Now Available to Own: Fury, The Judge, The Book of Life, and More

Fury 2014 Movie Trailer Brad Pitt

Brace your bank accounts, it’s time to see what’s Now Available to Own for the week of January 27, 2015. Each week we run down new movie, television, and video game releases that you can enjoy in the comfort of your own home, as well as some slick deals that can save you some coin. On shelves this week you can find Fury, The Judge, The Book of Life, and more. Check out the complete list after the jump.

Movies on Blu-Ray

Fury (David Ayer) Rated R [134 min] – April, 1945. As the Allies make their final push in the European Theatre, a battle-hardened army sergeant named Wardaddy commands a Sherman tank and her five-man crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Outnumbered and out-gunned, and with a rookie soldier thrust into their platoon, Wardaddy and his men face overwhelming odds in their heroic attempts to strike at the heart of Nazi Germany. Starring Brad Pitt, Logan Lerman, Shia LaBeouf, Michael Peña, Jon Bernthal, and Scott Eastwood

I was surprisingly impressed by Fury. Although the pacing is terrible, individual scenes are set up perfectly with incredible tension both on the action front and the more intimate moments of just the characters together. And if you think LaBeouf is a big turn off, he is actually one of the best actors in the film. Special features included are:

  • Featurettes
    • Director’s Combat Journal
    • Armoured Warriors
    • Taming The Beast
  • Deleted Scenes (more than 50 minutes of content)
  • Photo Gallery

The Book of Life (Jorge R. Gutierrez) Rated PG [95 min] – Manolo, a young man who is torn between fulfilling the expectations of his family and following his heart, embarks on an adventure that spans three fantastic worlds where he must face his greatest fears. Starring Zoe Saldana, Channing Tatum, Ron Perlman, and Danny Trejo

So many were enamored by the animation choices of The Book of Life and I was left very unamused. I get what they were going for, but I just wasn’t feeling it. It was colorful, yes, but I thought the character designs were ugly. The story is pretty standard, the voice acting average at best – it could have been anyone – and the fact that they use modern music in a Mexican inspired film really bothered me. The original song was fairly well done, but when you throw in “Just a Friend” I’m going to run the other way. Special features included are:

  • The Adventures of Chuy
  • Closer Look At The Book of Life
  • The Music of Life
  • Digital Carpenters: The Art Direction of The Book of Life
  • Music Machine
  • “No Matter Where You Are” Music Video by Us The Duo
  • Audio Commentary by Jorge R. Gutierrez
  • Galleries

The Judge (David Dobkin) Rated R [141 min] Big city lawyer Hank Palmer returns to his childhood home where his father, the town’s judge, is suspected of murder. Hank sets out to discover the truth and, along the way, reconnects with his estranged family. Starring Robert Downey Jr., Robert Duvall, Vera Farmiga, and Balthazar Getty

Hitting me over the head with melodrama is one thing, but prolonging the inevitable with subplots that lead no where is just a waste of my time. Robert Duvall has been given an Oscar nom for his supporting role, and I think he did well, but I think there were other performances that stood out. The Blu-ray transfer looked really gritty and off-putting – I don’t normally critique discs on this level, but I thought it needed to be expressed. Special features included are:

  • Commentary by David Dobkin (Blu-Ray Exclusive)
  • Inside The Judge (Blu-Ray Exclusive)
  • Deleted Scenes (Blu-Ray Exclusive)
  • Deleted Scenes With Optional Commentary by David Dobkin (Blu-Ray Exclusive)
  • Getting Deep With Dax Shepard

Open Windows (Nacho Vigalondo) Unrated [100 min] – A jilted fan is pulled into a a world of cat-and-mouse danger after accepting an invitation to spy on his favorite actress via computer. Starring Sasha Grey, Elijah Wood, Neil Maskell, and Michelle Jenne

I thought this movie would be a lot of fun, like Grand Piano, but it is overstuffed with a convoluted plot and terrible dialogue. And the forced perspective of the Skype/computer screen cinematography is very challenging to accept when not many interesting things are happening and we’re just watching people talk to a camera. Special features included are.

  • The Making of Open Windows
  • Visual Effects Reel

The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness (Mami Sunada) – Granted near-unfettered access to the notoriously insular Studio Ghibli, director Mami Sunada follows the three men who are the lifeblood of Ghibli – the eminent director Hayao Miyazaki, the producer Toshio Suzuki, and the elusive and influential “other director” Isao Takahata – over the course of a year as the studio rushes to complete two films, Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises and Takahata’s The Tale of The Princess Kaguya. Starring Hayao Miyazaki, Hideaki Anno, Joe Hisaishi, Goro Miyazaki, Toshio Suzuki, and Isao Takahata

Anyone in love with Studio Ghibli needs to seek out this documentary immediately. It doesn’t really tell a story as much as it does give a special insider’s look within the hallowed walls of one of the greatest animation studios in the world. It’s fascinating to learn about Miyazaki’s perspective on life and how they go about every angle of the filmmaking process. A documentary everyone will enjoy for sure. (Read my full review from the San Diego Asian Film Festival) Special features included are:

  • The Kingdom According to Ushiko
  • Trailers
  • More from GKIDS

Television on Blu-ray

Downton Abbey (Season 5) (Julian Fellowes) – A chronicle of the lives of the Crawley family and their servants, beginning in the years leading up to World War I. Starring Hugh Bonneville, Phyllis Logan, Elizabeth McGovern, Laura Carmichael, Jim Carter, Michelle Dockery, Joanne Froggat, Maggie Smith, and Sophie McShera

I have never seen a single episode of this show, and I think it’s the subject matter that keeps me at bay. However, I would like to check this out at some point.

Special features have been undisclosed.

Continue reading for Video Game releases and Blu-ray deals –>>

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