In our weekly column, we give you the lowdown on the weekly top three essential DVDs and Blu-ray releases.
This week's releases run the gamut from one of the most hotly anticipated big action blockbusters of the summer, "The Dark Knight Rises," to a fantastic 3-D release of the animated Pixar classic "Finding Nemo," to the surprising and heartwarming independent powerhouse "Beasts of the Southern Wild." With such a range of films, you can begin to stock up now on stocking stuffers for the film lovers in your life.
1. "The Dark Knight Rises"
Starring: Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Anne Hathaway, Marion Cotillard and Morgan Freeman
Director: Christopher Nolan
Studio: Warner Bros.
Running Time: 165 min.
One of the biggest blockbusters of the year is finally available on Blu-ray and DVD.
In the final chapter of director Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, Christian Bale again assumes the role of billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne, whose alter ego Batman is the defender of Gotham City. It's been eight years since the events of the first film and this time Batman faces a foe unlike any other, a terrorist leader named Bane (Hardy), who lays waste to Gotham City and calls Batman out of his self-imposed retirement. With beautiful seductress Selina Kyle (Hathaway) at his side, Batman must once more find the strength to save Gotham City in the face of impossible odds.
Special features on this release include a documentary about the Batmobile, featurettes on the end of the trilogy, as well as production featurettes on every aspect of production from character studies to special effects and cinematography, trailers, an art gallery and much more.
This fantastic Blu-ray release also comes with a DVD and an UltraViolet digital copy.
2. "Finding Nemo" 3-D
Starring: Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Alexander Gould, Willem Dafoe, Brad Garrett and Allison Janney
Directors: Lee Unkrich, Andrew Stanton
Studio: Disney / Buena Vista
Running Time: 101 min.
It's been a decade since the original classic Pixar film's release, which recently found new life in 3-D.
"Finding Nemo" revolves around an overprotective clownfish father Marlin (Brooks) and his young son (Gould), who is unexpectedly scooped up and kidnapped after swimming too far from their coral reef. With Nemo stuck inside an aquarium far from home, it's up to Marlin and his new friend Dory (DeGeneres) to navigate the treacherous ocean waters and free Nemo.
Special features on this release include an exploration of aquariums in HD, visual commentary that showcases artwork and images, a tour of the Submarine Voyage at Disneyland, a filmmakers' roundtable discussion, "Knick Knack" theatrical short, outtakes, deleted scenes and much more.
The Ultimate Collector's Edition 3-D is a five-disc package that comes with a DVD, Blu-ray and digital copy.
3. "Beasts of the Southern Wild"
Starring: Quvenzhané Wallis, Dwight Henry and Levy Easterly
Director: Benh Zeitlin
Studio: Fox Searchlight
Running Time: 93 min.
"Beasts of the Southern Wild" explores the imaginative world of Hushpuppy (Wallis), a six-year-old girl who makes her home in Louisiana's bayou with her father Wink (Henry). The ice caps are melting, and ancient beasts are being released back into the world, inadvertently causing the storms threatening their home in the Bathtub. As hard-drinking Wink's health begins to fail and the aurochs head towards her home, Hushpuppy has to learn how to stand up for herself and the people she loves.
This mystical and moving tale made waves at Sundance and is getting big Oscar buzz.
The special features on this release include a making-of featurette, audio commentary by director Benh Zeitlin, deleted scenes, auditions and the original trailer for the film.
This Blu-ray release comes with a DVD and digital copy as well.
Want more awesome DVD picks? Check in with Queue it Up over at NextMovie!