New in Home Entertainment – February 17, 2015


New in Home Entertainment

February 17, 2015

Life Itself
Rated R for brief sexual images/nudity and language
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
The primary reason that you are reading this review, written by me, is the subject of this extremely well-made documentary. While most kids in my youth were watching cartoons and wrestling on Saturday mornings, I couldn’t wait to tune into At the Movies with Siskel and Ebert. Roger Ebert was a weird kind of idol to have as a youngster, but his insight greatly enriched my life and his suggestions have led to some of my greatest film discoveries. Covering his lifespan, from his humble beginnings to his tragic end, this movie is one of the most fitting portraits one could possibly dream up. Directed by one of Ebert’s favorite directors, Hoop Dreams’ Steve James, and featuring dozens of people whose lives were touched by the cantankerous critic, the film is is packed with emotion, both happy and sad. It’s easy to give this film, and Ebert’s life, a big thumbs up. A

The Theory of Everything
Rated PG-13 for some thematic elements and suggestive material
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
One of this year’s biggest surprises was this quite amazing biopic telling the true story of the life of astrophysicist Stephen Hawking. One would think that a film of this sort would be a depressing and cold picture, but Theory turns out to be the opposite. Thanks to an amazing script and superb direction, as well as two of the best performances of the year by Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones, the film evolves into a vibrant tale of life and even a beautiful although bittersweet romance. A

St. Vincent
Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material including sexual content, alcohol and tobacco use, and for language
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
Now that Wes Anderson has been making films for 20 years, it is inevitable that young directors growing up on his films will create similar products. In writer/director Ted Melfi’s first major league film, he manages to get Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy, Naomi Watts and Chris O’Dowd to do this lovable, Andersonesque story about a grumpy old man who befriends the young boy who lives next door. What starts out as a predictable raunch com, quickly turns into a deeper film about what its like to be a boy growing up as well as a man winding down. It’s hard to believe that a movie such as this could convert into a heart-warming comedy, but it’s so welcome when it does. B+

The Homesman
Rated R for violence, sexual content, some disturbing behavior and nudity
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
Tommy Lee Jones stars and directs this western about a plain woman (Hillary Swank) who volunteers to escort three women with prairie fever from their homes in Nebraska to a church in Iowa. What The Homesman has going for it is also its downfall: its authenticity. I’ve no doubt that these kinds of things happened, but they are not fun to watch. While it has some interesting and weird twists and turns, its miseries make the viewer miserable in return. C

Game of Thrones: The Complete Fourth Season
Rated TV-MA
Available on DVD and Blu-ray
After the much-talked-about season three of HBO’s hit show based on George R.R. Martin’s best selling novels, there was no telling where season four would go, but the journey has once again been worth the traveling in season four. With an ever-bigger budget and a bolder direction, we are edging closer to a grand finale that I hope is still years away. There are so many unforgettable moments but thankfully all of my favorite characters have managed to stay alive and some of my most hated villains have met their doom. Of course that means more will come to fill their shoes in season five, set to premier on April 12. Winter is still coming. A