Latest DVDs, CDs, books: Dec. 20, 2011

DVDs, CDs and books hitting stores this week.


“Midnight in Paris” (PG-13): A frustrated screenwriter (Owen Wilson) time-warps back to the 1920s Paris of Ernest Hemingway and Gertrude Stein, with magical results, in writer-director Woody Allen’s droll, perceptive delight; Oscar winners Marion Cotillard, Kathy Bates and Adrien Brody lead the supporting cast.

Things get more serious for another screenwriter in “Straw Dogs” (R), a remake of Sam Peckinpah’s controversial thriller about a screenwriter (James Marsden) and his wife (Kate Bosworth) who move back to her Southern hometown — and confront unexpected violence. “Colombiana” (PG-13) focuses on a hit woman (“Avatar’s” Zoe Saldana) plotting vengeance against her parents’ killers, while “Warrior” (PG-13) puts estranged brothers (Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton) on a collision course in the world’s richest mixed martial arts tournament; Nick Nolte co-stars as their father. “Dolphin Tale” (PG) recounts the friendship between a boy and a dolphin whose tail was lost in a crab trap; Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd, Harry Connick Jr. and Kris Kristofferson lead the human cast. And Helen Mirren, Chris Cooper, Alfred Molina, Russell Brand and Djimon Hounsou headline director Julie Taymor’s version of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” (PG-13). Pacing today’s documentary field: “Senna” (PG-13), which profiles legendary Brazilian Formula One driver Ayrton Senna, who won three world championships before his death at age 34, plus “Glee: The Concert Movie” (PG).

Turning to movies that never played local theaters, Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Irons and Stanley Tucci lead the cast of the Wall Street thriller “Margin Call” (R). Director John Landis returns to horror comedy with “Burke & Hare” (not rated), a fact-based tale of the title 19th-century grave robbers (Simon Pegg, Andy Serkis), which played this summer’s Vegas Cine Fest; Tom Wilkinson and Isla Fisher co-star. A long-retired Butch Cassidy (Sam Shepard) rides again in “Blackthorn” (R). Bruce Willis and Forest Whitaker team for the thriller “Catch .44” (R). And Helena Bonham Carter and Freddie Highmore lead the cast of “Toast” (not rated), inspired by British food writer Nigel Slater’s bittersweet childhood. Topping today’s vintage Blu-ray Disc debuts: Gary Cooper and Helen Hayes in “A Farewell to Arms” and Carole Lombard and Fredric March in “Nothing Sacred” (both unrated). Leading today’s TV transfers (all unrated): “Futurama: Volume Six,” “One Tree Hill: The Complete Eighth Season” and “The Donna Reed Show: Season Four — The Lost Episodes.”


Young Jeezy, “TM:103 — Hustlerz Ambition”: Dude just released a documentary to showcase how he used to be a big-time drug dealer.

Yes, Young Jeezy is for reals.

Too bad he’s not nearly as skilled on the mic as he was peddling illicit substances.

Also in stores: Common, “The Dreamer/The Believer”; and Roscoe Dash, “J.U.I.C.E. EP.”


“D.C. Dead” by Stuart Woods: In the latest Stone Barrington novel, the New York City lawyer is summoned to Washington, D.C., by the president, who wants Stone, a retired homicide detective, to look into a murder.

W.E.B. Griffin adds to his Presidential Agent series with “Covert Warriors,” in which Lt. Col. Charley Castillo and his men investigate an alliance between the Russians and Mexican drug cartels.

Also hitting shelves: “Albert: A Life” by Jules Stewart; “Alone in the Universe: Why Our Planet Is Unique” by John Gribbin; “The Devil’s Elixir” by Raymond Khoury; “Dragon Mound” by Richard A. Knaak; “My Grandfather’s War: A Young Man’s Lessons from the Greatest Generation” by Jesse Cozean; “The Royal Stuarts: A History of the Family That Shaped Britain” by Allan Massie; and “Upstart: Friends, Foes & Founding a University” by Ed Walsh.

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