“Winter’s Bone” (R): To save her impoverished family’s home, a flinty Ozark mountain teen (Jennifer Lawrence) goes in search of her missing father, a modern-day moonshiner who cooks meth instead of whiskey, in writer-director Debra Granik’s spare, close-to-the-bone drama. One of 2010’s top indies, it recently racked up three nominations for the Gotham Independent Film Awards.
Another strong woman dominates “The Girl Who Played With Fire” (R), the first of two Swedish sequels to Stieg Larsson’s best-selling thriller “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” as ace computer hacker Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) goes on the run after being accused of multiple murders. Worlds away, “Sex and the City 2” (R) finds Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) and BFFs (Kim Cattrall, Kristen Davis, Cynthia Nixon) on an all-expenses-paid luxury jaunt to Abu Dhabi. And “Wild Grass” (PG), the latest from French New Wave director Alain Resnais, serves up an enigmatic romantic comedy-drama about a lost, and found, wallet — and its impact on the people it connects.
Two notable documentaries lead today’s lineup of movies that never made it to Las Vegas theaters. The unrated “Who is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin’ About Him)?” profiles the title singer-songwriter, while director Oliver Stone examines emerging South American governments (including Venezuela’s controversial Hugo Chavez regime) in “South of the Border” (not rated). Also arriving on DVD: Joseph Fiennes as a widower trying to fulfill a childhood dream in “Against the Current” (not rated), featuring Elizabeth Reaser and Mary Tyler Moore; Rupert Graves in the fact-based British drama “Clapham Junction” (not rated), about gay-bashing in the title London neighborhood; “The Infidel” (not rated), a comedy about a Muslim (“Sex and the City 2’s” Omid Djalili) who discovers he was not only adopted, but born Jewish; and “The Way Home” (PG), with Dean Cain as a father desperately searching for his missing son.
Venturing into the vintage vault, “Back to the Future” (PG) celebrates its 25th anniversary with a Blu-ray Disc debut, a trilogy package, and numerous extras (including footage of the original Marty McFly, Eric Stoltz, who was replaced by Michael J. Fox). Another notable Blu-ray debut, Stanley Kubrick’s 1957 anti-war classic “Paths of Glory” (not rated), stars Kirk Douglas as a French colonel defending his men, who are accused of cowardice when they fail to carry out an impossible World War I mission. And Marcel Ophuls’ Oscar-winning 1988 documentary, “Hotel Terminus: The Life & Times of Klaus Barbie” (not rated), makes an at-long-last DVD debut, along with the haunting 1961 Tennessee Williams drama “Summer and Smoke” (not rated), starring Geraldine Page (in an Oscar-nominated performance) and Laurence Harvey. And “Chaplin At Keystone: An International Collaboration of 34 Original Films” (G) restores Charlie Chaplin’s earliest silents, which transformed an obscure British vaudevillian into a cinematic superstar — who’s as wonderful in 2010 as he was in 1913.
Tuning in to TV-to-DVD transfers (all unrated unless otherwise noted), Al Pacino’s Emmy-winning portrayal of Jack Kevorkian powers HBO’s “You Don’t Know Jack,” while a score by Broadway legend Stephen Sondheim highlights the 1967 rarity “Evening Primrose,” with Anthony Perkins and “The Sound of Music’s” Charmian Carr. A swashbuckling PBS favorite returns in “Poldark: Series 2” and several holiday-themed movies produced for Lifetime arrive on DVD, including “Dancing With the Stars’ ” Jennifer Grey in “Road to Christmas” and Christine Baranski and Bobby Cannevale in “Recipe for a Perfect Christmas.” Also on tap: “Poirot: Murder on the Orient Express,” ”On the Road With Charles Kuralt: Set Three,” “Law & Order UK: Season One,” “Star Wars: The Clone Wars — The Complete Season Two,” “Man vs. Food: Season Two” (G), “The Venture Bros: Season Four, Vol. One,” “CSI: NY — The Sixth Season,” “War of the Worlds: The Final Season,” “The Twilight Zone: Fan Favorites” (PG), “Tonight: Four Decades of the Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson,” “Dog the Bounty Hunter: Wild Ride Megaset” (PG) and “The Deputy: The Complete Series” (not rated).
Taylor Swift, “Speak Now”: The time is “Now” for country music fans, as this could be the genre’s biggest release of the year.
Only 20 years old, Taylor Swift is already the top selling digital artist in history having sold more than 28 million tracks.
That total will increase significantly soon, as Swift’s following up 2008’s smash “Fearless” with her third disc of heart-on-the-sleeve honky tonk lite.
Look for the Swift ascent to continue.
Also in stores: Jeff Beck, “Live and Exclusive From the Grammy Museum”; Joe Diffie, “Homecoming: The Bluegrass Album”; Bryan Ferry, “Olympia”; Forbidden, “Omega Wave”; Ghostland Observatory, “Codename: Rondo”; Buddy Guy, “Living Proof”; (hed)p.e., “Truth Rising”; Holy Grail, “Crisis in Utopia”; Ill Niño, “Dead New World”; Kylesa, “Spiral Shadow”; Monster Magnet, “Mastermind”; Senses Fail, “The Fire”; Swedish House Mafia, “Until One”; and Keller Williams, “Kids.”
“The Confession” by John Grisham: Travis Boyette allowed an innocent man to take the fall for a death-penalty crime he himself committed. Nine years later, Travis, who suffers from an inoperable brain tumor, decides to confess to the murder, but he has only four days to convince authorities before the man who took his place in prison is executed.
Holiday fiction begins rolling out in mass this week, including Anne Perry’s mystery “A Christmas Odyssey.”
Also hitting shelves: “Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That?” by Ina Garten; “The Black Book of Buried Secrets (The 39 Clues Series)” by Rick Riordan; “Broke: The Plan to Restore Our Trust, Truth and Treasure” by Glenn Beck and Kevin Balfe; “Cat Coming Home” by Shirley Murphy; “Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor” by Lisa Kleypas; “The Christmas Journey” by Donna Vanliere; “Coming Back” by Marcia Muller; “Dethroning the King: The Hostile Takeover of Anheuser-Busch, an American Icon” by Julie MacIntosh; “The Dove of Death: A Mystery of Ancient Ireland” by Peter Tremayne; “First Family: Abigail and John Adams” by Joseph Ellis; “Ghost Town” by Rachel Caine; “The Last Run” by Greg Rucka; “Life” by Keith Richards and James Fox; “Misguided Angel” by Melissa de la Cruz; “Pitchforks and Torches: The Worst of the Worst, from Beck, Bill, and Bush to Palin and Other Posturing Republicans” by Keith Olbermann; “Pukka: The Pup After Merle” by Ted Kerasote; “Side Jobs: Stories From the Dresden Files” by Jim Butcher; “Surface Detail” by Iain Banks; and “The Tattoo Chronicles” by Kat Von D.