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New on DVD and Blu-ray Week of February 24-March 02

View Chris Kavan's Profile

By Chris Kavan - 02/24/15 at 06:54 AM CT

Congratulations to regular columnist Harley Lond - I should say regular columnist and new grandfather, Harley Lond. It's been a very busy weekend - so the new releases will be delayed while he has a chance to catch up. Either Harley or I will provide the blog in the next few days.

Now that the 87th Academy Awards have come and gone - it's time for the big award winners to start trickling in to your homes (after making a few more bucks in the theaters if they can). This week two winners will be available for purchase - one I'm more excited about than the other - along with a comedy sequel and a music-industry drama/romance. There's a little bit of everything - sure to please most audiences.

First up is the Academy Award-winning Whiplash, which took home the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor (for the intense and kind of scary J.K. Simmons) along with picking up statuettes for Best Sound Mixing and Best Editing. Miles Teller tries to keep up with J.K. Simmons' harsh lessons in the Academy Award-Winner Drama, Whiplash. That's nice haul for film that took just 19 days to shoot. The film follows Andrew (Miles Teller - holding his own and proving he has a long career ahead of him), a would-be drummer entering a highly competitive music conservatory under the tutelage of a no-hold-barred instructor (Simmons) who will do everything in his power to bring out the best in his students - no matter how badly it hurts. I haven't had a chance to see this one - but it's right up there on my must-see list. It looks so intense and kind of brutal - and exceptional. I have high hopes for this one.

Another Academy Award winner (for Best Animated Feature) is Disney's Big Hero 6. This is one I have seen and, while i have no inherent problem with the film, I'm still disappointed this won out over The Tale of Princess Kaguya. Really, this is an animated hero origin story and while the characters are very distinct and the story is decent - it never jumped out at me as a "classic" certainly it didn't resonate with me as much as say Wall E, Up or The Incredibles. And not nearly as much as Princess Kaguya, which aside from being one of the most beautifully-animated films I have seen - had a deep and satisfying story. Eh, to each their own - if you want to entertain the kids and still be entertained yourself - there is nothing wrong with Big Hero 6 - this is one that I think will get better if they decide to make a sequel - get that origin story out of the way, and build up to something bigger.

Not an award-winner, Horrible Bosses 2 suffered a bit from sequelitis. That is, most people found this second entry a bit lacking compared to the original. Most of the cast is back - Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day and even Jennifer Aniston and Kevin Spacey return. They are joined by Jamie Foxx, Chris Pine and Christoph Waltz.. Despite this seemingly solid cast, the film barely topped $50 million and wasn't exactly a hit with critics or audiences. That being said, there are certainly worse ways to spend your time and if you are a fan of the original it's probably at least a safe bet. I still have to see the first film before I dive in to this one.

Finally, we have Beyond the Lights - a somewhat under-the-radar romantic drama set in the music industry. Gugu Mbatha-Raw (who also starred in the underrated Belle) plays Noni, a singer who finds the price of fame weighing heavy on her. Just when things seem darkest, she meets Kaz (Nate Parker), a young cop who helps her find her true voice and change the course of her career, and life. Granted, it all sounds a bit too... romantic for my tastes (maybe a bit too sappy) but it looks like it has a positive message and just maybe guys can get something out of this even though it's obviously geared toward women. The supporting cast includes Minnie Driver, Danny Glover and Darryl Stephens.


In the relentless thriller "Captive" (2012 -- Philippines), Isabelle Huppert brings passion and courage to her portrayal of a hostage caught in a seemingly hopeless situation. At a beach resort in the Philippines, 20 guests are kidnapped by an Islamic separatist group fighting for their independence. French social worker Therese Bourgoine is among those taken to a jungle island, with the Filipino army in pursuit. As the captors and their hostages journey through dense jungle terrain, trying to avoid the bullets and artillery salvos fired indiscriminately at them, an unexpected bond grows between the kidnappers and hostages. Packaged in certified Green photo for Let's Kill Ward's Wife Forestry eco pack. From First Run Features ... In "Let's Kill Ward's Wife" (2014), starring Amy Acker, Patrick Wilson, Nicollette Sheridan, Scott Foley, Greg Grunberg and Donald Faison, everyone hates Ward's wife and wants her dead. Especially Ward (Donald Faison). But when murderous fantasies accidentally get real, Ward and his pals have all new problems: Disposing of the body. Getting away with murder. Making their 3 p.m. tee time. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Well Go USA ... "Exterminators of the Year 3000" (1983), starring Robert Iannucci, Alicia Moro, Luciano Pigozzi, Eduardo Fajardo, is an Italian-made exploitation classic set in a post-apocalyptic future where the earth is a desert and water is the most precious substance of all. A band of survivors must turn to a mysterious stranger to battle a ruthless gang of motorcycle psychos for control of the wasteland and the water. Making its Blu-ray debut from Shout! Factory ... In "To Write Love On Her Arms" (2014), starring Kat Dennings, Chad Michael Murray, Rupert Friend and Corbin Bleu, Dennings stars as Renee, a Florida girl who struggles with addiction and abuse. In a creative blend of artistic fantasy and music conflicted with hard reality, Renee discovers the value of genuine friendships and embarks on a daunting yet courageous journey towards recovery with a vision of hope, healing and redemption. Based on the true story that started a global movement. A portion of net proceeds will be donated to the To Write Love On Her Arms non-profit organization. From Sony ... photo for Innocence In "Innocence" (2014), starring Sophie Curtis, Kelly Reilly, Graham Phillips, 16-year-old Beckett, haunted by the death and dreams of her beloved mother in a Montauk surfing accident, moves with her novelist father to Manhattan, where they attempt to piece together their shattered lives. Enrolled at an exclusive preparatory school, Beckett's psychosis and hallucinations intensify with the dubious suicides of current and past students and the subsequent discovery that her new school may be run by a coven of beautiful and seductive women who perpetuate their youth by drinking the blood of virgins. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Anchor Bay ... Desperate, broke, and out of ideas, four college seniors start a fake charity to embezzle money for tuition in "Believe Me" (2014), starring Alex Russell, Zachary Knighton, Johanna Braddy, Miles Fisher, Sinqua Walls, Max Adler, Nick Offerman and Christopher McDonald. From Virgil Films.


