Is Jeff Nichols a modern-day filmic Mark Twain? Based on this film and his previous outing, "Take Shelter," the young director is a storyteller -- and creator -- par excel lance of the American myth. In this tall tale set in the South, best friends Ellis (Tye Sheridan) and Neckbone (Jacob Lofland) find a mysterious man named Mud (Matthew McConaughey in another incredible, Oscar worthy performance) hiding out on a deserted island in the Mississippi River. Mud tells the boys fantastic stories about his life, including how he once killed a man in Texas and now vengeful bounty hunters are after him. He tells them he's planning to meet and escape with the love of his life, Juniper (Reese Witherspoon), who's waiting for him in town. Skeptical but intrigued, Ellis and Neckbone agree to help him. But it isn't long until Mud's tall-tales come to life and their small town is besieged by bounty hunters out for blood. Welcome back, Huck and Tom. Extras: Commentary with writer-director Jeff Nichols, "A Very Personal Tale: Writing and Directing Mud" featurette, "The Arkansas Ensemble: The Distinctive Characters and Cast of Mud" featurette, "Southern Authenticity: Shooting the Real Arkansas" featurette, "The Snake Pit: The Slithering Co-stars of Mud" featurette.
Vitals: Director: Jeff Nichols. Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Tye Sheridan, Sam Shepard, Michael Shannon, Joe Don Baker, Ray McKinnon, Sarah Paulson, Jacob Lofland, Reese Witherspoon.
2013, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 130 min., Drama Box office gross: $15.115 million, Lionsgate.
On a spectacular future Earth that has evolved beyond recognition, one man's confrontation with the past will lead him on a journey of redemption and discovery as he battles to save mankind. Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) is one of the last few drone repairmen stationed on Earth. Part of a massive operation to extract vital resources after decades of war with a terrifying threat known as the Scavs, Jack's mission is nearly complete. Living in and patrolling the breathtaking skies from thousands of feet above, his soaring existence is brought crashing down when he rescues a beautiful stranger from a downed spacecraft. Her arrival triggers a chain of events that forces him to question everything he knows and puts the fate of humanity in his hands. Based on the graphic novel by Joseph Kosinski. Extras: Commentary with Tom Cruise and director Joseph Kosinski; deleted scenes; M83 isolated score (watch the entire film accompanied by the evocative music track); "Promise of a New World: The Making of Oblivion" multi-part featurette including "Destiny," which looks inside the conceptualization, development and pre-production; "Voyage," that follows the creation of the amazing Bubble Ship from its early design conception to its journey around the world (Blu-ray exclusive); "Combat" explores the film's action and death-defying stunts (Blu-ray exclusive); "Illusion" focuses on the film's post-production and dazzling visual effects; "Harmony" delves into the innovative musical world of M83. Vitals: Director: Joseph Kosinski. Stars: Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko, Andrea Riseborough, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Melissa Leo, Zoe Bell.
2013, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 124 min., Science Fiction, Box office gross: $87.503 million, Universal.
On the Road
Adaptation of Jack Kerouac's "On the Road," which chronicles Kerouac's years traveling the North American continent with his friend Neal Cassady, a sideburned hero of the snowy West. Sal Paradise (Sam Riley) is a young writer whose life is shaken and ultimately redefined by the arrival of Dean Moriarty (Garrett Hedlund), a free-spirited, fearless, fast-talking Westerner and his girl, Marylou (Kristen Stewart). Traveling cross-country, Sal and Dean venture out on a personal quest for freedom from the conformity and conservatism engulfing them in search of the unknown, themselves, and the pursuit of "it" -- the pure essence of experience.
Vitals: Director: Walter Salles. Stars: Kristen Stewart, Amy Adams, Kirsten Dunst, Garrett Hedlund, Viggo Mortensen, Steve Buscemi, Elisabeth Moss, Terrence Howard, Tom Sturridge, Sam Riley, Alice Braga.
2012, CC, MPAA rating: R, 137 min., Drama, Box office gross: $.705 million, IFC Films.
