“A HAUNTED HOUSE,” starring Marlon Wayans and Essence Atkins. Found-footage horror and exorcism flicks get the “Scary Movie” treatment in this aggressively low-brow spoof, which finds “Scary” alum Wayans coping with ghostly presences in his newly purchased home. He turns to dubious assistance from a lascivious psychic (Nick Swardson), a cokehead priest (Cedric the Entertainer) and a pair of ghost hunters (David Koechner and Dave Sheridan) when his girlfriend (Atkins) becomes possessed and his home life becomes an amusingly terrifying nightmare. About as witty as you’d expect, “House” nonetheless provides some good, undemanding fun at the expense of a subgenre wholly deserving of the treatment. Rated R. Running time: 1:26

Suggested retail price: $29.98; Blu-ray $39.98 

“THE IMPOSSIBLE,” starring Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor. In a world where audiences come to the theater to get away from unthinkable tragedy and hardship, “The Impossible” was a tough sell. But the incredible acting on display in this fact-based tale of a vacationing family torn apart by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami in Thailand makes this a must-see. And while the drama certainly has its share of unavoidably stressful and heartbreaking moments, director Juan Antonio Bayona (“The Orphanage”) establishes a hopeful and courageous tone from the outset, rendering what could have been a colossal downer into a cleansing, if emotionally trying, experience. Rated PG-13. Running time: 1:54

Suggested retail price: $29.95: Blu-ray $39.99 

“PROMISED LAND,” starring Matt Damon and John Krasinski. A rep for a natural gas company (Damon) in pursuit of a promotion accompanies co-worker Sue (Frances McDormand) to a farming community with the intent of buying out the locals for the opportunity to “frack” their land, which involves flooding the land with potentially harmful chemicals to find gas deposits. Unexpected opposition arises from ornery citizen Frank (Hal Holbrook) and environmentalist Dustin (Krasinski, who co-scripted with Damon).

Director and frequent Damon collaborator Gus Van Sant avoids painting his characters as obvious heroes and villains in favor of a refreshingly low-key, believable approach. Rated R. Running time: 1:47

Suggested retail price: $29.98; Blu-ray $34.98 

“KEN BURNS: CENTRAL PARK FIVE,” documentary. Something of a departure for documentarian extraordinaire Burns, who teams with daughter Sarah and her husband David McMahon to shed light on the wrongfully accused teenagers badgered into confessions for the 1989 rape and beating of an investment banker in Central Park. Largely comprised of interviews with the “Five” themselves, the fluid, vintage feel of “Baseball” and “The Civil War” does not apply. However, the exhaustive research and unbiased overview is intact. Not rated. Running time: 1:59

Suggested retail price: $24.99; Blu-ray $29.99 

“MR. SELFRIDGE,” starring Jeremy Piven and Frances O’Connor. Early 20th-century London is big right now thanks to “Downton Abbey,” so “Masterpiece Theater” wisely sticks to that era with “Selfridge,” a rollicking biopic that successfully casts Piven as the titular huckster who revolutionized shopping for a time and place singularly unaccustomed to the level of retail showmanship he introduced. It’s probably your only chance to see Ari Gold in a highbrow PBS format, and it’s worth catching for that alone. Not rated. Running time: 8:10

Suggested retail price: $49.99; Blu-ray $54.99 

“THALE,” starring Morton Andresen and Erland Nervold. Extremely atypical horror from Norwegian director Aleksander Nordaas finds crime scene cleaners Elvis (Nervold) and Leo (Jon Sigve Skard) stumbling upon the titular creature: A feral female creature of indeterminate origin being kept in a dingy basement filled with audiocassettes. It only gets stranger from there, and Nordaas employs a slow burn technique that may turn off hardcore gore fans. But for viewers more inclined toward psychological terror, “Thale” provides this in spades. Not rated. Running time: 1:17

Suggested retail price: $20.99; Blu-ray $24.99 


“THE GREAT GATSBY,” starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow. Lavish 1974 adaptation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald classic and English Lit mainstay finds an ideal “Gatsby” in Redford, who brings the mysteriously wealthy benefactor and his notorious parties to the screen via a faithful screenplay by Francis Ford Coppola. Not a critical favorite upon its original release, time has been relatively kind to “Gatsby,” and the new hi-def transfer is a natural fit for the traditional opulence of the tale. Rated PG. Running time: 2:24

Suggested retail price: $19.98 

“JURASSIC PARK 3D,” starring Sam Neill and Laura Dern. This 1993 game-changer from Steven Spielberg pioneered the CGI we know and love (and occasionally begrudgingly tolerate) today, giving the world what appeared to be living, breathing dinosaurs. This recent sprucing-up adds another dimension to the prehistoric carnage on display. Still a technological marvel 20 years later. Rated PG-13. Running time: 2:07

Suggested retail price: $49.98 


“ANY DAY NOW,” starring Alan Cumming and Garret Dillahunt. Even today, it’s no easy feat for a gay couple to adopt a child, but in 1979, the very idea was rarely even considered, let alone plausible. Enter Rudy (Cumming, in one of his finest performances to date), a drag performer who comes to the rescue when his junkie neighbor is arrested and leaves behind a teenage son (impressive newcomer Isaac Leyva) with Down syndrome. The two hit it off to the point where Rudy wants to become the father he never had and enlists the help of an attorney (Dillahunt), who happens to be a deeply closeted ex-lover.

The stage is thusly set for a “one thing after another” drama of the highest order, and while the screenplay sometimes approaches movie-of-the-week quality, it’s the performances that carry the day. Cumming, Dillahunt and Leyva are absolutely outstanding. Rated R. Running time: 1:37

Suggested retail price: $24.95; Blu-ray $29.95 

“PAWN,” starring Ray Liotta and Nikki Reed. High-profile actors appearing in a low-budget production can mean one of two things: Slumming actors or an excellent script. Happily, in the case of “Pawn,” it’s the latter, with first-timer Jay Anthony White turning in an intelligent, thoroughly unpredictable screenplay detailing a diner heist and the catastrophic consequences for all concerned.

Jumping around in time as it does, “Pawn” may bring Quentin Tarantino’s “Reservoir Dogs” (itself once a little-known indie production) to mind, but the film has a style all its own. Forrest Whittaker, rapper Common and Michael Chiklis (trying out a British accent with shockingly successful results) round out the uniformly top-notch cast. A tight thriller with much to recommend it. Rated R. Running time: 1:28

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

– Courtesy of Videoport

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