This week's new DVD releases include an award-winning cable series and an Oscar-nominated story of love.
"Boardwalk Empire: The Complete Third Season," Grade: A: It would be enough to suggest watching the full season of this '20s-era crime drama from Terence Winter and Martin Scorsese merely for the explosive action, incredible cinematography and brilliant writing. But this series also features one of the finest acting performances you're going to find in a TV series, turned in by Steve Buscemi.
This season takes Buscemi's character — Atlantic City kingpin Nucky Thompson — from the clear visions of a gangland war to the confusion that comes as the aftermath of a vicious attack. Buscemi transforms himself and that gives the series a massive dramatic acting anchor.
Add in all of the other first-rate elements and this show is a shining example of the best TV has to offer.
"Amour," Grade A: Director Michael Haneke's haunting tale of love and loss skillfully examines the joy and pain of marriage. It's amazing that a film so quietly paced can deliver such an emotional wallop.
Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant) and Anne (Emmanuelle Riva) are a bourgeois couple who appear to be headed toward a peaceful retirement life inside their Paris apartment. That bliss is shattered when Anne suffers a stroke that leaves her right side paralyzed. Their lives dramatically change as Anne must live with the loss of her physical freedoms while Georges struggles with helping his wife as her physical condition spirals downward.
Haneke hangs on scenes allowing the viewer to consider the personal and philosophical questions being posed. There is a brutal solution, but there are no definitive answers.
The film earned Riva an Oscar nomination. And the film won the Best Foreign Language category. It's one of only four films to be nominated for both Best Picture and Best Foreign Language Film in the same year. It's worthy of all the high praise it can get.
Also new on DVD Tuesday:
"Scooby-Doo! Stage Fright": Things go bad when Fred and Daphne become finalists on the TV show "Talent Star."
"Killing Season": Reclusive vet (Robert De Niro) and tourist (John Travolta) strike up unlikely friendship.
"Scary Movie V": Charlie Sheen stars in this latest spoof of the horror movie genre.
"Graham Parker & The Rumour: This Is Live": Full concert of performance filmed for a scene in "This Is 40."
"Roadie": The Meat Loaf film is now available on Blu-ray.
"The Best of Pawn Stars: The Greatest Stories Ever Sold": Includes eight of the series best-loved episodes.
"Starzinger: The Movie Collection": A two-DVD box set of the classic Japanese science-fiction animation series.
"CatDog: The Final Season": Eight episodes of the cartoon series about a CatDog that can't get along with himself.
"Mike & Molly: The Complete Third Season": CBS comedy starring Billy Gardell and Melissa McCarthy.
"Stag": King of stag parties faces his own day with the guys. Donald Faison stars.
"Shadow Dancer": A single mother becomes a reluctant informant after an aborted IRA bomb plot in London.
"No Place On Earth": A Jewish family escapes from Nazi imprisonment by hiding underground for nearly a year and a half.
"The Best of Storage Wars: Life in the Locker": Each buyer's handpicked favorite and least favorite "Storage Wars" moments.
"Star Trek: Enterprise — The Second Season": The TV series about the pioneers of space travel who ventured into the universe 100 years before the events of "Star Trek"on Blu-ray.
"The Good Wife —Season Four": Julianna Margulies stars in the courtroom drama.
"NCIS: The 10th Season": CBS series about special agents in the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.
"NOVA: Manhunt —Boston Bombers": Investigation of the Boston Marathon bombings.
TV and movie critic Rick Bentley can be reached at (559) 441-6355, firstname.lastname@example.org or @RickBentley1 on Twitter. Read his blog at fresnobeehive.com.