New on DVD, Blu-Ray and Instant Video this month, Nicole Kidman is a woman with memory issues, Brad Pitt leads a tank crew during WWII, and Robert Duvall and Robert Downey, Jr. square off in “The Judge.” Here’s a sneak peek at what’s new on DVD, blu-ray and Instant Video this week.
Before I Go to Sleep (2014)
Rated R for some brutal violence and language. Box office gross: $3.2 million. Released by Fox and Alchemy. DVD, Blu-ray, Amazon Instant
This taut thriller based on the worldwide best-selling novel by S.J. Watson tells the story of a woman (Nicole Kidman) who wakes up every day with no memory as the result of a traumatic accident in her past. One day, terrifying new truths begin to emerge that make her question everything she thinks she knows about her life – as well as everyone in it, including her doctor (Mark Strong) and even her husband (Colin Firth). I liked this movie, but sort of forgot about it the next day.
The Book of Life (2014)
Rated PG for mild action, rude humor, some thematic elements and brief scary images. Box office gross: $49.9 million. Released by Fox. DVD, Blu-ray, Amazon Instant
From producer Guillermo del Toro and director Jorge Gutierrez comes this animated comedy with a unique visual style. This movie follows the journey of Manolo, a young man torn between fulfilling the expectations of his family and following his heart. Before choosing which path to follow, he embarks on an incredible adventure that spans three fantastical worlds where he must face his greatest fears. The star-studded voice cast includes Zoe Saldana, Diego Luna, Channing Tatum and Christina Applegate. Read my review of this lovely animated tale here.
The Color of Time (2014)
Rated R for some sexuality, nudity, language and drug use. Released by Anchor Bay Entertainment. DVD, Amazon Instant
James Franco, Mila Kunis, Jessica Chastain, and Zach Braff star in this dramatic and riveting look at the life and work of iconic Pulitzer Prize-winning poet C.K. Williams. Williams (Franco) has a beautiful, adoring wife (Kunis) and a young son. But as he prepares for a reading in New York City and struggles to create new work, he is haunted by memories of his past—from his first sexual encounter to a later tragic loss.
Days and Nights (2014)
Not rated. Released by IFC Films. DVD, Amazon Instant
From writer/director Christian Camargo, this film is inspired by Anton Chekhov’s “The Seagull” and set in rural New England in the 1980s. The film centers around Elizabeth (Allison Janney), a movie star who brings her paramour Peter to her lakeside estate to visit her family on Memorial Day weekend. The household includes her ailing brother (William Hurt), her artist son (Ben Whishaw), his ethereal muse (Juliet Rylance), the family doctor (Jean Reno) and the estate’s custodian (Russell Means), the careless caretaker (Michael Nyqvist) and his wife (Cherry Jones), their temperamental daughter (Katie Holmes) and her long suffering ornithologist husband (Mark Rylance) — the keeper of the sacred land where a bald eagle is trying to raise its young. During the weekend, a disastrous turn of events leads the family from dysfunction to heartbreak and, ultimately, salvation.
Downton Abbey: Season 5
Not rated. Released by PBS. DVD, Blu-ray
The acclaimed ensemble, lead by Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery, and Elizabeth McGovern, is joined by guest stars Harriet Walter, reprising her role as Lady Shackleton, and Peter Egan, who returns as Lord Flintshire, together with completely new characters played by Richard E. Grant, Anna Chancellor, and Rade Sherbedgia.
The story follows Lady Mary’s courtship contest, Lady Edith’s trials as a secret single mom, Thomas’ scheming against Bates, Robert’s battles against modernity, Tom’s quest to be true to his ideals, and much more.
Rated R for strong sequences of war violence, some grisly images, and language throughout. Box office gross: $85.8 million. Released by Sony Pictures. DVD, Blu- ray, Amazon Instant
April, 1945. As the Allies make their final push in the European Theatre, a battle- hardened army sergeant named Wardaddy (Brad Pitt) commands a Sherman tank and her five-man crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Outnumbered and outgunned, Wardaddy and his men face overwhelming odds in their heroic attempts to strike at the heart of Nazi Germany. Read my review of this excellent film here.
Rated R for language including some sexual references. Box office gross: $47.1 million. Released by Warner Bros. DVD, Blu-ray, Amazon Instant
Robert Downey, Jr. stars as big city lawyer Hank Palmer, who returns to his childhood home where his estranged father, the town’s judge (Robert Duvall), is suspected of murder. Hank sets out to discover the truth, and along the way, reconnects with the family he walked away from years before.
Justice League: Throne of Atlantis
Rated PG-13 for sci-fi violence and action throughout. Released by Warner Bros. DVD, Blu-ray, Amazon Instant
Aquaman is forced to choose sides between the Justice League and Atlantis, when Atlantean warriors begin a war to conquer the surface world, starting with the coastal cities of Gotham and Metropolis.
Not Rated. Released by eOne Entertainment. DVD, Amazon Instant
Miss Meadows (Katie Holmes) is a school teacher with impeccable manners and grace. However, underneath the candy-sweet exterior hides a ruthless, gun-toting vigilante who takes it upon herself to right the wrongs in the world by whatever means necessary. For Miss Meadows, bad behavior is simply unforgivable. James Badge Dale also stars.
My Old Lady
Rated PG-13 for thematic material and some sexual references. Box office gross: $3.9 million. Released by Universal and Cohen Media Group. DVD, Blu-ray, Amazon Instant
Maggie Smith, Kevin Kline, and Kristin Scott Thomas star in this touching, funny, and charming drama about a down-and-out New Yorker who inherits an apartment in Paris from his estranged father. He’s stunned to find a refined old lady living there with her protective daughter.
Not rated. Released by Cinedigm. DVD, Blu-ray, Amazon Instant
Nick Chambers (Elijah Wood) is a lucky guy. He’s having dinner with Jill Goddard, the hottest actress on earth. Then a guy named Chord calls, dinner is cancelled, and it’s Jill’s fault. But Chord’s got something better- A 21st Century “Rear Window” and a deadly game of cat-and-mouse.
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of terror, violence and destruction throughout, and thematic elements. Box office gross: $1.1 million. Released by CanZion Films. DVD, Blu-ray
This action-packed supernatural thriller addresses questions of life, love and belief against an apocalyptic backdrop. A group of close friends gather for a wedding, but the celebration is shattered by a series of cataclysmic events and enemies foretold by biblical end-times prophecies. The Remaining — Dan, Skylar, Tommy, Jack, Allison and Sam — face a horrifying, uncertain future as they fight for their lives. Who will survive?
Jane Boursaw is a well-known film critic and editor-in-chief of Reel Life With Jane. Images used are courtesy of respective film studios and distributors.