OnVideo: SEPTEMBER's Top Movies
THE AVENGERSWhen an unexpected enemy emerges that threatens global safety and security, Nick Fury, Director of the international peacekeeping agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D., finds himself in need of a team to pull the world back from the brink of disaster. Spanning the globe, a daring recruitment effort begins as he gathers together Marvel Super Heroes Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye and Black Widow.
Director: Joss Whedon. Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, Stellan Skarsgard, Samuel L. Jackson. 2012, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 143 min., Action Adventure, Box office gross: $598.425 million, Disney. Available: 9/28.
THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTELThe film follows a group of British retirees who decide to "outsource" their retirement to less expensive and seemingly exotic India. Enticed by advertisements for the newly restored Marigold Hotel and bolstered with visions of a life of leisure, they arrive to find the palace a shell of its former self. Though the new environment is less luxurious than imagined, they are forever transformed by their shared experiences, discovering that life and love can begin again when you let go of the past.
Director: John Madden. Stars: Bill Nighy, Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Tom Wilkinson, Dev Patel, Tena Desae, Penelope Wilton, Celia Imrie, Russell Balogh, Liza Tarbuck, Lillete Dubey. 2011, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 124 min., Drama Comedy, Box office gross: $45.014 million, Fox. Available: 9/21.
THE CABIN IN THE WOODSA rambunctious group of five college friends steal away for a weekend of debauchery in an isolated country cabin, only to be attacked by horrific supernatural creatures in a night of endless terror and bloodshed. Sound familiar? Just wait. As the teens begin to exhibit standard horror movie behavior, a group of technicians in a control room are scrutinizing, and sometimes even controlling, every move the terrified kids make. With their efforts continually thwarted by the all-powerful eye in the sky, do they have any chance of escape?
Director: Drew Goddard. Stars: Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams, Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford, Brian White, Amy Acker. 2012, CC, MPAA rating: R, 95 min., Horror, Box office gross: $42.043 million, Lionsgate. Available: 9/21.
DAMSELS IN DISTRESSA comedy about a trio of beautiful girls as they set out to revolutionize life at a grungy American university -- the dynamic leader Violet Wister (Greta Gerwig), principled Rose (Megalyn Echikunwoke) and sexy Heather (Carrie MacLemore). They welcome transfer student Lily (Analeigh Tipton) into their volunteer group that seeks to help severely depressed students with a program of good hygiene and musical dance numbers. The girls become romantically entangled with a series of men-including smooth Charlie (Adam Brody), dreamboat Xavier (Hugo Becker) and the mad frat pack of Frank (Ryan Metcalf) and Thor (Billy Magnussen) -- who threaten the girls' friendship and sanity.
Director: Whit Stillman. Stars: Greta Gerwig, Aubrey Plaza, Adam Brody, Analeigh Tipton, Hugo Becker, Megalyn Echikunwoke, Carrie MacLemore, Ryan Metcalf, Billy Magnussen. 2012, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 99 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $.970 million, Sony. Available: 9/28.
THE FIVE-YEAR ENGAGEMENTJason Segel and Emily Blunt star as an engaged couple who keep getting tripped up on their long walk down the aisle. Tom and Violet seem destined to live happily ever after, but as one comedic delay follows another, everyone starts to wonder: can they survive the engagement?
Director: Nicholas Stoller. Stars: Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Chris Pratt, Alison Brie, David Paymer. 2012, CC, MPAA rating: R, 124 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $28.644 million, Universal. Available: 9/4.
FOR GREATER GLORYA chronicle of the Cristeros War (1926-1929); a war by the people of Mexico against the atheistic Mexican government. An impassioned group of men and women each make the decision to risk it all for family, faith and the very future of their country in this adventure that unfolds against the long-hidden, true story of the 1920s Cristero War. Andy Garcia stars as General Gorostieta, a retired military man who at first thinks he has nothing personal at stake as he and his wife (Eva Longoria) watch Mexico fall into a violent civil war. Yet he soon become the resistance's most inspiring and self-sacrificing leader when he begins to see the cost of religious persecution on his countrymen ... and transforms a rag-tag band of rebels into a heroic force to be reckoned with.
