“The Invention of Lying” (PG-13): “The Office” creator (and recent Golden Globes host) Ricky Gervais writes and co-directs this comedy about a world where deception doesn’t exist — until one scheming guy (guess who?) invents it. Jennifer Garner, Rob Lowe and Tina Fey co-star.
Elsewhere on the recent-release front, “Pandorum” (R) focuses on two astronauts (Dennis Quaid, Ben Foster) who awaken aboard a seemingly abandoned spacecraft, with no idea of their identities or their mission — but a definite idea they’re not alone. In “Whiteout” (R), kick-butt Kate Beckinsale plays a U.S. marshal, scheduled to depart Antarctica, who’s called back to duty to find a murderer — before six months of winter sets in. In the futuristic “Gamer” (R), a convict (Gerard Butler) finds himself trapped in a “real life” video game where players shoot to kill — or be killed. And, at long last, the Criterion Collection’s two-part “Che” (R) debuts, reuniting two “Traffic” Oscar-winners (director Steven Soderbergh and actor Benicio Del Toro) for an epic account of Argentine physician-turned-Cuban-revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara.
Turning to titles that never made it to local theaters, Vinnie Jones, Tom Berenger and Ernie Hudson headline the straight-to-video sequel “Smokin’ Aces 2: Assassins’ Ball” (not rated). Josh Lucas, Jacqueline Bisset, Lukas Haas and Adam Brody star in the drama “Death in Love” (R). The late Brittany Murphy joins Danny Pino and Mike Vogel for the noirish thriller “Across the Hall” (R), while Hillary Duff plays a rebellious 17-year-old undergoing major growing pains in the drama “According to Greta” (PG-13).
Leading the documentary lineup: “Outrage” (R), which focuses on closeted gay politicians who push anti-gay legislation to hide their own sexual impulses. “No Impact Man” (not rated) follows New Yorker Colin Beavan and his family as they try to live with minimal environmental impact. And “Mellodrama: The Mellotron Movie” (not rated) explores the haunting sound of the title keyboard, which has enlivened everything from the Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields Forever” to Kanye West’s “Gold Digger.” And in our oldies-but-goodies file: “Streamers” (R), Robert Altman’s award-winning 1983 adaptation of David Rabe’s play about young Army recruits (led by Matthew Modine and David Alan Grier), about to be shipped off to Vietnam, who are forced to confront their own prejudices when it’s revealed that one of them is gay.
Tuning in to today’s TV-to-DVD transfers (all unrated unless noted otherwise): John Schneider and Roma Downey in the romantic “Come Dance at My Wedding” and Judi Dench in the “Masterpiece Theatre” sequel “Return to Cranford,” plus “Durham County Season One” (PG-13), “Defying Gravity: The Complete First Season,” “Damages: The Complete Second Season,” “thirtysomething: The Complete Second Season,” “The Game: The Second Season,” “New Tricks: Season Two,” “Waking the Dead: The Complete Season Four,” “Jonathan Creek: Season Four,” “Weeds: Season Five,” “Law & Order: The Seventh Year,” “Dallas: The Complete 12th Season” and “Girlfriends: The Final Season.”
Spoon, “Transference”: They do a lot with a little, as Spoon’s spare, sinewy rock ’n’ roll still manages to sound fresh and invigorated each time out, despite seemingly being fashioned from spare, well-worn parts.
The band’s latest, “Transference,” is no exception, equally brusque and seductive, spanning high-stepping piano pop and raw-throated rock in yet another bound forward for this bunch.
Also in stores: Editors, “In This Light and On This Evening”; Eels, “End Times”; Motion City Soundtrack, “My Dinosaur Life”; Pearl, “Little Immaculate White Fox”; and Various Artists, “Crazy Heart (film soundtrack).”
“Kisser” by Stuart Woods: Stone Barrington returns in the 17th installment of the series featuring the New York lawyer.
Barrington hopes to stay busy with routine divorce and custody cases after returning to New York from Key West. But things quickly become complicate when Barrington strikes up a relationship with a Broadway actress and sometimes model, who turns out to have some skeletons in her closet.
In another continuation, Sara Shepard adds to her “Pretty Little Liars” series with “Heartless,” the seventh installment in a line of mysteries aimed at the young adult audience.
Also hitting stores: “Be Careful What You Pray For” by Kimberla Lawson Roby; “The Book of Fires” by Jane Borodale; “The Burning Land” by Bernard Cornwell; “The Endless Forest” by Sara Donati; “The Murderer’s Daughters” by Randy Susan Meyers; “The Queen’s Governess” by Karen Harper; “Rebels and Traitors” by Lindsey Davis; “Small Wars” by Sadie Jones; “The Vampire Maker” by Michael Schiefelbein; “Wild Child” by T. C. Boyle; and “Wolf at the Door (Sean Dillon Series No. 17)” by Jack Higgins.