bluejasmineBlue Jasmine (Sony, Blu-ray, DVD, Digital, On Demand) earned Cate Blanchett her sixth Oscar nomination and clearly she is a wonder in this film. Woody Allen reworks A Streetcar Named Desire‘s Blanche DuBois as a woman who remade herself into a Park Avenue socialite and is now adrift after her husband (Alec Baldwin) turned out to be a Madoff-like crook. Left with nothing but expensive tastes, an utterly self-absorbed personality, alcohol and pill abuse, and a nervous breakdown from which she has not completely recovered, she takes refuge with her working class sister (Sally Hawkins, also nominated this year) and her contractor boyfriend (Bobby Cannavale) without a shred of appreciation.

Woody is often sharp with character study and Jasmine is something else, but his portrait of San Francisco working class folk is less convincing and carried only by the strength of a typically excellent cast (it also co-stars Louis C. K., Andrew Dice Clay, Peter Sarsgaard and Michael Stuhlbarg) and an honesty and commitment that the socially poised rich of the film lack. But Blanchett is riveting as the unraveling, self-pitying socialite on the skids, drinking and popping Xanax until it lubricates her slide into denial.

Blu-ray and DVD both feature a 25-minute press conference with actor Cate Blanchett, Peter Sarsgaard and Andrew Dice Clay and a shorter promotional “Notes from the Red Carpet” featurette. No surprise, Allen makes no appearance in any of the supplements. The Blu-ray also features a bonus Ultraviolet Digital HD copy of the film.

CaptainPhilipsAnother Oscar nominee, Captain Phillips (Sony, Blu-ray, DVD, Digital, On Demand) directed by Paul Greengrass and starring Tom Hanks (who was overlooked this year) as the captain of a cargo ship boarded by Somali pirates, arrives on disc and digital. The film picked up six nominations, including Best Picture, Adapted Screenplay, and Actor in a Supporting Role for Barkhad Abdi, a Somali non-actor who made a vivid debut in the role of a pirate in a desperate situation. No review copy was made available before deadline so no notes on the extras.

PreyThe Prey (Cohen, Blu-ray, DVD), a French crime thriller that goes for rough-and-tumble grit over slick Luc Besson spectacle, is a clever idea with a lazy script more concerned with creating fights, chase scenes, and escapes from police dragnets than in constructing anything resembling intelligent police work. Albert Dupontel has an appropriately scuffed-up quality as Franck, a hard-luck bank robber serving out the last months of a sentence for a success robbery, until he has to escape when he learns that his recently released religious-fanatic cellmate (Stéphane Debac) is actually a serial killer heading for his wife and child. Alice Taglioni is the tough-as-nails detective assigned to track him down as new evidence (planted by the real killer) implicates Franck in a string of unsolved murders.

It’s not as complicated as it sounds—it’s basically The Fugitive with a creepy psycho in place of the one-armed man and the life of a kidnapped child at stake—and Eric Valette delivers on the action if not on the intelligence of the cops (who would forget to stake out the suspect’s own home after he escapes prison?). Franck takes a beating beyond human endurance through it all, but as long as the momentum keeps up, and you can almost overlook the rampant clichés and the script’s glaring missteps. Almost. No surprise, it’s already been picked up for an American remake.

French with English subtitles, with a 38-minute making-of featurette (filled with behind-the-scenes rehearsal and production footage) and a 13-minute interview with Eric Vallette (also in French with subtitles).

oldgoatsOld Goats (Music Box, DVD, Digital), an affectionate comedy about life after retirement, is a genuine indie production, shot in and around Seattle with three senior citizens (Britton Crosley and Bob Burkholder as old buddies, David Vanderwal as a newly retired guy who befriends them) playing fictionalized versions of themselves as they rattle around looking for activities to occupy their days. It has a likable, meandering quality to it, capturing the easy pleasures of simple friendship with a low-key sense of humor, and it picked up awards at a number of film festivals. With a bonus short film, featurettes, and deleted scenes among the supplements.

Actress Lake Bell makes her feature directorial debut with In a World … (Sony, Blu-ray, DVD, Digital, On Demand), an indie comedy set in the competitive culture of Hollywood voice artists and starring Bell as the daughter of a voice-over legend battling sexism to establish her own place in the industry.

Also new and notable this week:MacheteKills

Machete Kills (Universal, Blu-ray+DVD Combo, DVD, Digital, On Demand) brings Danny Trejo back as the Mexican super-agent, this time assigned to save America from a madman (Mel Gibson) at the urging of the president (Charlie Sheen, whose screen credit reads “Introducing Carlos Estevez”);

Charlie Countryman (Millennium, Blu-ray, DVD) stars Shia La Beouf as an American in Bucharest who finds out just how much trouble his dead mother left him in;

Instructions Not Included (Lionsgate, Blu-ray, DVD, Digital HD, VOD, On Demand) is the hit comedy from Mexico that hit the top ten box-office on its American release;

Garibaldi’s Lovers (Film Movement, DVD) is an Italian comedy from director Silvio Soldini (Bread and Tulips) about a widowed father struggling to raise two adolescent children. The DVD also features the bonus animated short film “The Kiosk” from Switzerland.

VOD / On Demand exclusives:allislostposter

All Is Lost (Lionsgate, Cable On Demand), starring Robert Redford as a man trying to survive at sea, comes to Cable On Demand and Digital download (via iTunes) three weeks in advance of disc release.

The Japanese drama Like Father, Like Son (Sundance, Cable On Demand), from director Hirokazu Kore-eda, won the Jury Prize at Cannes, will be available On Demand on January 23, a week after its American theatrical debut and months before disc.

Also available in digital format in advance of disc: About Time (Universal, Digital HD), the time-travelling romantic comedy from Richard Curtis (from iTunes), and Escape Plan (Lionsgate, Digital HD), the prison escape thriller with Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger (from Amazon).

Runner Runner (Fox, Cable on Demand) arrives On Demand after disc release.

More releases:InaWorld

Bad Milo! (Magnolia, Blu-ray, DVD, Digital)
Best Man Down (Lionsgate, Blu-ray, DVD, Digital)
Freezer (Anchor Bay, Blu-ray Combo, DVD, Digital HD)
Dead Weight (Horizon, DVD)
Richard the Lionheart (Lionsgate, DVD, Digital HD, VOD)
The Starving Games (Ketchup, DVD)
Black Water Vampire (RLJ/Image, DVD, VOD)
Phantom of the Grindhouse (Independent Entertainment, DVD, Digital)
Forward 13: Waking Up the American Dream (Cinema Libre, DVD, VOD)

Calendar of upcoming releases on Blu-ray, DVD, Digital, and VOD