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New on DVD & Blu-Ray: X-Men: Days of Future Past, Fargo: Season One, and More

by | October 14, 2014 | Comments

This week on home video, our biggest releases are the latest film in the X-Men franchise, an animated film about a brainy dog and his adopted human son, and the television series adaptation of an Oscar-winning Coen brothers film. Then, we’ve got a bunch of solid imports and indie films, as well as a Sundance miniseries and the first seasons of a couple of spooky TV shows. Read on for details:

X-Men: Days of Future Past

90%

After helming the first two widely praised X-Men movies and writing the well-received X-Men: First Class, Bryan Singer returned to the director’s chair for X-Men: Days of Future Past, and the results were similarly impressive. Skipping ahead into an unspecified future when all mutants are in peril, the story picks up with Professor X (Patrick Stewart), Magneto (Ian McKellen), and a team of mutants who are under siege from Sentinel robots. Hoping to prevent the attack, Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page) utilizes her powers to send Wolverine’s (Hugh Jackman) consciousness into the past, where he must attempt to reunite a young Magneto (Michael Fassbender) and X (James McAvoy) to thwart the plans of the man responsible for the creation of the Sentinels. Certified Fresh at 91 percent, Days of Future Past employed a stellar ensemble cast in service of a fast-paced, action-packed adventure to great success, making it the best-reviewed film of the franchise thus far. Special features include a profile of the four actors playing Xavier and Magneto, a look at some of the film’s other mutants, deleted scenes with commentary, and more; in addition, Amazon is offering a an exclusive package that includes a replica of Magneto’s helmet.

Mr. Peabody & Sherman

81%

Most — if not all — of the audience at whom Mr. Peabody & Sherman is aimed will have no idea who they are. In fact, even those old enough to remember The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show, where Mr. Peabody and Sherman first met, may have forgotten about them. Regardless, this updated CGI film did a decent job justifying its existence. Mr. Peabody (voiced by Modern Family‘s Ty Burrell), the world’s smartest creature, adopts a human orphan named Sherman (Max Charles) as his son and build him a time machine to learn history firsthand. When Sherman takes a classmate (Ariel Winter, also from Modern Family) on a joyride in the machine, Peabody must come to their rescue before they alter history forever. Though some critics found the plot overly complicated, most were willing to forgive the film’s foibles, calling it entertaining for all ages and rewarding it with a Certified Fresh 79 percent. The Blu-ray release comes with lots of family-friendly extras, like a handful of Mr. Peabody & Sherman shorts from the original TV show, the premiere episode of the Rocky & Bullwinkle & Friends Show, a memory game, a jigsaw puzzle game, and more.

Fargo: Season One

What could possibly be gained from stretching an Oscar-winning dark comedy into an entire television series, right? If you wondered that to yourself when FX premiered the first season of Fargo earlier this year, you probably weren’t alone. Inspired by the Coen brothers film of the same name (they also serve as producers here), the show actually isn’t so concerned with retelling the same story in serial format, and the result so far has been a resounding success. Billy Bob Thornton plays Lorne Malvo, a drifter with a violent streak who stumbles into the small town of Bemidji, Minnesota and meets Lester Nygaard (Martin Freeman), a timid insurance salesman under his wife’s thumb. The two strike up an uneasy friendship with tragic consequences, and soon the local police find themselves chasing after a serial murderer. Critics were thoroughly smitten with Fargo, awarding it a Certified Fresh 98 percent on the Tomatometer and driving it to win three of its whopping 18 Emmy nominations. The season set includes commentary tracks for three episodes (including the Emmy-nominated “The Crocodile’s Dilemma”), deleted scenes, and three featurettes.

Also available this week:

  • Roman Polanski’s Venus in Fur (92 percent), starring Mathieu Amalric and Emmanuelle Seigner in a Certified Fresh adaptation of the play of the same name about an exhausted stage director who is captivated by the last-minute audition of an actress, is available on DVD.
  • Australian import Mystery Road (91 percent), starring Hugo Weaving in a crime thriller about an indigenous detective investigating the disappearance of a murder of a teen prostitute.
  • French import Violette (83 percent), a Certified Fresh biopic about writer Violette Leduc and her relationship to Simone de Beauvoir.
  • Spanish import Witching and Bitching (84 percent), a horror comedy about a group of petty thieves who go on the lam after a score and encounter a coven of cannibalistic witches in Basque country.
  • Whitey: United States of America v. James Bulger (77 percent), a documentary about the infamous mobster and FBI informant.
  • French import Chinese Puzzle (75 percent), a Certified Fresh dramedy about a man who relocates from France to New York in order to be closer to his children.
  • The Sundance Channel’s miniseries An Honorable Woman (90 percent), starring Maggie Gyllenhaal in a Certified Fresh thriller about a woman attempting to redeem her family name after her arms dealer father is assassinated, is available on DVD.
  • The first season of Showtime’s Certified Fresh horror drama Penny Dreadful (78 percent), starring Eva Green and Timothy Dalton, is available on DVD and Blu-ray.
  • Season one of NBC’s Dracula (47 percent), starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers as the titular vampire, is also available on DVD and Blu-ray.
  • There’s a new Blu-ray release of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (92 percent) called the Black Maria Deluxe Edition hitting shelves this week in some nifty packaging made to look like a cattle truck.
  • And of course, another choice from the Criterion Collection: John Ford’s My Darling Clementine (100 percent), starring Henry Fonda as Wyatt Earp and Victor Mature as Doc Holliday in a retelling of the shootout at the OK Corral.

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