“It’s Complicated” (R): Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin play the angles in this battle of the (s)exes romantic comedy about a long-divorced woman who finds herself having a passionate affair — with the ex-husband who left her for a younger woman.
The late Heath Ledger, meanwhile, makes a memorable screen farewell in writer-director Terry Gilliam’s phantasmagorical “The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus” (PG-13), playing an enigmatic charmer who joins a traveling sideshow headed by the imaginative title character (Christopher Plummer). Johnny Depp, Colin Farrell and Jude Law appear as three alternate versions of Ledger’s character, completing scenes unfilmed at the time of Ledger’s death. Rounding out the recent-release lineup: “Transylmania” (R), about crazed college students at Transylvania’s Razvan University, where leather-clad professors and topless vampiresses stalk the halls of the castle campus — the former abode of a Dark Ages vampire king who’s returned to reclaim it.
Turning to titles that never made it to local theaters, Liam Neeson and James Nesbitt headline the drama “Five Minutes of Heaven” (not rated), about two men on opposite sides of Northern Ireland’s “Troubles” — who meet once again, more than three decades after violence first linked their lives. John Malkovich, meanwhile, stars in “Disgrace” (R), playing a white South African professor who’s fired for seducing a mixed-race student in an adaptation of J.M. Coetzee’s award-winning novel. France’s “District 13: Ultimatum” (R) reunites “District B13’s” hard-charging cop (Cyril Raffaelli) and reformed vigilante (David Belle) to clean up the embattled neighborhood once again. And speaking of sequels, “Descent 2” (R) returns Sarah (Shauna Macdonald) to the first installment’s spooky cave to search for her missing friends — and encounter a new breed of creepy crawlers. On the documentary front (all unrated), “The End of Poverty?” explores the roots of global poverty from Africa to Latin America. In “William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe,” his filmmaking daughters focus on the late radical civil rights lawyer. “Why We Laugh” features Chris Rock, Eddie Murphy and Bill Cosby (among others) examining comedy, while Richard Gere narrates “Buddha” and “In Search of Beethoven” illuminates the life of the legendary composer.
It’s also big week for movie buffs, with new Criterion Collection editions of Tennessee Williams’ 1960 “The Fugitive Kind” (not rated), spotlighting acting fireworks from Marlon Brando and Anna Magnani, and a director’s cut of Ang Lee’s unjustly unsung 1999 Civil War drama “Ride With the Devil” (R), starring Tobey Maguire, Skeet Ulrich, Jeffrey Wright and Jewel. “The Barbara Stanwyck Collection” (not rated) gathers six showcases, including 1949’s “The Lady Gambles,” while Donald Sutherland takes on the title role in the 1976 “Fellini’s Casanova” (R). And “Possible Films Vol. 2: New Short Films by Hal Hartley” joins a digitally remastered version of Hartley’s 1991 comedy of obsessive love, “Surviving Desire.” Also on tap: Blu-Ray Disc editions of “Out of Africa” (PG), “Traffic” (R), “Tombstone” (R), “Elizabeth” (R) and “Armageddon” (PG-13).
Oldies but goodies also highlight today’s TV lineup (all unrated), including a restored version of the BBC’s “Pride & Prejudice” (with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle) and Laurence Olivier as an eccentric patriarch (and Alan Bates as his devoted son) in “Voyage Round My Father.” Joan Allen stars as the legendary artist “Georgia O’Keeffe,” which co-stars Jeremy Irons as O’Keeffe’s equally legendary photographer husband, Alfred Stieglitz. Molly Shannon and Steven Weber, meanwhile, headline the comedy “More of Me,” while the dramas “Girl, Positive” and “To Be Fat Like Me” focus on contemporary teens dealing with HIV-AIDS and obesity, respectively. Other DVD debuts (all unrated) include “I Love Lucy: The Movie and Other Great Rarities,” “Rita Rocks: The Complete Season One,” “Sherri: The Complete Season One,” “Tales From the Darkside: The Third Season,” “The Judy Garland Show, Vol. Four,” “The Hills: Season Five, Part Two,” “Ghost Hunters: Season Five, Part Two” and the British series “Murphy’s Law: Series Two,” “Last of the Summer Wine: Vintage 1982-1983” and “Survivors: Complete Seasons One & Two.”
Hole, “Nobody’s Daughter”: It’s a simple question, with a complex answer.
“Can you tell me who I am?” Courtney Love asks on “Letter To God,” a sullen, searching ballad on her band’s new disc, “Nobody’s Daughter,” the reincarnated group’s first release in 12 years.
An equally broken and bracing disc, “Daughter” finds Love on the brink of personal and artistic collapse, only to pull everything together once again on a moody, brooding and ultimately affecting record.
Hole’s previous high point was 1994’s “Live Through This,” and it’s now clear that Love has managed to do just that.
Also in stores: B.o.B, “B.o.B. Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray”; Bullet For My Valentine, “Fever”; Mary Chapin Carpenter, “The Age of Miracles”; Daddy Yankee, “Mundial”; Drowning Pool, “Drowning Pool”; Melissa Etheridge, “Fearless Love”; Peter Frampton, “Thank You Mr. Churchill”; Gogol Bordello, “Trans-Continental Hustle”; James, “The Night Before (EP)”; Lonestar, “Party Heard Around the World”; Jesse Malin and The St. Marks Social, “Love It to Life”; Jo Dee Messina, “Unmistakable”; Brian Posehn, “Fart and Wiener Jokes”; and Warbeast, “Krush the Enemy.”
“The 9th Judgment” by James Patterson: The latest in the Women’s Murder Club Series finds Detective Lindsay Boxer and her friends investigating a couple of cases after a mother and her child are murdered at a mall and a cat burglar breaks into a famous actor’s house in what turns out to be a robbery-homicide.
Also out this week, Candace Bushnell’s “The Carrie Diaries” begins in Carrie’s senior year of high school, following her and her friends’ ups and downs. Fans of “Sex and the City” can learn all about Carrie’s family background, how she found her writing voice and what brings her to New York City in this young adult novel.
Also hitting shelves: “Burned (House of Night Series No. 7)” by P.C. Cast; “The Council of Dads: My Daughters, My Illness, and the Men Who Could Be Me” by Bruce Feiler; “The Father of Us All: War and History, Ancient and Modern” by Victor Davis Hanson; “The French Women Don’t Get Fat Cookbook” by Mireille Guiliano; “Getting the Pretty Back: Friendships, Family and Finding the Perfect Lipstick” by Molly Ringwald; “Hannah’s List” by Debbie Macomber; “Happy: Simple Steps to Get the Most Out of Life” by Ian K. Smith; “Hellhound On His Trail: The Stalking of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the International Hunt for His Assassin” by Hampton Sides; “Island Beneath the Sea” by Isabel Allende; “The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates” by Wes Moore; “Paradise General: Riding the Surge at a Combat Hospital in Iraq” by Dave Hnida; “Reckless” by Andrew Gross; “Savor the Moment (Bride Quartet Series No. 3)” by Nora Roberts; “Spiritual Partnership: The Journey to Authentic Power” by Gary Zukav; and “Winston’s War: Churchill, 1940-1945” by Max Hastings.