THIS WEEK’S THEATRICAL RELEASES:
There are no major theatrical releases coming to home video this week.
Topping the list this week is “American Experience: 1964” (2014), a must-see, incredibly informative documentary that tracks the events that occurred in 1964, a year that saw the baby boomer generation rise to prominence with an emphasis on rock ‘n’ roll, psychedelics and protests — it was the beginning of the “generation gap” and the counter culture as well as the anti-war movement and feminism. 1964 was the year the Beatles came to America, Cassius Clay became Muhammad Ali, and three civil rights workers were murdered in Mississippi. It was the year when Berkeley students rose up in protest, blacks fought back against injustice in Harlem, and Barry Goldwater’s conservative revolution took over the Republican Party. In myriad ways, 1964 was the year when Americans faced choices: between the liberalism of Lyndon Johnson or Barry Goldwater’s grassroots conservatism, between support or opposition to the Civil Rights movement, between an embrace of the emerging counterculture or a defense of traditional values. Based in part on “The Last Innocent Year: America in 1964” by Jon Margolis, “1964” follows some of the most influential figures of the time — Lyndon Johnson, Barry Goldwater, Betty Friedan — but also brings out from the shadows the stories of ordinary Americans whose principled stands would set the country onto a new and different course. $24.99 from PBS Distribution.
There’s two wonderful dual-format (Blu-ray/DVD) releases this week from The Criterion Collection: “Fantastic Mr. Fox” (2009) is the story of a clever, quick, nimble, and exceptionally well-dressed wild animal. A compulsive chicken thief turned newspaper reporter, Mr. Fox settles down with his family at a new foxhole in a beautiful tree directly adjacent to three enormous poultry farms — owned by three ferociously vicious farmers: Boggis, Bunce, and Bean. Mr. Fox simply cannot resist. This adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic children’s novel from Wes Anderson is a meticulous work of stop-motion animation featuring vibrant performances by George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Willem Dafoe, Michael Gambon and Bill Murray. New digital master, approved by director Wes Anderson, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray. And “Foreign Correspondent” (1940). In 1940, Alfred Hitchcock made his official transition from the British film industry to Hollywood. And it was quite a year: his first two American movies, “Rebecca” and “Foreign Correspondent,” were both nominated for the best picture Oscar. Though “Rebecca” prevailed, “Foreign Correspondent” is the more quintessential Hitch film. A full-throttle espionage thriller, starring Joel McCrea as a green Yank reporter sent to Europe to get the scoop on the imminent war, it’s wall-to-wall witty repartee, head-spinning plot twists, and brilliantly mounted suspense set pieces, including an ocean plane crash climax with astonishing special effects. New 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray.
Also due this week: “Game of Thrones: The Complete Third Season” (2013) includes all 10 episodes of the third season of the HBO series based on George R.R. Martin’s best-selling part-political-thriller, part-epic-fantasy book series “A Song of Ice and Fire” in which seven noble families fight for control of the mythical land of Westeros. In Season 3, the battling families of the Seven Kingdoms continue to fight for power as bonds are strained, loyalties are tested and cruel fates are met. The Lannisters barely hold on to power after a savage naval onslaught from Stannis Baratheon, while stirrings in the North threaten to alter the overall balance of power. Robb Stark, King in the North, faces major calamity in his efforts to build on his victories over the Lannisters, and beyond the Wall, Mance Rayder and his huge army of wildlings continue their inexorable march south. Across the Narrow Sea, Daenerys Targaryen — reunited with her three fast-maturing dragons — attempts to raise an army to sail with her from Essos, in hopes of eventually claiming the Iron Throne for herself. On DVD (five discs, $59.99 ) and Blu-ray/DVD Combo (5 BD Discs, 2 DVD discs, $79.98). And “Darkman Collector’s Edition Blu-ray” (1990), directed by Sam Raimi and starring Liam Neeson, Frances McDormand, Colin Friels, Larry Drake, Nelson Mashita, Jessie Lawrence Ferguson, Dan Hicks, Ted Raimi and Dan Bell. From Shout! Factory.