This week’s home entertainment offerings include a top Oscar contender, a visually-stunning Pixar film that actually lost money, the latest Doctor Who Xmas Special, the second season of Fargo and Shaun the Sheep, plus a Blu-ray edition of Warehouse 13.

Theatrical Movies

This week’s top release is Spotlight (Universal, “R,” 258 min., $29.98, BD $34.98), a “true life” saga that follows the Boston Globes “Spotlight’ team of investigative journalists, who broke the story of the cover-up of the sexual abuse of children that took place in the Archdiocese of Boston.  Mark Ruffalo (The Hulk) stars along with Rachel McAdams, Michael Keaton, and John Slattery in this powerful film that is one of this year’s major Oscar contenders with six nominations including “Best Supporting Actor” (Ruffalo), “Best Supporting Actress” (McAdams), “Best Film Editing,” “Best Original Screenplay,” “Best Director,” and “Best Picture.”

Also out this week is a rare Pixar misfire, The Good Dinosaur (Disney, “PG,” 94 min., $29.98, BD $39.99), somewhat juvenile, somewhat sentimental story set in an alternate universe in which the dinosaurs avoided extinction (no asteroid hit) and humans somehow evolved anyway.  The Good Dinosaur earned $300 million worldwide, but it cost at least $200 million to produce, which means that the studio lost money on the film.  Still there are spectacular visuals here, and plenty of reasons why animation buffs will want to own a copy of this film, which in terms of the subtlety of its computer animation and the integration of its nearly photorealistic backgrounds represents a new standard of excellence.  Even on those rare occasions when Pixar films fail to connect with the mass audience, the groundbreaking studio’s films remain on the cutting edge animation art and well worth viewing.

The decision to remake Juan Jose Campanella’s excellent 2009 Argentinian film The Secret of Their Eyes (see “DVD Round-Up: Week of June 1st”) was not a good one, and it led to one the lowest-grossing films in Julia Roberts’ long and illustrious screen career, The Secret of Their Eyes (Universal, “PG-13,” 224 min., $29.99, BD $34.99).  The problem is not the story, which remains intriguing, but the context.  In Campanella’s the story is set in a military dictatorship, and the prosecutor has to fight the corruption of the regime, which is hiding the identity of the well-connected murderer, while in the American remake, which is set in the U.S., the focus is on the gray area that lies between “justice” and “revenge.”


Top releases in this category for geek viewers include Doctor Who: The Husbands of River Song (BBC, $14.98, BD $19.98), which contains the 2015 Christmas Special; Fargo: The Complete Second Season (Fox, 560 min., $39.98, BD $49.99), the wildly subversive FX series based on the Coen Brothers’ film; the delightful stop-motion-animated Shaun the Sheep: Season 2 (Lionsgate, $14.98); and the Blu-ray edition of the quirky science fiction series Warehouse 13: The Complete Series (Universal, 2,842 min., BD $199.98), which includes all 63 episodes of the series on 15 discs.

Animated offerings include the classic The Gumby Show: The 60’s Series, Vol.1 ($14.98), and the single-disc Transformers: Rescue Bots, Vol. 9: Adventures in Time and Space (Shout Factory, 110 min., $14.98).

Just in time for Lent is a new Blu-ray edition of the Jesus of Nazareth Miniseries (Shout Factory, 382 min., BD $24.97), which collects the 1977 British/Italian co-production directed by Franco Zeffirelli that stars Anne Bancroft, Laurence Olivier, Christopher Plummer, Ernest Borgnine, Anthony Quinn, Rod Steiger, Peter Ustinov, and Robert Powell as Jesus.

This week’s overseas offering is a great one, the 1980s comedy/drama The Irish R.M.: The Complete Collection (Acorn Media, 965 min., $59.99), which is based on the novels of Somerville and Ross about a “resident magistrate,” an Irishman who served in the British army before obtaining the post of “resident magistrate” in the picturesque west of Ireland at the beginning of the 20th Century.  This extremely well-acted series was filmed entirely in County Kildare and County Wicklow, and comes highly recommended for those who enjoy subtle subversive humor and meticulously produced historical dramas that don’t ignore the political realities of the era.


This week’s top release is the Tokyo ESP: Complete Collection (Funimation, 300 min., BD/DVD Combo $64.98, Ltd. Ed. $69.98), which collects the 12-episode 2014 anime series from Xebec that is based on the shonen science fiction manga by Hajime Segawa about a poor high school girl who discovers that she can pass through solid objects and then teams up with a teleporting classmate to battle others who use their “powers” for evil.

Also new this week is the No-Rin: Complete Collection (Funimation, 300 min., $64.98), which collects all 12 episodes of the 2014 comedy/romance from Silver Link that is based on a series of light novels by Shirow Shiratori about an idol singer who retires at the height of her fame to attend an agricultural college where some of her biggest fans also go to school.

The 13-episode Madhouse comedy Photo Kano was released on DVD in 2014, but now the Photo Kano: Complete Collection (Sentai Filmworks, 325 min., Subtitles Only, BD $59.98) is available in a hi-def Blu-ray edition.

This week’s re-priced re-release is the Ga-Rei-Zero: Complete Collection (Funimation, 300 min., BD/DVD Combo $34.98).