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Oscar nominee Theory of Everything leads new movies on Blu-ray, DVD
Eddie Redmayne is Stephen Hawking and Felicity Jones is his wife, Jane, in the Oscar-nominated "The Theory of Everything," now on Blu-ray and DVD. - photo by Chris Hicks
The biographical film about Stephen Hawking that is nominated for five Academy Awards leads this weeks new movies on Blu-ray and DVD.

The Theory of Everything (Universal/Blu-ray/DVD/Digital/On Demand, 2014, PG-13, deleted scenes, audio commentary, featurette). Eddie Redmaynes startlingly genuine Oscar-nominated performance as Stephen Hawking anchors this biographical film, which covers 25 years in the life of the celebrated astrophysicist beginning in 1963.

Hawking is a Cambridge University student when the film begins and a romance develops with fellow student Jane Wilde (Felicity Jones, also nominated for an Oscar), followed by his devastating diagnosis of a motor neuron disease that will gradually rob him of his bodily functions. But they marry and have children, and Hawkings physical limitations dont slow down his thinking process as he achieves remarkable success in his chosen scientific field.

Based on Jane Wilde Hawkings memoir, the film is very well directed by James Marsh (an Oscar-winner for the documentary Man On Wire) so as to make the science fathomable, helped along by Johann Johannssons compelling musical score.

Life Itself (Magnolia/Blu-ray/DVD, 2014; R for movie clips of sex, nudity, violence, language; deleted scenes, featurettes, trailer). Fascinating, heartfelt documentary about the life and career of the late movie critic Roger Ebert, including his celebrated 25 years with Gene Siskel on their TV programs, his long run as a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer with the Chicago Sun-Times, his late-in-life marriage and the cancer that stole his health but could not silence his influential voice as he continued to write until his death. So personal and revealing that its a bit hard to take at times, but it remains compelling throughout.

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (Universal/Blu-ray/DVD/Digital/On Demand, 2014, PG, documentary: Isao Takahata and His Tale of the Princess Kaguya, featurette, trailers/TV spots). Beautifully realized English-dubbed Japanese animated fantasy about an aging couple that find a tiny young princess in a shining stalk of bamboo. Voice cast includes Chloe Grace Moretz, James Caan, Mary Steenburgen, Lucy Liu, James Marsden, Dean Cain, Oliver Platt, George Segal and John Cho.

The Homesman (Lionsgate/Blu-ray/DVD/Digital/On Demand, 2014; R for violence, sex, nudity; featurettes). Tommy Lee Jones co-wrote, directed and stars in this unconventional, harsh, occasionally disturbing Western as a claim jumper about to be hanged in 1854 Nebraska when hes rescued by a pious spinster (Hilary Swank) who coerces him into helping her transport three women across the territory to an Iowa church that cares for the mentally ill. Supporting players include Meryl Streep, John Lithgow and James Spader.

Dumb and Dumber To (Universal/Blu-ray/DVD/Digital/On Demand, PG-13, deleted/extended scenes, alternate opening, featurettes, bloopers). Twenty years later, Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels reunited with the Farrelly brothers for this sequel, whose deliberately misspelled title tells all.

Dying of the Light (Lionsgate/Blu-ray/DVD/Digital, 2014, R for violence and language, deleted/extended scenes, featurettes, trailers). Nicolas Cage stars in this thriller as a CIA agent diagnosed with a fatal form of dementia and forced into retirement, but when he learns that an old nemesis is alive, he goes after him. The film was written and directed by Paul Schrader (who wrote Taxi Driver, and wrote and directed American Gigolo, among others) but was taken from him in post-production and re-edited.

Skating to New York (Well Go/Blu-ray/DVD, 2014, PG-13). Low-budget independent film has five teenage boys leaving their small Canadian town to skate across Lake Ontario to New York on the coldest day of the year. In the process, they are forced to grow up as they overcome dangers and reveal secrets.

No Tears for the Dead (CJ/Blu-ray/DVD, 2014, not rated, in Korean with English subtitles or English dubbed, audio commentary, featurette). Big action sequences highlight this otherwise by-the-numbers yarn of a young Korean-American hit man who inadvertently kills an innocent child, which causes him his first wave of guilt. Then hes sent to Korea to kill the girls mother.

V/H/S: Viral (Magnet/Blu-ray/DVD, 2014; R for violence, sex, language, drugs; audio commentary, featurettes, photo galleries). Horror anthology with different directors contributing short films in the found-footage genre, with stories about teens with video cameras who take to the streets looking to make a splash on the Internet, running into serial killers, death cults, etc.
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