Jake Gyllenhaal’s harrowing portrait of a modern tabloid TV ambulance chaser gives this week’s home entertainment releases an Oscar-worthy gloss, but there are more hidden delights due out on Tuesday including the best time-traveling science fiction film in years, Jon Stewart’s earnest political drama Rosewater, the complete Gerry Anderson series Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons, and a second 23-episode collection of the new re-mastered high-def edition of Sailor Moon.

Theatrical Releases
This week’s highest-grossing release is the very serviceable family film Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day (Disney, “PG,” 81 min., $29.99, BD $36.99), which stars Steve Carell and Jennifer Garner in an adaptation of the popular children’s book.  The film managed a 63% positive rating, and for a family comedy, that is pretty good rating, which means that parents won’t go wrong with this one.

The grittiest release of the week is Nightcrawler (Universal, “R,” 236 min., $29.98, BD $34.98), an overly-long, but compelling thriller set in the world of LA tabloid television with Jake Gyllenhaal starring as a freelance journalist racing through the night to be first on the scene of a crime or disaster in order to capture the most grisly footage.  Gyllenhaal’s Lou Bloom is the creepiest loner in American cinema since Travis Bickle (Taxi Driver), so don’t be surprised if Nightcrawler gains cult film status in spite of its flaws.

Jon Stewart, who is best known for his humorous political commentary on The Daily Show, made his directorial debut last year with Rosewater (Universal, “R,” 208 min., $29.98, BD $34.98), which is based on the memoirs of Maziar Bahari, an Iranian-born Canadian journalist, who was arrested while he was covering street protests surrounding the disputed Iranian presidential election of 2009.  While Rosewater is almost too earnest in execution, this is an effective film that managed a 74% positive rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.

The best genre offering of the week is Predestination (Sony, “R,” 98 min., $26.99, BD $30.99), a cerebral time-traveling drama that relies more on thought-provoking premises than mind-numbing special effects-laden action scenes.  The jumps all around, and viewers really have to pay attention, but that’s the great thing about having a film on disk, you can watch it again and get some of the nuances you missed the first time.  Once again for a modestly-budgeted science fiction film to manage to get an 81% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes is no mean feat.  While it’s more for the hardcore science fiction movie fan, Predestination is the kind of challenging (but still entertaining) film that a whole lot of people might like if they ever get the chance to see it.

Once again the best releases this week are of the vintage variety.  The campy 1960s Batman series, which was made available in a pricy complete series set, is now being released in smaller portions, such as Batman: The 2nd Season, Part 1 (Warner Bros., 450 min., $39.98), which includes 30 episodes, though it should be noted that the episodes are just 15 minutes long.

Also of great interest to those who enjoy the pioneering “supermarionation” efforts of Gerry Anderson (Thunderbirds, Stingray, Space 1999) is Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons: The Complete Series (Timeless Media, 832 min., $29.93), a wonderfully wacky science fiction romp set in 2068 when Earth is under attack from the Mysterons, who can shape shift into the form of any object.

Other vintage series of note include the stylish early 1980s detective romp, Hart to Hart: The Complete 4th Season (Shout Factory, 1050 min., $39.97), the San Francisco-set Don Johnson police drama Nash Bridges: The Complete 4th Season (VEI, 1080 min., $36.00), and the insufferable sitcom Mama’s Family: The Complete 6th Season (TimeLife, $29.98).

The only contemporary American releases of note are the Edie Falco-starring Nurse Jackie: Season 5 (Lionsgate, 336 min., $29.97), and Olive Kitteridge (HBO, $39.98, BD $49.98), a 4-episode adaptation of Elizabeth Stout’s novel about an embittered retired Maine school teacher, who is played with rigorous honesty by Frances McDormand.  This is not a particularly entertaining saga—old people suffering from depression (and repression) are not exactly a barrel of laughs—but Lisa Cholodenko’s sensitive direction and superb performances from McDormand, Richard Jenkins, Zoe Kazan, and John Gallagher, Jr. make this slice-of-life drama a perfect example of “quality” television, which means it’s not for everyone, but it delivers the goods for those who enjoy “serious” programming.

There are a number of interesting foreign productions including Atlantis: Season 2, Part 1 (BBC, 270 min., $19.98, BD $24.98), which includes the first half of the final season of the fantasy series that aired here on BBC America.  Equally interesting to a different, more mature audience, is the French series Maison Close (Music Box Films, 480 min., $34.95, BD $39.95), which is set in a high class Parisian bordello in the wake of the Franco-Prussian War.  This series is not nearly as salacious as its title might suggest, and bears comparison with some of the best American cable dramas.

The best animated TV offering this week is Clarence, Vol.1: Mystery Pinata (Warner Bros., 132 min., $14.97), which collects the first episodes of the 2014 Cartoon Network series created by Skyler Page that was nominated for a Creative Arts Emmy.

This week’s major release is a big one, Sailor Moon: Season 1, Part 2 (Viz Media, 530 min., $44.82, BD/DVD Combo $69.99), which contains episodes 24-46 of the classic magical girl anime produced by Toei Animation and first broadcast in Japan in 1992 and 1993.  This is a continuation of the first high definition release of the Sailor Moon anime in North America, and presents the series as it was originally broadcast in Japan and not in the altered DIC version that was shown here in the 1990s.

New to North America (on disc) is the Engaged to the Unidentified Collection (Sentai Filmworks, 300 min., $49.98, BD $59.98), a subtitles-only release of the 2014 series produced by Dogakobo and based on the four-panel manga series written by Cherry-Arai about a busty teenage girl, who, on her 16th birthday, learns that her family has arranged a marriage for her.  This slice-of-life anime romcom was simulcast on Crunchyroll.

Also new this week is the Reideen Collection 2 (Sentai Filmworks, 325 min., $49.98), which collects the final 13 episodes of the 2007 series from Production I.G. that was basically a remake of the 1975 “super robot” anime Brave Raideen.  This nostalgia-inspired series is kind of cool if you dig the classic 1970s big robo genre, which remains popular in a Japan that is nostalgic for those booming years of robust economic growth.

The Digimon Fusion: Season 1 Collection (Cinedigm, 660 min., $44.99) only presents the U.S. dub version of the series, so is really only for the nostalgically-inclined Digi-fans.

--Tom Flinn

The opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily represent those of the editorial staff of ICv2.com.