OnVideo: MARCH's Top Movies
ANNIEAcademy Award-nominee Quvenzhane Wallis ("Beasts of the Southern Wild") stars as Annie, a young, happy foster kid who's also tough enough to make her way on the streets of New York in 2014. Originally left by her parents as a baby with the promise that they'd be back for her someday, it's been a hard knock life ever since with her mean foster mom Miss Hannigan (Cameron Diaz). But everything's about to change when the hard-nosed tycoon and New York mayoral candidate Will Stacks (Jamie Foxx) -- advised by his brilliant VP, Grace (Rose Byrne) and his shrewd and scheming campaign advisor, Guy (Bobby Cannavale) -- makes a thinly-veiled campaign move and takes her in. Stacks believes he's her guardian angel, but Annie's self-assured nature and bright, sun-will-come-out-tomorrow outlook on life just might mean it's the other way around.
Director: Will Gluck. Stars: Quvenzhane Wallis, Jamie Foxx, Cameron Diaz, Rose Byrne, Bobby Cannavale, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje. 2014, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 118 min., Musical Comedy, Box office gross: $82.980 million, Sony. Extras: Director's commentary, "The Making-of Annie," "You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile" music video. Blu-ray adds bloopers; "Something Was Missing" deleted song with Jamie Foxx; Sing-Alongs: "Hard Knock Life," "I Don’t Need Anything But You," "I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here," "Opportunity" and "Tomorrow"; fourf eaturettes: "It's a Hard Knock Camp," "Fun With Sandy the Dog," "A Day on Set With Quvenzhane" and "Moonquake Lake – On Set!"; "Tomorrow Around the World": photo gallery; trivia track. Available: 03/17.
THE CAPTIVEThriller follows a man who must unravel the mystery of his daughter's disappearance before it's too late. Eight years after the disappearance of Cassandra, some disturbing incidents seem to indicate that she is still alive. Her parents and detectives, and Cassandra herself, will try to unravel the mystery of her disappearance.
Director: Atom Egoyan. Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Scott Speedman, Rosario Dawson. 2014, CC, MPAA rating: R, 112 min., Thriller, Box office gross: $1.075 million, Lionsgate. Extras: Commentary with writer-director Atom Egoyan, "Captive Thoughts" featurette, alternate ending, deleted scenes. Available: 03/03.
EXODUS: GODS AND KINGSUsing state of the art visual effects and 3D immersion, director Ridley Scott brings new life to the story of the defiant leader Moses (Christian Bale) as he rises up against the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses (Joel Edgerton), setting 600,000 slaves on a monumental journey of escape from Egypt and its terrifying cycle of deadly plagues.
Director: Ridley Scott. Stars: Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, Aaron Paul, Sigourney Weaver, Ben Kingsley, John Turturro. 2014, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 150 min., Drama, Box office gross: $64.532 million, Fox. Extras: Deleted and extended scenes, commentary by director-producer Ridley Scott and co-screenwriter Jeffrey Caine. Blu-ray adds "The Exodus Historical Guide," a feature length trivia track; "Keepers of the Covenant" documentary including 14 enhancement pods; "The Lawgiver's Legacy: Moses Throughout History"; "The Gods and Kings Archive"; promotional featurettes including the HBO First Look; 11 galleries. Available: 03/17.
FOXCATCHERBased on true events, Foxcatcher tells the dark and fascinating story of the unlikely and ultimately tragic relationship between an eccentric multi-millionaire and two champion wrestlers. When Olympic Gold Medal winning wrestler Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) is invited by wealthy heir John du Pont (Steve Carell) to move on to the du Pont estate and help form a team to train for the 1988 Seoul Olympics at his new state-of-the-art training facility, Schultz jumps at the opportunity, hoping to focus on his training and finally step out of the shadow of his revered brother, Dave (Mark Ruffalo). Driven by hidden needs, du Pont sees backing Schultz's bid for Gold and the chance to "coach" a world-class wrestling team as an opportunity to gain the elusive respect of his peers and, more importantly, his disapproving mother (Vanessa Redgrave). Flattered by the attention and entranced by du Pont's majestic world, Mark comes to see his benefactor as a father figure and grows increasingly dependent on him for approval. Though initially supportive, du Pont's mercurial personality turns and he begins to lure Mark into an unhealthy lifestyle that threatens to undermine his training. Soon du Pont's erratic behavior and cruel psychological game-play begin to erode the athlete's already shaky self-esteem. Meanwhile du Pont becomes fixated on Dave, who exudes the confidence both he and Mark lack, knowing that these are things even his money cannot buy. Fueled by du Pont's increasing paranoia and alienation from the brothers, the trio is propelled towards a tragedy no one could have foreseen.
