008 -- Spain) is a thrilling and patriotic animated tale based on an incredible true story, set during World War I: It follows the adventures of a courageous, albeit clumsy, group of pigeons and their sidekick, a resourceful engineer mouse. When their small farm is turned into a military training post and communications center for the Allies, the group of unlikely heroes enlists as carrier pigeons and bravely complete airborne missions to assist the soldiers on the battlefield. When given their biggest assignment yet, the team bands together to save the day and soar into history. Voices of Jeff Foxworthy, Brad Garrett. On DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo from VIVA Pictures/Cinedigm.

SPECIAL INTEREST:


In "Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic" (2015), Mike Epps, Richard Pryor Jr. and others recount the culture-defining influence of Richard Pryor -- one of America's most brilliant comic minds -- Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic Blu-Ray Cover in this new documentary. Pryor remains an inspiration to many: A man who broke taboos, provoked change and propelled himself through life as a result of sheer force of personality. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Magnolia Home Entertainment Magnet Label ... How did you first learn about sex? Maybe it was a book with colorful illustrations, a talk with Mom or Dad, a corny classroom film, or just a random encounter with a dirty magazine. The documentary "Sex[ed]: The Movie" (2014) offers a revealing, occasionally awkward, and often hilarious look at how Americans have learned about sex from the early 1900s to the present. Using clips from an astounding array of sex ed films, this entertaining DVD Cover for Sex Ed The Movie documentary captures what it was like for the kids -- confusion, shock, embarrassment -- and as well for those doing the educating (often with moral agendas front and center). From First Run Features ... Modern-day slavery is alive and well in the United States, as thousands of victims are trafficked across the country to satisfy America's $3-billion-a-year sex trafficking industry. Meet the pimps, the johns, the police, the parents and the victims of the thriving sex trade in "Tricked" (2013), a comprehensive and daring documentary that uncovers one of America's darkest secrets. From First Run Features ... "The Reagans: The Legacy Endures" (2014) is a documentary about the 40th President of the United States, Ronald Reagan, and his wife Nancy. From Image Entertainment.

FROM TV TO DVD:


StarVista Entertainment/Time Life has released the latest installment in the classic TV series "The Wonder Years": "The Wonder Years: The Complete Second Season" (1988-89) is a four-disc set with 17 episodes, $39.95. In this season, DVD Cover for Wonder Years: The Complete Second Season Kevin confronts the day-to-day pressures of junior high school life: kids don't know what they want, and the girls are just as confused as the boys. On the home front, older brother Wayne continues his bullying ways, but Kevin fights back and grows some backbone. However, his inner strength is tested when he participates in a class walkout to protest the Vietnam War, and joins his pals Paul Pfeiffer and Winnie Cooper to stop developers from destroying Harper's Woods, the site of many happy childhood memories. With over four dozen songs as they were featured in the original broadcasts with classics by Bob Dylan, Carole King, Aretha Franklin, The Temptations, Cream, Bing Crosby, Joni Mitchell, Simon & Garfunkel, Traffic, Diana Ross and the Supremes, James Taylor, Nat King Cole,The Miracles, Judy Collins, Donovan and many others.

Check out other February 3-9 DVD releases and reviews at OnVideo.

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