“PREMIUM RUSH,” Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Shannon. Pure escapist entertainment from start to finish, this overlooked thriller is a breakneck careen through the unforgiving streets of New York, with bike messenger Wilee (Gordon-Levitt) accepting a delivery job that turns into a life-or-death series of chases when a dirty, desperate cop (Shannon, chewing the scenery to bits) expresses an interest in the envelope. With dazzling visuals and stunts that put the viewer in immediate harm’s way throughout, “Premium Rush” delivers exactly what the title promises. Special features include a stunt featurette. Rated PG-13. Running time: 1:31.

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

“RESIDENT EVIL: RETRIBUTION,” Milla Jovovich, Sienna Guillory. Installment number five (yep, five) in the seemingly endless video-game-based series is a classic example of the old “if you like this sort of thing, then this is the sort of thing that you will like” trope, with Jovovich stoically kicking and shooting a variety of unpleasant adversaries in varying stages of decay, in service of a barely comprehensible plot. As ever, its raison d’etre is the fight scenes and visual effects, both specialties of director Paul W.S. Anderson, and Jovovich as always cuts an alternately appealing and intimidating figure. Rated R. Running time: 1:36.

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

“THE WORDS,” Bradley Cooper, Dennis Quaid. A struggling author (Cooper) finds an old manuscript in a second-hand suitcase, and experiences long-elusive success upon submitting it for publication as his own work. All goes relatively well until an elderly gentleman (Jeremy Irons) inevitably turns up, claiming to have written the novel based on his own life story. A relatable and well-realized morality play with strong performances from all concerned. Rated PG-13. Running time: 1:37.

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


“ARBITRAGE,” Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon. One forgets just how effective Gere can be when given the right role, and in “Arbitrage” he’s found it, fearlessly portraying ruthless and rather detestable hedge fund magnate Robert, whose considerable financial troubles are kept at bay through an elaborate charade powered by dodgy math, a system called into question by his employee/daughter Brooke (Brit Marling) and a prying detective (Tim Roth). Tensions mount and crises pile up, and Gere’s increasingly desperate behavior is fascinating throughout. Rated R. Running time: 1:47.

Suggested retail price: $19.98; Blu-ray $24.99.

“10 YEARS,” Channing Tatum, Rosario Dawson. Impressive debut from first-timer director Jamie Linden is a worthy addition to the ever-dependable high school reunion subgenre, introducing the class of 2011 (which here include Tatum, Dawson, Justin Long, Chris Pratt and Aubrey Plaza of “Parks and Recreation,” and Ari Graynor, just to name a few) as they reunite after a decade-long absence at wildly divergent points in their lives and careers, but returning to familiar behaviors once the alcohol starts flowing and old wounds are reopened. A perceptive and winningly sincere little film that deserves more attention. Rated PG-13. Running time: 1:40.

Suggested retail price: $26.98; Blu-ray $29.99.

“TOSH.0: DEEP V’S,” Daniel Tosh, The Internet. This generation’s “America’s Funniest Home Videos” is an alternately hilarious and appalling pastiche of online videos showcasing all manner of ridiculous behavior, with popular comedian Tosh offering wry commentary in between clips. You’ll fear for the future of our planet, but you’ll laugh a lot while doing so. Not rated, contains language, comic violence, disturbing images and crude humor. Running time: 5:52.

Suggested retail price: $19.99; Blu-ray $22.98.


“DEATH SHIP,” George Kennedy, Richard Crenna. Cult fave from 1980 if nothing else has the distinction of being one of the few horror films that features an enormous boat as its principal antagonist, a sinister freighter that plows into an ocean liner full of vacationing socialites and then proceeds to possess them with the spirit of the Nazis that once manned its decks when the unsuspecting tourists opt to board “Death Ship.” Cheesy ’80s goodness with B-movie mainstays Kennedy and Crenna glowering with their customary aplomb. Special features include deleted scenes. Rated R. Running time: 1:31.

Suggested retail price: $26.95.

“SOMETIMES A GREAT NOTION,” Paul Newman, Henry Fonda. Great forgotten classic from 1970 is a gorgeous and at times needfully frustrating portrait of the Stamper family, an independent logging company led by steadfast patriarch Fonda who continue to fell trees and toil in the woods in spite of an ongoing strike freezing other loggers in the area. Based on a novel by Ken Kesey, “Notion,” while at times melodramatic, is an effective and consistently surprising drama with several unforgettable scenes. Rated PG. Running time: 1:54.

Suggested retail price: $19.97.


“KILLER JOE,” Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch. A textbook “not for all tastes” film, master director William Friedkin (“The Exorcist”; “The French Connection”) exhibits a full return to form with this unapologetically lurid and at times downright evil jet-black comedy, and speaking of returning to form, we have McConaughey busting out the best performance of his career as the titular “Joe,” a Texan cop with a sideline in contract killing, who becomes involved with a none-too-wily clan of trailer park residents who come to him for help with dispatching their matriarch in an attempt to collect on an insurance policy. What follows is pure Southern gothic insanity, with scenes of raw violence and disturbing sexuality that would be well-nigh unwatchable were it not for the undercurrent of comedy provided by screenwriter Tracy Letts (“Bug”), the fearless performances by the first-rate cast (which also includes Thomas Haden Church and Gina Gershon), and above all the sure-handed, take-no-prisoners direction by Friedkin. Not rated, contains language, strong sexual content, violence, drug content and graphic nudity. Running time: 1:42.

Suggested retail price: $19.98; Blu-ray $24.99.

— Courtesy of Videoport

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