Oscar nominees 'Gravity,' 'Nebraska' come to DVD on Tuesday

Akron Beacon JournalFebruary 24, 2014 


    These DVDs were released this week:

    Films: Thor: The Dark World; Muscle Shoals (mesmerizing documentary about the small Alabama town that is a mecca for musicians); Jamesy Boy (based on the true story of teenager James Burns, played by newcomer Spencer Lofranco, who ends up in a maximum-security prison and bonds with a convicted murderer, Ving Rhames, who becomes his mentor); Pulling Strings; Breathless (1960, Criterion Collection); Tess (1979, Criterion Collection); King of the Hill (1993, early Steven Soderbergh film, Criterion Collection); Twice Born (Italy/Spain); Ice Soldiers; Scarecrow; The Last Elvis (Argentina); Lost in Thailand (China); You Will Be My Son (France); The Swan Princess: A Royal Family Tale (animated).

    TV series: Here Comes Honey Boo Boo: Season 1; L.A. Law: Season One; Above Suspicion: Set 3 (Kelly Reilly and Ciarán Hinds star in feature-length finale of British detective series); Last Stand of the 300 and Other Famous Greek Battles (six History channel specials); Under Capricorn (classic period drama set in 1830s Australia); Les Petits Meurtres D'Agatha Christie, Set 1; The Middle: Fourth Season; Mama's Family: Third Season; The Royal Family Collection; Adventure Time: Third Season.


Two big titles on DVD and Blu-ray this week are contending for major Oscars on Sunday.

The two big contenders are Gravity ($28.98 DVD, $35.95 DVD/Blu-ray/digital, $44.95 DVD/Blu-ray/3-D/digital combo) and Nebraska ($28.98 DVD, $39.99 DVD/Blu-ray/digital combo).

In Gravity, Sandra Bullock and George Clooney star as two astronauts set adrift in space after an accident, anxiously trying to figure out a way to safety. As that suggests, the story is simple, but it contains homages not only to other space movies but to vintage Westerns as we look across vast, uninhabited reaches to the occasional outpost.

Beyond the story, the film directed by Alfonso Cuarón is eerily beautiful even when its events are terrifying; it is the rare 3-D movie in recent years to justify paying a premium admission charge. In fact, if you have seen it on the big screen, home viewing might be disappointing.

Extras on all the packages include a nine-part piece about the making of the movie and other elements, including the use of sound in the film.

Nebraska comes from director Alexander Payne (The Descendants, Sideways), who has a knack for taking a big event in someone's life and using it as a way to explore character and relationships. In Nebraska, that event is one of those you-have-won-a-big-prize letters, which comes to an elderly man (Bruce Dern) who decides to go collect his prize. Dern is more than a little addled, as his perpetually irritated wife (June Squibb) will tell you, so his son (Will Forte) goes along on the road trip.

The trip is not only cross-country but into Dern's past. I'm a big fan of Payne, and this movie just added to that feeling; the performances are top-notch, the pacing and emotional arcs just right.

The extra, only on the combo, is a six-part making-of piece.

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