Group dynamics dominate the spotlight in today’s top DVD titles.
In “Then She Found Me” (R), a teacher having a major midlife crisis (Helen Hunt, who also makes her directorial debut) meets her vivacious birth mother (none other than Caesars Palace headliner Bette Midler) just as her adoptive mom dies — and her husband (Matthew Broderick) leaves her. Colin Firth rounds out the starring cast.
Betrayal and murder, meanwhile, complicate “Married Life” (R) for the late-’40s romantic quadrangle of Pierce Brosnan, Rachel McAdams, Chris Cooper and Patricia Clarkson.
In the workplace satire “The Promotion” (R), two Chicago supermarket employees (John C. Reilly, Seann William Scott) stage a ruthless competition to determine who’s going to manage a new store. And in Norway’s acclaimed “Reprise” (R), two 20-something writers find different degrees of success in their literary and love lives.
Turning to titles that never played local theaters, a jilted bridegroom (Christopher Masterson) goes solo on his Central American honeymoon in “The Art of Travel” (R), which features Brooke Burns and former Las Vegan Johnny Messner. And the comedy “Outsourced” (PG-13) finds a laid-off American worker (Josh Hamilton) traveling to India to train his replacement.
In today’s documentary file, “Monster Camp” (not rated) focuses on role-playing gamers. “Lagerfeld Confidential” (not rated) profiles fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, while Oscar-winner Tilda Swinton serves as guide for “Derek” (not rated), an intimate portrait of British filmmaker Derek Jarman. Swinton also appears in Jarman’s unrated 1989 “War Requiem,” which features Laurence Olivier’s final screen performance, reading World War I poet Wilfred Owen’s work to Benjamin Britten’s title music.
Topping the TV titles arriving on DVD: “Eli Stone: The Complete First Season” (PG), “The Big Bang Theory: The Complete First Season” (not rated), “Life: Season One” (not rated), “Desperate Housewives: The Complete Fourth Season” (not rated), “Ghost Whisperer: The Third Season” (not rated), “The Office: Season Four” (not rated), “Supernatural: The Complete Third Season” (not rated), “Honey West: The Complete Series” (not rated) and “Quark: The Complete Series” (not rated).
For the kids, “Ballet Shoes” (PG) casts “Harry Potter’s” Emma Watson as an aspiring dancer in ’30s London. “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Storybook Surprises” (not rated) revives classic cartoons with Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy and the gang in fairy tale adaptations. And speaking of fairy tales, the Shelley Duvall-produced “Faerie Tale Theatre: The Complete Collection” (not rated) features 26 irreverent tales from “Aladdin” to “Thumbelina,” directed by the likes of Tim Burton and Francis Ford Coppola and starring (among others) Robin Williams, Billy Crystal, Mick Jagger, James Earl Jones, Christopher Reeve and Susan Sarandon.
And, venturing into the vintage Hollywood vault, two Ida Lupino melodramas (both unrated) join the Fox Film Noir lineup: 1942’s haunting “Moontide,” which teams Lupino with France’s Jean Gabin, and 1948’s “Road House,” with Cornel Wilde and Richard Widmark (in trademark crazed mode).
New Kids on the Block, “The Block”: Only milk and strippers age worse than boy bands.
And yet, here comes the New Kids on the Block, every tween girl’s reason for being circa 1990.
Returning with their first new album in 14 years with such big name guests as Ne-Yo, Akon, the Pussycat Dolls and Teddy Riley, NKOTB are out to re-steal the hearts of their once adoring fan base.
Lock up your mom.
Also in stores: Rodney Crowell, “Sex & Gasoline”; Folk & Stress, “The Box”; Hollywood Undead, “Swan Songs”; Jefferson Starship, “Jefferson Starship Presents: Jefferson’s Tree of Liberty”; Olivia Newton-John, “A Celebration in Song: Olivia Newton-John and Friends”; Southside Johnny with LaBamba’s Big Band, “Grapefruit Moon: The Songs of Tom Waits”; Underoath, “Lost in the Sound of Separation”; UNKLE, “End Titles … Stories for Film”; Brian Wilson, “That Lucky Old Sun”; and Young Jeezy, “The Recession.”
“American Wife” by Curtis Sittenfeld: In “American Wife,” the latest work from the author of “Prep,” Curtis Sittenfeld tells the story of how the bookish Alice Lindgren wound up in the White House married to the president, the charismatic Charlie Blackwell. Alice, a school librarian and registered Democrat, falls for Charlie, the wealthy son of a prestigious Republican family. Alice must learn to navigate the treacherous waters of the country club set as well as come to terms with loving a man so very different from her. Supposedly the book is based on the life of first lady Laura Bush.
Also hitting shelves: “Sweetheart” by Chelsea Cain; "The Book of Lies” by Brad Meltzer; “Home” by Marilynne Robinson; “The First Billion Is the Hardest: How Believing It’s Still Early in the Game Can Lead to Life’s Greatest Comebacks” by T. Boone Pickens; “Third Term: Why John McCain is Really Just More George W. Bush” by Paul Begala; “Dark Curse” by Christine Feehan; “Blood Memory” by Margaret Coel; “The Bell at Sealey Head” by Patricia A. McKillip; and “Cat in a Sapphire Slipper” by Carole Nelson Douglas.