'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' offers action and commentary

 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' offers action and commentary
"Marvel's Captain America: The Winter Soldier" is coming out on DVD and is on VOD. (Marvel)

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Disney/Buena Vista, $29.99; Blu-ray, $32.99/$39.99


Available on VOD

This year's assortment of superhero movies has been a lively and thought-provoking bunch, and that tone was set early on by Marvel's pre-summer offering "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," a fully realized action-adventure that doubles as a commentary on the surveillance state. As was the case with "The First Avenger," Chris Evans makes a natural Captain America, even after his Cap's been transplanted to a modern world where S.H.I.E.L.D.'s efforts to stop evil have begun to approach the level of fascism. While Cap deals with his conflicted feelings about his employers, directors Joe and Anthony Russo construct a complex thriller with action sequences that include grounded chases and spectacular aerial explosions. (Bonus points to the movie for its excellent use of Scarlett Johansson as Cap's athletic, ruthless partner, Black Widow.) The Russos contribute a commentary track to the DVD and Blu-ray, which also has deleted scenes and featurettes.


Warner Bros., $28.98; Blu-ray, $44.95

Available on VOD Sept. 16t.

Director Gareth Edwards attempts to bring the indie sensibility of his low-budget cult hit "Monsters" to his mega-budget remake/reboot of "Godzilla," and for about the first hour he succeeds by keeping the giant lizards and moths mostly off-screen and instead focusing on a father and son (played by Bryan Cranston and Aaron Taylor-Johnson) who've had their lives upended by these rampaging forces of nature. The movie's second hour is pretty much nonstop monster fights and mass destruction, but while it's less distinctive than what came before, it's suitably frightening, and even awe-inspiring. The "Godzilla" DVD and Blu-ray are also impressive, with copious featurettes that deal with the fictional and cinematic legend of the title creature.

The Fault in Our Stars

20th Century Fox, $29.98; Blu-ray, $49.99

John Green's popular young adult novel "The Fault in Our Stars" makes a fairly seamless transition to the screen, thanks in large part to Shailene Woodley's lively performance as a strong-willed teenage cancer patient who falls in love with a fellow bookworm (played by Ansel Elgort). Tear-jerking without ever becoming too saccharine, "The Fault in Our Stars" understands the deep bonds between adolescent boyfriends/girlfriends and also how a great novel can help even people in great pain see beyond themselves. The DVD and Blu-ray add deleted scenes and featurettes.


Criterion, $29.95; Blu-ray, $39.95

David Lynch's debut feature film, "Eraserhead," is as weird now as it was back in 1977, when Lynch's avant-garde explorations of industrial spaces — coupled with his surreal story about one young man's anxiety over becoming a husband and father — became a midnight movie sensation. But Criterion's new DVD and Blu-ray editions of "Eraserhead" (the first Lynch film to get the Criterion treatment) help make a landmark American independent film more accessible, via an illuminating assortment of early Lynch short films, and new and old interviews with him and his cast.

And …

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: The Complete First Season


Disney/Buena Vista, $45.99; Blu-ray, $79.99

Alpha House: Season 1

Amazon, $39.99; Blu-ray, $49.99


Cinedigm/New Video, $24.99; Blu-ray, $29.93

Available on VOD

Brick Mansions

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

Available on VOD

Burt's Buzz

Kino Lorber, $19.95; Blu-ray, $24.95

God's Pocket

MPI, $24.98; Blu-ray, $29.98

Sleepy Hollow: The Complete First Season

20th Century Fox, $39.98; Blu-ray, $49.99

Spartacus: The Compete Series

Starz/Anchor Bay Blu-ray, $149.99

Think Like a Man Too

Sony, $30.99; Blu-ray, $35.99

Available on VOD Sept. 16.