February 24,2015 Feb 23, 2015 9:18:02 GMT -6
Post by The Ultimate Nullifier on Feb 23, 2015 9:18:02 GMT -6
DVD ROUND-UP: 'BIG HERO 6,' 'WHIPLASH,' 'MLP,' & 'MIDSOMER MURDERS'
Week of February 23rd, 2015
Oscar winners Big Hero 6 ("Best Animated Feature") and Whiplash lead this week’s slate of home entertainment releases that also includes a new My Little Pony release as well as the final season of Sons of Anarchy, and the latest collection of the stylish, black comedy-laced Midsomer Murders.
This week’s highest-grossing release is Big Hero Six (Disney, “PG,” 102 min., $29.99, BD $39.99), the first Disney animated film to be based on a Marvel Comics property. Although 2014 was not a great year at the box office, especially for animated sequels, two major new franchises were established with the success of The LEGO Movie and Big Hero Six, which earned more than $546 million. Big Hero Six won the Oscar for “Best Animated Film” (for some inexplicable reason The LEGO Movie was not nominated) and scored a stellar 90% positive rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. Big Hero Six does have the laughs, but more than that, it has heart—and it is this latter quality that made it the best animated feature of the year (at least among the Oscar nominated films).
The other Oscar winner due out on Tuesday is Whiplash (Sony, “R,” 107 min., $30.99, BD $34.99). The film includes a tyro performance by J.K. Simmons as a brutal percussion teacher, who abuses his students in a fanatical search for perfection. Though the movie sets up an essentially false dichotomy between musical excellence and personal autonomy (would Mozart have been better if Papa Haydn had brought out the whip?), it all makes for a good, if overly dramatic, story—and the Motion Picture Academy was evidently impressed as the film earned at least 3 Oscars.
While Whiplash provides what purports to be a glimpse inside the top jazz music school, Beyond the Lights (Fox, “PG-13,” 117 min., $29.98, BD $39.98) is set in the highly-controlled world of contemporary R&B. Beyond the Lights, which was written and directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, features strong performances by rising stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Nate Parker.
This week’s other major release is the comedy sequel, Horrible Bosses 2 (Warner Bros., “R,” 224 min., $28.98, BD $35.99). The film only managed to get a 35% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but it does have some laughs, and those who enjoyed the first Horrible Bosses film might well want to check out this sequel.
TV on DVD
There are not very many releases in this category this week, but several are of interest to geek viewers including My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic—Adventures of the Cutie Mark Crusaders (Shout Factory, 110 min., $14.97), which includes 5 episodes sure to please Bronies everywhere, and on the other side of the macho spectrum, the rebel TV motorcycle gang series Sons of Anarchy: Season 7 (Fox, 354 min., $49.98, BD $59.99), which collects the final 13 episodes of gritty series, which is also now available in a massive 23-disc Sons of Anarchy: The Complete Series Gift Set (Fox, $169.98, BD $299.99).
Also of great interest is Midsomer Murders: Set 25 (Acorn Media, 370 min., $49.98, BD $59.99), which includes five new feature-length mysteries set in the picturesque (and fictional) English county of Midsomer. Changes abound in Midsomer as Neil Dudgeon has now taken over the key role of Inspector Barnaby, and Set 25 introduces his new sidekick Detective Sergeant Charlie Nelson played by Gwilym Lee, as well as a more diverse cast (the series had been criticized for its overwhelmingly Caucasian casting), but this delightful show just keeps on delivering plenty of comedy along with some of the best brainteasing mysteries ever seen on TV.
This week’s top new release is Tiger and Bunny: The Rising (Viz Media, 94 min., $19.98, BD/DVD Combo $29.99), which was produced by Sunrise, and released in Japan last February. Unlike the first Tiger and Bunny movie (The Beginning), which recaps some of the Tiger and Bunny anime TV series, The Rising is an entirely new work that is set a year after the end of the events in the TV series.
Also due this Tuesday is Space Brothers: Collection 1 (Sentai Filmworks, 325 min., $49.98, BD $59.98), which includes the first 13 episodes (in Japanese with optional English subtitles) of the 99-episode TV anime produced by A-1 Pictures and simulcast here on Crunchyroll. Based on a popular science fiction comedy/drama manga created by Chuya Koyama and published in Kodansha’s Morning, this is anime version of property that has also spawned both a live action film and an anime movie.
Sentai is also releasing Blu-ray editions of two properties that had been previously available here only on DVD, the Diabolik Lovers Complete Collection (Sentai Filmworks, BD $39.98), and the extras-laden Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions Collector’s Edition (Sentai Filmworks, BD $129.98), which comes with all sorts of booklets, art cards, a CD, an lots of other goodies.
Re-priced re-releases include the .hack/Sign: Complete Collection (FUNimation, 700 min., $39.98), which was originally released in 2003 by Geneon (at over $100), along with The Flame of Recca Complete Collection (Discotek, 1300 min., $69.95), which collects all 42 episodes of the 1998 series from Studio Pierrot, Violence Jack: The Complete OVA Collection (Discotek, 155 min., $24.95), which collect the 3 OVAs made between 1988-1990 and based on the manga by Go Nagai, and the Legendary Armor/Samurai Trooper OVA Collection (Discotek, $34.95), which collects the 11 OVA episodes produced by Sunrise between 1989 and 1992.