This week on home video, we’ve got a surprisingly solid list of new films to check out, including no less than five Certified Fresh movies. Considering the glut of bad movies plaguing most cineplexes these days, the offerings below make a strong case for staying in. Read on for details:

Nightcrawler

95%

Jake Gyllenhaal’s really been on a tear in recent years. Beginning with 2011’s Source Code, he’s starred in five straight Certified Fresh films, and his most recent effort even drew some awards attention. Nightcrawler stars Gyllenhaal as a petty thief who spies a future in amateur video journalism and, after selling some footage to a news director (Rene Russo), begins a dark downward spiral into his most sociopathic impulses. The feature directing debut of screenwriter Dan Gilroy, Nightcrawler earned high marks from critics who cited Gyllenhaal’s creepy performance as a highlight and made comparisons to Taxi Driver. Certified Fresh at 95 percent, this is a dark thriller that operates equally well as a thought-provoking satire of sensationalist news media.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

62%

Live action family films — decent ones, anyway — seem to be rarer in supply these days, so it’s always a nice surprise when one comes along that’s pleasant and suitably entertaining. Based on the popular 1972 children’s book of the same name, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is about exactly what its title indicates: on the day before his 12th birthday, a young boy named Alexander (Ed Oxenbould) stumbles through an extremely unfortunate series of events. Spoiler alert: everything turns out okay. Most critics found Alexander a perfectly fine diversion for parents to share with their kids, even if the film fails to make a strong, lasting impression, and awarded it a respectable 62 percent on the Tomatometer. It’s not the best kids’ movie around, but it’s pretty harmless and good-natured.

Rosewater

76%

During the Summer of 2013, Jon Stewart took a short break from Comedy Central’s The Daily Show to focus on his feature directorial debut, a drama based on a true story that, at least peripherally, involved him. Rosewater depicts the plight of Iranian-Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari (played by Gael García Bernal), who was detained by Iran in 2009 after he sent video footage of post-election riots to the BBC. Held in prison for almost four months, Bahari was tortured and interrogated about, among other things, his appearance on Stewart’s satirical show, before finally being released. Based on the best-selling memoir that Bahari wrote about the experience, Rosewater earned mostly strong reviews from critics, who rewarded the film with a Certified Fresh 74 percent for its timely subject matter, Bernal’s performance, and Stewart’s prowess in his first stint behind the camera.

Predestination

84%

It’s unusual for a genre flick released during the first half of January to earn high marks from critics, especially one that, save for the involvement of star Ethan Hawke, reads more like something you might find in the direct-to-dvd listings, but Predestination managed to beat the odds. In it, Hawke plays an unnamed “Temporal Agent,” tasked with time-traveling to the past to stop crime. Given one last job before retirement, the Agent travels to the 1970s to meet with a man whose unusual life story leads to a twisty, decade-hopping pursuit of the truth. Certified Fresh at 81 percent, Predestination impressed critics with its surprisingly smart storytelling — as well as a remarkable performance from costar Sarah Snook — and helped offer a mindbending alternative to the usual January dreck.

Also available this week:

  • The Cannes Festival-winning Force Majeure (93 percent), a Swedish drama about a small family vacationing in the alps whose bonds are tested when its patriarch leaves them in the lurch during an avalanche scare.

  • Taiwanese import Stray Dogs (88 percent), a drama about a destitute man living on the streets and his two children, who encounter a mysterious woman that may change their lives.

  • Kill the Messenger (77 percent), a Certified Fresh thriller starring Jeremy Renner as Gary Webb, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who publicized his findings on the birth of the crack epidemic and the shady dealings of the CIA.

  • Felony (74 percent), starring Joel Edgerton and Tom Wilkinson in a crime thriller about three detectives at odds with each other after an accident that nearly kills a child.

  • Lynn Shelton’s Laggies (69 percent), starring Keira Knightley and Chloe Grace Moretz in a dramedy about a 28-year-old slacker who befriends a teen and falls for her father.

  • Addicted (8 percent), a drama about a married woman who embarks down a dark road of temptation.

  • HBO’s miniseries Olive Kitteridge (95 percent), starring Frances McDormand and Bill Murray in a four-part adaptation of the Elizabeth Strout novel of the same name.