West of Memphis
Directed by Academy Award-nominee Amy Berg (2007, Best Documentary -- Feature, "Deliver Us From Evil"), this documentary tells the powerful story of the 18-year fight to free the "West Memphis 3," three teenagers (Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley Jr. and Jason Baldwin) wrongfully convicted of the 1993 murders of three 8-year-old boys in West Memphis, Arkansas. The film was the Official Selection at the 2012 Sundance and Toronto International Film Festivals, and a 2013 nominee for Best Documentary from BAFTA, the Writers Guild of America, the Satellite Awards, the British Film Institute and the Broadcast Film Critics Association. With revealing interviews from key figures in the case, testimony from experts hired to re-examine the original evidence, and appearances by celebrity advocates Peter Jackson, Johnny Depp, Henry Rollins, Natalie Maines and Eddie Vedder, this documentary retells the story behind the extraordinary and desperate fight to stop the State of Arkansas from killing an innocent man (Echols) and exposes the wrongful conviction of the three teenagers, who lost 18 years of their lives imprisoned for crimes they did not commit. Produced by Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh. Previously, HBO produced three incisive and sympathetic documentaries that helped raise doubts about the guilt of the three teens and certainly contributed greatly to their release from prison before this docu was made: "Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills (1996), "Paradise Lost 2: Revelations" (2000) and "Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory" (2011).
Vitals: Director: Amy Berg.
2012, CC, MPAA rating: R, 147 min., Documentary, Box office gross: $.309 million, Sony.
The Place Beyond the Pines
Luke (Ryan Gosling) is in constant motion, a high-wire motorcycle stunt performer who travels from town to town with a carnival. While passing through Schenectady in upstate New York, he tries to reconnect with a former lover, Romina (Eva Mendes), only to learn that she has given birth to their son Jason. Luke decides to forsake his life on the road and to provide for his newfound family, taking a job as car mechanic with Robin (Ben Mendelsohn). When Robin discovers Luke's special talents, he proposes to partner with him in a string of spectacular bank robberies, but it's only a matter of time before Luke runs up against the law -- which comes in the form of Avery Cross (Bradley Cooper), an ambitious rookie cop navigating a local police department ruled by the menacingly corrupt detective Deluca (Ray Liotta). When Avery, just beginning to balance his profession and his family life with wife Jennifer (Rose Byrne) and their infant son AJ, confronts Luke, the full consequences reverberate into the next generation, with the two sons forced to face their fateful, shared legacy. Extras: Deleted scenes and extended scenes, commentary with director/co-writer Derek Cianfrance
Vitals: Director: Derek Cianfrance. Stars: Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes, Rose Byrne, Emory Cohen, Dane DeHaan, Gabe Fazio, Bruce Greenwood, Ray Liotta, Ben Mendelsohn, Harris Yulin.
2013, CC, MPAA rating: R, 140 min., Drama, Box office gross: $21.135 million, Universal.
1968 was the year that changed the world. And for four young Aboriginal sisters from a remote mission this is the year that would change their lives forever. Around the globe, there was protest and revolution in the streets. Indigenous Australians finally secured the right to vote. There were drugs and the shock of a brutal assassination. And there was Vietnam. The sisters, Cynthia, Gail, Julie and Kay, are discovered by a talent scout, Dave, with a kind heart and very little rhythm -- but a great knowledge of soul music. Billed as Australia's answer to The Supremes, Dave secures the sisters their first true gig, and flies them to Vietnam to sing for the American troops. Based on a true story. Vitals: Director: Wayne Blair. Stars: Chris O'Dowd, Deborah Mailman, Jessica Mauboy, Shari Sebbens, Miranda Tapsell, Tory Kittles, Eka Darville.
2012, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 103 min., Musical Drama, Box office gross: $2.325 million, The Weinstein Company.
To the Wonder
This new feature from renowned filmmaker Terrence Malick boldly and lyrically explores the complexities of love in all its forms. Parisian single mother Marina (Olga Kurylenko) and Midwestern tourist Neil (Ben Affleck) fall madly in love in France and relocate to Oklahoma with Marina's young daughter to start a life together. As their relationship wanes and her visa nears expiration, Marina makes the acquaintance of a priest and fellow exile (Javier Bardem) who is struggling with his faith, while Neil renews a relationship with his childhood sweetheart, Jane (Rachel McAdams).
