Disney’s “Big Hero 6” is among 2014’s top 10 box-office hits and won the Academy Award last weekend for Best Animated Feature. This week, it was released on Blu-ray and DVD.
“Big Hero 6” (Disney/Blu-ray/DVD/Digital, 2014, PG, deleted scenes, featurettes, gag cartoons, theatrical short: “Feast,” trailers). It would seem that the Disney animation studio has been inspired by its acquisition of Pixar and Marvel, both of which churn out one critically acclaimed hit after another. Disney’s own animation arm has started doing the same thing with “Wreck-It-Ralph,” “Frozen” and now “Big Hero 6,” its first Marvel cartoon.
Although by the film’s last act it has devolved into a routine save-the-day superhero yarn, this is mostly an inventive, often hilarious story of a young boy and his unconventional robot in futuristic San Fransokyo.
The robot is a quiet, low-key riot, and the movie is filled with the kind of intricately choreographed sight gags at which Hollywood once excelled but which is now nearly a lost art. Parents and kids will find equal enjoyment in this one.
“Whiplash” (Sony Classics/Blu-ray/DVD/Digital, 2014, R for language, deleted scene, audio commentary, featurettes). Young drumming prodigy (Miles Teller) goes to a New York conservatory and joins a studio jazz band but soon discovers the conductor (J.K. Simmons, who won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor) is sadistic in his approach to the students, using humiliation as a motivational tool. Conflicts galore ensue. Paul Reiser co-stars as Teller’s father.
“The Interview” (Columbia/Blu-ray/DVD, 2014; R for language, nudity, drugs, violence; deleted/extended/alternate scenes, audio commentary, featurettes, episode of “Naked and Afraid”). This is the notorious, controversial farce about a celebrity talk show host (James Franco) being invited to interview North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, then being approached by the CIA to assassinate the dictator. Seth Rogan, who also co-wrote, co-produced and co-directed, co-stars as Franco’s producer. Eminem, Rob Lowe, Bill Maher, Seth Meyers, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Brian Williams and Scott Pelley appear as themselves.
“Horrible Bosses 2: Extended Cut” (Warner/Blu-ray/DVD/Digital, 2014, R for sex and language, theatrical/extended versions, featurettes). Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis return for another sleazy comedy about fed-up employees getting revenge on their bosses, this time becoming entrepreneurs with their own business before an investor double-crosses them. Co-stars include Jennifer Aniston, Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx, Chris Pine and Christoph Waltz.
“The Master” (Lionsgate/DVD/Digital, 2015, PG-13, trailers). A martial arts master opens a school in 19th century China that combines techniques from various disciplines honed in the north and south provinces. His hope is to unite his people against the corrupt Qing Dynasty’s greedy landlords, crooked officials and a band of invaders.
“The Shift” (Cinedigm/DVD/Digital/On Demand, 2015, not rated). During a 12-hour emergency room shift, two nurses are at odds over ethical questions about keeping patients alive or allowing them to die in extreme situations. When a girl dying of cancer is admitted because of an infection, their moral ground is tested. Danny Glover plays the nurses’ mentor.
“The Intruders” (Sony/DVD/Digital, 2015, PG-13, featurettes). Miranda Cosgrove stars in this horror yarn about a college student who moves into a haunted house with her father (Donal Logue) — but, of course, no one believes her when she complains about things that go bump in the night.
“Green Street Hooligans Underground” (Lionsgate/DVD/Digital, 2014; R for violence, language, sex, nudity; featurette). This is the third in the Green Street franchise of British films about football hooligans that engage in fights after matches. Here, a young man (Scott Adkins) that has left that life returns for revenge after his brother is killed.
“VANish” (Dark Sky/Blu-ray/DVD/Digital/On Demand, 2015, alternate endings, audio commentary, bloopers, trailer). A trio of thugs kidnaps the daughter (Maiara Walsh) of a drug cartel boss (Danny Trejo) and drive around with her in their van. (“VANish,” get it?) But she’s no victim and they soon regret their decision.Comment on this story
“Final Prayer” (Lionsgate/DVD/Digital, 2015, R for language and violence, featurette, trailers). Supernatural found-footage thriller follows Vatican investigators — a priest, a tech expert and a skeptic — as they investigate a reported miracle at a remote, centuries-old English church. But they end up making a sinister occult discovery.