Director: Dean Wright. Stars: Andy Garcia, Eva Longoria, Bruce Greenwood, Oscar Isaac, Peter O'Toole, Nestor Carbonell, Bruce McGill. 2012, CC, MPAA rating: R, 145 min., War Drama, Box office gross: $5.608 million, Arc Entertainment. Available: 9/11.
GIRL IN PROGRESSGrace (Eva Mendes) is a single mom, too busy juggling work, bills, and the very married Dr. Hartford (Matthew Modine) to give her daughter, Ansiedad (Cierra Ramirez) the attention she desperately needs. When Ansiedad's English teacher, Ms. Armstrong (Patricia Arquette), introduces her students to classic coming-of-age stories, Ansiedad is inspired to skip adolescence and jump-start her life without mom. While Grace becomes preoccupied with the increasing affections of her co-worker (Eugenio Derbez), Ansiedad enlists the help of her loyal friend, Tavita (Raini Rodriguez), to plot her shortcut to adulthood. But as her misguided plan unravels, Ansiedad and Grace must learn that sometimes growing-up means acting your age.
Director: Patricia Riggen. Stars: Eva Mendes, Cierra Ramirez, Matthew Modine, Patricia Arquette, Eugenio Derbez, Raini Rodriguez. 2012, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 90 min., Drama-Comedy, Box office gross: $2.594 million, Lionsgate. Available: 9/11.
HYSTERIALighthearted, romantic comedy that tells the surprising story of the birth of the electro-mechanical vibrator at the very peak of Victorian prudishness. London. 1880. Dr. Mortimer Granville (Hugh Dancy) is torn between the "proper" doctor's staid and static world of success and acceptance and a more progressive and fulfilling, but frowned upon, experience. Tossed out for his forward-thinking ideas by the medical establishment, Granville finds a position with Dr. Robert Dalrymple, a highly respected and successful doctor, with a very popular private practice specializing in treating women diagnosed with Hysteria. Indeed, the good doctor's waiting room is never quiet. It's here that he meets and is attracted to Dalrymple's elder daughter, Charlotte (Maggie Gyllenhaal), a firebrand social reformer, arguing passionately for women's rights to be educated, vote, and live independent ... and the inspiration for his electrifying invention.
Director: Tanya Wexler. Stars: Hugh Dancy, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jonathan Pryce, Felicity Jones, Rupert Everett, Ashley Jensen, Sheridan Smith, Gemma Jones. 2012, CC, MPAA rating: R, 95 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $1.737 million, Sony. Available: 9/21.
OCTOBER BABYWhen Hannah hesitantly steps onto the stage for her theatrical debut in college, she collapses before her very first lines. Countless medical tests all point to one underlying factor: Hannah's difficult birth. This revelation is nothing compared to discovering that she was actually adopted ... after a failed abortion attempt. Bewildered, angered and confused, Hannah embarks on a journey with Jason, her oldest friend. In the midst of her incredible journey to discover her hidden past and find hope for her unknown future, Hannah sees that life can be so much more than what you have planned.
Director: Andrew Erwin, Jon Erwin. Stars: Rachel Hendrix, Jason Burkey, John Schneider, Jasmine Guy. 2011, CC, MPAA rating: PG 13, 109 min., Drama, Box office gross: $5,355 million, Fox. Available: 9/11.