Director: Bennett Miller. Stars: Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, Vanessa Redgrave, Sienna Miller, Anthony Michael Hall. 2014, CC, MPAA rating: R, 134 min., Suspense Drama, Box office gross: $$10.985 million, Sony. Extras: Deleted scenes, "The Story of Foxcatcher" featurette. Available: 03/03.
THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIESThe third in a trilogy of films adapting the popular masterpiece "The Hobbit," by J.R.R. Tolkien. "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" brings to a conclusion the adventures of Bilbo Baggins, Thorin Oakenshield and the Company of Dwarves. Having reclaimed their homeland from the Dragon Smaug, the Company has unwittingly unleashed a deadly force into the world. Enraged, Smaug rains his fiery wrath down upon the defenseless men, women and children of Lake-town. Obsessed above all else with his reclaimed treasure, Thorin sacrifices friendship and honor to hoard it as Bilbo's frantic attempts to make him see reason drive the Hobbit towards a desperate and dangerous choice. But there are even greater dangers ahead. Unseen by any but the Wizard Gandalf, the great enemy Sauron has sent forth legions of Orcs in a stealth attack upon the Lonely Mountain. As darkness converges on their escalating conflict, the races of Dwarves, Elves and Men must decide – unite or be destroyed. Bilbo finds himself fighting for his life and the lives of his friends in the epic Battle of the Five Armies, as the future of Middle-earth hangs in the balance.
Director: Peter Jackson. Stars: Ian McKellen, Cate Blanchett, Martin Freeman, Stephen Fry, Jed Brophy, Christopher Lee, Orlando Bloom, Billy Connolly, James Nesbitt, Ian Holm, Hugo Weaving, Ken Stott, Benedict Cumberbatch, Graham McTavish, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, Evangeline Lilly, Richard Armitage, John Bell. 2014, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 144 min., Fantasy Action, Box office gross: $254.017, million, New Line. Extras: "Recruiting the Five Armies," "Completing Middle-earth," "The Last Goodbye: Behind the Scenes," "The Last Goodbye Music Video," "New Zealand: Home of Middle-earth, Part 3." Available: 03/24.
THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 1Based on the best-selling third novel of Suzanne Collins' award-winning trilogy, "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1" reveals that the rebellion is growing. Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived and is recovering from the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell deep inside the bunkered catacombs of District 13. Separated from some of her closest allies and fearing for their safety in the Capitol, Katniss finally agrees to be the Mockingjay, the symbolic leader of the rebellion. Still uncertain as to whom she can trust, Katniss must help District 13 rise from the shadows, all the while knowing that President Snow has focused his hatred into a personal vendetta against her -- and her loved ones.
Director: Francis Lawrence. Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, Willow Shields, Sam Claflin, Jena Malone, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland, Julianne Moore, Mahershala Ali, Natalie Dormer, Wes Chatham, Elden Henson, Evan Ross. 2014, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 123 min., Sci-Fi Adventure, Box office gross: $330.416 million, Lionsgate. Extras: Commentary with director Francis Lawrence and producer Nina Jacobson, deleted scenes, sneak peek of "The Divergent Series: Insurgent." Blu-ray adds "The Mockingjay Lives: The Making of Mockingjay – Part 1" eight-part feature-length documentary, "Straight From the Heart: A Tribute to Philip Seymour Hoffman" featurette, "Songs of Rebellion: Lorde on Curating the Soundtrack" featurette, "Yellow Flicker Beat” Lorde music video. Available: 03/06.
