This Week's DVD, Blu-ray Releases -- OnVideo

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OnVideo's Weekly Guide to Home Video Releases

Tuesday, March 4 -- Monday, March 10

All DVD Releases

  • The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

    photo for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Even if you're not a fan of the worldwide phenomenon that is "The Hunger Games," there's three very good reasons to see the second of the quartet of films based on the books: the formidable acting talents of Jennifer Lawrence, the presence of Philip Seymour Hoffman (as the new Gamemaker), and the firm directing hand of Francis Lawrence, who helmed one of our favorite (and overlooked) recent films, "Water for Elephants." In this edition, Katniss Everdeen (Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), whose victory in the 74th Hunger Games has sparked an insurrection of sorts in the 12 districts of Panem, become the enemies of the Capitol and, after a tour of the country, are forced to participate in the most diabolical games yet devised. The first hour is given over to the political machinations of the government and the beginnings of the rising insurrection, keying in on Katniss' strengths and setting the stage for her role as a symbol for the dispossessed underclass; the second hour is devoted to the 75th Games and its tropical jungle death match, which Katniss and Peeta barely survive. If the first half is a little heavy on explication, the second half more than makes up for any wordiness with spectacular fight and special effects sequences. At the heart of the film is Lawrence, who imbues Katniss with an earthiness and honesty that makes her a modern-day cinematic hero. Despite Katniss coming out on top, however, there's no resolution: You'll have to wait for the two-part finale later this year and 2015: "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1" and "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2," both of which are being directed by Lawrence. Extras: Commentary with director Francis Lawrence and producer Nina Jacobson, deleted scenes, sneak peek of "Divergent." Blu-ray adds "Surviving the Game: Making Catching Fire" nine-part feature-length documentary. Vitals: Director: Francis Lawrence. Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, Willow Shields, Elizabeth Banks, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson, Sam Claflin, Jena Malone, Stanley Tucci, Liam Hemsworth, Jeffrey Wright, Lenny Kravitz, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Donald Sutherland, Amanda Plummer. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 146 min., Sci Fi Action, Box office gross: $418.019 million, Lionsgate. 3 stars Due Friday, March 7.


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  • 12 Years a Slave

    photo for Based on an incredible true story of one man's fight for survival and freedom. In the pre-Civil War United States, Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery. Facing cruelty (personified by a malevolent slave owner, portrayed by Michael Fassbender) as well as unexpected kindnesses, Solomon struggles not only to stay alive, but to retain his dignity. In the 12th year of his unforgettable odyssey, Solomon's chance meeting with a Canadian abolitionist (Brad Pitt) forever alters his life. The film won Oscars for Best Picture and Best Supporting Actress (for Lupita Nyong'o) at this year's Academy Awards. Extras: Two making-of featurettes. Blu-ray adds "Historical Portrait," a documentary about how the film came together and the book that inspired it. Vitals: Director: Steve McQueen. Stars: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti, Lupita Nyong'o, Sarah Paulson, Brad Pitt, Alfre Woodard, Garret Dillahunt. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: R, 134 min., Drama, Box office gross: $45.850 million, Fox. 3 stars

  • The Grandmaster

    photo for Director Wong Kar Wai is in love. In love with his actors and actresses, his stories, his camera, his movies ... he's in love with moviemaking. It shows in his films, which, for the most part, are love stories and romances -- "Chungking Express" (1994), "In the Mood for Love" (2000), "2046" (2004), "My Blueberry Nights" (2007). "The Grandmaster" is no exception. It's a love story to Ip Man, the famous martial arts grandmaster who popularized the wing chun style of fighting and who trained Bruce Lee; it's a love story to China, to martial arts, to loyalty. Beautifully photographed and choreographed with some spectacular action scenes, the film follows Ip Man from the 1930s in Foshan, in Southern China, to his flight to Hong Kong after World War II and, in particular, his love for his art and for Gong Er, the daughter of one of the greatest grandmasters of all time, Gong Yutian. His love for Gong Er is never consummated, which is kind of the tone for the whole film: unrequited love. Despite the strong presence of Tony Chiu Wai Leung as Ip Man and Ziyi Zhang as Gong Er, the film falters in its languid and at-times muddled chronicle of Ip Man's life and times. In Mandarin Chinese with English subtitles. Extras: "The Grandmaster: From Ip Man to Bruce Lee," "A Conversation With Shannon Lee (daughter of Bruce Lee), "The Grandmaster: According to RZA," behind-the-scenes footage. Vitals: Director: Wong Kar Wai. Stars: Tony Leung, Ziyi Zhang, Chang Chen. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 108 min., Action, Box office gross: $6.505 million, The Weinstein Company/Anchor Bay. 2 stars


