New DVD, Blu-ray and Instant Video releases this week feature something for everyone, including a year in frozen Antarctica, the world’s first atomic bomb, and several superheroes. Here’s the rundown.
EDITOR’S PICK! 1. BATMAN VS. ROBIN
Rated PG-13 for intense action and violence, suggestive images and thematic elements. Warner Bros. Buy/Watch on Amazon.
When Batman finds himself under attack by his own son, Damian (Robin), he at first suspects the hand of Ra’s Al Ghul behind the treachery, but then comes to see that the boy may be controlled by a mysterious and murderous society known as the Court of Owls. If you’re a diehard Batman fan or even if you’ve never heard of him, this movie is amazingly gripping and downright fun. Voices include Jeremy Sisto, Jason O’Mara, David McCallum, Sean Maher and more.
2. THE BOOK OF NEGROES
Not Rated. Entertainment One. Buy/Watch on Amazon.
A universal story of loss, courage and triumph, The Book of Negroes recounts the extraordinary journey of Aminata Diallo, an indomitable African woman who survives in a world in which everything seems to be against her. Kidnapped by slave traders in West Africa then sold into slavery in South Carolina, Aminata navigates her way through the American Revolution in New York, the isolated refuge of Nova Scotia, and the treacherous jungles of Sierra Leone, before finally securing her freedom in England at the dawn of the 19th century. Directed by Clement Virgo, this movie stars Louis Gossett Jr., Cuba Gooding, Ben Chaplin and Aunjanue Ellis.
Not rated. Lionsgate. Buy/Watch on Amazon.
Set against the backdrop of the greatest race against time in the history of science—the mission to build the world’s first atomic bomb in Los Alamos, New Mexico—”Manhattan” follows the project’s brilliant but flawed scientists and their families as they attempt to coexist in a world where secrets and lies infiltrate every aspect of their lives. Stars John Benjamin Hickey, Rachel Brosnahan, Katja Herbers and more.
4. A MOST VIOLENT YEAR
Rated R for language and some violence. Lionsgate. Buy/Watch on Amazon.
This searing crime drama is set in New York City during the winter of 1981, statistically the most dangerous year in the city’s history. From acclaimed writer/director J.C. Chandor, and starring Oscar Isaac (INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS) and Jessica Chastain (ZERO DARK THIRTY), this gripping story plays out within a maze of rampant political and industry corruption plaguing the streets of a city in decay. Also stars David Oyelowo, Albert Brooks and Alessandro Nivola.
5. PELICAN DREAMS
Rated G. Docurama. Buy/Watch on Amazon.
What’s it like to try to get to know a flying dinosaur? PELICAN DREAMS follows a wayward California brown pelican from her “arrest” on the Golden Gate Bridge into care at a wildlife rehabilitation facility, and from their explores pelicans’ nesting grounds, Pacific coast migration and survival challenges. The film is about wilderness: how close can we get to a wild animal without taming or harming it? Why do we need wilderness in our lives and how can we protect it?
6. THE SIMON WIESENTHAL FILM COLLECTION
Not Rated. Cinedigm. Buy/Watch on Amazon.
Includes 11 of the most acclaimed documentaries on Jewish life and the legacy of the Holocaust. “Genocide” (Oscar Winner, Best Documentary), “Long Way Home” (Oscar Winner, Best Documentary), “Liberation,” “Echoes That Remain,” “Unlikely Heroes,” “Long Way Home,” “In Search of Peace,” “Ever Again,” “I Have Never Forgotten You,” “Winston Churchill: Walking with Destiny,” “It Is No Dream” and “The Prime Ministers: Part I and II.” A-list narrators include Elizabeth Taylor, Orson Welles, Patrick Stewart, Sir Ben Kingsley, Whoopi Goldberg, Christoph Waltz, Sandra Bullock, Morgan Freeman, Michael Douglas, Martin Landau, Nicole Kidman, Kevin Costner and Miriam Margolies.
