“A Serious Man” (R): If you missed it in theaters, now’s your chance to catch this double Oscar nominee, which is up for best picture and original screenplay. Oscar-winning brothers Joel and Ethan Coen (“No Country for Old Men”) return to their boyhood home country — suburban Minnesota, circa 1967 — for a darkly comic tale about a beleaguered physics professor (Broadway veteran Michael Stuhlbarg) whose seemingly rational life unravels, Job-like, before his eyes.
The comedy’s less edgy in “Couples Retreat” (PG-13), as eight friends discover their group-rate vacation in Bora-Bora requires participation in the resort’s unconventional couples-therapy program. Vince Vaughn, Jason Bateman, Jon Favreau, Kristin Davis and Kristen Bell lead the cast. On a more romantic note, “The Time Traveler’s Wife” (PG-13) focuses on the title character (Rachel McAdams), whose librarian husband (Eric Bana) has a genetic glitch that triggers involuntary time-tripping. In “The Stepfather” (PG-13), a remake of the 1987 horror hit, a military school cadet (“Gossip Girl’s” Penn Badgley) returns home to find his mother (Sela Ward) sharing her life with the suspiciously solicitous title character (“Nip/Tuck’s” Dylan Walsh).
Turning to movies that never made it to local theaters, “I Hate Valentine’s Day” (PG-13) reteams “My Big Fat Greek Wedding’s” Nia Vardalos (who also writes and directs) and John Corbett for another romantic comedy, this one about a carefree florist and the commitment-phobic restaurateur next door. The fact-based “Bronson” (R) focuses on a petty thief (Tom Hardy) who wants to make a name for himself — does, by becoming one of Britain’s most notorious prisoners. In “Hurricane Season” (PG-13), Forest Whitaker plays a Louisiana basketball coach who leads a motley post-Katrina team to glory. “Serious Moonlight” (R) teams Meg Ryan, Timothy Hutton, Kristen Bell and Justin Long in a “love-hate comedy” from actress-turned-director Cheryl Hines. “Dare” (R) explores how stereotypes define, and confine, teens working on a high school production of “A Streetcar Named Desire.” Emmy Rossum, “Friday Night Lights’ ” Zach Gilford and Alan Cumming lead the cast. “Peter and Vandy” (not rated) traces the romance between an insecure architect (Jason Ritter) and an art gallery employee (Jess Weixler). And in a remake of the 1978 “Ice Castles” (PG), a teen skater (Taylor Firth) defies the odds after suffering a brain injury to regain her championship form.
On the documentary front, “The People Speak” (not rated), inspired by the late Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States,” focuses on rebels, dissenters and visionaries past and present, from Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony to Bob Dylan and Muhammad Ali. For old-movie buffs, two volumes of “Bad Girls of Film Noir” (not rated) feature the likes of Evelyn Keyes, Gloria Grahame, Cleo Moore and Lizabeth Scott luring the likes of Charlton Heston and Edmond O’Brien to their doom.
Topping today’s TV-to-DVD transfers (all unrated, unless otherwise noted): two new PBS titles, the “Masterpiece Classic” version of Jane Austen’s “Emma” and the documentary “For Love of Liberty,” plus “Rod Serling: Studio One Dramas,” “Vega$: The First Season, Vol. Two,” “Gary Unmarried: The Complete First Season,” “Stargate Universe: 1.0,” “The Sarah Silverman Program: Season Two, Vol. Two,” “The Patty Duke Show: Season Two,” “Army Wives: The Complete Third Season” (PG), “JAG: The Final Season” and “Second Sight: The Complete Collection.”
Sade, “Soldier of Love”: Back on the front lines after a decade, the satin-voiced Sade has returned.
Her arsenal is well-known: spare, sleek and seductive slow jams that register as a series of blown kisses.
Sade’s latest is a bit more steely and world-weary, but this battlefield is still beatific.
Also in stores: Fear Factory, “Mechanized”; Galactic, “ya-ka-may”; HIM, “Screamworks: Love in Theory and Practice”; Hot Chip, “One Life Stand”; Jaheim, “Another Round”; Massive Attack, “Heligoland”; Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds, “Live in Las Vegas”; Allison Moorer, “Crows”; Reckless Kelly, “Somewhere in Time”; Gil Scott-Heron, “I’m New Here”; TobyMac, “Tonight”; Josh Turner, “Haywire”; and The Watson Twins, “Talking to You, Talking to Me.”
“A Dark Matter” by Peter Straub: Campus guru Spenser Mallon holds a secret occult ceremony in the 1960s that leaves one person dead and forever links four friends who became enamored with the cunning man.
Years later the friends re-examine the disturbing events that have haunted them throughout their lives.
Also expected out this week is “To Hell on a Fast Horse: Billy the Kid, Pat Garrett, and the Epic Chase to Justice in the Old West” in which author Mark Lee Gardner recounts Pat Garrett’s legendary pursuit of Billy the Kid.
Also hitting shelves: “Black Hearts: One Platoon’s Descent into Madness in Iraq’s Triangle of Death” by Jim Frederick; “Brava, Valentine” by Adriana Trigiani; “The Bread of Angels: A Memoir of Love and Faith in Damascus” by Stephanie Saldana; “Coming of the Storm: Book One of Contact: The Battle for America” by Kathleen O’Neal Gear; “Devils in Exile” by Chuck Hogan; “The Midnight House” by Alex Berenson; “Poor Little Bitch Girl” by Jackie Collins; “The Postmistress” by Sarah Blake; “Return to Prosperity: How America Can Regain Its Economic Superpower Status” by Arthur B. Laffer; “The Routes of Man: How Roads Are Changing the World and the Way We Live Today” by Ted Conover; “The Russian Dreambook of Colour and Flight” by Gina Ochsner; “Something Is Out There: Stories” by Richard Bausch; “The Wife’s Tale” by Lori Lansens; and “Willie Mays: The Life, The Legend” by James S. Hirsch.