SafeA second-rate cage fighter on the mixed martial arts circuit, Luke Wright (Jason Statham) lives a numbing life of routine beatings and chump change ... until the day he blows a rigged fight. Wanting to make an example of him, the Russian Mafia murders his family and banishes him from his life forever, leaving Luke to wander the streets of New York destitute, haunted by guilt, and tormented by the knowledge that he will always be watched, and anyone he develops a relationship with will also be killed. But when he witnesses a frightened 12-year-old Chinese girl, Mei, being pursued by the same gangsters who killed his wife, Luke impulsively jumps to action -- and straight into the heart of a deadly high-stakes war. Mei, he discovers, is no ordinary girl, but an orphaned math prodigy forced to work for the Triads as a counter. He discovers she holds in her memory a priceless numerical code that the Triads, the Russian mob and a corrupt faction of the NYPD will kill for. Realizing he's the only person Mei can trust, Luke tears a swath through the city's brutal underworld to save an innocent girl's life -- and perhaps even redeem his own.
Director: Boaz Yakin. Stars: Jason Statham, Catherine Chan, Robert John Burke, James Hong, Anson Mount, Chris Sarandon. 2012, CC, MPAA rating: R, 94 min., Action Thriller, Box office gross: $17.120 million, Lionsgate. Available: 9/4.
SNOW WHITE & THE HUNTSMANTwist on the fairy tale. Snow White is the only person in the land fairer than the evil queen. Unable to tolerate the insult to her vanity, the evil queen decides that Snow White must die. The queen sends a huntsman to kill Snow White. However the huntsman finds himself unable to murder the innocent young woman, and instead ends up training her to become a warrior capable of threatening the queen's reign.
Director: Rupert Sanders. Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron, Sam Claflin, Ray Winstone, Ian McShane, Lily Cole, Nick Frost, Toby Jones, Eddie Marsan, Bob Hoskins, Vincent Regan. 2012, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 127 min., Action, Box office gross: $152.589 million, Universal. Available: 9/11.
WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU'RE EXPECTINGInspired by the New York Times best-selling book of the same name by Heidi Murkoff, the film follows five couples whose intertwined lives are turned upside down by the challenges of impending parenthood. Over the moon about starting a family, TV fitness guru Jules and dance show star Evan find that their high-octane celebrity lives don't stand a chance against the surprise demands of pregnancy. Baby-crazy author and advocate Wendy gets a taste of her own militant mommy advice when pregnancy hormones ravage her body; while Wendy's husband, Gary, struggles not to be outdone by his competitive alpha-Dad, who's expecting twins with his much younger trophy wife, Skyler. Photographer Holly is prepared to travel the globe to adopt a child, but her husband Alex isn't so sure, and tries to quiet his panic by attending a "dudes" support group, where new fathers get to tell it like it really is. And rival food truck chefs Rosie and Marco's surprise hook-up results in an unexpected quandary: what to do when your first child comes before your first date?
Director: Kirk Jones. Stars: Cameron Diaz, Elizabeth Banks, Anna Kendrick, Jennifer Lopez, Brooklyn Decker, Dennis Quaid, Joe Manganiello, Rodrigo Santoro, Chace Crawford, Thomas Lennon, Matthew Morrison, Chris Rock. 2012, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 110 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $40.954 million, Lionsgate. Available: 9/11.
WOMAN THOU ART LOOSED: ON THE 7TH DAYIn this dramatic thriller, shot on location in New Orleans, a husband (Blair Underwood) and wife (Sharon Leal) find themselves in the midst of a crisis after their young daughter is kidnapped. The couple must race against time to find their child, who is believed to have been abducted by a serial killer who symbolically murders his victims "On the 7th Day." During their desperate search, a series of deep, dark, damaging secrets unveil a troubling past, putting the marriage and their futures in jeopardy.
Director: Neema Barnette. Stars: Blair Underwood, Sharon Leal, Nicole Beharie, Clyde Jones, Pam Grier, Jaqueline Fleming, T.D. Jakes. 2012, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 101 min., Drama, Box office gross: $1.082 million, Codeblack Entertainment. Available: 9/4.
All DVDs and Blu-rays are screened on a reference system consisting of an Oppo BDP-83 Universal Blu-ray Player, a Rotel RSX-972 Surround Sound Receiver, and Phase Technology 1.1 (front), 33.1 (center), and 50 (rear) speakers and Power 10 subwoofer.
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September 1, 2012