From the Big Screen:
"Ride Along," "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," "Philomena"and "The Nut Job." For more information on these and other releases this week, see the Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases.
This Week's Best Bets:
It doesn't get any better than this: Director: Billy Wilder. Stars: Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck and Edward G. Robinson. Screenplay adapted by Wilder and Raymond Chandler from a book by James M. Cain. Music by Miklós Rózsa. And costumes by Edith Head. The film: "Double Indemnity" (1944), arguably one of the first — and certainly the most influential — example of film noir, about an insurance agent who teams up with a femme fatale to murder her husband to collect on the latter's accidental life insurance policy. Universal has digitally restored the film from 35mm film elements for its "Double Indemnity Limited Edition" Blu-Ray debut on the occasion of its 70 anniversary and its big-screen restoration screening at the 2014 TCM Classic Film festival in Hollywood. In addition to gorgeous images (deeper, clearer and purer than the previous DVD version) and a DTS-HD soundtrack, the Blu-ray contains an introduction by Robert Osborne; a fascinating "Shadows of Suspense" featurette that plots out the history of film noir; a made-for-TV movie version from 1973 starring Richard Crenna and Samantha Eggar; the theatrical trailer; and commentaries with film historian Richard Schickel, film historian/screenwriter Lem Dobbs and film historian Nick Redman. Don't miss this one.
Universal also comes in for kudos for their digital presentation of one of the grittiest, darkest and nastiest crime thrillers of all time, Orson Welles' unabashedly cynical take on morality, corruption, sex, drugs, murder and racism, "Touch of Evil" (1958). Starring Welles, Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh, Joseph Calleia, Akim Tamiroff, Joanna Moore, Ray Collins, Dennis Weaver and Marlene Dietrich, the complex and convoluted story line ostensibly follows the joint U.S.-Mexico investigation of the bombing murder of a wealthy American builder and his female companion on the border between the two countries … but there are so many other subplots going on that the murder gets pushed into the sidelines. Welles fills each scene with incredible detail, overlapping dialogue, and characters who wander in and out of the frame with abandon. The image (which reveals more detail than in any other edition) and sound (DTS-HD) are superb. Features three versions of the film: the original 1958 theatrical version, which the studio put together after Welles traveled to Mexico for a new project; the "Preview" version, which was discovered in the 1970s and which incorporated some changes that Welles wanted to make to the studio version; and the Reconstructed version, which was put together in 1998 based on Welles' original vision using a detailed 58-page memo Welles wrote to the studio when he first saw the theatrical version in 1958. Extras include "Bringing Evil to Life" featurette; "Evil Lost and Found" featurette; the theatrical trailer; commentary on all three versions; and a reproduction of Welles' 58-page memo.
Lars von Trier became an international sensation with "Breaking the Waves" (1996), a galvanizing realist fable about sex and spiritual transcendence. Emily Watson stuns in an Oscar-nominated performance, as Bess, a simple, pious newlywed in a tiny Scottish village who gives herself up to a shocking form of martyrdom after her husband (Stellan Skarsgard) is paralyzed in an oil-rig accident. "Breaking the Waves," both brazen and tender, profane and pure, is an examination of the expansiveness of faith and of its limits. In a new 4K digital restoration, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray. In a Blu-ray/two-DVD Dual Format Edition from The Criterion Collection.