7. THE VOICES
Rated R for bloody violence, and for language, including sexual references. Lionsgate. Buy/Watch on Amazon.
Jerry (Ryan Reynolds) is that chipper guy clocking the nine-to-five at a bathtub factory, with the offbeat charm of anyone who could use a few friends. With the help of his court-appointed psychiatrist, he pursues his office crush (Gemma Arterton). However, the relationship takes a sudden, murderous turn after she stands him up for a date. Guided by his evil talking cat and benevolent talking dog, Jerry must decide whether to keep striving for normalcy, or indulge in a much more sinister path. Also stars Anna Kendrick and Jacki Weaver.
Not rated. Phase 4 Films. Buy/Watch on Amazon.
When the heir of the Imperial throne becomes the target of an assassination by his despised older brother, the young prince must flee the kingdom and seek protection. His only hope for survival is a reluctant war-weary crusader named Jacob, who must overcome his own personal demons and rally the assistance of a mythical outlaw known as The White Ghost. Together they must fight side by side in an epic battle to return the prince to his rightful place on the throne. Directed by Nick Powell, this action-thriller stars Nicolas Cage and Hayden Christensen.
9. WHAT WOULD JESUS DO? THE JOURNEY CONTINUES
Not rated. New Video Group. Buy/Watch on Amazon.
Bound by a promise he made to his mother on her deathbed, a pastor seeks to lead his wayward ex-con brother to Christ as they work together to renovate a dilapidated church. But when a desperate man robs the church at gunpoint, one brother’s sacrifice sets events into motion that lead the pastor, the gunman, and the community on an improbable journey of faith and redemption. Stars John Schneider and Lorenzo Lamas.
Rated PG for mild thematic elements and language. Music Box Films. Buy/Watch on Amazon.
This visually stunning journey to the end of the world follows the hardy and devoted people who live there year-round. The research stations scattered throughout the continent host a close-knit international population of scientists, technicians and craftsmen. Isolated from the rest of the world, enduring months of unending darkness followed by periods when the sun never sets, Antarctic residents experience firsthand the beauty and brutality of the most severe environment on Earth. Capturing epic battles against hellacious storms, quiet reveries of nature’s grandeur, and everyday moments of work and laughter, this unique documentary shows a steadfast community thriving in a land few humans have experienced.
11. BARK RANGER
Rated PG for rude humor. Lionsgate. Buy/Watch on Amazon.
This super cute family movie follows two kids and their trusty dog, Barkley (Jon Lovitz), who stumble across a treasure map while playing in an abandoned ranger station. They set out on the adventure of a lifetime in search of a forgotten gold mine, but things take a turn for the worst when they come across a pair of bumbling crooks hiding out from the police. Also stars Lucius Hoyos, Zoe Fraser, Marty Adams and more.
12. BESIDE STILL WATERS
Not rated. Cinedigm. Buy/Watch on Amazon.
Mourning the sudden death of his parents, Daniel invites his childhood friends up to their lake house in an attempt to relive the glory days of their youth — whether they like it or not. Things take a turn for the worse when it becomes clear that none of his friends share his nostalgia for the good old days — and his ex-girlfriend shows up with a new fiancé. But as the night progresses, secrets are confessed, romances are rekindled, and a particularly epic game of Whiskey Slaps is played. Directed by Chris Lowell, stars include Ryan Eggold, Beck Bennett, Will Brill, and Brett Dalton.
13. THE DEAN MARTIN CELEBRITY ROASTS: STINGERS & ZINGERS
Not rated. WEA Video. Buy/Watch on Amazon.