    Blu-ray Debuts

  • The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965)
  • Boiler Room (2000)
  • Hairspray (1988)

    Read more.



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All DVD Releases

Agatha Christie's Poirot, Series 11 (2008-09) Two-disc set with four Poirot (David Suchet) mysteries in the U.K. broadcast order: "Mrs. McGinty's Dead," "Cat Among the Pigeons," "Third Girl" and "Appointment with Death." Formats: DVD. Extras: Production notes by David Suchet and Tim Curry. (Acorn Media).

The Agony and the Ecstasy BLU-RAY DEBUT (1965) Dir.: Carol Reed; Charlton Heston, Rex Harrison, Diane Cilento, Harry Andrews. Extras: Teaser, theatrical trailer. (Fox

Ancient Aliens: Season 5 - Volume 2 (2013) Three-disc set with the second half of the fifth season. Formats: DVD, $19.98; Blu-ray Disc, $19.99. (Lionsgate).

Bible Secrets Revealed (2013) Six-hour miniseries explores the mysteries and uncovers the hidden facts about one of the most read books in history. Formats: DVD, $14.98. (Lionsgate).

Bloodlust (1961) Robert Reed, June Kenney, Joan Lora, Eugene Persson, Wilton Graff. A group of young adults on a boat excursion become the prey of a sadistic hunter when the two couples come across an uncharted tropical island, which they soon find is inhabited by a wealthy recluse and his staff. HD restoration from the original 35mm film elements. Formats: DVD. (Film Chest Media Group).

Boiler Room BLU-RAY DEBUT (2000) Giovanni Ribisi, Vin Diesel, Nia Long, Nicky Katt, Scott Caan, Ron Rifkin, Jamie Kennedy.(Warner).

Children of Sorrow (2014) Bill Oberst Jr., Hannah Levien, Whitney Nielsen. Horror thriller about a young woman who infiltrates a cult to look for her missing sister. Formats: DVD, VOD, Digital. (Lionsgate).

photo for Cold Comes the Night Cold Comes the Night (2013) Alice Eve, Bryan Cranston, Logan Marshall-Green, Ursula Parker, Leo Fitzpatrick, Erin Cummings. A struggling motel owner and her daughter are taken hostage by a nearly blind career criminal to be his eyes as he attempts to retrieve his cash package from a crooked cop. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray Disc, VOD, Digital. Extras: Deleted scenes. (Sony).

A Cross to Bear (2012 -- TV) Danielle Deadwyler, Jackie Long, Kim Fields, Malinda Williams. A would-be dancer with no family connections finds herself fighting alcoholism and living on the streets with her newborn child after being left by her boyfriend. Hitting rock bottom, she finds refuge at the home of a former nurse who has dedicated her life to helping women like her. Formats: DVD. (One Village Entertainment).

Doctor Who: The Time of the Doctor (2013) The final appearance of Matt Smith as eleventh The Doctor in this Christmas special. Formats: DVD, 14.98; Blu-ray Disc, 19.98. Extras: "The Time of the Doctor -- Behind the Lens," "Farewell to Matt Smith," "Tales from the TARDIS" look back at the full, 50-year history of the iconic series. (BBC Home Entertainment).



Dora the Explorer: Dora in Wonderland! (2014) Two episodes: Join Dora and Boots in the double-length special "Dora in Wonderland!" When Abuela's kitties run through a magic mirror, Dora, Boots and all their friends travel through the magical, mixed-up world of Wonderland to catch up to them. In the never-before-released on DVD episode "Book Explorers!" Dora and Boots lend a hand to friends like Peter Pan, Dorothy and Little Red Riding Hood. $16.99. Formats: DVD. (Nickelodeon/Paramount).

