The Master Critics called P.T. Anderson's story about a tortured soul (Joaquin Phoenix) who falls under the spell of a mysterious self-help guru-slash-religious cult leader (Philip Seymour Hoffman) "challenging" and "heady." Indeed it is, but give it a look if you aren't afraid of loose ends and a narrative that is less plot-driven as it is character portrait of two men who both depend upon and repel each other, a master and student whose issues may never be resolved. Radiohead guitarist Johnny Greenwood's score is lean and beautiful, the cinematography remarkable; Anderson nails the 1950s time period. But most of all, you'll want to watch this movie for the performances. It's no surprise Phoenix, Hoffman and Amy Adams were all nominated for acting Oscars. Extras: Outtakes, an 8-minute short on the making of (DVD/BD); the BD adds a documentary about WWII vets. Surprisingly, no cast or director commentary here.
Win it! Did you miss The Master in theaters? Win one of 2 copies of the BD combo pack by telling us which of the three actors' performances you're most curious to see. Enter in the comments below. Winners will be chosen at random March 5 and notified via email with 3 days to respond before alternate winner chosen. 18 and over, U.S. residents only, no P.O. boxes.
Holy Motors Speaking of challenging films, at least The Master's story makes some sort of sense. Leos Carax's surreal mind-bender that drew acclaim from critics and art house audiences follows a Frenchman named Oscar who appears as multiple characters in separate vignettes as he makes his way through Paris via limousine. If that's vague, try watching it. Extras: Making-of featurette and interview with co-star Kylie Minogue (BD extras only).
How to Survive a Plague This Oscar-nominated documentary follows the powerful story of how activist groups ACT UP and TAG were formed and helped put the AIDS epidemic at the forefront of our nation's attention, pushing for treatment that saved many lives. Extras: Commentary by the director and several key activists, deleted scenes (only available on DVD).
Chasing Mavericks Based on the true story of surfing legend Jay Moriarty, it follows a teenager's dream of taking on the formidable surf spot Mavericks. To help, he enlists a local legend as his trainer.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 The fifth and final installment of the franchise ends as Bella turns badass, and the final battle between the Cullens and the Vulturi is actually a bloody, beheading-y good time. Extras: A new extended edition Blu-ray of Part 1; director commentary; "Jump To..." feature that lets people watch only Edward's or only Jacob's scenes; 93-minute documentary called Forever Filming; featurette on filming both movies at once; Green Day music video for "The Forgotten."