This adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's ("The Talented Mr. Ripley," "Strangers on a Train") seminal novel "The Price of Salt" follows two women from very different backgrounds who find themselves in an unexpected love affair in 1950s New York. As conventional norms of the time challenge their attraction, an honest story emerges to reveal the resilience of the heart in the face of change. A young woman in her 20s, Therese Belivet (Rooney Mara), is a clerk working in a Manhattan department store and dreaming of a more fulfilling life when she meets Carol (Cate Blanchett), an alluring, older woman trapped in a loveless, convenient marriage. There's an immediate connection between them, and the film charts the ups and downs of their relationship as they are buffeted by Carol's indignant, abusive husband as well as by her jealous ex-lover. Brilliant acting, cinematography, lighting and editing put this film at the top of our list for best films of the year (though the Academy overlooked it for a best picture nom). Two women in love was a forbidden love in the 1950s (and maybe still, today, to the Academy), and director Todd Haynes and cinematographer Edward Lachman's camerawork highlights the clandestine affair by shooting through gauzey curtains and clouded windows. A work of art! Vitals: Director: Todd Haynes. Stars: Rooney Mara, Cate Blanchett, Kyle Chandler, Sarah Paulson, Cory Michael Smith, Jake Lacy.
2015, CC, MPAA rating: R, 118 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $12.122 million, The Weinstein Co.
The Big Short
It's been seven years since the housing market bubble burst and the world was pushed into a major economic recession. How did it happen? Greedy and corrupt Wall Street investors and bankers -- taking advantage of lowered federal regulations -- made subprime housing loans to people who couldn't afford them, then packaged the loans as investment vehicles for other bankers and investment firms. In 2008, Wall Street guru Michael Burry (Christian Bale) realized that a number of subprime home loans were in danger of defaulting, and he bet against the housing market by throwing more than $1 billion of his investors' money into credit default swaps. His actions attracted the attention of banker Jared Vennett (Ryan Gosling), hedge-fund specialist Mark Baum (Steve Carell) and other opportunists. Together, they made a fortune by taking full advantage of the impending economic collapse. Director Adam McKay's satirical and enlightening look at the machinations of big money is based on the best-selling book by Michael Lewis. The film won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.
Vitals: Director: Adam McKay. Stars: Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt, Marisa Tomei, Melissa Leo, Selena Gomez, Hamish Linklater, Rafe Spall.
2015, CC, MPAA rating: R, 130 min., Bio-Drama, Box office gross: $66.462 million, Paramount.Blu-ray extras: "In the Trenches: Casting," "The Big Leap: Adam McKay," "Unlikely Heroes: The Characters of The Big Short," "The House of Cards: The Rise of the Fall," "Getting Real: Recreating an Era," deleted scenes.
Saoirse Ronan stars as Eilis Lacey, a young Irish immigrant, navigating life through Brooklyn, alone, in the 1950s. Although her initial sadness and homesickness gives way to romance with an Italian-American, Eilis's life is disrupted by news from her hometown. After traveling home to mourn the loss of a loved one, she finds herself forced to choose between two countries and two men on opposite sides of the world. Nominated for three Academy Awards: Best Motion Picture, Best Actress and Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay.
Vitals: Director: John Crowley. Stars: Saoirse Ronan, Domhnall Gleeson, Emory Cohen, Jim Broadbent, Julie Walters.
2015, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 151 min., Drama, Box office gross: $34.791 million, Fox.Extras: Six promotional featurettes: "The Story," "Home," "Love," "Cast," "The Making of Brooklyn" and "Book to Screen"; commentary by director John Crowley; photo gallery. Blu-ray adds 11 deleted and extended scenes.
