“PLAYING FOR KEEPS,” starring Gerard Butler and Jessica Biel. A none too ambitious rom-com pits former football champ Butler against a bevy of hot-to-trot soccer moms (including Catherine Zeta-Jones and Uma Thurman) when he takes a job as a kids’ soccer coach out of desperation. It’s a situation that might be more favorable were not for the fact that he’s still pining for his ex-wife (Biel), who’s about to get remarried. Slapdash and far-fetched, “Keeps” relies heavily on the studly charms of its star, which go a long way toward overcoming a weak script and a floundering supporting cast. Rated PG-13. Running time: 1:45

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

“RED DAWN,” starring Chris Hemsworth and Josh Peck. Just when you thought there weren’t any ’80s movies left to remake, here comes “Red Dawn,” a bombastic retooling of the 1984 favorite in which the fate of the country lies in the hands of a ragtag group of high school kids when their hometown is unexpectedly invaded by North Korea. It just isn’t the same without Patrick Swayze, but Hemsworth is a worthy enough successor, and first-time director Dan Bradley keeps the action fast and furious. Rated PG-13. Running time: 1:33

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

“WRECK-IT RALPH,” animated with the voices of John C. Reilly and Sarah Silverman. Parents will likely be doing most of the chuckling whilst enjoying this wonderfully imaginative, funny and rather touching valentine to the eight-bit arcade classics of yesteryear. Reilly’s video game villain teams with plucky “glitch” Silverman in a team effort to win him some respect and her the opportunity to race in a demented candy-centric Mario Kart-esque event. Reilly is his usually likable lug self, but Silverman ends up stealing the show in the end, largely abandoning her usual schtick in favor of a fully-fleshed character that you can’t help but root for. Rated PG. Running time: 1:48

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

“LAY THE FAVORITE,” starring Rebecca Hall and Bruce Willis. A solid pedigree both in front of and behind the camera unfortunately couldn’t overcome a nonexistent marketing campaign for this enjoyable low-key dramedy, directed by Stephen Frears and written by D.V. DeVincentis, the filmmaking team behind “High Fidelity.” Based on the loosely autobiographical novel by Beth Raymer, “Favorite” follows cocktail waitress Beth (Hall) as a series of unfulfilling Las Vegas jobs lead her to Dink (Willis), a high-stakes gambler who takes a liking to her and eventually comes to rely on her skills with numbers and customer service to help him network his various gambling exploits. Rated R. Running time: 1:34

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


“SCHINDLER’S LIST,” starring Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes. Little fanfare is needed for this long overdue Blu-ray release of Spielberg’s 1993 masterpiece, beautifully re-mastered for its 20th (yes, you read that correctly) anniversary. A must-own for the serious film collector. Special features include “Voices from the List,” a feature-length documentary of interviews with Holocaust survivors. Rated R. Running time: 3:16

Suggested retail price: $34.98

“WESTWORLD,” starring Yul Brynner and James Brolin. A couple of vacationing pals (Brolin and Richard Benjamin) find themselves facing off against deadly cowboy robots when the Western-themed futuristic theme park they pay a visit to goes on the fritz in a big way in this 1973 cult classic. Notorious for Brynner’s unforgettable performance as a particularly dangerous mechanical gunslinger, “Westworld” holds up nicely, wasting no time in getting right to the action and leavening the tension with plenty of humor throughout. Special features include a vintage making-of featurette and a pilot for a proposed TV series. Rated PG. Running time: 1:28

Suggested retail price: $19.98


“THE BAY,” starring Kristin Connolly and Kether Donahue. Once a seemingly omnipresent director back in the ’80s and early ’90s, Barry Levinson’s (“Rain Man”) output has understandably slowed as he gets on in years, but this fresh take on an increasingly overdone genre (the ubiquitous “found footage” horror theme) proves that he hasn’t lost his touch in the interim. Rather than looking to the supernatural for inspiration like most of its ilk, “The Bay” derives its shocks from an all-too-real threat: Pollution. Cobbled together from news footage, home videos, police footage and cell phone conversations, Levinson paints a grim portrait of a town torn apart by an unseen menace — microscopic isopods that enter their hosts through polluted drinking water and proceed to tear apart their intestines from the inside. Rated R. Running time: 1:24

Suggested retail price: $27.98

“THE INTOUCHABLES,” starring Francois Cluzet and Omar Sy. So how does a movie make it to No. 62 on the IMDB Top 250 list without the average American moviegoer having heard of it? Excellent question, and a situation that should be remedied at once by renting this funny and heartfelt buddy movie from France, where it swept both the box-office records and awards ceremonies for its year — credentials that unfortunately only garnered it a perfunctory release on a couple hundred screens here in the States.

Loosely based on a true story, “Intouchables” concerns Phillipe (Cluzet), a well-to-do quadriplegic on the lookout for a new caretaker, and Driss (Sy), an unemployed small-time crook trying to appear as though he’s looking for work in order to continue to receive unemployment. Driss’ candor impresses Phillipe, who hires him in spite of the protests of all concerned, and the friendship that blossoms is one of the funniest and most sincerely portrayed relationships to grace the screen in some time. Rated R. Running time: 1:52

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

– Courtesy of Videoport

filed under: