The unglamorized slice-of-life relationship drama Blue Valentine earned Michelle Williams a Best Actress Academy Award nomination. The story of Cindy (Williams) and Dean (Ryan Gosling), the film switches between their early time together and their current struggles as an unhappy married couple. Cindy is a hardworking professional mother and Dean is more childish, a high school dropout picking up side jobs; their relationship is shown in both their early romance and their later years as their frustrations surface in their day-to-day routines. With Mike Vogel. On DVD and Blu-Ray.
Emma (Natalie Portman) and Adam (Ashton Kutcher) get together for a purely physical affair in Ivan Reitman's romantic comedy No Strings Attached. While Adam's looking for something simple after his former-TV-star father (Kevin Kline) has started seeing his ex-girlfriend, Emma is too focused on her career to have her time and energy taken up by a serious relationship, and if their time together starts to become something more serious, they've agreed to stop... but if they really do fit well together, can they call the whole thing off? With Lake Bell. On DVD and Blu-Ray.
Later in Life
Adapted from an unfilmed script by Jacques Tati, Sylvain Chomet's The Illusionist sees a once-popular magician towards the end of his career, playing to smaller and smaller audiences. When a young girl sees the performer as a man with supernatural powers, she follows him to his next destination and shares his space in a boarding house filled with out-of-work vaudevillians. As the girl begins her journey toward adulthood, the magician tries to keep the last spark of his career and vocation alive, and they must both take separate steps to the next stage in their lives. On DVD and Blu-Ray.
Ulrik (Stellan Skarsgard) tries to put his life together after the end of a twelve year prison sentence in Hans Petter Moland's A Somewhat Gentle Man, but his past isn't easily avoided. Greeted upon release by his old petty-crime boss (Bjorn Floberg), Ulrik's set up with a dingy apartment and a job in an auto garage, but his criminal history is never forgotten. Ulrik approaches everything with an unflappable deadpan acceptance, from the women he meets to his work as a mechanic to criminal propositions, but he's not easily controlled, and must eventually choose the path of his future.
Set in the 1300s during the bubonic plague, Christopher Smith's Black Death sends a young, idealistic friar (Eddie Redmayne) away from the woman he loves (Kimberley Nixon). He escapes the temptation to break his vows by joining a soldier (Sean Bean) on a mission to investigate a mysteriously plague-free village-- they know what they must do if the community's leader (Carice van Houten) keeps the plague away with witchcraft, but the village couldn't stay safe without being wary of soldiers from the outside world. On DVD and Blu-Ray.
Kim Jee Woon's revenge film I Saw the Devil sees a sadistic serial killer (Choi Min Sik) make a mistake with his most recent victim, the young fiance of a talented special agent (Lee Byung Hun). The predator becomes the prey as the agent takes slow and excruciating revenge on the killer, but the cat-and-mouse game isn't as simple as it first seems: the killer isn't ready to stop playing, and claims no fear or remorse. If the measure of vengeance is to make the psychopath feel loss and despair, can a good man claim that kind of revenge without becoming a monster? On DVD and Blu-Ray.
Cody (Cory Knauf), Q (Bret Roberts), Q's lady (Taylor Cole) and the hardened members of his motorcycle club are the remainder of a secluded party in The Violent Kind. When their members are found beaten, bloody, and inexplicably possessed, the club's troubles are just beginning... stranded in their cabin in the woods, they're assaulted by an evil group of Rockabillies from the 1950's whose motives and origins are too strange to be believed. With Tiffany Shepis. On DVD and Blu-Ray.
Looking into the popularity of its teenage star, Justin Bieber: Never Say Never puts together the YouTube'd home videos that led to Justin Bieber's discovery, behind-the-scenes tour footage, and live performances in a fan-friendly package. The film interviews friends, family, members of his team, and fellow pop stars to paint an adoring picture of the young performer and the people who love him. On DVD and Blu-Ray.
Michael Apted's next entry in his acclaimed Up series, 49 Up rejoins the children introduced in 7 Up and updated every seven years. Now at the age of forty-nine, the film considers the subjects of the documentary series and how their past reflects the adults they've become.
A pair of Staten Island filmmakers, raised on folktales of a child killer and boogeyman, investigate the very real child disappearances in their area in Cropsey. Part documentary, part mystery/thriller, part courtroom drama, the film explores the mythology that informed the criminal investigation of a suspected kidnapper and killer, and the abandoned hospitals and legends of satanic cults that made the urban legends part of real-world crime and punishment.
Fredrik Gertten's Bananas!* covers the legal battle between Nicaraguan banana plantation workers and the Dole food company. Compiling a case that the Dole company knowingly used harmful chemicals in the plantations, the workers strive to prove the negative effects of their working conditions in a case that could become a cornerstone of human rights in multinational business.
Comedian David Cross' newest stand-up comedy DVD is David Cross: Bigger and Blackerer, recorded live in front of an audience in Boston.
New this week to Reckless Video's TV New Releases are three new Strawberry Shortcake DVDs: Happily Ever After, Berrywood Here We Come, and The Berryfest Princess Movie.
Equilibrium, Fellowship of the Ring
Enigma, Gorky Park
Mr. Hulot's Holiday, Mon Oncle
Six Days Seven Nights, Ghostbusters
Aberdeen, The Beautiful Country
Kitchen Stories, O'Horten