'Sonic Highways' and 'A Most Violent Year' among offerings

'Sonic Highways' and 'A Most Violent Year' among offerings
Butch Vig, left, Pat Smear and Dave Grohl. (Roswell Films / HBO)

Sonic Highways

RCA, $19.98; Blu-ray, $29.98


As an offshoot of Dave Grohl's "Sound City" — a documentary about a famed Los Angeles recording studio — the Foo Fighters frontman decided to tour studios across America, recording a new song at each location. "Sonic Highways," the eight-episode HBO series Grohl made about the project, doubles as a celebration of various U.S. music scenes and how they've provided communities of outsiders a place to thrive. Grohl talks with his contemporaries and personal heroes in Chicago, L.A., Washington, D.C., Nashville, Austin, New York, New Orleans and Seattle, looking at how popular music has developed in different ways in different parts of the country. Even rock scholars are likely to learn something from "Sonic Highways" because it offers the perspective of one smart, passionate fan who also happens to be the leader of one of the most popular bands of the last two decades. The DVD and Blu-ray add bonus footage.

A Most Violent Year

Lionsgate, $19.98; Blu-ray, $24.99

Director J.C. Chandor follows his elemental, near-dialogue-free adventure film "All Is Lost" with a very different project: a muted period picture, set in and around the world of crime and big business in the New York City of 1981. Oscar Isaac plays a would-be shipping magnate trying to run a clean company, but he keeps bumping up against competitors with mob ties who force him to live down to his reputation as a petty crook who made it big after he married a mafioso's daughter (Jessica Chastain). "A Most Violent Year" could use a little more energy and action, but it's wonderfully acted — including the supporting turns by Albert Brooks, Alessandro Nivola and David Oyelowo — and it captures the chill and decay of a New York caught between the fiscal crises of the 1970s and the economic boom of the 1980s. The "A Most Violent Year" DVD and Blu-ray include a Chandor commentary track, deleted scenes and featurettes.

The Voices

Lionsgate, $19.98; Blu-ray, $24.99

After adopting her own graphic novels "Persepolis" and "Chicken With Plums," cartoonist Marjane Satrapi's latest effort as a movie director is a pitch-black comedy, written by Michael Perry and starring Ryan Reynolds as a cheery doofus who may be a serial killer. The title of "The Voices" refers to the pet dog and pet cat (among other animals) who talk to the hero and help him justify his more extreme behavior. The bright tone and dark subject of "The Voices" has offended some viewers, but the film is an interesting attempt at getting inside the head of a delusional individual, and it benefits greatly from Satrapi's visual flair. The DVD and Blu-ray come with deleted scenes and featurettes.

The Immigrant

Starz/Anchor Bay, $29.98; Blu-ray, $34.99

Had James Gray's "The Immigrant" received better distribution and a stronger promotional push, there's no reason why it wouldn't have been in the conversation for major awards at the end of last year. Marion Cotillard gives a performance to rival her Oscar-nominated "Two Days, One Night" turn, playing a Polish woman who arrives in New York in 1921 and finds her fate in the hands of two cousins: a pimp (played by Joaquin Phoenix) and a magician (Jeremy Renner). Beautifully shot and compellingly melodramatic, "The Immigrant" is a subtle, sophisticated examination of America at its best and basest. The DVD and Blu-ray add a Gray commentary and a featurette.


Grantchester: Season One

PBS, $34.99; Blu-ray, $39.99

Home Sweet Hell


Sony, $26.99; Blu-ray, $30.99

Inside Amy Schumer: Seasons 1 & 2

Comedy Central, $26.98

Invaders From Mars

Scream! Factory Blu-ray, $24.97

Manhattan: Season One

Lionsgate, $49.98; Blu-ray, $49.97