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Recommended Discs & Deals of the Week: ‘Blue is the Warmest Color,’ ‘Gravity,’ ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ & More

Written by on February 25, 2014 

Every week we dive into the cream of the crop when it comes to home releases, including Blu-ray and DVDs, as well as recommended deals of the week. If we were provided screener copies, we’ll have our own write-up, but if that’s not the case, one can find official descriptions from the distributors. Check out our rundown below and return every Tuesday for the best films one can take home. Note that if you’re looking to support the site, every purchase you make through the links below helps us and is greatly appreciated.

Blue is the Warmest Color (Abdellatif Kechiche)

When this film premiered at Cannes last year, it caught most festival audiences off guard by the raw emotion and heartfelt performances from it’s two leads Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux. It’s for good reason as well, since watching the electric chemistry between these two actors makes for one of the most exhilarating and draining love stories in years. Director Abdellatif Kechiche elegantly captures the various movements in the symphony of an emotional relationship, from the initial spark to the sweeping swell of carnal pleasure before disintegrating into a sea of heartbreak and sadness. Despite all the controversy post-release, Blue is the Warmest Color remains one of the most emotionally resonant testaments to the beauty and pain of falling in and out of love. – Raffi A.  (full review)

Gravity (Alfonso Cuaron)

Back in the ’90s, at the advent of IMAX technology, certain amusement parks would have a screen with some “experience” putting you “into the action.” Enter the 21st century, and director Alfonso Cuarón has made one of these with Gravity. While I admit such a description may seem like I’m putting the film in a bad light — simplifying it to the basest aesthetic traits — I honestly mean it as a compliment. Space has always been one place to which only a select few could boldly go; in this exhilarating look at its vast, empty expanse we truly get a sense of how beautiful and terrifying it truly is. – Jared M. (full review)

King of the Hill (Steven Soderbergh)

For his first Hollywood studio production, Steven Soderbergh (whose independent debut, sex, lies, and videotape, had won the Palme d’Or at Cannes a few years earlier) crafted this small jewel of a growing-up story. Set in St. Louis during the Great Depression, King of the Hill follows the daily struggles of a resourceful and imaginative adolescent who, after his younger brother is sent to live with a relative and his tubercular mother to a sanitarium, must survive on his own in a run-down hotel during his salesman father’s long business trips. This evocative period piece, faithfully adapted from the A. E. Hotchner memoir, is among the versatile Soderbergh’s most touching and surprising films. – Criterion.com

Nebraska (Alexander Payne)

Alexander Payne’s latest feature is his best, a wonderful film that does so much right from its unique tone (shifting quietly from parody to melancholy) and its relationships. The story is centered around the life of Woody Grant (Bruce Dern, in a brilliant performance) and potentially his alternative life as he returns to rural Nebraska on his way to claim a prize. Enabling the stubborn old Woody is his son David (Will Forte), a lonely stereo salesman. June Squibb also gives a hilarious performance as Woody’s wife. Nebraska is a rough, yet lovable movie, hitting notes so rarely seen. It is one of the best road comedies ever made, embodying the old notion that road movies are about the journey, not the destination. Here is a film that reflects on journey in truly profound and often heartbreaking ways. – John F. (full review)

Tess (Roman Polanski)

This multiple-Oscar-winning film by Roman Polanski is an exquisite, richly layered adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles. A strong-willed peasant girl (Nastassja Kinski, in a gorgeous breakthrough) is sent by her father to the estate of some local aristocrats to capitalize on a rumor that their families are from the same line. This fateful visit commences an epic narrative of sex, class, betrayal, and revenge, which Polanski unfolds with deliberation and finesse. With its earthy visual textures, achieved by two world-class cinematographers—Geoffrey Unsworth (Cabaret) and Ghislain Cloquet (Au hasard Balthazar)—Tess is a work of great pastoral beauty as well as vivid storytelling. – Criterion.com

Rent: The Crash Reel, Mr. Nobody, Muscle Shoals

Recommended Deals of the Weeks

(Note: new additions are in red)

2001: A Space Odyssey (Blu-ray) – $6.96

Adventureland (Blu-ray) – $5.00

Almost Famous (Blu-ray) – $8.99

Amadeus: Director’s Cut (Blu-ray) – $8.96

The American (Blu-ray) – $9.05

Amelie (Blu-ray) – $7.57

Being There (Blu-ray) – $6.96

The Cabin in the Woods (Blu-ray) – $7.88

Caddyshack (Blu-ray) – $7.88

Casablanca/The African Queen (Blu-ray Combo Pack) – $8.96

Children of Men (Blu-ray) – $9.49

Cool Hand Luke (Blu-ray) – $6.96

Contact (Blu-ray) – $7.99

Dark City (Blu-ray) – $7.99

The Departed (Blu-ray) – $6.96

Dog Day Afternoon (Blu-ray) – $6.96

Escape From New York (Blu-ray) – $.8.36

Eyes Wide Shut (Blu-ray) – $10.49

The Fugitive (Blu-ray) – $8.96

Goodfellas (Blu-ray) – $6.96

Halloween (Blu-ray) – $7.88

Hannah and Her Sisters (Blu-ray) – $8.91

Heat (Blu-ray) – $8.48

L.A. Confidential (Blu-ray) – $8.96

Looper (Blu-ray) – $9.99

The Master (Blu-ray) – $11.99

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (Blu-ray) – $8.49

The Matrix (Blu-ray) – $6.96

Once Upon a Time in the West (Blu-ray) – $8.99

No Country For Old Men (Blu-ray) – $7.99

North by Northwest (Blu-ray) – $8.96

Pan’s Labyrinth (Blu-ray) – $8.96

Pulp Fiction (Blu-ray) – $6.96

Raging Bull (Blu-ray) – $4.49

Rebecca (Blu-ray) – $8.91

Saving Private Ryan (Blu-ray) – $9.99

Se7en (Blu-ray) – $7.88

Shane (Blu-ray) – $8.96

Shutter Island (Blu-ray) – $7.99

Source Code (Blu-ray) – $7.88

Spring Breakers (Blu-ray) – $9.96

Stalag 17 (Blu-ray) – $8.96

Sunset Boulevard (Blu-ray) – $8.96

Terminator 2: Judgement Day (Blu-ray) – $7.99

There Will Be Blood (Blu-ray) – $6.96

The Town (Blu-ray) – $9.96

To Catch a Thief (Blu-ray) – $8.96

The Treasure of Sierra Madre (Blu-ray) – $8.96

Tropic Thunder (Blu-ray) – $8.76

The Truman Show (Blu-ray) – $8.98

The Usual Suspects (Blu-ray) – $8.99

Vacation (Blu-ray) – $7.99

The Wild Bunch (Blu-ray) – $5.00

What are you picking up this week?

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