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Top Pick : Ruby Sparks

User Rating: / 28
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Ruby SparksFrom the directors of "Little Miss Sunshine" comes this intelligent, thoughtful and thoroughly delightful romantic comedy; it's written by (and co-stars) Zoe Kazan, the 29-year-old granddaughter of Elia Kazan. Struggling with writer's block and a lackluster love life, once-famous novelist Calvin (Paul Dano) creates a beautiful fictitious character named Ruby (Kazan) who inspires him. But not only does this bring his work to life -- it also brings Ruby to life -- literally! Face-to-face with an actual relationship with his once virtual girlfriend, Calvin must now decide whether to pen this love story or let it write itself. Vitals: Director: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris. Stars: Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan, Chris Messina, Elliott Gould, Antonio Banderas, Annette Bening, Steve Coogan. 2012, CC, MPAA rating: R, 114 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $2.295 million, Fox. 4 Stars

Top Pick : The Adjustment Bureau

User Rating: / 59
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The Adjustment BureauDo we control our destiny, or do unseen forces manipulate us? Matt Damon stars in this thriller -- based on the short story "Adjustment Team" by Philip K. Dick.-- as a man who glimpses the future Fate has planned for him and realizes he wants something else. On the brink of winning a seat in the U.S. Senate, ambitious politician David Norris (Damon) meets beautiful  ballet dancer Elise Sellas (Emily Blunt). But just as he realizes he's falling for her, mysterious men conspire to keep the two apart. David learns he is up against the agents of Fate itself -- the men of The Adjustment Bureau -- who will do everything in their considerable power to prevent David and Elise from being together. In the face of overwhelming odds, he must either let her go and accept a predetermined path ... or risk everything to defy Fate and be with her. We've never met a Philip K. Dick story, novel or big-screen adaptation we didn't like -- but if we had to pick one to anchor the bottom of our list of faves, 'The Adjustment Bureau' would be it. Director George Nolfi just can't seem to put any oomph into the proceedings, and the film can't decide if it's a sci-fi thriller, a conspiracy mystery, a love story or a religious tract -- and given the ending that accedes to a higher power, maybe even He (or She) didn't know either. This one sounds better on paper than it plays. Vitals: Director: George Nolfi. Stars: Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Terence Stamp, Anthony Mackie, John Slattery. 2011, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 106 min., Science Fiction, Box office gross: $60.735 million, Universal. 3 stars

DVD Releases - Jun 21, 2011

User Rating: / 108
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Cedar RapidsThe Adjustment Bureau (2011) Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Terence Stamp, Anthony Mackie, John Slattery. Available as a Blu-ray Combo (Blu-ray plus DVD) and as a DVD single. Extras: Deleted and extended scenes, "Leaping Through New York," "Destined to Be" featurette, "Becoming Elise" featurette, commentary by director George Nolfi. Blu-ray adds "The Labyrinth of Doors: Interactive Map of New York" that allows viewers to use the Adjustment Bureau's network of portals to leap from location to location, trigger a short video in each place with a look behind the scenes or a scene from the film. (Universal).

Top Pick : Red Riding Hood

Dark interpretation of the Grimms' fairy tale (already pretty dark), set in medieval times. Valerie (Amanda Seyfried) is a beautiful young woman torn between two men. She's in love with brooding outsider Peter (Shiloh Fernandez), but her parents have arranged for her to marry the wealthy Henry (Max Irons). Unwilling to lose each other, Valerie and Peter are planning to run away together when they learn that Valerie's older sister has been killed by the werewolf that prowls the dark forest surrounding their village. For years, the people have maintained an uneasy truce with the beast, offering the creature a monthly animal sacrifice. But under a blood red moon, the wolf has upped the stakes by taking a human life. Hungry for revenge, the people call on famed werewolf hunter, Father Solomon (Gary Oldman), to help them kill the wolf. But Solomon's arrival brings unintended consequences as he warns that the wolf, who takes human form by day, could be any one of them. As the death toll rises with each moon, Valerie begins to suspect that the werewolf could be someone she loves. Panic grips the town as Valerie discovers that she has a unique connection to the beast -- one that inexorably draws them together, making her both suspect ... and bait. Take two snarky, handsome heroes at odds with each other over the love of an independent, petulant heroine, throw in Catherine Hardwicke as director, and what do you get? No, not 'Twilight,' but an adult-themed facsimile. Unfortunately, where 'Twilight' has a syrupy, involving story line, 'Red Riding Hood' is a messy tale at best, with a sloppy plot and aimless acting -- there's one scene in which Seyfried stands around, looking as if she's waiting for acting instructions. At least the sets are medieval lush and the sound -- especially the creak and crash of doors slamming and wood shattering -- is stupendous. Vitals: Director: Catherine Hardwicke. Stars: Amanda Seyfried, Gary Oldman, Lukas Haas, Shiloh Fernandez, Max Irons, Billy Burke, Virginia Madsen, Julie Christie. 2010, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 100 min., Thriller, Box office gross: $37.186 million, Warner. 3 stars

