“Dear John” (PG-13): The spring-break romance between a young Army Ranger (Channing Tatum) and an idealistic college student (Amanda Seyfried) is sorely tested by the events, and impact, of Sept. 11, 2001, in this tear-jerker based on another best-seller from “The Notebook’s” Nicholas Sparks.
And an adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “The Road” (R) follows a father (Viggo Mortensen) and his young son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) as they wander a bleak post-apocalyptic landscape, trying to survive — with their humanity intact.
It’s also a banner week for some all-time greats, including the Blu-Ray Disc debuts of director John Ford’s Oscar-winning 1939 Western classic “Stagecoach” (not rated), which cemented John Wayne’s A-list stardom, plus the 50th-anniversary edition of the Stanley Kubrick-directed 1960 epic “Spartacus” (PG-13), with Kirk Douglas as the title Roman gladiator-turned-rebel. Sam Shepard and Julie Delpy star in Volker Schlondorff’s romantic 1991 drama “Voyager” (PG-13), while the bizarro 1948 British crime drama “No Orchids for Miss Blandish” (not rated) focuses on an heiress (Linden Travers) who falls for her gangster kidnapper (Jack LaRue). And avant-garde film pioneer Stan Brakhage gets a two-disc Blu-Ray salute in “By Brakhage: An Anthology” (not rated).
From there, it’s on to movies that never played local theaters. Gary Oldman plays an assassin torn between love and duty in the thriller “Rain Fall” (R), while Josh Lucas and Brian Cox headline “Tell Tale” (R), a contemporary version of Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Tell Tale Heart.” Former kid detectives, now 18, get the chance to solve a murder — and prove they’re real sleuths — in “Mystery Team” (R), from the folks behind the Internet’s Derrick Comedy shorts. And in the Vietnamese fable “The Owl and the Sparrow” (PG), three lost souls collide on the streets of Saigon. And, on the documentary front, “My Dog: An Unconditional Love Story” (not rated) finds everyone from Richard Gere to Isaac Mizrahi discussing their canine companions.
Heading up today’s TV-transfer roundup: the long-running Western favorite “The Virginian: The Complete First Season,” with James Drury as author Owen Wister’s legendary “When you say that, smile” hero, Lee J. Cobb as his rancher boss and such guest stars as Bette Davis, Lee Marvin and George C. Scott. Also arriving today: “Bing Crosby: The Television Specials, Vol. One,” “Hoarders: The Complete Season One,” “Royal Pains: Season One,” “Flashpoint: The Second Season,” “True Blood: The Complete Second Season,” “Leverage: The Complete Second Season” and “Waiting for God: Season Five.”
Stone Temple Pilots, “Stone Temple Pilots”: It’s been 10 years since they last departed for takeoff with a new album, and now, after nearly two years on the road, the Stone Temple Pilots are flying high once again with their sixth disc.
Of course, there has been plenty of turbulence along the way, namely, some dodgy live performances from frontman Scott Weiland, whose party hard antics sometimes make him come off like a frat house with legs.
But it’s hard to argue with STP’s chemistry and knack for penning hard rock radio staples, which, like their singer’s appetite for excess, have hardly diminished over the years.
Also in stores: David Cross, “Bigger and Blackerer”; Far, “At Night We Live”; Framing Hanley, “A Promise to Burn (CD/DVD)”; Hank III, “Rebel Within”; Keller & The Keels, “Thief”; Bettye Lavette, “Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook”; Loudness, “King of Pain”; Smashing Pumpkins, “Teargarden by Kaleidyscope — Vol. 1: Songs For a Sailor”; Soulfly, “Omen”; and Widespread Panic, “Dirty Side Down.”
“The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” by Stieg Larsson: In the conclusion to the best-selling Millennium Trilogy, Lisbeth Salander will stand trial for three murders if she recovers from a bullet wound to the head that has left her in critical condition. Journalist Mikael Blomkvist stands by her as she recovers, working to prove her innocence.
Another release expected out this week is John Grisham’s “Theodore Boone, Kid Lawyer,” in which the 13-year-old title character dreams of life in a courtroom. But the teen finds himself there earlier than expected after he becomes embroiled in a high-stakes murder trial.
Also hitting shelves: “Blockade Billy” by Stephen King; “The Gardener” by S.A. Bodeen; “The House On Salt Hay Road” by Carin Clevidence; “Infinity (Chronicles of Nick Series)” by Sherrilyn Kenyon; “Magic Bleeds (Kate Daniels Series No. 4)” by Ilona Andrews; “Moon Sworn (Riley Jenson Guardian Series No. 9)” by Keri Arthur; “The Necromancer (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel No. 4)” by Michael Scott; and “Storm Warning (The 39 Clues Series No. 9)” by Linda Sue Park.