“THE DARK KNIGHT RISES,” starring Christian Bale and Tom Hardy. No introduction needed for this, one of the most anticipated sequels in the history of cinema and yet another superhero tour de force from director Christopher Nolan. Eight years after “The Dark Knight,” Batman is falling well out of favor with the citizens of Gotham, who nonetheless must rely on him once again when the city is beset upon by terrorist Bane (the suitably terrifying Hardy) and his minions. Rated PG-13. Running time: 2:45

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

“HOPE SPRINGS,” starring Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones. Looking to introduce some much-needed spark and intimacy to their 30-year marriage, Kay (Streep) convinces stodgy spouse Arnold (Jones) to join her on a trip to Maine to see a marriage counselor (Steve Carell), with genuinely surprising and touching results. Rated PG-13. Running time: 1:40

Suggested retail price: $30.99; Blu-ray $35.99

“THE ODD LIFE OF TIMOTHY GREEN,” starring Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton. Unable to have a child of their own, a young couple plants their wishes and dreams in a garden, which miraculously results in an ideal child growing in their backyard, leading to more than a few difficult situations. Rated PG. Running time: 1:45

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


“FINDING NEMO,” animated with the voices of Albert Brooks and Ellen DeGeneres. One of Pixar’s most successful and beloved films, this 2003 family favorite follows worrywart father clownfish Marlin (Brooks) as he teams up with the genially irritating Dory (DeGeneres at her funniest) to track down his missing son. A visual marvel with some big laughs and a touching storyline, “Nemo” is practically critic-proof, and looks better than ever in high definition. Rated G. Running time: 1:40

Suggested retail price: $39.99

“STAR TREK — THE NEXT GENERATION: SEASON TWO,” starring Patrick Stewart and Jonathan Frakes. Chances are better than average that you’ll be shopping for somebody with this eagerly awaited Blu-ray set on their Christmas list. Make it so! Special features include more than two hours of all-new documentaries with new cast and crew interviews. Not rated; contains mild violence. Running time: 16:38

Suggested retail price: $129.99


“BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD,” starring Quvenzhane Wallis and Dwight Henry. One of the most original and unexpected visions to grace theaters in ages, this near-indescribable film from director Benh Zeitlin focuses on The Bathtub, an isolated and trashed stretch of Louisiana bayou. Young Hushpuppy (the incredible and previously unknown child actor Wallis) and her volatile but devoted dad Wink (Henry, another impressive newcomer) prepare for an impending storm while going about their daily routine amidst the fascinating wreckage of their environment. Universally acclaimed, “Beasts” is a work of art like no other. Rated PG-13. Running time: 1:34

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

“BUTTER,” starring Jennifer Garner and Ty Burrell. The over-the-top political satire of “Election” meets the quirky personalities of “Best in Show” in this cheerfully vulgar and slyly witty comedy from director Jim Field Smith (“She’s Out of My League”).

The film takes on the apparently competitive and definitely ridiculous world of professional butter sculpting, focusing primarily on the Pickler clan, with fading butter sculpture star Bob (Burrell) reluctantly handing the reins to his insanely determined spouse, Laura (Garner), both of whom fight to remain in the spotlight while contending with newcomers and a host of a heretofore closeted skeletons that all seem to escape at once.

Purportedly an allegorical look at the 2008 presidential election, “Butter” takes a few well-aimed potshots but in the end is mainly a very funny comedy with a big heart and a filthy mouth. Rated R. Running time: 1:31

Suggested retail price: $24.98; Blu-ray $29.99

– Courtesy of Videoport