Just Out and Hot: Award-winning and Nominated Entertainment
to Enjoy at Home
By: Ellis Nassour
Celebrated films that won acclaim and broke box office records are yours for purchase, or very soon will be, to enjoy again and again.
Steve McQueen’s raw, harrowing, and riveting Oscar-winning Best Picture and Golden Globe-winning Best Picture/Drama 12 Years a Slave [Fox Searchlight; 134 minutes; SRP $30] [some moments aren’t for the faint of heart], is based on the true story of Solomon Northup, a freeman violinist in Saratoga Springs NY who is kidnapped and sold into slavery on a Southern plantation. There are exceptional performances by Oscar nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor, Oscar winner [Supporting Actress] Lupita Nyong’o as a slave lusted after by the plantation owner, brutally played by Oscar nominee Michael Fassbinder. Northup struggles to stay alive through his cunning and music until the day he can return to his wife and children. After 12 years, through an accidental meeting with an abolitionist [Brad Pitt, also a producer of the film], he manages to secure his freedom and regain his dignity. Featured are Benedict Cumberbatch, Alfre Woodward, Paul Dano, Sarah Paulson, Paul Giamatti. Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, John Ridley.
12 Years A Slave Trailer
Oscar and Golden Globe-winner Best Actress Cate Blanchett’s channeling of Blanche Du Bois for her complicated and compelling performance of a woman on the verge of a pill and booze-imbued nervous breakdown in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine [Sony Pictures Home Entertainment; Blu-ray plus Ultra Violet; 98 minutes; SRP $31; and DVD] following her "biggest loser of all time" husband’s fall from grace after a Madoff-like scam, is riveting. Each time you watch it you discover new nuances. We follow once A-List socialite Jasmine as she flees Manhattan high life for San Francisco, where in the midst of a battle between fantasy and reality she tries to pull herself back together but in circumstances she considers beneath herself, while exasperating and interrupting the life of her sister, Oscar and GG nominee Sally Hawkins. Also co-starring are Alec Baldwin, Bobby Cannavale, Louis C.K., Andrew Dice Clay, and Peter Sarsgaard. Bonus material: Notes From the Red Carpet with the cast discussing the making the film and their take on their characters.
Blue Jasmine Trailer
Jean-Marc Vallée directs and Oscar and GG winners Matthew McConaughey [finally getting this film made after almost a decade of turndowns] and Jared Leto, who give the performances of their careers in Dallas Buyers Club [Focus/Universal Pictures; 117 minutes; SRP $30], the uplifting man-against-the -system [and the FDA] story inspired by the life of 80s Texas bull-rider Ron Woodroof , who has his freewheeling life and sexual exploits uprooted when he’s diagnosed HIV-positive and given 30 days to live. Determined to survive, Woodroof takes matters in his own hands tracking down legal and illegal alternatives from abroad and Mexico. After a rough and homophobic start, he finds an ally in and develops begrudging respect for trans gender Rayon. They establish a club to get the meds to extend his life and those of others. It doesn’t have the ending you want, but the viewer’is left nonetheless inspired and also flummoxed at the backwardness of government agencies. Featuring Jennifer Garner, Tony winner Denis O’Hare, Steve Zahn, and Griffin Dunne.
Dallas Buyers Club Trailer
Gravity [Warner Home Video; 91minutes; Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD + UltraViolet Combo Pack; SRP $45; Blu-ray + DVD, SRP $36], directed by Oscar winner Alfonso Cuarón and winner of six more [Score, Cinematography, Visual Effects, Editing, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing], stars Oscar winners Sandra Bullock and George Clooney in an edge-of-the-seat, nail-biting experience that — especially if seen in 3-D and if you were lucky enough to catch it on an IMAX screen — pulls you into the infinite and unforgiving realm of deep space. 2013 Oscar and GG nominee Bullock plays Dr. Ryan Stone on her first shuttle mission, accompanied by astronaut Matt Kowalsky (Clooney). But on a seemingly routine spacewalk, disaster strikes and the film segues into an emotional, electrifying, terrifying, heart-pounding thriller as all the elements in space go beserk and the shuttle is destroyed, leaving Stone and Kowalsky completely alone drifting in space. Only two actors, and for the last act of the film only Bullock; with the unimaginable vastness of outer space as their "co-star." Awesome visuals, and technically brilliant.
The Coen brothers’ GG nominee for Best Picture, Inside Llewyn Davis [CBS Films, Studio Canal; Sony Pictures Home Entertainment; B&W; SRP $30], follows a perplexing week in the life of a 60s Greenwich Village folk singer, starkly devoid of glamour and excellently played by Oscar Isaac, whose duet partner recently committed suicide, and his hapless meandering through life and career – often with cat in hand. In what amounts to featured and cameo roles, Justin Timberlake and Carey Mulligan as a folk-singing duo, Oscar winner F. Murray Abraham (Amadeus; TV’s Homeland), wonderful, veteran character actress Robin Bartlett (films, Sophie’s Choice, Moonstruck TV;s Mad about You as Paul ; TV’s Buchanan’s lesbian sister; so many more], and a very strange John Goodman in a very strange role. Bonus material highlights: a 40-minute, making-of documentary with cast and filmmakers. Available March 11: Showtime concert, Another Day/Another Time: Celebrating the Music of Inside Llewyn Davis.