DVD Releases - Jun 14, 2011

User Rating: / 72
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Adrift (2009 -- Brazil) Laura Neiva, Vincent Cassel, Camilla Belle. While spending summer vacation with her family in the idyllic southeast coast of Brazil, 14-year-old Filipa discovers that her father, a famous author, is betraying her mother by dallying with a beautiful young American woman -- and she soon discovers that her father's infidelity is only the first of many dark secrets that lurk beneath the surface of her seemingly perfect family. (Universal).

New DVD Releases March 22 2011

How Do You Know - Reese WitherspoonAlien 2 On Earth (1980) Belinda Mayne, Mark Bodin, Roberto Barrese, Benny Aldrich, Michele Soavi, Judy Perrin. The uncut, English language, 1.85 widescreen release of the 1980 Italian Horror/Sci-Fi film directed by Ciro Ippolito (Sam Cromwell); never released in the U.S. A group of cave explorers discover a mysterious living rock that bears home to deadly, flesh-eating creatures intent on wiping out the entire human population. Extras: The only surviving trailer from the mega rare Dutch VHS, effects outtakes transferred directly from the negative B-roll in full HD. Also available on Blu-ray Disc. (MVD/Midnight Legacy).

Top Pick: The Tourist

The TouristDuring an impromptu trip to Europe to mend a broken heart, Frank (Johnny Depp) unexpectedly finds himself in a flirtatious encounter with Elise (Angelina Jolie), an extraordinary woman who deliberately crosses his path. Against the breathtaking backdrop of Paris and Venice, their whirlwind romance quickly evolves as they find themselves unwittingly thrust into a deadly game of cat and mouse full of international web of intrigue and danger. Director Florian Henckel Von Donnersmarck helmed the Academy Award-winning film "The Lives of Others" (Best Foreign Language Film, 2006). Vitals: Director: Florian Henckel Von Donnersmarck. Stars: Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, Paul Bettany, Timothy Dalton, Steven Berkoff. 2010, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 103 min., Action Thriller, Box office gross: $66.559 million, Sony 3 Stars

Top Pick: The Fighter

The Fighter

Inspired by the life story of boxer "Irish" Mickey Ward (Mark Wahlberg)and his trainer brother Dick Eklund (Christian Bale), chronicling the brothers' early days on the rough streets of Lowell, Mass., through Eklund's battle with drugs and Ward's eventual world championship in London. It's a gritty, affectionately humorous, yet stirring comeback tale of the unlikely boxing hero his half-brother, who had to come apart as opponents before coming together as brothers in a scrappy fight to win a long-shot championship and strengthen the bonds of their family. Vitals: Director: David O. Russell. Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Melissa Leo. 2010, CC, MPAA rating: R, 104 min., Drama, Box office gross: $82.400 million, Paramount. 4 Stars

New DVD Releases: March 16, 2011

New DVD Releases March 16, 2011Barbie: A Fairy Secret (2010) Barbie discovers that there are fairies living secretly all around us. (Universal)

Barney: Mother Goose Collection (2011) DVD, 64-page activity book and music CD features more than 35 classic nursery rhymes, $14.98. Extras: "Behind the Scenes With Cast and Crew," "What Can It Be" read-along, 15 sing-alongs, 17 Mother Goose rhyme-alongs, "Mother Goose Live on Stage." (HIT Entertainment/Lionsgate).

New DVD Releases February 22 2011

User Rating: / 28
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Due Date

Armless (2010) Janel Maloney, Daniel London. Armless tells the story of a man who suffers from Body Integrity Identity Disorder (B.I.I.D.), a real-life psychological condition in which an individual paradoxically doesn't feel "whole" unless he loses one or more major limbs. When he leaves his wife and goes to find a doctor willing to amputate his arms, it triggers a twisted romp filled with mistaken identities, missed chances, and tragic consequences. (Vanguard Cinema).

Top Pick: Megamind

Megamind

Megamind is the most brilliant supervillain the world has ever known. And the least successful. Over the years, he has tried to conquer Metro City in every imaginable way. Each attempt, a colossal failure thanks to the caped superhero known as Metro Man, an invincible hero until the day Megamind actually kills him in the throes of one of his botched evil plans. Suddenly, Megamind has no purpose.

Top Pick: Waiting for Superman

Waiting For SupermanEvery morning, in big cities, suburbs and small towns across America, parents send their children off to school with the highest of hopes. But a shocking number of students in the United States attend schools where they have virtually no chance of learning -- failure factories likelier to produce drop-outs than college graduates. And despite decades of well-intended reforms and huge sums of money spent on the problem, our public schools haven't improved markedly since the 1970s. Why?

