This week on DVD/Blu-ray: The biggest Blu-ray and DVD box sets ever released (to date); Martin McDonagh’s hilarious and violent follow-up to “In Bruges”; the winner of the Midnighter Audience Award at last year’s SXSW Film Festival; and the third season of the most popular period drama currently airing on TV.
#1. and #2. “Best of Warner Bros. 100 Film Collection (DVD)” and “Best of Warner Bros. 50 Film Collection (Blu-ray)”
To toast to its milestone 90th anniversary, Warner Bros. is kicking off 2013 in grand style by releasing two limited and numbered anniversary collections — 100 films on DVD and 50 films on Blu-ray. That they’re both the largest collections, to date, in their respective formats, should come as no surprise: Warner Bros. currently boasts the largest film library in the world with 6,800 feature films; 2,000 of which are available on DVD and Blu-ray.
The DVD collection includes all 22 of the studio’s Best Picture Oscar-winners (including “Ben-Hur,” “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King”), in addition to two new documentaries, both of which are also included in the Blu-ray box set. The Blu-ray collection meanwhile includes several titles new to the format, including “Grand Hotel,” “Mrs. Miniver” and “Driving Miss Daisy.” Go HERE for the full list of titles included on each release.
Extras: Included in both box sets are two all-new documentaries: “Tales From the Warner Bros. Lot” and “The Warner Bros. Lot Tour.” “Tales From the Warner Bros. Lot” is a full-length documentary that features some of the studio’s top talent (Clint Eastwood, Steve Carell, Morgan Freeman, Martin Sheen and more) and executives (Barry Meyer, Alan Horn, Bob Daly, Terry Semel and more) giving an inside look at the history of Warner Bros. “The Warner Bros. Lot” provides an offical guided tour of the studio, to offer a behind-the-scenes look at the sound stages, sets and craft shops that make up Warner Bros.
Both sets also include a collectible poster and series of art cards featuring movie poster designs created by American graphic designer Bill Gold.
#3. “Seven Psychopaths”
The venerable Irish playwright Martin McDonagh is finally back with his sophomore film “Seven Psychopaths,” a darkly hilarious follow-up to his Oscar-nominated screenwriting and directing debut, “In Bruges.” Like “In Bruges,” “Seven Psychopaths” is laced with zany developments, memorable one-liners and a whole lot of violence. What’s different this time is that the locale has shifted from Europe to the U.S., and that it finds McDonagh working with his biggest ensemble yet on screen. In “Seven Psychopaths,” Colin Farrell plays Marty, a writer suffering from a major case of writer’s block, attempting to complete a screenplay, titled, you guessed it, “Seven Psychopaths.” Two pals, Billy (Sam Rockwell) and Hans (Christopher Walken), try to help, but Marty finds himself in a tailspin after inadvertently pissing off a local mobster (Woody Harrelson) when Hans steals his beloved Shih Tzu. Abbie Cornish, Olga Kurylenko, Gabourey Sidibe, Michael Pitt and Tom Waits round out the cast.
Extras: The featurette “Colin Farrel Is Marty” features the actor discussing his role for a brief two minutes; “Woody Hoody Harrelson is Charlie,” offers Harrelson the opportunity to do the same; two brief featurettes that cover the locations used in the film and McDonagh’s casting process; the hilarious mock trailer, “Seven Psychocats”; and an Ultraviolet digital copy.
Winner of the Midnighter Audience Award at last year’s SXSW Film Festival, “Citadel” stars hot Welsh newcomer Aneurin Barnard as a young father suffering from agoraphobia, fighting for survival after a pack of feral children attack him and his family.
Extras: A 20-minute behind-the-scenes look; a ten-minute interview with Barnard; and the theatrical trailer for the film.
#5. “Downton Abbey: Season 3”
With the third season of the Emmy award-winning British sensation “Downton Abbey” currenly airing on PBS, stay ahead of the rest of America by catching up with the season in its entirety via this DVD/Blu-ray release. The third season takes place after WWI with the Crawleys facing the possible closure of their beloved estate. Shirley MacLaine is said to give Maggie Smith a run for her money as Cora’s sassy American mother.
Extras: The highlight here is the Christmas episode special, titled “A Journey to the Highlands,” that aired after the season three finale in the UK. Also included is the 48-minute behind-the-scenes documentary “Behind the Drama”; the 17-minute featurette “Downton in 1920,” that discusses the period in which the series takes place; a making-of featurette focused on the wedding of Lady Mary; another featurette that explores the making of Edith’s wedding ceremony; a nine-minute look at the men of “Downton Abbey”; a featurette on the casting of Shirley MacLaine; a number of interviews with the cast; and a behind-the-scenes look at the Christmas episode.