  • "The Last of Robin Hood" (2014): Kevin Kline, Dakota Fanning, Susan Sarandon, Sean Flynn, Max Casella. Errol Flynn, the swashbuckling Hollywood star and notorious ladies man, flouted convention all his life, but never more brazenly than in his last years when, swimming in vodka and unwilling to face his mortality, he undertook a liaison with an aspiring actress, Beverly Aadland. The two had a high-flying affair that spanned the globe and was enabled by the girl's fame-obsessed mother, Florence. It all came crashing to an end in October 1959, when events forced the relationship into the open, sparking an avalanche of publicity castigating Beverly and her mother-- which only fed Florence's need to stay in the spotlight. On DVD, Blu-ray from Samuel Goldwyn for Life Partners

  • "Life Partners" (2014): Leighton Meester, Gillian Jacobs, Adam Brody. Straight Paige (Jacobs) and lesbian Sasha (Meester) are co-dependent best friends in their late 20s who have spent the last 10 years acting more like wives than friends: they talk to each other on the toilet; they drive each other to the doctor. And as with any good marriage, they're a perfect yin and yang. Until the night Paige meets Tim (Brody). Despite some superficial drawbacks, he's the kind of guy you marry. As Paige and Tim's relationship grows, the bond between Paige and Sasha inevitably shifts. Suddenly without a “partner,” Sasha is left to examine her own shortcomings and panic about her impending 30th birthday. Passive-aggressive conflict brews in their friendship until the girls must finally confront the question they've been avoiding: can their friendship survive growing up? On DVD, Blu-ray from Magnolia Home Entertainment.


Mario Lopez is back as everyone's favorite dog, Zeus, in the latest installment of the heart-warming family franchise "The Dog Who Saved Easter" (2015). When a rival business puts Zeus' daycare in jeopardy, it's up to him, with the help of his canine companions, to save the day. Co-stars Dean Cain, Elisa Donovan, Beverley Mitchell, Patrick Muldoon, Catherine Hicks and Mindy Sterling. From Lionsgate ... "The Beginner's Bible" (2014) is a single disc with three animated Bible stories: "The Story of Easter," "The Story of Moses" and "The Story of the Nativity." $9.95 from StarVista Entertainment/Time Life.


"CHiPs: The Complete Third Season" (1979-80) is a five-disc set with 24 episodes, $29.98 from Warner ... "Da Vinci's Demons: The Complete Second Season" (2014) is the Starz Original series follows the "adventures" of scientific and literary genius Leonardo da Vinci as he travels to South America, Naples, and Turkey in his quest to find answers. The second season begins as Florence is thrown into chaos in the wake of the Pazzi conspiracy and da Vinci must photo for Da Vinci's Demons: The Complete Second Season push the limits of his mind and body to defend the city against the forces of Rome. When the dust settles, friends are buried and rivalries enflamed. While the Medicis go to unthinkable lengths to deal with new threats, da Vinci continues on his quest to find the fabled Book of Leaves and uncover the secret history of his mother. He'll come to realize that he has lethal competition in his quest -- new enemies who may be even worse than the forces of Pope Sixtus. Three-disc DVD: $44.98, three-disc Blu-ray: $54.99, from Anchor Bay ... "Longmire: The Complete Third Season" (2014) is a two-disc set with 10 episodes, $39.98 from Warner ... "Outlander: Season 1, Volume 1" (2014) is a two-disc set with all eight episodes of the STARZ series about a WWII nurse who, while on a second honeymoon with her husband, finds herself inexplicably transported back in time to Scotland, circa 1743. Based on Diana Gabaldon's best-selling book series. A Limited Collector's Edition features a 32-page book with excerpts from the scripts, photographs and an introduction from author Diana Gabaldon. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Sony ... "Transporter: The Series – The Complete First Season" (2012) is a four-disc set with 12 episodes of the series based on the hugely popular films that follows British ex-commando Frank Martin -- a high-stakes courier who delivers dangerous cargo -- to exotic locations, where he deals with clients whose business is top-secret. Although he swears never to learn the truth about his deliveries, he often breaks that code, putting his life at even greater risk. From Fox.

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


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Wrote on 02/24/15 at 10:59 AM CT


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