Earth's mightiest heroes--Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Hawkeye, Black Widow and Captain America--join forces to fight for the planet's survival. Starring Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, opens May 4.
Jennifer Lawrence stars in the long-awaited adaptation of the series of novels set in a future dystopia where child are sent into battle against one another. Co-stars Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland, Wes Bentley, Toby Jones and Lenny Kravitz.
Easily the movie of the year, both in box office appeal and pop cultural resonance. Marvel and parent company Disney took the superhero trend one step further by uniting its top tier of solo film stars – Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and the Hulk – and some A-list newcomers. There are multiple versions of the home video to consider, but we’ll suggest the five-disc set available exclusively at Target, which features a bonus documentary chronicling the step-by-step creation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
In a year filled with sequels, reboots and novel and comic book adaptations, writer/director/voice actor Seth McFarlane’s off-kilter, decidedly dirty and ultimately warm and fuzzy tale of a boy and his magically talking teddy bear aging into co-dependent slackers was the freshest concept of all – and definitely the funniest. If the theatrical version wasn’t edgy enough, the Blu Ray comes with an unrated edition, as well as a feature on how Ted and Mark Wahlberg’s motel fight scene was choreographed.
(Available Dec. 11)
"The Dark Knight Rises" and "The Dark Knight" Trilogy Limited Edition Set
Director Christopher Nolan’s grand finale to his acclaimed Batman epics – the most dark and serious-minded take on the Dark Knight yet – gets the Blu-Ray treatment. Beyond being definitive viewing for any would-be Gotham Citizen, it comes with what’s become a rare set of extra treats, most significantly a documentary on the history of the iconic Batmobile. Even better, a limited edition collector’s set offers all three of Nolan’s Batman films.
"The Hunger Games"
With many popular fantasy franchises aimed at teens coming to their conclusion of late, the first film installment of author Suzanne Collins’ bestselling sci-fi allegory was a welcome arrival, especially with Oscar-caliber actress Jennifer Lawrence in the lead as Katniss Everdeen. The most on-target extra: a featurette on Collins at the phenomenon behind her creation.
"Best Exotic Marigold Hotel"
Lest we forget that amid all the big screen adventures aimed at young eyes, adults enjoy a tale well told, director John Madden’s exotic escapade involving a bunch of expatriate British senior citizens retiring abroad to a hotel in India that doesn’t quite live up to its hype, but delivers on the promise of a new life, turned out to be the sleeper hit of the year – and an ideal film for repeat viewings.
"The Bourne Legacy"
After stints in “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” and “The Avengers” Jeremy Renner proves to be a good fit for just about any franchise, slipping seamlessly – and butt-kickingly – into the lead of the now-Matt Damon-less adventure as Aaron Cross, and the movie’s unique timetable, concurrent with prior Bourne action. The extras take the viewer deep into the creation of the film’s signature stunt sequences and globetrotting location shoots.
(Available Dec. 11)
With its intriguing is-it-or-isn’t-it-a-prequel-to-“Alien” pedigree, stunning visuals from director Ridley Scott and shaded performance by Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron and Noomi Rapace, the sci-fi/horror hybrid proved to be a polarizing experience for moviegoers, with some finding it brilliant and others left scratching their heads. The debate will remain as lively on Blu-Ray and those in the film’s thrall will be just as captivated by its eloquent use of 3D on the home screen.
"MiB3: Men In Black 3"
Perhaps the most expectations-exceeding sequel of the past year, the third outing is a surprise treat, continuing the franchise with more novel twists and a considerably warmer heart than director Barry Sonnenfeld and stars Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones and Josh Brolin might have delivered. Among the most intriguing features: compatibility with Sony’s forthcoming Movie Touch tablet technology, which opens up an unprecedented level of interactivity within the viewing experience.
"The Amazing Spider-Man"
Marvel’s friendly neighborhood wall-crawler got a major makeover from director Marc Webb focusing on the budding romance between high school dork-turned-superhero Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) and adorable science nerd Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). Although the storyline is a tad familiar, both the director and stars give it enough fresh twists to launch a promising new franchise, and the Blu-Ray – which also comes in a 3D edition – spins a dense web of production miscellanea within Spidey’s big reboot.
"The Expendables 2"
A sequel equal in firepower, Sylvester Stallone’s ragtag collection of movie action heroes gets a shot in the bulging bicep with some new faces – Liam Hemsworth and Yu Nan – some welcome old faces – Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude Van Damme – and a Planet Hollywood-sized shootout with Stallone, Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger that the first film neglected to include. Quite simply cinematic steroids for the action-addicted.
"Mad Men Season Five"
Always one of the most talked-about TV series, the fifth season of creator Matthew Weiner’s evocative exploration of the 1960s ad industry provoked even more buzz than usual, from Don’s new marriage and Betty’s altered appearance, to Joan’s game-changing move and Lane’s fateful choice. The Blu-Rays go even deeper into the show’s dense mythology with featurettes on topics like the razor-sharp dialogue, artist Giorgio de Chirico, Truman Capote’s Black and White Ball and even a history of Daylight Savings Time.
"Desperate Housewives Complete Series"
After eight seasons of revealing peeks of sex, sin and scandal behind the white picket fences of suburbia, the ladies of Wisteria Lane shuttered their blinds once and for all, but the sudsy dramas can be revisited in their entirety in this set that collects all 179 episodes on 46 discs – plus new bonus features including details from the last days on set, creator Marc Cherry’s finale cameo, and a retrospective of over 50 characters killed off over the course of the show. All packaged in a replica of Mary Alice’s familiar steamer trunk.