The Facility (2012) Alex Reid, Chris Larkin, Jack Doolan, Steve Evets, Amit Shah. Eight strangers at a remote medical facility find themselves fighting for their lives when a drug trial goes horribly wrong, sending several of the volunteers into an uncontrollable murderous rage. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray Disc. (Tribeca Film/Cinedigm).

For Love or Money (2014) Denise Boutte, Tommy Ford, Lavell Crawford, Bokeem Woodbine. Romantic urban comedy about a businesswoman who turns to her ex-boyfriend for help when her business manager loses everything, causing her current man to feel threatened ... should she make her next move for love ... or money? Formats: DVD. Extras: Making-of featurette. (Entertainment One).

Girl Rising photo for Girl Rising (2013) Documentary journeys around the world to witness the strength of the human spirit and the power of education to change the world. Girls from Afghanistan, Cambodia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Haiti, India, Peru, Nepal and Sierra Leona confront tremendous challenges and overcome nearly impossible odds -- arranged marriages, child slavery, poverty and other heartbreaking injustices -- to achieve their dreams. Nine extraordinary girls from nine countries, written by nine celebrated writers and narrated by nine renowned actresses. Featuring Anne Hathaway, Cate Blanchett, Selena Gomez, Kerry Washington, Priyanka Chopra, Chloe Moretz, Freida Pinto, Salma Hayek, Meryl Streep, Alicia Keys and Liam Neeson. Formats: DVD. Extras: Director's welcome, outtakes, behind-the-scenes and on-location featurettes. (Cinedigm).

The Grandmaster (2013 -- Hong Kong) Dir.: Wong Kar Wai; Tony Leung, Ziyi Zhang, Chang Chen. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray Disc. Extras: "The Grandmaster: From Ip Man to Bruce Lee," "A Conversation With Shannon Lee (daughter of Bruce Lee), "The Grandmaster: According to RZA," behind-the-scenes footage. (The Weinstein Company/Anchor Bay).

photo for Hairspray BLU-RAY DEBUT Hairspray BLU-RAY DEBUT (1988) Dir.: John Waters; Sonny Bono, Ruth Brown, Divine, Deborah Harry, Ricki Lake, Jerry Stiller, Mink Stole, Pia Zadora. It's Baltimore, 1962, and rebellious "pleasantly plump" teenager Tracy (Ricki Lake) attempts to be one of the featured stars on a popular dance show and win the coveted "Miss Auto Show" crown. Waters' first "mainstream" pic takes an ironic and tongue-in-cheek look at the 50s/60s dance show craze and dance fads, segregation, class warfare and the soon-to-be born protest movement of the 1960s. Oh, and there's plenty of generation-gap hijinks between Tracy and her parents ((Divine and Jerry Stiller) and a pair of proto-hippies (Ric Ocasek and Pia Zadora). "Hairspray" was adapted into a Broadway musical in 2002 and then made again into a 2007 musical feature (adapted from the play) starring Nikki Blonsky, John Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Walken, Amanda Bynes, James Marsden and Queen Latifah. (Warner).


photo for Hours Hours (2013) Paul Walker, Genesis Rodriguez, Nancy Nave, Shane Jacobsen. A father struggles to keep his infant daughter alive in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Formats: DVD, VOD, Digital, UltraViolet (cloud). Extras: "All I Feel Is You" by Safran music video, PSA for Paul Walker's charity Reach Out World Wide. (Lionsgate).

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013) Jennifer Lawrence, Willow Shields, Elizabeth Banks, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson, Sam Claflin, Jena Malone, Stanley Tucci, Liam Hemsworth, Jeffrey Wright, Lenny Kravitz, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Donald Sutherland, Amanda Plummer. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo, VOD, Digital, UltraViolet (cloud). Extras: Commentary with director Francis Lawrence and producer Nina Jacobson, deleted scenes, sneak peek of "Divergent." Blu-ray adds "Surviving the Game: Making Catching Fire" nine-part feature-length documentary. (Lionsgate). Due Friday, March 7.

