“Twilight” (PG-13): Arriving Saturday, this adaptation of Stephenie Meyer’s best-selling tale emerges as a fanciful, if fitfully engaging, amalgam of teen angst and vampire lore, as high school junior Bella Swan (appealing Kristen Stewart) falls under the spell of dreamy biology lab partner Edward Cullen (brooding Robert Pattinson) — who has been undead since the Spanish flu epidemic of 1917.
And “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” Oscar-winner Penélope Cruz delivered more than one standout performance last year, as she demonstrates in “Elegy” (R), an adaptation of Philip Roth’s “The Dying Animal” featuring Ben Kingsley as an aging professor embroiled in a doomed-to-fail affair with a Cuban student (Cruz).
Two sequels, meanwhile, round out the recent-release lineup. “Punisher: War Zone” (R) finds which comic-book avenger Frank Castle (“Rome’s” Ray Stevenson, taking over from 2004’s Punisher, Thomas Jane) battling a vengeance-minded mobster (Dominic West). And, after going from the mean streets of East L.A. to the professional soccer fields of Britain (in 2005’s “Goal! The Dream Begins”), Santiago Munez (Kuno Becker) gets an even bigger break in “Goal II: Living the Dream” (PG-13), moving to legendary Real Madrid, where a British teammate (Alessandro Nivola) sets a less-than-inspirational example.
Turning to movies making their local debuts on DVD, a cop turned drug dealer (Peter Facinelli) seeks redemption by trying to find a kidnapped child in “Arc" (not rated), while the demolition of a mysterious building ensnares Mischa Barton and Deborah Kara Unger in the horror thriller “Walled In” (R). And “Beyond Honor” (not rated) focuses on a young Egyptian-American woman torn between her contemporary American and traditional Islamic cultures.
On the foreign-language front, the award-winning Israeli comedy “Aviva My Love” (not rated) recounts the tale of a harried hotel cook who dreams of becoming a writer — and the famous novelist who takes her under his wing. In the German thriller “Yella” (not rated), a woman escapes her ex-husband to find new life — and new love — but discovers she can’t escape her past. Marthe Keller, meanwhile, stars in the futuristic crime thriller “Chrysalis” (not rated), set in 2025 Paris. And Japanese master Akira Kurosawa’s Oscar-nominated 1970 “Dodes’ka-Den” (not rated), his first film in color, focuses on the hardscrabble lives of Tokyo slum-dwellers.
Tuning in to TV transfers, Uma Thurman, Jonathan Pryce and Paddy Considine headline the HBO drama “My Zinc Bed” (not rated), from British playwright and screenwriter David Hare (a recent Oscar nominee for “The Reader”). A new version of Emily Bronte’s “Wuthering Heights” (not rated), recently featured on PBS, once again recounts the tragic tale of star-crossed lovers Cathy (Charlotte Riley) and Heathcliff (Tom Hardy). Also from Britain, a small town transforms the life of a wandering stranger (“Benjamin Button’s” Jason Flemyng ) in “Lighthouse Hill” (not rated).
Series hitting DVD today include “Mr. Belvedere: Seasons 1 & 2” (G), “Head Case: Season 1” (not rated), “Barney Miller: The Complete Third Season” (not rated), “The Nanny: The Complete Third Season” (not rated), “Degrassi: The Next Generation — Season 7” (G), “JAG (Judge Advocate General) — The Eighth Season” (not rated) and “Married With Children: The Complete 10th Season” (not rated).
Marianne Faithfull, “Easy Come, Easy Go”: Her voice could seduce a grapefruit, so no wonder Rufus Wainwright was moved.
And Nick Cave. And Jarvis Cocker. And Chan Marshall. And the many others who all guest on the latest, mostly duets disc from Brit siren Marianne Faithfull.
A collection of standards from the likes of Merle Haggard, Dolly Parton, Smokey Robinson and others, “Easy Come, Easy Go” sees Faithful being backed by such indie favorites as The Decemberists and Neko Case as she deconstructs this chestnut and that only to rebuild them on a foundation of lust and longing.
Easy come? Maybe.
Easy go? Never.
Also in stores: An Horse, “Rearrange Beds”; Les Claypool, “Of Fungi and Foe”; The Mick Fleetwood Blues Band, “Blue Again”; Branford Marsalis Quartet, “Metamorphosen”; Starsailor, “All the Plans”; Static-X, “Cult of Static”; and Superdrag, “Industry Giants.”
“Max (Maximum Ride, Book 5)” by James Patterson: Best-selling author James Patterson returns this week with the fifth in his “Maximum Ride” series, “Max.”
This time around, the government needs the help of Maximum Ride and the flock after being unable to discover the cause behind millions of fish dying off the Hawaiian coast and hundreds of ships being destroyed.
While the flock begins investigating the disaster, a criminal mastermind with an army of mercenaries is keeping an eye on Max and her crew.
Also due out this week is “The Last Dickens” by Matthew Pearl. Set in Boston 1870, the novel revolves around the untimely death of Charles Dickens.
After hearing the news of the author’s death, publisher James Osgood sends clerk Daniel Sand to retrieve Dickens’ unfinished novel. When Sand turns up dead and the manuscript missing, Osgood must take up the search himself, one that will land him in the middle of a dangerous quest as he tries to unravel Dickens’ final mystery.
Also hitting shelves: “The Beats: A Graphic History” by Harvey Pekar; “Brush Cat: On Trees, the Wood Economy, and the Most Dangerous Job in America” by Jack McEnany; “Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned” by Wells Tower; “How to Build a Dinosaur: Extinction Doesn’t Have to Be Forever” by Jack Horner; “It’s Not Necessarily Not the Truth: A Memoir” by Jaime Pressly; “Seeking Peace: Chronicles of the Worst Buddhist in the World” by Mary Pipher; “Stealing MySpace: The Battle to Control the Most Popular Website in America” by Julia Angwin; “The Third Reich at War” by Richard J. Evans; “One Second After” by William R. Forstchen; “Under the Lemon Trees” by Bhira Backhaus; “Until It’s Over” by Nicci French; “The Mystery of Grace” by Charles de Lint; “The Order of Things” by Lynne Hinton; “The Expediter (McGarvey, Book 13)” by David Hagberg; and “Therapy” by Sebastian Fitzek.