Empty your wallets and check your bank accounts, it’s time to see what’s Now Available To Own for the week of December 17, 2013. Each week we run down new releases in movies, television series, and video games that you can enjoy in the comfort of your own home. Not only that, we provide insights on some of the best deals on the Internets to keep your credit card from crying. On shelves this week, you can find titles such as The Lone Ranger, Prisoners, Elysium, Kick-Ass 2, Shameless, and more. Check out the complete list of new releases after the jump.
Prisoners (Denis Villeneuve) – When Keller Dover’s daughter and her friend go missing, he takes matters into his own hands as the police pursue multiple leads and the pressure mounts. But just how far will this desperate father go to protect his family?
Honestly, Prisoners has got to be one of the best tension filled films of the entire year. Aside from Captain Phillips and The Conjuring, there weren’t many movies this year that could compare to the type of slow burn intensity. And it also helps when you have such a star-studded cast consisting of Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Terrence Howard, Paul Dano, Viola Davis, and Melissa Leo. The only downfall is the film’s ludicrous, sharp turn of character by Hugh Jackman. Prisoners plays out really well, giving audiences a solid crime procedural that keeps you guessing and never lets up despite its long run time.
The cold, yet strikingly crisp cinematography by directer of photography Roger Deakins (Skyfall; True Grit; A Serious Man; No Country for Old Men; The Shawshank Redemption) is even more beautiful on Blu-ray. The haunting score works well with the washed out colors, creating a personality of its own in the film. Unfortunately there are not a lot of special features on this disc for those hoping for of an in-depth look behind the scenes. But if you liked the film or are interested in a good crime drama, Prisoners is what you seek.
- Prisoners – Every Moment Matters
- Prisoners – Powerful Performances
Elysium (Neill Blomkamp) – In the year 2154, the very wealthy live on a man-made space station while the rest of the population resides on a ruined Earth. A man takes on a mission that could bring equality to the polarized worlds.
Without a doubt, Elysium is one of the most disappointing movies of the year. After coming off hot from his 2009 debut of District 9, Neill Blomkamp fails to deliver a solid sophomore effort. Matt Damon does an adequate job with what he is given, but Shartlo Copley and Jodie Foster just chew up scenes left and right. No matter how great the cinematography and special effects may be, that doesn’t make up for the fact that this was one half of a decent film. Elysium goes completely off the rails in the second half and can never really get back on. The special features included are:
- Collaboration: crafting the performances in Elysium
- Engineering utopia: creating a society in the sky
- Extended scene
- In support of story: the visual effects of Elysium
- The journey to Elysium: envisioning Elysium/Capturing Elysium/Enhancing Elysium
- The technology of 2154
- Visions of 2154 – an interactive exploration of the art & design of Elysium
Kick-Ass 2 (Jeff Wadlow) – The costumed high-school hero Kick-Ass joins with a group of normal citizens who have been inspired to fight crime in costume. Meanwhile, the Red Mist plots an act of revenge that will affect everyone Kick-Ass knows.
I wasn’t overly enthusiastic for Kick-Ass 2, but I wanted it to succeed. Kick-Ass 2 had big shoes to fill as its predecessor was an astounding piece of superhero cinema. What Kick-Ass 2 gains in violence, gore, and vulgarity, it lacks in heart, meaning, and purpose. It has its moments and then it fails to reclaim that charm Kick-Ass was able to achieve. It’s not a total waste of effort, but it could have been thought out just a little bit more. Special features included are:
- Alternate opening
- Big Daddy returns: The unshot scene
- An ass-kicking cast
- Street Rules: Showdown at the evil lair
- Hit Girl attacks: Creating the van sequence
- Extended scenes
- Upping the game
- Creating a badass world
- Going ballistic: Weapons & stunts
- Feature Commentary with Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Chlöe Grace Moretz and Writer/Director Jeff Wadlow
The Lone Ranger (Gore Verbinski) – Native American warrior Tonto recounts the untold tales that transformed John Reid, a man of the law, into a legend of justice.
I had a lot of hope that this would be more of an Armie Hammer film than Johnny Depp, but I should have known better. Sure Gore Verbinksi dishes out another beautiful film to look at, but the screenplay, the characters, and the logic is hardly desirable to endure. The special features included are:
- Armie’s Western Roadtrip
- Riding the Rails of The Lone Ranger
- Becoming a Cowboy
- Deleted Scene
Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (Thor Freudenthal) – In order to restore their dying safe haven, the son of Poseidon and his friends embark on a quest to the Sea of Monsters to find the mythical Golden Fleece while trying to stop an ancient evil from rising.
