DVD Drop: The new world
Asa Butterfield and Chloe Moretz in Hugo (Paramount Pictures)
ARRIVING THIS WEEK
Bounty Hunters: WWE diva Trish Stratus makes her bid for movie stardom with this actioner about a team of Bail Enforcement Agents who get mixed up with mobsters. The script shows flashes of wit, but it's a very modest affair; let's just say that people who went to "Haywire" expecting a kickass B-movie might find this more to their liking.
Hugo: Martin Scorsese's whimsical but somewhat diffuse tale of a young orphan (Asa Butterfield) whose obsession with repairing a broken automaton leads him to discover the majestic legacy of French filmmaker George Méliès (Ben Kingsley) was nominated for 11 Oscars, winning Cinematography, Visual Effects, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing and Art Direction. And since you probably missed out on its theatrical run, now you can watch it at home.
Johnny English Reborn: Has it really been almost a decade since Rowan Atkinson gurned his way through a limp James Bond parody? It has, and the joke hasn't grown any fresher with time, with Atkinson's blissfully overconfident secret agent Mr. Beaning his way through another elaborate espionage plot. If you liked the first one, you'll like this one too. (Also, you need to start watching better movies. Like maybe "Mandrill;" see below.)
Justice League: Doom: Batman's paranoia is validated - sort of - when his secret contingency plans for stopping rogue heroes are used against the Super Best Friends by actual villains. Warner Premiere's latest animated feature uses most of the voice cast of the "Justice League" series, adding Tim Daly and Nathan Fillion as Superman and Green Lantern. Which is pretty awesome.
Klitschko: Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko are brothers who emigrated from Ukraine to the U.S. to become boxing superstars; Sebastian Dehnhardt's documentary is basically a two-hour highlight reel of their lives, pitching them as the real-life version of every Hollywood sports movie - most recently, "The Fighter" and "Warrior" - only somehow not as dramatic.
Mandrill: In the tradition of "Black Dynamite," Chilean director Ernestro Diaz Espinoza's send-up of 1970s exploitation cinema stars Marko Zaror as a super-slick hitman who falls for the daughter (Celine Reymond) of the villain he's been tracking for decades. Never mind "Johnny English Reborn," this is the spy satire you need to watch this week.
Our Day Will Come: A troubled young man (Olivier Barthélémy) who believes his red hair is at the root of all his problems bonds with his similarly pigmented therapist (Vincent Cassel) in Romain Gavras' feature-length extrapolation of that music video he did for M.I.A.'s "Born Free." It has its moments, but this particular story seemed much less silly at a tenth of its running time.
Rabies: A brother and sister run afoul of a serial killer in the woods, setting off an inventive chain reaction of violence and murder in this international hit from Israeli directors Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado that functions as both a clever reinvention of the slasher movie and an intriguing metaphorical dissection of political and religious tensions in the Jewish state.
Sympathy for Delicious: A devastating accident leaves a hard-living DJ (Christopher Thornton) with the power to heal others in Mark Ruffalo's messy directorial debut, which features appearances from Laura Linney, Juliette Lewis, Orlando Bloom and Ruffalo himself but never quite gets a handle on the randomness of Thornton's screenplay.
Wetlands: Pascale Bussières plays a Quebec dairy farmer enduring a particularly terrible summer in Guy Édoin's grim, naturalistic drama, which was one of this year's Canada's Top Ten feature-film honorees. Mongrel Media's DVD also includes "Les Affluents," the three short films with which Édoin made his name on the festival circuit.
The Criterion Collection gives Louis Malle's exquisite "Vanya on 42nd Street" the special edition it's long deserved, and Kino resurrects Fritz Lang's "The Spiders" and "Scarlet Street" in new archival editions.
Shout! Factory splashes out this week, releasing "Here Come the Brides: Season Two," "The Angry Beavers: Season Three, Part One" and the "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic!" collection "The Friendship Express." Also arriving this week are Universal's "Law & Order: Season 10," BBC Home Entertainment's "Top Gear: Series 17," Acorn's "Midsomer Murders: Season 19," Paramount's "Mission: Impossible: The 1989 Season" and the 2009 miniseries adaptation of Jack London's "Sea Wolf," starring Tim Roth, Sebastian Koch and Neve Campbell, from eOne.
Paramount releases "Hugo" in separate 2D and 3D combo editions; Universal's "Johnny English Reborn" and Warner's "Justice League: Doom" also go combo, while Alliance's "Sympathy for Delicious" is BD-only.
In catalogue arrivals, Criterion's "Vanya on 42nd Street" and Kino's "Scarlet Street" fight for prominence and Olive Films releases two long-unavailable Edward Dmytryk titles, "The Mountain" and "Where Love Has Gone," leaving Universal's "Johnny English" and Fox' "Runaway Jury" to get your attention on the bottom tier.
And it's a quiet week for HD TV, with BBC's "Top Gear: Season 17" and eOne's "Sea Wolf" miniseries the sole contenders.