When Albert Brooks quipped that he was robbed after the 2012 Oscar nominations were announced without his name on the list, he wasn't kidding--and if any movie should have been on everyone's minds during all the awards hoopla this year, it's Drive.
At first, the plot sounds like your standard action movie--there's this guy simply known as Driver who works as a stunt driver by day and handles the wheel of getaway cars for armed robberies by night. Through circumstance, Driver ends up on the mouse end of a cat-and-mouse hunt involving a couple of hoods (Brooks and Ron Perlman) who are after not only some money he has that they think is theirs, but also Driver's single-mom neighbor (Carey Mulligan), with whom he's begun a shaky romance. What makes this movie so compelling is how every component works seamlessly; it's a near-perfect coalescence of slow-burn story, virtually wordless acting, glassy '80s-retro cinematography, and a modern score that infuses the entire thing with the feel of an '80s action picture just as much if not more than most movies that use pop songs of the era to take you back (see also its Risky Business-y pink cursive credits). And that violence you've probably heard about? It takes awhile but when it comes, it's shocking, brutal, and breathtaking. Extras: Featurettes "I Drive," "Under the Hood," Driver and Irene," "Cut to the Chase" and an interview with Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn, making an auspicious Hollywood debut (DVD/BD).
The Thing Of course nothing can top John Carpenter's original horror film about an alien shapeshifter unleashed during a scientific expedition in Antarctica, and this remake starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead in the lead role got a bad rap before anyone'd even seen it. But give it a shot--the movie's really not half bad if you take it for what it is and quit making comparisons, already. Extras: Deleted/extended scenes; "The Thing Evolves" backstory feature; a featurette on working with fire; director commentary (DVD/BD).
Dream House A big-city publisher (Daniel Craig) relocates his family to the 'burbs, but turns out their perfect new home has one small problem--people were killed there, and their ghosts are still hanging around and being all pesky-like. Extras: Featurettes on the house, the film's visual effects, cast/crew interviews, and behind-the-scenes (DVD/BD).
In Time Derivative sci-fi actioner starring Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried on the run from baddies in a world where time is currency, so if you're rich you can live forever but if you're poor you die early. Or something.
The Big Year Much maligned--MUCH maligned--movie starring Steve Martin, Owen Wilson and Jack Black as guys competing in a year-long birdwatching contest.
The Double Spy vs. spy thriller starring Richard Gere and Topher Grace.
Texas Killing Fields
New to Blu
To Kill a Mockingbird 50th Anniversary Ed. This 1962 Gregory Peck classic that won three Oscars gets a digital remastering for this limited edition release that also includes a hardcover book and three-plus hours of bonus materials. These include two documentaries on the making-of and Peck himself, a look at the restoration process, and an interview with actress Mary Badham (Scout), among others.