This week on home video, we’ve got a couple of Oscar-winning films, another that received a couple nominations of its own, and an Emmy- and Golden Globe-nominated HBO sitcom. Then we’ve got a few other notable films, including two more from the Criterion Collection. Read on for details:
Christopher Nolan was coming off the completion of a critically and commercially successful Batman trilogy, and Matthew McConaughey was still riding high from the praise he got for True Detective and Dallas Buyers Club. There’s no question Interstellar was going to be a hit. The mindbending outer space tale wasn’t for everyone, though, and it earned Nolan the lowest Tomatometer score of his directorial career at 72 percent. Of course, that’s still not too shabby, and when you consider his flair for visual spectacle and a supporting cast that included Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Casey Affleck, Matt Damon, and Michael Caine, it’s a little difficult to say this isn’t worth at least a look. It might not blow your mind, but then again, it just might.
This is the Best Picture nominee about the scientist who wasn’t Stephen Hawking. To be fair, The Imitation Game was quite different from The Theory of Everything, its spiritual cousin in this year’s Best Picture race. While Theory focused more on the story of the individual (and earned its lead a Best Actor win), Imitation was much more plot-driven, unfolding a bit like a spy thriller with a handful of obligatory biopic plot developments and Alan Turing at its center. Lest we make it sound like it’s an inferior film, we’ll just point out that it earned a Certified Fresh 89 percent on the Tomatometer, over $200 million at the box office, and nominations in eight Oscar categories, taking home the trophy for Best Adapted Screenplay. This film is no slouch; if you want to see a solid drama about how one of the smartest men of the last century helped defeat the Nazis in WWII by essentially inventing the world’s first digital computer, give this a watch.
How about another Oscar nominee? This film might be considered the capstone to Reese Witherspoon’s recent resurgence, following roles in Mud and The Good Lie. After all, it was her portrayal of Cheryl Strayed on an introspective 1,000-mile hike that earned her her second Best Actress nomination at this year’s Academy Awards. Co-star Laura Dern also got a nod in the Supporting Actress category, so even if you’re not especially into nomadic, soul-searching journeys, you know the performances are top notch. As for Witherspoon, she’s due next in a couple of comedies, so if you want her more serious side, this may be your last chance to see it for at least a little while, and since it’s Certified Fresh at 90 percent, it’s a fair bet it won’t be a waste of your time.
Mike Judge and social satire go together like baseball bats and office printers, so everyone was naturally geeked to see how the man behind Beavis and Butt-head, Idiocracy, and Office Space would skewer millennial entrepreneurs in the tech sector. And it looks like everyone was right to be excited; Silicon Valley‘s first season, which follows a handful of hopeful programmers as they launch a potentially lucrative startup, is Certified Fresh at 94 percent, and it’s all set to return for its second season on HBO on April 12. If you haven’t seen the show yet, that gives you a little less than two weeks to get caught up, but it’s only eight episodes, so you’ll be in good shape if you pick up the DVD or Blu-ray set when it hits shelves this week.
Island of Lemurs: Madagascar (2014) (79 percent), a documentary about the quirky primates narrated by Morgan Freeman.
The Rewrite (2014) (64 percent), starring Hugh Grant and Marisa Tomei in a romantic comedy about a washed up screenwriter who takes up teaching at a university and falls for one of his students.
Meet the Mormons (2014) (11 percent), a documentary following six average Mormons in various corners of the world, going about their daily routines.
Veep – Season Three (2014) (100 percent), starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Vice President Selina Meyer in HBO’s hugely popular Emmy-winning comedy series.
Cries and Whispers (1972) (89 percent), Ingmar Bergman’s Oscar-winning meditation on death as experienced by three sisters, is the first of two Criterion releases, available in a new Blu-ray transfer.
Hoop Dreams (1994) (98 percent), Steve James’ powerful documentary that follows two young boys over five years as they pursue their dreams of playing professional basketball, is the second Criterion release available in a new Blu-ray.