This week on home video, we’ve got a surprise animated hit from the typically dreary movie month of February, Wes Anderson’s latest winner, and the second season of Netflix’s Emmy-winning political drama. Plus, we’ve got some notable smaller releases, including an Oscar-nominated animation, a well-received David Gordon Green drama starring Nic Cage, and a handful of other indie films. Read on for details:



The LEGO Movie

96%

The LEGO Movie could have easily turned into a 100-minute toy commercial, but in the capable hands of co-directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (21 Jump Street), it became a loving tribute to the power of imagination. Chris Pratt voices Emmet, an everyman LEGO figure who stumbles into the role of LEGO savior when a mystical object fuses itself to his back. With the help of an eclectic team of “builders,” Emmett attempts to foil the nefarious plans of the evil President Business (Will Ferrell). Critics were positively charmed by The LEGO Movie, rewarding it with a Certified Fresh 96% on the Tomatometer thanks to imaginative animation, a hilarious script, and a surprisingly thoughtful conclusion. The Blu-ray includes a funny and informative commentary track featuring the directors, Pratt, Will Arnett, Charlie Day, and Alison Brie; a couple of making-of featurettes; and lots of short video tidbits, including an “Everything Is Awesome” sing-along. If you opt for the “Everything Is Awesome” Edition, you’ll also get the 3D version of the film, a 3D cast of Emmet’s face, a LEGO figurine of Vitruvius, and an exclusive “Meet the LEGO Builders” featurette.



The Grand Budapest Hotel

92%

A story within a story within a story, The Grand Budapest Hotel recounts the tale of Monsieur Gustave (Ralph Fiennes), the charismatic concierge of a luxurious mountain hotel who frequently offers his “services” to wealthy aging women. When one of them (Tilda Swinton) dies and leaves Gustave a precious painting in her will, her family becomes irate and attempts — by any means necessary — to retrieve the painting. Critics declared Grand Budapest — Certified Fresh at 92% — another triumph for Wes Anderson, replete with his trademark visual flourishes, wry wit, and a sprawling cast full of veterans like Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Willem Dafoe, and many more. The Blu-ray includes three featurettes, three short vignettes to accompany the film, and a 4-minute short following Bill Murray as he tours the various film shoot locations.



Ernest & Célestine

98%

One of this year’s ill-fated nominees for Best Animated Feature at the Oscars, Ernest & Célestine is a French-Belgian animated film that takes place in a world populated by anthropomorphized bears (who live above ground) and mice (who live below). All young mice are taught that they are a choice snack for bears, but when a young orphan named Célestine is separated from her peers and encounters a hungry bear named Ernest, the two form an unlikely bond. Though the original film is voiced in French, American audiences were treated to a cast that included Paul Giamatti, Lauren Bacall, William H. Macy, and, in the lead roles, Forest Whitaker (Ernest) and Mackenzie Foy (Célestine). Critics were positively charmed by Ernest & Célestine, calling its story sweet and its old-fashioned visual aesthetic delightful. The main bonus features are a 52-minute long making-of doc and a feature-length animatic (essentially a storyboard recreation of the film).



House of Cards – Season Two

Netflix had itself a bona fide hit with House of Cards, whose first season ended with Kevin Spacey’s Frank Underwood accepting the post of Vice President while journalists Zoe, Lucas, and Janine (Kate Mara, Sebastian Arcelus, and Constance Zimmer) probed deeper into his shady activities. Season two finds Frank eager to remove himself even further from any possible scandal, as he deftly continues to manipulate his way up the chain of power. Critics rated this most recent season Certified Fresh at 85% on the Tomatometer, noting that the series continued to deliver the kinds of powerful performances, strong writing, and crisp cinematography typical of contemporary premium cable drama. Extras on the season boxset include a glimpse of the show’s table reads and featurettes covering the differences between the series and the original 1990s British miniseries that inspired it, Frank’s habit of breaking the fourth wall, and more.

Also available this week:

  • David Gordon Green’s Joe (83%), starring Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in a Certified Fresh drama about an ex-con who befriends a teen and becomes his protector.
  • The Machine (78%), a sci-fi thriller about two programmers who create a self-aware AI, only to have it commandeered by the government.
  • Walk of Shame (13%), starring Elizabeth Banks and James Marsden in a comedy about a news reporter who gets stranded in the wrong part of town after a drunken one-night stand.
  • Authors Anonymous (7%), starring Kaley Cuoco and Chris Klein in a comedy about a support group for unpublished authors whose members are rankled when one of them becomes an overnight success.
  • And lastly, a whopping three releases from the Criterion Collection: Georges Franju’s 1963 crime thriller Judex (100%) is available for the first time in a DVD/Blu-ray combo pack, and Peter Weir’s Picnic at Hanging Rock (94%) and Peter Davis’s documentary Hearts and Minds both get new DVD/Blu-ray re-releases. Also, an additional note for all of your Criterion aficionados out there: As per a recent announcement, The Criterion Collection will resume separate DVD and Blu-ray packages, beginning with their September releases later this year.

