This week on streaming video, Netflix has added a number of fan favorites, including the latest seasons of The Walking Dead and Parks and Recreation, as well as the final season of How I Met Your Mother, among other things. Then, we’ve also got a couple of solid new movie choices, including a music biopic and an indie dramedy. Read on for details:


The Walking Dead – Season Four

When last we left Rick and the gang, they were holed up in a reasonably well-fortified prison. Naturally, it turns out the coast is never clear.

Available now on: Netflix


Parks and Recreation – Season Six

The penultimate season of NBC’s popular workplace comedy finds Leslie (Amy Poehler) struggling with local government issues, domestic life, and the departure of her BFF Ann (Rashida Jones), while Ron (Nick Offerman) learns to be a family man.

Available now on: Netflix


How I Met Your Mother – Season Nine

After the season eight finale reveal of the titular “mother,” CBS’s hit sitcom makes the most of its final season by tying everything together.

Available now on: Netflix


Comic Book Men – Season Three

AMC’s reality show follows director Kevin Smith and the staff of his comic shop in New Jersey, Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash.

Available now on: Netflix


The Double
83%

Jesse Eisenberg and Mia Wasikowska star in a Certified Fresh adaptation of the Dostoyevsky novel about a lonely man who finds himself pushed aside by his doppelganger.

Available now on: Netflix


Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa
61%

Johnny Knoxville stars as Irving Zisman, a mischievous 86-year-old on a road trip with his grandson Billy (Jackson Nicoll) — which is essentially an excuse to string together a series of outrageous gags that shock unsuspecting onlookers.

Available now on: Netflix, Unrated Version


Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
22%

Kirk, Spock, Bones, and the rest of the Enterprise all-stars venture to the end of the universe in this, one of the least-loved entries in the Star Trek franchise.

Available now on: Netflix


Lucky Them
78%

Toni Collette and Thomas Haden Church star in this dramedy about a music writer looking for a forgotten musician who also happens to be her ex.

Available now on: Amazon, iTunes


Nas: Time Is Illmatic
98%

This documentary tells the inside story of Nas’ classic, star-making debut album, and features interviews with the likes of Alicia Keys, Q-Tip, and Busta Rhymes.

Available now on: iTunes, Vudu

This week on home video, we’ve got the latest installment of Michael Bay’s Transformers franchise, Jon Favreau’s indie hit, and the complete series of a hit Fox show that came back to television for a limited run earlier this year. On top of that, we’ve got a bunch of smaller releases starring the likes of Amy Poehler, Aaron Paul, Sam Shepard, Liam Neeson, Mila Kunis, and more. Read on for details:



Transformers: Age of Extinction

17%

If you don’t know what you’re getting into when you set out to watch one of Michael Bay’s Transformers movies, it may help to start with a little context. Long story short: they’re loud, chaotic, sometimes racist, sometimes misogynistic, and poorly reviewed. They’re also extremely popular worldwide, and extremely profitable, which is why it should surprise few people that, despite an 18 percent Tomatometer score, Age of Extinction earned more than $1 billion in global box office receipts. Leading a “rebooted” cast that includes Nicola Peltz, Stanley Tucci, and Kelsey Grammar, Mark Wahlberg stars as down-on-his-luck inventor Cade Yeager, who comes into possession of a broken-down Optimus Prime and finds himself and his daughter wrapped up in a government conspiracy to hunt down all Autobots. While critics largely dismissed the film as a noisy, jumbled barrage on the senses, a few also conceded that those looking for a bombastic, effects-driven spectacle will probably get what they’re looking for. The Blu-ray comes with an entire disc of bonus features, which include an extensive series of making-of featurettes, a tour of the Hasbro facility where the toys are created, and a ten-minute interview with Bay about his approach to the film and his filmmaking style.

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Chef

87%

Though Jon Favreau (Iron Man, Cowboys & Aliens) is also no stranger to big, CGI-heavy popcorn movies, he nevertheless found time to sneak in a smaller, character-driven comedy this year and managed to earn some rich praise for it. In his latest feature, Chef, Favreau plays Carl Casper, the head chef at a swanky Brentwood restaurant who, stifled by his boss’s old school ways, quits his job in a fit of anger that goes viral. Reluctantly, Carl accepts an invitation from his ex-wife Inez (Sofia Vergara) to move back home to Miami to help raise their son, and in the process, he starts a food truck business and rekindles his passion for cooking. Critics found Chef to be a breath of fresh air, a charming respite from the summer season of action-packed blockbusters, thanks to a clever script and a formidable supporting cast that also included Scarlett Johansson, John Leguizamo, Dustin Hoffman, Robert Downey Jr. and more. The only special features included are a commentary track and some deleted scenes, but this should make a worthy rental or purchase based on the film’s merits alone.



