Features and Columns · Movies

19 New Movies to Watch at Home on Blu-ray/DVD This Week

By  · Published on May 19th, 2015

Welcome back to This Week In Discs!

If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon.

The Blue Room

Julien (Mathieu Amalric) is a happily married father who works as a John Deere dealer in France, and he’s also having an affair with a married woman named Esther. She shares a thought which he absentmindedly agrees to, and suddenly we jump forward to him being interrogated in police custody. What brought him there, and why? Back and forth, the film moves from steamy liaisons to revelations at police headquarters, as the truth struggles to break free.

Amalric also directs this adaptation of the Georges Simenon novel and delivers a sexy, sad mystery that slowly reveals itself like a stripper making art out of dropping one piece of clothing at a time. The layers peel back to display naked bodies and twisted intentions, leaving only those on the sidelines as innocent victims. At under 80 minutes it’s a fast ride punctuated with fairly explicit coupling and narrative surprises, and unlike most affair-based thrillers it carries emotional weight too.

[DVD extras: None]

Boardwalk Empire: The Complete Series

Enoch “Nucky” Thompson (Steve Buscemi) is a businessman struggling to stay afloat in the competitive hustle and bustle of 1920’s Atlantic City. Of course, his business involves prostitution, gambling and a strong anti-prohibition stance, so his struggles are to be expected. His ups and downs, both personal and professional, are followed across five seasons as both the law and fellow gangsters continuously nip at his heels.

HBO’s series enjoyed quite a bit of well-deserved accolades during its run, and you need only sample a few episodes ‐ preferably from the first few seasons ‐ to understand why. The production design is exquisite in its attention to detail and ability to bring the city’s 1920’s Boardwalk to roaring life, and the cast is superb with only a single exception (yes, I’m looking at you Paz de la Huerta). Buscemi does strong work as bad man, a la Tony Soprano, who we can’t help but follow through to the end. Speaking of the end, the final season lacks some of energy and importance enjoyed by previous ones, but it still serves to send the gang away in style.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Featurettes, commentaries]

Bordering on Bad Behavior

An Arab named Baz accidentally walks into a secret Israeli communications hub occupied by Ari, an Israeli commando, and an American soldier named Bob (Tom Sizemore). He panics and subdues both men when he realizes he’s also triggered the building’s time-lock security shutters meaning all three of them are stuck inside together for the next six hours. They’re combative at first, but soon a shaky truce develops between them as they relax, swap stories and get drunk.

This is an unassuming little film that could easily exist as a stage play as it plays out mostly in a single location. There are flashbacks and minor fantasy moments throughout, but the majority of the film is the three men comparing notes in regard to their prejudices, concerns and beliefs. Serious topics are at play here ‐ 9/11, suicide bombers, global politics ‐ but the film is surprisingly funny at times. Even more of a surprise is that Sizemore gives a great performance, possibly his first in over a decade. It’s not all good news though as the score is intrusive and tonally off-putting, and the ending feels a bit too loose. Plus, the DVD cover (front and back) is horrendous.

[DVD extras: None]

Limelight (Criterion)

Charlie Chaplin’s late-career comedy-drama portrays aging, alcoholic stage comedian Calvero (Chaplin) serendipitously meeting a suicidal ballet dancer (Claire Bloom) with whom he shares his grievances about a public that has abandoned him and eventually the spotlight itself in 1914 London. It’s just as touching as Chaplin’s early masterpieces, but it’s also shaggier and more inward-looking largely due to the fact that Chaplin made the film while under serious scrutiny from the US government as a result of his political affiliations and a highly publicized affair.

Limelight is thus a bittersweet film about the trials and triumphs of show business, one that audiences had few opportunities to see at the time as a result of a limited release and the director-performer-composer not being allowed re-entry into the US after promoting Limelight abroad. Not only an under-appreciated late work by one of our greatest directors, Limelight found art echoing life in ways that its filmmaker never hoped for. Criterion’s release carries numerous special features that dig deep into this rich film and its troubled context. ‐ Landon Palmer

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: New video essay; new interviews with cast; a 2002 documentary on the film; archival audio recording of Chaplin’s novella Footlights; two early short films by Chaplin; an illustrated booklet with essay and an on-set report]

The Osterman Weekend

John Tanner (Rutger Hauer) is a popular television host about to embark on a weekend getaway with friends and family, but his vacation is interrupted by a stranger (John Hurt) making serious accusations about those friends. It seems one or more of them may be traitors to the United States, and it’s John’s duty to discover the truth. Unfortunately for him that truth fluctuates depending on who’s doing the telling.

Sam Peckinpah’s final film is a twisty thriller elevated by both plot turns and its bevy of familiar faces. Hauer and Hurt are joined by Craig T. Nelson, Dennis Hopper, Chris Sarandon, Burt Lancaster and others, and Peckinpah keeps things moving at a dangerous pace. Additionally, this new Blu-ray is a buy as it offers remastered picture and sound while porting over the fantastic extras from a previous DVD release including a feature-length making-of doc.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Commentary, making of]


Three sorority sisters head to a remote cabin by a lake for a girls weekend away from the boys. The trip was motivated by the recent revelation that Jenn’s boyfriend cheated on her with an unknown skank leading Mary to organize the weekend to help her friend heal. Zoe (Cortney Palm) is just along for the ride and the possibility of a full-body tan. Their plans are interrupted by two types of mammals. First, their boyfriends arrive looking to set up camp in the girls’ vaginas, and then the undead beavers show up looking for food. So yes, it essentially follows the old horror trope about the dangers of young people mixing wood and beavers.

