New to DVD and On Demand Releases for April 12 - 18
Releasing this week:
"Big Eyes": This true, Tim Burton-directed comedy-drama takes its title from the standout trait of the characters ostensibly painted by Walter Keane (played by two-time Oscar winner Christoph Waltz) -- who earned great fame and acclaim for them, though it ultimately was discovered that they actually were created by his wife, Margaret (the customarily excellent Amy Adams, who earned a Golden Globe Award for her performance). The impact of that professional situation on their personal relationship is examined; co-stars include Danny Huston, Krysten Ritter and Terence Stamp. DVD extra: '`making-of' documentary. (PG-13: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
"The Babadook": Still struggling to recover years later from her husband's car-accident death, a woman (Essie Davis) finds her son (Noah Wiseman) caught up in supposed fantasies of a violent nature in writer-director Jennifer Kent's acclaimed thriller. The youngster asks her to read him a storybook about a fearsome monster, and soon afterward, the frightening events on the pages seem to start coming true. DVD extras: theatrical trailers; three 'making-of' documentaries; cast and crew interviews. (Not rated: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
"You're Not You": The typically lively Hilary Swank gives a convincing portrayal of a woman afflicted with ALS -- or Lou Gehrig's disease -- in this drama. As her condition progresses, her husband (Josh Duhamel) realizes he'll need help with caretaking, so the couple hires a free spirit ("Shameless'' star Emmy Rossum) to assist. The two women form a bond that brings out the best in both actresses; Marcia Gay Harden, Jason Ritter, Julian McMahon, Ali Larter ("Heroes''), Loretta Devine and Ernie Hudson also appear for stage-veteran director George C. Wolfe. (R: AS, P) (Also on On Demand)
"Whitney": Angela Bassett, who starred with Whitney Houston in "Waiting to Exhale,'' made her directing debut with this Lifetime drama casting former "America's Next Top Model'' contestant Yaya DaCosta as the singing powerhouse whose life ended tragically early. The script concentrates on Houston's stormy relationship with fellow music star Bobby Brown (played by Arlen Escarpeta) while re-creating key moments in her career, with the songs performed off-camera by Deborah Cox. Mark Rolston appears as music mogul Clive Davis. (Not rated: AS, P)
Also Releasing this week:
"The Missing": A youngster's disappearance in France sparks a long search in this acclaimed drama series from England's BBC, shown by Starz in the U.S. James Nesbitt plays the boy's father, whose relationship with the child's mother (Frances O'Connor, "Masterpiece Classic: Mr. Selfridge'') undergoes major strain as a result of the circumstances -- driving her toward a detective (Jason Flemyng) who's working on the case. Tcheky Karyo ("GoldenEye'') also stars as the lead investigator, who renews the hunt on the basis of new evidence discovered years later. (Not rated: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray)
"The Man with the Iron Fists 2": Russell Crowe is absent this time, but RZA is still on hand in this martial-arts-infused action sequel, putting his character Thaddeus in a "Magnificent Seven''-type situation. He helps the townspeople who nursed him back to health in battling the troops of an enemy (Carl Ng) ... and in doing so, Thaddeus inspires the locals to fight for themselves. Dustin Nguyen ("22 Jump Street'') and veteran actor Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa ("Mortal Kombat'') also appear in the tale, which RZA co-wrote. DVD extras: 'making-of' documentary; audio commentary by RZA and director Roel Rein"'e; deleted scenes. (R and unrated versions: AS, P, GV) (Also on Blu-ray)
"Cake" (April 21): Jennifer Aniston plays a woman newly involved with the widower (Sam Worthington) of a late member (Anna Kendrick) of her support group. (R: AS, P)
"Taken 3" (April 21): Framed for murder, CIA veteran Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) has to clear himself and protect his daughter (Maggie Grace) again. (PG-13: AS, P, V)
"The Boy Next Door" (April 28): A martially troubled teacher (Jennifer Lopez) comes to regret her brief interlude with a young neighbor (Ryan Guzman). (R: AS, N, P, V)
"The Gambler" (April 28): Mark Wahlberg plays a professor whose secret gambling habit ends up endangering those closest to him. (R: AS, N, P) ``PADDINGTON'' (April 28): The beloved title bear goes to London and finds a family ... and also an enemy, a determined taxidermist (Nicole Kidman). (PG: AS)
"The Wedding Ringer" (April 28): A groom (Josh Gad) who's in desperate need of a best man hires one (Kevin Hart) from a firm that furnishes them. (R: AS, N, P)
"Goodfellas" (May 5): For its 25th anniversary, the true crime drama gets a newly remastered Blu-ray edition with new cast and director (Martin Scorsese) interviews. (R: AS, P, GV)
TOP 10 DVD RENTALS (week ending ending March 8, courtesy of Rentrak)
1) "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1"
2) "Dracula Untold"
3) "Gone Girl"
4) "Big Hero 6"
6) "John Wick"
9) "St. Vincent"
FAMILY VIEWING GUIDE KEY: AS, adult situations; N, nudity; P, profanity; V, violence; GV, particularly graphic violence.
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