Vitals: Director: Terrence Malick. Stars: Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Olga Kurylenko, Javier Bardem, Rachel Weisz, Barry Pepper, Michael Sheen, Amanda Peet, Jessica Chastain.
2013, CC, MPAA rating: R, 112 min., Drama, Box office gross: $.573 million, Magnolia Home Entertainment.
The Company You Keep
Jim Grant (Robert Redford) is a public interest lawyer and single father raising his daughter in the tranquil suburbs of Albany, New York. Grant's world is turned upside down when a brash young reporter named Ben Shepard (Shia LaBeouf) exposes his true identity as a former 1970s antiwar radical fugitive wanted for murder. After living for more than 30 years underground, Grant must now go on the run. With the FBI in hot pursuit, he sets off on a cross-country journey to track down the one person that can clear his name. Shepard knows the significance of the national news story he has exposed and, for a journalist, this is an opportunity of a lifetime. Hell-bent on making a name for himself, he is willing to stop at nothing to capitalize on it. He digs deep into Grant's past. Despite warnings from his editor and threats from the FBI, Shepard relentlessly tracks Grant across the country. As Grant reopens old wounds and reconnects with former members of his antiwar group, the Weather Underground, Shepard realizes something about this man is just not adding up. With the FBI closing in, Shepard uncovers the shocking secrets Grant has been keeping for the past three decades. As Grant and Shepard come face to face in the wilderness of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, they each must come to terms with who they really are.
Vitals: Director: Robert Redford. Stars: Robert Redford, Shia LaBeouf, Julie Christie, Susan Sarandon, Chris Cooper, Nick Nolte, Stanley Tucci, Terrence Howard, Richard Jenkins, Anna Kendrick, Brendan Gleeson, Brit Marling, Sam Elliott, Jackie Evancho.
2013, CC, MPAA rating: R, 121 min., Drama, Box office gross: $4.991 million, Sony.
Olympus Has Fallen
When the White House (Secret Service Code: Olympus) is captured by a terrorist mastermind and the president is kidnapped, disgraced former presidential guard Mike Banning finds himself trapped within the building. As our national security team scrambles to respond, they are forced to rely on Banning's inside knowledge to help retake the White House, save the president and avert an even bigger crisis.
Vitals: Director: Antoine Fuqua. Stars: Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman, Aaron Eckhart, Angela Bassett, Melissa Leo, Ashley Judd, Rick Yune.
2013, CC, MPAA rating: R, 120 min., Thriller, Box office gross: $98.770 million, Sony.
The Big Wedding
Comedy about a modern day family trying to survive a wedding weekend that has the potential to become a full blown family fiasco. To the amusement of their adult children and friends, long-divorced couple Don and Ellie Griffin (Robert De Niro and Diane Keaton) are once again forced to play the happy couple for the sake of their adopted son's wedding after his ultra conservative biological mother unexpectedly decides to fly halfway across the world to attend. With all of the wedding guests looking on, the Griffins are hilariously forced to confront their past, present and future -- and hopefully avoid killing each other in the process.
Vitals: Director: Justin Zackham. Stars: Robert De Niro, Diane Keaton, Susan Sarandon, Robin Williams, Katherine Heigl, Amanda Seyfried, Topher Grace.
2013, CC, MPAA rating: R, 89 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $21.477 million, Lionsgate.
A tale of love and honor forged between fierce enemies of war, inspired by true events surrounding the bold and secret moves during the American occupation of Japan in the perilous and unpredictable days just after Emperor Hirohito's World War II surrender. As General Douglas MacArthur (Tommy Lee Jones) suddenly finds himself the de facto ruler of a foreign nation, he assigns an expert in Japanese culture -- General Bonner Fellers (Matthew Fox), to covertly investigate the looming question hanging over the country: should the Japanese Emperor, worshiped as a god by his people but accused of war crimes, be punished or saved? Vitals: Director: Peter Webber. Stars: Tommy Lee Jones, Matthew Fox, Eriko Hatsune, Aaron Jackson, Kaori Momoi. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 106 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $3.319 million, Lionsgate.