This really shouldn’t be as much fun as it is ‐ the “monsters” are, quite literally, hand puppets ‐ but the old-school charm combined with real wit, a reasonably sharp script and lots of gory goodness make for a memorable and often hilarious movie. It’s a B-movie through and through, and there’s not a damned thing wrong with that. The cast members are all on-board for the gory and ridiculous antics, and many of the laughs owe as much to the delivery as to the script. Palm is the film’s standout and deserving of big things as she delivers one hell of a horror heroine. Funny, sexy and fully capable of kicking ass, she becomes the unlikely focus of your attention and concern even as more traditional characters dance around her.

[DVD extras: None]

American Sniper

Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper) joined the Navy SEALs to defend the greatest country on Earth from terrorist threats, and through multiple tours of duty he became a legend among his fellow servicemen by racking up a record number of enemy kills. His dedication to the cause threatens to derail his home life though as his wife and child are forced to live without him for long stretches of time. Clint Eastwood’s biopic of the late Kyle is overflowing with rah-rah jingoisms and manliness that constantly serve to mute the personal story he’s attempting to tell. Cooper does good work, but it’s with a character so trapped in his own rigid form that he’s never allowed to actually be a likable human being. On the plus side though Eastwood does deliver some fantastic action sequences. And, obviously, there’s that baby…

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Featurettes]


Cymbeline (Ed Harris) is a minor king/motorcycle gang leader who refuses to bow to the power of the Roman Police and instead starts a war across the land. His efforts put not only his life in jeopardy but also that of his queen (Milla Jovavich), children and associates. A modern-day retelling of a William Shakespeare play, the film intertwines its characters in all manner of ways as deceit piles upon betrayal, but there’s an oddly flat feeling to it all. It’s a lesser play for a reason, and the film does nothing to elevate its vitality or engagement.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Commentary, featurette, interviews]

Evil Eye / The Girl Who Knew Too Much

A young woman vacationing in Italy stumbles into a dangerous mystery after witnessing a murder. The killer is targeting victims in a particular order, and when she realizes she may have made the cut she’s forced to put her love of literary mysteries to the test. John Saxon lends a hand too as an American doctor she pulls into the fray. Mario Bava was one of Italy’s genre masters, and while he’s perhaps best known for his supernaturally-tinged tales (Black Sunday) I’m a bigger fan of his twisty thrillers (A Bay of Blood, Rabid Dogs). This one falls into the latter category and serves as one of the earliest giallos too with its witness vs unknown killer premise, and while it’s clear Bava is still fine tuning the plot mechanics here it remains an engaging mystery. Kino has remastered the longer American cut here while also including the original Italian version.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: European and American cuts of the film, commentary]


Marjorie (Farrah Fawcett) barely survives a robbery and assault and retreats to the false safety of her home before realizing the attacker knows where she lives. Her fears come true when he breaks in and proceeds to pick up his assault where he previously left off, but the dynamic shifts dramatically when she fights back. This is a rough watch in many respects, but Fawcett’s performance keeps it grounded and affectingly real even as events grow in somewhat unrealistic directions.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: None]


Walter (Robert De Niro) is an ex-cop who one day finds himself temporarily debilitated by a stroke. Part of his subsequent therapy ends up being in the form of his neighbor, Rusty (Philip Seymour Hoffman), a drag queen whose lifestyle hasn’t always gelled with the more conservative Walter. There’s a fine story of friendship and perceptions at play here, but the big draw is the two lead performances. Both men do strong work here with their characters and interactions with each other. The plot of the film gets in the way here and there, but the performances trump the distraction.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: None]

Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man

Harley Davidson (Mickey Rourke) teams up with his old pal the Marlboro Man (Don Johnson) to help out an old friend by robbing a big, bad bank. Their plan goes slightly awry when they discover their haul is drugs instead of cash, and soon they’re going head to head with the bank’s nefarious CEO (Tom Sizemore) and his army of bulletproof duster-wearing thugs. Johnson is the secret weapon here as he jokes his way through the entire film, but Rourke holds his own for the most part. The action isn’t all that memorable, and the slight attempt at world-building ‐ Burbank is now an international airport! ‐ leaves you wishing they would have committed more effort there, but it remains a fun enough little flick from the early ’90s. And hey, it’s one of my dad’s favorite movies and that has to count for something.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Featurette]

