Empty your wallets and check your bank accounts, it’s time to see what’s Now Available To Own for the week of March 4, 2014. 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 12 Years a Slave, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, South Park: The Stick of Truth, The Venture Bros., and more. Check out the complete list of new releases and see if you should buy, rent, Netflix, or pass ’em after the jump.
Movies on Blu-Ray
12 Years a Slave (Steve McQueen) In the antebellum United States, Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery. Starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Lupita Nyong’o, Michael Fassbender, Paul Dano, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Brad Pitt
The Oscar Best Picture winner sure did plan its home video release properly. 12 Years a Slave is an incredible film from start to finish that is demanding of your attention, energy, and emotions. It isn’t in my top 10 of 2013 for no good reason, Steve McQueen is a master of his craft and has produced a stellar piece of work. If there is one movie from 2013 you need to see, make it 12 Years a Slave. BUY IT! Special features included are:
- A Historical Portrait (Blu-ray only)
- The Team
- The Score
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Francis Lawrence) Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark become targets of the Capitol after their victory in the 74th Hunger Games sparks a rebellion in the Districts of Panem. Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Jena Malone, Sam Claflin, and Philip Seymour Hoffman
Francis Lawrence turned crap into gold when he was tasked to breathe some life into a mega franchise that faltered out of the gates. No unnecessary shaky cam, wonderfully fleshed out characters, and far better world building, Catching Fire raised the bar from the depths of Tartarus to become the highest grossing movie release of 2013. The film still has its problems, but it is a vast improvement worth keeping an eye out for the final two films. BUY IT! Special features included are:
- “Surviving the Game: Making Catching Fire” – 9-part feature-length documentary (Blu-Ray Only)
- Audio Commentary with Director Francis Lawrence and Producer Nina Jacobson
- Deleted Scenes
- Sneak Peek of Divergent
The Grandmaster (Kar Wai Wong) The story of martial-arts master Ip Man, the man who trained Bruce Lee. Starring Tony Chiu Wai Leung, Ziyi Zhang, Jin Zhang, and Chen Chang
If all you’re looking for is slick action I would highly suggest checking out The Grandmaster. However, since The Weinstein Company got a hold of this film for U.S. distribution, it was practically butchered and edited down so it wouldn’t too long for American audiences. Obviously Harvey didn’t see The Wolf of Wall Street, which is three hours long. Unfortunately this Blu-ray does not include the original cut of the film and a poor choice to whomever decided that. FIND THE FOREIGN VERSION. Special features included are:
- The Grandmaster: From Ip Man to Bruce Lee
- A Conversation with Shannon Lee, Daughter of Bruce Lee
- Behind the Scenes Featurette
- The Grandmaster According to RZA
Oldboy (2013) (Spike Lee) Obsessed with vengeance, a man sets out to find out why he was kidnapped and locked into solitary confinement for 20 years without reason. Starring Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen, Samuel L. Jackson, and Sharlto Copley
If you love the original Korean thriller, Oldboy, by Park Chan Wook I would steer clear of this American remake by Spike Lee; it will cause you nothing but angst and dissatisfaction. I can admit there are some interesting paths Lee chose to go down, and some work while others do not, but mostly this was a waste of time for all parties involved. This is a classic case of sticking to the original folks. NETFLIX THE ORIGINAL! Special features included are:
- The making of Oldboy
- Alternate & extended scenes (Blu-ray Only)
- Talking heads (Blu-ray Only)
- Workout video (Blu-ray Only)
Television on Blu-Ray
The Venture Bros.: The Complete Fifth Season (Christopher McCulloch) The bizarre animated escapades of pseudo-heroic scientist Dr. Rusty Venture, his competent, high strung bodyguard, and his two over-enthusiastic sons. Starring Christopher McCulloch, James Urbaniak, and Michael Sinterniklaas
Here’s TTRC’s eyinjay‘s review of The Venture Bros. (Season 5):
Imagine if you will, one of your favorite bands is emerging from a three-year hiatus to put together another album after three years. Fast forward to the album release, and after giving it a thorough listen, you realize, this just isn’t the same band you remember. They aren’t bad by any means, but this just isn’t what you expected. This is the feeling I got when finally having the chance to sit and watch the long awaited fifth season of the popular Cartoon Network series The Venture Bros.