Winner of the Academy Award, Golden Globe, BAFTA and Independent Spirit Award for Best Foreign Language film. Octogenarians Georges and Anne are retired music teachers whose daughter lives abroad with her family. When Anne suffers a stroke and is left paralyzed on one side of her body, the couple's abiding love for each other is put to the test. In French with English subtitles.
Vitals: Director: Michael Haneke. Stars: Jean-Louis Trintignant, Emmanuelle Riva, Isabelle Huppert.
2012, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 127 min., Drama, Box office gross: $6.738 million, Sony.
Scary MoVie V
This latest installment includes send ups of "Paranormal Activity," "Mama," "Sinister," "The Evil Dead," "Inception," "Black Swan," "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" and pop culture.
Vitals: Director: Malcolm Lee. Stars: Ashley Tisdale, Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan, Snoop Dogg, Katt Williams, Molly Shannon, Terry Crews, Simon Rex, Jerry O'Connell, Sarah Hyland, Katrina Bowden, Tyler Posey, Shad Moss aka Bow Wow, Kate Walsh, Heather Locklear, Mac Miller and Mike Tyson.
2012, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 96 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $31.433 million, Dimension Films.
When a disbelieving teenager (Amanda Seyfried) visits her scientist dad's home -- where he's trying to prove the existence of a tiny kingdom in the forest -- she's shrunken down to miniature size and transported to a magical world where she's recruited by a nature spirit, Queen Tara (Beyonce Knowles), to help the "Leafmen" save their existence -- and ours -- from evil warriors known as the Boggans.
Extras: "Mub & Grub Intro" tour through the special features; "Rot Rocks"; "Bugs of Camouflage"; "Epic Coloring & Storybook Builder App" with exclusive pages on your iOS or Android devices that allows you to become the story teller by recording your own voice and sharing with family and friends; theatrical trailer. Blu-ray adds "Birds, Bugs and Slugs: Forest Explorer"; "The Epic Life at Two Inches Tall"; "Mysteries of Moonhaven Revealed" with the filmmakers, artists, and animators at Blue Sky films.
Vitals: Director: Chris Wedge. Stars voices of Amanda Seyfried, Blake Anderson, Aziz Ansari, Allison Bills, Jim Conroy, Todd Cummings, Colin Farrell, Christoph Waltz, Jason Sudeikis, Steven Tyler, Pitbull, Beyonce.
2013, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 102 min., Animated, Box office gross: $105.595 million, Fox.
The Great Gatsby
"The Great Gatsby" follows would-be writer Nick Carraway as he leaves the Midwest and comes to New York City in the spring of 1922, an era of loosening morals, glittering jazz and bootleg kings. Chasing his own American Dream as a bond-seller, Nick lands next door to a mysterious, party-giving millionaire, Jay Gatsby, and across the bay from his cousin, Daisy (whom Gatsby loved and lost before the Great War, when he was too poor to win her over), and her philandering, blue-blooded husband, Tom Buchanan. Nick is drawn into the captivating world of the super-rich, their illusions, loves and deceits. As Nick bears witness, within and without the world he inhabits, he tells a tale of impossible love, incorruptible dreams and high-octane tragedy, and holds a mirror to our own modern times and struggles. The film -- and book -- is about our quest for love and belonging and the American Dream, and the loss of the former and the hollowness of the latter, something that Nick learns by the end of the story. It's the great American novel and the great American tragedy. Director Baz Luhrmann nails "Gatsby" and its themes -- he researched "Gatsby," F. Scott Fitzgerald and the story's cultural era and, though he alters the context just a little (Carraway relates the story in flashbacks from a sanitarium), he has created a masterpiece. His use of 3D and a modern music score (hip-hop and electronic dance music) is a stroke of genius. The acting is top-notch, the sets and costumes miraculous. The first shot of DiCaprio as Gatsby as his smiling face fills the screen is pure Hollywood and alone worth the price of admission. Vitals: Director: Baz Luhrmann. Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Joel Edgerton, Carey Mulligan, Isla Fisher, Jason Clarke, Elizabeth Debicki, Amitabh Bachchan.
2013, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 142 min., Drama, Box office gross: $142.376 million, Warner.
