"Frost/Nixon” (R): Tony-winner Frank Langella and “The Queen’s” Michael Sheen reprise their Broadway roles as the disgraced ex-president and the debonair British TV personality in Peter Morgan’s adaptation of his hit play about the landmark 1977 interview between the two. Director Ron Howard’s textbook stage-to-screen adaptation earned five Oscar nominations, including one for best picture and solo nods for Langella, Howard and Morgan.
Speaking of Oscar nominations, Mickey Rourke and Marisa Tomei garnered them for powerhouse performances in “The Wrestler” (R), director Darren Aronofsky’s moving character study of a broken-down professional wrestler struggling to make a comeback.
Rounding out today’s recent-release lineup: “Notorious” (R), which explores the life and death of Christopher Wallace, aka the Notorious B.I.G., aka Biggie Smalls, the Brooklyn street hustler turned rap legend. Jamal Woolard takes on the title role; Angela Bassett, Derek Luke (as Sean “Puffy” Combs) and “Eagle Eye’s” Anthony Mackie (as Tupac Shakur) co-star.
Turning to movies that never played local theaters, the dark comedy “The Last Word” (not rated) stars Wes Bentley as a writer — of suicide notes for the soon-to-be-departed — and Winona Ryder as the free-spirited sister of his latest client. Ray Romano co-stars. In the British comedy “How About You” (not rated), a free-spirited young woman (“The Duchess’ ” Hayley Atwell) takes over an old folks’ home for the holidays — and clashes with the feisty residents (Vanessa Redgrave, Imelda Staunton, Brenda Fricker). In “Dog Days of Summer” (not rated), a man (Will Patton) visiting his deserted hometown recalls a fateful childhood incident.
In the thriller “The Poker Club” (R), a dangerous intruder interrupts the title card game; Johnathon Schaech, Loren Dean and Johnny Messner lead the cast. And the Canadian indie “Mulligans” (not rated) focuses on the coming-out of a successful husband and father (“Watchmen’s” Dan Payne) who bonds, in more ways than one, with his son’s college pal (Charlie David). On the documentary front, the award-winning “A Jihad for Love” (not rated) explores the complex connections between Islam and homosexuality, while a 10th-anniversary edition of “A Galaxy Far, Far Away” (not rated) focuses on a universe of “Star Wars” fans. And “Glass: A Portrait of Philip in 12 Parts” (not rated), from “Shine” director Scott Hicks, profiles the title composer.
Tuning in to TV transfers, eminent Shakespearean Ian McKellen tackles the title role in “King Lear” (not rated), which aired earlier this year on PBS’ “Great Performances.” And in “Caprica” (not rated), from the creators of “Battlestar Galactica,” rival clan leaders (Esai Morales, Eric Stoltz) vie for power as the final war for humanity looms.
Leading the series lineup: the hit “Mary Tyler Moore” spinoff “Rhoda: Season One,” with Valerie Harper and Julie Kavner, along with Hugh O’Brian as legendary lawman “Wyatt Earp: Complete Season 1” and Christian Slater in the short-lived “My Own Worst Enemy: The Complete Series” (all unrated). Also arriving on DVD (and also unrated): “Dallas: The Complete 11th Season” (not rated) and “Hawaii Five-O: Sixth Season” (not rated). Book ’em, Danno!
Rick Ross, “Deeper Than Rap”: Beefy, supersized rapper Rick Ross has never been synonymous with depth — unless of course, we’re talking about deep crap.
That’s what the tough-talking MC found himself in when it was discovered a while back that he used to work as a corrections officer, a big no-no for a gangsta rapper fond of boasting of his criminal bonafides.
Still, Ross is an engaging enough of a rhyme slinger to compensate for his cloudy past, with street-hardened tales of triumph and loss that could be fact, could be fiction, but are pretty compelling either way.
Also in stores: Art Brut, “Art Brut vs. Satan”; Buju Banton, “Rasta Got Soul”; The Breeders, “Fate to Fatal (EP)”; Chimaira, “The Infection”; Commander Cody, “Dopers, Drunks and Everyday Losers”; Depeche Mode, “Sounds of the Universe”; Wayne “The Train” Hancock, “Viper of Melody”; Lacuna Coil, “Shallow Life”; Meg & Dia, “Here, Here and Here”; My Dying Bride, “For Lies I Sire”; Pet Shop Boys, “Yes”; and Super Furry Animals, “Dark Days/Light Years.”
“First Family” by David Baldacci: Secret Service agents Sean King and Michelle Maxwell return in David Baldacci’s new thriller, “First Family.” After surviving their adventures in “Simple Genius,” the pair now are called on by the first lady to rescue a child kidnapped during a birthday party at Camp David.
Also expected out this week is the latest installment in “The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency” series by Alexander McCall Smith. In “Tea Time for the Traditionally Built,” Mma Ramotswe is enlisted by the owner of a soccer team, who thinks sabotage is to blame for the team’s losing streak. Though busy investigating the soccer mystery, Precious must face a variety of personal problems, including a troubling noise coming from her beloved white van.
Also hitting shelves: “B Is for Beer” by Tom Robbins; “Dark Tower: Treachery” by Peter David; “Deadlock” by Iris Johansen; “Getting a Grip” by Monica Seles; “Loitering with Intent” by Stuart Woods; “Not Becoming My Mother: And Other Things She Taught Me Along the Way” by Ruth Reichl; “The Perfect Poison (Arcane Society Series No. 6)” by Amanda Quick; “Shadows Still Remain” by Peter De Jonge; “The Winter Vault” by Anne Michaels; “Bad Girls Don’t Die” by Katie Alender; “Atlas of Unknowns” by Tania James; and “Follow Me” by Joanna Scott.