Gillian-Jacobs'-Five-Favorite-Films

When Gillian Jacobs won the role of Britta Perry, the rebellious activist and armchair psychologist of the Greendale gang on NBC’s Community, the world had yet to see what comic potential she possessed. Until then, Jacobs had primarily taken darker roles in films like Choke and The Box. But she positively sparkled alongside a talented cast that included Joel McHale, Chevy Chase, and Ken Jeong, and it’s paved the way for further comedy roles.

Next up for Jacobs is Walk of Shame, which opens this week and stars Elizabeth Banks as Meghan Miles, a TV news anchor who finds herself stranded in the wrong part of town after a night of partying. RT spoke with Jacobs about her role as Meghan’s BFF Rose, working with comedy vets, and what it’s like to party “stone cold sober.” But first, here are Gillian Jacobs’ Five Favorite Films:


American Movie (Chris Smith, 1999; 94% Tomatometer)



You know, a movie that I always come back to, which is a documentary — I hope that’s okay — is American Movie, which I think is one of the funniest and saddest movies I’ve ever seen. So quotable. And it really says a lot about hope, optimism, naivete, the movie business. Even though they’re hundreds of miles away from LA and have no real access to Hollywood… I just love that movie so much.

Fanny & Alexander (Ingmar Bergman, 1982; 100% Tomatometer)



A movie that I’ve seen probably the most is Fanny & Alexander, the Ingmar Bergman movie. I even dragged my friends to the super long version that had an intermission. I don’t know how much they liked me that day.

The Philadelphia Story (George Cukor, 1940; 100% Tomatometer)



Well, I was a super fan of Katharine Hepburn as a kid, so let’s say The Philadelphia Story. I also really loved Cary Grant as a kid, so you could do a subset of, like, His Girl Friday; you know, Rosalind Russell, Cary Grant, incredible movie. The dialogue is just mindblowing. The pace at which they manage to speak, I find to be incredible.

Was it someone in your family who introduced you to these classic films?

I think maybe my mom thought that Katharine Hepburn would be a good role model of like a strong, smart, independent woman. Maybe she steered me in that direction. You know, because she was really so ahead of her time. Like, she bought the rights to the play of The Philadelphia Story and made that movie when she was considered box office poison and no one wanted to hire her. I think she was pretty amazing in terms of how she controlled her career and gave herself second chances when people totally counted her out. So it might have been my mom leading me in that direction, but I really responded to her as a kid, and watched Bringing up Baby and Holiday and all of those movies.

The Raid (Gareth Evans, 2012; 85% Tomatometer)



Okay, let’s go for a more recent movie. How about that? You know what movie I loved recently? The Raid, to go in a completely opposite direction. I really enjoyed that movie. That was so fun to watch in the theater. That’s one of those movies where like, it’s so cool to sit there and watch it on the big screen.


Are you a big action fan?

I really enjoy them. I have a hard time watching people getting punched on screen; I have to close my eyes a lot. But somehow, maybe just the sheer number of punchings overwhelmed me and I was okay.

A Fish Called Wanda (Charles Crichton and John Cleese, 1988; 93% Tomatometer)



Okay, let’s do something completely different. Here’s a movie I was watching the other day on cable that I loved as a kid and it still made me laugh: A Fish Called Wanda. It’s still funny.



Next, Jacobs talks about Walk of Shame, working with comedy vets, the future of Community, and how she feels about six-pack abs.


RT: People may not know this, but you’ve got bona fide acting credentials. You started when you were eight years old, and you trained at Juilliard; it’s something you basically always knew you wanted to do. And almost all of your early roles — before a certain show called Community came along — were serious roles. You’ve clearly proven your comedic chops since then; did you always know you could do comedy this well, even when you were reciting Shakespearean monologues on stage?

Gillian Jacobs: Not really. I mean, no, you kind of don’t know you can do it until you do it. I remember doing one scene in college that was funny, and the teacher said, “Okay, well you can do that, but never bring in a scene like that again.” [laughs] So he didn’t really encourage me to be funny in college. So maybe it was just something in my back pocket that I just always loved comedy, just as a viewer. But I don’t think I was entirely sure I could do it until I got the chance to actually do it.

RT: Was it ever something you hoped to break into at some point?

GJ: Definitely, definitely. You can only do so many serious dramas in a row before you want to break. You want a change.

