“Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” (PG-13): A 20-something Toronto slacker (Michael Cera) who plays bass for a struggling rock band falls for an intriguing Amazon delivery girl (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) — and must battle her seven evil exes to win her — in a graphic-novel adaptation that plays like a video game, complete with vibrantly wacky visuals and rocket-powered pacing.
Elsewhere on the recent-release front, high school pals (Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Kevin James, David Spade, Rob Schneider) reunite for a Fourth of July tribute to their late basketball coach in the comedy “Grown Ups” (PG-13). Beverly Cleary’s beloved books about the misadventures of grade-schooler Ramona Quimby inspire ”Ramona and Beezus” (G), featuring Joey King and Selena Gomez in the title roles. “High School Musical” heartthrob Zac Efron grows up in “Charlie St. Cloud” (PG-13), a tearjerker about a young man who undergoes a near-death experience that leaves him seeing dead people — including his brother. And Nevada’s first legal brothel, the Mustang Ranch, inspires the fictional melodrama “Love Ranch” (R), with Oscar-winners Helen Mirren and Joe Pesci as cinematic versions of Sally and Joe Conforte, whose partnership is threatened when she falls for a visiting Argentine boxer. Mirren’s husband, Taylor Hackford (“Ray,” “An Officer and a Gentleman”) directs.
Oscar-winners Ellen Burstyn and Martin Landau, meanwhile, headline the film festival favorite “Lovely, Still” (PG), about a romance between two lonely seniors. Other movies that never made it to local theaters: director Lars von Trier’s controversial “Antichrist” (not rated), in which a couple (Willem Dafoe, Charlotte Gainsbourg) grieve for their dead baby; “The Dry Land” (R), with Wilmer Valderrama, America Ferrera, Jason Ritter and Melissa Leo in a drama about a soldier trying to rebuild his life after his return from combat; Rob Schneider and Steve Buscemi in “The Chosen One” (PG-13), a comedy about an unlikely spiritual inspiration; the comedy “The Four Faced Liar” (not rated), in which four New York 20-somethings do the relationship tango; the boxing comedy “Knucklehead” (PG-13), about an in-debt fight manager (Mark Feuerstein) hoping to find salvation with a gentle giant (wrestler The Big Show) new to the ring; “Hunt to Kill” (R), in which “Stone Cold” Steve Austin tracks his daughter’s kidnappers; and “The Chief” (not rated), with Tom Atkins as Pittsburgh Steelers founder Art Rooney. And topping today’s documentary lineup: “I Knew It Was You: Rediscovering John Cazale” (not rated), which focuses on the late supporting great, who made only five features before his 1973 death, all of them classics: “The Godfather,” “The Godfather, Part II,” “The Conversation,” “Dog Day Afternoon” and “The Deer Hunter.”
With the holidays approaching, it’s prime time for golden-oldie gifts, from the 50th-anniversary “Ocean’s 11” (not rated) Blu-ray Disc to the Martin Scorsese-selected “Elia Kazan Collection” (not rated) featuring 15 classics, including 1951’s “A Streetcar Named Desire,” 1954’s “On the Waterfront,” 1955’s “East of Eden” — and Scorsese’s own documentary “A Letter to Elia.” Also on tap: Peter Finch, John Gregson and Anthony Quayle in the 1956 World War II drama “Battle of the River Plate” (not rated), released in the U.S. as “Pursuit of the Graf Spee,” plus Joan Hackett, Robert Klein and Scott Jacoby in the 1972 thriller “Rivals” (R).
Topping today’s TV-to-DVD transfers (unrated unless otherwise noted): “Ice Blues: A Donald Strachey Mystery” (R), with Chad Allen as the title detective; Natasha Henstridge and Harry Hamlin in the Hallmark Channel’s “You Lucky Dog,” plus “Men of a Certain Age: The Complete First Season” (G), “Lie to Me: Season Two,” “Californication: The Third Season,” “The Boondocks: The Complete Third Season,” “Hell’s Kitchen: Season Four — Raw & Uncensored,” “Doctor Who: The Complete Fifth Series,” and “The Golden Girls: 25th Anniversary Complete Collection.”
Susan Boyle, “The Gift”: This yuletide “Gift” is kind of like Santa using your Christmas stocking as an air sickness bag.
Scottish singer Susan Boyle shot to fame as a contestant on “Britain’s Got Talent” with a voice as big as the U.K.
Now, she’s following up her massive selling debut, last year’s “I Dreamed A Dream,” with a disc of seasonal standards.
Pretty predictable move from someone who earned a name for herself by offering a break from the pre-fab pop mold.
Somewhere, Rudolph gently weeps.
Also in stores: Alter Bridge, “AB III”; Cradle of Filth, “Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa”; Cee-Lo Green, “The Lady Killer”; Hellogoodbye, “Would It Kill You?”; Helloween, “7 Sinners”; Jamiroquai, “Rock Dust Light Star”; Quincy Jones, “Q: Soul Bossa Nostra”; Kid Cudi, “Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager”; Kylesa, “Spiral Shadow”; Dave Matthews Band, “Live in New York City”; Reba McEntire, “All the Women I Am”; Aaron Neville, “I Know I’ve Been Changed”; Nitzer Ebb, “Industrial Complex”; Shonen Knife, “Free Time”; Underoath, “Ø (Disambiguation)”; and Various Artists, “Coal Miner’s Daughter: A Tribute to Loretta Lynn.”
“Full Dark, No Stars” by Stephen King: This collection of four novellas includes “1922,” a confession of murder and madness; “Big Driver,” about a cozy-mystery writer out for revenge after being assaulted; “Fair Extension” about a cancer patient’s deal with the devil; and “A Good Marriage,” in which a wife uncovers her husband’s secrets.
On the nonfiction front, George W. Bush candidly recounts his presidency in “Decision Points.”
Also hitting shelves this week: “A Dead Man’s Tale” by James Doss; “The Distant Hours” by Kate Morton; “Don’t Sing at the Table: Life Lessons from My Grandmothers” by Adriana Trigiani; “Factotum” by D. Cornish; “Hell’s Corner” by David Baldacci; “I Remember Nothing: and Other Reflections” by Nora Ephron; “I Still Dream About You” by Fannie Flagg; “The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey” by Walter Mosley; “Lord of Misrule” by Jaimy Gordon; “Outwitting Trolls” by William Tapply; “The Painted Boy” by Charles de Lint; “A Stranger in Mayfair” by Charles Finch; “A Tale Dark and Grimm” by Adam Gidwitz, Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm Grimm; “Trio of Sorcery” by Mercedes Lackey; “The Ugly Truth (Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series No. 5)” by Jeff Kinney; “Valley Forge: George Washington and the Crucible of Victory” by Newt Gingrich, William Forstchen and Albert Hanser; “The Weight” by Andrew Vachss; and “The Wolves of Andover” by Kathleen Kent.