When it comes to clicking together in comedy routines, it's undeniable that Tina Fey and Amy Poehler can make magic -- but not in this film. The pair play the Ellis sisters, the seemingly-responsible Maura (Poehler) and the impossibly hotheaded Kate (Fey), who return home to clean out the old junk in their bedroom after their retired parents put the family home on the market. As they rummage through the memories of their teen years, they hatch a crazy plan: one final "Ellis Island" blowout for their ex-classmates, a party to end all parties. Unfortunately, by the time we get to the "rager," we're so bogged down by the lame dialogue, bathroom humor, nasty sexual jokes and filthy words, that what's supposed to be an insane blow-out becomes a mundane yawner. Fey and Poehler can do better. Includes an unrated version not seen in movie theaters. Vitals: Director: Jason Moore. Stars: Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Ike Barinholtz, John Leguizamo, John Cena, James Brolin, Dianne Wiest, Rachel Dratch, Samantha Bee, Kate McKinnon.
2015, CC, MPAA rating: R, 118 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $86.160 million, Universal.Extras: Deleted scenes, extended scenes, gag reel, "The Improvorama," commentary with director Jason Moore, star-producer Tina Fey, star-executive producer Amy Poehler and writer Paula Pell. Blu-ray adds "How to Throw a Party," "Grown-Up Parties Suck," "The Alex Chronicles," "The Kate and Pazuzu Chronicles," "A Teen Movie ... for Adults," "The Original Sister," "Pool Collapse" visual effects.
Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip
Through a series of misunderstandings, Alvin, Simon and Theodore come to believe that Dave is going to propose to his new girlfriend in Miami...and dump them. They have three days to get to him and stop the proposal, saving themselves not only from losing Dave but possibly from gaining a terrible stepbrother.
Vitals: Director: Walt Becker. Stars: Jason Lee, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Josh Green, voices of Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler, Jesse McCartney.
2015, CC, MPAA rating: PG, 92 min., Family Animation, Box office gross: $83.650 million, Fox.Extras: "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Story So Far," "Ultimate Playlist" of Chipmunks top hits from all three movies (including a Music Machine of 11 songs, three music videos and five lyric videos. Blu-ray adds "WETA and the Chipmunks: Animators' Reference Reel," "Munk Rock," "RedFoo Squeaky Wiggle Dance Instructional," "After the Party: A Munkumentary."
All DVD Releases
(2011) The true story of Victor DeNoble, one of the most important and influential whistle blowers of all time. In the 1980s, DeNoble was a research scientist at a major tobacco company, where he was tasked with finding a substitute for nicotine that would not cause heart attacks. He succeeded- but in the process, he proved something that the industry had been denying for years: that cigarettes were addictive. He also uncovered a new addictive ingredient- setting off a chain of events that still reverberates even today. In a true act of modern-day heroism, DeNoble took his findings to the people despite a strict confidentiality agreement, eventually testifying about his research in the infamous 1994 Congressional hearings with the seven heads of the major tobacco companies. Formats: DVD, VOD, Digital. (Virgil Films).
Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip
(2015) Jason Lee, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Josh Green, voices of Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler, Jesse McCartney. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo, VOD, Digital, UltraViolet (cloud). Extras: "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Story So Far," "Ultimate Playlist" of Chipmunks top hits from all three movies (including a Music Machine of 11 songs, three music videos and five lyric videos. Blu-ray adds "WETA and the Chipmunks: Animators' Reference Reel," "Munk Rock," "RedFoo Squeaky Wiggle Dance Instructional," "After the Party: A Munkumentary." (Fox).
The Big Short
(2015) Director: Adam McKay. Stars: Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt, Marisa Tomei, Melissa Leo, Selena Gomez, Hamish Linklater, Rafe Spall. Details the true story of four outsiders who risked everything to take on the big banks during the greatest financial fraud in U.S. history. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo, VOD, Digital, UltraViolet (cloud). Blu-ray extras: "In the Trenches: Casting," "The Big Leap: Adam McKay," "Unlikely Heroes: The Characters of The Big Short," "The House of Cards: The Rise of the Fall," "Getting Real: Recreating an Era," deleted scenes. (Paramount).
(2015) Saoirse Ronan, Domhnall Gleeson, Emory Cohen, Jim Broadbent, Julie Walters.