New DVD Releases February 15 2011

New DVD Releases February 15, 2011

Around the World in 80 Days (1989) Pierce Brosnan, Eric Idle, Julia Nickson , Peter Ustinov, Jack Klugman, Roddy McDowall, Darren McGavin, Robert Morley, Stephen Nichols, Lee Remick, Jill St. John, Robert Wagner. Two-disc set of the miniseries. (Entertainment One).

Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol (2010) A special episode of "Doctor Who" starring Welsh singer Katherine Jenkins, who will be making her acting debut along side actor Michael Gambon, "The Bill's" Micah Balfour and Pooky Quesnel from "EastEnders." To save Rory and Amy who are on a spaceship about to crash, the Doctor must save the soul of a lonely rich man in Sardicktown. Also available on Blu-ray Disc. (BBC/Warner).

Top Pick: It's Kind of a Funny Story

It's Kind of a Funny StorySometimes what's in your head isn't as crazy as you think ... that's certainly true for Craig (Keir Gilchrist). Sixteen-year-old Craig , stressed out from the demands of being a teenager, checks himself photointo a mental health clinic. But the youth ward is temporarily closed, so he finds himself stuck in the adult ward. One of the patients, Bobby (Zach Galifianakis), soon becomes both Craig's mentor and protege. Craig is also quickly drawn to another 16-year-old displaced to the adult ward, the sensitive Noelle (Emma Roberts), who just might make him forget his longtime unrequited crush Nia (Zoe Kravitz). With a minimum five days' stay imposed on him by the adult ward's staff psychiatrist, Craig is sustained by friendships on both the inside and the outside as he learns more about life, love, and the pressures of growing up. Vitals: Director: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck. Stars: Keir Gilchrist, Zach Galifianakis, Emma Roberts, Zoe Kravitz, Viola Davis, Lauren Graham, Jim Gaffigan, Dana DeVestern. 2010, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 102 min., Comedy, Box office gross: $6.350 million, Universal. 3 stars

New DVD Releases February 8, 2011

New DVD Releases February 8, 2011America, America (1963) Dir.: Elia Kazan; Stathis Giallelis, Frank Wolff, Elena Karam. Extras: Commentary by historian Foster Hirsch. (Warner).

Barbie Fairytopia (2010) Barbie stars as a wingless fairy who goes on an animated adventure to save her flower kingdom. $14.98. (Universal).

Barney: Shapes and Colors All Around (2011) Barney and his dino pals explore shapes and colors and show kids how to make their own art show. $14.98. (HIT Entertainment/Lionsgate).

Top Pick: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's nest

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's nestThe third film to be adapted from Stieg Larsson's acclaimed series of crime novels (which has sold over 11 million books in the U.S., 45 millions books worldwide), "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" is the final chapter in the story of Larsson's fiery heroine Lisbeth Salander, a pierced and punked-out, computer-hacking beauty. Swedish author Larsson's "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," "The Girl Who Played With Fire" and "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest"

New DVD Releases - January 25th, 2011

Nowhere BoyThe Agatha Christie Hour, Set 2. Five mysteries broadcast on PBS's "Mystery!" in the early 1980s, with such stars as Rupert Everett, Amanda Redman, Ralph Bates, Stephanie Cole, Cherie Lunghi and Christopher Cazenove. "Magnolia Blossom": An unhappy wife tries to escape her marriage; "The Mystery of the Blue Jar": A young man consults an expert on the paranormal; "The Red Signal":

Top Pick: Catfish the Movie

Catfish the MovieIs-it-or-is-it-not-documentary about the world of online social relationship? Nev, a 24-year-old New York-based photographer, has no idea what he's in for when Abby, an 8-year-old girl from rural Michigan, contacts him on MySpace in 2007, seeking permission to paint one of his photographs.

New DVD Releases - January 4th, 2011

Machete

Barney: Musical Zoo (2011) Barney creates a wild concert filled with exotic animal sounds in the title episode; also includes "Special Skills" and "Rhythm" episodes. Extras: "Animal Sounds" match game. (HIT Entertainment/Lionsgate).

New DVD Releases - December 7th, 2010

User Rating: / 33
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Inception

Across the Line: The Exodus of Charlie Wright (2010) Aidan Quinn, Mario Van Peebles, Danny Pino, Luke Goss, Bokeem Woodbine, Gina Gershon, Andy Garcia. Billionaire criminal Charlie Wright is living in self-imposed exile in Tijuana after his Ponzi scheme came crashing down. But Charlie soon finds that redemption has its price as he is pursued by a Mexican gangster, a U.S. federal agent and a former client looking to settle a score

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