The Last Days on Mars (2013) Liev Schreiber, Elias Koteas, Romola Garai, Olivia Williams. On the eve that the crew of the very first manned expedition to Mars is about to return to Earth, they make an astounding discovery -- fossilized evidence of life on Mars -- and they succumb one by one to a mysterious and terrifying force. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray Disc, VOD, Digital. Extras: Behind the scenes photos, visual effects featurette, trailer. (Magnolia Home Entertainment).

Mr. & Mrs. Murder, Series 1 (2013) Four-disc set with 13 episodes, $59.99. A warm and witty whodunit from Down Under, this quirky, unconventional take on the ever-popular detective genre follows fun-loving and flirtatious couple Nicola (Kat Stewart) and Charlie Buchanan (Shaun Micallef), who run a cleaning service for crime scenes. They love their business -- and each other -- and find that closing cases comes just as naturally as cleaning them up. The series premiered on Network Ten in Australia in February 2013 and made its U.S. debut on Acorn's streaming service, Acorn TV (http://acorn.tv) in December 2013. Formats: DVD. Extras: Behind-the-scenes featurettes, cast interviews, extended scenes, photo gallery. (Acorn Media).

New World (Shinsekai Story) (2013) Shi Ka, Tomonaga Koumei, Ogawa Takeru. A rich Beijing party girl, bored with her boyfriend, her giggly friends and her whole frivolous life, books a trip to Osaka, Japan where she's heard they celebrate Christmas with heartwarming nostalgia. But when she arrives at her hotel, she's shocked to find that it's located in Shinsekai, Osaka's crime-ridden underbelly of photo for Noah and the Great Ark poverty, vice and colorful characters. Formats: DVD. Tour of Shinsekai with director-producer Kah-Wai Lim and actor Tomonaga Koumei, deleted scenes, interview with Kah-Wai Lim. (Tidepoint Pictures/MVD Entertainment).

Noah and the Great Ark (2013) Three History Channel documentaries arriving in time for the theatrical release of "Noah," starring Russell Crowe and directed by Darren Aronofsky: "Noah and the Ark: Voyage to a New Beginning," "Mega Disasters: Noah's Great Flood" and "Mysteries of the Bible: Noah and the Flood." Formats: DVD, $14.98. (Lionsgate).

NOVA: Alien Planets Revealed (2014) It's a golden age for planet hunters: recently, they've discovered more than 750 planets orbiting stars beyond our sun. Some of them, such as a planet called Kepler-22b, might even be able to harbor life. What would that life look like? Combining animation with input from expert astrobiologists, this program takes viewers on a journey of the imagination as NOVA "builds" aliens from the ground up. $24.99. Formats: DVD, Digital. (PBS Distribution).

photo for Oldboy Oldboy (2013) Dir.: Spike Lee; Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen, Sharlto Copley, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Imperioli, Pom Klementieff, James Ransone, Max Casella. Failed remake of Park Chan-wook's 2003 modern cult classic about a man, kidnapped and imprisoned for 15 years, who, after being released, has five days in which to figure out why he was imprisoned and find his captor. Here, troubled advertising executive Joe Doucette (Josh Brolin) is abruptly kidnapped and framed for the murder of his wife. After being held hostage in solitary confinement for 20 years, Doucette is released without explanation and struggles to reacclimate himself until he crosses paths with a caring social worker (Elizabeth Olsen) and sets out on an obsessive mission to find out who imprisoned him. He soon realizes that the real mystery is why he was set free. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray Disc, VOD, Digital, UltraViolet (cloud). Extras: "The Making of Oldboy" and "Transformation" featurettes. Blu-ray adds alternate and extended scenes, "Talking Heads" featurette overview of the story line, promo spot including clips from the workout video in the film. (Sony).

1000 to 1: The Cory Weissman Story (2014) David Henrie, Beau Bridges. The inspirational true story of Cory Weissman, a college basketball player who sufferd a devastating stroke, but persevered to find new meaning in his life both on and, more importantly, off the court. Formats: DVD, VOD, Digital. (Cinedigm).

photo for Rawhide The Seventh Season Volume One & Volume Two Rawhide The Seventh Season Volume One & Volume Two (1964-65) Four-disc sets with 15 episodes each, $46.99 each. Guests joining Clint Eastwood for the seventh season included Dean Martin, Barbara Eden, Slim Pickins, Gavin MacLeod, Harry Dean Stanton, Robert Blake and Brock Peters. Formats: DVD. (CBS Home Entertainment/Paramount).

