The New Release Rack: 'The Sessions' with Oscar-nominee Helen Hunt
Plus 'Robot and Frank,' 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower,' the documentary 'Bully,' and more
"Skyfall" (MGM), the 23rd official Bond movie, has been called the best Bond ever. I'm not part of that chorus, but it's a terrific Bond by any measure, smart and sinewy, filled with memorable action and inventive set pieces, and a significant improvement over the previous film. Videodrone's review is here.
"The Thieves" (Well Go), the top-grossing film of all-time in Korea, is an "Ocean's Korea" heist movie. Videodrone's review is here, along with notes on the Belgian drama "The Kid With a Bike" (Criterion) from the Dardenne Brothers, and "Teddy Bear" (Film Movement) from Danish director Mads Matthiesen. Videodrone's foreign film roundup here.
"The Sessions" (Fox), a sincere and witty comic drama about romance, sex, and intimacy, stars John Hawkes as a poet with cerebral palsy and earned an Oscar nomination for Helen Hunt as a sex surrogate who helps him lose his virginity and get in touch with his body and his sexuality. "The Sessions" is an almost entirely commendable movie about human loneliness, the need for connection and the part(s) that sex and/or love, and sometimes both intertwined, play in realizing said connection," writes MSN film critic Glenn Kenny.
"The movie is neither short of, nor in the least bit coy about, sex and sex talk. It treats and presents both in a way that is entirely candid, frank and straightforward, but never crass. In other words, it's entirely, sanely adult, and I cannot overemphasize how much of a miracle that is for an American motion picture made in this year of our Lord." Moon Bloodgood, Adam Arkin, and William H. Macy co-star.
Blu-ray and DVD, with cast interviews, four featurettes, and deleted scenes. The Blu-ray also includes an UltraViolet digital copy for download and instant streaming. Also On Demand
"Robot and Frank" (Sony), set in the near future, stars Frank Langella as a retired cat burglar who goes back into business when his son buys a humanoid robot (voiced by Peter Sarsgaard) to take care of him, and he teaches the robot the burglary ropes. "Whimsical and poignant by turns, the film never goes gooey at its emotional center or bogs down in heavy dramatic weather," recommends MSN film critic Kat Murphy. "How could it, when this spare story of aging and fading memory stars Frank Langella, the old lion of stage and screen who dominates every role he undertakes in the winter of his acting career?" James Marsden, Liv Tyler, Jeremy Sisto, and Susan Sarandon co-star.
DVD, with commentary by director Jake Schreier and writer Christopher Ford and a robot poster campaign gallery. Also On Demand, and at Redbox
Author Stephen Chbosky adapts his own novel and directs "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" (Summit), a coming-of-age drama starring Logan Lerman as a shy freshman and Emma Watson and Ezra Miller as two charismatic seniors who take him under their wing. "The writing, the acting by a stellar cast, the specificity of the Pittsburgh environments, and, yes, the well-coordinated mostly indie-rock soundtrack take this movie into both the blessed and dark places it wants to go without ever getting too sentimental," praises MSN film critic Glenn Kenny. "It's not often that a picture wears its heart so far out on its sleeve, but I found the ultimate "statement" of "Wallflower" to be a humane and encouraging one that the movie manages to deliver without getting overly precious. "
Blu-ray and DVD, with two commentary tracks, a featurette, deleted scenes, and dailies. The Blu-ray also includes a bonus DVD, a digital copy of the film for portable media players, and an UltraViolet digital copy for download and instant streaming. Also On Demand and at Redbox
Hip-hip star RZA directs and stars in "The Man with the Iron Fists" (Universal), a martial arts movie with Russell Crowe and Lucy Liu. "[T]his is a genre mash-up meta-movie, but it's one that often plays, at least a little, like an authentic martial arts picture," writes MSN film critic Glenn Kenny. "It's actually kind of nice to see this kind of homage done without over-intellectualizing things." Blu-ray and DVD, with both R-rated theatrical and unrated versions (12 minutes longer), featurettes, and deleted scenes. Blu-ray also includes a bonus DVD, a digital copy of the film for portable media players, and an UltraViolet digital copy for download and instant streaming. Also On Demand (in the unrated version).
"Silent Hill: Revelation" (Universal), the second film based on the video game, stars Deborah Kara Unger, Martin Donovan, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Sean Bean and ws originally released in 3D in theaters. "There is a flamboyance to some of the imagery… but no exuberance, no sense of wonder, fascination or enjoyment," writes Los Angeles Times film critic Mark Olsen. "Everything feels like a throwaway." Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, and DVD, all with a featurette; the Blu-ray editions also includes a bonus DVD, a digital copy of the film for portable media players, and an UltraViolet digital copy for download and instant streaming. Also On Demand.
The romantic drama "28 Hotel Rooms" (Oscilloscope), the feature directing debut of actor Matt Ross, stars Chris Messina and Marin Ireland as travelers who turn a one-night stand into a series of hotel trysts. DVD, with a director interview, deleted scenes, and an alternate ending. Reviews here.
"Bully" (Anchor Bay), "the new documentary from director Lee Hirsch, is about bullying in America today, how it happens, how it takes lives," explains MSN film critic James Rocchi. "It opens with the tears of a father; it closes with a Web address. In between are moments of beauty in the American landscape and the graceful, terrifying grief of a woman who has turned the room where her son hanged himself into the "headquarters" of her outreach and advocacy efforts. In making this film (as in writing about this film), you imagine the people involved treading carefully, because in some cases, these are the names and the stories of the dead."
The acclaimed documentary arrives on Blu-ray and DVD, with both the theatrical PG-13 cut and a version recut for younger audiences, a filmmaker Q&A, featurettes, deleted scenes, and celebrity PSAs among the supplements. Also On Demand and at Redbox
"Girl Model" (First Run) looks at the business of the high end modeling industry through the story of a 13-year-old girl swept out of Siberia and into the international spotlight with promises of wealth and glamour. Boston Globe film critic Ty Burr describes is as "A powerful documentary that, with a wider scope and a bit more shaping, could have been even more powerful, perhaps unbearably so. What's there is strong enough." DVD, with deleted scenes.
Plus: "Photographic Memory" (First Run), the latest first-person documentary by Ross McElwee; "Jedi Junkies" (Docurama), a portrait of the extremes of "Star Wars" fandom; and "Superpower" (Cinema Libre), which explains itself in the subtitle: "America's quest of global dominance through the military-industrial complex." All DVD, "Jedi" features commentary, featurettes, and deleted scenes.