September 7, 2010 - 4:00 am
“Solitary Man” (R): The “Wall Street” sequel doesn’t hit theaters until Sept. 24, but Michael Douglas has a strong showcase as the title character, a disgraced car dealer whose personal and professional lives are on the skids. Susan Sarandon, “The Office’s” Jenna Fischer, Mary-Louise Parker, Danny DeVito and Jesse Eisenberg co-star.
Another peak performance, this one from Hal Holbrook, powers “That Evening Sun” (PG-13), about a flinty retirement-home escapee determined to regain control of his Tennessee farm from the struggling loser (“The Blind Side’s” Ray McKinnon) leasing it. Ashton Kutcher and Katherine Heigl, meanwhile, play newlyweds menaced by contract “Killers” (PG-13). And “Saturday Night Live” movie time with gadget-happy, disaster-prone “MacGruber” (R), as the title agent (Will Forte) returns to duty to battle his longtime nemesis (Val Kilmer).
In today’s “Welcome to Las Vegas” file, a Tennessee Williams screenplay inspires “The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond” (PG-13), about a 1920s Memphis debutante (Bryce Dallas Howard) trying to pass off her down-and-out lover (Chris Evans) as an upper-class suitor. The fact-based “John Rabe” (not rated) focuses on the German businessman who rescued more than 200,000 Chinese from the Japanese Army during the 1937-38 Nanking Massacre. And, after playing matchmaker for their friends, twin sisters (Danielle Chuchran, Caitlin EJ Meyer) fall for the same guy (Jeremy Sumpter) in “You’re So Cupid” (G).
For movie buffs, several standouts make the jump to Blu-ray Disc, including Tim Robbins in director Robert Altman’s scathing 1992 Hollywood satire “The Player” (R); Roger Daltrey and Ann-Margret in director Ken Russell’s trippy 1975 “Tommy” (PG); the director’s cut of George Lucas’ 1971 sci-fi feature debut, “THX 1138” (R), starring Robert Duvall; and Robert Blake and Scott Wilson in writer-director Richard Brooks’ 1967 adaptation of Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood” (not rated). Going back even further in time, a Prohibition-era “Turner Classic Movies Greatest Gangster Film Collection” compilation (not rated) salutes Edward G. Robinson as “Little Caesar” (1930), James Cagney as “The Public Enemy” (1931), Cagney and Robinson in “Smart Money” (1931) and Cagney and Humphrey Bogart in “The Roaring Twenties” (1939). Cagney also gets his own TCM tribute (also unrated) featuring “G-Men” (1935), “Each Dawn I Die” (1939), “City for Conquest” (1940) and, arguably his greatest performance, as psycho thug Cody Jarrett, in the blistering “White Heat” (1949).
Tuning in to TV transfers (all unrated unless otherwise noted), one of the all-time great TV-movies finally makes its DVD debut: 1980’s “Playing for Time.” Vanessa Redgrave, Jane Alexander and screenwriter Arthur Miller won Emmys for this haunting, fact-based Holocaust tale about female Auschwitz prisoners spared from death in return for performing music for their Nazi captors — and fellow prisoners being herded to the gas chambers. Two “Peanuts” TV landmarks make their Blu-ray Disc debuts: “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” and “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.” And Helen Mirren returns in her Emmy-winning role as detective Jane Tennant in “Prime Suspect: The Complete Collection.” Also on tap: a Syfy “Phantom” miniseries, “Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam — Extended Edition” (G), “Persons Unknown: The Complete First Season,” “Boy Meets World: The Complete Second Season,” “Chuck: The Complete Third Season,” “thirtysomething: The Complete Fourth and Final Season,” “Supernatural: The Complete Fifth Season,” “Criminal Minds: Season Five,” “The Office: Season Six,” “Dirty Jobs: Collection Six,” “Smallville: The Complete Ninth Season” and “Last of the Summer Wine: Vintage 1985.”
Stone Sour, “Audio Secrecy”: Shhhh, Stone Sour has a new CD out.
(Speaking softly) The hard rockin’ band featuring Slipknot members Corey Taylor and Jim Root, on vocals and guitar respectively, come with more hooky, radio-ready jams full of muscular melody.
Don’t know why they want to keep their latest disc all hush, hush, as its title suggests, but trust us, this whisper quickly turns into a roar.
Also in stores: Anberlin, “Dark Is the Way, Light Is a Place”; Antony and the Johnsons, “Thank You for Your Love (EP)”; Bachman & Turner, “Bachman & Turner”; Sara Bareilles, “Kaleidoscope Heart”; Helmet, “Seeing Eye Dog”; Interpol, “Interpol”; Jerry Lee Lewis, “Mean Old Man”; Megadeth, “Rust in Peace Live (CD/DVD)”; and Robyn, “Body Talk PT 2.”
“Ape House” by Sara Gruen: The “Water for Elephants” author’s latest centers around scientist Isabel Duncan, who has been teaching sign language to bonobos at the Great Ape Language Lab, and John Thigpen, a reporter doing a story on the project, which becomes jeopardized by animal rights activists.
Sherrilyn Kenyon has a new series installment expected out this week with “No Mercy,” featuring Dark-Hunter Samia and shapeshifter Dev Peltier.
Also hitting shelves: “Atlantis Betrayed” by Alyssa Day; “Bob Dylan In America” by Sean Wilentz; “Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard” by Liz Murray; “Dexter Is Delicious” by Jeff Lindsay; “The Disappearance” by Bentley Little; “The Duff: Designated Ugly Fat Friend” by Kody Keplinger; “Firelight” by Sophie Jordan; “Getting to Happy” by Terry McMillan; “Good Boss, Bad Boss: How to Be the Best … And Learn from the Worst” by Robert Sutton; “The Grand Design” by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow; “Gunn’s Golden Rules: Life’s Little Lessons for Making It Work” by Tim Gunn; “The High King of Montival: A Novel of the Change” by S. Stirling; “Immanuel’s Veins” by Ted Dekker; “Immortal Beloved” by Cate Tiernan; “Pretty Little Things” by Jilliane Hoffman; “The Spider’s Web” by Margaret Coel; “True Prep: It’s a Whole New Old World” by Chip Kidd and Lisa Birnbach; “Vermilion Drift (Cork O’Connor Series No. 10)” by William Krueger; “The Widower’s Tale” by Julia Glass; and “Zero History” by William Gibson.