What began as a ratings booster for the final season of The Dean Martin Show in 1973 evolved into The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts, an eagerly awaited franchise of regular NBC television specials that targeted the biggest names in the world of entertainment and beyond. Roastmaster General Martin kept things loose and lively, deflecting his share of stray barbs from the guest roasters and from Bob Hope to Muhammad Ali, Johnny Carson to Lucille Ball, Gov. Ronald Reagan to Redd Foxx anybody with a thick skin and a good agent was fair game. In 1974, the show moved from Los Angeles to the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas for the remainder of the run, and the 54 raucous, unforgettable roasts ran until 1984. “Stingers & Zingers” is an 8-disc collector’s set that features 24 complete roasts, including Valerie Harper, Jack Klugman and Tony Randall, Michael Landon, Carroll O’Connor, Sen. Hubert Humphrey, Wilt Chamberlain and many more. Also available: “The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts: Hall of Famers.”
Not rated. Shout! Factory. Buy/Watch on Amazon.
They say rock ‘n’ roll never dies, but one dark night in 1963, Eddie Wilson’s car took a dive off a Jersey bridge with the troubled rock idol at the wheel. His body was never found. Tom Berenger (Sniper), Michael Paré (Streets of Fire), Joe Pantoliano (The Matrix) and Ellen Barkin (Sea of Love) star in this cool, compelling classic that really rocks! Twenty years after the lead singer (Paré) of “Eddie and the Cruisers” disappeared, the band’s songs are hotter than ever. And renewed interest in the band leads TV reporter Maggie Foley (Barkin) to pursue a tantalizing mystery: what if Eddie is still alive?
15. METAL HURLANT CHRONICLES: THE COMPLETE SERIES
Not rated. Shout! Factory. Buy/Watch on Amazon.
Embark on a unique journey beyond space, time and known worlds. The last fragment of a living planet, reduced to dust by the destructive madness of its habitants, is condemned to roam the universe for eternity, bringing suffering and deception to those who cross her path. That damned messenger is called: The Metal Hurlant. Stars include Kelly Brook, Rutger Hauer, John Rhys-Davis, James Marsters and more.
16. MOM’S DAY AWAY
Not rated. Hallmark. Buy/Watch on Amazon.
Stay-at-home mom Laura Miller (Bonnie Somerville) chose family life over a glamorous career. Her husband Michael (James Tupper), a workaholic realtor, eternally conducts business on his cell phone while her 17-year-old son (Iain Belcher) and 12-year-old daughter (Kaitlyn Bernard) are absorbed in their young life dramas. It’s Mother’s Day weekend and still nobody is paying attention to Laura’s needs. Excitement is injected into Laura’s life when her dazzling and affluent BFF Trish (Ona Grauer) shows up and whisks her off on an adventure-filled trip to a lavish resort, where Laura ponders the meaning of success.
Not rated. Warner Home Video. Buy/Watch on Amazon.
The hyperactive heroes are back for another round of mischief, mayhem and messy food adventures! Robin, Cyborg, Raven, Starfire and Beast Boy continue their pizza eating, video game playing, TV obsessing exploits. Join the heroes in saving the world while having a ton of fun in 26 all-new action-packed adventures of season two, part one! We loved this when our kids were little, and even though they’re teenagers now, we still watch it!
18. THE WOMAN IN BLACK 2: ANGEL OF DEATH
Rated PG-13 for some disturbing and frightening images, and for thematic elements. Fox/Relativity. Buy/Watch on Amazon.
Guess what? She never left! As bombs rain down on London during the Blitz of World War II, a group of school children are evacuated with Eve, their young and beautiful schoolteacher, to the safety of the English countryside. Taken to an old and empty estate, cut-off by a causeway from the mainland, they are left at Eel Marsh House. One by one the children begin acting strangely and Eve, with the help of local military commander Harry, discovers that the group has awoken a dark force even more terrifying and evil than the city’s air raids. Eve must now confront her own demons to save the children and escape the wrath of The Woman in Black. Stars include Jeremy Irvine, Helen McCrory, Phoebe Fox and Oaklee Pendergast.
Images in this feature used courtesy of the studios and distributors.