“The American” (R): Hiding out in an Italian village, the title hit man (George Clooney) prepares for one last job in this haunting, existential thriller from “Control” director Anton Corbijn. Warning: Don’t go looking for action here; this is a mournful, deliberately paced tale that’s all about inner turmoil rather than outward thrills.
If it’s butt-kicking action you want, try “Resident Evil: Afterlife” (R), with Alice (Milla Jovovich) continuing her battle against the virally infected Undead — and the Umbrella Corp. Ali Larter, Kim Coates, Shawn Roberts, Boris Kodjoe and Wentworth Miller co-star for director Paul W.S. Anderson (Jovovich’s husband). In “Twelve” (R), a pack of rich, venal 17-year-olds (played by, among others, “Gossip Girl’s” Chase Crawford, Emma Roberts and Rory Culkin) become obsessed with the title superdrug. “Legendary” (PG-13) follows a bookish teen (Devon Traye) who joins his school’s wrestling team to reunite his surviving family members — including his guilt-stricken big brother (WWE champ John Cena). Patricia Clarkson and Danny Glover co-star. And “Action Replayy” (not rated) serves up a Bollywood “Back to the Future” variation, as a young man (Aditya Roy Kapoor) tries to revive his parents’ wilting marriage by time-tripping back to the 1970s to make their budding romance bloom; Aishwarya Rai (“Bride & Prejudice”) and Akshay Kumar (“Chandni Chowk to China”) co-star.
Turning to titles that never played local theaters, “Handsome Harry” (R) features Jamey Sheridan, Steve Buscemi, Aidan Quinn, Campbell Scott and John Savage in a tale of buried secrets that come back to haunt a group of Vietnam veterans. The comedy “Made in Romania” (not rated) focuses on a dream movie project going horribly awry; Jason Flemyng, Jennifer Tilly, Elizabeth Hurley and Danny Huston star. A black-ops agent (Idris Elba) returns from a botched mission and mentally unravels in the psychological thriller “Legacy” (R), which also features Eamonn Walke. In “Spin” (R), originally titled “You Are Here,” six L.A. clubbers recall the previous night’s misadventures; Adam Campbell, Bijou Phillips, Katie Cassidy, Michael Biehn and Amber Heard lead the cast. Heard also turns up in the vacation-nightmare thriller “And Soon the Darkness” (R), with Odette Yustman and Karl Urban. The Australian drama “Samson and Delilah” (not rated) follows the title characters’ desert odyssey after tragedy strikes their isolated town. And top German New Wave directors, including Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Volker Schlondorff, contribute to “Germany in Autumn” (not rated), a documentary-fiction hybrid about 1970s political terrorism. Tuning in to TV transfers, “Glee’s” Cory Monteith co-stars with Dina Myer in “The Boy Next Door” (PG-13), about a novelist suspected of a small-town crime. Series arriving today (all unrated) include “Archer: Season One,” “Jersey Shore: Season Two (Uncensored)” and “United States of Tara: The Second Season.”
Mr. Big, “What If ...”: So, “What if ...” there was such a wafer-thin selection of new music releases one week that we would actually have to mention a bunch of '80s hair metal has-beens who haven’t been relevant since MC Hammer still had money.
Hmmm, we wonder ...
Also in stores: James Rhodes, “Bullets & Lullabies” and Sweet Soubrette, “Days and Nights.”
“What the Night Knows” by Dean Koontz: Detective John Calvino fears the monster who murdered his family when he was a teenager has returned from the grave after he is called in to investigate a similar case.
Jayne Ann Krentz launches a new Arcane Society trilogy this week with “In Too Deep,” a romantic thriller featuring paranormal investigator Fallon Jones and his new assistant Isabella Valdez, who discover an antique clock with dark energy.
Also hitting shelves: “American Rose: A Nation Laid Bare: The Life and Times of Gypsy Rose Lee” by Karen Abbott; “Bloody Valentine” by Melissa de la Cruz; “Deadly Little Games” by Laurie Faria Stolarz; “Dead Zero” by Stephen Hunter; “The Radleys” by Matt Haig; “Ruthless Game” by Christine Feehan; “Sapphique” by Catherine Fisher; “Secrets to the Grave” by Tami Hoag; and “To Have and to Kill: A Wedding Cake Mystery” by Mary Jane Clark.
THE LIST: DVDs, CDs and books hitting stores week of Dec. 28