"The Artist," Grade A-: A silent film star watches his career fade. The nearly silent film from writer/director Michel Hazanavicius won the Academy Award for best picture.
Through stunning black-and-white imagery and a beautiful soundtrack, "The Artist" pulls the audience into a simple story of fame, pride and redemption.
It would have been easy for the film to become little more than a novelty. Hazanavicius avoids that fate by making a film that is so accomplished in its look and sound that no words were needed. He shows that silence can be more powerful than any on-screen explosion.
"Wrath of the Titans," Grade B: Director Jonathan Liebesman faced several Olympic-size challenges with the sequel to "Clash of the Titans." The simple fact it is a sequel sets up the very real potential of an Icarus crash-and-burn scenario.
To his credit, the director has dealt with both potential pitfalls and created a sequel that's interesting, fast-paced and a visual splendor. It, like the 2010 remake, still doesn't have the charm of the original 1981 "Clash of the Titans," but the latest tale of gods, demi-gods and titans accomplishes the Herculean task of being entertaining.
"Mirror, Mirror," Grade D+: This film offers a comedic look at the battle between Snow White (Lily Collins) and the Evil Queen (Julia Roberts) to rule the kingdom. The pair also get into a tussle over the heart of the charming Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer). The only hope for Snow is that her seven new friends can help her become a match for the queen.
The film needed to be far more dopey, especially Roberts' performance. When a person plays against type, the absurdity of the work has to be outlandish enough to make sure everyone gets the point. Roberts never comes across as Evil, more of The Mildly Unlikable Queen.
"21 Jump Street," Grade B: Two police officers go undercover as high school students. Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill star. The "Jump Street" script by Jonah Hill and Michael Bacall doesn't just lampoon the source material, it pokes fun at itself.
ALSO NEW ON DVD
"A Thousand Words": Eddie Murphy plays a man whose life is limited by what he says.
"Bullhead": A rancher ends up in trouble after a shady deal.
"Sector 7": An underwater creature threatens an oil platform.
"Hiding": A teen-age girl hides a dark secret from her past.
"Dora the Explorer: Dora's Rescue in Mermaid Kingdom": Latina superstar Thalia is the voice of a mermaid.
"Law & Order: Criminal Intent - Season 7": New York crime unit handles unusual cases. Vincent D'Onofrio stars.
"Meet the Browns: Season 6": David Mann stars in the cable comedy.
"Agatha Christie's Poirot, Series 5": David Suchet plays Poirot in eight mysteries from the series.
— Tribune Media Service
"Damages: The Complete Fourth Season": Powerful Glenn Close legal drama.
"Casablanca: The Complete Series": David Soul stars in this TV series based on the classic movie.
"The Best of Foyle's War": Michael Kitchen picks six episodes that are his favorite from the first four years of playing detective Christopher Foyle.
"The Perfect Family": Kathleen Turner stars.
"Love in a Cold Climate": An eight-part series set against a backdrop of the English nobility's golden age.
"Dr. Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham and Other Stories Deluxe Edition": Collection of animated stories available on Blu-ray for the first time.
"LEGO Ninjago Masters of Spinjitzu Season One": Four ninja heroes must protect the world.
"Sound of Noise": A police officer deals with a band of crazy musicians who want to perform a musical apocalypse using the city as their orchestra.
"Iron Man: Armored Adventures Season Two, Volume One": Tony Stark battles to keep control of his father's company and protect the original Iron Man armor.
"Springtime in the Sierras": Roy Rogers and Trigger save the day.
"Deliverance": The 1972 Oscar-nominated film is being re-released to mark its 40th anniversary.
"The Christopher Nolan Blu-ray Collection": Includes "Batman Begins," "The Dark Knight," "Inception," "Insomnia" and "Memento."
"Identical": Rich and Mark Washington are identical twin but one is good and one is evil.
"Frontline: The Real 'CSI'": A look at the reliability of the science behind forensics.
"Second-Story Man": A bank robber tries to change his life.