From TV to DVD:
"Anger Management: Volume Three" (2013) contains all 24 episodes of the third season of the series starring Charlie Sheen as Charlie Goodman, a non-traditional therapist specializing in anger management. He has a successful private practice, holding sessions with his group of primary-patient regulars each week, as well as performing pro bono counseling for an inmate group at a state prison. His life is complicated by his relationships with his own therapist and best friend (Selma Blair), his ex-wife (Shawnee Smith), whose positive outlook but poor life-choices frustrate Charlie, their 15-year-old daughter who has OCD (Daniela Bobadilla) and, of course, his interfering and meddlesome father, Martin (Martin Sheen). On DVD, $34.97; Blu-ray Disc, $34.99; from Lionsgate … "The Beverly Hillbillies – The Official Fourth Season" (1965-66) is a four-disc set with 32 episodes, $29.98 from CBS Home Entertainment/Paramount … "The Bletchley Circle Season 2" (2014) is based on the lives of four extraordinary and brilliant women with the ability to break codes, a skill honed during World War II when they worked undercover at Bletchley Park, site of the United Kingdom's main decryption establishment; the women now use their code-breaking skills to solve crimes in post-war London. On Two-disc DVD, $29.99,; two-disc Blu-ray, $34.99; from PBS Distribution … "The Carol Burnett Show: Carol's Crack Ups" (2013) is a six-disc set with 17 uncut episodes hand-picked by Burnett featuring regulars Harvey Korman, Vicki Lawrence, Lyle Waggoner, Tim Conway and later Dick Van Dyke. Includes classic sketches such as "The Family," "Carol and Sis," "Alice Portnoy," "The Charwoman" and "The Old Folks," along with parodies and favorite segments including "TV Commercials," "Terminal Hospital," "Rebecky" and "Raised to Be Rotten." With guest stars galore. $59.95 from StarVista Entertainment/Time Life … "Farscape: Season 4, 15th Anniversary Edition" (2002-03) features some of the most imaginative science fiction seen in the series so far, while always remaining true to the extraordinary characters, passionate chemistry and whip-crack dialogue that have become "Farscape" signatures. Six-disc DVD: $39.95, five-disc Blu-ray: $49.95; From Cinedigm … "Flowers in the Attic" (2013) stars Heather Graham, Ellen Burstyn, Kiernan Shipka, Mason Dye, Dylan Bruce in a Lifetime Original Movie version of the gothic story of four siblings who, after the death of their father, are torn from a peaceful life and subjected to abuse resulting from a dark, family secret. Abandoned by their mother and forced to endure unimaginable treatment living in the attic of their grandparents' mansion, the children form their own family unit and try to survive and escape the harsh living conditions. From Lionsgate … "The Gabby Doublas Story" (2014) stars Regina King, Imani Hakim, Sydney Mikayla and S. Epatha Merkerson in a Lifetime bio-drama that recounts how young black athlete Gabby Doublas overcame numerous obstacles to not only make the 2012 U.S. Women's Gymnastic team, but also go on to win two Olympic gold medals. From Sony … "Midsomer Murders: Village Case Files" (2004-2006) is an eight-disc collection that includes 16 feature-length, stand-alone mysteries (Series 8-9) in broadcast order from the best-selling U.K. mystery series in which the cozy villages of Midsomer County reveal their most sinister secrets. The mysteries: "Things that Go Bump in the Night," "Dead in the Water," "Orchis Fatalis," "Bantling Boy," "Second Sight," "Hidden Depths," "Sauce for the Goose," "Midsomer Rhapsody," "The House in the Woods," "Dead Letters," "Vixen's Run," "Down Among the Dead Men," "Four Funerals and a Wedding," "Country Matters," "Death in Chorus," "Last Year’s Model." $79.99 from Acorn Media … "Murder on the Home Front" (2014) follows a pathologist who uses forensics to solve murders during the London Blitz. Patrick Kennedy stars as Dr. Lennox Collins, a pathologist new to murder cases who works in a world where criminals can use the blackout and devastation to hide their darkest activities. As the Luftwaffe drop their bombs from above, below people are literally getting away with murder. From the makers of "Downton Abbey." On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from PBS Distribution … "Petticoat Junction – The Official Third Season" (1965-66) is a five-disc set with 34 episodes, $29.98 from CBS Home Entertainment/Paramount … "The Practice: The Final Season" (2003-04) is a six-disc set with all 22 episodes of David E. Kelley's Emmy Award-winning legal drama's eighth and final season (which paved the way for its critically acclaimed spin-off, "Boston Legal"). In the last episodes, major upheavals have left Ellenor (Camryn Manheim), Eugene (Steve Harris) and Jimmy (Michael Badalucco) in charge of the firm. In an attempt to rebuild their ranks, Ellenor hires an old friend: the enigmatic and ethically-challenged Alan Shore (James Spader). Shore's brilliant-yet-highly-unorthodox methods succeed in winning big cases, but will they also threaten the future of the firm? $29.93 from Shout! Factory … "Ripper Street: Season Two" (2014) contains eight episodes of the BBC series that provides a vivid, violent look at post-Jack the Ripper Victorian London as it staggers toward the 20th Century. DVD $29.98; Blu-ray $34.98 from BBC Home Entertainment.