Captain Phillips

Sony, $30.99; Blu-ray, $40.99

Available on VOD beginning Jan. 21

The true story of the hijacking of the freighter Maersk Alabama becomes a refreshingly original action movie in "Captain Phillips," a Paul Greengrass-directed, Billy Ray-scripted, Tom Hanks-starring docudrama that plays up the complexities of the conflict with a you-are-there intensity. As Richard Phillips, Hanks is officious and even a little prickly, which exacerbates the situation when he's being held at gunpoint by a young, wiry pirate (Barkhad Abdi) with nothing to lose. Ray and Greengrass focus on the details of modern commercial shipping and the culture of African piracy, lending realism and a kind of existential horror to a life-or-death scenario. Greengrass provides a commentary track to the DVD and Blu-ray, which also have a trio of featurettes.

On the set: movies and TV

All Is Lost

Available on VOD beginning Jan. 21

Who needs dialogue? Who needs back story? Writer-director J.C. Chandor's "All Is Lost" has a mostly non-speaking Robert Redford playing a lone boatman whose small craft suffers serious damage while he's sailing through the Indian Ocean. For the next 100 minutes, Chandor shows his hero struggling to stay afloat and alive long enough to signal for rescue. The audience never learns anything about the character known as "Our Man." We just think and sweat along with him through one nail-biting, masterfully choreographed escape after another. "All Is Lost" is like an earthbound "Gravity" — and, like "Gravity," is one of the best films of 2013.

PHOTOS: Billion-dollar movie club

Blue Jasmine

Sony, $30.99; Blu-ray, $35.99

Available on VOD beginning Jan. 21

Woody Allen's late-career creative and commercial resurgence continues with "Blue Jasmine," a comedy-drama — though it's more the latter than the former — about a self-absorbed, delusional New York socialite whose husband gets jailed in a financial scandal, leaving her with nothing. Cate Blanchett plays the socialite, Jasmine, who comes to San Francisco to stay with her adopted sister Ginger (Sally Hawkins) and struggles to adjust to having no money and prospects. Blanchett is astonishing as a woman who's been playing the part of an aristocrat her whole life and is starting to crack from the pressure of not living up to her ideal of herself. Allen takes it all in, watching without passing judgment. The DVD and Blu-ray include cast interviews.

PHOTOS: Celebrities by The Times

In A World …

Sony, $30.99; Blu-ray, $35.99

Available on VOD beginning Jan. 21

Unlike a lot of indie comedies, writer-director Lake Bell's "In A World …" ventures into largely unexplored territory, with Bell playing a voice actor trying to advance her career in a field dominated by men like her father (Fred Melamed). But like too many indie comedies, "In A World …" doesn't have much of a plot and mostly relies on a string of awkward encounters and clichéd relationship drama. It's likable, with an outstanding cast (including Ken Marino, Michaela Watkins, Nick Offerman and Demetri Martin), but it's a little too light on ambition. The DVD and Blu-ray add deleted scenes, a gag reel and a Bell commentary.

And…

It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

Criterion Blu-ray, $49.95

Machete Kills

Universal, $29.98; Blu-ray, $34.98

Available on VOD beginning Jan. 21

The Returned: The Complete First Season

Music Box, $29.95; Blu-ray, $34.95

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