Top 25 New Titles of 2014: A year’s bounty of digital pleasures 

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by Michael Barrett
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Here’s our alphabetical list of the best new productions released on DVD or Blu-ray in 2014. How many have you seen?

The Act of Killing

Joshua Oppenheimer’s astounding documentary of Indonesian gangsters who killed a million people for the Suharto regime in 1965-66 is presented in two very different cuts.

American Hustle

David O. Russell channels Martin Scorcese. All actors are perfect, with special kudos to Jennifer Lawrence’s ballsy dementia.

[Related: David O. Russell takes it up a notch on ‘American Hustle’]

Back in Crime

In Germinal Alvarez’s tricky time-travel tale, a detective solves a murder while avoiding his younger self.

The Best Offer

Indebted to Vertigo, Giuseppe Tornatore’s stylish puzzle centers on Geoffrey Rush’s portrayal of a crooked art appraiser who falls in love with a woman he can’t meet.

Blue Is the Warmest Color

Abdellatif Kechiche’s lesbian tango is among the most complex, passionate studies of any young woman in cinema, and the nudity’s nothing to sneeze at.

Confession of Murder

Jeong Byeong-gil’s amazing, inventive thriller proves action isn’t dead and can still be truly thrilling. There’s even political subtext amid the head-spinning twists.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Wes Anderson’s meticulous, anecdotal whimsy is a shaggy nesting of flashbacks with immoderate colors and many stars.

[Related: How 'Grand Budapest Hotel' Helped a Wes Anderson Hater Change (Sorta)]

Gravity

Alfonso Cuarón directs Sandra Bullock on an exhilarating ride whose visual gymnastics create the longest traveling shots in the universe.

Her

Spike Jonze’s gentle creation observes a man (Joaquin Phoenix) who falls in love with a computer voice (Scarlett Johansson).

[Related: Spike Jonze’s ‘Her’ Packs Sci-Fi Horror into RomCom Ideals]

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Not as good as the first, but still.

[Related: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire' fans the flames brighter]

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Inside Llewyn Davis

The Coen Brothers mix beauty, whimsy and wonderful music in a movie to savor.

[Related: ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ is a Great Study of a Flawed Character]

The Lunchbox

Ritesh Batra directs a low-key study of two lonely souls in Mumbai.

Manakamana

A stationary camera observes passengers in a cable car over lush Nepali vistas in this serene, minimalist “immersive documentary” from Harvard’s Sensory Ethnography Lab.

Mood Indigo

Exuberant visual overload marks Michel Gondry’s surreal romance.

Nymphomaniac

Skip the four-hour version. Lars von Trier’s five-and-a-half-hour “Extended Director’s Cut” is one of the two most enthralling films of 2014 I’ve seen (with Under the Skin).

Only Lovers Left Alive

Jim Jarmusch directs Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston as the most fashionably bored vampires since The Hunger. Compare with recent creative bloodsuckers Thirst, Midnight Son, Byzantium, Vampire and the film this most resembles, Kiss of the Damned.

[Related: Jarmusch’s 'Only Lovers Left Alive' Proves Humans are the True Monsters]

Orphan Black: Season Two

This Canadian BBC-America thriller is a creative, unpredictable showcase for Tatiana Maslany.

The Past

Asghar Farhadi’s analysis of a French/Iranian family is a brilliantly acted, gracefully shot, suspensefully constructed moral tale.

[Related: ‘The Past:’ The greatest Iranian film ever made in French]

Philomena

Stephen Frears directs Judi Dench and Steve Coogan in an effective road trip.

Pig

Henry Barrial’s low-budget entry to recent time-loop movies begins with a man in the desert, a bag over his head. Check also Tom Cruise in Edge of Tomorrow.

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True Detective: The Complete First Season

TV’s most atmospheric, brilliantly constructed twister stars Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey as troubled cops.

Under the Skin

Jonathan Glazer’s beautiful avant-garde dance disguised as a movie is my other most enthralling film of 2014 (with Nymphomaniac). Scarlett Johansson cruises Scotland in a white van, picking up guys and doing something literal and symbolic and eerie to them.

[Related: Skin Deeper: Scarlett Johansson as predator in ‘Under the Skin’]

Visitors

Godfrey Reggio and Philip Glass made a visual symphony in B&W digital video of people staring at the camera. It’s less a movie you watch than one that watches you, with Nietzsche references to prove it.

Wadjda

The first feature shot in Saudi Arabia (and first by a woman, Haifaa Al Mansour), is a simple, detailed, humorous story of a girl who wants a bicycle, which everyone tells her isn’t proper.

The Wolf of Wall Street

Martin Scorcese’s funniest movie is like Goodfellas, without the murder.

[Related: Scorsese Outdoes Himself with ‘The Wolf of Wall Street']

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Here’s our alphabetical list of the best new productions released on DVD or Blu-ray in 2014. How many have you seen?

The Act of Killing

Joshua Oppenheimer’s astounding documentary of Indonesian gangsters who killed a million people for the Suharto regime in 1965-66 is presented in two very different cuts.