“The Lucky Ones” (R): All roads lead to Vegas for an endearing trio of U.S. soldiers (Tim Robbins, Rachel McAdams, Michael Peña), home from Iraq on leave, who wind up on an unlikely cross-country trek in a bittersweet odyssey from “Illusionist” writer-director Neil Burger.
Cops under fire, meanwhile, inspire a pair of new titles. In “Lakeview Terrace” (R), a law-unto-himself L.A. officer (Samuel L. Jackson) makes life hellish for the nice interracial couple (Kerry Washington, Patrick Wilson) next door. And on the streets of Noo Yawk, a good-guy cop (Edward Norton) rooting out corruption realizes his brother-in-law (Colin Farrell) may be involved in “Pride and Glory” (R).
“RocknRolla” (R) finds director Guy Ritchie (“Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels,” “Snatch”) returning to cockney crime capers with this underworld romp about a London real-estate scam and the various lowlifes (including “300’s” Gerard Butler, Tom Wilkinson, Thandie Newton, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges and Jeremy Piven) trying to get in on the action.
“RocknRolla” is not to be confused with “The Rocker” (PG-13), a comedy about the hard-luck drummer of an ’80s hair band (“The Office’s” Rainn Wilson) who exacts revenge two decades later when he takes his nephew’s high school rock group to the top. And speaking of high school, three seniors (Drake Bell, Andrew Caldwell, Kevin Covais) are in for a wild weekend when they clash with nasty fraternity types during a visit to “College” (R).
Rounding out today’s recent-release titles: the Christian drama “Fireproof” (PG), about a firefighter (Kirk Cameron) who takes a 40-day “Love Dare” to try and save his crumbling marriage. And, postponed from earlier this month, Woody Allen’s latest, “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” (PG-13), follows two Americans (Scarlett Johansson, Rebecca Hall) to Spain, where they become entangled with a seductive painter (Javier Bardem) and his troubled ex-wife (Penélope Cruz).
Turning to titles that never played local theaters, “Closing the Ring” (R) stars Shirley MacLaine, Christopher Plummer, Neve Campbell and Mischa Barton in a time-tripping romance from “Gandhi” director Richard Attenborough. Michael Madsen, meanwhile, leads intrepid skiers hoping to conquer a daunting Alaskan peak in “Deep Winter” (PG).
And, for the kids: “Secret of the Magic Gourd” (G), a Disney import from China, about a boy who finds a magic gourd that can grant any wish — and discovers that it’s not always a dream come true.
On the documentary front, “Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired” (not rated) explores the private tragedies, and public scandals, that prompted the Oscar-winning director to flee the U.S. in 1977. Late filmmaker Marlon Riggs explores African-American identity, from South Carolina to Southern California, in “Black Is … Black Ain’t” (not rated).
And if you’re looking for comedy and music, look no further than “The Secret Policeman’s Balls” (not rated), star-studded British benefits from the early ’80s featuring Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, various Monty Python members (including John Cleese, Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin), Rowan Atkinson and Hugh Laurie, plus Sting, Pete Townshend, Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins and a host of others.
It’s also a good day to raid the Hollywood vaults, with some vintage titles making their at-long-last DVD arrivals. Julie Christie, Terence Stamp, Peter Finch and Alan Bates headline director John Schlesinger’s 1967 adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s “Far From the Madding Crowd” (not rated), while Robert Taylor and Vivien Leigh play star-crossed sweethearts in the 1940 weeper “Waterloo Bridge” (not rated). Hayley Mills made the transition to adult actress in the 1966 comedy-drama “The Family Way” (not rated), a comedy-drama about young newlyweds featuring Mills’ father, John, plus a score by a promising young composer named Paul McCartney.
Four Sidney Poitier features (1957’s “Edge of the City” and “Something of Value,” 1965’s “A Patch of Blue” and 1974’s “A Warm December”) arrive in “The Sidney Poitier Collection” (not rated). And, last but certainly not least, everyone’s favorite flying nanny gets a spiffy new package in “Mary Poppins: 45th Anniversary Special Edition” (G). Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!
TV transfers (all unrated) arriving today range from “Cheers: The Final Season” to “Blossom: Seasons 1 & 2.” Also hitting DVD: Albert Finney in “My Uncle Silas: Series 1,” “M.A.N.T.I. S: Complete Series,” “The Invaders: Second Season” and “The Love Boat: Season Two, Vol. One.”
Bruce Springsteen, “Working on a Dream”: Barack Obama could be a character in a Bruce Springsteen tune — a bound and determined man from a working class background who fulfills the ultimate promise of the American dream — so how fitting was it that The Boss recently performed during the festivities surrounding the presidential inauguration?
And Springsteen isn’t done yet.
His new disc is full of more tales of folks whom the spotlight seldom falls on outside of a Springsteen tune, supermarket clerks, vagabonds, petty criminals looking to escape their fate somehow.
I t may be a new day in American, but thankfully, Springsteen is still up to his old tricks.
Also in stores: The Bird and the Bee, “Ray Guns Are Not Just the Future”; dälek, “Gutter Tactics”; Franz Ferdinand, “Tonight: Franz Ferdinand”; John Frusciante, “The Empyrean”; Pat Green, “What I’m For”; Hoobastank, “FOR(N)EVER”; It Dies Today, “Lividity”; Iwrestledabearonce, “Iwrestledabearonce”; Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, “Eye Legacy”; Sepultura, “A-Lex”; Various Artists, “Just Like Heaven: A Tribute to The Cure"; and Various Artists, “The RZA Presents Afro Samurai: The Resurrection — The Soundtrack.”
There’s no question what the big new release will be this week.
Best-selling author John Grisham returns with another legal thriller, “The Associate,” featuring attorney Kyle McAvoy.
Kyle is on his way to a promising law career when a secret from his college days is used against him. The young lawyer is forced to take a job with the largest law firm in the world, and he’s expected to break the law in ways that could get him sent to prison or even killed.
Other books hitting shelves this week: “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man: A Foolproof Guide to Getting and Keeping a Man” by Steve Harvey; “Dark of Night (Troubleshooters Series No. 14)” by Suzanne Brockmann; “A Darker Place” by Jack Higgins; “Mistress of the Monarchy: The Life of Katherine Swynford, Duchess of Lancaster” by Alison Weir; “Scat” by Carl Hiaasen; “Basketball Jones” by E. Lynn Harris; and “Hotel On the Corner of Bitter and Sweet” by Jamie Ford.