THE IMITATION GAMEWinner of the Academy Award for Adapted Screenplay. During the winter of 1952, British authorities entered the home of mathematician, cryptanalyst and war hero Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) to investigate a reported burglary. They instead ended up arresting Turing himself on charges of "gross indecency" – an accusation that would lead to his devastating conviction for the criminal offense of homosexuality. Little did officials know they were actually incriminating the pioneer of modern-day computing. Famously leading a motley group of scholars, linguists, chess champions and intelligence officers, he was credited with cracking the so-called unbreakable codes of Germany's World War II Enigma machine. An intense and haunting portrayal of a brilliant, complicated man, "The Imitation Game" is the story of a genius who under nail-biting pressure helped to shorten the war and, in turn, save thousands of lives.
Director: Morten Tyldum. Stars: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Rory Kinnear, Allen Leech, Charles Dance, Mark Strong. 2014, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 114 min., Bio-Drama, Box office gross: $51.674 million, The Weinstein Company/Anchor Bay Entertainment. Extras: "The Making of The Imitation Game," deleted scenes, commentary. Blu-ray adds "Q&A Highlights." Available: 03/31.
INTERSTELLARSci-Fi adventure from the director of "Inception" and "The Dark Knight" chronicles the adventures of a group of explorers who make use of a newly discovered wormhole to surpass the limitations on human space travel and conquer the vast distances involved in an interstellar voyage. In Earth's future, a global crop blight and second Dust Bowl are slowly rendering the planet uninhabitable. Professor Brand (Michael Caine), a brilliant NASA physicist, is working on plans to save mankind by transporting Earth's population to a new home via a newly discovered wormhole in the far reaches of the solar system. But first, Brand must send former NASA pilot turned farmer Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) and a team of researchers through the wormhole and across the galaxy to find out which of three planets could be mankind's new home.
Director: Christopher Nolan. Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine, Jessica Chastain, Casey Affleck, John Lithgow, Ellen Burstyn, Wes Bentley, William Devane, David Gyasi, Mackenzie Foy, Bill Irwin (voice). 2014, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 169 min., Science Fiction, Box office gross: $186.355 million, Paramount. Blu-ray extras: "The Science of Interstellar" extended cut of the broadcast special; "Plotting an Interstellar Journey" featurette discusses the film’s origins, influences and narrative designs; Life on Cooper’s Farm" featurette brings Americana and the grounded nature of a farm to a sci-fi space movie; "The Dust" featurette on how cast and crew avoided sand blindness, and how to create, and clean up after, a catastrophic dust storm; "TARS and CASE" featurette on designing and building these unique characters and how they were brought to life on set and in the film; "Cosmic Sounds" featuette on the concepts, process, and recording of Hans Zimmer's unforgettable score; "The Space Suits" featurette on the design and build of the suits and helmets, and what it was like to wear them; "The Endurance" featurette explores the massive set with a guided tour by production designer Nathan Crowley; "Shooting in Iceland: Miller’s Planet/Mann’s Planet" featurette; "The Ranger and the Lander" spaceships featurette; "Miniatures in Space"; "The Simulation of Zero-G" featurette on the various methods that the filmmakers used to create a zero gravity environment; "Celestial Landmarks" featurette on how the filmmakers used practical special effects informed by real scientific equations to give the illusion of real space travel for both the actors and the audience; "Across All Dimensions and Time" featurette on t the concept and design of the Tesseract, which incorporated a practical set rather than a green screen; "Final Thoughts" in which the cast and crew reflect back on their Interstellar experience; theatrical trailers. For a limited time, the Blu-ray Combo Pack will also include an authentic, collectible "Interstellar" film cell from an original 70MM IMAX print of the film. Available: 03/31.
INTO THE WOODSA modern twist on the beloved Brothers Grimm fairy tales in a musical format that follows the classic tales of Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk and Rapunzel -- all tied together by an original story involving a baker and his wife, their wish to begin a family and their interaction with the witch who has put a curse on them. Based on the 1987 Broadway musical with lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by James Lapine.
Director: Rob Marshall. Stars: Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp, Emily Blunt, James Corden, Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine, Lilla Crawford, Daniel Huttlestone, MacKenzie Mauzy. 2014, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 125 min., Musical, Box office gross: $125.891 million, Disney. Extras: "Deeper Into The Woods: Magic of the Woods" featurette. Blu-ray adds never-before-seen Sondheim original song: "She'll Be Back" performed by Meryl Streep; "There’s Something About The Woods" behind-the-scenes featurette; "The Cast As Good As Gold" featurette; "Deeper Into The Woods" 4 segment featurette: "From Stage to Screen," "Magic of the Woods," "Designing the Woods" and "The Costumes of the Woods"; commentary with director Rob Marshall and producer John DeLuca; "Music & Lyrics" direct access to the musical song segments, with optional sing-along lyrics; "5 Golden Eggs" (Easter Eggs). Available: 03/24.
NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: SECRET OF THE TOMBBen Stiller and an all-star comedy cast (including Robin Williams, Owen Wilson, Rebel Wilson and Ricky Gervais) reunite for one final Night at the Museum. This time, Larry Daley (Stiller) and his heroic friends embark on their greatest adventure yet as they travel to London in order to save the magic that brings the museum exhibits to life.
Director: Shawn Levy. Stars: Ben Stiller, Robin Williams, Owen Wilson, Steve Coogan, Ricky Gervais, Dan Stevens, Rebel Wilson, Ben Kingsley, Crystal the Monkey, Dick Van Dyke, Mickey Rooney. 2014, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 98 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $108.952 million, Fox. Extras: Two deleted and extended scenes, "Improv, Absurdity and Cracking Up - The Comedy of Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb," two galleries. Blu-ray adds five more deleted and extended scenes, bonus digital HD movie (either "Night at the Museum" or "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian"), "The Theory of Relativity," "Becoming Laaa," "A Day in the Afterlife," "The Home of History: Behind the Scenes of The British Museum," "Fight at the Museum," "Creating Visual Effects," commentary by director Shawn Levy. Available: 03/10.
TOP FIVEWritten, directed by, and starring Chris Rock, "Top Five" tells the story of New York City comedian-turned-film star Andre Allen, who returns to New York to promote his latest film on the eve of his wedding to a self-absorbed reality TV star (Gabrielle Union). While wandering the city with a mysterious and charming journalist (Rosario Dawson), Allen confronts his past and contemplates his future through a series of funny encounters.
Director: Chris Rock. Stars: Chris Rock, Rosario Dawson, J.B. Smoove, Gabrielle Union, Cedric the Entertainer, Kevin Hart, Whoopi Goldberg, Tracy Morgan, Sherri Shepherd, Brian Regan, Ben Vereen. 2014, CC, MPAA rating: R, 102 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $25.317 million, Paramount. Blu-ray extras: Commentary by Chris Rock and JB Smoove, "It's Never Just A Movie: Chris Rock and Top Five," "The Making of Top Five," "Top Five" Andre Allen standup outtakes, "Top Five Moments You Didn't See in the Film," deleted scenes. Available: 03/17.
UNBROKENFollows the incredible life of Olympian and war hero Louis "Louie" Zamperini, who survived in a raft for 47 days after a near-fatal plane crash during World War II -- only to be caught by the Japanese navy and sent to a series of prisoner-of-war camps. Zamperini, a working class kid from Torrance, California, transformed himself from juvenile delinquent to a 1936 Olympian by channeling his defiant energy into a shocking talent for running. Zamperini's unfaltering determination and ferocious will then carried him through monumental tribulations during his military service and he became a true American hero. Adapted from Laura Hillenbrand’s acclaimed New York Times bestseller,
Director: Angelina Jolie. Stars: Jack O'Connell, Domhnall Gleeson, Garrett Hedlund, Miyavi, Finn Wittrock, Jai Courtney, Luke Treadaway, John Magaro, Ross Anderson. 2014, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 138 min., Drama, Box office gross: $115.105 million, Universal. Extras: "The Real Louis Zamperini" behind the scenes interviews with the late Louis Zamperini and the cast and crew. Blu-ray adds deleted scenes, "Inside Unbroken" behind-the-scenes look at the film, cast and crew concert featuring Miyavi, "Prison Camp Theater: Cinderella" in which the Omori prisoners perform their version of Cinderella, "Louis' Path to Forgiveness" featurette on Zamperini's life after the war and his journey from recovery to forgiveness. Available: 03/24.
All DVDs and Blu-rays are screened on a reference system consisting of an Oppo BDP-83 Universal Blu-ray Player, a Rotel RSX-972 Surround Sound Receiver, and Phase Technology 1.1 (front), 33.1 (center), and 50 (rear) speakers and Power 10 subwoofer.
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March 1, 2015