New releases on DVD, Blu-ray
Colin Farrell, Christopher Walken and Sam Rockwell in “Seven Psychopaths.”
Updated: January 29, 2013 7:28AM
NEW THIS WEEK
It will probably come as no surprise to hear that “Seven Psychopaths” is a seriously crazy movie. Fortunately, though, it’s often seriously crazy-brilliant as writer/director Martin McDonagh (“In Bruges”) mixes post-“Pulp Fiction” quirky criminal shenanigans (over-the-top violent shenanigans, of course) with a self-reflexive and deconstructionist storytelling approach that threatens to derail the climactic bloodbath that’s so obviously forthcoming. Rest assured; it doesn’t. A bit of a Hollywood/self-satire, Colin Farrell stars as a screenwriter named Marty who’s so blocked about his latest crime movie that he enlists Sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken to help him get over it. An entertaining, if not particularly wise, decision. Extras include a video mash-up of the film set to a rap beat and a re-made trailer for “Seven Psychocats,” in which the cast is replaced by kitties.
If it weren’t for the final shot suggesting that love — or simple kindness — offers a way out of self-inflicted hell on earth, “Monster’s Ball” would guarantee many sleepless nights. As it is, this spare, somber, insidiously well-crafted drama making its Blu-ray debut is about a southern Death Row guard Hank (Billy Bob Thornton) making a desperate effort to change his life is profoundly disturbing, but still powerful fare for anyone up to a challenge. In an atmosphere charged by hate, self-loathing, virulent racism, sudden death, existential despair and the electric chair, director Marc Foster offers one slim hope: Hank’s determination to rescue the widow (Halle Berry in her Oscar-winning performance) of a convict whose execution he supervised.
THE BEST OF WARNER BROTHERS
For Warner Brothers’ 75th anniversary, the studio is releasing two special collections including this 100-film package on 55 DVDs, including all 22 of the company’s Best Picture Oscar winners plus classics such as “The Maltese Falcon,” “Singin’ in the Rain,” “Cool Hand Luke” and “2001: A Space Odyssey.” WB is also releasing a 50-film package of Blu-rays including 16 Best Picture winners such as “The Wizard of Oz,” “Bullet” and “Goodfellas.” The first of five 20-film DVD collections to be released this year is also available now.
DIE HARD 25th ANNIVERSARY COLLECTION
This five-disc Blu-ray collection includes the 1988 original that made Bruce Willis a major star, plus all three previous sequels (just in time for the upcoming “A Good Day to Die Hard”): “Die Hard 2” (1990), “Die Hard with a Vengeance” (1995) and “Live Free or Die Hard” (2007) plus a “Decoding Die Hard” disc of special features.
DOWNTON ABBEY SEASON THREE
“Downton”-mania continues with this third season of the PBS series about the upstairs/downstairs lives of the wealthy, aristocratic Crawley family and their servants. This three-disc collection includes the complete, unedited, UK versions of all eight episodes. Also available on Blu-ray.
Away from the human world, Count Dracula (Adam Sandler) opens a resort for his monster friends, but goes into overprotective-dad mode when a young backpacker (Adam Sandler) stumbles across the hotel and falls for Dracula’s daughter (Selena Gomez). Emmy-winner Genndy Tartakovsky directed the comedy.
A collection of all-new animated adventures for the zoo escapees, all centered on Valentine’s Day and everyone’s frantic desire to get hold of King Julien’s love potion.
THE MIGHTY MISSISSIPPI WITH TREVOR MCDONALD
The British broadcast journalist takes an adventure along the 2,320 miles of the Mississippi beginning at the Gulf of Mexico, exploring the river’s place in American history.
PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 4
A suburban family notices strange goings-on when a mysterious woman (Katie Featherston) and her spooky little boy move into the neighborhood. Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman (“Paranormal Activity 3,” “Catfish”) directed the latest installment in the horror franchise.
STONE SOUP … AND OTHER STORIES FROM THE ASIAN TRADITION
Author/illustrator Jon J. Muth’s award-winning take on the classic tale toplines this Scholastic Storybook Treasures collection of children’s stories also featuring “The Five Chinese Brothers,” “Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China” and “Stonecutter.”
UNIVERSAL 3D NATURE DOCUMENTARIES
A series of three 3D and 2D combo packs including “Amazing Ocean 3D,” “Fascination Coral Reef” and “Fascination Coral Reef: Mysterious Worlds Underwater.”
AVAILABLE NEXT WEEK
Warner Brothers continues its 75th-anniversary celebration with a 20-film DVD collection of “Musicals,” the BBC salutes dirty (and murderous) politics with its “House of Cards Trilogy” and journalist Bill Moyers revisits one of his most series of interviews with a 25th-anniversary edition of “Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth.”