After seeing the trailer, I assumed that Wreck-It Ralph would be a feature-length nostalgia-fest for '80s kids, what with the 8-bit game the titular character hails from and the cameos from Pac-Man ghosts and the like. So when I actually saw the movie, I was not just pleasantly surprised to be wrong, but thrilled to have seen such a sweet, charming, genuinely funny story that I really hope joins the pantheon of classic Disney films.
John C. Reilly voices Ralph, the bad guy in a very old game called Fix-It Felix. When his game reaches a milestone anniversary and Ralph doesn't get invited to the celebratory party, it occurs to him to go on strike, whereupon he starts wandering into other (contemporary) games and trying his luck fitting into those worlds. But when Ralph's absence means the game is at risk of being retired from the video arcade, Felix (voice of Jack McBrayer) follows him to the candy world where Ralph is bonding with misfit glitch character Vanellope (voice of Sarah Silverman). For the first time in … maybe ever, Disney gives us an animated little-girl heroine who's a true tomboy, a speed demon trying to break into her world's go-cart racing game despite her glitchy status. Vanellope and Ralph form a genuine, touching friendship that will shore up your faith that, post-Pixar, Disney Animation Studios might be OK after all.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2
I guess everyone's a vampire now? I don't know; I didn't keep up with this franchise. Anyway, now it's over.
Playing for Keeps
If you wanted to rent this and last week's Chasing Mavericks and have yourself a little Gerard Butler film festival, I guess I can't stop you, but I don't recommend it.
This Golden Globe–nominated story of a quadriplegic man and his caretaker is not, I'm sorry to say, a French take on The Untouchables.
Chris Hemsworth probably wishes that this remake of the schlocky '80s "classic" — which he made in the year 2009 — had continued not to be released, but here we are.
Former childhood friends Lynn Collins and Michael Ealy grow up, only to end up with her husband murdered and his kidneys failing. That's some bad luck right there.
Recent Oscar winner Christopher Plummer plays legendary stage actor John Barrymore in a film adaptation of William Luce's play.
Duke-Carolina: The Blue Blood Rivalry
The devoted (crazy) fans of the Duke and North Carolina basketball teams is the subject of this documentary.
After a DUI, a Scottish former rock star living in California must avoid deportation by reconnecting with his daughter.
Something Real and Good
Strangers thrown together by the vagaries of contemporary air travel have a Before Sunrise kind of night.
I Am Secretly an Important Man
Friends and contemporaries of the late poet Steven Jesse Bernstein tell his story in this documentary.
Finally, a zombie film told from an Italian perspective!
The Marine 3: Homefront
For this third (???) installment, the franchise passes from John Cena to The Miz, of The Real World: New York (The Second Time) fame. Take that, Jacinda!
After losing his job, a terrible man takes his family out to a country house to torture and, it seems, eventually murder them.
'In Theaters' VOD Picks
A sexy lady shows up at a monastery and ruins monk Vincent Cassel's life.
The ABCs of Death
Twenty-six directors contributed to this horror anthology that's pretty much what the title promises it will be.
Opportunistic Backlist Revival Theme of the Week: Fantasy
With Oz the Great and Powerful hitting theaters, we get a slew of family-friendly fantasy films on demand — obviously, The Wizard of Oz, but also the Chronicles of Narnia films, the Lord of the Rings films, The Golden Compass, The NeverEnding Story, Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, and the best and most moving of the whole collection: Where the Wild Things Are. (Also included is the probably-family-unfriendly Pan's Labyrinth.)
Weird Indie of the Week
Toys in the Attic
This stop-motion-animated affair wants to be the European Toy Story, and I guess it is, but, wow, is it European.
Early VOD Premiere of the Week
Into the White
It's World War II, and a Nazi plane and an RAF plane both get shot down near the same remote cabin in the middle of a pitiless, desolate snowscape. Will the three Germans and two Englishmen band together to survive the elements? Looks like no.
It's a Disaster
A couples brunch that was uncomfortable to begin with gets even worse when several dirty bombs go off and everyone's trapped inside to wait for the end of the world.
Six disgusting pigs invent a fake movie so that they can try to trick the aspiring actresses who audition into sleeping with them. Warning: Red Band Trailer. Warning: Movie features Jessica "Lonelygirl15” Rose. Warning: I'm just generally warning you against this movie.