An Irish immigrant lands in 1950s Brooklyn, where she quickly falls into a romance with a local. When her past catches up with her, however, she must choose between two countries and the lives that exist within. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray Disc, VOD, Digital, UltraViolet (cloud). Extras: Six promotional featurettes: "The Story," "Home," "Love," "Cast," "The Making of Brooklyn" and "Book to Screen"; commentary by director John Crowley; photo gallery. Blu-ray adds 11 deleted and extended scenes. (Fox).
(2015) Director: Todd Haynes. Stars: Rooney Mara, Cate Blanchett, Kyle Chandler, Sarah Paulson, Cory Michael Smith, Jake Lacy. In an adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's seminal novel "The Price of Salt," "Carol" follows two women from very different backgrounds who find themselves in an unexpected love affair in 1950s New York. As conventional norms of the time challenge their undeniable attraction, an honest story emerges to reveal the resilience of the heart in the face of change. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray Disc, VOD, Digital, UltraViolet (cloud). (The Weinstein Co).
(2015) A remarkable historical document of Israel's 1967 six-day war revealing previously censored recordings by young soldiers returning from the battlefield. The historical Six-Day War of 1967, wherein Israel launched a preemptive strike against the Egyptian, Syrian and
Jordanian troops amassed on its borders, is revisited and reconsidered in Mor Loushy's extraordinary historical chronicle. With its decisive victory over just a few short days, Israel nearly tripled its size with its newly occupied lands and, brimming with relief, joy and pride, a new national narrative of manifest destiny emerged. But drowned out by the euphoria, other voices -- many of those who fought in the war -- had something different to say. One week after the Israeli-Arab conflict, Amos Oz (soon to be a celebrated author) and
editor Avraham Shapira arranged to record conversations with returning soldiers about their experiences on the brief battlefield. These intensely candid interviews capture the young men wrestling with the question of the responsibility of the conqueror to the conquered (even
when the shoe could easily have been on the other foot), the paradox of a people who fled oppression who must now oppress to preserve their security, and the still fervent hope for a lasting peace with their Arab neighbors. The Israeli Defense Force partially censored the
recordings at the time, but transcripts became the basis for the book "The Seventh Day: Soldiers' Talk About the Six-Day War" in 1970. This documentary reveals the complete original recordings for the first time, as it reconnects with the former soldiers, now men in their
seventies, as they listen to their younger selves. The recordings are juxtaposed with rare newsreel footage and photography of the Six-Day War, combined with a contemporary sound design that allows a unique opportunity to re-experience a war that changed the face of a region still locked in a deadly impasse. The recipient of the 2015 Best Documentary Award at the Israeli Film Academy, the Best Israeli Documentary prize at the 2015 Ophir Awards (the Israeli equivalent of the Academy Awards), and the Yafo Award for Best Debut Film and
Research Award at the 2015 DocAviv Film Festival. Formats: DVD, VOD. Extras: Interviews with the filmmakers, Q&A recorded at the opening night gala of the Other Israel Film Festival. (Music Box Films).
CHiPs: The Complete Fourth Season
(1980-81) Five-disc set with all 21 episodes. In Season Four, the highway adventures continue with Ponch and Jon as they continue to keep the busy freeway of California safe from crime. Whether making routine stops for speeding or nabbing criminals on the run, California Highway Patrol is on the case. Nothing can stop these fearless partners, as they hit the streets of Southern California, in the pursuit of justice and highway safety. Formats: DVD. (Warner).
Debbie Macomber's Cedar Cove: The Final Season
(2015) Andie MacDowell, Teryl Rothery, Sebastian Spence. The final chapter of the Hallmark Channel series that follows Judge Olivia Lockhart as she strives to balance her personal life and career as Cedar Cove's Municipal Court Judge. This season unveils a shocking discovery, causing the budding romance between Olivia and newspaper editor Jack Griffith (Dylan Neal) to start dwindling. After deciding to stay in Cedar Cove, Olivia's daughter Justine (Sarah Smyth) unexpectedly faces setbacks as she attempts to start a life of her own and pursue happiness with former Navy Seal Luke Bailey (Jesse Hutch). Based on the best-selling book series by Debbir Macomber. Formats: DVD, Digital. (Cinedigm).