  • Season six of Showtime’s dark dramedy Nurse Jackie (67 percent), starring Edie Falco as a drug-addicted nurse.

  • And finally, two choices from the Criterion Collection: Nicolas Roeg’s classic thriller Don’t Look Now (96 percent), starring Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie, and Jean Renoir’s A Day in the Country (100 percent), a shorter feature about a family’s idyllic vacation in the French countryside.

The Screen Actors Guild Awards held their annual ceremony on Sunday, Januray 25 in a televised event at Los Angeles’s Shrine Auditorium. Birdman took home another trophy — for Best Ensemble — though The Theory of Everything‘s Eddie Redmayne beat Michael Keaton for Best Actor, while Netflix’s Orange is the New Black came away with a couple of big wins. Read on for the full list.

Movie Awards

 

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture


Television Awards

 

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Comedy or Drama Series

On Wednesday, Januray 7, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) released their list of nominees for their annual WGA Awards, honoring outstanding writing in film, television, radio, and new media. The ceremony itself will take place on Saturday, February 7 at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles, but you can check out a select list of the nominees below:

 

Original Screenplay

Adapted Screenplay

Documentary Screenplay

Drama Series

Comedy Series

New Series

This week at the movies, we’ve got a perilous space mission (Interstellar, starring Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway) and a boy and his robot (Big Hero 6, featuring voice performances by Ryan Potter and Scott Adsit). What do the critics have to say?

Interstellar

73%

Many have tried, but few have approached 2001: A Space Odyssey‘s heady mix of philosophical depth and space adventure (though last year’s Gravity had its moments). Director Christopher Nolan is clearly gunning for the sci-fi pantheon with Interstellar, and while critics say the movie is loaded with ambition and jaw-dropping visuals, its plot is sometimes a muddle. In the not-too-distant future, Earth is on the verge of becoming uninhabitable. Coop (Matthew McConaughey) a former test pilot, is recruited for a risky mission to find another planet that might be able to sustain human life. The pundits say the Certified Fresh Interstellar veers between brilliance and bombast, but its best moments approximate a sense of awe that recalls Andrei Tarkovsky‘s’s Solaris. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down McConaughey’s best-reviewed films, as well as our interviews with the stars.)

Big Hero 6

90%

Does the world need another superhero origin story? If it’s as lively as Big Hero 6, then the answer is yes; critics say this colorful, beautifully-crafted animated film scores on the strength of its distinctive setting, heartfelt story, and its loveable robotic hero, the puffy, literal-minded Baymax. Hiro Hamada is a pre-teen science geek whose older brother has invented an inflatable healthcare robot. However, tragedy strikes, and Hiro, Baymax, and a ragtag group of nerds must team up to save the city. The pundits say the Certified Fresh Big Hero 6 isn’t particularly original, but it’s briskly-paced, action-packed, and often touching. (Check out Baymax’s Five Favorite Films here.)

What’s Fresh on TV:

Critics say that Olive Kitteridge (Certified Fresh at 95 percent) lives up to its compelling source material, thanks to fascinating performances from the likes of Frances McDormand, Richard Jenkins, and Bill Murray.

Despite a familiar Cold War spy template, critics say The Game (100 percent) has enough style, intelligence, and twists to be worth playing.

Also opening this week in limited release:

Venture over to our "Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe" page to view 49 stills and production photos from the epic children’s book adaptation, due out this Friday!

The Walt Disney Pictures release is, of course, a big-budget adaptation of the first book of the C.S. Lewis classic series, The Chronicles of Narnia, and follows the four Pevensie siblings as they enter a magical wardrobe and cross into a mythical land ravaged by war. Take a peek at the photo gallery at some dazzling images of Tilda Swinton as Jadis, the evil Ice Queen, eldest sibling Peter astride a unicorn, behind-the-scenes set photos, and more!

Also check out behind-the-scenes featurettes and the "Chronicles of Narnia" trailer on our trailer page, here.

"Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" opens December 9 and stars Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, William Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Tilda Swinton, James McAvoy, Jim Broadbent, Liam Neeson, Ray Winstone and Rupert Everett, with direction by Andrew Adamson ("Shrek," "Shrek 2").