This week on home video, we’ve got a couple of Oscar winners, a comedy sequel, and the final season of a popular drama. Then, we’ve got another Oscar nominee and a handful of smaller releases that might be worth your time. Read on for details:



Big Hero 6

90%

It’s official: Big Hero 6 is the Best Animated Feature of 2014 according to the Academy, and now you can chortle and coo at Baymax in the comfort of your own living room. Loosely based on the Marvel comic of the same name, the film takes place in the fictional metropolis of San Fransokyo, where a young robotics prodigy named Hiro Hamada (voiced by Ryan Potter) who enrolls in a super exclusive school for gifted scientists after the death of his older brother. Faced with the possibility of tracking down his brother’s killer, Hiro teams up with his new friends — and invents some hi-tech gear for them — in order to bring the villain to justice. Critics were big fans of the animation in Big Hero 6, as well as the action-packed story and surprisingly heartfelt touches, leading to a Certified Fresh 90 percent Tomatometer score. As a bonus, the Blu-ray will also get you the Oscar-winning animated short Feast, as well as the requisite behind-the-scenes featurettes and deleted scenes.



Whiplash

94%

Speaking of Oscar wins, the one category that was arguably a complete lock was Best Supporting Actor, which went to J.K. Simmons for his portrayal of a draconian music conductor in Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash. Based on Chazelle’s own experiences, the film starred Miles Teller as ambitious jazz drummer Andrew Neiman, who comes under the tutelage of notoriously brutal instructor Terence Fletcher (Simmons) at a prestigious music school. Fletcher pushes Andrew to extremes, leading to a battle of wills and a climactic showdown. Critics gushed over Whiplash, rewarding it with a Certified Fresh 95 percent on the Tomatometer not only for the impressive performances from Simmons and Teller, but also for the film’s sustained tension and superb sound and editing. The particularly notable audio commentary track features Simmons and Chazelle, but the Blu-ray also comes with a 43-minute piece on professional drummers, Chazelle’s original 18-minute short which was expanded into the feature film, and more.



Horrible Bosses 2

35%

2011’s Horrible Bosses was a successful ensemble comedy that made the most of its stars talents, and while the film didn’t feel especially ripe for a sequel, it was somewhat inevitable. This time around, pals Nick (Jason Bateman), Kurt (Jason Sudeikis), and Dale (Charlie Day) embark on an entrepreneurial venture producing a new shower head. When the trio is duped by an unscrupulous investor (Christoph Waltz), they decide the best course of action is to kidnap his son (Chris Pine) for ransom. It’s often rare for comedy franchises to strike gold twice in a row, especially when the first film relies on a specific premise that’s abandoned in its sequel, and Horrible Bosses 2 fell prey to the sophomore jinx, clocking in at 35 percent on the Tomatometer. Critics were unamused by what they called lazy writing and witless humor, but it might still tickle your fancy if you’re a fan of its three stars.



Sons of Anarchy: Season Seven

Late last year, FX’s popular biker drama Sons of Anarchy finally came to a close after seven seasons, and by most counts, its final year was a success. Built on a foundation of deep character development, bursts of violent action, and dark family drama, SOA hurtled into its finale with six straight Fresh seasons under its belt — all at 78 percent or above. The final episode itself was well-received at 88 percent, and though its Shakespearean conclusion was something of a given, most agreed it was satisfying and effective nonetheless. The complete series was previously available with an empty slot for the season seven package, and you can pick that up this week — or you can pick up the complete series with season seven included as well.

Also available this week:

  • Code Black (91 percent), a documentary focusing on the Los Angeles County Hospital’s trauma ward, the busiest emergency department in the country.
  • Gina Prince-Bythewood’s Beyond the Lights (81 percent), starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Nate Parker in a Certified Fresh romantic drama about a pop diva who begins to question her career trajectory. The film was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Original Song category.
  • The Borderlands (79 percent), a horror film about a team of investigators looking into reports of paranormal activity at a remote church in England.
  • Private Peaceful (64 percent), starring Jack O’Connell and George MacKay in a war drama about two brothers who grow up rough and enlist in the military together.
  • Cantinflas (29 percent), starring Óscar Jaenada and Michael Imperioli in a drama about the famous titular Mexican entertainer.
  • And finally, two choices from the Criterion Collection: Federico Fellini’s Fellini Satyricon (78 percent), a surrealist portrait of Rome, is available in a new DVD and Blu-ray; and the 1978 animated adaptation of Watership Down (82 percent), Martin Rosen’s haunting rabbit tale of survival, is also available in a new DVD and Blu-ray.
This week at the movies, we’ve got just one new wide release: Captain America: The Winter Soldier, starring Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson, and Scarlett Johansson in the latest Marvel superhero adventure. What do the critics have to say?



Captain America: The Winter Soldier

90%

It’s become fashionable in some film-going circles to dismiss the recent spate of comic book adaptations as evidence that Hollywood is bereft of ideas. Critics say Captain America: The Winter Soldier offers a powerful rebuttal, delivering outstanding performances and a thoughtful political undercurrent to complement its visceral thrills. This time out, Captain America (Chris Evans) is working undercover for S.H.I.EL.D., but quickly discovers that the organization is far more secretive than he suspected. Meanwhile, a mysterious assassin known as the Winter Soldier has carried out a series of killings — and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) seems to know more about his identity than she’s telling. The pundits say the Certified Fresh Captain America: The Winter Soldier should please both newcomers and Marvel diehards — it’s slick and action-packed, and most intriguingly, often has the feel of a paranoid thriller from the 1970s. (Check out this week’s Total Recall for a list of memorable superhero franchise part twos..)

Also opening this week in limited release:

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