As we find ourselves gloriously trapped in the pinnacle of the DVD calendar year, much like February, March offers a multitude of powerhouse selections. One tactful marketing strategy has always been riding the wave of success generated from the annual Academy Awards ceremony, and 2014 is no different. Once again, the top three picks of the month all landed in my 10 Best of 2013, which means you have plenty of excellent titles to choose between.
American Hustle - 3 and a half stars out of 4 - (Read my full review here)
Nominated for a whopping 10 Academy Awards, David O. Russell's caper comedy, American Hustle, makes its way to DVD this month. Although the film found itself shutout at the awards ceremony, there's still plenty to love about the movie. Christian Bale headlines a lengthy list of knockout performances as Irving Rosenfeld, a deadbeat con-man who gets arrested by an FBI agent and is forced to assist the authorities in an elaborate plot to take down powerful politicians and members of the mafia. It has its flaws, but American Hustle is one of 2013's most thrilling and entertaining joy rides and one definitely worth seeing. (March 18th)
12 Years a Slave - 3 and a half stars out of 4 - (Read my full review here)
Unlike American Hustle, Steve McQueen's adapted true story, 12 Years a Slave, had quite the successful showing at this past Sunday's Oscar awards ceremony. Taking home three Academy Awards for its heartbreaking screenplay, a magnificent debut performance from Supporting Actress Lupita Nyong'o and the highly coveted Best Picture statue, 12 Years a Slave is a prototypical Oscar delight. Chiwetel Ejiofor stars as Solomon Northup, a free black man living in New York prior to the Civil War who is drugged and forced into a harsh life of slavery where he must struggle to survive. Uneasy and authentic, 12 Years a Slave isn't the type of film you look forward to experiencing, but its one that's saddled with great importance. (March 4th)
The Wolf of Wall Street - 3 stars out of 4 - (Read my full review here)
Martin Scorsese's epic satire, The Wolf of Wall Street, also found itself shutout on Oscar night, but this blockbuster has blown away audiences since its Christmas Day release. Irreverent and ambitious, The Wolf of Wall Street tells the true story of stockbroker Jordan Belfort's (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) towering rise to success and his ultimate demise. The debauchery is endless and the jokes are outrageous, in fact, there's nothing low key and normal about Scorsese's latest work. While some label this controversial tale as a perverse glorification of illegal activity, I view it as a comical journey into the modern day American-Dream mindset. (March 25th)
Honorable Mention: With a top three as strong as the films listed above, March is full of worthwhile secondary selections. First, there's the crop of movies I still haven't seen but I can't wait to get my hands on, the list includes The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (3/7), indie sensation Kill Your Darlings (3/18) and the Academy Award Winning animated film Frozen (3/18). Three other flawed but enjoyable films finding their way to DVD this month are Out of the Furnace (3/11), one of the Coen brothers' weakest but a still worthy feature Inside Llewyn Davis (3/11), and finally Disney's movie about making a movie Saving Mr. Banks (3/18).