Inside Llewyn Davis Trailer
There’re plenty of characters to root for and boo/hiss in 2012 Oscar nominee [The Descendants] and 2013 GG nominee Alexander Payne’s Nebraska (Paramount Home Video; 114 minutes;Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD; DVD; SRP $40), starring Oscar and GG-nominated irascible veteran actor [and godson of Eleanor Roosevelt] Bruce Dern (Best Actor, 2013 Cannes Film Festival), as a booze-addled curmudgeon who wants a new truck and embarks from Montana to Nebraska with his son, SNL’s Will Forte, to claim a million-dollar sweepstakes prize he’s certain he’s won. It’s a journey that brings father and estranged son closer, even if the potty-mouthed wife/mother, memorably portrayed by Oscar and GG-nominee veteran Broadway actress June Squibb (Gypsy, The Happy Time; a hoot as Jack Nicholson’s wife in Payne’s About Schmidt) scoffs at the fool’s errand. Stacy Keach, stage veteran Mary Louise Wilson, Bob Oldenkirk, and Rance Howard are among the feast of memorable characters. Oscar-winning screenplay by Bob Nelson.
Dropping very soon:
Oscar-nominated director David O. Russell’s Oscar-nominated and GG winner for Best Picture/Musical or Comedy American Hustle [Columbia Pictures; Sony Home Video; 138 minutes; two-disc combo Blu-ray DVD +Ultraviolet Digital Copy, SRP $40; Also, two-disc Blu-ray and DVD] is a black comedy set against the backdrop of the ’70s ABSCAM bribery scandal that states "some of this actually happened." Investment con artists Irving Rosenfeld and his Queens English-speaking beard, the seductive Sydney Prosser, are recruited, so to speak, by the FBI and involved in a Sting-liked entrapment of prominent senators, government officials, and mafia henchmen. Tour-de-force performances by Oscar nominees Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, and Jennifer Lawrence that also boasts winning performances by Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, and Louis C.K., and Michael Peña, with a funny, unbilled sequence featuring Robert De Niro. Available March 18
American Hustle Trailer
Tony-winning actor and prodigious playwright Tracy Letts’ raw and gripping adaptation of his 2998 Pulitzer Prize, Tony and Drama Desk-winning play August: Osage County (Weinstein Company, Anchor Bay; 121 minutes; Blu-ray combo pack digital HD with UltraViolet, SRP $40; Blu-ray, SRP $35; and DVD, SRP $30] directed by John Wells [ER, West Wing]. Amazingly, since the Academy allows 10 films to be nominated for Best Picture, it’s mindboggling that nominators snubbed this high voltage, but darkly hilarious film with an ideal cast [as they also did with The Butler]. Starring as strong-willed, venom spewing, alcoholic, and pill-addicted Vi, [fighting cancer], and daughter Barbara in a family that gives dysfunctional new definition are Oscar winners and 2013 Oscar and GG nominees Meryl Streep, in perhaps her most second-most challenging role since Sophie’s Choice, and Julia Roberts, in perhaps her best role to date. Leading the supporting cast is the magnificent Tony nominee and Emmy winner Margo Martindale [Cat on a Hot Tin Roof; TV’s The Millers, Justified, The Americans] as unforgiving sister Mattie Fae; and Abigail Breslin, Chris Cooper, Benedict Cumberbatch, Juliette Lewis, Ewan McGregor Dermot Mulroney, Julianne Nicholson, Sam Shepard, and Misty Upham. I’m among those that think the movie should have ended as Roberts speeds away in the midst of Streep’s high-velocity breakdown. Bonus material includes deleted scenes; commentary with director Wells, and On Writing,with Letts, and making-of featurettes. Street date: April 8.
August Osage County Trailer 1
Auguset Osage County Trailer 2
Director Stephen Frears’ Oscar and GG-nominated Philomena [Weinstein Company, Anchor Bay; 98 minutes; DVD and Blu-ray; SRP $19] starring 2013 Oscar nominee Dame Judi Dench in a heartbreaking and hilarious role as an Irish mother long ago forced to live in a convent when she became pregnant – only to see her son taken away from her by duplicitous nuns and sold into adoption – a fate that happened to countless other young Irish women. As she begins her search to locate her son in the U.S., she’s joined by a once top-flight journalist, well-played by Brit comedian Steve Coogan, who also co-adapted the Oscar-nominated screenplay [from Martin Sixsmith’s book The Lost Child of PhilomeLee]. The film is important as a blistering indictment of the scathing hypocrisy of the Irish Catholic Church orphanages of the 50s and 60s, and the holier-than-thou nuns of that era, their lies, and adoptions-for-cash.
Due soon, but you can still catch these in theatres:
Spike Jonze’s Oscar-nominated Her [Warner Bros.; Blu-ray and DVD], unique and quite exhilarating story of a lonely writer’s love affair with a machine, starring Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, and the voice of Scarlett Johansson.
2013 Oscar-nominee Martin Scorsese’s GG Best Picture winner, The Wolf of Wall Street [Paramount Home Video; Blu-ray and DVD] starring GG winner and Oscar nominee Leonardo DiCaprio as controversial pre-Madoff financial guru Jordan Belfort and his thrills, riches, trials and travails with drugs, booze, wives, prostitutes, and the government. Co-starring GG and Oscar nominee Jonah Hill, Matthew McConaughey, Kyle Chandler, Rob Reiner, Oscar winner Jean Dujardin, Margot Robbi,with Joanna Lumley and Christine Ebersole in cameos.
The Wolf of Wall Street Trailer