“How to Train Your Dragon” (PG): A scrawny Viking teen (voiced by Jay Baruchel) wounds, then befriends a dragon, discovering the flying terror isn’t so terrifying after all, in an animated adventure that soars when human and dragon take to the skies.
Back in the live-action realm, Josh Brolin stars as “Jonah Hex” (PG-13), a scarred ex-Confederate gunslinger/bounty hunter who’s after a bad guy (John Malkovich) about to unleash a doomsday weapon on the U.S. — just in time for the 1876 Centennial. Megan Fox, Aidan Quinn and Will Arnett co-star in this adaptation of the 1970s DC comic book. And Tilda Swinton’s tour-de-force performance powers “I Am Love” (R), about a Russian who marries into a wealthy Italian family — and becomes passionately involved with a chef (Edoardo Gabbriellini) who’s a friend of her son (Flavio Parenti).
From there, it’s on to movies that never made it to local theaters. Edward Norton plays twins — one a philosophy professor, one a marijuana grower — in the darkly comic “Leaves of Grass” (R), with Susan Sarandon and Tim Blake Nelson (who also directs). A geologist (Bradley Cooper) tracks an earthquake’s epicenter to an Indian reservation in “Older Than America” (not rated), featuring Wes Studi and Adam Beach. “Arn: The Knight Templar” (R) follows the adventures of the title Crusader (Joakim Natterqvist); Stellan Skarsgard, Michael Nyqvist (“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”) and Simon Callow (“Four Weddings and a Funeral”) co-star. Another “Four Weddings” alum, Andie MacDowell, joins Cary Elwes in the thriller “As Good as Dead” (R), while two New Yorkers (Daryl Wein, Zoe Lister-Jones) try to break up in the comedy “Breaking Upwards” (not rated). And a British baker (Damian Lewis) must revert to his former profession in the comedy “Assassin in Love” (PG-13).
On the documentary front, “Ladies and Gentlemen: The Rolling Stones” (not rated) captures the sights and sounds of the Stones’ 1972 “Exile on Main Street” tour. “I Am Comic” (R) focuses on the absurd world of stand-up comedy, spotlighting insights from (among others) Sarah Silverman, Tim Allen, Margaret Cho, Lewis Black and Las Vegas’ own Carrot Top. “The Gates” (not rated) follows artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude in 2005 as they install 7,500 arches, swathed in orange fabric, in New York’s Central Park. And the legendary Ravi Shankar headlines “Raga: A Film Journey to the Soul of India” (G). Notable Blu-ray disc debuts range from Max Von Sydow in Ingmar Bergman’s 1958 classic “The Magician” (not rated) to George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg in the 1999 Desert Storm caper “Three Kings” (R), plus Paz Vega in 2001’s spicy Spanish “Sex and Lucia” (not rated) and the 1964 holiday TV classic “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” (not rated).
Speaking of the holidays, a sleighful of Christmas titles arrives on DVD, including “It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie” (PG), “A Golden Christmas” (G), “Christmas in Boston” (not rated), “The Christmas Hope” (not rated), “Santa Baby 2” (not rated), “Thomas & Friends: Merry Winter Wish” (not rated) and “He-Man & She-Ra: A Christmas Special” (not rated).
Among today’s TV-to-DVD debuts (all unrated): John Cassavetes as jazzy private eye “Johnny Staccato” and Michael Chiklis as “The Commish: The Complete Series,” plus “The Tudors: The Final Season,” “Ghost Whisperer: The Final Season,” “Marcus Welby, M.D.: Season Two,” “In Treatment: Season Two,” “Dollhouse: Season Two,” “Criminal Justice 2,” “Inspector Lewis: Series Three,” “C.S.I.: Miami — The Eighth Season” and “Renegade: The Complete Series.”
The Orb featuring David Gilmour, “Metallic Spheres”: Brain-bending Brits unite when Pink Floyd singer/guitarist David Gilmour hooks up with atmospheric electronica troupe The Orb.
The result is some far-out headphones music that blends The Orbs amorphous beats and warm and fuzzy soundscapes with Gilmour’s mood-enhancing, mind-expanding guitar work.
Prepare to get comfortably numb for real.
Also in stores: Antony and the Johnsons, “Swanlights”; Arson Anthem, “Insecurity Notoriety”; Belle and Sebastian, “Write About Love”; Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks, “Crazy For Christmas”; Idlewild, “Post Electric Blues”; Indigo Girls, “Holly Happy Days”; Lady Antebellum, “A Merry Little Christmas”; Less Than Jake, “TV/EP”; Lil Wayne, “I Am Not a Human Being”; Shelby Lynne, “Merry Christmas”; Old 97’s, “The Grand Theatre, Volume One”; Simian Mobile Disco, “Simian Mobile Disco Is Fixed”; Sufjan Stevens, “The Age of Adz”; and Dar Williams, “Many Great Companions.”
“American Assassin” by Vince Flynn: The latest in the Mitch Rapp series explores the CIA agent’s origins and how the 1988 Pan Am Lockerbie bombing changed his life forever, setting him on a path of revenge.
For readers of true crime, Ann Rule explores the death of Ronda Reynolds and her mother’s 11-year battle to change her daughter’s cause of death from suicide, in “In the Still of the Night: The Strange Death of Ronda Reynolds and Her Mother’s Unceasing Quest for the Truth.”
Also hitting shelves this week: “Beautiful Darkness” by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl; “Booky Wook 2: This Time It’s Personal” by Russell Brand; “The Brave” by Nicholas Evans; “The Charming Quirks of Others” by Alexander McCall Smith; “Daniel Patrick Moynihan: A Portrait in Letters of an American Visionary” by Daniel Moynihan, Maura Moynihan and Steve Weisman; “Dark Prophecy: A Level 26 Thriller Featuring Steve Dark” by Anthony Zuiker and Duane Swierczynski; “Dewey’s Nine Lives: The Legacy of the Small-Town Library Cat Who Inspired Millions” by Vicki Myron; “Great House” by Nicole Krauss; “Hoda: How I Survived War Zones, Bad Hair, Cancer, and Kathie Lee” by Hoda Kotb; “Justin Bieber: First Step 2 Forever” by Justin Bieber; “The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America’s Childhood” by Jane Leavy; “Late, Late at Night” by Rick Springfield; “The Lost Hero” by Rick Riordan; “Oogy: The Dog Only a Family Could Love” by Larry Levin; “Our Kind of Traitor” by John le Carre; “Playing the Game” by Barbara Taylor Bradford; “The Prostitutes’ Ball” by Stephen Cannell; “The Scorch Trials” by James Dashner; and “The Woman I Was Born to Be: My Story” by Susan Boyle.