Pain & Gain
A trio of bodybuilders in Florida get caught up in an extortion ring and a kidnapping scheme that goes terribly wrong. Based on an unbelievable true story.
Vitals: Director: Michael Bay. Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shalhoub, Ed Harris, Rob Corddry, Rebel Wilson, Ken Jeong, Bar Paly.
2013, CC, MPAA rating: R, 129 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $49.290 million, Paramount.
At Any Price
Having maintained his father’s lucrative farming empire for years, Henry Whipple (Dennis Quaid) has an insatiable desire for "more" and plans to bring his son Dean (Zac Efron) into the business. Wanting to break free of his family, Dean rejects a life in the competitive world of modern agriculture for the thrill of car racing. As the family business comes under fire and a high-stakes investigation is launched into their business, father and son are pushed into an unexpected crisis that threatens their entire family's livelihood.
Vitals: Director: Ramin Bahrani. Stars: Dennis Quaid, Zac Efron, Kim Dickens, Heather Graham, Clancy Brown, Maika Monroe.
2013, CC, MPAA rating: R, 105 min., Drama, Box office gross: $.372 million, Sony.
The Reluctant Fundamentalist
At an outdoor cafe in Lahore in 2011, a Pakistani man named Changez (Riz Ahmed) tells Bobby (Liev Schreiber), an American journalist, about his experiences in the United States. Flashback 10 years, and we find a younger Changez fresh from Princeton, seeking fortune and glory on Wall Street. The American Dream seems well within his grasp, complete with a smart and gorgeous artist girlfriend, Erica (Kate Hudson). But when the Twin Towers are attacked, a cultural divide slowly begins to crack open between Changez and Erica. Changez's dream soon begins to slip into nightmare: profiled, wrongfully arrested, strip-searched and interrogated, he is transformed from a well-educated, upwardly mobile businessman to a scapegoat and perceived enemy. With time, he begins to hear the call of his own homeland. Taking us through the culturally rich and beguiling worlds of New York, Lahore and Istanbul, "The Reluctant Fundamentalist" is a story about conflicting ideologies where perception and suspicion have the power to determine life or death.
Vitals: Director: Mira Nair. Stars: Riz Ahmed, Kate Hudson, Liev Schreiber, Kiefer Sutherland, Adil Hussain, Nelsan Ellis, Martin Donovan, Christopher Nicholas Smith, Victor Slezak, Om Puriin.
2013, CC, MPAA rating: R, 130 min., Drama, Box office gross: $.519 million, IFC Films.
Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf's
It's the most mythic of all American emporiums -- a one-of-a-kind Manhattan institution where the view of fashion has been transformed into modern art, time and again for over a century. But, behind Bergdorf Goodman's magical window displays lies a very real world where the rich and famous wield their power and eccentricity, where young and talented designers have their dreams granted and denied, and where money and ambition co-mingle with radical ideas of beauty and provocative style. "Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf's" gives audiences the chance to peek inside this world, as director Matthew Miele explores the history, inner workings and untold stories behind the store's rise from a modest ladies' tailoring shop to a mirror of contemporary culture. With a light touch, Miele explores not just the glamour but the passion behind the daily creation of this luxury mecca in a film as dynamic, lush and intimate as the store itself. With footage of Joan Rivers, Rachel Zoe, Candice Bergen, Susan Lucci, Nicole Richie, Tom Ford, Marc Jacobs, Vera Wang, Karl Lagerfeld, Giorgio Armani, Diane von Fürstenberg, Michael Kors, Isaac Mizrahi, Christian Louboutin, Domenico Dolce, Lauren Bush, Oscar de la Renta, Manolo Blahnik, Bobbi Brown, Stefano Gabbana, Iris Apfel, Laudomia Pucci, Mary-Kate Olsen, William Fichtner, Ashley Olsen.
Vitals: Director: Matthew Miele.
2013, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 93 min., Documentary, Box office gross: $.472 million, Entertainment One.
All DVDs are screened on a reference system consisting of a
Oppo BDP-83 Blu-ray Disc Player w/SACD & DVD-Audio, a
Rotel RSX-972 Surround Sound Receiver, and Phase Technology 1.1 (front), 33.1 (center),
and 50 (rear) speakers and Power 10 subwoofer.