“GOING THE DISTANCE,” starring Drew Barrymore and Justin Long. Maybe we’re overly forgiving thanks to years of enduring brainless, insulting romantic comedies, but this easy-going, often raunchy tale of a pair of crazy kids (real-life lovebirds Barrymore and Long) trying to cobble together something resembling a relationship despite living on opposite coasts pretty well won us over. The chemistry between the leads doesn’t come as a surprise, but what does is a romantic comedy that feels as though it could have taken place on planet Earth, with human-seeming characters that occasionally say and do things that make sense. Viewers let down by “The Ugly Truth” and “When in Rome” should find “Distance” a welcome tonic, and a funny comedy at that. Rated R. Running time: 1:42.

Suggested retail price: DVD $28.98; Blu-ray $35.99.

“KNIGHT AND DAY,” starring Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz. Breezy, knowingly over-the-top action-comedy pairs megacelebs Cruise and Diaz in an all-but-nonsensical spy vehicle that mainly exists to show off some state-of-the-art special effects and some pretty great action set pieces. A jacked-up “Charade” for the A.D.D. generation, “Knight” is a big-budget summer movie done right, just smart enough not to take itself too seriously. Rated PG-13. Running time: 1:49.

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

“THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE,” starring Nicholas Cage and Jay Baruchel. Tenuously based on the beloved segment from 1940’s Disney classic “Fantasia,” in which Mickey Mouse did battle with an army of self-replicating brooms, this effects-heavy and family-friendly fantasy finds Hollywood’s current nerd of the moment Baruchel (“How to Train Your Dragon”) teaming with magical mentor Balthazar (Cage) to protect the world from the destructive advances of evil wizards — or in this case, Alfred Molina (“An Education”) and Alice Krige (“Deadwood”). Generally fails to elicit the sense of wonder achieved by its source material, but pretty fun as it goes, with performances across the board that elevate the uninspired direction by Jon Turteltaub (“National Treasure”). Rated PG. Running time: 1:49.

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

“THE TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE,” starring Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson. Is immortality worth it if it’s spent as a mopey, pretentious teenager? That’s the real question seemingly lurking behind this equally loved and despised young adult monster-romance franchise. Parents forced to scowl at this in the background may be relieved to know that this entry has a fair bit more action in it than the earlier sequel, as the bloodsuckers and werewolves are forced to team up against an all-new breed of super vampire, best represented by Dakota Fanning. Rated PG-13. Running time: 2:24.

Suggested retail price: DVD $26.99; Blu-ray $34.99.

“VAMPIRES SUCK,” starring Jenn Proske and Matt Lanter. The none-too-discriminating minds behind such critically reviled parodies as “Disaster Movie” and “Meet the Spartans” return to plague cineplexes with this less-than-sophisticated send-up of the “Twilight” series, a ripe target for satire. Unfortunately, from the looks of things, we’re going to have to settle for more stale pop-culture references and shots to the groin. Rated PG-13. Running time: 1:22.

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


“PARKS & RECREATION: SEASON TWO,” starring Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman. Vastly underrated ensemble comedy plays second fiddle to fellow mockumentary series “The Office,” yet favors a subtler approach that really pays off, with more relatable characters and tight writing that really comes into its own in this far superior second season. Arguable MVPs are the sublimely deadpan Offerman (“The Men Who Stare at Goats”) and loose cannon Chris Pratt (“Everwood”) as Andy, the cluelessly optimistic shoeshine boy. A complete turnaround from an initially shaky start, “Parks” is a comic gem in need of a larger audience. Not rated, contains language and sexual content. Running time: 6:38.

Suggested retail price: $29.99.

“THE SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP,” starring Michael Sheen and Dennis Quaid. Winning HBO film marks Sheen’s third performance as Prime Minister Tony Blair, and focuses on his friendship with President Clinton (well played by Quaid, who has his demeanor and vocal cadences alarmingly down pat) and the many ways in which said friendship is put to the test. Not rated, contains language. Running time: 1:33.

Suggested retail price: $26.98.


“MEET THE PARENTS” and “MEET THE FOCKERS,” starring Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro. Everything that can go wrong does for well-meaning but temperamental Greg Focker (Stiller), whose attempts to win over his in-laws (led by a hilariously unimpressed De Niro) largely end in slapstick tragedy in “Parents.” Tables are turned somewhat in “Fockers,” wherein De Niro must contend with Greg’s bizarre folks. Rated PG-13. Running time: 1:48/1:55.

Suggested retail price: $26.98. 


“VALHALLA RISING,” starring Mads Mikkelsen and Maarten Stevenson. Cerebral Viking movies aren’t exactly a dime a dozen, so right off the bat we have to extend a tip of the horned helmet to director Nicholas Winding Refn (who previously helmed the amazing “Bronson”).

Refn is a truly uncompromising filmmaker who here takes a sub-genre most would employ for dumb action and instead fashions a hypnotic, even hallucinatory saga of a mute warrior slave (Mikkelsen of “Casino Royale”) and his young sidekick (Stevenson, “Blessed”) who escape slavery only to find themselves under attack by decidedly inhospitable Vikings when a vessel supposedly bound for the Holy Land runs afoul of anything but.

There are the expected scenes of primitive battle gore, but Refn isn’t interested in crowd-pleasing; he’s out to boggle our minds with enigmatic imagery, odd pacing and an ending that well, if you figure it out, kindly share it with us.

Not rated, contains bloody violence and gore. Running time: 1:33.

Suggested retail price: $24.98.

“WAKING SLEEPING BEAUTY,” documentary. Refreshingly honest and thoroughly entertaining, this you-are-there look at the rejuvenation of Disney animation (following a dismal decade that nearly shut down its studios) incorporates a great deal of fascinating office footage, capturing the youthful spirit and the energy of a group of people who know they’re about to be part of something huge.

This effectively negates the need for the usual “talking-head” structure found in the vast majority of documentaries, and lends the subject a compelling immediacy.

“Beauty” boasts a very real tale of overcoming insurmountable odds that seems plucked directly from one of Disney’s animated films, and the warts-and-all revelations are a nice surprise coming from a notoriously secretive and impenetrable empire. Rated PG. Running time: 1:26.

Suggested retail price: $29.99.