This week’s home entertainment offerings include two films that received six key Oscar nominations, as well as the exciting 2016 Doctor Who Christmas Special, and the first half of the second season of the popular anime TV series Assassination Classroom.

Theatrical Releases

Three films that received Academy Award nominations are due out on video on Tuesday led by Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester By the Sea (Lionsgate, “R,” 137 min., $29.99, BD $39.99), which has received six Oscar nods including such key awards as “Best Picture,” “Best Director,” “Best Actor,” “Best Original Screenplay,” and both male and female “Best Supporting Actors.”  Lonergan’s unremittingly bleak saga of death, grief and loss provides great opportunities for a superb cast that makes the most out a the material with uniformly fine performances by the Oscar-nominated Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, and Lucas Hedges, who are ably supported by Kyle Chandler, Gretchen Mol, C.J. Wilson, and Tate Donovan.

Also receiving six  Oscar nominations was Mel Gibson’s World War II drama Hacksaw Ridge (Lionsgate, “R,” 139 min., $29.95, BD $39.99), a powerful biographical account of the pacifist Desmond Doss who served as a medic and won a Medal of Honor for his heroic actions during the battle of Okinawa.  Like Manchester By the Sea, Hacksaw Ridge has been nominated for “Best Picture,” while Gibson got a nod for “Best Director,” and Andrew Garfield received a “Best Actor” nomination.  In addition to Garfield’s fine work, Hacksaw Ridge benefits from excellent performances by Vince Vaughn, Sam Worthington, Hugo Weaving, and Teresa Palmer.  This bloody and harrowing combat film is not for everybody, but those who enjoyed Saving Private Ryan will find in Hacksaw Ridge another World War II film worthy of their attention.

The third film with an Oscar nod is Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals (Universal, “R,” 232 min., $29.95, BD $34.99), an adaptation of Austin Wright’s 1993 novel Tony and Susan.  Michael Shannon has received an Oscar nomination for his role as a police detective in a meta novel that plays an important part in this convoluted thriller about a disaffected wife (Amy Adams), who receives the manuscript of the novel from her divorced first husband (Jake Gyllenhaal), which she eventually perceives is a direct comment on their failed relationship.

The only other major release on Tuesday is the unnecessary sequel Bad Santa 2 (Broad Green, “Not Rated,” though the film was rated “R,” $32.99, BD $36.99), which stars Billy Bob Thornton and could garner only a 23% positive rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.  2016 was, with a few exceptions, a difficult year for sequels and Bad Santa 2 was one of many to finish its box office run awash in well-deserved red ink.


It is very slim pickings in the TV category this week with only one clear geek favorite, Doctor Who: The Return of Doctor Mysterio: 2016 Christmas Special (BBC, $19.98, BD $19.98) in which the current Time Lord (Peter Capaldi) teams up with an investigative journalist and a superhero to save New York City in a rousing science fiction adventure.

For older viewers there is Grace and Frankie: Season 2 (Lionsgate, 389 min., $29.98) which collects the 13-episode Netflix series that stars Lilly Tomlin and Jane Fonda, and for country music fans there is the superior prime time soap opera Nashville: The Complete 4th Season, which stands out from its competition largely due to the excellent musical numbers and backstage insights into the workings of “Music City, USA.”

The only vintage TV series due on Tuesday is Lou Grant: The Complete 4th Season (Shout Factory, 1080 min., $39.97), which collects the 20-episode penultimate season of the Mary Tyler Moore Show spin-off that featured Ed Asner as a crusading newspaper editor in a show that aired in the wake of Watergate (1977-1982), perhaps the high water mark for journalism in the U.S.

The only overseas entry this week is a great one, The Level: Series 1 (Acorn Media, 288 min., $39.99, BD $39.99) a convoluted tale of a police detective with ties of friendship to a drug dealer, who is killed in her presence in an attack that also wounds her.  Then she has to find the murderer while hiding her relationship to the victim as well as her wound from her colleagues.


After a couple of relatively quiet weeks in the anime market there is a veritable onslaught of interesting new releases led by Assassination Classroom: Second/Final Season Part 1 (Funimation, 325 min., BD/DVD Combo $64.98), which includes the first half of the 25-episode second season of the Assassination Classroom anime, which is based on the manga by Yusei Matsui (published here by VIZ Media) and aired in Japan in 2016.  This science fiction action/comedy features a super-powerful alien who “moonlights” as a junior high school teacher and dares any of his students to kill him.  The first book in the 21-volume manga series has sold over a million copies in Japan, where the property reached #2 among shonen manga favorites.

Another interesting new title is the Noragami Aragato: Complete Collection (Funimation, 325 min., BD/DVD Combo $64.98, LE $84.98), which includes the 13-episode 2015 anime from Bones that is based on the supernatural action comedy manga by Adachitoka (published here by Kodansha USA) about a minor Japanese god, who charges only 5 yen to fulfill wishes, but wishes to become a deity of the first order.

Two 2015 production are also due on Tuesday.  Ultimate Otaku Teacher Part 2 (Funimation, 300 min., BD/DVD Combo $64.98) includes the final half of the 24-episode series from A-1 Pictures that is based on the shonen manga by Takeshi Azuma about an erudite otaku who becomes a high school physics teachers and uses his vast knowledge of anime, manga, and games to inspire his students, while the Uta no Princesama Revolution Complete Collection (Sentai Filmworks, 325 min., Subtitles Only, $49.98, BD $59.98) collects the 13-episode A-1 Pictures series from 2015 that is based on the visual novel published by Broccoli.

Re-priced re-releases include the excellent Ghost in the Shell Stand-Alone Complex: Complete Collection (Anchor Bay, 650 min. BD $69.99), which is a superb series at a good price, but, be forewarned that while this release looks very good in high-def, there are audio problems with the U.S. release that apparently still have not been fixed—and the same holds true for Ghost in the Shell Stand-Alone Complex 2nd Gig Complete Collection (Anchor Bay, 650 min., BD $69.99).

Other lower cost releases include the Anime Classics edition of the Freezing Vibration Complete Collection (Funimation, 300 min., BD $39.98), and the S.A.V.E. edition of the Unbreakable Machine Doll Complete Collection (Funimation, 300 min., BD $29.98), and a new BD-R edition of Metropolis (Sony, 113 min., BD-R $26.99), the 2001 anime feature based on Osamu Tezuka’s take on Fritz Lang’s 1927 science fiction classic.