“BLUE VALENTINE,” starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams. Relationship dramas don’t get much more realistic than this stunner from writer-director Derek Cianfrance (“Cagefighter”). While the pretense-free script and raw directorial style have a lot to do with that, it’s the stellar performances from Oscar nominees Gosling and Williams as Dean and Cindy, whose electric courtship and toxic marriage are brought to unforgettable life to the point where the viewer practically feels as though he’s eavesdropping. Certainly not a date movie in the traditional sense of the word, but for couples with a few years under their belt, “Valentine” is one of the truest (and, indeed, bluest) cinematic love stories out there. Not to be missed. Rated R. Running time: 1:52.

Suggested retail price: DVD $29.98; Blu-ray $39.99.

“JUSTIN BIEBER: NEVER SAY NEVER,” documentary. Clearly there exists a very, very exclusive demographic to which this perfectly agreeable doc plays, so if you’ve a daughter between the ages of, say, 7 and 10 in the house, well, sorry, Dad, this just isn’t your week for new movies. That said, Bieber doesn’t seem like such a bad kid, and his grassroots rise to superstardom makes for some compelling viewing in the early reels. Once the concert takes over, however, it’s all about the fans, and if you are among those legions, “Never” doesn’t disappoint. Rated G. Running time: 1:45.

Suggested retail price: DVD $29.99; Blu-ray $39.99.

“NO STRINGS ATTACHED,” starring Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher. Fairly standard but quite funny rom-com benefits from the unlikely but surprisingly successful pairing of Oscar winner Portman and professional doofus Kutcher as “friends with benefits,” whose breezy and formerly satisfying open relationship becomes threatened once it becomes apparent that actual emotions are at stake. Groundbreaking it’s not, but veteran comedy director Ivan Reitman (“Ghostbusters”) keeps the laughs coming. Rated R. Running time: 1:48.

Suggested retail price: DVD $29.99; Blu-ray $39.99.


“BLACK DEATH,” starring Sean Bean and Eddie Redmayne. Set in a painstakingly recreated medieval England, director Christopher Smith’s brutal action-horror film follows conflicted monk Osmund (Redmayne) as he guides a ruthless band of warriors (led by a terrifying Sean Bean) through plague-ravaged towns in search of a village rumored to be kept safe from the titular condition by a witch. Rated R. Running time: 1:37.

Suggested retail price: DVD $26.98; Blu-ray $29.98.

“THE ILLUSIONIST,” animated with the voices of Jean-Claude Donda and Eilidh Rankin. Delightful whimsy from the great Sylvain Chomet adapts an old screenplay written by Jacques Tati that finds an aging magician forced to contend with flashier acts and less easily impressed audiences finding some comfort in Scotland when he meets his one remaining adoring fan. Rated PG. Running time: 1:20.

Suggested retail price: DVD $38.96; Blu-ray $38.96.

“I SAW THE DEVIL,” starring Byung-hun Lee and Min-Sik Choi. Fans of extreme cinema have been gravitating toward Korean cinema of late, and for good reason. Boundaries truly don’t exist for filmmakers such as Kim Ji-woon (“The Good, the Bad, and the Weird”), and this revenge thriller works overtime to top the depravity in such films as “Oldboy,” with Lee playing a stoic detective tailing the serial killer (Choi) who murdered his pregnant wife. Raw, brutal stuff, but very well-executed. Not rated, contains graphic bloody violence, torture and sexual content. Running time: 2:21.

Suggested retail price: DVD $26.98; Blu-ray $29.98.


“ALIEN” and “ALIENS,” starring Sigourney Weaver. Both the acclaimed 1979 sci-fi/horror classic and the 1986 follow-up that many point to as a rare example of a sequel improving upon the original are available in high definition this week. Although both effective and frightening, the films take a very different approach to their subject matter, and the agonizing tension director Ridley Scott brings to the former makes for a excellent lead-in to the hellzapoppin’ gore of James Cameron’s follow-up. Rated R for language and gore. Running time: 1:57/2:17.

Suggested retail price: $34.98.

“SOMETHING WILD,” starring Melanie Griffith and Jeff Daniels. You never know what to expect from director Jonathan Demme, having directed lighthearted fare such as “Melvin and Howard” and grisly thrillers such as “The Silence of the Lambs.” With this 1986 cult favorite, Demme aims somewhere in between the two extremes by melding a screwball comedy with a violent thriller. Poor yuppie Jeff Daniels is put in one sketchy situation after another when he’s kidnapped by a randy free spirit (Griffith) for an adventurous weekend, a proposition he gradually begins to enjoy until her ex-con former husband (a hilariously terrifying Ray Liotta) turns up. Rated R. Running time: 1:53.

Suggested retail price: $39.95.


“CROPSEY,” documentary. Rarely a week goes by that doesn’t see the release of a new fascinating if low-budget documentary, and the majority of them seek to unnerve the viewer in some way. Few in recent memory, however, are as unsettling as this true-crime shocker from directors Barbara Brancaccio and Joshua Zeman. Both grew up in the New York region where the film’s events take place, and their memories of an urban legend detailing a boogeyman who supposedly lived in the woods and abducted children in the Staten Island area turn out to be based on cold, hard fact. The details are best left for the viewer to discover, as the filmmakers present their horrific story with the expert pacing of a great thriller — proving once again that while there are plenty of scary horror movies available, nothing is more terrifying than real life. Watching alone is not advisable. Not rated, contains language and disturbing images. Running time: 1:24.

Suggested retail price: $17.99.

“MAO’S LAST DANCER,” starring Chi Cao and Bruce Greenwood. Based on the autobiography of Chinese ballet dancer Li Cunxin, this gorgeous and profoundly moving drama brings a remarkable life to the screen. A young Li (Wen Bin Huang) is taken from his parents, raised on propaganda by communists and exhaustively trained in the art of ballet — which his natural flexibility makes him ideal for, but his sensitive nature less so. While director Bruce Beresford (“Driving Miss Daisy”) relies a bit too heavily on musical cues to hammer home emotional moments, once newcomer Cao takes over as the adult Li, it’s impossible not to be taken with this inspirational true-life tale, and fans of dance in particular will find much to savor. Rated PG. Running time: 1:17.

Suggested retail price: DVD $19.99; Blu-ray $29.99.