Snow White and the Huntsman
This spring, moviegoers had the chance to watch not one but two feature films updating the Snow White story for contemporary audiences. (That's in addition to Once Upon a Time, ABC's fairy tale drama series, revolving around Snow White, Prince Charming, and the daughter who doesn't know her parents are fairy tale royalty.) Tarsem Singh got to market first with Mirror Mirror, featuring Lily Collins as Snow White and Julia Roberts as her wicked stepmother. It was terrible. But at least it was first!
Snow White and the Huntsman arrived a few months later: It matched Mirror with another Oscar winner in the wicked stepmother (this time, Charlize Theron), and bested it with a much more famous Snow White in Twilight star Kristen Stewart. Since then, of course, we've all learned the scandalous Huntsman backstory: Stewart's affair with her director, Rupert Sanders, leading to the end of both Sanders's marriage and Stewart's long relationship with her Twilight co-star Robert Pattinson. So you can rent the movie on demand and decide whether you can see any evidence of Stewart's wandering eye, I guess? Or just wait for Once Upon a Time; Season 2 starts September 30. And it's free.
New and Notable
Mark Wahlberg headlines this heist film, which you may not remember because it came out in January, a.k.a. the Movie Dust Bowl.
We all enjoyed seeing little kids do serious B-boy routines in Step Up 3D, so maybe the kids in Battlefield America will be as appealing, and as sparingly deployed.
"Jack!" "Rose!" "JAAAAACK!" "Rose, you are taking up that whole door in more dimensions than ever before!" (Note: Though Time Warner calls it "Titanic 3D," as in the version that was released in theaters earlier this year, it doesn't specify whether it will be presented in 3D. But you'd need a 3D TV anyway, so whatever, it's Titanic.)
Girl in Progress
Eva Mendes plays a screwup single mother whose type-A daughter desperately struggles to get away from her and grow up.
Your Sister's Sister
Emily Blunt and Rosemarie DeWitt play half-sisters in one of the 800 movies Mark Duplass is involved in this year.
Greta Gerwig, Joel Kinnaman, and Hamish Linklater star in this underrated romantic comedy. I know it looks very twee-indie-by-the-numbers, but give it a shot.
It's bound to be awkward anytime you bring your estranged daughter to come visit you. When you live in Israel and a war with Lebanon is about to break out, that's just exceptionally bad luck.
For Greater Glory
When the government outlaws Catholicism in 1920s Mexico, armed conflict ensues. This seems like something God wouldn't be into, but what do I know?
The Loved Ones
If you turn down a girl's prom invitation, make very sure she's not psychotic and doesn't plan to turn your prom night into a high school version of Misery.
Sean Bean is the only thing that stands between the safety of London's citizenry and the threat of homegrown terrorists in this generic-looking "thriller."
"There Are Some Places You Shouldn't Explore," says this movie's trailer, and I would say that a decommissioned mental hospital is definitely such a place.
Oh no, there's a killer on the loose — and on the eve of "the Festival"! What an unfortunate coincidence! (Poor Bruce Davison.)
Beyond the Black Rainbow
This cult/pseudoscience/MK-ULTRA-ish horror movie hits all my buttons.
Opportunistic Backlist Revival Themes of the Week: Fractured Fairy Tales/Zombies
Snow White and the Huntsman has evidently inspired Time Warner to put together a collection of non-traditional takes on children's stories: Sydney White, Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, Ella Enchanted, The Wizard of Oz, Peter Pan, Ever After: A Cinderella Story, Stardust, and my favorite: Enchanted.
Then there's a passel of movies that feature our era's most popular monsters: the zombie! You can choose from [REC] 3: Génesis, Army of Darkness, Shaun of the Dead, Juan of the Dead, and both 28 Weeks Later and its FAR superior progenitor, 28 Days Later.
"In Theaters" VOD Picks
The Eye of the Storm
Charlotte Rampling plays a controlling matriarch to Geoffrey Rush and Judy Davis in a story of a contentious will. Think of it as an Australian Downton Abbey to hold you over until the real thing makes it to PBS next year.
Why would you watch this when you could just as easily watch The Cabin in the Woods instead?
Weird Indie of the Week
FDR: American Badass!
Bill Murray will star in the classy FDR biopic Hyde Park on Hudson later this year, but until then, there's this Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter ripoff, which "comedically" reimagines the Axis powers as werewolves.
Early VOD Premieres of the Week
This seems like Drop Dead Gorgeous, but with butter sculpting in place of a teen beauty pageant, and I'm into it.
Girls phenom Lena Dunham wrote this story about a husband and wife (John Krasinski and Rosemarie DeWitt) being pulled away from each other by enticing interlopers.
3, 2, 1 Frankie Go Boom
The quirk in the trailer for 3, 2, 1 Frankie Go Boom includes but is not limited to: Nora Dunn dressed as Satan; a (used) exploded condom; a purloined sex tape; and Ron Perlman in drag. Now you know.
What to Expect When You're Expecting
It would be nice to believe that, now that every "hilarious" cliché of pop-culture pregnancy has been collected into this one film, they could all be permanently retired and we'd never see them in any other movie or TV show or Web video ever again. But that's probably not the case.