'The Lego Movie' is awesome

'The Lego Movie' is awesome
Emmet (voiced by Chris Pratt) and Batman (Will Arnett) in "The Lego Movie." (Warner Bros.)

The Lego Movie

Warner Bros., $28.98; Blu-ray, $35.99/$59.98


Available on VOD June 17.

It seemed like a cynical cash grab when it was announced, but it turned out to be one of 2014's best films. Writer-directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller make the most of the idea of building with colorful little blocks, telling a story about an ordinary construction worker named Emmet (voiced by Chris Pratt), who discovers Lego worlds beyond the one he's always known, where "master builders" fight against the hyper-conformist Lord Business. Like Emmet, audiences may also be surprised by how many layers the movie has, as it pokes fun at blockbuster fantasy movies (using some of the Warner Bros. properties licensed to Lego) and makes poignant points about giving kids the freedom to create. The DVD and Blu-ray add a commentary track and featurettes, as well as some funny deleted scenes.

Ernest & Celestine

New Video, $29.95; Blu-ray, $34.95

Available on VOD June 17.

The Oscar-nominated animated feature is based on Gabrielle Vincent's gentle picture-books, as adapted by the creators of the gleefully warped "A Town Called Panic." Ernest is a loud, clumsy bear who wants to be a musician; Celestine is a headstrong mouse who'd rather be an artist than a tooth-thief (which is what the other mice expect her to do). Their relationship is based on their mutual love of simple pleasures, and their fundamental decency, which gives this a lightly anarchic, pro-boho tone that's rare for a kid flick of this type. The movie as a whole is a pure delight, with its intricate depictions of the wealth-obsessed bear city and the industrious mouse city, both of which have economies in which teeth play a surprisingly significant role. The DVD and Blu-ray include the French and English language tracks, plus nifty featurettes.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

20th Century Fox, $29.98; Blu-ray, $39.99

Maintaining the momentum of his surprise box-office success "Moonrise Kingdom," writer-director Wes Anderson's latest is a stylish adventure movie about a 1930s concierge (played by Ralph Fiennes) who goes to extraordinary lengths to clear his name when he's accused of murder. Anderson's usual playhouse/diorama look fits surprisingly well with this period tale of intrigue and romance, which has made the film an even bigger hit than "Moonrise." The new film is funny and exciting, though Anderson also uses the aristocratic Eastern European setting to comment on the decline of the Old World between two wars. And until the inevitable Criterion DVD and Blu-ray of it "shows up, this first Fox edition will do nicely with its extensive featurettes.


Lionsgate, $19.98; Blu-ray, $24.99

After detouring into mainstream stoner comedies like "Pineapple Express," "Your Highness" and "The Sitter," director David Gordon Green has lately been returning to the low-key indie dramas with which he started his career, and he comes back especially strong with "Joe," which stars Nicolas Cage as a hard-bitten Texas ex-con who helps a troubled teen, played by Tye Sheridan. Based on a Larry Brown novel (with a script by Gary Hawkins), Joe is light on plot and heavy on atmosphere — accent on the heavy. Green mainly concerns himself with exploring a milieu of gruff, violent Southern men; and Cage gives one of his best performances as someone trying to break the cycle for another hard-case-in-training. The DVD and Blu-ray add a commentary track, deleted scenes and featurettes.


House of Cards: The Complete Second Season


Sony, $55.99; Blu-ray, $65.99


Criterion, $24.95; Blu-ray, $39.95

Masterpiece Mystery: The Escape Artist

PBS, $24.99; Blu-ray, $29.99

Walk of Shame

Universal, $19.98; Blu-ray, $26.99