The Academy Awards are coming on Sunday, and there’s no shortage of star-power in this week’s new DVDs and Blu-rays. Along with a huge Oscars contender, these new releases also include a surprising action/comedy, some cult efforts, a collection of one of Hollywood’s biggest masters of disguise, and so much more. Take a look at the titles you’ll want to be watching in the days ahead!
Furious with the local authorities’ inability to name a suspect in the brutal murder of her teenage daughter, flinty divorced mom Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand) took out the titular signage to publicly challenge the competency of ailing sheriff Bill Willoughby (Woody Harrelson). As the controversy splits the small community, rising tempers cause the case to take even more bizarre and unexpected turns. Darkly comic thriller from director Martin McDonagh (”In Bruges”) also stars Sam Rockwell, John Hawkes, Peter Dinklage.
The musical aptitude of 12-year-old Miguel Rivera (voiced by Anthony Gonzalez) was undeniable…except by his folks, who wanted him to stick to the family cobbling trade. Coming upon the guitar of his generations-ago singing cowboy idol (Benjamin Bratt), a single strum transports him to the Land of the Dead…and as his skeletal ancestors aid in his struggle to get home, he learns how to walk the line between dreams and duty. Colorful hit from Pixar also features the voices of Gael García Bernal, Alanna Ubach, Alfonso Arau.
At a California old folks resort community, manager Duke Diver (Morgan Freeman) finds his enormous popularity threatened by the arrival of Leo (Tommy Lee Jones), a tough-but-charming ex-military man. An intense rivalry ensues, but when Duke–who was once instrumental in putting away some very dangerous organized crime figures–becomes the target of a mob hit, he has no choice but to turn to Leo for help. Delightful action/comedy also stars Rene Russo, Joe Pantoliano, Glenne Headly.
Three silent-era works from one of the most talented and enigmatic actors of all time are featured in a two-disc set. in “The Ace of Hearts” (1921), a hired assassin has a crisis of conscience when he realizes his latest job will result in the loss of innocent lives. Next, “Laugh, Clown, Laugh” (1928) finds aging circus performer Chaney in love with orphan Loretta Young; and Chaney is an “armless” carnival knife-thrower who takes a drastic step to win the heart of fellow performer Joan Crawford in Tod Browning’s “The Unknown” (1927). Also included are the documentary “Lon Chaney: a Thousand Faces” and a photographic reconstruction of the lost film “London After Midnight” (1927).
Three centuries after being burned at the stake for practicing witchcraft, a diabolical Mexican baron returns to Earth as a monster with a super-sized tongue ready to suck the brains out of the descendants of those who condemned him. What follows is a weird, loony and lurid journey into the heart of terror as the Brainiac feasts on his victims. Abel Salazar, Ariadne Welter, David Silva star.
Literate and all-too-real sci-fi thriller, based on the novel “Colossus” by Dennis Feltham Jones, about a government-built supercomputer designed to control America’s defense systems. And when it links up with its Soviet counterpart, the human race will be faced with its ultimate challenge as the planet is now at the mercy of a powerful, self-aware machine that has an arsenal of nuclear weapons at its disposal. Eric Braeden, Susan Clark, Gordon Pinsent, William Schallert star.
Warm and funny 1978-86 NBC (and later ABC) sitcom centered on orphaned African-American brothers Arnold and Willis Jackson (Gary Coleman and Todd Bridges), who go to live in a posh Manhattan penthouse when they’re adopted by their late mother’s employer, wealthy white widower Philip Drummond (Conrad Bain). Dana Plato was Drummond’s daughter Kimberly. All 24 episodes of the seventh season (co-starring Dixie Carter and Danny Cooksey) are featured in this three-disc set.
Green Acres is the place to be for lawyer Oliver Douglas (Eddie Albert), while New York is where his Hungarian socialite wife Lisa (Eva Gabor) would rather stay, in this rural 1965-1971 CBS hit from The Beverly Hillbillies creator Paul Henning and Jay Sommers. Pat Buttram, Tom Lester, Alvy Moore, Frank Cady, Hank Patterson, Sid Melton, Mary Grace Canfield, and Arnold the Pig filled out the wonderful supporting cast. This four-disc set includes all 26 episodes from the fifth season.
This comedic response to the violent “blaxploitation” films of the early 1970s follows what happens to a Watts barber who’s taken aback when his wife and three children get caught up in the new black consciousness and rebel against his domineering ways. Leonard Jackson, Clarice Taylor, Glynn Turman, D’Urville Martin, and Ja’Net DuBois star.
Dennis Quaid lights the screen (and his piano) on fire as Jerry Lee Lewis in a frenetic biopic that traces “the Killer’s” rise to rock and roll stardom in the 1950s. Despite a string of chart-busting hits, scandal and controversy surround Lewis and nearly end his career when he marries his teenage cousin, Myra (Winona Ryder). With John Doe, Stephen Tobolowsky, Trey Wilson, and Alec Baldwin; based on the book by Myra Lewis and Murray Silver, Jr.
The landmark off-Broadway musical comedy that made headlines in the ’60s for its controversial themes and on-stage nudity gets a big-screen reworking by director Milos Forman. A young draftee (John Savage) from Oklahoma meets up with a fun-loving band of hippies in Central Park and falls in love with a beautiful socialite (Beverly D’Angelo). Songs include “Aquarius,” “Hair,” “Easy to Be Hard,” and “Good Morning Starshine.” Treat Williams, John Savage, Beverly D’Angelo, Annie Golden, Dorsey Wright, and Cheryl Barnes star.
Which of these are you looking forward to checking out?