Hot Tub Time Machine 2

Lou (Rob Corddry) is still riding high on his acquisition of other people’s ideas and successes and lives a lavish lifestyle with a butler. Jacob (Clark Duke) is a smart guy ‐ aside from missing the fact that he’s his father’s butler ‐ but he’s lost in Lou’s dick-shaped shadow. Nick (Craig Robinson) has followed Lou’s lead and made a successful career off of other people’s talents. When Lou’s shot in the crotch by a mysterious assassin the three friends retreat to the titular hot tub for a quick jaunt backwards, but instead the magical swirlie machine sends them ten years into the future. Time travel mechanics are left looser than a retired porn star’s vagina, and even as the script tries to play smart it only makes it clearer how indifferent it actually is to logic concerns. There are two major issues keeping director Steve Pink’s follow-up to his own original from being another bubbly good time at the movies. For a comedy, it’s shockingly devoid of real laughs. (Hell, it’s low on chuckles for a drama.) Second, and just as damaging, there’s no real lead protagonist here. Say what you will about Cusack’s choices over the past decade, but he makes for a grounded every man when he’s on his game. He was the straight man in the first film, the one reacting to jokes while providing the emotional story line amid the chaos, but the sequel has no such character or actor ‐ all four of these guys (Corddry, Duke, Robinson, Scott) are fools we can’t connect with in the slightest.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: D]

It! The Terror from Beyond Space

A manned mission to Mars ends in disaster when all but one crew member winds up dead. A second ship arrives to rescue the survivor and return him to Earth to stand trial for his team’s murders, but they quickly discover that the threat they’re facing isn’t a human one. ’50s horror/sci-fi is a fun sub-genre populated by men-in-monster suits, and this entry is no exception. There’s little here that stands out as original or award-worthy, but it remains an unassuming and entertaining glimpse into monster movie history.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: None]

Orange Is the New Black: Season Two

Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling) is moved temporarily out of Litchfield, and while she leaves some troubles behind she quickly finds new ones. The friends and fellow inmates she leaves behind have their own issues brewing as a rivalry between Red and newcomer Vee leaves a trail of destruction in its wake. Netflix’s original series returns for a second season that retains the fine, occasionally wavering, balance between drama and comedy. Performances are strong across the board ‐ well, Jason Biggs is in it too ‐ and the various stories work to entertain and make us give a damn about these criminals. Some of the threads are less compelling ‐ ahem, Biggs ‐ but the majority engage to some degree.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Featurettes, commentaries]

Peter Benchley’s Creature

A government experiment in genetics ‐ part man, part shark! ‐ breaks free from its confines and targets a small beach community for breakfast. The only hope the poor townspeople have is a marine biologist named Coach (Craig T. Nelson), but even he may be too late. The mini-series is based on a novel by Jaws author Peter Benchley, but any hope it features one tenth the suspense, drama, atmosphere, humanity or character work should be thrown overboard immediately. It feels and looks every bit of its television origin and has a difficult time holding attention across its 176 minute running time.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: None]

Rogue: The Complete Second Season

Grace (Thandie Newton) has moved on from her job as a detective in Oakland to a position working with the FBI across the bay in San Francisco. She’s forced undercover when one of her operatives goes missing, and what she uncovers may just lead to her demise. I had never heard of this series before due mostly to it being a DirecTV original, but it manages to be just as generic and okay as its network competitors when it comes to the action and stories. Fans of Newton and Cole Hauser will enjoy.

[DVD extras: Featurettes]


A young woman (Patricia Arquette) with no interest in religion suddenly begins exhibiting the stigmata wounds of Christ, but when a rogue priest (Gabriel Byrne) discovers the truth behind her affliction his superiors rush to shut them both down. The ideas at play here are solid, as are the performances, but the film is lessened dramatically by its editing style and incongruous score (by Billy Corgan). The movie rarely lets viewers soak in the dread in silence and instead lambastes them with jarring cuts and sounds. Director Rupert Wainwright would go on to make the remake of John Carpenter’s The Fog ‐ an effort that appears to have deservedly killed his career ‐ but here he relies too heavily on his music video experience resulting in a movie that never unsettles, scares or engages.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Commentary, featurettes, music video, deleted scenes]

The Vatican Exorcisms

A documentary filmmaker discovers dark secrets emanating from within the Vatican, but his efforts to expose the truth lead him ever deeper and closer to forces that should never have seen the light of day. Last week brought us the found footage joys of An Irish Exorcism, and while this similarly themed and formatted feature is slightly stronger it’s still an uninteresting and unnecessary experience. The found footage angle is annoying ‐ surprise! ‐ and while a couple creepy shots slip through the film is far from scary or engaging.

[DVD extras: None]

Also out this week, but I haven’t seen the movie/TV show and/or review material was unavailable:

#EM3, 3 Holes and a Smoking Gun, Beauty & the Beast: The Second Season, Before I Disappear, Girlhood, Glee: The Complete Series, Hellmouth, Last Hijack, Leviathan, The Living, Lovesick, The Rose (Criterion), Welcome to Sweden: The Complete First Season

Related Topics:

Rob Hunter has been writing for Film School Rejects since before you were born, which is weird seeing as he's so damn young. He's our Chief Film Critic and Associate Editor and lists 'Broadcast News' as his favorite film of all time. Feel free to say hi if you see him on Twitter @FakeRobHunter.