New to DVD and On Demand Releases for February 15 - 21
Releasing this week:
"Dumb and Dumber To": Two decades later, the not particularly bright Lloyd and Harry -- played again by Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels -- reunite, as do the actors with writer-directors Bobby and Peter Farrelly -- in this sequel that suggests the stars wore the roles better 20 years earlier. The fellows set out to locate the daughter Harry didn't know he had, since he needs a kidney from her ... but that serious undercurrent doesn't stop the duo from generating their trademark mayhem. Laurie Holden ("The Walking Dead"), Kathleen Turner and Rob Riggle also are in the cast. (PG-13: AS, N, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
"Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)": One of the most-nominated films in this year's Oscars -- with nine bids including best picture, director (Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu), actor (Michael Keaton), supporting actor (Edward Norton) and supporting actress (Emma Stone) -- makes its home-video debut. Keaton plays an actor famous for playing a superhero, and trying to relaunch his career as the auteur of a Broadway show. As the opening night nears, his personal struggles come to a head. The solid cast also includes Zach Galifianakis, Naomi Watts and Merritt Wever ("Nurse Jackie") ... but as the wins he's already accrued this film-award season attest, this is very much Keaton's show. DVD extras: 'making-of' documentary; photo gallery. (R: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray)
"The Theory of Everything": One of 2014's most acclaimed movies, this superb drama detailing the relationship of astrophysicist Stephen Hawking and his then-wife Jane -- both put to a major test by his debilitating physical condition -- is up for five Oscars including best picture, actor (Eddie Redmayne, who earned a Golden Globe Award for his performance) and actress (Felicity Jones). Hawking applies himself even more to his work, becoming a global icon for his accomplishments against very visible odds. Director James Marsh's visualization of Jane's memoir also features Charlie Cox, Emily Watson and David Thewlis. DVD extras: 'making-of' documentary; audio commentary by Marsh; deleted scenes. (PG-13: AS) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
"The Interview": It was being released ... then it wasn't being released ... then it was released on a limited basis. Finally, the controversial Seth Rogen-James Franco comedy gets its widest distribution to date, courtesy of home video. The two stars play a television journalist and his producer, whose mission to interview North Korea's leader (Randall Park, "Fresh Off the Boat") lands them an unexpected, related assignment from the CIA. Lizzy Caplan ("Masters of Sex") also stars, and a number of famous faces turn up in cameos. DVD extras: audio commentary by Rogen and co-director Evan Goldberg; "Naked and Afraid" special. (R: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray)
Also Releasing this week:
"The Homesman": Tommy Lee Jones is the director, co-screenwriter and top-billed star of this frontier drama, based on a Glendon Swarthout novel ... but fellow Oscar winner Hilary Swank has the biggest showcase as an unhappy spinster who tries to change her destiny by transporting several troubled women (Grace Gummer, Miranda Otto, Sonja Richter) to a care facility. Jones plays a man she saves from a lynching, then forces him to help with the journey. Meryl Streep -- Gummer's mother -- John Lithgow, James Spader, Tim Blake Nelson and Hailee Steinfeld also appear, but the picture really is Swank's show. (R: AS, N, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
"St. Vincent": Bill Murray earned some of his best film reviews to date for writer-director Theodore Melfi's seriocomic tale, casting him as the unlikely, very rough-around-the-edges guardian of a young neighbor (newcomer Jaeden Lieberher) whose single mother (Melissa McCarthy) has a demanding work schedule. With added insight from a pregnant stripper (Naomi Watts), the youngster learns a lot about life ... and about the vice-ridden fellow who's minding him. Terrence Howard, Chris O'Dowd and Nate Corddry also appear, but Murray pretty much owns the movie. DVD extras: deleted scenes; interview with Murray. (PG-13: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
"Life Itself" (Feb. 17): The life of movie critic Roger Ebert is recalled, in his own words and those of others including filmmakers Martin Scorsese and Werner Herzog. (R: AS, P)
"Horrible Bosses 2'' (Feb. 24): When the oppressed pals' (Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis) idea for a new innovation is stolen, they seek revenge. (R: AS, P)
"Big Hero 6" (Feb. 24): An Oscar nominee for best animated feature, this Disney treat works in the theme of modern technology to a big degree; voices include Damon Wayans Jr. and Maya Rudolph. (PG: AS, P)
"The Italian Americans" (Feb. 24): The PBS miniseries includes interviews with Tony Bennett and Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, among many others. (Not rated)
"Sons of Anarchy: Season Seven" (Feb. 24): The saga concludes as Jax (Charlie Hunnam) realizes how close to home the source of a personal tragedy is -- and weighs his need for vengeance. (Not rated: AS, N, P, V)
"Whiplash" (Feb. 24): The Oscar nominee for best picture examines the relationship between a music student (Miles Teller) and a relentlessly demanding professor (J.K. Simmons). (R: AS, P)
"The Captive" (March 3): Eight years after a young girl vanished, new clues surface in director Atom Egoyan's melodrama; Ryan Reynolds, Scott Speedman and Rosario Dawson star. (R: AS, P)
TOP 10 DVD RENTALS (week ending Jan. 11, courtesy of Rentrak)
1) "The Equalizer"
2) "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes"
3) "No Good Deed"
4) "Guardians of the Galaxy"
5) "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles"
7) "Let's Be Cops"
8) "22 Jump Street"
9) "Left Behind"
10) "Into the Storm"
FAMILY VIEWING GUIDE KEY: AS, adult situations; N, nudity; P, profanity; V, violence; GV, particularly graphic violence.
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