Who does best-selling nonfiction author Michael Lewis think he is — Nicholas Sparks? We’re kidding, of course — but Hollywood does seem increasingly inclined to view Lewis as a source-material brand, never mind how strongly his books might resist multiplex treatment. “The Big Short” (2015), adapted from Lewis’s off-center look at the 2008 financial crisis, is an even unlikelier movie than his portrait of an adoptive football mom in “The Blind Side” or of statistics obsessives conjuring baseball magic in “Moneyball.” Just as improbable: Comedy director Adam McKay (“Anchorman”) is the one directing Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, and Brad Pitt as finance-industry upstarts betting big that Wall Street will get its housing-bubble comeuppance. McKay and co-writer Charles Randolph deserved their best adapted screenplay Oscars for everything they brought to their abstruse topic — the clever layperson’s breakdowns, the random celebrity bottom-lining from Selena Gomez and chef Anthony Bourdain. Still, even with repeat viewings on disc, the film does betray some limitations. Despite all the crisply scripted metaphors and direct-to-camera asides, the territory remains somewhat confusing. (And no, the Blu-ray supplements don’t make everything clear, either.) McKay and company’s achievement isn’t so much making the crisis accessible as it is making it accessible enough. Extras: Hi-def featurettes include a 10-minute director spotlight aptly titled “The Big Leap.” McKay recalls the blue-sky conversation with his agent that led to landing this assignment from rights-holder (and “Moneyball” vet) Pitt, an opportunity he never imagined he’d have. Turns out his “Big Short” reach was long enough after all. (Paramount, $29.99; Blu-ray, $39.99)
Maybe you watched Todd Haynes’s 2002 effort, “Far From Heaven,” and you thought that melodrama could have done more with Dennis Quaid’s sympathetic supporting turn as a closeted ’50s professional navigating an illiberal world. Haynes finally follows through, after a fashion, by adapting Patricia Highsmith’s novel “The Price of Salt.” Oscar-nominated Cate Blanchett stars as a well-to-do wife trapped in a sham marriage, while nominee Rooney Mara is the soul-searching Manhattan shopgirl who finds herself through Blanchett’s affections. Elegant and poignant. Extras: cast and crew Q&A. (Anchor Bay, $29.98; Blu-ray, $34.99)
Time for more pathos with a ’50s New York setting and an Oscar pedigree. Nominee Saoirse Ronan plays a young Irish immigrant who struggles with homesickness, finally finds love and connection, then loses her bearings all over again, thanks to developments back home. Emory Cohen (“The Place Beyond the Pines”) is the Italian-American guy who manages to turn her head; the cast also includes Domhnall Gleeson, Jim Broadbent, and Julie Walters. Extras: commentary by director John Crowley (“Boy A”); featurettes and deleted scenes. (Fox, $29.98; Blu-ray, $39.99)Titles are in stores Tuesday. Tom Russo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.