Overall, the season is still pretty good, but as a long time fan, I felt like season 5 was a little misguided and missed some continuity between episodes. Where season 4 leaves off, season 5 doesn’t seem to pick up on until much later. The earlier episodes of season 5 are mostly dedicated to developing characters that were only considered secondary in earlier seasons while more prominent characters seemed to take a backseat. This isn’t to say that the plot was completely foregone, but this was a little disappointing because earlier seasons seemed to lead up to a greater climax that seemed to just be ignored in this season.
On the plus side, animation quality for the series is definitely much more solid and vibrant. The special features and guest voice talents of Aziz Ansari, Paget Brewster, Kevin Conroy, Bill Hader, Gillian Jacobs, and J.K. Simmons is an added cherry on top.
The overall theme that creators initially were striving for is still there. You continue to see the main character, a washed up boy adventurer turned failed super scientist, struggle to live up to what his highly looked upon father was in his time. But this season focused less on the Venture family as a whole and more on each character’s individual journey. Despite my own critical perceptions of this season, I would still recommend adding to your collection. Just consider me a fan, scared of change.
Special features included are:
- Two popular bonus episodes – “A Very Venture Halloween” and “From the Ladle to the Grave: The Shallow Gravy Story.”
- Deleted scenes and episode commentaries
- Guest voice talent
Dragon Ball Z: The Complete Second Season (Daisuke Nishio) Having suffered heavy losses in the battle with the Saiyans, and with Goku still recovering from his injuries, the remaining Z-Fighters must embark on a perilous journey to Planet Namek in search of the Namekian Dragon Balls. Unbeknownst to them, however, a powerful new enemy has set his sights on the same prize-the ruthless tyrant Frieza! Starring Sean Schemmel, Stephanie Nadolny, Christopher Sabat, Daisuke Gōri, Mayumi Tanaka, and Kenji Utsumi
Who doesn’t love Dragon Ball Z? The journey to Namek was the one season I saw over and over again on Toonami and it will always hold a special place in my heart. Sure it was overly long and absolutely meandering at times, but it still has some of the most compelling action sequences coming off a very intimate first season. For lovers of the anime I say BUY IT! Special features included are:
- Cast interview
- Dragon Ball Z retrospective: Part One
- Textless opening song
- Textless closing song
- U.S. trailer
Doctor Who: The Time of the Doctor (Jamie Payne) The Doctor’s worst enemies, The Daleks, The Cybermen, The Angels and The Silence, return, as the doctor’s eleventh life comes to a close, and his twelfth life begins. Starring Matt Smith, David Tennant, Jenna Coleman, and Karen Gillan
I can’t say whether this is good or not because I have not seen it. But I’m sure if you’re a Doctor Who fan this is one you should definitely own. Especially as Matt Smith’s last appearance as the Doctor. Special features included are:
- Behind the Lens: It’s Christmas!
- Farewell to Matt Smith: Narrated by Alex Kingston (River Song)
- Tales from the TARDIS
South Park: The Stick of Truth (Available for PS3, Xbox 360, Windows) For a thousand years, the battle has been waged. The sole reason humans and elves are locked in a never-ending war: The Stick of Truth. But the tides of war are soon to change as word of a new kid spreads throughout the land, his coming foretold by the stars. As the moving vans of prophecy drive away, your adventure begins. Discover the lost Stick of Truth and earn your place at the side of Stan, Kyle, Cartman and Kenny as their new friend. Succeed, and you shall be South Park’s savior, cementing your social status in South Park Elementary. Fail, and you will forever be known… as a loser.
South Park: The Stick of Truth has been a long time coming. And from all of the trailers and first impressions, this is truly the definitive South Park experience. Written and voiced by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, The Stick of Truth brings the unique world of South Park back to the virtual world for a quest of epic proportions. I love Super Mario RPG, but this may find its way to be one of the best RPG experiences ever.
Blu-Ray Deals and Steals
- Best Buy has a BUY ONE for $9.99 GET ONE FREE, which includes the likes of The Amazing Spider-Man, 21 Jump Street, Looper, Total Recall (2012), Evil Dead (2013), Dead Man Down, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Step Brothers, Zombieland, The Raid, Drive, Moneyball, The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day, Lawrence of Arabia, Lockout, Black Hawk Down, Superbad, Pineapple Express, and Premium Rush.
- Full Metal Jacket – $4.99
- Seven – $4.99
- National Lampoon’s Vacation – $9.99
- Pan’s Labyrnth – $8.96
- Winter’s Bone $5
All prices come from Amazon.com and sometime Best Buy. Best Buy, Frys, and Target all price match with Amazon now if you do not want to order online.
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.
Find me on the Twitter @TyRawrrnosaurus
All plot synopses courtesy of IMDb.com