Sure to be nominated for a few Oscars, “Moneyball” is now available on DVD and Blu-ray. If you’re a baseball fan, you definitely will want to check this one out. And even if you’re not a fan — even if, like my wife, you neither know nor care about baseball — you’ll probably want to watch “Moneyball,” too. It’s that good.

Sure to be nominated for a few Oscars, “Moneyball” is now available on DVD and Blu-ray. If you’re a baseball fan, you definitely will want to check this one out. And even if you’re not a fan — even if, like my wife, you neither know nor care about baseball — you’ll probably want to watch “Moneyball,” too. It’s that good.

Based on the best-selling book by Michael Lewis, “Moneyball” tells the story of Oakland A’s manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt), who was charged with putting together a winning team at bargain basement prices. Ignoring his veteran scouts in favor of young stat nerd Peter Brand (Jonah Hill), he hires players no one else wants — but players who, Brand assures him, can put numbers in the runs column.

For a movie that relies so heavily on math — salaries, batting averages, on-base percentages — “Moneyball” is surprisingly exciting. The script (by Aaron Sorkin and Steven Zaillian) does a remarkable job of delivering a lot of information without feeling like a fact dump, and the direction (by Bennett Miller) is consistently compelling, even though it takes place largely in dumpy offices and vacant locker rooms. But it’s Pitt and Hill who make this movie something special. It’s always fascinating to watch a couple of smart guys solving a seemingly insurmountable problem, and these two actors do a remarkably job of bringing those guys to life.

For your bookshelf

I’m a firm believer in the philosophy that says the more you know about something, the more fun it is. And, since I’m (obviously) a die-hard film fan, I’m always trying to add to my knowledge of movies — and yours too, if I can help it. In that vein, I’d like to recommend an excellent new pair of books that examine the process of crafting films — in fact, the book series is called “Filmcraft,” and the first two volumes are “Cinematography” by Mike Goodridge and Tim Grierson, and “Editing” by Justin Chang. (Focal Press, $29.95 each)

Those are two apt choices, because though the concepts are simple — essentially, cinematography is how you shoot a film and editing is how you puts those shots together — the actual processes are quite complicated. Thankfully, the Filmcraft books explain them in an entertaining way, using interviews with masters of each discipline and lots of concrete examples from films you’ve probably seen to illustrate their points. You can read them straight through or just pick a page with a movie you like and learn how it was made. If you’re like me, you’ll wind up reading the whole book this way and probably — add a few movies to your “to watch” list in the process.

Big and colorful, each book is laid out like a magazine, with plenty of art, sidebars and bits of extra information. For example, I learned that Michael Kahn, who edited “Schindler’s List,” got his first job working on “Hogan’s Heroes.” See? I told you knowledge can be fun!

‘Delocated’

As reality show spoofs go, the Adult Swim series “Delocated” has a great premise — in fact, it has two: After “Jon” testifies against the Russian mob, he and his family are moved to a witness protection program in a quiet suburb. But after “Jon” accepts an offer to be on a reality show, he and his family are whisked off to New York City for a fame-filled life in front of the cameras.

I think you see the conflict here — and that’s where the comedy comes in. To survive their stardom, “Jon” and his family are given ski masks and vocal surgery to mask their identities. Then — along with their trusty federal agent Mike — “Jon” and his family endure all the trials and tribulations of a typical reality show family — love, friendship, fights, romance and, of course, the danger of being spotted by the Russian mob. It’s all pretty funny stuff, especially if you have a slightly offbeat sense of humor.

Created by and starring comedian Jon Glaser, “Delocated” has been collected on DVD, with two seasons of the show plus commentary tracks, outtakes and other bonus bits. The third season kicks off Feb. 2, so if you plan on tuning in, this two-disc set is the perfect way to catch up.

Read Will Pfeifer’s Movie Man blog at rrstar.com/blogs/willpfeifer/ or email him at wpfeifer@rrstar.com.

Make room in your collection

Some DVDs out Tuesday, Jan. 17

“The Ides of March”: This political drama directed by and starring George Clooney didn’t do well at the box office, but it should find an audience on video, especially with a cast that includes Ryan Gosling, Paul Giamatti, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Marisa Tomei.

“Abduction”: Taylor Lautner leaves the “Twilight” world, puts on a shirt and stars in this action-packed movie about a young man (Lautner, of course) who discovers he’s involved in a dangerous conspiracy.

“Dutch”: Long before he played Jay on “Modern Family,” Ed O’Neill co-starred in this comedy-drama about a gruff man (guess who?) who retrieves his girlfriend’s snobby son (a young Ethan Embry) from his prep school. It was written and directed by the late John Hughes. Now it’s on Blu-ray.

“License to Drive”: Perhaps the finest moment of the legendary Corey Haim/Corey Feldman cinema partnership was this 1988 comedy, and now it’s on Blu-ray, too. Keep an eye out for a young Heather Graham as “Mercedes Lane.”

“Age of Heroes”: Sean Bean (“Lord of the Rings”) stars in this World War II action flick based (loosely, I’m guessing) on the true story of James Bond creator Ian Fleming’s commando unit.

“Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star”: Nick Swardson stars in this would-be comedy that holds the proud honor of having a zero rating on the Rotten Tomatoes movie sight. Nicely done, Nick!

And CDs

Dierks Bentley, “Home”: Singer/songwriter Dierks Bentley has sold 5 million albums, scored eight No. 1 hits and earned 10 Grammy nominations. What’s more, he’s played Rockford’s On the Waterfront festival.

The Residents, “Coochie Brake”: The famously secretive, endlessly mysterious Residents return with another album. One thing you can be sure you won’t see — any band photos on the back of the CD case. (The band’s faces have never been seen.)

Andrew Lloyd Webber, “Phantom Of The Opera at the Royal Albert Hall: In Celebration of 25 Years”: If you play it loud enough, the cheesy music might make the chandelier in your home come crashing down dramatically.

— Will Pfeifer

Sources: dvdtalk.com; tophitsonline.com