Game of Thrones: The Complete Fifth Season
(2015) Season 5 begins with a power vacuum that protagonists across Westeros and Essos look to fill. At Castle Black, Jon Snow struggles to balance the demands of the Night's Watch with those of newly-arrived Stannis Baratheon, who styles himself the rightful king of Westeros. Meanwhile, Cersei scrabbles to hold on to power in King's Landing amidst the Tyrells and the rise of a religious group led by the enigmatic High Sparrow, while Jaime embarks on a secret mission. Across the Narrow Sea, Arya seeks an old friend while a fugitive Tyrion finds a new cause. And as danger mounts in Meereen, Daenerys Targaryen finds that her tenuous hold on the city requires some hard sacrifices. This season features some of the most explosive scenes yet, as the promise that "winter is coming" becomes more ominous than ever before. Winner of 12 Emmy Awards (the most of any series in one year) and a Guinness World Record holder for the largest simultaneous broadcast of a TV drama (in 173 countries and territories worldwide). Formats: DVD, Blu-ray Disc, Digital. Extras: "Anatomy of an Episode: Mother's Mercy"; "The Real History Behind Game of Thrones"; 12 audio commentaries with cast and crew including David Benioff, D.B. Weiss, Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Kit Harington, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Iain Glen, Maisie Williams, Natalie Dormer, Gwendoline Christie and more; four deleted scenes; "A Day in the Life" inside look at the production process of Season 5; "New Characters/New Locations." Blu-ray adds
"The Dance of Dragons" story of the Greens and the Blacks, the Targaryen civil war that led to the downfall of the dragons; "In-Episode Guides" that provides background information about on-screen characters, locations, and relevant histories; "Histories and Lore" explores the mythology of Westeros and Essos as told from the varying perspectives of the characters themselves in 14 history pieces. (HBO).
(2014) Andrew Lee Potts, Laura Aikman, Thomas Turgoose. A peaceful town becomes a bloodbath when the eggs of a killer crocodile hatch and wreak havoc. Formats: DVD, VOD, Digital, UltraViolet (cloud). Extras: "Beneath the Surface of The Hatching" featurette. (Lionsgate).
The Manchurian Candidate
(1962) The name John Frankenheimer became forever synonymous with heart-in-the-throat filmmaking when this quintessential sixties political thriller was released. Set in the early fifties, this razor-sharp adaptation of the novel by Richard Condon concerns the decorated U.S. Army sergeant Raymond Shaw (Laurence Harvey), who as a prisoner during the Korean War is brainwashed into being a sleeper assassin in a Communist conspiracy, and a fellow POW (Frank Sinatra) who slowly uncovers the sinister plot. In an unforgettable, Oscar-nominated performance, Angela Lansbury plays Raymond's villainous mother, the controlling wife of a witch-hunting anti-Communist senator with his eyes on the White House. The rare film to be suffused with Cold War paranoia while also taking aim at the frenzy of the McCarthy era, "The Manchurian Candidate" remains potent, shocking American moviemaking. New, restored 4K digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray.
Formats: DVD, Blu-ray Disc.
Audio commentary from 1997 featuring director John Frankenheimer; new interview with actor Angela Lansbury; new piece featuring filmmaker Errol Morris discussing his appreciation for "The Manchurian Candidate"; conversation between Frankenheimer, screenwriter George Axelrod, and actor Frank Sinatra from 1988; new interview with historian Susan Carruthers about the Cold War brainwashing scare; trailer. (The Criterion Collection).
The Nanny: The Final Season
(1998-99) Three-disc set with all 21 episodes plus the hour-long finale. The fashionably faultless Fran Drescher is back to bring the whole shmeer to a close in the series' final season. Finally married to the dashing Broadway producer Maxwell Sheffield (Charles Shaughnessy), the former Miss Fine is a nanny no longer. But just as soon as Fran and Maxwell settle into marital bliss, they each announce a big production that will change the lives of the Sheffield family forever. Formats: DVD. (Shout! Factory).