RT: You’ve worked with people like Chevy Chase, Ken Jeong, and now in Walk of Shame you’ve got Elizabeth Banks, Kevin Nealon, Bill Burr, and Tig Notaro, who sports an awesome mullet-like creation, by the way.

GJ: I know, I know. I just saw Tig last week and I was reminding her of that mullet.

RT: Was it intimidating to work with all these people, or were you like, “Pshh, I can hold my own. Ken Jeong ain’t got nuttin’ on me!”

GJ: [laughs] I’m always intimidated. I mean, I love and respect all those people. Somebody like Tig, for example, she did an episode of Community in maybe our second or third season, and she’s someone that I’ve become and stayed friends with, and she makes me laugh so hard. I think she’s just one of the funniest people I’ve ever met. She makes me want to be funnier, but I know I’ll never be as funny as her.

RT: I’m sure there’s a mutual respect there, though.

GJ: I don’t know if Tig respects me. I won’t speak for her.

RT: Now, in Walk of Shame, you play Rose, who is one of Elizabeth Banks’s character’s BFFs, and you’re super protective of her in the film. Are you that friend in real life? Are you the one threatening your friends’ potential dates with castration if they hurt them?

GJ: I don’t know that I’ve ever done that, but I’m sure I give a really good mean stare. I’m sure I give a good evil eye. [laughs] I don’t know that I intimidate anyone in real life. They’d probably laugh if I said that.

RT: So you’re not the one organizing a lynch mob if one of your girlfriends gets dumped, or that sort of thing.

GJ: I’m more organizing the ice cream.


RT: Elizabeth Banks plays Meghan, who’s this good girl who just happens to have the worst luck on the one night when she decides to cut loose and gets stranded in the bad part of town. If the same thing happened to you, who would be the first person you would call?

GJ: My mom. Well, my mom is the only person whose number I have memorized at this point, so she’s actually the only person I could call if I lost my phone. That and my now deceased grandfather’s number at the nursing home. Those are the only two numbers I know. I called my grandpa a lot; that’s nice, right?

RT: That’s really nice. I loved my grandpa a lot too, so I get it. I don’t think you’ll need the number though, because somehow, I don’t actually see what happened to Meghan happening to you; at least, not any more, since you’re a responsible working adult now and all. But back in the day, were you a more disciplined partier, or did you get a little crazy?

GJ: I don’t drink, so it’s kind of hard to go that crazy stone cold sober. So yeah, I’ve always kind of been a grandma, as my friends would tell you. I much prefer to go home and get a good night’s sleep. [laughs]

RT: Well I don’t drink either, and I’ve been known to love my sleep, so we’ve got that in common.

GJ: All right. There you go. See, yeah, when you’re stone cold sober, it’s harder to excuse bad behavior.

RT: Now, another thing I want to point out about your character Rose is that she ends up going home with a rather older gentleman, and she’s visibly disturbed by it. But come on, that dude was ripped!

GJ: Dude, he’s a model! Yeah, he’s f***in’ ripped.

RT: As a contemporary, modern woman, sometimes isn’t that enough when you just want to hook up?

GJ: That’s intimidating to me. I don’t want any part of that. That six-pack was too much for me. That was too much. It was too much.

RT: I do want to mention Community, because that show kicks ass, and you are so good as Britta. The fifth season just ended; have you heard anything at all, through the grapevine or otherwise, about a sixth season?

GJ: You know, I’ve not heard anything definite. The grapevine for me is Twitter, so I probably read about things at the same time you do. You know, we find out about our renewals on Deadline Hollywood, same as everyone else. That’s how I found out about everything that’s happened to my show, basically, the last couple of years. [laughs] So I have no definite word, but you know, I’m feeling pretty good about it. I’m feeling less stressed, and more… I don’t know if it’s blindly optimistic or not, but I’m feeling good right now.

RT: As a child of the 1980s and a fan of classic G.I. Joe, I have to ask, is there any place where I can purchase a Buzzkill action figure?

GJ: Oh my God, they should do it! You should tweet Sony and NBC and ask for it. Start a campaign. And I think they should make the “Britta, the One True Five” poster available for purchase, too.

RT: That would be amazing. Tell me they at least let you keep the one they made for the episode.

GJ: You know, Rob Schrab, who directed the episode, he made that art — that’s his work — and so he gave me a copy, and I framed it and it’s in my house now.

RT: What TV shows did you watch growing up?

GJ: I watched a lot of animated cartoons. I watched X-Men and that Batman cartoon that was on, and Animaniacs and Tiny Toons and Darkwing Duck. I watched all those shows.

RT: Community should do a Darkwing Duck episode next season.

GJ: Oh, that would be awesome. Or Count Duckula.



Walk of Shame opens this weekend in theaters, and if all goes well, you can catch Gillian Jacobs as Britta on NBC’s Community again next season.

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