New to DVD and On Demand Releases for March 29 - April 4
Releasing this week:
"Interstellar": Director and co-writer Christopher Nolan ("Inception,'' "The Dark Knight'') goes for spectacle in the galaxy with this lengthy sci-fi drama, which poses a lot of big questions as Matthew McConaughey plays a farmer recruited to draw on his aviation past in heading an expedition to ensure a future for mankind. The trek has very personal implications for him. Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, John Lithgow and Nolan-film regular Michael Caine also appear, but the members of the picture's technical team -- who led the movie to an Oscar win for its visual effects -- are as much stars as anyone else here. (PG-13: AS, P, V) (Also on Blu-ray and On Demand)
"The Imitation Game": One of the big players during the recent film-awards season, this superbly acted drama -- an Oscar winner for screenwriter Graham Moore, who tells the story largely as a prolonged flashback -- casts Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing, the mathematician and wartime code-breaker whose personal life came under the scrutiny of British officials. As his confidante, Keira Knightley also does particularly memorable work for director Morten Tyldum in a cast that includes Matthew Goode ("The Good Wife''), Rory Kinnear, Charles Dance and Mark Strong. DVD extras: 'making-of' documentary; audio commentary by Moore and author Walter Isaacson; deleted scenes. (PG-13: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray)
"Wild": Gambling with her screen image paid off big for producer and star Reese Witherspoon -- to the result of many recent award nominations -- in re-creating the true, life-changing hike undertaken by Cheryl Strayed, who decided to cope with a personal tragedy by charting more of a course for herself. That applied to her behavior and also to her grueling solo journey across the Pacific Crest Trail. Laura Dern also plays a pivotal role for director Jean-Marc Vallee, but the show surely belongs to Witherspoon. DVD extras: theatrical trailer; eight 'making-of' documentaries; audio commentary by Vallee, producer Bruna Papandrea and production executive David Greenbaum; photo gallery; message from Strayed. (R: AS, N, P) (Also on Blu-ray)
"The Rewrite": Not seen much lately, Hugh Grant teams again with "Two Weeks Notice'' and "Music and Lyrics'' director Marc Lawrence for this pleasant comedy about a screenwriter whose career and life have hit lean times since his Oscar win years earlier. He decides to teach a course at an upstate-New York college where things take an upswing for him, thanks especially to a single mom played by Marisa Tomei, an actual Oscar winner. J.K. Simmons -- also an Academy Award recipient, for "Whiplash'' recently -- Allison Janney, Bella Heathcote and Chris Elliott also are featured. (Not rated: AS, P) (Also on On Demand)
Also Releasing this week:
"Veep: The Complete Third Season": As popular as she was as Elaine on "Seinfeld,'' it's clear that Julia Louis-Dreyfus has found another iconic television character in Selina Meyer, the hilariously candid vice president who brought the actress Emmy Awards for each of the HBO comedy's first two seasons. In this third round, Selina launches a campaign to accede to the American presidency, but complications abound ... including one that involves "Saturday Night Live,'' on which Louis-Dreyfus used to be a regular. Guest stars include Christopher Meloni ("Law & Order: Special Victims Unit''), Kathy Najimy and Diedrich Bader ("The Drew Carey Show''). Anna Chlumsky, Tony Hale and Reid Scott also star. (Not rated: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray)
"Silicon Valley: Season 1": Soon to launch its second season, this acclaimed HBO comedy series co-created by Mike Judge focuses on one of the things the title location is best-known for ... an Internet start-up company. Thomas Middleditch plays a programmer at the heart of the firm's efforts to establish itself, which are beset by numerous hurdles along the way, some of a personal nature because of the dealings between bigger players in the industry. T.J. Miller, Zach Woods, Martin Starr and Amanda Crew also are among the cast members. (Not rated: AS, P) (Also on Blu-ray)
"Manhattan: Season One" (April 7): The WGN America series about the development of the atomic bomb includes Daniel Stern and Rachel Brosnahan in its ensemble cast. (Not rated: AS, P)
"Silent Running" (April 7): Bruce Dern stars as an astronaut guarding Earth's last vegetation in outer space in the Blu-ray debut of this sci-fi classic. (PG: P, V)
"The Babadook": (April 14): A children's book generates terror for a woman (Essie Davis) and her son (Noah Wiseman) in writer-director Jennifer Kent's thriller. (Not rated: AS, P, V)
"Big Eyes" (April 14): The truth about a painter's (Christoph Waltz) artworks, involving his wife (Amy Adams), emerges in director Tim Burton's fact-based tale. (PG-13: AS, P)
"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)
"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 Feb. 22, courtesy of Rentrak)
1) "Gone Girl"
3) "John Wick"
5) "St. Vincent"
6) "The Boxtrolls"
7) "The Equalizer"
8) "The Judge"
9) "The Maze Runner"
10) "A Walk Among the Tombstones"
FAMILY VIEWING GUIDE KEY: AS, adult situations; N, nudity; P, profanity; V, violence; GV, particularly graphic violence.
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