Rage of Honor
(1987) Following his star turns in '80s actioners "Enter the Ninja" and "Revenge of the Ninja," Sho Kosugi continued his domination of the U.S. martial arts movie world with 1987's "Rage of Honor" -- helmed once again by "Pray for Death" director Gordon Hessler ("The Golden Voyage of Sinbad"). Federal agent Shiro Tanaka (Kosugi) used to live for his job -- now, he lives only for revenge. When his partner is killed during a bungled drug bust, Shiro throws away his badge and the rule book with it: Arming himself with an array of deadly weaponry -- including nunchucks, blades and ninja stars -- he sets out to Buenos Aires to settle the score with the bad guys. Packing explosions, flying kicks and somersaults aplenty (as well as some truly logic-bending stunt sequences), "Rage of Honor" sees Kosugi at the top of his game as he battles his way from the streets of the urban jungle to the very literal jungles of South America. High Definition presentation from a transfer of original elements by MGM. Formats: Blu-ray. Extras: "Sho and Tell Part 2: The Domination" new interview with Sho Kosugi on "Rage of Honor" and the later stages of his film career; Sho Kosugi trailer gallery: "Enter the Ninja" (1981), "Revenge of the Ninja" (1983), "Pray for Death" (1985) and "Rage of Honor" (1987); reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Matthew Griffin. (Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment).
(2015) Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Ike Barinholtz, John Leguizamo, John Cena, James Brolin, Dianne Wiest, Rachel Dratch, Samantha Bee, Kate McKinnon. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler reunite in the story of two disconnected sisters summoned home to clean out their childhood bedroom before their parents sell the family house. Looking to recapture their glory days, they throw one final high-school-style party for their classmates, which turns into the cathartic rager that a bunch of ground-down adults really need. Includes new unrated version.
Formats: DVD, Blu-ray Disc, VOD, Digital, UltraViolet (cloud). Extras: Deleted scenes, extended scenes, gag reel, "The Improvorama," commentary with director Jason Moore, star-producer Tina Fey, star-executive producer Amy Poehler and writer Paula Pell. Blu-ray adds "How to Throw a Party," "Grown-Up Parties Suck," "The Alex Chronicles," "The Kate and Pazuzu Chronicles," "A Teen Movie ... for Adults," "The Original Sister," "Pool Collapse" visual effects. (Universal).
Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine
(2015) Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney ("Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief") pulls no punches in his portrait of Apple founder Steve Jobs and his legacy. This probing and unflinching look at the life and aftermath of the bold, brilliant and at times ruthless iconoclast explores what accounted for the grief of so many when he died. Covers his rise from a Silicon Valley garage to his ouster as Apple CEO and subsequent return, along with high-profile controversies including stock backdating, poor working and living conditions for factory workers, and the use of overseas tax shelters. Features archival footage, intimate photos, rare videos, and exclusive interviews with Chrisana Brennan, the mother of his oldest daughter, and former Apples execs Andy Grignon, Jon,Rubinstein, Bob Belleville and Daniel Kottke. Formats: DVD, Blu-ray Disc. Extras: Interview with director Gibney, deleted scenes, trailer. (Magnolia Home Entertainment).
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Half-Shell Heroes: Blast to the Past
(2016) The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles accidentally time travel back to the Jurassic Era and encounter friendly dinosaurs from the past and dangerous aliens from the future who have a nefarious plan of their own. Formats: DVD. (Paramount).
What Our Fathers Did: A Nazi Legacy
(2015) A human-rights lawyer conducts conversations with two men whose fathers were indicted as war criminals for their roles in WWII. Three men travel together across Europe. For two of them the journey involves a confrontation with the acts of their fathers, who were both senior Nazi officers. For the third, the eminent human rights lawyer and author Philippe Sands, it means visiting the place where much of his own Jewish family was destroyed by the fathers of the two men he has come to know. It is an emotional, psychological exploration of three men wrestling with their past, the present of Europe -- and conflicting versions of the truth. Formats: DVD. (Oscilloscope Laboratories).