A handful of tour de force performances drive this week’s home entertainment releases, from David Oyelowo’s turn as an unhinged gay army vet in Nightingale (above) to Paul Dano and John Cusack as Beach Boys’ tortured genius Brian Wilson in Love & Mercy, to the musical powerhouses of TV’s Empire: The Complete First Season.
All that, plus the insane action and final franchise appearance of Paul Walker in Furious 7. Scroll down for the deets!
($24.99 Blu-ray, $19.98 DVD; HBO)
Selma‘s David Oyelowo again proves to be one of the best actors to get snubbed by the Oscars with this intimate, under-the-radar HBO film about a Norman Bates-esque war veteran waiting on a visit from his man crush and falling apart by the minute.
($24.99 Blu-ray, $19.98 DVD; Lionsgate)
The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson is depicted during two different phases of his life in this music-filled biopic. Paul Dano plays the young genius as he clashes with his fellow members (two of whom are siblings) over changing their musical direction with Pet Sounds and slips into spells of madness and morbid obesity, while John Cusack embodies the 1980s Wilson, manipulated by a controlling therapist of dubious merits and motives while he attempts to find romance. Extras include two making-of featurettes, deleted scenes, and commentary.
($34.98 Blu-ray, $29.98 DVD; Universal)
Director James Wan (Insidious) has put together not only the franchise’s most consistently thrilling and insane entries, and highest grossing at over $1 billion box office, but managed to do so with star Paul Walker lost to a tragic accident halfway through production. This time, the gang is pursued by Jason Statham, a vengeful merchant of death, while they attempt to keep a dangerous bit of software and its hacker-creator (a gorgeous woman, of course) out of enemy hands. Extras include deleted scenes, nine featurettes (none that reveal how the film was re-written around Walker’s death and completed with digital trickery and his two siblings as stand-ins), and a music video. Walker will be missed, but this gang is sure to be back soon.
($49.99 Blu-ray; Fox)
Executive producers Lee Daniels and Ilene Chaiken (The L Word) are behind this addictive and deliciously entertaining series about a music mogul, Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard), whose three adult sons and ex-wife all slug it out for control when he’s diagnosed with ALS. One of the sons, a R&B vocalist portrayed by Jussie Smollett, is gay, and proves a source of some of TV’s best drama these days (Smollett himself has publicly come out on Ellen). A massive stash of extras includes uncut musical performances by cast members including Smollett and Jennifer Hudson, a pair of featurettes, and a commentary on the pilot episode. Must-see TV, and Season 2 debuts Sept. 23.