As a children’s story, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters works to some degree, but it could have been a lot more fun. It’s overly simple and cornier than my stool after Thanksgiving. The entire time it feels like the story is just going through the motions, never really stopping to give any context or care about what’s going on. It feels like the director, Thor Freudenthal, just wanted to get it done and over with. The special features included are:
- Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters in high definition
- Tyson motion comic
- Deconstructing a demigod
- Back to Camp Half-Blood
- It’s all in the eye
The Family (Luc Besson) – The Manzoni family, a notorious mafia clan, is relocated to Normandy, France under the witness protection program, where fitting in soon becomes challenging as their old habits die hard.
This is a really strange mob movie right here. The Family tries to be an ode to classic mobster movies – life after you snitch – but the tone is all over the place. At times its trying to be overly funny, while other times it’s very dark and gritty. There is some very silly character motivations and actions that will have you a bit frustrated. And as this film is all about family, Luc Besson never brings reason enough to believe that we should care for this family’s outcome. The special features included are:
- Making The Family
- The Many Meanings of FU*%!
One Direction: This is Us (Morgan Spurlock) – A look at Niall, Zayn, Liam, Louis, and Harry’s meteoric rise to fame, from their humble hometown beginnings and competing on the X-Factor, to conquering the world and performing at London’s famed O2 Arena.
I was more curious to see what Spurlock would do, but it would appear he was more in it for the paycheck. This is Us has really not much to say other than the repeated theme of One Direction’s great fandom. None of the band’s stories really connect in a cohesive narrative nor does the film really go anywhere or build up to a satisfying climax to learn something more about the pop singers. The special features included are:
- “Best Song Ever” music video
- Going home: Harry, Liam, Louis, Niall, Zayn
- Extended scenes
- Before the show
- The 1D family
Ain’t Them Bodies Saints (David Lowery) – The tale of an outlaw who escapes from prison and sets out across the Texas hills to reunite with his wife and the daughter he has never met.
One of those indie dramas you’re suppose to like because the critics at film festivals say so. Well I am going against the grain and saying to you that Ain’t Them Bodies Saints is pretty meh. The performances and cinematography are pretty good, but the story and the direction isn’t compelling or emotionally resonating enough for me to recommend it to anyone. The special features included are:
- Making of documentary
- Deleted scenes
- Music video
- Behind the scenes
Television on Blu-Ray
Shameless: The Complete Third Season – One of these days I’ll check this show out. I hear it’s a very funny, must-see show; plus it has Emmy Rossum. Special features included are:
- Where the Streets Have No Shame (Featurette)
- The Many Sides of Sheila (Featurette)
- An Officer and a Gallagher (Featurette)
- A Lip Off the Old Block (Featurette)
- Being Mandy and Mickey Milkovich (Featurette)
- A Messy Triangle: Lip, Karen and Mandy (Featurette)
- Deleted Scenes
Justified: The Complete Fourth Season – And here we are with yet another television show I hear great things about but have yet to find the time of day to indulge. Special features included are:
- 10 commentaries
- Deleted scenes
- Deadly Serious: Constable Bob
- The veterans’ experience
- Anatomy of an episode
- Becoming Boyd
- Script to screen: the finale
The Walking Dead: Season Two – Episode One: All That Remains (Available for PS3, Xbox 360, Vita, Windows, Mac, iOS) – Telltale Games is continuing the story of Clementine, a young girl orphaned by the undead apocalypse. Left to fend for herself, she has been forced to learn how to survive in a world gone mad. This game takes place months after the events of Season One and our hero is still in search of safety. Season Two looks to bring the same decision making opportunities to test your moral and survival instinct. The game features:
- Decisions you made in Season One and in 400 Days will affect your story in Season Two
- Based on Robert Kirkman’s award-winning comic books
- Play as Clementine, an orphaned girl forced to grow up fast by the world around her
- The sequel to 2012’s Game of the Year
Blu-Ray Deals and Steals
- Man of Steel – $9.99 at Best Buy and Amazon
- We’re the Millers – $12.99 at Best Buy and Amazon
- Mad Men: Season 5 – $12.99 on Amazon
- Back to the Future Trilogy – $25.99 on Amazon
What will you be taking home this week, tell us in the comments section below?
Check out previous installments of Now Available To Own to see what you’ve been missing.
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All plot synopses courtesy of IMDb.com