Last week's big On Demand release was the controversial Zero Dark Thirty, which found itself in the middle of the debate about "enhanced interrogation techniques." This week's is the controversial Lincoln, which found itself in the middle of a debate about its accuracy, and about the way its story sidelined the African Americans it was ostensibly about to tell yet another story about a white messiah.
My pros and cons about the movie have nothing to do with these issues; I am not a historical scholar, nor did I read Team of Rivals (the Doris Kearns Goodwin book on which the film is loosely based). The pros: Daniel Day-Lewis's performance in the title role, which joins his Daniel Plainview and Bill the Butcher to make a hat trick of classic American historical characters; the bevy of beloved character actors who dot the film that will have you yelling, "What the hell, HIM TOO?" in just about every other scene; the delightfully baroque insults politicians hurl at each other in the halls of power. The cons: Tommy Lee Jones's ratty wig; the oppressively dim lighting; the comically long running time. On balance, it's worth seeing — but maybe break up your viewing with a nap or two.
New and Notable
Grandparents Billy Crystal and Bette Midler discover that, since they were parents, parenting sure has changed!!!!!
Killing Them Softly
After the awesomely named Scoot McNairy robs a gangster poker game, he has the bad luck to be targeted for retribution by a murderous Brad Pitt.
IMAX: To the Arctic
Think you won't cry at this documentary about a polar bear and her cubs trying to survive in a melting Arctic? Well, Meryl Streep narrates it, so you will.
The son of murdered parents survives a gunshot wound to the head, though it destroys the part of his brain where emotion resides. Sounds like he'd be a great candidate to become a pitiless kung fu killing machine!
A group of public school coworkers pools its money to play the lottery, wins a big jackpot, and yet somehow it's not actually that awesome after all.
A Royal Affair
In old-timey Denmark, a scandal erupts when the mad king's wife has an affair with his private physician (Hannibal’s Mads Mikkelsen).
Max experiences culture shock after moving to suburban Arizona to live with his father.
Step Up to the Plate
This documentary about a famous chef handing over his restaurant to his son looks like a French take on Jiro Dreams Of Sushi.
JW (The Killing’s Joel Kinnaman) turns to crime after falling for a rich girl from fancy Stockholm society.
Kill for Me
College roommates kill each other's violent tormentors.
This Bollywood sequel revolves around a "Badass Robin Hood" cop who gets transferred to the big city.
An Insignificant Harvey
A janitor/little person strikes up a relationship with an exotic dancer. WARNING: Trailer contains a swear word.
"In Theaters" VOD Picks
This festival darling documentary purports to uncover myriad hidden messages in Stanley Kubrick's The Shining.
On the Road
Walter Salles (The Motorcycle Diaries) directed this adaptation of Jack Kerouac's novel, starring Garrett Hedlund and Kristen Stewart.
Toni Collette re-teams with her Muriel's Wedding director P.J. Hogan to play the very unusual nanny to a brood of teenage girls.
Guy wakes up in his car, in a mudslide. Probably not a good choice for the claustrophobic movie fan.
Gimme the Loot
Teen graffiti artists plot a daring scheme to tag their biggest target yet.
Opportunistic Backlist Revival Theme of the Week: Steven Spielberg
In honor either of the On Demand release of Lincoln, the 3-D re-release of Jurassic Park, or possibly both, we get a collection of films directed by Steven Spielberg, including the first two JP films (good call skipping no. 3), The Color Purple, Saving Private Ryan, Jaws, Amistad, The Terminal, Schindler's List, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, Minority Report, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, and one of my favorite movies of all time: Catch Me If You Can. (This list also contains one of my most-hated movies of all time. Try to guess which one! The answer may surprise you.)
Early VOD Premiere of the Week
Blood Runs Cold
This horror movie proves once again that nothing good ever happens at remote cabins in the dead of winter.
When the daughter of a wealthy family gets kidnapped, the driver who was with her when the crime occurred tries desperately to find her.
Kiss of the Damned
Heroes star Milo Ventimiglia gets mixed up with a sexy lady vampire. ("Another vampire movie?" Dude, I know.) WARNING: Red Band trailer.
Designer label–obsessed Chanel (Stacey Dash) gets sentenced to house arrest and subsequently discovers What's Really Important.