This Month's Picks

Mariah Carey's All I Want for Christmas Is You (BLU)

Mariah Carey's smash Christmas hit inspired this animated movie about a young Mariah who longs for a dog she sees in a pet shop, but must prove herself responsible by taking care of a rambunctious dog named Jack. The charming family film includes the voice talents of Carey herself, Breanna Yde ( School of Rock ), Henry Winkler, and Lacey Chabert ( Mean Girls ). More

The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature (BLU)

Will Arnett returns as Surly the squirrel whose Liberty Park home is threatened by the mayor's scheme to build an amusement park. The sequel to Nut Job is more fast-paced, slapstick fun, featuring recurring characters voiced by Maya Rudolph and Katherine Heigl, and newcomers Bobby Cannavale and Jackie Chan. More

The Defiant Ones (BLU)

This HBO documentary chronicles the unlikely partnership between producer and Interscope Records co-founder Jimmy Iovine and rapper/producer Dr. Dre. Filmed over three years, the absorbing four-part documentary includes extensive interviews with Iovine and Dre, behind-the-scenes studio footage and testimony from stars like Bono, Eminem, Ice Cube, Gwen Stefani and Tom Petty.More

Spirited Away (BLU)

The much-loved Spirited Away receives a new Blu-ray/DVD combo pack release, to the delight of Hayao Miyazaki fans everywhere. The wildly imaginative adventure story is enhanced by a 12-page booklet, storyboards and voice talent featurettes. More

The Tragically Hip: Long Time Running (DVD)

It's hard not to get heavy when discussing this documentary due to the untimely passing of lead singer Gord Downie. This last hurrah to one of Canada's greatest rock bands of all time has taken on an increasingly somber tone since his death in October. But as a testament to the band's unique style and passionate fanbase, Long Time Running is a hell of a high note to end it on. The documentary takes you through Tragically Hip's Man Machine Poem tour that was announced following Downie's sudden brain cancer diagnosis. Though that sad element does linger throughout the documentary, the film is more of a celebration of their relationships and creative fellowship during the 30+ years they've been around. But don't let this scare you away if you are new to the band and know nothing about them. The documentary functions on so many levels, exploring all the different facets of working together and their creative output while also being a pretty solid primer on the band's history. Even if you're not necessarily interested in their music, it's a powerful cinematic document of a particular and specific end to an era. How could you not be moved by the gripping moments where Downie and the band discuss the possible future for the band after his passing? This does not take into account the concert footage that is some of the most exciting and documented live band footage since the heyday of the '70s rock doc. Seeing Downie openly condemn Justin Trudeau's treatment of Canada's native people on stage during "Grace, Too" is a perfectly delivered political diatribe at the end of this epic track. Long Time Running is a living testament to one of the greats of contemporary rock while never wallowing in its all pity and sadness. It's a celebratory farewell that captures life better than most films do. More

From A Room: Volume 2 (CD)

Chris Stapleton
A songwriter in the outlaw country tradition, Chris Stapleton’s From A Room: Volume 2 serves up rootsy, atmospheric Americana that stands in stark contrast to the over-polished country pop dominating the airwaves. The album is a fine showcase for Stapleton’s many gifts; alternating between laid-back, down-home jams and slightly ominous forays into the Southern Gothic, each track is a world unto itself. Stapleton clearly knows what he’s doing: his ability to weave country soul and Appalachian folk into his work adds an extra level of sonic intrigue and an infusion of heart. This smart, authentic, and evocative album is one of the year’s best. More
Genre: Country

Songs Of Experience (CD)

U2
On Songs Of Experience , U2 channels the power of music to heal political divisions and find hope in the struggle. It’s a strong, cohesive album with Bono delivering his message with impassioned sincerity while stadium-ready riffs ring throughout the air. Basically, it’s classic U2 sounding more timely than ever. This earnest, adroit album will have listeners believing love, music, and compassion can change the world, too. More
Genre: Rock

Ella At Zardi's (CD)

Ella Fitzgerald
Here’s a secret: old, never-before released live recordings don’t come around every day. Especially not of old jazz legends in their prime. In 2017, when blown-out cell phone footage of any Ed Sheeran concert known to man is readily available online, this point might get lost a bit. So when a rare concert of Ella Fitzgerald performing at the short-lived Hollywood nightclub Zardi’s Jazzland in 1956 surfaces, you better bet you’ve got something special on your hands. Ella at Zardi’s presents this context entirely: there’s crowd noise, back and forth between audience and performer, clicking cocktails, and all the assorted ambiance of a dusky jazz nightclub to be found in this mix. But, most of all, it’s Ella herself. From the moment she begins to sing until the moment she stops, she owns all the air in the room. Norman Granz, founder of Verve records, makes the opening introduction to the Zardi’s congregation: “This is for real, for me she’s the greatest there is – Miss Ella Fitzgerald!” Can you really argue with that? More
Genre: Jazz

Re-Covered. (CD)

Dan Wilson
Dan Wilson isn’t exactly a household name, but he’s behind a lot more songs than most are probably aware of. Following his late '90s breakthrough hit “Closing Time” with his band Semisonic, Wilson has spent much of his subsequent career working as a professional songwriter for other artists, including penning hits for Adele (“Someone Like You”), the Dixie Chicks (“Not Ready To Make Nice”), and Taylor Swift (“Treacherous”), among many, many others. On Re-Covered , he takes those songs back. An album of reinterpretations, Re-Covered features Wilson’s tunes played and sung by the man himself. These renditions are largely stripped down, acoustic-heavy affairs, evoking what one would imagine as the rough drafts of some of these eventual blockbusters. And yes, there is even a version of “Closing Time” here. More
Genre: Rock

Misery (BLU)

The Stephen King classic receives a Blu-ray release with a crisp new transfer and digital surround soundtrack. Bonus material includes Rob Reiner and William Goldman's commentary tracks, a "making of" video, Marc Shaiman's discussion of the score, and brand new featurettes delving into Annie Wilkes' disturbed psychology. More