Prepare your bank accounts, it’s time to see what’s Now Available To Own for the week of April 8, 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. On shelves this week, you can find titles such as The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, August: Osage County, Grudge Match, and more. Check out the complete list of new releases and see if you should buy, rent, or pass ’em after the jump.
Movies on Blu-Ray
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Peter Jackson) The dwarves, along with Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf the Grey, continue their quest to reclaim Erebor, their homeland, from Smaug. Bilbo Baggins is in possession of a mysterious and magical ring. Starring Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Benedict Cumberbatch, Richard Armitage, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, and Ken Stott (Watch the trailer)
Fans of Middle Earth gained their second, action packed helping of The Hobbit trilogy this past winter. The stakes were upped, the set pieces were bountiful, and we got to see the all-mighty Smaug. Not only was The Desolation of Smaug more thrilling and fun, but it is a great set up for the larger, and final piece of the pie, There and Back Again. While many critics enjoyed the second entry better than the first, I however felt An Unexpected Journey was a little better because it focused more on Bilbo’s story than Thorin’s. This is after all called The Hobbit, not “The Dwarf.” That direction of the story was a bit disappointing. However we do get a great voice performance by Benedict Cumberbatch because he’s Benedict Cumberbatch.
There is a great abundance of special features that make this Blu-ray worth your while and the hi-definition on this disc is superb, but of course be weary of the fact that Warner Bros. will eventually release a director’s cut version as well as a trilogy set, and a director’s cut trilogy set. But if you are a die hard Hobbit fan and cannot get your fill on this franchise, by all means INDULGE! The special features included are:
- Peter Jackson invites you the the set: experience the film’s challenges and demands, and journey alongside the director into Mirkwood, Lake-town, and Dale as the movie’s most intense, pivotal scenes are created.
- Production videos:
- go behind the scenes as the film is shot and scored.
- New Zealand: home of Middle-Earth, part 2
August Osage County (John Wells) A look at the lives of the strong-willed women of the Weston family, whose paths have diverged until a family crisis brings them back to the Oklahoma house they grew up in, and to the dysfunctional woman who raised them. Starring Meryl Streep, Dermot Mulroney, Julia Roberts, Abigail Breslin, Juliette Lewis, Sam Shepard, Julianne Nicholson, Margo Martindale, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Chris Cooper
While August: Osage County didn’t quite obtain the Oscar gold it was seeking, the movie has an amalgamation of incredible acting and tension filled melodrama. Keep an open mind as the film is set up like a play, with each act building off of the other. Some may find this sadness porn to be too dower, but I believe the journey is worth the ride. The believability of the situations, as worst case scenarios, work really well too. RENT IT AT THE VERY LEAST! I WOULD RECOMMEND BUYING IT ON SALE IF YOU SEE IT! Special features included are:
- Audio Commentary with Director John Wells and Cinematographer Adriano Goldman
- Deleted Scenes with Commentary by Wells and Goldman
- The Making of August: Osage County
- Writing Featurette with Tracy Letts
Grudge Match (Peter Segal) A pair of aging boxing rivals are coaxed out of retirement to fight one final bout — 30 years after their last match. Starring Robert De Niro, Sylvester Stallone, Kim Basinger, Alan Arkin, Jon Bernthal, and Kevin Hart
No. This movie is just all sorts of wrong. Unfunny, tired actors trying to relive their glory days with a Chris Tucker wannabe and subplots that get tossed in too many directions. SKIP IT! They do try to woo you with special features, but don’t be fooled. Here they are:
- More hilarious moments with Kevin Hart:
- In the ring with Kevin Hart
- Kevin Hart unedited
- Legends of the ring featuring:
- Ringside with Tyson & Holyfield
- Blow by blow with Larry Holmes
- Plus an alternate opening
- 2 alternate endings and more!
Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (Christopher Landon) After being “marked,” Jesse begins to be pursued by mysterious forces while his family and friends try to save him. Starring Andrew Jacobs, Jorge Diaz, Gloria Sandoval, Molly Ephraim, and Richard Cabral (Watch the trailer)
The Marked Ones is surprisingly better than anyone could have hoped. I enjoyed it for what it was (review here). It sets up mythology more and is a fun departure from the Katie and Micah story line. All of the PA movies eventually wind up on NETFLIX, but this film is far superior than PA4 and should be looked at as a possible rent or a cheap buy. The special feature included is:
- Found footage
Nurse 3D (Douglas Aarniokoski) By day Abby Russell is a dedicated nurse, someone you wouldn’t hesitate to trust your life with. But by night, her real work begins…using her smoldering sexuality she lures cheating men to their brutal deaths and exposes them for who they really are. When a younger nurse starts to suspect Abby’s actions and compromises her master plan, Abby must find a way to outsmart her long enough to bring the cheater you’d least expect to justice. Starring Judd Nelson, Katrina Bowden, Paz de la Huerta
I unfortunately did not gain the chance to see this film, but it still piques my interest based on the buzz. NETFLIX IT! Here is the list of special features:
- “Bad Medicine: The Making of Nurse” featurette
- Audio Commentary with director Douglas Aarniokoski
- Video Diaries – behind-the-scenes with actors Katrina Bowden and Corbin Bleu
Television on Blu-Ray
Kinect Sports Rivals (Xbox One) Test your athletic skill with the added motivation of the competition in Kinect Sports Rivals. Kinect technology captures your likeness and tosses you into a world of competitive sporting events against friends, rivals and the world.
- Harnesses the unparalleled technology of Kinect to capture your likeness and thrust you into the next installment of the Kinect Sports franchise on your road to becoming a champion (Kinect not included)
- Compete against friends, rivals and the entire world in challenging sporting events that reward skill and precision with responses to even the smallest movements
- Cultivate an ever-evolving network of rivals in the Cloud by allowing your Kinect to learn how you and your friends compete and put you up against similar adversaries
- Showcase your skills in online tournaments, head-to-head rivalries and a world full of players in sporting events that are designed to ignite your competitive spirit
Titanfall releases for the Xbox 360 on April 8 while Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn makes its debut on the PS4 on April 14.
Blu-Ray Deals and Steals
- Gravity – $14.99
- Inside Llewyn Davis – $14.99
- The Kings of Summer – $7.99
- Close Encounters of the Third Time – $6.49
- The Princess Bride – $5.99
- Bernie – $5.79
- Man of Steel – $12.50
- The Cornetto Trilogy – $27.99
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.
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