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The Shelf: COSMOS, JACK RYAN, NON-STOP

There’s a healthy and hearty mixture of things educating and entertaining on this week’s Shelf. From spies and samurai to cops and cuddly things, it’s all here stirred in a pot until a fine puree of goodness. I’m not even sure what I’m talking about anymore, but there are Blu-rays and DVDs. There you go.

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey
How excited were we all when it was announced that Neil deGrasse Tyson was going to get to host a television series about science, discovery, time, and human ingenuity? Like tons and tons. Even better that the show was one of the best and most consistently entertaining science and learning programs ever produced. This Blu-ray set has an extra 2 hours of content for your learning-hungry brain to enjoy as well, so you’re in for the nerdiest of treats.

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
For years, Tom Clancy’s paper-pusher turned hero Jack Ryan has been America’s literary answer to James Bond, although far less stylish, suave, or even in control. For the fifth movie starring the character, Chris Pine gets called in to do Ryan duty (sounds gross but isn’t) and he’s paired with mentor Kevin Costner and should-be-in-the-dark girlfriend Keira Knightley to deal with the terrifying Russian thug played by Kenneth Branagh, who also directs. It was voted the best film for people over 50 to see when it was in theaters. So that’s something. Click here for our interview with Sir Kenneth Branagh about directing an American spy caper, as well as himself.

Non-Stop
Like most marketing for films he’s in, the trailers for Non-Stop make it look like Liam Neeson punching a plane full of people, or even the plane itself. In actuality, it’s a tense and twisty Whodunit where the only thing the audience knows for sure is that someone’s doing something bad and Liam’s gonna stop it. Classic Neesons. Click here to read my full review of the Blu-ray.

Ernest & Celestine
One of the most delightful and adorable animated films I’ve seen in a long time, Ernest & Celestine is the story of a grumpy, nearly-homeless bear named Ernest who forms an unlikely friendship with an artistic little mouse named Celestine. You should know that, in this world, mice and bears are mortal enemies, and the only creatures who apparently live on Earth. Little weird? Well, it’s a French movie. Read my full review of this lovely, watercolory film and its Blu-ray right here.

Alan Partridge
Alan Partridge is a character created and performed by comedian Steve Coogan. A pompous television and radio personality, Partridge began on shows On the Hour and The Day Today before getting his own chat show Knowing Me, Knowing You. When that went belly up (fictionally), Alan moved to Norwich where he became a radio DJ on the series I’m Alan Partridge. Now in his first feature film appearance, Alan Partridge must attempt to broker a peaceful surrender of a gunman, former radio station employee Pat (Colm Meaney), let go by the merger, before people get hurt. Naturally, Partridge uses this an excuse to return to the greater British public eye, maybe even… the WORLD!

Bushido Man
If you’re hankering for a movie where a guy fights increasingly deadly different people with increasingly deadly weapons, then Bushido Man is the movie for you. Great martial arts action and fight choreography. And it was made on the low-budg as well, which is all the more impressive. Read my full review of Bushido Man here.

Ray Donovan Season 1
Jonah will be happy to know is favorite TV show is on DVD, although he probably has them all DVR’d already.

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