24: The Complete Series with Live Another Day

When Fox debuted 24 back in 2001, it would have been easy to dismiss it as a gimmick show. Each season unfolded more or less in “real time,” with episodes that covered a single hour — complete with a ticking clock — in the span of an extremely eventful day for Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland), an anti-terrorist agent tasked with addressing all manner of threat to our national security. The show proved to be a critical and commercial success, and it aired successfully for eight seasons, notching dozens of nominations and awards, including 20 Emmys, before it ended its initial run in 2010. Back in May of this year, Jack Bauer returned to TV when Fox aired a 12-part series titled 24: Live Another Day, and this week, the studio is re-releasing the complete series — including Live Another Day — on DVD. It carries all of the special features available on the previous release, however, so if you already own that, you can also simply pick up Live Another Day, which is individually available on Blu-ray.

Also available this week:

  • Cold in July (86 percent), starring Michael C. Hall and Sam Shepard in a Certified Fresh thriller about a family man defending himself against an ex-con seeking revenge for the murder of his son.
  • Ivory Tower (85 percent), a Certified Fresh documentary exploring whether or not college is worth the cost of massive student loan debt.
  • Lucky Them (76 percent), starring Toni Collette and Thomas Haden Church in a dramedy about a journalist chasing a story about a rock legend who also happens to be her ex-boyfriend.
  • Space Station 76 (61 percent), starring Patrick Wilson and Liv Tyler in a tongue-in-cheek relationship drama set in a 1970s version of the future.
  • Hellion (59 percent), starring Aaron Paul and Juliette Lewis in a family drama about a young father learning to cope with his wife’s death and his two sons’ increasingly delinquent behavior.
  • Paul Haggis’ Third Person (24 percent), starring Liam Neeson, Mila Kunis, and a bevy of stars in a film connecting three separate love stories.
  • Matt Weiner’s Are You Here (7 percent), starring Amy Poehler, Owen Wilson, and Zach Galifianakis in a road comedy about a man battling his sister for their recently deceased father’s fortune.
  • Season six of The Mentalist is available on DVD.
  • The Equalizer Complete Collection, featuring all four seasons of the 1980s action drama upon which the recent Denzel Washington film was based.
This week at the movies, we’ve got a legendary villainess (Maleficent, starring Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning) and some silly cowpokes (A Million Ways to Die in the West, starring Seth MacFarlane and Charlize Theron). What do the critics have to say?



Maleficent

54%

In the past few years, audiences have been treated to a tough-as-nails Snow White, an emotionally complex Snow Queen, and, ahem, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters. Maleficent offers a more sympathetic take on the evil fairy queen from Sleeping Beauty, but critics say that an outstanding performance from Angelina Jolie and some striking visuals can’t redeem the movie’s slack narrative and uncertain tone. Maleficent (Jolie), a powerful fairy, is betrayed by a childhood friend, who becomes a king; in turn, she places a curse upon his daughter. As the child grows up, however, Maleficent reconsiders her feelings, even as the king plots her destruction. The pundits say Maleficent deserves credit for putting a feminist spin on an old tale, but the movie can’t quite live up to its thoughtful premise — or Jolie’s inspired work in the title role. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down Jolie’s best-reviewed movies, as well as our video interviews with Jolie and other members of the cast.)



A Million Ways to Die in the West

33%

Some comedies fail because they’re short on gags. On the other end of the spectrum, critics say the problem with A Million Ways to Die in the West is that it has too many — writer/director/star Seth MacFarlane packs so many jokes into this Western spoof that the most inventive comic moments are often elbowed aside by scatological smuttiness. MacFarlane stars as Albert, a cowardly rancher in a wild west town who falls for Anna (Charlize Theron), who’s handy with a gun. However, Anna is married to a wanted outlaw, and soon Albert is in his crosshairs. The pundits say A Million Ways to Die in the West has an appealing cast and some really big laughs, but overall, it’s a few notches below its obvious inspiration — Mel BrooksBlazing Saddles. (Flip through our gallery of memorable Western comedies.)

Also opening this week in limited release:

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