Snowflake the White Gorilla (2013) Voices of David Spade, Jennette McCurdy, Ariana Grande, Nathan Kress, Keith David, Christopher Lloyd, Dallas Lovato. Animated adventure about Snowflake, the world's only white gorilla and her attempts to fit in with the other animals in the zoo. Formats: DVD, VOD, Digital. Extras: "Giving the Characters a Voice" behind-the-scenes featurette. (Lionsgate).

Teen Titans Go!: Mission to Misbehave Season 1 Part 1 (2014) Two-disc set with 26 episodes of the DC Comics Super Heroes, $19.97. Formats: DVD. (Warner).

Thomas & Friends: Spills & Thrills (2014) Six episodes, $14.98. Formats: DVD, VOD, Digital. Extras: "Biff Bash Bosh" game, "Go Go Thomas" karaoke music video, "Guess Who" puzzles. (Lionsgate).

12 Years a Slave (2013) Dir.: Steve McQueen.; Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti, Lupita Nyong'o, Sarah Paulson, Brad Pitt, Alfre Woodard, Garret Dillahunt. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray Disc, VOD, Digital, UltraViolet (cloud). Extras: Two making-of featurettes. Blu-ray adds "Historical Portrait," a documentary about how the film came together and the book that inspired it. (Fox).

The Venture Bros. Season Five (2012-13) Eight episodes of the popular Adult Swim animated series about the Venture family; in Season Five they roam from the steamy jungles of Central America, to the sparkling sands of the Greek Islands, to the seedy back alleys of Tangier, to the jagged cliffs of By-Golly Gulch. Formats: DVD, $24.98; Blu-ray Disc, $31.97. Extras: Episode photo for The Vikings: Dark Warriors commentaries, deleted scenes, bonus episodes ("A Very Venture Halloween" and "From the Ladle to the Grave: The Shallow Gravy Story." (Warner).

The Vikings: Dark Warriors (2013) Three History Channel documentaries: "Vikings: Voyage to America," "Leif Ericson: Voyages of a Viking" and "Viking Underground," $14.98. Formats: DVD. (Lionsgate).


The Visitor (1979 -- Italy) Shelley Winters, Glenn Ford, Lance Henriksen, Franco Nero, Mel Ferrer, Sam Peckinpah. Incredibly ambitious but derided and largely neglected upon its initial release, "The Visitor" is an unforgettable assault on reality, a phantasmagoric sci-fi/horror/action hybrid from writer-producer Ovidio G. Assonitis ("Tentacles") and director/actor/body builder Michael photo for The Visitor J. Paradise (aka Giulio Paradisi --- "Fellini's 8 1/2"). Huston plays an intergalactic warrior who joins a cosmic Christ figure in battle against a demonic 8-year-old girl and her pet hawk, while the fate of the universe hangs in the balance. Multidimensional warfare, pre-adolescent profanity and brutal avian attacks combine to transport the viewer to a state unlike anything they've experienced -- somewhere between hell, the darkest reaches of outer space and ... Atlanta. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray Disc, Digital. Extras: Interviews with Lance Henriksen, screenwriter Lou Comici and cinematographer Ennio Guarnieri; theatrical trailer; 16-page booklet. (Drafthouse Films/Cinedigm).

Wicked Blood (2014) Abigail Breslin, Alexa Vega, Sean Bean, James Purefoy, Lew Temple. A teenage girl desperate to free her family from the corrupt Southern underworld of violence, guns, meth and photo for Wicked Blood biker gangs that surrounds them. A chess-wiz, she lives with her older sister, and her drug-addicted uncle -- and they all live in fear of "Uncle Frank" Stinson, who runs the powerful crime organization in a ruthless manner. But when she falls in love with an outlaw biker, meth trafficker and Stinson family rival, she devises a plan to pit one against the other in a cunning game of revenge. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray Disc. Extras: Interviews with Abigail Breslin, Sean Bean, James Purefoy and Alexa Vega. (Entertainment One).


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