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August 6, 2013 1:30 PM
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What to Rent/Buy on Blu-ray This Week: 'The Place Beyond the Pines,' 'Mud' and More

"The Place Beyond the Pines" Focus Features

VOD is all the rage right now, and for good reason (check out our August list). But while it's gratifying to know that you can watch pretty much anything with the simple click of a button, there's something comforting about tearing into a DVD/Blu-ray case and popping the disc into your player. That, and not even a VOD film in HD can rival the clarity a Blu-ray disc offers. To keep you up to date with the current goings-on in the home video marketplace, here are the new releases worth your time and money.

"The Place Beyond the Pines"

Ryan Gosling reunites with his "Blue Valentine" writer-director Derek Cianfrance for "The Place Beyond the Pines," a decidedly more ambitious drama that stars the heartthrob as stunt-bike rider who uses said skills to rob banks and provide for his child. When an ambitious cop (played by Bradley Cooper) starts to catch wind of his dirty work, the two become embroiled in an ongoing saga that affects the lives of all those they love.

Extras: Audio commentary with Cianfrance; deleted and extended scenes; and an all too brief 5-minute making-of featurette.


"The Sapphires"

Chris O'Dowd leads a cast of four talented new actresses in the true story of The Sapphires, an Aboriginal girl group who are plucked from obscurity when a talent agent finds them and sends them to perform for the American troops in Vietnam. The perfect mix of feel-good and culturally sensitive, the film is full of endearing performances and scored by some of the best doo-wop hits of the 60s.

Extras: A brief making-of featurette; an interview with the original Sapphires; a featurette on the music from the film.


"On the Road"

Jack Kerouac's "On The Road" is the kind of rambling cultural panorama that defies explanation: you just have to experience it. This road narrative turned road movie follows Kerouac-type writer Sal Paradise as he hitchhikes across America with fictionalized versions of his beat generation pals Neal Cassady (called Dean Moriarty) and Allen Ginsberg (called Carlo Marx), and of course the token girl, Marylou. Watch these young literary voyeurs stumble through America either high on life or drugs -- and frequently both. At least watch it so you won't sound like an jerk when quoting "The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live."

Extras: Deleted scenes.



"Mud"

In the deep South, two young boys come across a fugitive named Mud (a positively feral Matthew McConaughey) who is wanted for killing the man who impregnated his ex-girlfriend Juniper and then pushed her down the stairs, forcing a miscarriage. Ellis and Neckbone swear to keep him safe and reunite him with his love.

Extras: Director commentary; a featurette focused on Nichol's longstanding desire to make the film; a featurette centered on the cast; and two additional featurettes.


"Aftershock"

Co-penned by and starring "Hostel" horror maestro Eli Roth, "Aftershock" doesn't skimp on the blood and guts to tell a harrowing story about a hapless group of tourists who find themselves in a living hell after a powerful earthquake rips through the coastal town of Valparaiso in Chile.


"West of Memphis"

In the 1993 case of the West Memphis Three, three boys who were murdered in cold blood and three teenagers were arrested for the crime when there was questionable evidence against them. Now, more than 18 years later, new forensic evidence has led authorities to question that the West Memphis Three were guilty and they were released. This documentary dissects the truth behind the mind-boggling case.

Extras: Audio commentary with director Amy Berg, Damien Echols, and producer Lorri Davis; nearly 90-minutes of deleted scenes, a Q&A from the Toronto International Film Festival red carper; the Toronto press conference; trailer; and additional trailers.


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